Tia Carrera

Cosmic Priestess

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Tia Carrera -- the band, not the former Wayne's World actress -- have built an entire career out of thumbing their noses at the digital music revolution. While compact discs were giving way to MP3s, then ringtones, then cloud storage, the only "cloud" that probably crossed their sightlines emanated directly from a bong. Heck, the members of Tia Carrera probably didn't even realize that vinyl died a death before making its recent, modest comeback; they must think it never went away. And Pro-Tools. What the hell is Pro-Tools? OK, you probably get the picture. So with that background properly established, it's probably no surprise that Tia Carrera once again recorded their latest album, 2011's Cosmic Priestess, entirely live at their own studio in Austin, Texas, using an analog tape machine, and largely improvising these four, ruminating stoner rock jams as they went along. But, truth be told, if the proper chemical stimulation is withdrawn, there's nothing at all spectacular about songs that hardly deviate from well-worn stoner rock molds ("Slave Cylinder") or bring the funk with well-intended but aimless results ("A Wolf in Wolf's Clothing"). And when it comes to the zombie-making, 33-minute marathon of "Saturn Missile Battery" (surely inspired in part by Spinal Tap's "Jazz Odyssey"), fans may just need an I.V. to deliver the high dosage necessary to get them in the mood. This leaves only one absolutely must-hear tune: the alternately soothing and thundering "Sand, Stone and Pearl," which will doubtless turn a few heads with its kaleidoscopic gravitational pull, fueled largely by the Fender Rhodes played by one Ezra Reynolds. But the fact that a guest was needed to really spice things up in the Tia Carrera camp this time around sort of suggests that the band is, if not exactly in a rut, definitely wearing down a deep groove of their own making. It still beats Pro-Tools, though, whatever that is. Long live analog!

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