Hot Garbage Stake Their Claim with 'Precious Dream'

BY Stephan BoissonneaultPublished Jan 19, 2024


For the past decade or so, there have been four bands heading the sooty psych rock battlements; the Black Angels, Osees, Frankie and the Witch Fingers, and (when they're not making IDM freakouts) King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard. With their sophomore release Precious Dream, Toronto's Hot Garbage are making a case for themselves as new leaders of the charge. 

The follow-up to their 2021 debut RIDE, Precious Dream feels like a full-powered reinvigoration for the filthy four-piece, an album that dabbles in goth rock, post-punk and noise, all under the hypnotic, shifting umbrella of "psych." RIDE was a great opener, but Precious Dream feels more like a band that fully trusts each other, their producer Graham Walsh and their experimental instincts.

Every song feels hazy yet complete; crepuscular riffery courtesy of guitarist Alessandro Carlevaris, gargantuan motorik bass from his sister Juliana, spectral vocals by both siblings, thundering drum work by Mark Henien and mind-bending keys and organ from Dylan Gamble. 

Opener "Snooze You Lose" is ghastly and heavy, slowly opening the disappearing door to a darkened psychedelic wonderland. "Look at My Phone," with its desert rock lead bends, might be one of the catchiest psych rock jaunts in recent memory, with a spirited, almost T. Rex-like chorus guitar riff alongside Juliana's repeating vocal line — it's just candy for the ears. 

"Lowering" and "Mystery" feature a wild vortex of riffs that play with your consciousness, especially from the mesmerizing organ lines, as if the spirit of Ray Manzarek himself decided to sit in on the studio session. The second half of the album kicks off with a more '60s kraut-psych vibe — songs like "Sarabandit" and "Blue Cat" dive into a wall of sound approach with subtle mixing nuances, like an accentuated tambourine or blade-like bass lines. 

Precious Dream is just as shadowy and weird as much of the great garage psych out there, and while it may not rewrite the book on guitars, keys and drums, it's still a monolithic release for Hot Garbage that should secure their status as the always-shifting genre's new vanguard. 


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