Chris Schlarb loves big records with bigger ideas, and doesn't hesitate to ask big names to appear on his own, like Wilco's Nels Cline, Minutemen's Mike Watt, Cynic's Paul Masvidal and Muscle Shoals bassist David Hood. Modeled somewhat on that Muscle Shoals approach, Schlarb is old-school when it comes to studio musician mojo, where players of various ages and experience can combine for a creative awakening. In the last couple years, he's even opened his own studio, BIG EGO, in Long Beach, Calif.
Schlarb's new record under his Psychic Temple moniker, IV, refines the unclassifiable, yet quintessentially Southern California vibe explored on last year's III. The romantic "Turn Off The Lights" is one of three duets that Schlarb sings with Terry Reid, the English guitarist with a voice of a gritty angel (just listen to 1969's "Superlungs My Supergirl" for proof). Reid has long lived in L.A., and here channels his now-worn, but still soulful voice into a dexterous workout of a classic California pop song.
In this studio video, you can see them backed by a roster of high-end jazz musicians like drummer Chad Taylor (Chicago Underground Duo), Dave Easley (Brian Blade Fellowship) working the pedal steel like a sitar, bassist Steuart Liebig, Hammond organist John Clement Wood and percussionists Danny Frankel and Tabor Allen. It sounds like something that might have come out of composer David Axelrod's brain, directed and arranged for his dream band.
IV comes out July 14 via Joyful Noise.