Imagine a psychedelic journey though a vast and dense enchanted jungle of mysterious moods and sounds, propelled along by hazy percussion and fuzzy guitars and softly guided by dreamy vocals. Your perfect breezy summer soundtrack, right? This is the music of Ancient River as performed (surprisingly) by the duo of James Barreto and Alex Cordova. Four tracks in to their new album Keeper Of The Dawn, the magic mushroom mindset is informed by a slightly foreboding spaghetti western desert vibe, and things then begin to take on a darker, murkier, edgier tone. This may be due to their Gainesville roots or their travels across vast American prairies to Austin, Texas and then somehow ending up in a cold dreary London in the wintertime, but whatever it is, it makes a nice counterbalance to the spaciness to produce something quite addictive and intriguing.
Have a listen to the opener, “This Is The Time.”
Ancient River flowed from its beginnings in 2000, when singer-songwriter and guitarist Barreto was performing with his instrumental psychedelic band The Ohm and creating home studio albums on his 4-track tape recorder. In Gainesville, where he recorded and produced albums for local bands and created music for independent films, Ancient River first took shape. Barreto’s home studio and rehearsal space became a gathering place for musicians in a similar mindset, its sounds ranging from shoegaze to psychedelia to Americana. A few years later, he began to perform as Ancient River, accompanied by psychedelic visuals. Alex Cordova joined him in 2011, and they went on to record several albums in the garage-psych, fuzzy guitar rock vein, touring nationally in 2014. Appearances have included the Austin Psych Fest, Los Angeles’ Psycho De Mayo and the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia. They’ve performed with Rosco (Spaceman 3), Heartless Bastards, Dead Skeletons and Ringo Deathstarr, among others.
With their new release, they’re embarking on a national spring and summer tour, with stops on the East Coast. Here in the Boston area, they’ll be performing at the cozy and intimate art space, Lilypad. Both band and venue are very highly recommended. Get there early — it’s tiny in there!
Ancient River Discography
Under The Sun 7-track EP (Jan 2010)
O.D.D.S. – album (13 tracks) (Dec 2010)
Songs from North America – album (10 tracks) (Aug 2011)
Polaroid 4-track EP (Oct 2011)
Let It Live – 3rd full-length album (10 tracks) (Jan 2012)
On The Other Side – album (9 tracks) (Sept 2012)
Before Dawn – 1st album from 2007 (7 tracks) (Sept 2014)
Keeper Of The Dawn – album (10 tracks) (April 2015)
East Coast Dates
05/26 Baltimore, MD ~ The Sidebar Tavern
05/27 Philadelphia, PA ~ Kung Fu Necktie
05/29 Brooklyn, NY ~ Kings County
05/30 Boston, MA ~ The Lilypad (Inman Square, Cambridge)
06/03 Washington, DC ~ The Lab
06/04 Richmond, VA ~ Strange Matter