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ACID DAZE PART TWO: A Day in My Mind's Mind Vol 2; Fantasies, Polka Dots and Flowers

ACID DAZE PART TWO: A Day in My Mind's Mind Vol 2; Fantasies, Polka Dots and Flowers

Rather than essay this second collection of Kiwi psychedelic songs from '67-'72 -- subtitled "Fantasies, Polka Dots and Flowers" -- why don't I just reproduce below the liner notes I wrote for it?.................. The exciting thing about this on-going series of psychedelic music from New Zealand in the late 60s and early 70s is...

Stephen Malkmus and Jicks: Real Emotional Trash (UNSpin)

Stephen Malkmus and Jicks: Real Emotional Trash (UNSpin)

With guitar playing that slips from Blue Cheer's fuzzy density to Television's ethereal astral flights, lyrics that typically defy interpretation, and some of Neil Young's intensity this is quite some statement by the former Pavement frontman who here takes his tight band through everything from driving and economic prog-rock to almost...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: MGMT: Oracular Spectacular (Sony/BMG)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: MGMT: Oracular Spectacular (Sony/BMG)

As regular visitors to Elsewhere are aware, not everything posted here is a work of unalloyed genius which will be treasured down many lifetimes. (Although there are however more than a few like that I would hope.) But sometimes albums just come along that you are very glad to have heard and simply enjoy for what they mean to you on some odd...

Nicole Atkins: Neptune City (Sony BMG)

Nicole Atkins: Neptune City (Sony BMG)

Because I was lucky enough to grow up in a time of tough-voiced women singers (Dusty, Cilla, Lulu and then Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin and onwards) the wispy wee-girl types like Jewel just irritate the hell out of me. I'd rather not even talk about Mariah's endless sexual obsession with herself either. So round my way...

ACID DAZE PART THREE: A Day in My Mind's Mind Vol 3; 28  Kiwi Psychedelic Trips 1967-72

ACID DAZE PART THREE: A Day in My Mind's Mind Vol 3; 28 Kiwi Psychedelic Trips 1967-72

As with the second volume in this excellent on-going and budget-priced series, I wrote the liner notes to this album and -- with the invaluable research and help of Grant Gillanders who once again chose the tracks and must be on the shortlist of an honour's list for services to Kiwi music -- I also wrote the profiles on the bands who...

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE'S 1993 BOX SET: Fasten your seat belts

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE'S 1993 BOX SET: Fasten your seat belts

History’s such fun. Here are some lyrics from the past to think on: “We are all outlaws in the eyes of America/in order to survive we steal, cheat, lie and [inaudible]/ we are obscene, lawless, hideous, dangerous, dirty, violent and young . . . we are forces of chaos and anarchy.” The singers then toss in the Price noun,...

Love: Forever Changes (1967)

Love: Forever Changes (1967)

When the British rock magazine Mojo published a special supplement on psychedelic rock back in February 2005, among the albums noted were all the usual suspects: Electric Ladyland by Jimi Hendrix took out the top spot and further down were Pink Floyd’s Piper at the Gates of Dawn, the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s and albums by the...

JANIS JOPLIN: Singing out the painful sparks within

JANIS JOPLIN: Singing out the painful sparks within

Of all those admitted to that illustrious pantheon of Dead Sixties Rock Stars, Janis Joplin has been the one least well served. Jimi is revered and regularly remarketed; and Jim has his reissued albums, an Oliver Stone bio-pix, a new headstone in Pere La Chaise and people still seem to refer to him as “a poet”. And Janis?...

The MC5: The Big Bang! The Best of the MC5 (2000 compilation)

The MC5: The Big Bang! The Best of the MC5 (2000 compilation)

Writing against the tenor of these times, let it be said that sometimes there's no particular advantage in being first. Take Detroit's MC5. Essentially they made snotty, loud, politicised rock'n'roll. Like the Clash? Sort of - except of their era, which was, unfortunately for them, the confusing period at the start of which Magical...

