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Last Days of May

Last Days of May's sound doesn't suggest the fresh coolness of a late spring day so much as the blistering heat and dizzying mirages of Death Valley in late August. The band traverses an intensely alien, lifeless landscape full of nightmarish yellows and sulfuric reds, traveling from vertigo-inducing mountain peaks down to arid deserts and back up again. This is freakout music taken to the extreme, on a level with the epic interstellar wanderings of Sun Ra and Blue Cheer.

Former Dream Syndicate guitarist Karl Precoda coaxes some mighty sounds -- both beautiful and bizarre -- from his instrument, making ample use of his wah-wah pedal, not to mention plenty of reverb and feedback. The rest of this "augmented power trio" (i.e. quartet) burns with white hot intensity, laying down heavy nuclear rhythms that are often embroidered by assorted keyboard flourishes and accentuated by rackety percussion.

While Last Days of May's radioactive epics flow around you like a sonic River Styx, the music isn't just about recreating the experience of a frightening acid trip. There's lots of open space here, lots of room for introspection and reflection. LDOM's compositions are complex, challenging, and ultimately rewarding.

The bluesy, sinuous "The Mezz," the slow-burning, apocalyptic 12-minute epic "Apollo Campfire," and the damaged, bongo-filled, improv-driven "Up from the Equator" all come from LDOM's 2000 effort, entitled Radiant Black Mind. It picks up right where the THC & LSD-derived fission of the band's 1997 self-titled debut left off, taking you on a free rock journey that will blow your mind.

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