Psychedelic rock legends The Asteroid No.4 have announced their forthcoming album ‘Northern Songs’, to be released later this summer via a partnership with UK-based Cardinal Fuzz Records and Portland’s Little Cloud Records. Ahead of this, they present their new single ‘The After Glow’.
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Here, the 12-string folk-rock jangle of the mid-60’s Byrds is overlaid with the washed-out vocal harmonies of Ride and topped off with psychedelic drones familiar to Spacemen 3. This is a hypnotic hybrid of several different genres filtered through the kaleidoscope of all things psychedelic.
Now based in the San Francisco Bay Area, The Asteroid No.4 originated in Philadelphia in the latter half of the 1990s and gradually began to relocate westwards in 2011. After several lineup changes, for the last decade, the band has been foundationally comprised of Scott Vitt (vocals, guitar), Eric Harms (guitar), Adam Weaver (drums, vocals) and Matty Rhodes (bass, vocals).
‘Northern Songs’ is the band’s tenth full length record, following up the ‘Collide’ LP in 2018. On this new album, they did all writing, playing, recording, mixing and mastering in their own studio. This is the first time they’ve gone fully DIY since their fourth album ‘An Amazing Dream’ (2006), where the band finally found their own trademark sound.
“This is a first for us as we’ve always had at least guest musicians or someone else mix or master. It was an experiment on what we could do ourselves and testing our new studio in San Rafael, CA for the first time. Our sound is primarily rooted in the British indie music from the 80s and 90s. This is the music we grew up on, we still listen to today, and what happens as a natural result of our songwriting,” says Scott Vitt.
Considered stalwarts of the modern ‘psych’ genre, they are known for their prolific discography of reverb-drenched recordings and liquid-projected live performances. With a sound all their own and neo-psychedelic / shoegaze learnings, they are often compared to acts like Spacemen 3 and Paisley Underground kingpins The Rain Parade.
“‘Northern Songs’ is a nod to us now being a Northern California band and finally settled in our new home and studio. Even with our past two albums, both released while we were CA residents, there was still a song or fragments that were carried from when we were still in Philadelphia. This is our first west coast record through and through,” says Scott Vitt.
“Lyrically there’s reference to what is happening both socially and politically in the world around us. We wanted to make an album that brought an air of calm or even nostalgia, to remind people that there was a time, not all that long ago, when things seemed way more normal compared to what we’re experiencing today.”
Known as a dynamic live act, The Asteroid No.4 integrate multi-textured guitars and reverb-drenched vocal harmonies over an unwavering rhythm section. Their prolific recording output has earned them a dedicated fan base within the flourishing underground psychedelic scene, with over a dozen compilation appearances, digital-only rarity releases, and multiple singles and EPs.
Named after Vesta, the brightest asteroid in our solar system, their moniker is an obvious nod to Spacemen 3, one of the band’s main influences. In fact, one of the group’s earliest recordings was a faithful cover of their ‘Losing Touch with My Mind‘. Released via UK label Rocket Girl’s tribute compilation to the 80’s legends, Pete ‘Sonic Boom’ Kember himself named the song as a stand-out track in an interview with Magnet Magazine.
Photos by Kari Devereaux