Apothecary Hymns
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Apothecary Hymns

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Apothecary Hymns is the operational alias of Alex Stimmel, who also plays in the brooklyn rock group, Lonehawk. On his debut single, “Half of What is Seen”/The Marigold” (Jugendstil 7”), Mr. Stimmel pulls off classic Syd Barrett moves the way most people pull off socks. That’s the A-side. On the flip he does something a bit different, a bit more complex, combining acoustic and electric guitars to create a folk rock readymade with loner and acid proclivities. Beat that with a stick!
-- Byron Coley
- Byron Coley


"Half of What is Seen" starts as an introverted fractured folk ala solo Syd Barrett waking up in a sleepy glade. Slow almost country unfoldings to reach a big electric guitar, bass and drums sections before we return to Syd's meadow. The flipside "The Marigold" is an even stronger track. A sparkling fluid and melodic folk rock with supple multiinstrumental playing blending into a bandlike cohesion, with fine psychedelic poetic lyrics. All the work of loner home-recording wizard Alex Stimmel. Both sides of this limited edition 45, bode well for the upcoming Apothecary Hymns full length debut on the Locust Music label.
--George Parsons
- George Parsons


Like the gently lapping waves on the quayside, this album slowly infiltrates your mind with a beautiful guitar sound that calls you into the world of gorgeous psych-pop that is Apothecary Hymns. Opening song ‘Abandoned Factories’ slowly evolves from the gentle intro into a fine slice of T.Rex style guitar riffery that pushes the song along nicely. Next track ‘The Father’ is an atmospheric song with some wonderful instrumentation, the glockenspiel (I think) adding a shimmer to the proceeding, complementing the excellent guitar playing and creating a folksier feel to the tune. Fans of sixties U.K. Psych will love ‘The Marigold’, four minutes of mellow perfection with suitably trippy lyrics and excellent vocals from Alex Stimmel, the man responsible for this joyous album.
Elsewhere ‘The Human Abstract’ mixes the words of William Blake with some laid-back banjo and wyrd folk flute, whilst ‘Watching The Bay’ is another song straight from the ‘rubbles’ handbook with its sing-a-long melody lodging itself in your brain with gay abandon. The atmosphere is darker and more psychedelic for ‘(A Sailor Song) with the synths rattling and swirling in the background adding an extra dimension to the sound, before things get very strange as ‘The Conclusion, In Which Nothing Is Concluded’ collapses into a collage of backward noise and vocals describing the latent energy of rocks.
This is a fine and cohesive album that is full of strong songs and a production that adds brightness to the collection, creating a splendid listening experience that no fan of melodic psych should be without. (Simon Lewis)
- Simon Lewis


It's a conspiracy of word and image. The name Brooklynite Alex Stimmel has given to his solo project, as well as the title of his debut album and its cover art - a cluster of old-timey trinkets bathed in rusty light - suggests music that's locked in the past. And while it's true that the record, much like the work of the Court & Spark (a San Francisco band Stimmel cofounded), effortlessly glides around the
imaginary triangle that connects country, folk and psychedelia, the real nature of *Trowel and Era* is one of balance. The deftly restrained way Stimmel brings his numerous instruments and influences to bear - often tilting in one direction or another without fully committing to any - makes the album seem fully contemporary.

The opener, "Abandoned Factories," adopts a pastoral gait like that of Pink Floyd circa *Meddle* - but it's the second track, "The Father," that both suggests Syd
Barrett and reveals Stimmel's gift for composition. The song's stream of instruments emerge in a perfectly ordered and proportioned fashion, not unlike the workings of a Swiss clock: a strummed acoustic guitar, a gently fuzzy electric, a tinkling keyboard, various bells and effects, and Stimmel's granular vocals all interact harmoniously. Regardless of each song's inclinations - "All True Love is Happiness" vaults forward on a Sabbathesque lead; "In the Icy Beds" recalls (don't be afraid) prime Jethro Tull - Stimmel's careful framing unifies their sundry
elements into a well-formed whole.

- Mike Wolf
- Mike Wolf


Locust released their fuzzed-out ’60s folk-rock debut last month to relatively little fanfare, but holy shit, this band’s great—and way more Zeppelin and Sabbath than their woodsy name lets on. Then again, if you saw the name and thought “Jethro Tull,” you wouldn’t be wrong either. With heavy riffs that aren’t afraid to be melodic too, Apothecary Hymns—you’re gonna love this—won’t be sitting on a park bench for long. - Nick Sylvester


Discography

"Apothecary Hymns" - Locust Music, Fall 2009
"Pretty Polly" - comp track for "Folk Songs Reworked", Fig Records 2007
"Trowel & Era" - Locust Music, 2004
"Half of What is Seen"/"The Marigold" - Jugendstilmusik, 2004

Several songs from "Trowel & Era" received continued national college radio play from April-September of 2004. All tracks are available on iTunes or else free on MySpace.com/Apothecaryhymns.

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Bio

Alternately thought of as "drug songs" and "medicine music", the shambolic, shamanistic realm of Apothecary Hymns finds its locus in group arrangements and strong songs. Begun in 2004 as a one-man recording project by Brooklynite Alex Stimmel, Apothecary Hymns's debut 7” single garnered interest among the international psychedelic collector's community with introspective yet propulsive folk-rock and myriad musical influences.

The limited edition single also caught the ears of Chicago-based Locust Music, which released AH's full-length debut "Trowel & Era" in April, 2004, to acclaim from internet, print, and radio alike. Listeners heard forebears as diverse as Moby Grape, Pink Floyd, Pentangle, Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, Band of Gypsys, and T. Rex, and relevant links to contemporary artists like Dungen, Skygreen Leopards, Citay, Songs:Ohia and Pearlene.

2005-06 saw a lull in AH appearances as Stimmel focused to his day job, teaching music to special needs students in Bushwick, Brooklyn. After being asked to contribute a track to Fig Records’ “Folk Songs Reworked” (which also featured Marissa Nadler, Akron/Family, and Simon Finn), Stimmel decided to reinvigorate Apothecary Hymns as a living, performing entity. He abandoned his solitary format for the energy of a full-tilt band, with Rob Fellman on bass and Aaron Nixon on drums. The intricately arranged guitar lines of "Trowel & Era" remained, blissfully reconfigured for a heady blend of heavy psychedelia and acid-fried boogie, pastoral folk moves and fall-apart kraut grooves.

AH has coalesced into a barnstorming power trio while playing most of the best (and best-sounding) New York stages including the Mercury Lounge, Knitting Factory, Tonic, Pianos, Union Pool, Cake Shop, the Glasslands, Northsix, Pete's Candy Store, the Living Room, Magnetic Field, Monkeytown, the Delancey and Urban Glass.