Posts Tagged ‘Psych-pop’

Flamingods – “Marigold”

Picking up more than a few similarities to indie’s pervasive and over-the-top psych-pop personalities – throwing Animal Collective, Thee Oh Sees, Temples and Tame Impala in a Vitamix and scrambling ‘til smooth, the London quartet Flamingods seem on the edge of household familiarity with their latest single. The UK via Bahrain band is widening their scope of influence even further on the upcoming Levitation, scooping up inspiration from Mid-East and South Asian funk, psych and disco from the ‘70s. While first single “Marigold” doesn’t quite sound like a lost trinket from the South Asian delta, it’s a pretty blistering bit of excess splattered pop that puts the band on par with Psychedelic Porn Crumpets in terms of welding guitar volume to heady shakedowns for a pretty fun ride. Naturally, this one caught my eye (as with Shana Cleveland) due to artwork from RSTB fave designer Ardneks. Moshi Moshi’s got the album arriving on May 3rd. Can’t wait to hear more from this one.



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The Dandelion – “Every Other Day”

Sydney psych-pop acolytes The Dandelion pick up plenty of cues from Broadcast and Sterolab, but there’s also a glam element that comes away sounding like Vashti Bunyan working through a repertoire of T. Rex covers. The band came bubbling to the surface on the roster of last year’s GizzFest (King Gizz’ own hometown hoedown picking out the best of Aussie psych) and they’re prepping for an upcoming LP soon. The band’s interim, three track offering on French label Six Tonnes De Chair ably displays the Krautrock ripples of repetition, the good ol’ fashioned garage rock getdown and the flowers-in-their-hair throwback qualities that makes the band so endearing.

The title track is the most indebted to the ghost of Trish Keenan, though the band are definitely working on a less technical and more from-the-hip angle than Broadcast. Organs bubble through the headphones in cellophane-wrapped lysergic colors while Natalie de Silver’s voice whispers from some forgotten plane of existence. “Lucifer and the Knife” brings that Bolan boogie to the forefront, shimmying along the edges of astral projection. They actually hit on a lot of the same vibes that Meg Remy and U.S. Girls were simmering in during their Gems period. Then the band closes out the record with the instrumental killer “Malkaus,” shaking down enough crystal-funk spine shivers to keep the listener baking in bliss all the way home.

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Bingo Trappers

A wonderfully slapdash enigma of a record, the 11th catalog entry for Amsterdam’s Bingo Trappers comes to the world via more record labels than you can properly sort – Almost Halloween Time, Morc Tapes, Unread Records and, finally, Grapefruit here in the US. The band has been plugging at their shambolic brand of ’60s-bent folk pop since the ‘90s and, while they might carry the hallmarks of buried Elephant 6 castoffs, they’re true guitar pop purists who’ve managed to make time drifted classics that are humble, hummable and charming time and again. Past entries to their catalog have floated to the surface on Shrimper, Animal World and Muze, but this is only the third time they’re getting a proper wax treatment, having been stranded in the CD-r ditches of the early aughts and stuck handing off cassettes at shows before nostalgia made them cool again.

On Elizabethan they’re plowing through their usual clutch of influences and adding in a couple of new nuances for the hell of it. They swipe at the homey humor of Muswell Hillbillies, sneak in a little ? and the Mysterians’ organ wobble, pick endlessly at the early works of The Byrds and sift through John Cale’s passed over choruses. However, since the Trappers are doing it all on a shoestring sensibility, the outcome lands closest to the likes of Deep Freeze Mice or The Stray Trolleys peppered with just a touch more sun-buttered slide. That country touch gives the record a heavier gravity than some of their past platters, spools, or decaying plastic curios. The blurry sunshine that dapples their approach makes this feel like private press gold snagged from the dollar bins wanting jaws or Kinks demos that have been chewing on “God’s Children”-vibes like an infinite earworm. Quite recommended that you check it out.


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Traffik Island – “17”

One of the standout tracks on the Anti-Fade compilation, New Center of the Universe Vol. 3, this year was a track from Traffik Island. The band is largely the solo output of Zak Olsen from ORB, The Frowning Clouds and Hierophants. While he’s had a handful of singles scattered over the last few years, news today comes of a debut album on Flightless. The pairing makes sense, given ORB’s standing at the label, and first track “17” is a delightfully sunny swath of psych-pop that’s a far cry from ORB’s windpipe crushers. Instead the track, like previous outings from Traffik Island, is a sparkling jangler full of bright harmonies that bring to mind The Free Design, Euphoria, Sapphire Thinkers, or any other manner of the bittersweet brand of sunshine psych. The LP, Nature Strip is out next year and this track gives it a glow of promise. Definitely excited for this.

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Tim Presley’s White Fence – “I Have To Feed Larry’s Hawk”

Tim Presley’s been busy recently, but its actually been a few years since a solo White Fence track has trickled into these parts. Following a joint album with Ty Segall, a solo record under his given name and a Drinks LP with cohort Cate Le Bon, he return to the fertile ground of ’60s psych burble, this time advertised as Tim Preley’s White Fence. That addendum begs the question, what’s the difference now between Presley solo and Presley as White Fence? It seems to be a measure of cohesiveness, as I Have To Feed Larry’s Hawk (both the album and the track) are steeped in the uneasy sway of his omnipresent Syd Barret / Kevin Ayers specter. The solo record lifted the lid on that for just a bit, but with White Fence back in play, Presley is back mining the acid-dipped end of the outsider pop spectrum for noxious gems. The seasick n’ static video for the track from Ashley Goodall gives the cut a proper hallucinatory quality. Full album arrives packed and peaking on Jan. 25th via his constant stomping grounds at Drag City.

