Garcia Peoples: Cosmic Cash
The first proper album by New Jersey’s Garcia Peoples makes clear exactly which Garcia the band’s name is referencing. And though Cosmic Cash doesn’t resemble the Grateful Dead most of the time, Garcia Peoples—led by guitarists Tom Malach and Danny Arakaki—sound like something even more improbable: an early-1990s jamband. With a sunshine-fueled bounce, twin guitars playing articulated (and occasionally entwined) lines and rural harmonies, Garcia Peoples could be one of the Allman Brothers-loving outfits that once occupied the stage at New York’s late Wetlands Preserve, only without the goofy lyrics, and before funk and electronic grooves came to redefine the jam vocabulary. Sometimes recalling ‘90s jam staples like Juggling Suns, the Garcia Peeps possess a lightness that equally recalls the generation of post-‘60s jam acts before that, too, a sound heard on countless rural-rockin’ record collector obscurities, such as Relatively Clean Rivers’ sole 1976 album. After years of noisy and/ or bland indie rockers proclaiming allegiance to the Grateful Dead, Garcia Peoples’ turn toward the unreconstructed sounds of jam-rock past can be mildly shocking at first. But, like a summer sun-shower, once one adjusts to the vibes, Cosmic Cash is a refreshing escape from American culture in 2018, a profoundly uncynical response to what the MC5 once described as “air so thick it’s like drowning molasses.” Filling the air with guitar solos, guitar breakdowns, and one guitar-driven, five-song, 14-minute suite, Cosmic Cash is an underground musical cryptocurrency for our supremely fucked-up age.