New Music Tuesday: The Midnight Vein – The Midnight Vein [Album] (by Phil The Tremolo King)

Photo by Mark Duggar Photography

Psychedelica is an often maligned genre that holds a lot of unexpected charms and hidden gems for the open-minded.  At first listen “Midnight Vein” sounds like a long forgotten psychedelic recording from 1968. A solo project by Buffalo musician John Toohill,  this release has all the enthusiasm and pure creative joy of any bedroom musician filling up 4 track cassettes with creative outpourings ( although more likely, the medium was garageband or one of those other new-fangled computer thingamajigs kids love so much these days) .

With chiming acoustic guitars, buzzy multi-layered vocals, twangy electric guitars, and especially, lots of tambourine, the first comparison that comes to mind is of course Syd Barrett. Barret is the genius madcap and original member of Pink Floyd who’s influenced countless musicians, and a good thing it is too. With simple and effective instrumentation, some creative recording tricks, and strong songwriting, this cassette is a charmer and a fun listen. Break out the lava lamp and incense!

Opener ‘When Palm Readers Lie to Fools” does not only have a great title, it also boldly declares its stubborn quirkiness in starting off a record with droning vocal harmonies and not much else.

“Thieves of Youth and Love” is a neo-psychedelic gem, all acoustic guitars and shakers and a ridiculously catchy melody that just won’t quit.

“The Likes of We” is a favorite, built around a simple strutting guitar figure.

“Bless your Souls” is a welcome ballad, based on acoustic guitar like most of the tracks and featuring more warbly vocals and hissy percussion.

“A Wave of Ghosts” ventures into indie pop territory as layered guitars jangle their way through a robust chord progression, topped off by an excellent guitar solo. The latter is not surprising from a guy who is a very active player in the Buffalo music scene.

Midnight Vein” is a decidedly lo fi affair but it works quite well in this context. Maybe “lo fi acoustic psychedelica” would be a good description for this release, but I’ll leave it up to the listener to come up with his own. One thing this release is not, is boring. It’s more like the inspired ramblings of a slightly unhinged madcap sort-of-genius. Kind of like, well, you know who.

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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