Four years ago Wymond Miles, guitar player and songwriter in San Francisco's The Fresh & Onlys, began writing solo material thematically based on the concepts of eschatology, anthroposophy, and Gnostic and Hermetic symbolism. Drawing from a vast musical pool of inspiration, including Scott Walker, Robert Wyatt, Arvo Part, and Nikki Sudden amongst others, Earth Has Doors is Miles' first solo release. Since beginning Miles had basically shelved these songs to attend school, focus on fatherhood, and commit to the demanding schedule of the F&O's. He earned a degree in humanities with an emphasis on the philosophical implications of the ecological/economic crisis of our times, and that subject matter can be traced throughout his first EP. These songs concisely yet esoterically document the existential crisis of our current epoch — moving from the nothingness of modern materialism, fragmented reductionist thought, and drug escapism to a world imbued with subjectivity and meaning through a new relationship with the Earth and cosmos as alive and full of inherent intelligence.
If 'slacker' means 'purveyor of angst-ridden badass psychedelic rock,' then the Young Prisms qualify. Five such slackers comprise this band: Jason Hendardy, Jordan Silbert, Matt Allen, Stef Hodapp, and Gio Betteo. Silbert is the old man, at twenty-four, and all five recently dropped out of various unsatisfying academic situations—Hendardy from a media arts program at California College of the Arts, Jordan from a behavior analysis master's track in Fresno, and Stef, Matt, and Gio from a Bay Area community college.
What they did instead is they moved into a roach infested apartment in San Francisco's Mission District and started pumping out dark, driving rhythms overlaid with melodies that pulse and build and then break over you. It's some of the best stuff coming out of a city exploding with brilliant new music. The group's lyrics are laced with a kind of nonchalance (I'm thinking of one song off the new LP called "If You Want To," as in "whatevs") that devolves quickly into a grim, passionate poetry part My Bloody Valentine, part Sonic Youth, part Charles Bukowski, part some kind of uncategorizable sparkly ecstasy. Whoa.
So consider this a warning issued with an inviting grin: this music will make you want to drop acid and become a recluse. Or it will make you even less excited to work your shitty day job. Or it will make you jump up and down in a dark crowded room while your eardrums bleed. Or it will make you feel something secret like happiness, minus any sentimental whimsicality. Or it will make you want to read Sarte, or graphic comic books, or maybe Hunter Thompson. And in one hundred years when people want to know what it felt like to be young on the West Coast in the early new millennium, they might just put on this record, by these rising kings (and queen) of Psychedelic Slackerdom.