The Warlocks: Can't Come Down (1965)

The Warlocks: Can't Come Down (1965)

By the mid Sixties the spirit and style of poetic Bob Dylan was everywhere as singers and writers tried to match his surreal wordplay. Dylan's harmonica, image heavy lyrics and monotone is everywhere in this demo by the Warlocks out of San Francisco. Of all the Bob-copyists the Warlocks had the best claim to similar territory: they were...

Sky Cries Mary; 2000 Light Years From Home (1993)

Sky Cries Mary; 2000 Light Years From Home (1993)

A tip? Eat your acid drop right now . . . and . . . and waiting and waiting and  . .. now? Shall we around this point try to be serious? Let us try.  At the same time as grunge was emerging in Seattle there were other things going on in that city, it wasn't all lumberjack shirts and flailing emotional intensity. The...

LOVE IS THE SONG WE SING; SAN FRANCISCO NUGGETS 1965-1970 (Rhino): Flowers and freak outs

LOVE IS THE SONG WE SING; SAN FRANCISCO NUGGETS 1965-1970 (Rhino): Flowers and freak outs

Any box set or collection which tries to mop up an era, genre or decade is probably doomed to failure, not from lack of genuine effort but because some artists (the big ones) don't want to be included. So you can get a multiple disc, very inclusive set of the Eighties for example and it doesn't have anything by Madonna, Prince, Springsteen and...

Brian Jonestown Massacre: Who Killed Sgt Pepper? (Southbound)

Brian Jonestown Massacre: Who Killed Sgt Pepper? (Southbound)

This one-time San Francisco outfit which is most often considered a train-wreck of styles helmed by a career-destroying personality (Anton Newcombe) here weighs in with a pretty terrific crash of trash rock'n'roll, grunge-psychedelics, borrowings from world music beats and much more. In fact, given their musically wayward history (indie-pop...

A Mountain of One: Institute of Joy (Pod)

A Mountain of One: Institute of Joy (Pod)

After a couple of much sought after EPs the London duo of Zeben Jameson and Mo Morris here (with a lot of help from their friends) unveiled their much anticipated debut album last year. And quite some cosmic trip it was. Their often very lovely and certainly astral-aimed psychedelic sound owed debts to the likes of Pink Floyd (the Meddle...

I WANT TO TAKE YOU HIGHER: THE PSYCHEDELIC YEARS 1965-69 edited by JAMES HENKE AND PARKE PUTERBAUGH

I WANT TO TAKE YOU HIGHER: THE PSYCHEDELIC YEARS 1965-69 edited by JAMES HENKE AND PARKE PUTERBAUGH

Somewhere among my old photographs at home is one of me standing beside John Lennon’s psychedelic Rolls Royce. It was London in late ‘69 and -- aside from revealing the embarrassing affectation of a black cape -- it‘s most interesting for what is in the background: a Morris Minor of the kind that was considerably more common...

13th Floor Elevators: 7th Heaven; Music of the Spheres (Charly/Southbound)

13th Floor Elevators: 7th Heaven; Music of the Spheres (Charly/Southbound)

As with Syd Barrett, the music of 13th Floor Elevators has been overshadowed by the story of the madness, in the case of the Elevators the increasingly bizarre behaviour of their frontman Roky Erickson. Out of Austin, Texas in the mid Sixties, the Elevators were a raw and elemental garageband along the lines of England's Downliners Sect and...

The Gun: Race with the Devil (1967)

The Gun: Race with the Devil (1967)

In the age of Cream (mid '66 to late '68), Blue Cheer and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the power trio became an established form and this group from Buckinghamshire -- two brothers and another -- took the hard rock, guitar pyrotechnics sound to the top of the British charts with this single. And that was about it for them. That's actually...

Timothy Leary: You Can Be Anyone This Time Around (1970)

Timothy Leary: You Can Be Anyone This Time Around (1970)

Older, if not wiser, "heads" will know exactly who Dr Timothy Leary was -- an advocate of the widespread use of LSD to change cultural consciousness and to open individuals to the vastness of the cosmos within and without. Tune in, turn on and drop out became a mantra in the late Sixties. His album You Can Be Anyone This Time...

Moby Grape: Just Like Gene Autry: A Foxtrot (1968)

Moby Grape: Just Like Gene Autry: A Foxtrot (1968)

Varying the speed of tapes in the studio is not uncommon, but asking that your listener get up and change the speed of their record player on an album is another thing entirely. Certainly there have been singles which play one side at 45 and the other at 33 (often 12" singles or EPs from the Eighties) -- but in '68 the increasingly...

Endless Boogie: Full House Head (Shock)

Endless Boogie: Full House Head (Shock)

In his rock'n'roll essays and fiction collection The Boy Who Cried Freebird, the American writer Mitch Myers traces the notion of “boogie” from its name (having sex, basically) through the blues (John Lee Hooker's Boogie Chillun in 48) and boogie-woogie piano a building block of early rock'n'roll and then into those endless jams...

Procol Harum: The Best of, Then and Now (Salvo)

Procol Harum: The Best of, Then and Now (Salvo)

It is hard to believe -- and somewhat sad -- that the authorship of Whiter Shade of Pale, this group's defining moment (and which also captured the dreamy, surreal English Summer of Love in '67), should only have been resolved in Britain's House of Lords a few years ago. It's also a shame that -- just as in any film about the war in Vietnam...

BLUES MAGOOS 1966-68: Pop's psychedelic pioneers

BLUES MAGOOS 1966-68: Pop's psychedelic pioneers

Some albums catch a band at a turning point, one foot in the past and the other stepping towards an unknown but promising future. If the Beatles, through exhaustion and wrung out by the constant pressure to produce, had called it a day in late 1965 their legacy would have been easy to distill down: a few joyfully adolescent pop hits,...

Sir Douglas Quintet: Lawd I'm Just a Country Boy in This Great Big Freaky City (1968)

Sir Douglas Quintet: Lawd I'm Just a Country Boy in This Great Big Freaky City (1968)

When this song was written, Doug Sahm -- singer, writer and frontman for the Sir Douglas Quintet -- was feeling somewhat jaded about the hippie paradise that had been San Francisco. He and the band were from Texas and in the mid-Sixties had, like so many, moved to the Bay Area to enjoy whatever was happening there. But increasingly the...

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE; THE SIDE PROJECTS 1970-74: The Baron and the Nun go it alone, together

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE; THE SIDE PROJECTS 1970-74: The Baron and the Nun go it alone, together

The New York garageband Blues Magoos' Psychedelic Lollipop of 1966 was one of the first albums to have the word “psychedelic” in the title, but it wasn't quite the spaced-out sweet thing the name suggested. 13th Floor Elevators out of Texas the same year with their debut The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators...

13th FLOOR ELEVATORS (1966-69): Shall we take a trip, or a Roky ride?

13th FLOOR ELEVATORS (1966-69): Shall we take a trip, or a Roky ride?

The description “psychedelic music” – much like “freedom” – can mean whatever you want. The first albums with “psychedelic” in the title were by 13th Floor Elevators out of Texas (The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators) and New York's Blues Magoos (Psychedelic Lollipop), both...

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown: The Crazy World of Arthur Brown (1968)

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown: The Crazy World of Arthur Brown (1968)

By the latter part of the Sixties there was a clear difference between how American and British "hippies" perceived "the psychedelic era". If it's true that no music movement comes without its own new set of clothes then the difference was visible on the streets. In the US where ponchos, fringed-jackets, tie-dye t-shirts...

The Great! Society: Somebody to Love (1966)

The Great! Society: Somebody to Love (1966)

There were at least three different versions of this psychedelic classic which is best known in its third incarnation by Jefferson Airplane. But the song dated back to before that '66 single/album track -- back to the band that singer Grace Slick was in before she joined the Airplane. Her previous group -- with her husband Jerry and his...

