Dawn of Destruction: The Sonic Dawn & The Best of 2010s Psych Pop

“To fathom hell or soar angelic, just take a pinch of psychedelic” — British psychiatrist Humphry Osmond in a 1953 letter to Aldous Huxley.

In preparation for The Sonic Dawn’s third album, Eclipse, I listened to their hugely overlooked 2017 album Into The Long Night. Then I realized there were a load of overlooked albums from that year alone by Papernut Cambridge, The Sand Pebbles, The Beginner’s Mynd, The Citradels and Lucille Furs for starters. Additionally, a book called Psychedelic Popular Music: A History through Musical Topic Theory (Musical Meaning and Interpretation) came out that year by William Echard. It appears to be based on an academic dissertation, but has some great insights amidst the academic language and meticulously transcribed musical notation. It inspired me to rediscover some lesser known psych pop in the 60s. This kept me busy for most of the month.

Psychedelia is so ubiquitous it’s hard to imagine music without it’s influence, even in the most poppy of the popular. Many may not be aware of the influence because it’s so ingrained into the fabric of a lot of popular music and culture. For example, in 2014 Hedi Slimane introduced an entire line called Psych Rock for Saint Laurent.  When the new dark comedy Russian Doll debuted on Netflix last Friday, it used Nilsson’s “Gotta Get Up” that added an off-kilter layer of mystery and menace to a party scene. The 1971 bouncy ditty has more in common with Paul McCartney’s solo work than Nilsson’s earlier psych pop albums, but it still evokes that subtle feeling that Natasha Lyonne is definitely going to be sucked through that yonic portal into the void through that creepy bathroom door at some point. Or perhaps that’s just Wonderland rejecting Lyonne’s grizzled, whiskey, drugs and cigarette soaked Alice and spitting her back out. Whatever happens, the show would only benefit from using more psych pop.

Psychedelia is obviously a huge focus for the likes of The Flaming Lips, My Bloody Valentine, Primal Scream, Beck, Oasis, Animal Collective and of course Tame Impala. Perhaps less obviously, there’s Prince, De La Soul, Radiohead, OutKast, Arcade Fire, Wilco, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Janelle Monáe, Frank Ocean, Lady GaGa and so much more. Yet when psych is the primary element in contemporary music, most attention is focused either on avant and experimental psych, especially with the critical community as it more often crosses over with indie and electronica, or heavy psych most associated with stoner rock and doom metal communities, which are heavily represented by dozens of blogs and loyal concertgoers. But what of psych pop? Beyond basically two recent bands that have achieved enough star power to headline festivals – Tame Impala and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard from Perth and Melbourne, Australia, most seem to fall between the cracks.

I can’t claim the psych pop bands discussed below are inherently superior to the others mentioned. I myself have spent more listening hours and live shows listening to heavier music. But I still get cravings for melodic pop music, but am left unsatisfied with most of the mainstream offerings. And much like today’s mainstream, the big stars of the sixties rarely self-identified as psychedelic artists. The Yardbirds (“Heart Full of Soul”), The Kinks (“See My Friends”), The Beatles (“Rain”), The Byrds (“Eight Miles High”) and The Rolling Stones (“Paint It Black”) were without a doubt the early psych pop groundbreakers. Yet they only dabbled in psychedelia, with only a handful of other songs that could fit into that category. Even with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band only four of the thirteen tracks could be considered psychedelic. The Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request arguably was more psychedelic, even if they seemed to satirize psych culture. Despite the critical drubbing they got, parts of that album’s dark psychedelia arguably holds up better than the weaker cuts on Sgt. Pepper. I realize that’s all debatable, but the point is that they cracked open a wicked Pandora’s Box that gave pop music some fangs (or “to fathom hell or soar angelic”), such as the employment of new technological effects like fuzz, reverb, tremolo/vibrato, and the Echoplex to signify chaos and disorientation.

While Jimi Hendrix and Blue Cheer harnessed that chaos into heavy psych and inspired proto-metal bands who dove straight into the void to eventually spawn heavy metal, doom and stoner rock, a lot of pop bands also benefited from these advancements. Even if they seemed to use psych only as a passing trend that affected their surface sound and not their emotional core, such as The Hollies, Bee Gees, The Monkees and The Moody Blues, their songs were better for it to my ears (see playlist below). Some bands went all-in with psychedelia, like The 13th Floor Elevators, Pink Floyd, The Pretty Things, Love, Small Faces, The Zombies, The Millennium, July, Tomorrow, Kaleidoscope and even Donovan. But it only lasted for an album or two, then they either moved on, forward to prog and hard rock or stopped making music by the end of the sixties. This felt like a lost opportunity, with a lot of musical territory left unexplored.

