With weird folk rock receiving scads of media attention and gaining new adherents by the week, it’s only right and natural that the Tower Recordings get props for pushing this bandwagon into motion years before Devendra Banhart grew his first whisker. After all, the Vermont/NYC collective’s back catalogue brims with song titles like “Ultra Dimensions of Being,” “Distilling the Elixir of Immortality,” and “Intergalactic Housing Don’t Bother Me.”
Recorded in an upstate New York church, The Galaxies’ … is possibly the TRs’ strongest release in their decade-long existence. The collective plays music as if it has all the time in the world, and in doing so, makes you feel the same. Opening track “Harvester” comes on like a 21st-century Third Ear Band, featuring Erika Elder’s opiated, whispery voice breezing over a hypno-raga acoustic-guitar figure, third-eye-opening percussion, and antique wind instruments. At the other end of the band’s vast spectrum, “Empress of I-91” is almost a radio-friendly song, its rickety, eerie folk sung with a spiritual, hickish twang. In between these poles, TR capture the album title’s concept with preternatural panache. Queer as folk, indeed.