Moon Duo Credit: Brett Johnson

Guitarist Ripley Johnson (also of Wooden Shjips) and keyboardist Sanae Yamada have been churning out fuzzy psychedelic reverb and shimmer on Sacred Bones Records for close to a decade as Moon Duo. The San Francisco group’s 2011 debut, Mazes, is heavy, head-nodding stoner rock with more sheen than you’d expect from the genre. But on their new album, September’s Stars Are the Light, they take a delightful left turn toward the dance floor, finding the common ground between spacey psych and spacey disco. Though other artists have traveled these intergalactic byways before (Cut Copy comes to mind), Stars Are the Light bursts with the exuberance of discovery. “Lost Heads” throbs with pixie sprinkle and get-out-there-and-sway rhythm, from which Johnson’s tasty, lazy, reverb-laden guitar solo rises like an ecstatic explorer. “Eye to Eye” has a driving, sweat-drenched riff that recalls the Moon Duo of old, until a loose disco slink turns into retro pop within a beard’s length of ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man.” On the title track, Johnson and Yamada sing together over electronic blip and bloop; it’s pure fey indie pop, but their psych fire occasionally sneaks in for a coloristic cameo. When bands revamp their sound, they sometimes lose what made them great in the first place, but Moon Duo have miraculously kept the pull of their early gravity intact as they shoot off into distant orbits.   v