Hi all, I collected some great psychedelic treasures I’ve enjoyed lately. Quite a lot, actually – I think this is a great bunch. Hope you do too. Stay safe & healthy. //Mertsi
Article image: Black Helium
Black Helium – UM (Riot Season Records)
The London-based psychedelic power trio is back with a bang. Compared to their previous two records Primitive Fuck (2018) and The Wholly Other (2020), Black Helium has gone more outer-space, more motorik, and even more robust. UM is a great record, highlighted by tracks such as the hypnotic Another Heaven and delightfully trippy Summer of Hair. Black Helium’s music keeps on giving, and by all accounts the trio seems like nice people as well.
GÅS – Vol.1. (Rocket Recordings)
I’ve been following GÅS, a psychedelic rock band from Gothenburg that, just like their compatriots GOAT, operates under anonymity, since their impressive self titled single in 2020. Their debut LP Vol.1. follows the single’s recipe in fuzzy, Black Sabbath-influenced heavy psych, but spices is up with folk-like flutes, percussions and elements of blues rock. With two over 13-minute tracks the band shows it masters longer kraut-influenced jams with confidence, further strengthening the trippy club of great Swedish outfits like Centrum, Lamagaia, Hills and Agusa.
My favorite song is the hypnotic finishing track 25öre, whose wonderfully menacing rhythm repeats over and over again until you realize there’s actually nothing menacing, it just gets a bit dark in space.
Albinö Rhino – Return to the Core (Space Rock Productions)
The heavy atmospheric downtuned psychedelia of Albinö Rhino has never sounded more intriguing than in their new opus, Return to the Core. The Helsinki-based trio’s previous EP nodded towards Black Sabbath, but this one pays the biggest respects to Pink Floyd. The album consists of one 35-minute song (on Spotify it’s also split to 9 tracks), and travels fluently from Kingston Wall influenced jams to heavier riffs. Good stuff.
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To keep some balance of all rattling garagepsychs, here’s collection of gentle psych videos that I have been enjoying lately. Styles differ from exotica and ambient to psych-pop and soft rock.
Main image is a frame from Reverse Death’s video.
Reverse Death – Teapot
Gentle electric piano and soft drums carry this nocturnal mist spiced with viola and properly echoed vocals. Seattle-based band published an album Stretching to Infinity in December that is definitely worth to listen. Teapot together with Sweet Flower Moon are the most accessible songs on the album among otherwise rather ambient material.
Bobbie Lovesong – Inner Sea
Written, performed and recorded solely by American Bobbie Lovesong aka Madelyn Strutz during covid lockdown in 2020. Very addictive melody and sounds right from the first hearing.
The Sweet Enoughs – Cerberus
The slowed-down beauty of crashing waves combined with synthetic, rhythmic, dreamy tropical music. In May 2020 released album Marshmallow is an interesting piece of lounge/exotica music.
Mac DeMarco – Five Easy Hot Dogs
Slacker star published his sixth album in January. The record was born in a trip (literally): songs are named by the places where they were created on the road. No vocals at all, which makes this good background soft rock.
Hi all, it’s time to wrap up the year with some of our music picks of 2022. Thanks to all our readers and subscribers, have a great new year! //Mertsi & Leo Article Photo Credit: Pooneh Ghana
The Black Angels – Wilderness of Mirrors
With yet another fantastic album, the legendary Texan group The Black Angels cement their place among the very best of neo-psychedelic bands. In Wilderness of Mirrors, their riffs are rough and lyrics sharp as ever. This is a well-balanced album with a number of powerful psych tracks.
Abraxas – Monte Carlo
Abraxas is a new project by former Los Bitchos member Carolina Faruolo and Danny Lee Blackwell of Night Beats. Monte Carlo is the duo’s enchanting debut, with influences of smoky latin rhytms, R&B, and dub. As Blackwell puts it: “Planet Abraxas is a world filled with jungles, mist-covered rivers, panthers lurking in the night, desolate shopping malls, Neolithic citadels and sand-worn walls.” I can’t wait to spin these songs on next year’s dj gigs.
[By the way, Blackwell was a gift that kept on giving this year; I could have easily added Night Beats’ wonderful Levitation Session to this list as well.]
La Femme: Levitation Sessions
In their Levitation live session, Parisian psych institution La Femme unleash a discography spanning set dripping in LSD and casual chic, transmitted from a smoky room in Normandy, France. The band chats a tad too much to my taste inbetween some tracks, but neverthless they absolutely nail the session with some mesmerising tunes and sparkling outfits. Try, for instance, the exotic-sounding ”Sphynx” or the wonderfully trippy ”Je Plane”.
Wild Rocket – Formless Abyss
Speaking of trippy, the Irish Wild Rocket takes you somewhere on the outskirts of cosmos. Formless Abyss, a swirling 41-minute repetitive groove consisting of three tracks, can be recommended for friends of Oranssi Pazuzu, Dark Buddha Rising, Circle, 10 000 Russos, or Lumerians.
And finally, some music video singles of the highest quality: improvised dance fiesta from King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, some seriously fuzzy stuff from Goat, and some oceanic, super-smooth scenery by Baby Cool.
