August 1, 2009


Let us now celebrate the most uncompromising bands of our time from within and around the genre known as psychedelic. Surely it would too easy for me too just play All Pink Floyd, All The Time. Instead you're in for a dose of the obscure, noisy, and unrelenting.

I hope you enjoyed the above video from the all-time psych-pop masters of Oz, the Church, who just released their 23rd album this year (!). This track was recorded live very recently but comes from their second album of their mid-80s heyday (album title pun intended), back when I must've seen them at least a dozen times. These guys are pushing 60 (!) and rock like nobody else out there. There must be something wrong with me but this video brought tears to my jaded eyes.

So on to the blitz: there's a lot more I could've included in this set, but it started out just as any other, and only later did I attempt to classify it. I hesitate in my hasty inclination to call this my Best. Set. Ever. But whatever... "it is what it is" (to quote the most inane phrase ever coined in the English language)... and it RAWKS.

We start with the prolific favorite sons of Wales the Super Furry Animals, and the opening slab of psych/glam from the their latest (and greatest?) album, and follow them with their countrymen Future of the Left, who rose from the ashes of the mighty Mclusky, that postpunk juggernaut that was the Welsh answer to Fugazi but with a wicked sense of misanthropic humor. Both they and Death From Above 1979 could hardly be called psychedelic per se (although an argument could be made for their spacerockingness), but I thought they fit well in the set, so don't question it - you'll thank me later.

We then take a turn toward the dark side with spaghetti-western psychesters Spindrift, trance-inducing Texans The Black Angels, nerve-fraying Sacramentoans the Ganglians, raucous troglodytes Cave, and motorik madmen Circle, with a stomping tribute to their Finnish home town.

When it comes to uncompromising... with their proclivity for reinventing the same circular song pattern over the course of dozens of releases and a plethora of microgenres, all the while toiling in obscurity, Circle wrote the book. Other contributors to various chapters of this tome include Brooklyn's Oneida, and this monster of a track is culled from their umpteenth recording, an ambitious 3CD sprawl that succeeds in melting my mind easily 90% of the time. And with only 10% filler it's better for you than most American-made foodstuffs. The next chapter is writ large by Chicago postrock OGs Tortoise who, judging by this track, haven't decided to mellow into the tepid smooth jazz fusion of some of their contemporaries. They certainly backed that statement up at a stellar San Francisco show earlier in the month which I was lucky enough to witness. And of course, the foreward and epilogue to this anthology would have to be written by 70s-era krautrock pioneers Faust who are still at it today (this track coming from 1997, one of their many "comebacks"), and who continue to be more challenging and uncompromising than ever.

From there we tackle some analog synthtronica from Cluster-philes like Eine Kleine Nacht Musik, who is really a solo composer dedicated to the Teutonic arts (Mozart, anyone? gene-splice it with some modern drone theory? add some Fahey-esque guitar? yes please!), Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas, space-technoist Norwegians who occasionally fall off the dance floor and rise into something more cerebral, and Sinoia Caves, the keyboardist from Black Mountain getting his Cluster (aka Kluster) on.

Yanking us, sleep-deprived from our reveries, is everyone's favorite spacepunk superheroes the Trail of Dead with a devastating track from their latest magnum opus, which then leaves us in the hands of the unarguable godfathers of hyper-dynamic post rock, Tokyo's Mono, who show us how to go from very quiet to VERY LOUD to even LOUDER to LOUDER STILL, but Glasgow's mighty 'Gwai take it further still, to the heavens and back, with their side-length biblical epic that one-ups even their other lengthy classics like "Mogwai Fear Satan" and "Like Herod". Apocalyptic times indeed, but squint a bit and you might see that elusive light at the end of the long... dark... tunnel.

The following tracks should appear in the player below:

Crazy Naked Girls - Super Furry Animals - Dark Days/Light Years
The Hope That House Built - Future of the Left - Travels With Myself And Another
Turn It Out - Death From Above 1979 - You're A Woman, I'm A Machine
Goin' Down - Spindrift - The West
Black Grease - The Black Angels - Passover
100 Years - Ganglians - Monster Head Room
Gamm - Cave - Psychic Psummer
Back To Pori - Circle - Pori
10:30 At The Oasis - Oneida - Rated O
Yinxianghechengqi - Tortoise - Beacons Of Ancestorship
Liebeswehen 2 - Faust - You Know Faust
Feuerprobe - Eine Kleine Nacht Musik - Eine Kleine Nacht Musik
Rothaus - Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas - II
Evil Ball - Sinoia Caves - The Enchanter Persuaded
Bells Of Creation - ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead - The Century Of Self
Com (?) - Mono - One Step More And You Die
My Father, My King - Mogwai - My Father, My King