A lot of sounds band struggled to achieve were only partially successful due to limitations in technology. The sound of these records from between 1966 and 1969 varied widely because recording technology was changing rapidly. To overcome limitations of 4-track recorders, producer George Martin used a pair of Studer J37s to increase the track count further by making reduction mixes. He mixed tracks from a full J37, sent them through a compressor and bounced to one or more tracks on the second machine. Phasing was the swirly flanged sound achieved by playing two copies of a track at different speeds, heard for example of Small Faces’ “Itchycoo Park” and the backing vocals on “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.” Psychedelia helped ignite the interest in stereo, as most recordings were done in mono until 1968. Solid-state technology also entered the picture in 1968 with units such as the FET-based Urei 1176 compressor/limiter. Abbey Road studio benefited from the first transistorised mixing console in 1968. By the time bands who weren’t the Beatles, The Zombies or The Pretty Things could access the newest technology, psych pop was no longer in vogue.

The 80s saw a lot of bands paying tribute to the psychedelic sixties, from indie pop band XTC taking on the pseudonym The Dukes Of Stratosphear to Prince’s Around The World In A Day (1985) to Husker Du’s scorching cover of “Eight Miles High.” The Dentists and The Steppes were the two bands that embraced a psych pop sound, with many others dabbling in garage psych (Lime Spiders, The Original Sins, The Chesterfield Kings, The Godfathers, Thee Hypnotics, Marshmallow Overcoat, The Playn Jayn), fusing with post-punk (The Soft Boys, The Sound, The Teardrop Explodes, Echo & the Bunnymen, Siouxsie & the Bandhees, The Cure, The Blue Orchids, The Church, The Dream Syndicate) and proto-grunge, indie noise (Butthole Surfers, High Rise, Slovenly, The Screaming Trees, F/i, Loop, The Bevis Frond). Jim DeRogatis covers much of this in his book, Turn On Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock (2003). It would be fun to see an update of that book to include the last couple decades.

Psychedelia consistently remained in the musical DNA in the 90s and 00s, but psych pop remained at a slow simmer, with just All Natural Lemon & Lime Flavors, Motorpsycho, El Guincho, The Resonars, The Urges, The Sand Pebbles, Elephant Stone, The Amazing and Pond adding to the ouevre. In comparison, there was an onslaught of psych pop in the 2010s, perhaps inspired by a little offshoot band of Pond’s formed by Kevin Parker and Jay Watson, Tame Impala. Innerspeaker (2010) seemed to instantly connect with a larger audience than any of their contemporaries could achieve, including Dungen, the Swedish band of virtuosos who gained some international attention with Ta det lugnt (2004), but their psych prog and jazz fusion was perhaps too out there for mainstream success. When Tame Impala’s single “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” became a megahit in 2012, it didn’t necessarily prompt dozens of bands to form (well, maybe it did), but the bands included here were mostly already formed and active. Very few bands sound derivative of Tame Impala (except for perhaps Temples), because they did not invent modern psych pop. They just recorded some great songs and became extremely popular. Let’s hope the growing number of bands is an indicator that like folk, country, jazz, blues, soul, metal, funk, punk, and dance music, psychedelic music is not just some fad, but a important part of our culture that’s here to stay.

The Sonic Dawn – Eclipse (Heavy Psych, 2019)

It seems a no-brainer that the best bands would be a tight unit of accomplished musicians who can also write a tune. But it’s easier said than done. I’m a big fan of Dungen’s impressive musicianship and incredible sounding psych prog and jazz fusion. But they only have a couple songs that stick in my memory. So when a band like the Danish unit The Sonic Dawn comes around who sound like they could pull off a wicked live improvisational jazz fusion set if they wanted, have interesting, memorable songs, and also evokes expansive psych soundscapes with memorable melodies that play my pleasure points like a banjo, I know I’ve found something special. The last band that had those kinds of chops, with Nuggets hooks and Yardbirds style rave-up abandon, was Hidden Masters, who promptly broke up after their brilliant 2013 debut. Jazzy Canterbury psych proggers Syd Arthur are similarly accomplished, but after simplifying their sound into electro-laced pop on the excellent Apricity (2016) there’s no indication new music is forthcoming until at least 2020.

