“a core point about the Linus Pauling Quartet isn’t merely that they’re a great psych band, but a great band period, able to embrace a lot of styles and moods and work them well.” 4/5 stars – Ned Raggett, All Music
The Linus Pauling Quartet has been carrying the Texas Psych torch since the Mid-90’s. Following in the footsteps of cult favorites Mike Gunn & Dry Nod, this seven member “quartet” has been praised in the pages of Ptolemaic Terrascope (UK), Rockerrilla (Italy), Magnet (USA), and the Broken Face (Sweden), to name a few. Though often categorized as Texas Psych, the band has been known to dabble in various genres such as Garage rock, Stoner rock, Punk rock, and Heavy Metal. The band has appeared Terrastocks IV and VII as well as having performed at three official South by Southwest showcases (2004, 2005, and 2008).
Formed in 1994, The LP4 was born of the same musical cauldron that birthed such renowned Texas Psych favorites as The Mike Gunn, Dry Nod, and Schlong Weasel, bands which also included later members of Charalambides and Dunlavy. Guitarist Ramon Medina and bassist Stephen Finley recruited drummer Larry Liska and singer/guitarist Clinton Heider and the quartet began writing and recording songs for their first album, Immortal Chinese Classics Music, released in 1995 on their own Worship Guitars label. The album surprisingly earned considerable attention beyond their native Houston, garnering notable reviews in several music magazines such as Q Music, Factsheet Five, Alternative Press, Crohinga Well, and Ptolemaic Terrascope. The album also featured "The Linus Theme" and "Hamburger Girl", two songs which came to define the band's early years, and which the LP4 revisited many times throughout their career.
The band's notice by Ptolemaic Terrascope was particularly important, as the LP4 were invited to contribute a track to the magazine's double-CD benefit compilation Succour. An all-night practice space recording session yielded not only their contribution "Dartania", which was chosen as the lead track on the benefit album, but also yeilded a batch of tracks split evenly between improvisations and structured songs, which were ultimately released by the German label September Gurls in 1997 as a self-titled limited edition vinyl album.
Armed with a recording contract with September Gurls, in 1996 the band added analog synthesizer player Flip Osman and saxophonist/guitarist/singer Charlie Horshack, swelling their ranks and expanding their sonic palette, and this lineup released Killing You With Rock in 1998. The following year, they were featured on a split 7" vinyl single with Italian Psych band Kryptasthesie, contributing a very rare live version of their song "Jason Bill", a tribute to the erstwhile Charalambides guitarist.
The year 2000 was an active year for the Linus Pauling Quartet: they were invited to Seattle, Washington, to play at the fourth Terrastock music festival alongside such musical luminaries as Bardo Pond, Moe Tucker, and Ghost; and they released Ashes in the Bong of God, a "concept album" related to their ongoing saga of the "bongs of power", alien "bug people," and "the Great Singularity," issued on double vinyl in Europe through the September Gurls label and on CD in the United States through the Fleece label. It was also during this time that Flip Osman left Houston and the band added keyboardist and photo-theremin player Carol Sandin Kelly to the group. Curiously, while Carol and Flip remain as contributing band members in the studio, they perform live only when the whim strikes them as they both did, for example, when the band appeared at Terrastock IV.
In 2002, The LP4 contributed a notable version of Syd Barrett's song "Vegetable Man" to The Vegetable Man Project, a compilation of wildly disparate covers of that song released by Italian label Oggetti Volanti Non Identificati.
In 2003 the band released their final offering on the September Gurls label: C6H8O6, a massive slab of psych-rock showing the full range of the band's abilities, including MC5-esque garage rock, a psychedelic depiction of airplanes falling out of the sky, songs about bongs, a Metal song about eating Mexican food with Satan, and a lush in-the-studio psych-rock cover of Kraftwerk's "Hall of Mirrors".
The next few years may have seemed outwardly quiet for the LP4, but they were in fact hard at work recording a large cache of material which would go on to comprise much of their subsequent two albums, and continuing to compose more material for future releases, intermittently taking breaks to play shows in their native Houston.
In December 2007 the band released All Things Are Light, the first fruit of those sessions, on Australia's Camera Obscura ( purple vinyl with a 12 page booklet) and delivered some of the band's heaviest music to date. The album garnered a considerable number of positive reviews upon its release and sold out in Europe almost immediately. On the heels of this release, the band was again invited to perform at Terrastock in June of 2008, this time in Louisville, Kentucky, resulting in one of their most memorable shows, playing alongside such notable psychedelic groups as MV & EE, Robert Schneider's Thee American Revolution, Damon & Naomi, and Kawabata Makoto. That same year The LP4 released a limited edition (13!!!) CD for the Grey Ghost series curated by John Sears.
