West Indian Girl
Putting the "spaced" back into space rock, California neo-psychedelicists West Indian Girl play a druggy form of dream pop that takes the contemporary style of the Flaming Lips, Grandaddy, and Mercury Rev as their starting point and add '60s and '70s echoes ranging from the droning freakout side of the Velvet Underground through the phased meandering of early-'70s Pink Floyd to the Beach Boys' spaced-out post-SMiLE period. Though they sound like they've spent their lives within hitchhiking distance of Laurel Canyon, West Indian Girl's roots are in Detroit circa the early '90s, when singer and guitarist Robert James and bassist Francis Ten first met. After Ten moved to Los Angeles, the pair continued their collaboration through the mail until James followed his musical partner westward. Taking their name from a legendary potent strain of early street LSD, James and Ten signed with EMI's alternative imprint Astralwerks and formed a proper band for live gigs, including background singer and percussionist Mariqueen Maandig, keyboardist Chris Carter, and drummer Mark Lewis. After the 2004 release of their self-titled debut album, West Indian Girl released a more dance-oriented remix EP in 2006. That same year, Carter left the band, replaced by a new pair of keyboardists, Nathan Van Hala and Amy White. Parting company with Astralwerks after their two releases failed to ignite much notice, West Indian Girl signed with the indie label Milan Records and announced the release of their second proper album, 4th and Wall, in October 2007. ~ Stewart Mason
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