After releasing debut Perception (2015), the trio toured relentlessly, augmented by Errka Petersoson on organs, electric pianos and Mellotron. By Into The Long Night (2017), they applied their road-seasoned musicianship toward more disciplined songwriting, evolving from the bluesier material of the debut to brilliant psych pop. Spending a year recording over 40 songs, they pared Eclipse down to a nearly perfect batch of 13 tunes, easily one of the best psychedelic pop albums of the decade.

This is no lightweight sunshine pop, though. There’s a spector of unspecified tragedies members worked through, and the dire plight of world events tipping us toward a chain of apocalyptic extinction events.  Yes, it’s rooted in 60s psych pop, but the album spans a subtly wide stylistic range. For example, “Opening Night” operates within what William Echard calls “the twang guitar continuum” with its subtle deployment of reverb, tremolo and vibrato. In this case, it’s a gentle surf ballad, aided by gently rolling drum fills evoking waves. It’s a beautiful sound, one that a band could base an entire career on. I believe the surf noir niche is wide open right now. That’s not the path for The Sonic Dawn, who are too versatile to stick to such a singular style.

On opener “Forever 1969,” Danish psych legend Uffe Lorenzen of Baby Woodrose contributes maracas. Instead of the garage psych style rave-ups Uffe specializes in, the song is very restrained, with clean guitars that pay tribute to both the compressed sound of The Beatles’ Abbey Road and the guitar tones of the Stones’ Sticky Fingers. “No Chaser,” on the other hand, sports a riff worthy of Swedish hard rockers Graveyard. (they used the same mastering engineer, Hans Olsson Brookes at Svenska Grammofonstudion) “Circle of Things” features a beautifully circular folky guitar riff that gives it a meditative pastoral feel, while “On the Edge of Our Time” evokes eerie atmospherics with its minor key vocal melodies and haunting organ that favorably recalls Wolf People.

“Last Page” is dark and moody, but manages a floating dreamlike quality rather than a dirge.  The guitar intro to “Love Bird” sounds gives a nod to “Electricity” by Captain Beefheart & the Magic band, before taking off into the most buoyant and sweet sounding tunes on the album, with Emil Bureau reaching an impressively high range on vocals. The album ends on an extended, elegiac highnote with “Towards the End,” a breathtaking pastoral ballad with some lovely vocal harmonies.

We’ve been having to fathom hell every day for the past couple years, but thankfully we have bands like The Sonic Dawn where we can still glimpse a slice of heaven.

Lucille Furs – Another Land (Requiem Pour Un Twister)

Chicago band Lucille Furs, after a really solid self-titled debut in 2017, make an impressive progression in songwriting on their second album, which holds up very nicely next to the towering achievement of The Sonic Dawn. While the first album was a sort of stealth self-release, word of mouth spread throughout 2018, and the band seemed to already have another album in the can with plans to release it last year. They waited until now probably to get a little more promotional momentum going, and anticipation. It was worth the wait. The album kicks off with the title track, the intro bassline and drum pattern a direct tribute to The Beatles’ “Come Together.” It changes to a more uptempo tune, driven by an Eastern guitar figure. While a decent number of successful bands explored psych pop during the brief 1967-68 window of fashionability, when I hear the psych singles of The Monkees and The Hollies, I mostly hear unfulfilled potential. Thanks to bands like Lucille Furs, we can hear these possibilities fleshed out. Need more psychedelic surf rock in your life? Now you have “Madre De Exiliados.” Do you wish The Pretty Things explored more of the early psych prog territory on S.F. Sorrow? Songs like the title track features plenty of surprising changes to keep ears fluffed and chuffed. And of course, there’s plenty of nods to the Beatles throughout. Every song is consistently rewarding, but the powerful melodies in “First Do No Harm,” “Sooner Or Later” and “The 34th Floor” are highlights. From brief, but trippy fuzz guitar solos (“All Flowers Before Her”) to pop hooks (“Paint Euphrosyne Blue”), this is a strong contender for one of the best albums of the year so far, right up there with The Sonic Dawn.

Papernut Cambridge – Cambridge Circus  (Gare Du Nord, 2017)
– Everything You Say Is Lyrics, Anything You Touch is Art (WIAIWAY, 2017)
– Second Sun EP (Eggs in Aspic, 2017)
– Mellotron Phase: Volume 1 (Gare Du Nord, 2017)

Papernut Cambridge didn’t release all their best albums in 2017 (last year’s Outstairs Instairs, for example, is really great too), but I wanted to point out that King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard wasn’t the only band to put out an impressive amount of material in 2017. In fact, Papernut’s work was much more consistent, all 2:49:28 of it. King Giz promised five albums, and they delivered, a whopping 3:33:42 worth of music. But only a fraction of that is going to get any repeated listens in my psychedelic listening lair. On the other hand, I can’t stop playing Papernut. Everything You Say Is Lyrics, Anything You Touch is Art is a 1:17:00 long single track album, inspired by VU’s “Sister Ray” (the live version), Television’s “Marquee Moon” and The Troggs, it’s ursurped Sleep’s “Dopesmoker” as my favorite hour-plus long song. And I have literally listened to it all day on repeat.

Papernut Cambridge is Ian Button (a most excellent psych name in itself), who played guitar for Thrashing Doves in the 80s and Death In Vegas in the 90s. He has since worked as a producer and songwriter, and started his Gare du Nord record label in 2013, the same year he debuted with Papernut Cambridge. Under this new monikor, Button heavily references 60’s psychedelia along with touches of 90s shoegaze, but also shows the expansive creative possibilities of the genre that have yet to be fully explored. The past couple years his two volumes of instrumental Mellotron Phase projects have nearly gotten all the critical attention in reviews and year-end polls, which isn’t fair to the excellent songs of the main releases. Whether you start with Mellotron Phase or at the beginning with Cambridge Nutflake (2013), you’ll be rewarded with endlessly colorful and accomplished psych pop. The thrill need not end anytime soon as this prolific project sees at least one, sometimes four releases a year.

Hollow Hand – Star Chamber (Talkshow, 2018)

From my 2018 list, I count 56 albums that were at least partially psych pop. My top pick is Hollow Hand, initially a one-man project by Max Kinghorn-Mills, who self-released his debut of psych pop and progressive folk, Ancestral Lands in 2015. Since then, the London based Kinghorn-Mills formed a group and is in full songwriting bloom. Reviews have dropped names like Kevin Ayers, Robert Wyatt, Syd Barrett and Ray Davies. Fair enough, along with early Soft Machine, Floyd and Kinks I hear some Gene Clark (“One Good Turn”), McCartney (“Ancestral Lands”), overall really consistently stellar songs. The fact that the music sounds uplifting and can inspire nostalgia has had some take a patronizing attitude that the music is like comfort food. I don’t buy it. Few people can actually craft songs this well, and that’s a valuable thing indeed. I just hope he continues the quality output and tours North America so people will someday utter his name alongside the likes of Kevin Parker, Ty Segall, John Dwyer and Jacco Gardner. | Buy

The Sand Pebbles – Pleasure Maps (Kasumen, 2017)

This Melbourne, Australia band has been under the radar for everyone but the most enthusiastic heads. They’ve been in action since 2001 and this is their sixth album. By 2009 they already had a compilation, A Thousand Wild Flowers, which covers their first four albums. This album has a somewhat gauzy shoegaze quality that lends it a floaty, spacey quality that’s shimmering and alluring. It was enough to prompt me to obsessively chase down all their other albums. It’s not easy, the band has so far spurned Bandcamp and other digital services with the exception of the compilation and Ceduna (2008). I found double CD of Atlantis Regrets Nothing (2006) and Dark Magic (2011), and they recently reissued second album Ghost Transmissions (2004) on vinyl, but I haven’t found CDs or lossless files for that or Eastern Terrace (2002). To get the Pleasure Maps CD (Krampus confiscated my record player in 1996 and it’s sitting in his lair somewhere in the dark forests of Finland), I’d have to buy the vinyl LP for $36 AUD. At least the CD contains a bonus cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Oh! Sweet Nuthin’” featuring Amaya Laucirica on vocals. I did it, because yes, they’re worth the trouble.  | Buy

The Beginner’s Mynd – Don’t Lose Your Mind (13 O’Clock, 2017)