Kikagaku Moyo – Kumoyo Island
The Japanese psych rock band decided that past year will be their last. It’s a shame, but it can also be a blessing if their creativity is waning. The last album contains one of the bangers of the year, Dancing Blue, but as a whole it has not reached its predecessors Masana Temples (2018) and House in the Tall Grass (2016). But definitely enjoyable LP and worth checking out. The album also surprised with the amount of ambient soundscapes. It will be interesting to see what the band members come up with next. One thing to follow is label Guru Guru Brain founded by members Go and Tomo. They have released interesting stuff from bands like Dhidalah, Minami Deutsch and Mong Tong.
Tombstoned – Dangers Of The Fading High
As much a pick-up from last year as an expectation for this year. Finnish doom/stoner band Tombstonedreleased a new song after a long time on Weedian’s Finland compilation. The riff from the beginning is just so damn quivering. Hopefully more stuff coming soon.
Mildlife Live from South Channel Island
The pandemic eased this year and the gigs started to roll again. One band that was familiar before, but took things to a new level live, was Australian Mildlife. They are a sovereign live performer of psychedelic, danceable jazz-funk without any major gimmicks. The band has also toured with King Gizzard. This year Mildlife released a live album recorded on fort island instead of new studio material.
Kari Kosmos – Mielen aika (kirja)
Kiinnostava suomenkielinen kirja, joka on saattanut mennä monilta ohi. Vuonna 2021 syöpään kuolleen Kari Kosmoksen postuumisti julkaistu Mielen aika: psykedeelisen kulttuurin historia ja visio kertoo tajunnan laajentamisesta ja ihmisistä sen takana. Huom: Emme ole itsekään vielä päässeet kirjaa lukemaan, joten tämä suositus perustuu siihen, miltä kirja vaikuttaa. Lisää kirjasta Ylen jutussa. (A book recommendation, only in Finnish!)
Angelo Badalamenti (1937—2022)
This year, at least Hawkwind legend Nic Turner and kraut pioneer Manuel Göttsching have moved on to other frequencies. One of those who also touched me was Angelo Badalamenti, composer of David Lynch’s dreamy soundtracks. Here’s a video in his memory that always cheers the mood.
Ash Ra Tempel, one of the pioneers of krautrock or kosmische musik, had broken up and the band’s guitarist was looking for a new direction. ManuelGöttsching, inspired by TerryRiley’s looping minimalism, turned on his tape recorder and began to play.
The result was an incredibly rich-sounding solo album, Inventions For Electric Guitar — given that the album was recorded in 1974 and every note on it comes from an electric guitar.
The lack of instruments probably inspired him to be creative and experiment in interesting ways. The album makes use of a wah pedal and a steel bar familiar from guitar slides. The focus is on echo and repetition.
The album consists of two long riff-based songs, punctuated by surprising guitar solos. The cosmic pulsating tracks are guaranteed to sink in with fans of Chilean Föllakzoid.
In between these long songs, at the end of the A-side, an ambient gem of an album, perfect as a soundtrack to a snowfall. It’s hard to believe the soundscape of this song was created without synthesizers.
”During which one guy with a guitar does what TangerineDream needed three guys and a bulkhead of electronic gizmos to do”, as one listener commented on Rate Your Music.
After listening to the album, you should continue by watching this interview with Göttsching at the Red Bull Music Academy. He talks at length about his career and music. He explains and demonstrates how Inventions for Electric Guitar emerge at 41:20.
We had the pleasure to play a back-to-back vinyl DJ set including 60s, kraut, prog and neo-psych, at Helsinki Psych Fest 2022. Here’s what we played (in alphabetical order):
The Blues Project – Flute Thing Circus – Monday Monday Electric Wizard – Mountains of Mars Föllakzoid – Rio Goat – Let It Bleed Jethro Tull – Cross-Eyed Mary John Mayall – The Super-Natural K-X-P – 18 Hours (Of Love) The Keith Tippett Group – Black Horse Kikagaku Mayo – Dancing Blue Kikagaku Mayo – Gatherings Lamagaia – Lamagaius Neu – Neuschnee Pekka Laine – The Silent Star Percewood’s Onagram feat. Michels – I’ve Got Woman Santana – Jungle Strut The Soul Investigators – Baby! It’s Delicious Spirit – Gramophone Man Tasavallan Presidentti – Wutu-Banale Ten Years After – She Lies in the Morning Ten Years After – Two Time Mama Tross – On Board Uusi Fantasia – (Tosi) happamat kallot The Yardbirds – Heart Full of Soul The Yardbirds – Smokestack Lightning
Mertsi’s picks: The Black Angels – History Of The Future The Black Angels – Without A Trace The Black Angels – La Pared (Govt. Wall Blues) Black Lizard – Window In Time Circle – Points Fleetwood Mac – Black Magic Woman Goat – Let It Burn The Holydrug Couple – Concorde Holy Wave – Schmetterling Holy Wave – She Put A Seed In My Ear Holy Wave – Star Stamp Jefferson Airplane – White Rabbit Jim Sullivan – U.F.O. Lumerians – C-Rock Mikronid – Sügis Moon Duo – Circles Moon Duo – Sleepwalker Nazz – Open My Eyes Nazz – Wildwood Blues Night Beats featuring Robert Levon Been – That’s All You Got Procol Harum – Cerdes (outside the gates of) Pääkallo – Kuoleman taikaa The Shadows – Scotch On The Socks Soft Power – Sleeping City Titanic – Sultana The Vacant Lots – Departure
Many thanks to Daisy and other organisers of the fest, it was a blast! If you want us to play at your event, please contact us via e-mail kolmaskorva @gmail.com.