“Arguably David Crosby‘s greatest contribution to the Byrds, maybe to music in general. Because it’s absolutely true. If it hasn’t happened to you already, it will. Love will find you, fill you with its sweet, impossible light, and eventually burn you, though probably not fatally. But it will leave scars.” (Philip Random)
The Dukes of Stratosphear being XTC in psychedelic disguise, their first EP 25 O’Clock being one of those sublime moments wherein parody transcends itself, becomes its own wonderful thing. And from 1985 no less, which was about as far from the giddy light of the original psychedelic age as the culture ever got. In fact, go ahead and call 25 O’Clock the turning point, its 25 minutes of wild and weird technicolor pop invention being precisely the kind of superlative noise that could cause a shift in a planet’s orbit.
“Yeah, Jim Morrison was an asshole, who died for his own sins, nobody else’s. But damn, the Doors were a strong band, and yet they were pretty much nothing without him. And that first album in particular – well, somebody had to do it. 1967. Summer of Love – offer at least a hint that there was a darker side to things even as it was rocketing to the top of the charts. Soul Kitchen makes the list because it’s remained mostly well hidden over the years, and thus, no allergies.” (Philip Random)
Apparently, Buffalo Springfield are the greatest band nobody’s ever properly heard, unless you were lucky enough to catch them live way back when, with the psychedelic 60s ripping a hole through time. Neil Young and Stephen Stills (and the other guys), brash and wild and still mostly unknown, desperate to be heard, to wake people the f*** up. The records just don’t capture that. They’re too restrained, too produced, which isn’t to say they don’t have some moments, just lacking that overall carnivorous bite.
In which the Velvet Underground remind us that in NYC, the so-called Summer of Love was more about coolness and shadows and shiny boots of leather than the hippie sh** that was so popular elsewhere. Music so driven, angular, dark that it made you want to grab a whip and get to cracking it in time. Based on a rather pivotal 1870 novella of the same name that explores themes of sadomasochism and dominance, it hits like a wrong door, the kind you open without really thinking about it, but once you have, whatever’s going on in there – it has you, it won’t let you go. Which perhaps begins to explain how it ended up being used to sell tires.
How could the Beatles have been even better? More stuff like Flying. Mellotrons and backwards flutes, and melodies your grandma could hum, on and on. More George.
“Dave Davies being an original Kink, Death of a Clown being a darned fine single that featured big in the British version of the Summer Of Love. But I wouldn’t really notice it until at least the mid 1990s, working through my personal grunge aftermath where I’d listen to pretty much anything that wasn’t heavy, angry and in need of a clean shirt. Clown first showed up on a mixtape care of former roommate Dale, who stuck it right next to some John Coltrane, as I recall. The mid-90s were like that.” (Philip Random)
Speaking of the Basement Tapes, here we have Mr. Robert Zimmerman (aka Bob Dylan) and the band known as The Band (circa 1967) trading verses, talking about what seems to be the overall problem inherent in the downside of prolonged psychedelic (and other) amplification and expansion of one’s mind, body and soul. What do you do with all that nothing you’re feeling? In the end, maybe just sing the blues.
It’s been almost half a century since the Jimi Hendrix Experience dropped its debut album onto the world, but words still fail. Yet you gotta try anyway, so call Manic Depression pure truth in advertising. Even if it was sung in Gaelic, you’d know it was about the world just not being quick enough for the man’s psychedelic soul. Or perhaps the other way around.