(Austin Weber prepared this Sunday’s edition of The Rearview Mirror.)
As on every Sunday at NCS, it’s time again for us to reflect on music that’s been out for a while, including music you may never have heard before. Today’s time-machine trip into the past takes us into the strange world of California natives Spaceboy, who never really got the recognition they deserved for any of their releases.
Spaceboy played a particularly unusual and complex style of Progressive-minded sludge/death/doom. I’ve strongly argued for years that their two full-length records — 1998’s Getting Warm On The Trail Of Heat and 2002’s Searching the Stone Library for the Green Page of Illusion — are two of the greatest sludge/stoner/doom records of all time. They set a high creative benchmark that has yet to be bested by any group, in my estimation. Here is “Pink Domain” to check out while you read on:
Spaceboy’s music is unlike anything else you’ve ever heard. An apt comparison would be to call them the Between the Buried And Me of stoner sludge music. It’s very progressive-minded, with frequent multi-genre mix-and-match structuring that switches between sludge, funky bass-inflected passages, old school death metal, psychedelic and jazz-oriented interludes, stoner rock, and doom.
And don’t let the pot-centric lyrics and high-larious song titles such as “Planet of Pot”, “Return To Cannabis Island”, and “Stoner Fort” fool you into thinking this is just another record you’ve heard before. Spaceboy rarely fuck around with mid-paced. endless repetition, unlike a lot of sludge and doomier music. The construction of their songs has more in common with fellow experimental genre-hoppers Mr. Bungle than it does with music in the vein of Black Sabbath.
As you’ve seen, I have included two Spaceboy songs within this article as a sample of the breadth and diversity of their music, one from each of their two full-length records. The first is “Pink Domain” off of Getting Warm On The Trail Of Heat. It covers a lot of ground, hitting almost every above-mentioned facet of their complex, multi-genre sound. The second is “The Monsoon” from Searching the Stone Library for the Green Page of Illusion, and at over 11 minutes, its title perfectly reflects the massive ocean of ideas hurled at you, one after the other, in a sprawling yet never plodding manner.
From the brief search I did, you can find their material for sale on amazon.com, and you can buy their second record, Searching the Stone Library…, through Southern Lord. In addition, the band’s first full length, Getting Warm On The Trail Of Heat, is available for streaming on Spotify. All these links will be posted below. Even if you aren’t typically a big fan of sludge, stoner, or doom music, I urge you to check this out since it’s so unique.
Oh, and in the course of writing this post about Spaceboy, I found out one of their guitarists and their vocalist are in a band called Gargantula who play a similarly eclectic and hard-to-describe style of sludge that draws a lot of comparisons to their work in Spaceboy. Gargantula are still listed as an active band, but their only record is from 2004 and is called Infinitasm. I heard two songs from it on YouTube and already need to buy it. It’s that good!
So I will include “Black Orchid” for you to check out as well, if you find yourself digging Spaceboy. It starts off along standard-for-the-genre swallowing pits of sludge but really diversifies sonically in different directions starting around the 1:30 mark onwards.
Spotify link to Getting Warm On The Trail of Heat: