The psychedelic scene is alive and well. I’ve seen it!
This year’s trip to Austin Psych Fest opened my eyes real wide to the far reaches of psychedelic rock in present Earth. Musicians along the entire spectrum of psychedelia gathered to play mind-bending shows by a river amidst the grass, fresh air at last (see: Road to APF2014, APF Highlights Part I, and APF Highlights Part II).
Simply put, I was blown away. I also melted a little. Anyway! After experiencing the synergy myself, I set out to find bands and visual artists from all over the world that are a part of today’s blossoming (or wilting, as some see it) psychedelic rock scene.
I stumbled upon some amazing bands that you Miami-folk will dig…
NEW ELECTRIC RIDE
First up is this amazing Brit outfit that hails from Sunderland, UK. Lead by the talented Jack Briggs, New Electric Ride have a knack for writing songs with lots of tempo variation, floaty harmonies, and heavy riffing. Lyrically, they are very keen on storytelling. This makes for some colorful music about bumblebees and submarines. According to Briggs, the band’s sound is best exemplified by their brilliant song “Marquis de Sade” but since all the members of New Electric Ride write songs individually, the rest of the foursome might…sing a different tune on the matter. No comment from them at this time.
Unlike many other watered down artists in this current psychedelic frenzy that is taking over the airwaves, New Electric Ride aren’t afraid to take musical risks. Virtually all the songs on their debut full-length Balloon Age (out now on iTunes) sound different and they are all worthy of many listens. When asked about the current psychedelic resurgence, Briggs confesses that he sees it becoming saturated with subpar music. Hopefully New Electric Ride will be around long enough to counteract this. As for the future of the band, they are embarking on their first European tour in August and hope to grace us Stateside as soon as things line up for them. I’ll be waiting.
“Frank Maston is a man. Maston is a band.”
Frank Maston, originally from Southern California, is a solo musician who creates short and sweet bursts of psychedelia akin to those found in The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and Van Dyke Park’s Song Cycle. While Brian Wilson’s and Van Dyke Parks’ influences are undeniable, something Maston will happily tell you himself, the music found on his 2013 debut LP Shadows is not merely an imitation of these styles but rather an expansion. A most welcome expansion, that is!
Maston successfully brought into the 21st century a style of music that hasn’t really been around since the late 60s. The late 1860s, in some cases! Using a varied array of analog equipment and instruments such as brass, woodwinds, piano, harp, among others, Maston was able to create an organic sounding album with haunting melodies that speaks to me in a way that no other music does. No current music, at least.
Frank, who is currently touring with another amazing baroque pop artist named Jacco Gardner, plans to finish his follow-up LP sometime in the fall and wants to get back on the road to promote it as soon as it’s done. When asked about his definition of success for the band, Maston says:
“It does get redefined often for me, especially when I reach certain milestones. But mainly it’s been just to make enough money to keep making records and go on the road, and so far I’ve been pretty lucky to get to make those things happen.”
Well, great luck to you, Frank. Also, it doesn’t hurt that Frank is the nicest fucking guy. I got to meet him at Austin Psych Fest and he was a pleasure to chat with.
CURTIS GODINO x DRIPPY EYE PROJECTS
Because psychedelia is equal parts visual and equal parts sonic, the visual artists in the scene deserve as much recognition as the musicians. Curtis Godino happens to be both. Godino’s band, Worthless are currently recording their second LP which will be out on Beyond Beyond is Beyond records in early 2015. This marks the bands first release recorded on tape. Of this method of recording, Godino says:
“Working with limitations is always good so you don’t just go too far out, it helps you focus more on the actual song rather than all the cool stuff you can add to a song.”
Aside from that, the band released a 7” called Greener Grass containing the songs “Something Something” and “Freakout” on May 27th, which promptly sold out. The Pink Floyd-influenced band will be playing the Lakewood Music Festival in Ohio, which they are pretty stoked about. Also, at Lakewood Music Festival will be Drippy Eye Projections, Godino’s other project. Drippy Eye specializes in liquid light shows for concerts. Using household objects such as plates and ink droppers, the person operating the projector manipulates heated liquids of different colors to create jaw-dropping backdrops for the bands onstage. These psychedelic backgrounds add another dimension to the show at hand and can really tie an act together. Drippy Eye did they projections for the Levitation Tent at Austin Psych Fest 2014 and the backgrounds were nothing short of mesmerizing.
“I’ve been working with Josh White and the Joshua Light Show which is really incredible. Josh has been supplying me with a lot of old 60s gear so I just see Drippy Eye getting bigger and brighter” Godino