Hearing Aide: St. Phillip’s Escalator ‘The Derelict Sound’

Come on out to the garage, it’s hot in here. Rochester’s St. Phillip’s Escalator released its latest batch of psych-garage-blues rock on Record Store Day. The Derelict Sound, the band’s second full-length, is just that, an amalgam of the influences this power trio has cited since first forming as teenagers back in the early aughts.

The band, guitarist/vocalist Ryan Moore, drummer Zachary Koch and bassist Noel Wilfeard, have been best friends since childhood and have been playing together as a unit just as long.

The Derelict Sound is heavily rooted in the psychedelic sounds of the late ’60s garage bands. Many of the tracks wouldn’t be out of place on Lenny Kaye’s Nuggets compilation. Yet while there’s that trace of the past in the band’s sound, there’s a sense of looking forward as well. “New Age,” the lead single from Derelict signals just that in the band’s sound. It’s a swirling, not-quite-a-pop song that takes a step back from the band’s more frequent references of the Stooges, the Sonics and Blue Cheer.

The album was recorded live at Temperamental Recording in Geneseo near Rochester. In an interview with NYS Music in March, Koch spoke about why they chose to record live, “It was not just a live record, but the bass, drums, and guitar, the core of it we played together because it’s the only way we could draw that energy. We tried before to record separately.” This is a band that thrives in a live environment. That is apparent when listening. The production feels live and gives the listener a great indication of what to expect in person.

While the production value isn’t exactly what one would call “clean,” it is, after all, a garage rock album and it hits all the right spots. “Turn On, Get Out” opens with uptempo snare drumming reminiscent of Mudhoney. Koch’s beat drives this one and is one of the high points of the album. A Ron Asheton-style guitar solo kicks the frenzy up a notch before settling back in to Koch’s pocket.

Influences are a-plenty throughout. Aside from the Stones, Stooges and Sonics references, there are times one can pick up shades of the Dickies’ “You Drive Me Ape (You Big Gorilla)” at the open of “Outside Mind.” The Escalator then brings you back down to Fun House-era Stooges dirge before kicking you over the rail into Dickies territory again. Koch is the driving force on this album. It is obvious that he is informed by such icons as Ginger Baker and Keith Moon.

Ultimately, The Derelict Sound is a highly satisfying record that implores repeated listening. The band had a limited edition run of 300 copies printed in vinyl format. It is also available for download/streaming and on CD.

Key Tracks: Turn On, Get Out, New Age, Outside Mind

The Derelict Sound Tracklist:

1. Sleepy Silver Train Haze
2. Turn On, Get Out
3. New Age
4. Outside Mind
5. Find My Way
6. She’s Gone
7. Turn the Blame
8. Whiskey Woman Blues
9. Undone
10. All is Lost