Archives for posts with tag: psych-rock

MelenasMelenas are a guitar/ bass/ keyboards/drums band from Pamplona, Spain and “Mentiras” (which translates as “Lies”) is from their fabulous self-titled debut album of jangling psychedelic garage rock which is well worth exploring in detail… and then buying.

While some will hear the spirit of Look Blue Go Purple in that robustly rhythmic guitar strum, it reminds me more of the perpetual nervousness of The Feelies’ guitar sound. In recent years the only other band I can recall to evoke those same touchstones so well was Veronica Falls, who also shared a fondness for driving songs along with a heavy floor tom beat as Melenas do.

However, the songs here are also just as likely to evoke the spirit of the classic late 1960’s era of proto-psych-pop garage-rock fuzz, jangle and melody (as compiled on the “Pebbles” and “Nuggets” LP series) as they are any possible ’80’s influence. There’s a lot going on; from simple propulsive drums to a solid mesh of rapidly strummed 12 string guitar, soaring vocal melodies with layered backing vocals and a winning way with keyboard flourishes providing the sonic icing on Melenas’ psychedelic pop-tart.


Beaches by Darren Sylvester

BEACHES (photo by Darren Sylvester)

Continuing the heavy psych theme, here’s a blissful Sunday Psych-out fuzzfest called “Arrow” from Melbourne five-piece band BEACHES:

BEACHES have just released (September 2017) a double album of ultra-melodic psychedelic rock called “Second of Spring”. Actually, it’s a bit more than *just* psych rock, as the double LP format allows the band to mix their usual 60s/ 70s psych-rock via German 70s experimental motorik and 80s New Wave goodness with even more shoegaze melodic pop stylings to great effect, as “Arrow” here shows.

Some songs may even remind anyone who has established a long-running relationship with Australian alternative guitar music (guilty here) of the fuzzy melodic power-pop goodness of the likes of 80s/ 90s bands The Hummingbirds or Someloves. To my ears BEACHES more natural propulsive and joyful psychedelic stylings are way more preferable than the over-worked self-indulgent noodling of some of their much more vaunted Australian psych-rock contemporaries. Enough said!

BEACHES are Antonia Sellbach on guitar and vocals, Alison Bolger on guitar and vocals, Ali McCann on guitar and vocals, Gill Tucker on bass and vocals and Karla Way on drums and vocals.

They’ve been playing and releasing singles, EPs and albums as BEACHES since 2008. You really ought to dig back into their catalogue for stunning gems like the 2013 release “She Beats” which features even more motorik psych+melodic fuzzrock wonders.

transistorPopLib is an ecclectic music blog if nothing else. So we go from The Clientele’s autumnal English art-project music in the previous post to the heavy psych-rock of Wellington’s Transistor. Here’s “The Sun” – the opening track of a riff-laden EP released last year.

The EP is packed with ultra-heavy psychedelic riff-heavy space-rock, furnace-blasted by compression into a pummeling distortion saturated noise, with random spacey effects and vocals long on the echoey reverb. It’s unrestrained and it’s superb.

If you imagine UK early metal band Budgie, crossed with some lost 1970s Japanese psych-rock band then you are coming close to what this EP is all about. I love it.

While I’m a sucker for opening track “The Sun” because of the sheer gravitational pull of its heaviness, the second track “Nightworm” is probably even better for it’s more sonically-adventurous exploration of space-psych.

For added cool weirdness Transistor cover The Chills’ “Pink Frost” and make it their own, subjecting it to a set-the-controls-for-the-heart-of-the-sun treatment too. Epic.


Psychic Ills

Psychic Ills – Tres Warren & Elizabeth Hart

Psychic Ills is a duo based in New York – Tres Warren and Elizabeth Hart. I’ve somehow missed hearing them before, but tuned into ABC Radio’s Inside Sleeve show today as “I Don’t Mind” was playing & thought “hmm, that sounds like Hope Sandoval…”

Turns out this Psychic Ills track from their new (and apparently 5th) album “Inner Journey Out” is indeed a pairing of the inimitable voice of Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star, Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions) and Psychic Ills’ Tres Warren.

