May I express to you our deepest and most sincere apologies for the lack of hoo-hah on the blog recently, end of year assignments and exams are extremely unforgiving. However, I find myself writing this, sat in the lobby of a hotel in Tenerife, in a t-shirt and flip-flops, which can only mean one thing……..ITS SUMMER BITCHES! Let the days of stress and churning out essays be put aside, as they are rapidly replaced with sunshine (not guaranteed) and tranquillity (more guaranteed than sunshine).
As Emma’s last post suggested, these days, people love having their ‘Summer soundtrack’, not to be confused with ‘Summer anthems’ that sound like a DJ spilt coconut juice on some drum and bass. Last Summer, whilst living it up in Barcelona/having a boogie in the shower, I dabbled in old school MGMT. But this year, I delve even further in to the experimental sounds, as I find myself getting caught up in the recent emergence of psychedelic rock artists, brought to my attention by my wise and wonderful brother (kudos). Glorifying the psychedelic explosion of the 60s, that wonderful, laid-back, fuzzy sound is making a comeback, and to me, it is the ultimate Summer music. So, if you’re not quite feeling the summer lovin’ yet, don’t psych yourself out about it (GET IT). Just kick back and take a browse of the crème de la crème of psych music at present, and I shall try and inspire.
Probably a familiar name to most, after their album Currents saw them rising to much success this year and even a Brit Award for Best International Group. But these awesome Aussies have been around for a while now with some cracking tunes like Elephant and Feels Like We Only Go Backwards. Their more recent material combines synthpop with psychedelic rock and the result is a thick-textured sound that says, ‘Hey, we can groove, but let’s not make a hullabaloo about it’. The fact that Kevin Parker performs barefoot makes them even more idgaf. Classic Aussies. They still provide us with some great riffs on The Less I Know The Better and, a personal favourite for its 80s vibes, The Moment. Just let it happen this summer guys.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
If there was an award for best band name, surely these guys would take the crown. I am yet to find a band with a better name than this holy grail of rhyming. Also from Australia, they’ve been releasing albums since 2012, however their earlier album Oddments remains my firm favourite. The album is a complete mish-mash of musical influences but the hypnotizing psych sound brings it all together. Some are more laid-back, such as Stressin’ and Work This Time where the effects on the vocals allow them to blend in with the distortion on both the guitars and the synths. Others, like the feel-good/all-over-the-place Alluda Majaka, are more up-beat and slightly more rock-influenced. A personal favourite is Homeless Man In Addidas (for all you street-wise Adi-kids no that is not a typo), where the sound is slightly cleaner but some of the sound effects give it an authentic, vintage feel. In a nutshell, this album is one heck of a space cake.
My king, my hero, potentially one of my favourite people in the world EVER. His past two albums Another One and Salad Days are equally delightful; the hazy guitar melodies take centre stage but are softened by Mac’s nasal voice that is so charming. Although his lyrics have fairly dark undertones, such as Treat Her Better where he croons ‘heard you were your brother’s keeper, that can’t be, judging by the way you treat her’, the tone still manages to stay uplifted. Songs like Salad Days, Blue Boy, and The Way You’d Love Her, are the sound of lazy days in the sun when you don’t have to feel guilty for doing absolutely jack-shit. Even if you don’t appreciate his slacker approach to making music and the consequential sound (which is amazing so you should), watch some of his psychedelic videos and interviews because he is a modest chiller with the wackiest sense of humour. Please watch the one below – he is incredible.
If seriously trippin-balls psyche music is a bit too much for your sweet soul to handle, this band could be more appealing. These guys came to me as a pleasant surprise, and their album Fading Frontier is somewhere in-between Tame Impala and Mac Demarco, i.e. not heavy at all. It almost has a certain David Bowie feel about it. Although songs like All The Same and Carrion are much more straightforward, I love that they’re easy listening whilst still being able to retain a certain edge. A personal favourite is Snakeskin which has a pretty badass lil’ riff going on to accompany the groovy lyrics. Apart from on Take Care, the synths aren’t so much used to create an over-bearing texture, but more to add a glossy shimmer to the song.
Last, but certainly not least, some very psychey psyche. Although featuring three of the members of Tame Impala, their sound is rather less refined but awesome in its own right. Their album released last year, Man It Feels Like Space Again, is a perfect example of how their songs don’t follow a regular pattern but sprawl all over the place, with interesting sound effects and a lot of oomph from the synths. Waiting Around For Grace is a great rock tune but by the time you get towards the end of the album, Medicine Hat is clearly more country-influenced but still a beautifully mellow song. Personal favourites include Sitting Up On Our Crane thanks to its epic chorus and even more epic music video, and Outside Is The Right Side which has a really funky bass line to it a la Red Hot Chili Peppers. Pond’s album just screams freedom and fun, which is definitely lacking in the music industry these days.
Sending warm rays of love and happiness your way for a groovy summer,