Sunday I was at Saki Records for a taping of the very funny local podcast You, Me, Them, Everybody. While browsing the store’s offerings I was drawn to a massive box set from a band called Witch, We Intend to Cause Havoc! As soon as I figured out that it wasn’t related to the J Mascis project of the same name and saw the sticker that promised a headfirst dive into something called “Zamrock”—as in “Zambian psychedelic rock”—I wanted it very badly. But right now I’m both on a budget and trying to divest myself of stuff rather than accumulate it, so I resisted the urge, even after feeling the set’s satisfying six-vinyl-albums heft and picturing how extremely dope it would look on my record shelf.
Lucky for me, the next day I discovered the first two Witch albums streaming in their entirety on SoundCloud. Based on my past encounters with 70s African psych rock I expected fuzzed-out guitar madness and James Brown funk stretched to trance-inducing lengths, but Witch is subtler than that. Like about a billion bands before and since, they were emulating Brian Jones-era Rolling Stones, and as with all bands devoted to that particular goal, it’s the imperfections in the copy that make it interesting. Despite their badass name, Witch played relatively gently, with a restraint similar to the Zombies (who also had a badass name), but the hint of an accent in the vocals is a reminder that the music was made far from Swinging London.
Hit the jump to hear for yourself.