Once and Future Band's 'Tell Me Those Are Tears of Joy' Is The Outer Space Field Trip We All Need

The Once and Future Band.

You know what's a bummer sometimes? Being earth-bound. Sure, this planet has burritos, Joe Biden memes, and this Golden Girls gospel remix, but every now and then -- and yeah, maybe a little more often these days -- we all have the urge to blast in space, let the earth become a tiny blue dot, and concern ourselves with greater questions, like how much great psychedelic rock the Bay Area has to produce before people will stop saying the scene is dead.

Well, Once and Future Band, an Oakland four-piece made up of Bay Area music scene vets, are here to help. Their self-titled LP, out Jan. 27 on Castle Face (that's John Dwyer's label, if you needed the official Thee Oh Sees stamp of approval), promises a layered prog-rock journey of intergalactic proportions. With clear nods to Pink Floyd and Steely Dan, plus a sprinkle of Queen-esque drama, everything I've heard off this record so far seems designed to take you to a different planet entirely.

"Tell Me Those Are Tears of Joy" -- a deceptively sanguine song about the danger inherent in telling a friend about long-harbored Feelings -- is no exception. It's not without humor: There's a self-awareness, something almost tongue-in-cheek about how fully they've leaned into their '70s influences, but singer Joel Robinow & Co. are all too technically skilled to make the music turn out goofy.

At the very least, it's a decidedly welcome break from the much darker goofiness that is our current national reality. The Once and Future Band will play what should be a wonderfully spacey record release party on Jan. 26 at The Chapel, with Kelley Stoltz opening. Until then: strap on your helmet and give "Tell Me Those Are Tears of Joy" a spin around the astral plane.

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I post new(ish) tracks by local artists on Fridays now. Got something to send me? esilvers@kqed.org.

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