In 2010 the band returned with a 7" vinyl split single with Austin sister-band ST37. ST37 contributed a cover of Helios Creed's "Lactating Purple", while the Linus Pauling Quartet debuted an original piece "Monster". In october of the same year the band released, Horns of Ammon. The album consists of songs primarily dating back to 2003-2005 that never quite fit into All Things are Light. It includes the previously issued "Monster" as well as a variety of songs focusing more on melody and texture than pure guitar muscle of prior releases. Yet, fans of the LP4's heavier material could take solace for the bonus track is the reissue of the Grey Ghost rarity "HAWG!!!" - a two-chord, Marshall-stack-fueled, eleven-minute, drug-addled, pill-popping-biker-in-a-hail-of-gunfire chimp-rock anthem.
In 2012, the band's newest album, Bag of Hammers, was a return to Stoner Metal form. This first album of new material since 2007's All Things are Light, (unlike the softer more melodic out-takes found in 2010's Horns of Ammon) was festooned with flights of pure guitar muscle - Texas Stoner Metal Psych insanity and a familiar mix of themes like drugs, beer, sci-fi/fantasy, and the Bongs of Power. If you like the riffs heavy, the solos unyielding, and the smell of the bong to billow out of your stereo, this is the LP4 album you've been waiting for!!!
The band kicked off 2013 (its 20th year as a band) with an anthology, Assault on the Vault of the Ancient Bong Lords. The 3 CD set contained material from their pre-homeschool albums and was packaged with a RPG module complete with a 20 sided die. Just in time for their return appearance in an official showcase at this year's SXSW.
[Note - You can preview two rough mixes of "Crom" and "She did not Know" from the new album right here on Sonic Bids.]
Hide Your Women, Hide Your Children
We Are Linus!!
Clinton Heider - Vocals, Guitar
Charlie Horshack - Guitar, Saxophone, Lead & Backing Vocals
Stephen Finley - Bass & Backing Vocals
Larry Liska - Drums. and Backing Vocals
Ramon Medina - Guitar/ Vocals
Flip Osman (auxilury band member) - Keyboards & Vocals
Carol Ann Sandin (auxilury band member) - electronics, Keys/Backing Vocals
Immortal Chinese Classics (Worship Guitars, CD, USA, 1995)
Untitled (Alien LP) (September Gurls, LP, Germany, 1997)
Killing You With Rock (September Gurls, CD Germany, 1998)
VA - Succour (Ptolemaic Terrascope, 2X CD, UK, 1995) (Reissued by Flydaddy, USA 1996)
LP4/Kryptasthesie (Mizmaze, 7", Italy, 1999)
VA - Thou Shalt Expand Your Mind (Ptolemaic Terrascope, CD, UK, 1999)
Ashes in the Bong of God (Fleece,CD, USA, 2000)
Ashes in the Bong of God (September Gurls, 2x LP, Germany, 2000)
VA - The Vegetable Man Project (Oggetti Volanti Non Identificati, CD, Italy, 2002)
C6H8O6 (September Gurls, CD, Germany, 2003)
Songs Of The Cretaceous (Shifty Pope, CD, USA, 2005)
All Things Are Light (Camera Obscura, LP, Australia, 2007)
HAWG! - Grey Ghost#48 (Grey Ghost, CD, USA, 2007)
LP4/ST37 (No Label, 7", USA, 2010)
Horns Of Ammon (Homeskool Records, CD, USA 2010)
Bag of Hammers (Homeskool Records, CD, USA Upcoming - February 2012)
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"a core point about the Linus Pauling Quartet isn't merely that they're a great psych band, but a gr..."a core point about the Linus Pauling Quartet isn't merely that they're a great psych band, but a great band period, able to embrace a lot of styles and moods and work them well. " - Ned Raggett, Allmusic.com
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"A large red sticker proclaiming WEIRD ALERT could not make things plainer." --Stuart Maconie Q Mag..."A large red sticker proclaiming WEIRD ALERT could not make things plainer."
--Stuart Maconie Q Magazine(UK)
"Variety through dementia indicative of excessive drug use and boredom." -- Flipside
Crohinga Well (Belgium)
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"Compulsory listening for anyone interested in modern American guitar rock, or just plain alternativ..."Compulsory listening for anyone interested in modern American guitar rock, or just plain alternative music."
--Crohinga Well (Belgium)
"If twisted, heavily distorted guitar psyche is your thing then the LP4 is your band and "Killing you..." is nirvana!""
-- Crohinga Well (Belgium)
Killing You With Rock Review
Option Magazine (USA)
" [the band] should consider doing a few less bonghits" --Michael Davis of Option Magazine
Ptolemaic Terrascope (UK)
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"Anthemic, stupid and selflessly unrestrained, the LPQ eventually attain self immolation of sorts du..."Anthemic, stupid and selflessly unrestrained, the LPQ eventually attain self immolation of sorts during the sprawling chaos."
