World of psych
This year at Fopp we are venturing on an exploration into the world of Psychedelia, kicking off with modern developments in the genre from the last twenty-five years. Whether it’s the fertile Australian Psych scene featuring bands such as King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard and Tame Impala, across the pond with Animal Collective and Grizzly Bear or something a little closer to home, we’re here to guide you through.
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard
Members: Stu Mackenzie Ambrose Kenny-Smith Joey Walker Cook Craig Lucas Harwood Michael Cavanagh
Forming in 2010 and releasing 18 studio albums in 12 years, to say that King Gizz’ were prolific would be an understatement. Starting their career in Melbourne, Australia as a “Nuggets” inspired garage band riffing fuzzed out psychedelic punk jams, the group have gone on to progress into one of the most versatile bands in modern rock, touching on everything from microtonal Turkish music on “Microtonal Flying Banana” to mechanised boogie-woogie on “Fishing for Fishies”, we’ll just have to wait and see where they take us next.
Essential Listening: Flying Microtonal Banana CD £10 LP £25 Nonagon Infinity CD £10 LP £17
I’m in Your Mind Fuzz CD £9 LP £24
Members: Ed Droste Christopher Bear Chris Taylor Daniel Rossen
Growing from humble roots into one of the most acclaimed indie acts of the 2000s and 2010s, Grizzly Bear began as the home recording project of Boston-bred singer Edward Droste. Developing into a full band, Grizzly Bear began crafting delicate and ethereal psychedelic pop, a lush tapestry of multi-layered harmonies, guitars, woodwinds, and electronics reminiscent of some lost B-sides to the Beach Boys’ “Surfs Up”. This culminated in their triumphant effort “Veckatimest” which was a resounding success, debuting at number eight on the Billboard 200 and making the band a ubiquitous entry on year-end lists. Going on to record two more highly acclaimed albums “Shields” and “Painted Ruins” they cemented their place as the “indie darlings” of their era.
Essential Listening: Veckatimest CD £12 LP £22 Shields CD £12 LP £22
The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Members: Anton Newcombe Ricky Maymi Joel Gion Hákon Aðalsteinsson Hallberg Daði Hallbergsson Ryan Van Kriedt Sara Neidorf Deborah ‘Moogy’ Morgan
The ever-evolving musical vehicle for notorious psych-rock brain trust Anton Newcombe, The Brian Jonestown Massacre has endured numerous phases and iterations since arriving in the mid-’90s, becoming something of an independent institution in the process. A pastiche of numerous musical movements of the 60’s, this aesthetic shines through on their 1996 effort “Take it from the Man!” sporting a Union Jack on the cover and is largely a “December’s Children” nuts and bolts Rhythm & Blues record. Following it up a literal month later, “Their Satanic Majesties’ Second Request” was released, a full-blown homage to glorious psychedelic-era excesses, featuring vast experimentation with Indian drones, sitars, mellotrons, farfisas, didgeridoos, tablas, congas, and glockenspiels. Finally, the year ended with the release of “Thank God for Mental Illness” recorded on a budget of $17.36, it’s a showcase for their strong folk, country and blues leanings, and it can almost definitely be described as Dylanesque. Releasing albums consistently since the mid 90’s The BJM have earned their cult status, and the 2004 documentary “Dig!” pushed them even further down that road when it showcased the tumultuous history of the group and their love/hate relationship with their peers “The Dandy Warhols” They were once referred to as “The greatest 60s revivalists since the 60s” and truer words have never been spoken. If you can’t dig it then you ain’t got no shovel.
Essential Listening: Their Satanic Majesties’ Second Request CD £9 LP £18 Take it from the Man CD £9 LP £18
Thank God for Mental Illness CD £9 LP £18 Dig! DVD £8
Members: Erik “Ripley” Johnson Dusty Jermier Nash Whalen Omar Ahsanuddin
Enigmatically named after a Crosby, Stills & Nash song with a J thrown in, Wooden Shjips formed in San Francisco during the mid-2000s as a D.I.Y operation, recording and releasing records themselves before attracting the attention of record labels like Sub Pop and Holy Mountain. With each new release, the band has found new ways of transforming heady psychedelic rock into minimalist masterpieces, bridging the gap between the woozy freeness of Les Rallizes Denudes and Crazy Horse and the simplicity of Suicide and the Velvet Underground.
Essential Listening: Back to Land CD £13 LP £18 West CD £14 LP £15 V CD £11 LP £20
Members: Avey Tare Panda Bear Deakin Geologist
Creating a twisted musical language all their own, Animal Collective grew from a closely knit group of childhood friends with exploratory tastes into world-famous recording stars, defining the face of independent experimental rock during the 2000s and 2010s. Spending most of the early to mid 00s experimenting with mysterious, beautifully fragile and joyous psychedelia, this eventually led to the release of “Merriweather Post Pavilion” the group’s eighth album and a confluence of enhanced electronic production, pop appeal, and inspired experimentation that resulted in their most accessible material to date. It cracked the Top 20 in America and peaked at number 26 in the U.K, making Animal Collective the toast of the international blogosphere while also establishing their strength as a commercial force.
Essential Listening: Merriweather Post Pavilion CD £9 LP £30 Strawberry Jam CD £10 LP £25
Sung Tongs CD £11 LP £25
Members: (Studio) Kevin Parker (Live) Jay Watson Dominic Simper Julien Barbagallo Cam Avery
Starting off their career as psychedelic explorers, the Australian band Tame Impala spent a decade subverting expectations and mutating their sound in fascinating ways. With lyricist and multi instrumentalist Kevin Parker having complete control over the recording process, performing all instrumentation himself, it would be fair to say he’s one of the great auteurs in contemporary music. Tame Impala have ventured from expansive psychedelia to four-to-the-floor Bee Gees inspired disco and have brought a whole generation of music lovers along for the ride.
Essential Listening: Lonerism CD £8 LP £30 Currents CD £6 LP £23 Innerspeaker CD £7 LP £30
Members: James Bagshaw Tom Walmsley Adam Smith Rens Ottink
British psychedelic band Temples combine the trippily experimental sound of groups like Tomorrow and The Move with the classic song craftsmanship of The Beatles. The chiming guitars, tight harmonies, and easygoing T Rex boogie of their debut album, “Sun Structures”, gained the band a following that expanded beyond neo-psych circles. Thanks to the record’s impact, they found themselves at the forefront of a miniature psychedelic revival. The band put their fans to the test with the synth-heavy follow-up Volcano, but returned to more familiar territory on 2019’s “Hot Motion”.
Essential Listening: Sun Structure CD £10 LP £25 Hot Motion CD £10 LP £25
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Members: Ruban Nielson Jacob Portrait Kody Nielson
Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s genre-defying approach to music has allowed the band’s sound to shift and evolve with every new album. The group’s driving force, Ruban Nelson, is a psychedelic explorer with an experimental bent that was clear from the very first home-recorded Unknown Mortal Orchestra album, which paired his soaring guitar work with winsome melodies and trippy production. Working by himself and with a vast array of collaborators, Nielson has taken the band on a journey touching on acoustic balladry, free jazz, disco and hard rock.
Essential Listening: Sex & Food CD £11 LP £22 II CD £11 LP £17
Full list of artists in offer featured in the spotify playlist above!