If the late, great Patsy Cline had an opium problem and joined a psychedelic folk band, she might have sounded like Mazzy Star.
Mazzy Star, with the otherworldly voice of Hope Sandoval and the morose guitar playing of Dave Roback, are back. Their dreamy sound found a charmed audience in the 1990s with three seminal albums She Hangs Brightly, So Tonight That I Might See, and Among My Swan. The last one was released in 1996.
For fifteen years, fans heard nothing except the playing of "Fade Into You" in the occasional movie or TV soundtrack. Their influence was etched into acts like Cat Power and Beach House, but you needed to dig into your CD collection to hear the real thing.
Then in 2011, they released two singles, "Common Burn" and "Lay Myself Down," and completed a short tour in 2012. This week though, there was an announcement Mazzy Star had fully revived.
Fall North American and European tour dates would be announced forthcoming. A finished album will be released September 24, titled Seasons of Your Day with guest appearances from a member of another band who just came out of hiatus, My Bloody Valentine's Colm Ó Cíosóig and a folkie whose voice was taken from the grave in Bert Jansch.
But the most exciting news was concrete. Their release of a new song called "California." Don't worry, Mazzy Star fans, this is not the happy California of the Beach Boys or the Mama and Papas or even the state that Led Zeppelin pined for. It's more along the lines of a modern day land that Joni Mitchell crooned so emotionally about in 1971.
This "California" is a place of lonely beauty. The song fits neatly in with their oeuvre. It very easily could have been a track on either of their last two albums and serves as a reminder of how well Mazzy Star's music has aged with its embrace of empty space.
"I think I'm going back to California. It's so distant, so far away," she sings with the ambiguity of whether it's possible to return home, but this song proves that you can.
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