Good news for Tame Impala fans, the band are reissuing their hard to find debut EP on vinyl for this year’s Record Store Day.
It will come in red vinyl and features the six songs on the digital version – two of which were’t available on the digital EP.
The band have come a long way since their debut, but it does include in Forty One Mosquitoes Flying In Formation and Skeleton Tiger, two fine examples of the way the band’s sound would progress in a more trippy psych vein.
Best of all is the classic Half Full Glass Of Wine, an extended version of which was the killer encore at the band’s 2012 shows.
A year and a half ago I wrote about how if fashion was to stick to a strict chronology then the late 80s fifties influenced styles (Chambray shirts, angular hair cuts etc) that were popular at the time would soon be usurped by the look of 1989 – Baggy.
For the uninitiated – you are probably either too young or North American – Baggy was that brief period in the late 80s and 90s when Ecstasy collided with mind expanding 60s music and gave us a slew of great bands from The Stone Roses though to The Mock Turtles (trust me Turtle Soup is a fine album).
People had mixed psych with beats before – check out this classic 60s Russell Morris track – but Baggy was the perfect synthesis of drug influenced tunes both old and new.
Sadly the Baggy clothes revival hasn’t happened yet – my flares and cricket hats are still primed for action though – but there is more than a hint of a Baggy revival on the music front.
Bizarrely enough it isn’t coming from the north west of England but from Australia and Spain. In many ways it is a sub genre of the psych revival we are seeing at the moment with bands just adding beats to droney swirly 60s style melodies. It is certainly there in the music of bands like Alfa 9, The Moons and The See See.
I guess though Tame Impala got there first and there are several tracks on their Lonerism album, like this, that could have hailed from late 80s Manchester.
But if you want a new Stone Roses check out the two Jagwar Ma (they are from Sydney) singles on Spotify which are both great examples of how fresh and exciting a reinvention of the late 80s might sound.
There’s also this English/Spanish mob – The Chemistry Set – whose 2011 single Impossible Love is influenced by classic 60s psych and dance music.
Also let’s not forget The Stone Roses are touring as are The Three O’Clock (a big influence on the Roses) and The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess has a very fine album out too.
Now if only we could get the members of Flowered Up back together again.
The single perfectly captured late 60s British Baroque Pop in a way that no one has done for decades. Yet it still managed to sound contemporary and, dare I say, digital.
Gardner is now very much at the forefront of the new psych revival which has been bubbling under for ages, went over ground last year with Tame Impala and will go stratospheric this year once BBC 6 Music gets its head around the astonishing Foxygen.
So let’s just say that the expectations for this, Gardner’s debut album, are very high. Fortunately for psych fans everywhere the fella has delivered an album that builds on the promise of that superb single without, to be honest, ever quite eclipsing it.
I should say straight up that this album is not for everyone. There will be a people for whom the oompah beat, fairytale lyrics and Mellotron of the album’s closer The Ballad of Little Jane will send them screaming back to their Stooges albums. But if you like melodic, tuneful, experimental (there are plenty of odd song structures going on here) pop that owes a huge debt to the late 60s start here.
In many ways Gardner has picked up on some less, how shall we say this, fashionable psych influences. Sure you can hear Syd Barrett in Clear The Air and UK band Kaleidoscope could quite easily have recorded Where Will You Go in their Fairfield Parlour guise. But I am also hearing the first Genesis album (check it out it has some great tunes) on several of the tracks and the Mellotron that washes over Help Me out reminds me of The Moody Blues. Gardner is also clearly a huge fan of the always brilliant Fading Yellow series of compilations masterminded by Swedish psych fanatic JJ.
Highlights. Well apart from the singles Clear The Air and Where Will You Go (love that nibbling bass sound) the spacey drone of Puppets Dangling and gentle folky waltz of Lullabye do it for me. There isn’t really a weak moment. Occasionally though the precise nature of most of the tracks (Gardner is obviously a perfectionist) and the very mannered English sounding (for a Dutch fella anyhow) vocals can have you screaming for some explosive drums, powerful grooves and fuzzy guitar to mess things up a little. Maybe next time.
