Like a primal scream, Los Dug Dug’s released Smog in the brown acid-soaked days of 1973. The post-psychedelia era where peace & love devolved into corruption & paranoia. No better time for Armando Nava to spearhead his new power triad, forged from the ashes of his band’s previous incarnation.

Nava is a beacon for any working-class artist looking to take hits and keep standing. Los Dug Dug’s played by the rules, got burned by bad money luck in NYC, and fell apart after their debut. So he stripped the band for parts and planted their flag back in Mexico City for good.

Smog is Nava’s fuck you album, composed via self-imposed house arrest for fifteen days. The result is the hardest rock LP Mexico’s ever seen, and would prove a valuable artifact in the garage psych revival of recent years.

The eye-grabbing cover alone depicts three shamans of the Apocalypse. Title track “Smog” opens to revving engines in a dirty urban landscape, followed by chunky riffs as dirty as the cancer smoke Nava sings about (in Spanish, nonetheless, bucking the English-singing trend). The flute makes for a more ethereal Sabbath sound, but with a faster tempo, like Sabbath on speed.

While Bowie jettisoned into space, Nava dropped under the city haze and got down in the dirt. Like a good shaman, he guides us through the bardo of a bad trip. “Búscalo” (Search It) and “Meditación” (Meditation) are minimalist interludes of an indigenous Latin sound amidst all the relentless prog-driven acid rock.

“Hagámoslo Ahora – 2da. Parte, Popurrí” (Let’s Make It Now — Part 2, Medley) is a mind-melding twelve-minute run. If I were feeling salty, and I am, I’d say the first side of this LP alone smokes anything Cream put out. Proto-metal was the answer to the psychedelic revolution’s failed naïveté, and Nava knew it.

Smog is the perfect harmony of chaos and calm—of shamanism and possession—and should be part of any vinyl geek’s collection.

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Brent L. Smith is the author of Edendale Society, Nation of Dirty Assholes, Pipe Dreams on Pico, and his latest Gambling Hell in No Time (Far West Press, TBA). For nearly a decade, Brent was senior contributing writer for Flaunt Magazine & music editor for Janky Smooth, covering the 2010s garage rock wave & traversing the occult dimensions of Hollywood. As copy editor, his recent projects include Ritual by Damien Echols & The Tibetan Book of the Dead for Beginners. He’s been commissioned to write the authorized biography of Cory Wells, singer of the 70s rock band Three Dog Night. Brent’s mother is hypnotherapist & UFO researcher Yvonne Smith. His upbringing informed his explorations into esoterica, psychonautics & American mythos. His work has appeared in L.A. Weekly, Hobart Pulp, MUFON Journal & Reality Sandwich. He received his MFA from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics under the tutelage of Penny Arcade, DJ Spooky, Lydia Lunch, Thurston Moore, Daniel Pinchbeck & Anne Waldman. He resides in his native Los Angeles.

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