Another great album from the banner psych pop year of 2017. Like a lot of great psych projects, it started with the solitary bedroom tape experiments of a lone freakster bro, this particular one being Washington D.C.’s Dan McNabb, who messed around recording guitar and sitar freakouts with tablas. After kicking around various bands, he connected with some likeminded musicians (Carrie Ferguson on keyboards and drummer Larry Ferguson) and, using Nilsson’s obscure “Sister Marie” as a sonic template, recorded their first first tracks which were eventually released as a cassette in 2013, as well as on Bandcamp. Since then, McNabb’s recording philosophy evolved from trying to sound authentically 60s to being a contemporary band that happens to enjoy messing with vintage gear, including his Mellotrons, a Farfisa organ and harpsichord. On their debut album for Austin label 13 O’Clock, they strike a perfect balance. For example, “Out of Tune” features bass extension and a sheen that you don’t hear on 60s records. The sound has more in common with the Arctic Monkeys than tinny garage rock. McNabb’s guitar playing isn’t flashy, but his jangly solos in “Nothing Wrong” work perfectly. The album ends with the wonderfully trippy raga rock of “No Expectations,” leaving you immediately craving more. I went ahead and bought all the singles they recorded from 2015 to 2018 and tacked the seven songs at the end, including a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Baby Blue,” a more ornate, upbeat update of the version by The 13th Floor Elevators from 1967. I can’t wait to hear more from this great band.

The Dials – That Was The Future (Gear Discs, 2017)

Everyone hears the tiniest ringing bell when they hear the name The Dials. No it’s not faerie magick, it’s the fact that with a couple bands a year taking the name, everyone’s heard of a Dials. Most don’t last, but this one, named after the 7 Dials area of Brighton, has been together for 15 years. Their started out with an indie garage psych sound equally informed by a country folk twang, with some nice Hollies/CSN&Y styled harmonies and vintage keyboards. They also made the news when they were trapped in a bank vault while recording their second album, Companions Of The Rosy Hours (2009), and had to be rescued by nine firemen. Their first two are very solid, with third album, The End Of The Pier (2013) had them stretching out a bit, such as the space surf rock of “Mondo Space.” However their fourth sees them reaching a whole new level. | Full Review  | Buy

The Urges – Time Will Pass (Mersol, 2016)

Dublin Quintet The Urges are like a comet, in this case streaking through our atmosphere every nine years. Their first album, Psych Ward (2007) was a hugely rewarding mix of garage and psych pop, with their second album sounding more ambitious with horn arrangements and choral backing vocals. They replied this week to my inquiries on their status and they said they are on indefinite hiatus. If we’re lucky, perhaps we’ll hear something by 2025 (sooner would be nice though). Time Will Pass indeed! Until then, we have two brilliant albums to enjoy. | Buy

The Butterscotch Cathedral – The Butterscotch Cathedral (Trouble In Mind, 2015)

The Butterscotch Cathedral is essentially the most recent album from the long-running Tucson psych/power pop band The Resonars. Matt Rendon apparently gave the project a different name since it was a departure in that it’s a more overtly direct tribute to baroque 60s psych pop, like a lost Hollies album where they attempted a concept album to compete with the Beatles and Beach Boys, with two 18 minute suites made up of 16 songs, sandwiching a third song, the succinct 2:04 long “Loud Heavy Sun.” I’m tempted to fire up an audio app and chop those damn tracks into their individual songs, but otherwise it’s pretty great. The Resonars have been active since 1991, and while it’s been a while since their last official album, 2012’s Crummy Desert Sound, their current label, Chicago based Trouble In Mind, announced there will be a new Resonars album, No Exit, on April 19. I’m looking forward to it!

Hidden Masters – Of This & Other Worlds (Rise Above/Metal Blade, 2013)

This one has caused me some angst — the Glasgow band behind one of my all-time favorite albums of the decade unceremoniously broke up before they could even tour to support its release. Since then, David Addison formed skiffle/surf noir/rockabilly band The Strange Blue Dreams which doesn’t quite fit in here. Part of my original review:

The first time I heard “She Broke the Clock of the Long Now,” with it’s turn-on-the-dime tempos, unusual minor key progressions and impressive three-part vocal harmonies, I was immediately grinning. It’s a great introduction, with them showing off what they’re capable of. While they may not be as heavy as most of their Rise Above labelmates, they throw in an awesome Sabbath-worthy riff in the middle of “Into the Night Sky” just to remind everyone they could do heavy with the best of ’em. And the songs get even better, with the Beatlesy “Last Days of the Sun,” fantastic guitar lines in “There Are More Things,” and especially “Nobody Knows That We’re Here,” which taps into the vibe of the best The Doors had to offer and the Stones’ “Paint It Black” with the use of Middle-Eastern style progressions. “Like Candy” nearly goes overboard in sugary pop overdrive to the edge of cheesiness, but they pull it off because it’s so well written, performed and sung. Like most of the album, there’s so many surprising twists and turns to the song, it’s so fun to try to anticipate what’s going to happen next. | Full Review | Buy

