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Local heavy psych trio Kadabra signs with Heavy Psych Sounds, to release debut LP ‘Ultra’

UPDATED: Thu., Sept. 16, 2021

The new album by Spokane’s Kadabra, titled “Ultra” on Heavy Psych Sounds, is being released Friday.  (Courtesy)
The new album by Spokane’s Kadabra, titled “Ultra” on Heavy Psych Sounds, is being released Friday. (Courtesy)
By Johnathan Curley The Spokesman-Review

For as long as electric guitars have been peeling the paint off walls, the archetype for any young band making a run at the big time has almost always included finding a label with the conviction to get their music to the masses.

But what happens when this life-long goal happens a little more than a year into a band’s existence? And during a global pandemic nonetheless? Ask Spokane-based heavy psych trio Kadabra.

Fronted by singer/guitarist Garrett Zanol (Indian Goat) with bassist Ian Nelson (Bad Motivator) and Chase Moore (Vanna Oh!) on drums, Kadabra are the new kids on the block for Heavy Psych Sounds Records, one of the world’s leading labels for stoner rock, doom and fuzzed-out action with acts like Acid Mammoth, Black Rainbows, Hippie Death Cult and Brant Bjork.

Since signing with the Rome, Italy-based label in March, Kadabra have issued three singles and are releasing their debut LP, “Ultra,” on Friday.

“We wrote it, we recorded it, we sent it out to some of our favorite labels and one of which decided to sign us,” said Zanol of the record.

“We got that email back and we’re like, ‘Oh … Heavy Psych Sounds wants to sign us?’ They sent an email back saying, ‘We’re kind of taking a chance here. You have absolutely no resume, but we love the album, so we kind of want to see what it does.’ ”

That faith in the music has made it all the more meaningful for Nelson, too.

“They hadn’t even seen our faces at this point because at the time we had no social media,” he said, “Which is cool because they’re signing us for the music, only the music.”

The music is guttural, grimy and even groovy, routinely subverting Floydian first glances with Black Sabbath-esque tints of danger and fusing it with a sense of swamp that only the Pacific Northwest could lend. But the songcraft behind “Ultra” was adamantly against just ticking boxes or feeling forced to be creative.

“As far as this project goes, it’s something that I’ve been wanting to write for so long deep inside of myself,” Zanol said. “I’ve been hearing these riffs for years inside of my own head. … I feel like it’s not derived from one band or one person necessarily, it’s more just derived from the music that I’ve been wanting to write.”

Now, Kadabra are gearing up to introduce those same songs to their hometown audience with a release show for “Ultra” planned for 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Big Dipper. But beyond the songs and the sludge, it’s the connection between the big-collared, bell-bottomed men of Kadabra that make the music so rewarding.

“We all became best friends in the past year, so it’s really exciting to share this experience together,” Moore said. “I’m just very pleased to be in this spot playing music with very good friends with music that you really enjoy.”

Zanol echoed the same sentiment.

“I’d feel the exact same way if we wouldn’t have gotten accepted to a label because I’ve never had as much fun playing as I have with these two dudes,” he said. “We’d still be doing it the exact same way whether or not we’d have the opportunities that have been given to us.”

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