Pso Psyched

I love psychedelic music. It is versatile. And it’s fascinating the way it weaves its way organically into so many different genres. It is a vibrant part of rock, folk, soul, funk, and electronic dance music. So it is easy to understand why the recent release Sun Structures by England’s Temples (Heavenly Recordings 2014) is satisfying and fun. These lads are not really pretending to break any new ground, and have generously acknowledged their many influences, (some of which are featured farther below in my investigative sampling.)


Temples join a number of great bands, including Australians Tame Impala and Americans MGMT and TV on the Radio, in proving that psychedelic rock remains fertile creative ground. I think it is a naturally robust genre because it’s renewable, and psychedelia has the power to enhance so many distinct forms. It can take you back in time but interesting new wrinkles arise to keep it sounding fresh and new.

Temples’ consistently successful new iteration of the tradition of psychedelic rock music sounds to me like creatively joyful homage. They are big and getting bigger, and you can check them out here:

Colours to Life by Temples, from Sun Structures (Heavenly Recordings 2014).

You will think of your own examples, and my list is by no means comprehensive, but I wanted to take a shot at finding a dozen or so good songs from a variety of genres, and also cover a number of years. (I left out a decade and a half of the 1970s/early 1980s.) Let’s get started with a tune from four shaggy Liverpudlians you may have heard of.

—-This is like a shot of adrenaline – the juxtaposed airiness of the manipulated effects and strings with Ringo Starr’s powerful drumming make this a magical three minutes. Rock on:

Tomorrow Never Knows by The Beatles, from Revolver (Parlophone/Capitol 1966).

—-The Byrds used psychedelia effectively in rock and even country. Here, David Crosby taps into psych-folk:

Everybody’s Been Burned by The Byrds, from Younger Than Yesterday (Columbia 1967).

—-The organ, the bluesy/jazzy guitar, and the Latino rhythms are all combined by Santana to “psych” up this number by Tito Puente:

Oye Como Va by Santana, from Abraxas (CBS 1970).

T. Rex
T. Rex

—-Marc Bolan and Tony Visconti present us with a screaming wonder of glam-psych:

Rip Off by T. Rex, from Electric Warrior (Warner Brothers Records 1971).

Dukes of Stratosphear
Dukes of Stratosphear

—-More psych homage. XTC, a band so badly underappreciated, created fun individual aliases (Lord Cornelius Plum!) for their alias ‘pside’ project, Dukes of Strotosphear. The result is a blast. They channeled the Beach Boys, Beatles, Kinks, Pink Floyd

and others with great results:

Little Lighthouse by Dukes of Strotosphear, from Chips from the Chocolate Fireball, (Virgin Records 1987).

—-Danceable madness from Scotland – this is ecstatic:

Passing Away by The Shamen, from their album Drop, (Moksha 1987).

—-So weird and so funky, the prolific master, Prince, infused psych into many of the different musical genres he’s laid down. The cat can dance – check him out:

Gett Off by Prince and The New Power Generation, from Diamonds and Pearls (Paisley Park/Warner Brothers Records 1991).

Hey buddy, how about something from this century?

—-A heavy dose from Sweden, saturated with strings and kettle drums:

Satt Att Se by Dungen, from 4 (Kemado 2008).

More recent examples:

—-Lucifer Sam from 2011. Check out MGMT, (with a little help from Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox sporting his mad, black leather cape,) in this wonderful and strange live cover of Pink Floyd:  [The song originally appeared on The Piper at the Gates of Dawn by Pink Floyd (EMI Columbia/Tower 1967).]

—-Endors toi by Tame Impala, from Lonerism (Modular 2012).

TV on the Radio
TV on the Radio

—-Million Miles by TV on the Radio, B-Side from 12” Mercy/Million Miles (Federal Prism 2013).

9 may 2014

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