For now though give Cabinet a few listens on Spotify. By the time you have played it three or four times you will be addicted to it. Then get the vinyl!
Here at Brandish Towers we are huge psych fans. From the bonkers nursery rhymes on acid tunes of early Floyd through to the dream pop melange that is The Horrors we can’t get enough of it.
Here then are our favourite Psychedelic albums of 2012. It does of course beg the question what exactly is Psychedelia?
Literally it is mind expanding music which over time has come to be associated with bands in thrall to its golden age of the late 60s.
These days it has become more of a catch all term though for bands who take mind expanding music from the past (Kraut Rock, Shoegazing, Dream pop and even a bit of prog) and give it a contemporary spin.
This year has all been about the huge success of Tame Impala. They are, however, the tip of a very large iceberg. Labels like Trouble In Mind in the US and Ample Play in the UK as well mags like Shindig and blogs like The Active Listener show just how exciting and diverse the psych scene currently is.
Here then are our favourite 15. What have we missed? Tell us in the comments. Spotify playlist below too.
They might hail from the Lake District, but On Sunset Lake the debut from Kontiki Suite drips Californian sunshine. The big influence here are The Byrds and tracks like See You In The Morning and the eight plus minutes of Magic Carpet Ride sound as if they could be out-takes from The Notorious Byrd Brothers album. Other songs veer towards the country-esque moments of Teenage Fanclub and The Cosmic Rough Riders. It is out in mid-December on CD, but you can stream the album from the band's Bandcamp page now.
Everton and England footballer Leighton Baines may have just revealed himself as the player with the best taste in music, after revealing his top albums of 2012 on the club’s website.
The defender picked Dr John’s “Locked Down” as his album of the year, saying he was impressed by The Black Key’s Dan Auerbach who had produced the album.
Baines also picked Richard Hawley’s “Standing on Sky’s Edge” as another of his favourite records of the year, rounding off his top album list with choice cuts from Jack White, Paul Weller, Lana Del Rey, Bob Dylan, The XX, Neil Young, Mark Lanegan, Grizzly Bear, Cat Power and Eugene McGuinness.
Tame Impala’s ‘Lonerisim’ is one of Everton defender Leighton Baines’s albums of 2012
Baines had particularly strong praise for “Lonerism” by rising stars Tame Impala saying that the album “builds on the psychedelic sound that Innerspeaker possessed and while still full of distortion, fuzz and effects, it is also more melodic and the songwriting is improved from Kevin Parker, whose multi-tracked vocals are very Lennon-esque.”As for debut albums, Baines went for Toy, Melody’s Echo Chamber and By The Sea, while picked out Haim, Savages and The Wicked Whispers as ones to watch in 2013.
It’s a refreshingly current and tasteful pick from Baines, whose indie taste sets him apart from the dance and hip-hop fans that make up the majority of professional footballers. Having said that, we remember a time when all footballers were obsessed with Phil Collins, so basically anything is an improvement over that.
Baines joins the slim ranks of footballers with equally good taste in music, who include retired ex-West Ham defender and Scotland star Christian Daily (who had his own band and counted Weezer as one of his favourite groups) and Graeme Le Saux, who revealed Joe Jackson’s “It’s Different For Girls” as the first record he ever bought. Pat Nevin was a big The The fan too; seems the Scots are the footballing nation with the best musical taste then!
In case you hadn’t noticed there is a bit of a psychedelic revival going on at the moment. and it isn’t just garage bands cranking up the feedback or janglemeisters going a little woozy. This is proper psychedelia in all its technicolour glory.
As the pop historians among you know, the first psych era started in 1966 with tracks like The Byrds’ Eight Miles High and The Fabs’ Tomorrow Never Knows which took basic beat pop and freaked it out by all manner of weird effects and musical influences. By 1970 psych was all but over as the wigged out pop got replaced by light and fluffy bubblegum pop for the kids and pretentious prog nonsense for their older siblings. Of course there were still bands like this lot that fell between the cracks, but psychedelia became about as fashionable as music hall.