“I Don’t Mind” and other tracks streaming on their bandcamp page for the album demonstrate a blissful use of drones and repetition in sparse mid-paced songs. The relaxed/ relaxing meditative feel is reminds me of Spacemen 3 (try their fabulous The Perfect Prescription album) filtered through influences from astral Americana, gospel and sun-bleached desert psych-blues-rock.

Very good indeed… time to check out more of the Psychic Ills catalogue now!

Invisble threadsDay 18 of NZ Music Month is a lovely slice of weirdo psychedelic drone rock with synths from Auckland band Invisible Threads. The song is “ZS”:

Tremendous. It starts out as a kind of fuzzy alternative stoner-psych-rock with almost conversational laid-back vocals. Then the guitar goes a bit super-nova with effects and finally that synth in the background bursts out, everything lurches into a lurching progressive sludge-metal freak-out battle between guitar and synth and it’s over!

Only two and a half minutes long, but what an intriguing mini-symphony of ear-popping oddness those two and half minutes contained.

Invisible Threads headline the “Better Living” event at Christchurch’s Darkroom this coming Saturday.

This “Better Living” event will not about stuff you can do with plastic, but is instead presented by Melted Ice Cream Records so it’s more about “Better Living” through being Glad all over with the joyful communal experience of a good night out listening to bands make a life-enriching noise.

The event information states: “INVISIBLE THREADS are about to release a brand new album through Melted Ice Cream and on their second ever visit to Christchurch they are bringing down a whopping fifteen modular synthesizers to all make wonderful, faster-than-average-tempo-for-your-average-band-of-punks, geek trash, good shit-zonk. Essential listening: A new single from their upcoming album ‘Oxide’ which WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT THE GIG!”  –

The album “Oxide” was released yesterday and you can find it here.

Kikagaku MoyoKikagaku Moyo are a psych-rock band from Japan and their new album – “House in the Long Grass”, which is out in a few weeks – is mind-expanding and wonderful.

This particular song “Kogarashi” has a spiritual and meditational feel. It’s almost like some devotional European folk but, as you’ll discover with each song, it manages to evoke a sense of familiarity without actually sounding ‘like’ anything in particular you know.

I was so impressed by just this one song I ordered the LP from Japan before I even listened to another track. It’s an affordable investment too, working out at about $30 NZD for the black vinyl edition plus $10 NZD postage.

Just one song is not enough to give you a sense of the wonder of this album though, as each song captures a distinctive mood. The opening track on the album – “Green Sugar” – is another different but also brilliant slice of dreamy delicious psych adventure, bursting with the spirit of Can circa their Ege Bamyasi album.

There’s a huge range of music on the album judging from the 4 tracks available to stream (or download upon your pre-order purchase). For example, the 10 minute epic “Silver Owl” is a monster of shifting psych morphing through several ‘movements’ from gentle opening to impressive heavy-psych-prog-metal guitar fury ending.

This is the third album from Kikagaku Moyo and they have also released a few EPs and singles, so there’s an exciting back catalogue awaiting discovery too.






Photo credit: Omar Kasrawi at April 13 2016 Bowery Ballroom NYC

Seratones are a band from Shreveport Louisiana and “Sun” is a track from their forthcoming album “Get Gone” out on Fat Possum Records in May.

Fronted by the charismatic guitarist and dynamic vocalist AJ Haynes, Seratones alternate between a kind of eclectic funk-blues-pop-soul Southern rock and the full-on turbo-charged psych-rock of this particular track.

What first grabbed my attention about “Sun” was that it packs an unexpected classic 1970s UK psychedelic Hard Rock sound, the multi-tracked guitars and thunderously shuffling drums coming across like a Pink Fairies track from their “Kings of Oblivion” album.

The other pre-release song “Chandelier” is a little closer to what you may expect from their Southern origins – exotic guitar-pop with a bit of southern funk – but still packs in a whole lot of unexpected melodic musical twists. This makes it – and Seratones – an uneasy fit into any particular genre pigeonhole and makes a nonsense of the banal comparisons they seem to get already with the much more traditional-styled Alabama Shakes.

Anyway, Seratones are well worth checking out on the strength of these songs. You can get a restrained hint of their live performance on this NPR “Tiny Desk Concert” radio live session video.

Sertones NPR Tiny Desk