Tag Archives: Psychedelic Rock

Album of the Day: Plastic Mermaids, “Suddenly Everyone Explodes”

Psychedelia traditionally implies a break from reality, a means for artists to escape the humdrum nature of everyday existence and defy the laws of linear logic. But for Plastic Mermaids, real life is bewildering enough. On their debut full-length, Suddenly Everyone Explodes, the Isle of Wight band overwhelm with shapeshifting, sensory-overloading pop songs that siphon their restless irreverence from the masters of modern psychedelic rock: the confetti-blasting splendor of The Flaming Lips, the future-shocked freakery of the Super Furry Animals, the mischievous melodies of the weirder MGMT records. But amid the holiday-parade majesty of “1996” and motorik folk-rock of “I Still Like Kelis,” you’ll find tender treatises on the difficulties of finding and maintaining meaningful connections in the digital age.

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Album of the Day: Mdou Moctar, “Ilana (The Creator)”

Tuareg nomads traversed the Saharan Desert and the greater Sahel region of North and West Africa for a full millennium—freely and without confrontation—before the postcolonial era caught up with them. When new borders formed in the early 1960s, the Tuareg people faced religious exile, as hundreds of thousands were violently driven out of the desert into the city. The soundtrack to this widespread urban immigration was desert blues: a genre that borrows from early Americana, the Southern Belt blues tradition, Woodstock-era rock, and age-old Tuareg folk. It’s music that echoes the droning stillness and overwhelming tranquility of the Sahel region’s unforgiving landscape. Continue reading

A Beginners’ Guide to Cult Psych Icons the Legendary Pink Dots

Venture over to the Legendary Pink Dots’ Bandcamp page and you might feel a bit overwhelmed. Over three and a half decades in, the Anglo-Dutch band have amassed an overflowing cache of full-length albums, archival releases, and holiday-themed one-offs. And that’s without factoring in the respectively ample solo discographies of founding members Edward Ka-Spel and The Silverman (Phil Knight); or their side project, The Tear Garden. Continue reading

Album of the Day: Bremen, “Enter Silence”

Swedish noise rock luminaries Brainbombs are known primarily for their nasty lyrics and repetitive guitars. Entire tracks consist of a single, lurching riff, complemented by vocalist Peter Råberg’s uproariously violent and frequently misogynistic tirades. It’s ugly music, but often deeply compelling: garage rock taken to its logical limits.

Since 2012, two Brainbombs members have warped those methods into something spacier, more abstract, and less, well, mean. Bremen, the Uppsala-based duo consisting of current Brainbombs guitarist Jonas Tiljander and former guitarist Lanchy Orre, also deals heavily in repetition, but to more cosmic ends; the music is rooted in improvisation, blending psychedelia with jazz and a splash of krautrock. The end result is a sparkling sound brimming with anxiety and tension.

Enter Silence, the duo’s third release for electronic label Blackest Ever Black, is Bremen’s most cinematic affair yet. Each track oozes with atmosphere, whether it’s the muted dread of “Palladium” or the rough and tumble chicken pickin’ on “Aimless Cruising.” Instrumentally, these moods are accomplished with relatively simple instrumentation; on standouts “Vanishing Point” and “The Middle Section,” synthesizers, guitars, electric bass, and drums are used to sculpt portraits of faraway planets—immediate worlds that skew just a bit sinister.

Bremen provide plenty of material to mull over with Enter Silence, but ultimately, it’s the record’s accessibility that proves its biggest asset. By delivering a thought-provoking listening experience that’s also fun as hell, the duo uphold the same spirit felt in Goblin’s revered soundtracks and the best Neu! cuts. These songs are the stuff of acid westerns, surreal cartoons, and Eastern European fantasy movies—simply phenomenal.

Michael Siebert

10 Underground Acts Bringing Monterrey, Mexico’s Rich Musical Legacy Into The Future

 

Monterrey—Mexico’s third largest city, capital of the northern state of Nuevo León and the country’s beating financial heart—is a hotbed for underground punk, indie, and experimental music. Though not technically a border city, Monterrey’s proximity to the U.S. has enabled the same creative osmosis found in established sister cities like Tijuana and Ciudad Juárez, making the complexities of border identity a recurring theme in Northern Mexican regional music.

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A Brief Guide to the Psych Rock Scene in Chile

Chilean Psych

Illustration by Edward Carvalho Monaghan

Meaningful music tells a story, and Chilean psychedelic rock has a hell of a story to tell. The sound bears the baggage of death, genocide, and cultural oppression, mostly marked by the 16th century Spanish colonization and, beginning in 1973, the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. But they balance that darkness with moments of beauty, finding inspiration in the country’s countless, majestic mountains and vast, rolling deserts.

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Big Ups: John Dwyer and Matt Jones Pick Their Favorite Castle Face Releases

Bronze

Bronze

Castle Face Records, the California DIY label co-owned by Oh Sees mastermind John Dwyer, Male Gaze frontman Matt Jones, and their friend Brian Lee Hughes, is most commonly associated with the last decade’s wave of psychedelic garage rock. They released the first Ty Segall album, cosigned King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard right before they broke out, dropped a seminal White Fence record, and have released nearly every Oh Sees (sometimes self-referred to as Thee Oh Sees, The Oh Sees, or OCS) album since the label formed in 2006.

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A Guide to the Visionary Psychedelia of Masaki Batoh

Masaki Batoh

Photo by Yvko Under

Folk music and psychedelic noise have been cross-pollinating since legends like John Fahey and Sandy Bull started experimenting with unconventional tunings and unique recording methods in the early ‘60s. In the last three decades, though, few musicians have mixed the genres together with the verve and vision of Japan’s Masaki Batoh, founder of the psychedelic collective Ghost.

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