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Review of Familiar Haunts album by Jason Simon on Cardinal Fuzz

Jason Simon is best known for his work as the guitarist and singer for the seminal heavy psych band Dead Meadow. Familiar Haunts is a solo release on Cardinal Fuzz as a black vinyl and streaming via the Bandcamp app. At the time of writing, there are two copies left according to their Bandcamp page.

For customers in the USA, a vinyl and cassette release is available from Jason Simon’s Bandcamp page which also includes a digital only (streaming + download) version available to all.

There’s a strong acoustic guitar theme underpinning this album. It’s a wonderful melting pot of influences such as alt-country, singer-songwriter and country blues underpinned with a laid back psych vibe, great vocals and an excellent jam feel at times too.

The arrangements and production are excellent, the album has a superb, natural sound.

The People Dance, The People Sing
A blues infused vibe from the opening riff with natural sounding percussion, the vocals are laid back and there’s an excellent psych feel with subtle background effects and a building tension to a heavier, more distorted sound.

Without Reason or Right
A laid back reggae type vibe from the riff and muted strummed chords, excellent use of delay on the vocals and the organ adds an excellent element.

Now I’m Telling You
An Eastern feel to the opening which has a more distorted riff to open, the percussion builds gradually and there’s an excellent jam feel to the song with bass and improvised riffs. The vocals have a laid back feel.

Pretty Polly
A shimmery feel to the opening is propelled by picked riff, vocals and drumming. It’s a great sound, difficult to pin down but there are alt-country and rock influences. The blues harp adds an excellent element.

Seven Sisters of Sleep
Excellent tremelo riff and strummed chords to open, the vocals have a great laid back psych feel. The song has an excellent slow groove.

Hills of Mexico
There’s a great momentum to the opening of this song and an edge of tension too, especially from the vocals. The bass and drums enter to give a more defined groove. The song has an excellent jam quality.

Wheels will Spin
Another excellent opening groove from bass and trem guitar, there’s a great change between a chord vamp and more open sound. Some great solos too with a slow building tension to a release followed by a very slow groove to end. Excellent vocals again too.

I Found The Thread
Some excellent sound effects and reversed guitar to open, this song has a different feel to the rest. It’s another great vibe, some really trippy sounds at times.

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