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Psychedelic Porn Crumpets – “My Friend’s A Liquid”

A slew of good videos today brings up the second outstanding clip of the year from Perth’s (still) regrettably named Psychedelic Porn Crumpets. While that handle still chafes, the songs are as good as they’ve ever been. “My Friend’s A Liquid” is another smooth psych-pop bubbler and the video is packed with a barrage of cut-up collages that are just as dizzying as the syncopated guitar spirals that crawl out of the track. Between this and “Social Candy” earlier in the year, the band is definitely headed for some large scale notoriety and its easy to see how the band has graduated out of the same scenes as fellow lysergic poppers Tame Impala. There have been some great videos this year, but this one is probably among the most fun and whimsical of the year.

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77:78

When it came to psych-pop, the early aughts slipped a few good ones on up the ladder to bigger stages. I’ve always had a soft spot for The Bees, sadly named A Band of Bees if you were listening this side of the Atlantic, and the band’s ‘60s radio dial spin approach let them dip into several styles without ever sounding like a novelty. They created albums that listened like mixtapes, winding through sunshine pop, Ventures-styled instrumentals, Everly Brothers soul, and touches of reggae, funk and psych with a precision that was admirable. Its been a while since their last album rolled down the belt in 2010, but now the band’s Aaron Fletcher and Tim Parkin have taken back up together to continue the eclectic digging through sounds as 77:78.

The record embraces the mixtape aesthetic that drove The Bees, though this time there’s less of a separation of influences and more of an amalgamation of their indulgences into a psych-pop brew that’s decidedly more influenced by DJ aesthetics while also winding up more languid than The Bees at its core. Jellies is a pure summer melt, with songs that sluice together like episodes of Love Boat music directed by Joe Meek. There are some mid points that get a bit too limp in the heat (“Pour It Out” and “Copper Nail” come to mind) but overall the album works as a great genre crush. The vibes are too cracked and plastered to be Yacht Rock but this is definitely psych-pop with an easy listening ambition. They wind up something like Castaway Houseboat Rock – an Island born mixtape of pop singles flown in by charter plane every other week.

While this is certainly not The Bees, 77:78 sate a bit of the thirst for a hi-fi pop project that’s searching for aesthetic niches and digging through their own crates to mix up genre into some sort of aural alchemy. The gold that the duo finds is rippled like a sunset on the water. Its hot out there and as such, 77:78 have you covered for vibes that beat back the UV crush.



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Doug Tuttle – “Twilight”

Embarking on a new tour, Doug Tuttle lets loose a new single that’s swaddled in autumnal psych pop. The track is brisk, yet humid, letting the curl of breath snake through the song’s bittersweet edge. Tuttle is a master of bumping the border of the kaleidoscope, never spinning the dial fully into ’60s pastiche and overt trippiness. Instead he’s making psych for the microdose set, crisping up the edges just a touch and popping those colors into pleasing focus. He accompanies the track with a simple and searching video that’s hitting the same well of longing that “Twilight” taps into. Its a good reminder to get out their and see him while you can, but even if he’s not within shot of a stage near you, this video is a welcome friend to start off the week.

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The Holydrug Couple – “I’ll Only Say This”

Chilean psych unit The Holydrug Couple have been getting lush for as long as I can remember, but their latest for Sacred Bones doubles down on the sparkling light and hazy wash of aftrnoon sun that dapples their sound. The single is the first off of their upcoming LP Hyper Super Mega. The accompanying clip goes for more for cultural saturation then for visual gauze, flipping through touchstones of music and history until the track crumples in on itself. From the blissed pop on display here its apparent that the band has yet another stunner in store when that album rolls down the pike in September. After a summer swelter like we’ve had on the East Coast these past couple of days, the band’s gooey take on psych is just the thing to embrace the humid vibes coursing through June.

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Samara Lubelski

Samara Lubelski inhabits a world of subtle psychedelia. Her songs don’t hit you over the head with guitar pyrotechnics, effects or gimmick. Where other vocalists would belt, Lubelski prefers the intimacy of a whisper. Her songs hum along on a slipped frequency, and like a secret stretched between the notes her soft touch pushes the listener out of sync with time and space for just a while before it snaps back with an elastic ‘thwap’ as the album clicks to a close. She stitches the rhythmic burble of Krautrock to a knotted pop and sends it twisting through the mind with an effervescent fizz. Her hushed composure, paired with the delicate machinations of Flickers At The Station give the feeling of being shrunk and zipping through a molecular backdrop in perfect precision to Lubelski’s click-stop kaleidoscopic pop beat.

Though Lubelski has a folk and experimental background, her solo work increasingly picks up cues from Stereolab, melding the band’s progressive rubric to the airy folk-pop delivery of The Free Design or Wendy & Bonnie. Chalk this up to Lubelski’s continued collaboration with German pop tinkerers Metabolisumus, who serve as backing band for the recordings here. With their aid she helps to push her songwriting through the cigarette burn flicker of the film strip pop she’s been working towards, winding up in a feeling caught between sleeping and dream, nodding out while the 60’s science lesson filters in through the classroom speakers above. Flickers winds up yet another solid notch in Lubelski’s catalog- warm, nostalgic, and expertly built.



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