July’s Best Psych Rock Albums (From The Quietus)

mcbain

Some people might remember that my first post on Disinfo back in the day was my yearly roundup of tasty psychedelic albums. I haven’t had a whole ton of time to cover that sort of thing lately, but fortunately some other fine souls have taken up the mantle in my absence. One of those fine souls is JR Moores who does his somewhat monthly Columnfortably Numb posts over at The Quietus, which are always worth digging through to find some new weed friendly tunage. You can catch the whole post at The Quietus, but here’s a small sampling with some minor commentary from yours truly:

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Murder Of The Universe
(Heavenly)

Aspiring for permanent ruddy residency in this column, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are purportedly releasing five albums in a single year and here is their second of 2017. This one consists of 21 relatively short tracks which have been grouped into three distinct “chapters”: The Tale Of The Altered Beast, The Lord Of Lightning Vs. Balrog and Han-Tyumi And The Murder Of The Universe. Clattering frantically along with most tracks flowing immediately into the next while frequent spoken-word voiceovers pop up to help propel the frazzled narrative ever forward, it’s all enough to overwhelm even the most liberal and moustachioed member of Hawkwind. The first two chapters are narrated by Leah Senior whose deadpan presence makes announcements such as “You’re ruthless and savage and sadistic and vindictive / And you find human flesh is incredibly addictive…” We can only assume that the Altered Beast segment is inspired by the 1988 Sega Megadrive game of the same name. That’s fitting because neither King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard nor the 1988 Sega Megadrive game Altered Beast are pastimes of which my mother would approve. Both are highly addictive, prone to induce seizures and will knacker your brain cells something rotten. All you have to do is press “play” and before you know it hours of your life have drained away into that brightly coloured vortex. Mother much prefers listening to Radio 4 presented by John Humphreys & The Curmudgeonly Comfys.

My commentary:

I’m certainly going to pick up this album and the clip up there is pretty good. I’m sure anyone into psych rock has heard KG and the LW at this point, including me. I really dig Nonagon Infinity but there’s definitely a part of me that’s like: are these guys writing the same song over and over again as a mind fuck tactic, or do they just only know one song? Do they think there are different songs on this album, or were they writing the same song over and over again on purpose to fuck with the listeners head? I’ll have to pick up this disc to make a final conclusion on that front. I got Nonagon from the library for free so I suppose I owe them a few bucks anyway.

John McBain – Accidental Soundtracks Vol. 1: The Alpha Particle
(God Unknown)

mcbain

Too few people know the name John McBain. At his mention, your average Joe might confuse him for an action hero in The Simpsons or the Republican nominee for the 2008 US presidential election. A founding member of Monster Magnet, McBain quit the band after completing work on their debut album (a blow from which many argue the New Jersey space warriors never recovered). He’s also played with The Desert Sessions, Hater, Wellwater Conspiracy, Carlton Melton, Evil Acidhead and Kandodo. Oh, and he only bloody co-wrote the best Queens Of The Stone Age song ever recorded (first album, track one). Don’t approach this release expecting Orange-amped desert fuzz, mind. The album title is appropriate because there’s a definite John Carpenter or even Vangelis vibe to many of its tracks. ‘Lower California’ and the aptly named ‘No Guitars’ are particularly Yamahearty. On the other hand, McBain’s Bill Frisell-ish cover of The Fender IV’s surf classic ‘Malibu Run’ sounds readymade to stalk William Burroughs’ private dick Clem Snide as he slinks in and out of various seedy dens. Accidental Soundtracks also contains its fair share of shimmering Neu!-tastic excursions, ambient tides and cool-ass spidery guitar work all created pretty much on the fly as part of a dare to record a song a day until a whole album appeared. Another doozy, and quite a feat, from this hero of the American fringes.

My Commentary:

The implication that somehow Monster Magnet peaked with Spine of God is an iffy one at best. Not that it isn’t a classic album, but Dopes to Infinity is certainly better. I honestly think Last Patrol and Cobras and Fire go on the MM hall of fame list as well. Just in the minor amount of time I’ve spent with this McBain album so far though, it certainly seems like a winner. That Kandodo/McBain album from last year was pretty great as well but took a while to grow on me. You’ve got to respect any album that actually somehow sounds better at like half the speed, and any musician who would actually include a slowed down version of the same record you just listened to as part of the package. Such a weird idea, and a surprisingly cool one at that.

If for some reason you still haven’t caught my interview with Monster Magnet impresario Dave Wyndorf, you should absolutely check it out. There are like 2 people in the entire world I’d actually want to interview, Dave Wyndorf and Grant Morrison. Somehow, I was presented the opportunity to interview one of them by complete accident in 2015, so of course I recorded the whole thing.

Anyway, that’s 2 of the like 6 or 7 albums he covered this month. Go over to the Quietus to check out the rest and enjoy your weekend!

Thad McKraken

Thad McKraken

CEO at DMI
Thad McKraken is a psychedelic writer, musician, visual artist, filmmaker, Occultist, and pug enthusiast based out of Seattle. He is the author of the books The Galactic Dialogue: Occult Initiations and Transmissions From Outside of Time, both of which can be picked up on Amazon super cheap.
Thad McKraken