-- Phil Mc Mullen, Ptolemaic Terrascope (UK)
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"Gesang, der die platte so weit ins selbstironische zieht, dab man sie nicht mehr wirklich ernst neh..."Gesang, der die platte so weit ins selbstironische zieht, dab man sie nicht mehr wirklich ernst nehmen kann."
-- Gregor Kessler, Hayfever (Germany)
[actually we can't read German so we have no idea what this says]
Deep Water (USA)
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"A quartet of Texas weirdos who're smart enough to play it real stupid, mining that fine line betwee..."A quartet of Texas weirdos who're smart enough to play it real stupid, mining that fine line between drug-induced idiocy and conceptual genius for way more than you might've thought it was worth."
-- Kevin Moist, Deep Water.
Alternative Press (USA)
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"A sensory-agitation session worth losing a few hundred brain cells over." --Dave Segal, Alternativ..."A sensory-agitation session worth losing a few hundred brain cells over."
--Dave Segal, Alternative Press
Factsheet 5 (USA)
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"I don't know what kind of drugs they've put in the Texas water supply, but I hope they keep doing i..."I don't know what kind of drugs they've put in the Texas water supply, but I hope they keep doing it, because now we have these mutant sons of Yeti."
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"The leap forward with respect to their already excellent second work is stunning; if they keep on g..."The leap forward with respect to their already excellent second work is stunning; if they keep on growing at this pace, sooner or later the energy released by the Pauling effect will really kill us."
--Enrico Ramunni - Rockerilla (Italia)
Review for "Killing You With Rock"
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"Houston heroes...return with a killer set that encompasses 10-minute space-jam explosions, hard roc..."Houston heroes...return with a killer set that encompasses 10-minute space-jam explosions, hard rock punk boogie and sax-damaged neo-no wave"
--Fred Mills - Magnet(US)
Review for Killing You With Rock
"... a 2,500-microdot dose of conceptual zig-zaggery so daunting that Roger Dean would get a hernia trying to sketch the album sleeve. Imagine Captain Beefheart's magic Band "reworking" Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother right on the cusp of the Rapture. " --Fred Mills - Magnet(US)
Review for Ashes In The Bong Of God
The Broken Face(Sweden)
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"...possibly the most enigmatic yet bombastic rock band to emerge out of Texas inthe last 10 years."..."...possibly the most enigmatic yet bombastic rock band to emerge out of Texas inthe last 10 years."
--Mats Gustafsson & Lee Jackson - The Broken Face(Sweden)
"As so many times before with these nutty kids, there exists an extremely fine line between genius and stupidity, but in my world there's not really any question which side of the fence these space rockers fall on. "
Mats Gustafsson - The Broken Face(Sweden)
Review for Ashes In The Bong of God
Aural Innovations (USA)
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" Wow... there are few similarities between the latest Linus Pauling Quartet album and their previou..." Wow... there are few similarities between the latest Linus Pauling Quartet album and their previous effort, the 2000 release, Ashes In The Bong Of God. Whereas that album was a free-wheeling, tripped out, playful quest for the bong, the new C6H8O6 to a large extent dispenses with the freeform improvisational feel for structure, songs, and some of the most crushing ROCK of the year... In summary, this is a monstrous set of spaced out metal and ultra heavy psychedelia that will appeal to anyone who likes.... well... spaced out metal and ultra heavy psychedelia. It covers lots of territory, combining varied elements but into a completely coherent whole. Highest recommendation." - Jerry Kranitz, Aural Innovations
Review of C6H806
Austin Chronicle (USA)
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"Not surprisingly for a product of the same hometown as the Red Krayola and Rusted Shut, Houston's L..."Not surprisingly for a product of the same hometown as the Red Krayola and Rusted Shut, Houston's Linus Pauling Quartet is equal parts demented and lovable. A sevenpiece with several guests, the Quartet specializes in waves of psychedelic slog thicker than humidity coming off Buffalo Bayou in August. At the same time, C6H8O6 doesn't abandon humor or melody in its overwhelming sonic onslaught...Like Slater says in Dazed and Confused, "You couldn't handle that shit on strong acid, man." On second thought, maybe that's the only way you could." - Christopher Gray, Austin Chronicle
Houston Press (USA)
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"You enter the LP4's world at your peril -- you get sucked into a vortex of muddled and at times bri..."You enter the LP4's world at your peril -- you get sucked into a vortex of muddled and at times brilliant chaos." - John Nova Lomax, Houston Press
Current set-lists change constantly but consist largely of material from the upcoming album "Bag of Hammers" (to be released late February 2012)
She Did Not Know
PDF RiderLinus Pauling Quartet Rider
There are no upcoming dates at this time.