Punk’s year zero approach meant that psych, like every other 60s and 70s musical form, was the uncool preserve of a previous generation – which given that The Sex Pistols loved Psych bands like The Creation and The Small Faces – was a little uncharitable.
The first psych revival really took place in the UK in the early 80s throwing up this mob – who even scored a genius novelty single – and the decade’s best kept secret Miles Over Matter, who recorded some amazing swirly pop songs but never managed to release a single or an album.
A few years later musicians from big alternative acts like The Smiths. The Bangles and REM began to plunder the late 60s for musical ideas, while at the same time a hardcore garage psych scene that strove to be authentic to the original 60s sound began to emerge. Then you had The Stone Roses who’d clearly read ever word in the psych textbook and whose debut album might just be the first psych record to really rival the music from the first psych era.
The new psych bands
And so to today. Bands like The Sufis and Paperhead from Nashville, Alfa 9 and Beaulieu Porch from England and individuals like Holland’s Jacco Gardner have set the controls for the heart of the sun delivering prime Barrett-esque psych. And then there’s the elder statesmen. Have you heard the new Brian Jonestown Massacre album - it doesn’t get a lot more psych than that?
Then there’s the band that are the torchbearers of the new era – Australia’s Tame Impala. Trippy as anything, but very BBC 6 Music friendly, the band have released a pair of brilliant albums and even sold out Brixton’s Academy this week.
Quite why this is happening is a mystery. Maybe it is just bands have become bored of recycling all those early 80s bands, and the Brooklyn mob, who have appropriated C86 sounds – arguably the most British music trend since Skiffle – have found it just a little too one dimensional.
Another point is that the sound and the equipment of the 60s can now be replicated with Garageband, so all those weird phasing motifs and kitchen sink style production is available to anyone who can work their way round a Mac.
Then there’s the influence of Shindig magazine, whose ever increasing circulation means that a whole generation of pop fans are discovering classic, and often ultra obscure, 60s bands as well as getting to read about the new bands.
Anyhow, enough of the theory. Here’s a quick trawl through some incredible new music.
The Sufis – come from Nashville and have just released one hell of a Pink Floyd-esque album. It is utterly addictive. The single Where Did She Go, is prime trippy 60s Brit psych with a hint of the Three O’ Clock. Marvellous, and it is on Spotify too. Paperhead share the same manor and many of the same influences as The Sufis and their debut was one of the highlights of last year.
Jacco Gardner – Jacco is a Dutch bloke who is obsessed with making beautiful multi-layered psych using unusual instruments. His first single – Clear The Air – was stunning. This current one Where Will You Go, is almost as good.
Alfa 9 – Signed to Blow Up Records this Stoke-based band have just issued their second album, Gone To Ground, which boasts some gorgeous floaty psych as well as jangly stuff like this. It is on Spotify too.
Beaulieu Porch - Multi-instrumentalist Simon Berry has just delivered two truly great albums in less than six months. It is like Nick Nicely’s Hilly Fields or even Tears For Fears’ Sowing The Seeds turned up the max. Also on Spotify.
The See See - It would be very rude not to mention this London band who have just issued a superb Byrdsie album which contains this corking single.
Melody’s Echo Chamber – Who, IMO have produced the album of the year so far. If you like breathy 60s pop as practised by Ivy and The Postmarks, but with a load of weird effects and time changes this is for you. Working in similar territory are The Hall of Mirrors and The Still Corners, two wonderful English bands.
We shouldn’t forget the Welsh psych bands, the best of which, Colorama, recently issued this cracking album.
Finally, honorable mentions go to The Sunchymes (think Beach Boys meets Syd Barrett), The Soundcarriers (whose two superb album mix easy listening, kraut rock and 90s indie), Toy (BBC 6 Music faves) and The Chemistry Set (who are keeping the early 90s psych flame alive).
And here’s quite a few of those bands in one Spotify playlist