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Ear to the Ground: JOY’s “Confusion”

These acid-rockers are so addicted to psychedelia that they somehow got Hawkwind’s Nik Turner to appear on their upcoming album.

There must be something in the San Diego water (no, the other water) that creates superhuman propensities for heavy rock informed by classic ballroom-era psychedelia. Like Earthless or Harsh Toke, JOY is especially skilled at jamming on a Möbius strip that wends its way into the outer nebulas of the infinite cosmos. But unlike other bands that glom on to bygone British space rock, JOY knows how to inject it all with an infectious, hair-shaking, hip-swaying boogie.

Where contemporaries like Earthless pull sonic flourishes from such influences as Japan’s Flower Travellin’ Band and the U.K.’s Groundhogs, JOY explores the more lysergic realms of astral dark matter with heavy nods to Lemmy-era Hawkwind. They even got the Oxford space-rock outfit’s saxophonist, Nik Turner, to make a guest appearance on their new album.

Under the Spell of Joy, which comes out in early August, was recorded and mixed by Astra guitarist Brian Ellis. The lead track, “Confusion,” does well to exemplify the band’s live prowess—so much that they’re promoting the album with live footage from the Tin Can Alehouse in their hometown. This clip features guest shredding by Radio Moscow’s Parker Griggs. Check out how he and JOY guitarist Zach Oakley exchange mind-melding leads with extra-sensory aplomb.