Essential New Music: Curanderos’ “Mescalito”

Good songs may be hard to write, but sometimes the music just flows. It often seems like this is the case with Philadelphia-based psychedelic combo Bardo Pond, which can take years to come up with an album but has no problem turning out acres of marvelous stoned jams under its own name and countless side projects. Curanderos is John and Michael Gibbons, Bardo Pond’s guitarists, plus synthesizer player Aaron Igler and drummer Scott Verrastro, both of less-known but equally committed zone surveyors Kohoutek. Their collegial chemistry is undeniable. Verrastro is a relaxed but persuasive timekeeper, and Igler’s keys introduce textures rarely heard on Bardo Pond records. But their effect on the Gibbons brothers is more a vote of confidence than a push to try something new; they roll through their accompanists’ peaks and valleys like twin streams of lava, radiant and undeniable.

Bill Meyer