“Maybe I’d would’ve liked them more if they hadn’t call themselves the Psychedelic Furs. Or as a friend once put it – too much fur, not enough psychedelic. But that doesn’t apply to the first album, which was cool and dark and working more edges than any normal reality could offer. And a rare sound that was in 1980, the new decade dawning with all of its overblown and over-shiny colours and sounds and whatever else. In fact, you can do a pretty good job of tracking all that by just lining up the first three Psychedelic Furs album covers in chronological order. Not bad. Just not getting better.” (Philip Random)
In which The Melodic Energy Commission, Vancouver based pychedelicists hook up with a Hawkwind refugee, ignore all the punk rock and vitriol that’s raging around them at the time, go deep and high instead, and deliver an essential travelogue for those keen on exploring the great beyond within. The drugs in question? Most likely some of the local shrooms that are so prevalent every autumn once the big autumn rains start a-falling. The album in question? Stranger in Mystery. It’s a trip.
“In which Canada’s The Guess Who, on the verge of genuine BIGness (they’d be outselling the Beatles in 1970), smell the wheat and get cosmic, reference the Bible and otherwise lay down the elusive truth for all god’s children. Seriously, note the title. It’s not The Key, but simply, significantly, psychedelically KEY.” (Philip Random)
They sold their share of records, but Love and Rockets never really got the respect they deserved in the 1980s. Serious fans of Bauhaus (the band from which all three had come) stayed huddled together in windowless rooms awaiting the resurrection of their main man, Peter Murphy (which never really happened). Serious art types were too busy getting their ears shredded by the likes of The Jesus + Mary Chain. Meanwhile David Jay, Kevin Haskins and Daniel Ash kept cranking out some of the coolest, best psychedelic sounds since the 1960s.
“Dr. John (aka Mac Rebennack) serves up some genuinely weird gumbo with one of those songs that sound exactly like what they’re about, not that I’m remotely clear what this is about. Except how could it not be about great primordial swamps, and heat, and weird stews laced with certain medicinal ingredients, which thus take one well beyond normal notions of space, time, meaning, unmeaning. From 1971’s The Sun Moon + Herbs, one of those albums that’s always existed way outside of time, both backward looking and still lightyears beyond any now that’s ever been. I’d call it beautiful but that would just confuse things.” (Philip Random)
“A Sonic Youth song about Joni Mitchell (or so I think I read somewhere years ago), found on 1988’s Daydream Nation, a psychedelic epic if there ever was one (even if it did show up in a most un-psychedelic year), or whatever. I’ve always had trouble putting words to Daydream Nation like an unexpected future kicking through all the gloom and permafrost of its time, full of cool and fierce and infinitely complex noise, and in that complexity hope. Or something like that.” (Philip Random)
Nektar being one of those so-called prog bands that never quite made it over here in the Americas. Maybe because they were from Germany, and how many German bands made it in the 1970s? But they were English actually – they just met in Germany and ended up living there. Maybe it was their live show, a little too ambitious and unwieldly to travel well. Or maybe they were just too musically out there, as they perhaps were with the entirety of Remember The Future a full album concept concerning a blind boy and an alien and everything, really. So we have Philip Random’s abridged version, “… the best parts of side one.”
The Collectors came from Chilliwack (the town) and would eventually become Chilliwack (the band). But first they had some heavy psychedelic work to do. Listen to side A of their debut album and you hear a band doing a nice job of pulling off a Mamas + Papas vibe. But put on Side B and things get way more serious with an epic eruption of non-stop quiet-LOUD-quiet-LOUD musings and rantings on love’s many colours, some of them quite disturbing indeed.
“The problem with any My Bloody Valentine record is, however brilliant it may be, it can’t exist in same sonic universe of that same song performed live. Case in point, When You Sleep from Loveless. On record, it’s a superbly textured experimental pop song with a pronounced dreamy edge. Whereas live, in the Commodore, 1992, it was a gauntlet thrown down by the gods. Swoon in our psychedelic power and complexity, it demanded. And maybe half the crowd did. The other half were gone by shows end, complaining about the noise.” (Philip Random)