The Dharma Jerks – Aurora Australis

dharma jerks

For many years growing up I had an electric pencil sharpener. It was one of the first models ever commercially available and it worked great. Over years of constant use, the spindle blades grew dull and started to struggle with sharpening, the pencil would bind up in the whirling gears and the little motor which drove them would whine, changing pitch as it bogged down.

A guitar feeding back, pulsing through a tremolo, a tape speed effect sounds like someone has their thumb on the reel, manually slowing down the tape. Or perhaps someone is jamming a dull pencil in that old electric sharpener. Just as I am beginning to smell that acrid oily smoke of the tiny motor under strain, it picks up again as the drums count off on the hi hats, and the band roars in like an ocean wave sizzling across the hot sand.

The main verse is two repetitive chords hammered out, furiously distorted, pushed ahead by the bouncing drum beat and rolling bass line. The vocals have a touch of snide sarcasm reminiscent of early punk, almost Roky Erickson or Pere Ubu in their sentiment, but maintaining a unique vibe which they entirely own.

There are some chord changes toward the close of the song that gets a little tricky, but the band pulls it off effortlessly like it’s no big deal. It leaves me pleasantly distracted, wondering “how did we get here?” There is some side percussion sneaking into the frame, photobombing the song while the singer drifts into a winding high melody soaked in lush reverb. The guitars snake their way through a melodic lead, deepening the psychedelia as I feel myself sinking further and further into the comfortable bean bag chair. The incense is burning down to its end, lava lamp casting a warm colorful glow across the poster-lined wall which I swear was only moments ago melting into a squishy puddle on the floor. I drift off to a strange land of happy dancing pencil sharpeners and swirling candy-colored lava formerly known as the “real world.”

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PS Perkins
the authorPS Perkins
PS Perkins hails from Boise, Idaho in the United States and is a long time veteran of the underground music scene there. A multi-instrumentalist, aspiring fiction writer, prolific songwriter, and all around psychedelic warrior, Perkins has spent many years as both a street busker as well as playing bands such as Caustic Resin, Godzoundz, and The Universal.

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