A User's Guide To The New Psychedelia

Hand picked by the musicians involved...
TOY

This shouldn't be happening - not now.

Psychedelia is all peace and love, LSD and second hand weed, sitars and protests against the Vietnam War. It's supposed to be as dead as Jim Morrison, as relevant as Harold Wilson's pirate radio policy and as naff as Austin Powers' underwear.

Yet it isn't. 2012 brought with it a slew of astounding psychedelic albums, with the likes of Tame Impala and Melody's Echo Chamber managing to win impressive amounts of press inches. Sure, there's a retro kick here but the best of the new releases contain some of the most vital, inspiring guitar music to come our way in some time.

At heart, psychedelia is the cross roads between rock music and technology, a place where suggestion and allusion dwell in secrecy. It's a place for free thinkers, those who know their history and those who would rather forget it.

But what runs through these varied offerings, what common thread unites these fellow travellers, these cosmonauts of inner space? ClashMusic tracked down a few of our favourite new groups and asked them to nominate those who they felt were travelling down in a similar direction down the interstellar highway.

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The Black Angels nominate... Clinic
Bionic cyborgs looking for freedom in a futuristic very important way. Showing love on a journey through jungles, baboons, space and time, makes me feel the dime spotting. My horizon is clear, coming to me now, showing her different faces I get emotional, speechless. I'm standing in a trance, I'm a child, I'm a grown up seasonally changing, inspired by the sound. Haunting me for the last 10 years, I listen attentively, they start a cult and I join. My allegiance leaves me standing hypnotized dangling my last breathe with guiding voice. I push myself back to reality, I must be dreaming. Am I a dream, how did I end up in their dream? I'm out of line, out of touch, out of mind, I'm becoming reptilian as I dance with the thought of love and all things sinister, intertwined like DNA, love reveals herself in the end just before the idea of myself worth sneaks itself back into my body.

I’ve become ripped apart, pieced back together like a cut up magazine of disordered eaters. I'm so happy, lucky, fortunate, charmed, willed back into motion by sonic distortions. I'm free of them, the thought of not having had heard this is earth shattering, what ball of energy are they sifting from? The future of music, the reality that this may be the best thing my ears have ever heard flickers like a moth in the the lightssssss. The ssssnake whistle trance of the sun and moon, I'm scattered like broken glass. my feet are on the ground. I'm filled, my boots are filled I'm back for more, I can’t help myself, one more time? You have won. You have me.

TOY nominate... OSC
OSC comprises four people and an Elgam drum machine. We became friends with them having met them several times at shows we've played up north. They're lovely people, who like listening to Delia Derbyshire, Joe Meek sand Bruce Haack. They have just recorded their first song, Dangerously Virile, which is a nice piece of churning, echoing psychedelia. It can be found on Youtube.

The Hidden Masters nominate... The Magnetic Mind
Deep in the heart of Hackney, The Magnetic Mind fashion a unique and inventive mutant psych-spiked harmony pop sound, combining vintage analogue aesthetics with electrickery à la mode; a wealth of finely-woven canticles, underpinned by a kinetic arandbee backbeat with moody folk phrasing and an icing of lysergic shimmer, which casts The Peanut Butter Conspiracy and The Association in a contemporary kaliedoscopic haze. Their inaugural release, 'Maybe The Stars, Maybe The Sun' serves as a tantalising glimpse of the manifold treasures possessed herein. When they sing "Trust in me and I will guide you, take my hand the stars will light the way", there is no choice other than to yield to these beautiful and compelling Pied Pipers. It's Gonna Be Alright.

Charlie Boyer & The Voyeurs nominate... Jacco Gardner
I'd like to nominate, Jacco Gardner. As he is a Artist and Producer I think he should definitely be in this guide! When I first heard Jacco Gardner's first single 'Clear The Air' and his second release, 'Where Will You Go'. I thought they where both the perfect mix of the kind of music I love, and wanted to hear more of! The kind or music you could just have playing loud in a club or flip the single over and relax with a cup of tea at home. The fact that he plays everything on his album "Cabinet Of Curiosities" except the drums. And produces it all. Shows he has a clear idea of how it should all sound. It could be there with 'The Notorious Byrd Brothers' and 'Forever Changes'. 'Would You Believe it'. For anyone who likes Harmonies, Harpsichords, Mellotrons and great bass lines! My tip would be to get his album which came out last February, and have it for the summer.

Impodes nominate... Magnog
While the tradition of pop music tends to focus on the delivery of a narrative or mood that often exists on our worldly plane, psychedelic music revolves around the creation of a new space or environment described through sound. Though much of this music utilizes traditional forms of pop composition, it relies more heavily on sonic characteristics to give this new environment form and dimension. In it's most effective form, psychedelic music can persuade the listener to transcend into its sonic architecture. Now that such a vast body of "psychedelic" music has accumulated, there is a fine line between new bands creating their own sonic environments and simply replicating musical worlds from the past.

In the mid '90s, the Seattle-based outfit Magnog embarked on their own journey to mold the pre-existing vocabulary of psyche rock and 70's German Kosmiche rock into their own modern sonic space. Armed with echo, wah, synths, and an understanding of repetition and patience, Jeff Reilly, Dana Shinn and Phill Drake produced several cassette tapes worth of material that they sent off to various labels including Chicago's Kranky. In 1996 Kranky released their self titled debut. Many tracks are long form burners that lure the listener in with repetition and texture. You can feel the expansive three dimensional space building up around you during the 15 minute long 'Shapeshifter'. Drums and bass form solid structure while guitar and synth develop more liquid surfaces around it. These freer elements invite the listener into this sonic construction to explore its well designed details.

This haze is thoughtfully broken up with tracks like 'A Moments Seam'. Vocals and acoustic guitar act as framework here, while heavily effected guitars fulfill their spacial role. In 1997 Kranky released the double CD 'More Weather' which was a collection of tracks from the original demo cassettes sent a year or two earlier. These early raw recordings reveal a more ferocious, acid-drenched edge to the band. Shortly after, Magnog disbanded before completing their 2nd studio album leaving their journey somewhat unfinished. Much to our surprise and pleasure, they returned in 2011 to play several shows along the west coast and share some new demo material. We hope these demos are a promise of a new collection of sonic environments from these masters of psychedelia.

Temples nominate... GOAT
It's really inspiring for a new band to develop such a following while maintaining a constant mystery about themselves. The persona of GOAT does just that, it's created this cult of intrigue surrounding their recordings and live shows. You could spend a whole evening trying to decipher their influences, but they really have this emphasis on a whole non-western spectrum of sound. They'relead by these pounding tribal drums and percussive afro-latin rhythms, which adds a completely different perspective to their psychedelia. The primal approach to their sound and image makes them very hard to pin down to one particular genre, which no doubt works to make them out as such a mysterious band - they even wear voodoo masks on stage.

You can definitely hear influences from bands like Amon Düül and Ash Ra Tempel with their experimental world music sounds and mantra-like chants. But they have these big wah-wah guitar lineswhich verge on acid rock, like Blue Cheer mixed in with rumba rhythms. The vocals are infectiously primitive sounding and have this post-punk influence, like The Slits meets Yoko Ono, it's a melding of musical styles which worksbrilliantly. Their album 'World Music' is an incredible debut record, Goatman and Goathead are extremely addictive and ritualistic.

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Who would you nominate? Leave your suggestions in the comments section...

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