Feature » Music Feature

Consumer Guide

Your New Favorite Psyche Bands

by

comment

THANKS TO BRAIN-FRIED druggies, lazy jam bands, and misrepresentation in the media, psychedelic music tends to get a bad rap. The goal here is to expose you to some of the young psyche bands currently making great, interesting, non-clichéd music. If any of these spark your interest, email me and I'll tell you more about them. I might even have MP3s or an extra copy of a record or two. adam@portlandmercury.com

Sunburned Hand of the Man—Formerly known as "Shit Spangled Banner," Sunburned Hand of the Man are the direct and perfect incarnation of my favorite musical adjective: clattering. Their stuff shakes and shimmies and wanders around totally structure-less, but rhythmic as hell. Sometimes it sounds like the contents of your backpack (lunchbox, thermos, pencil box, etc.) rattling around as you walk home from school. Sometimes it gets down in the drum circle, paints its face like a badger, and freaks out 'til the cops come knocking. There's nothing poppy about this, nothing all that aesthetically constant or static. But since when were those conclusive quantifiers of good music? Sunburned Hand of the Man is free folk—as free as free folk can be without being totally fucking boring. Sunburnedhandoftheman.com

Phosphorescent—As psyche bands go, this Athens-based group (more a solo thing for singer Matthew Houck) is only mildly trippy. Their raggedy, good-natured, Southern country music definitely sides with peers the Castanets—or atavistically with Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings' 1970s collaborations. While this consumer's guide is by no means in any real order, Phosph are my top pick. Go to myspace.com/phosphorescent and listen to the first track, "Joe Tex, These Taming Blues" then email Matthew and tell him he's amazing.

World—This one's not the most accessible taste. Hand bells. Hand drums. Moaning non-vocals. Santana guitar lines. Last time I saw these crazy locals play (at Towne Lounge) they had a girl standing behind the stage drawing on a huge wall-mounted tablet. It was fucking awesome. Yarnlazer.com/world

Black Dice—Ever seen the peyote scene in Young Guns? This is the modern day NY version. Blackdice.net

Argumentix—Ever seen the peyote scene in Young Guns on six separate TVs all piled atop each other while a new age composer plays a giant, state-of-the-art (for 1988) synthesizer in the next room with a wall-size fan blowing his gorgeous mullet? This is the modern-day Portland version. Belowpdx.com/argumentix

Danava—Portland psychedelic rock—as in ROCK. Hard rock, acid rock, death blues, crushing riffs, and witchdoctor aesthetic. Myspace.com/danava

Like Birds—This Langhorne, Pennsylvania-based project is for anybody out there that's all, "Enough with the pussy hippies and their faggy acoustic bullshit!" Like Birds sounds like if your computer and TV hooked up outside Voodoo Doughnut one night and started dating. This would be their après sex pillow talk. Soothing, android lullabies meet inane samples from ancient sitcoms and commercials. Myspace.com/likebirds

Oaxacan—Anybody see these guys when they played Portland a couple weeks ago? I didn't either. I was sick, but even from my deathbed I tried to astrally project and check their shit out. Actually, I didn't. I don't even know what astral projection is but I do know this Oakland band is a big, snarling, buzzing, tribal freak-out, and their recorded work can scramble your brain and serve it up like Denny's Moons Over My Hammy. Myspace.com/oax

Panda Bear—Remember when it was really popular for dance music to use Gregorian monk chants? And remember how fast it became cheesy? Animal Collective member Panda Bear revives the chanting melodies of the Gregorians without making sense or singing in Latin or teaming up with techno producers. His record is called Young Prayer and it was written in response to his father's death. Can gibberish be emotional? In the words of the Kool-Aid Man as he busted through your backyard fence, "OH YEAH." My copy of this is in storage, buried beneath who knows what and I think about it—and miss it—all the time. Paw-tracks.com

Japanther—Can punk be psychedelic? Fuck yeah, it can. New York's Japanther is catchy gothic new wave with drums that sound like a room full of clocks ticking, tribal trance bass over toy piano over classic, buried-in-the-mix, Minor Threat vocals. This's punk rock that—like Burroughs advised—destroys all rational thought, and lets "the weird" fly like poison darts. MEMO TO: Punk rock's stuffy sense of convention. FROM: Japanther. SUBJECT: "You're not the boss of me!" Japanther.com

Jana Hunter—Jana's from Texas and has a big, open, inviting voice that reaches out and sings duets with the ghost of Patsy Cline while her music rolls along like Nashville-style country played into a soup-can microphone. Her debut full-length, Blank Unstaring Heirs of Doom, is out on Devendra Banhart's label, Gnomongsong. She also has stuff on Arthur magazine's Golden Apples of the Sun comp. Janahunter.tk

Black Moth Super Rainbow—Pittsburgh's BMSR play sunny, melting psyche pop for videogame soundtracks—if videogames weren't all spraying blood geysers, jiggly digital tits, and crashing cars. It's more like Super Mario Bros. XXI: Mario Drives His Cart Slowly Through the Winding, Smooth Roads of Big Sur with One Hand on the Wheel and the Other Petting the Beautiful Snow White Pegacorn [Pegasus with a Unicorn Horn] Sitting in the Seat Next to Him. Blackmothsuperrainbow.com

Comments

Comments are closed.

Quantcast Quantcast