Barry McGuire: California Dreamin' (1965)

Barry McGuire: California Dreamin' (1965)

After his growling and apocalyptic version of PF Sloan's Eve of Destruction in '65 the former folkie Barry McGuire -- who had been in the New Christy Minstrels and had co-written their big hit Green Green -- was looking for new material to include on his second album. Producer Lou Adler lined up a number of covers -- the Beatles' Yesterday...

Janis Joplin: Trouble in Mind (1965)

Janis Joplin: Trouble in Mind (1965)

The great Janis Joplin has been dead for over four decades now but it would be fair to observe that no woman in rock has ever approached her deep understanding of the blues and earthy, powerful delivery . . . let alone her self-destructive approach to life. Yet she has been largely forgotten and, as this essay notes, no one seems in any mind...

WHEN YOU'RE STRANGE; A FILM ABOUT THE DOORS, a doco by TOM DICILLO (Madman DVD)

WHEN YOU'RE STRANGE; A FILM ABOUT THE DOORS, a doco by TOM DICILLO (Madman DVD)

Two things strike you immediately about this much vaunted and Grammy award-winning doco: That Jim Morrison was a man of brooding good looks except when he smiled and then he looked just plain goofy (and there is a lot of him smiling and laughing in the early footage here); and that the script which Johnny Depp reads in a tired monotone seems to...

Ray Manzarek/Roy Rogers: Translucent Blues (Blind Pig)

Ray Manzarek/Roy Rogers: Translucent Blues (Blind Pig)

Given his organ playing was such an integral part of the Doors' sound, it's surprising Ray Manzarek's subsequent four decade career has garnered so little attention, although to be fair it has thrown up few decent albums. I recall trading in his Carmina Burana within a week of getting it in the early Eighties and just last month I paid $5...

Scorpio Rising: Peace Frog (1992)

Scorpio Rising: Peace Frog (1992)

For a short while Scorpio Rising out of Liverpool seemed to point a new direction in British rock post-Stone Roses. They formed the year of the Stone Roses' impressive debut and had a similarly psychedelic approach to rock guitars and dance beats. After their single Watermelon and EP IF, they were in demand on the live circuit, released...

Trembling Bells: The Constant Pageant (Fuse/Border)

Trembling Bells: The Constant Pageant (Fuse/Border)

This Glasgow quartet fronted by the powerful folk-vocals of Lavinia Blackwall have previously delivered folkadelia but right from the ringing guitars of this, their third album, they have moved more firmly into the psychedelic rock area where Celtic hippies roam wind-swept moors and have anthemic Jefferson Airplane and Fairport Convention...

Wooden Shjips: West (Fuse)

Wooden Shjips: West (Fuse)

Wooden Shjips (sic) out of San Francisco once again serve up their particular brand of astral plane psychedelic drone-rock which sounds filtered through steel wool. Their appealing tripped-out grunge sits somewhere along the faultline of their city's Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane and a full volume, garageband metal overhaul of...

JIMI HENDRIX IN 2011: Return to Winterland 1968

JIMI HENDRIX IN 2011: Return to Winterland 1968

From the moment Jimi Hendrix arrived in London in the early hours of September 24 1966 to his death in the same city just a few days short of four years later, he seemed to be constantly moving, playing and recording. He played his first jam in London the night he arrived, and a fortnight later -- after jamming with the Brian Auger Trinity,...

Moby Grape, Moby Grape (1967)

Moby Grape, Moby Grape (1967)

The short and dramatic story of San Francisco psychedelic folk-rockers Moby Grape is one of the collision of blazing musical talent, shonky management, record company overkill and bad luck. And it all happened in less that a year. Within six months of their classic self-titled debut album released in mid '67 -- a fortnight after the Beatles'...

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