The Singer-Songwriters

Jacco Gardner – Hypnophobia (Polyvinyl, 2015) | Bandcamp
Doug Tuttle – Doug Tuttle (Trouble In Mind, 2014) | Buy
E.L. Heath – Ty (Wayside & Woodland, 2013) | Bandcamp

Dutch baroque psych specialist Jacco Gardner wowed a lot of folks with his debut Cabinet Of Curiosities (2013), featuring his virtuosity on a number of classical instruments, including harpsichord, strings and flutes. The result is an inviting hybrid of 60s pastoral folk and psych pop (Love, Zombies) with some 70s progressive elements. His new Hypnophobia is just as great, adding a nod to more recent influence, the hauntological music of the Ghost Box label (The Focus Group, Belbury Poly, Pye Corner Audio), including a cover by Julian House, known for his work on Ghost Box albums and the band Broadcast. While the epic “Before The Dawn” and the eerie title track venture into spooky territory, it’s done in such a charmingly ornate way that recalls the best of Pram, and makes an excellent summer soundtrack. Gardner’s third album is instrumental, an interesting choice for a singer-songwriter who’s dealt with pop. Somnium (Polyvinyl/Full Time Hobby, 2018) is really good, and could provide some excellent background to soundtracks, but feels somewhat incomplete as a Jacco Gardner album.

Former Mmoss man Doug Tuttle’s debut solo album in 2014 was my first exposure to his music, which prompted me to dig back into his previous band. His solo debut and follow-up, It Calls On Me (2016) are far more satisfying than his early band work, with better songwriting. The somewhat delicate, jangly psych pop on record has a serrated edge in the form of the tones in Tuttle’s guitar solos, which really come to life in his live shows. Peace Potato (2017) didn’t have quite the same energy, but he’s due for a new album this year and I’m optimistic.

Like Hollow Hand, the Athens born but Shrewsbury, Shropshire (what a perfect name for a little bucolic folk psych setting) residing E.L. Heath is influenced by eccentric British songwriters like Kevin Ayers, but with a more ethereal approach. His full-length in 2013 was in Welsh, while the Smiling Leaf EP (Wayside & Woodland, 2018) was even better, but frustratingly brief. More, please.

Tame Impala

Yes, of course I like Tame Impala, I’m not a fucking monster! I’ve seen them live four times, the first when they toured Innerspeaker (2010) at a small club full of enthusiastic psych freaks. But in subsequent shows as the audience grew larger, they also got dumber and meaner. They even booed opener The Amazing from Sweden, featuring legendary guitarist Reine Fiske. What kind of assholes would claim to like Tame Impala and boo their handpicked opening band? It reminds me of when whatever musical abomination currently claiming to be The Grateful Dead would be in town, and every cliched parody of a burned out hippie swarmed the neighborhood, dragging their janky wares and shitty art to sell as part of the parasite economy that feeds off of the rotting Deadhead cult. Hardly any of the Deadheads I talked to had any knowledge, or even interest in any other psychedelic bands besides the Dead. That’s one potential downside of mainstream success. Many bands dream of that kind of sustained success of course, but beware, it can get gross. I’m hoping that’s not how the fanbases for Tame Impala and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard will turn out.

These highlights are great entrypoints but only scratch the surface. Since I’m focused on psych pop, I don’t cover more harder rocking psych and garage psych that includes much of King Gizzard’s work (their most psych pop is the acoustic Paper Mâché Dream Balloon from 2015), Oh Sees, Ty Segall (both with albums out March 29), Wand (album out April 19) The Janitors, Plastic Crimewave Syndicate, Baby Woodrose, The Mystery Lights, Ouzo Bazooka, Mind Meld, New Candys, Swedish Death Candy, Color Horror, Pretty Lightning, Sunflowers, The Creation Factory, Green Seagull, The Cairo Gang, Straight Arrows and more.

You’ll find more bands in the playist below, including Triptides, who may have deserved more attention, but I’ve only just started listening to them. Also: Crepes, Violet Swells, The Babe Rainbow, Elephant Stone, Mikal Cronin, Temples, The Paperhead, Melody’s Echo Chamber, Sugarfoot, Serpent Power, Pond, The Amazing, Michael Rault, The Smoking Trees, Gloria, Secret Colours, The Spirit of the Beehive and more.

Actually Violet Swells aren’t on Spotify, so here:

60s Psych Pop: A selection of must-hear albums beyond just the obvious ones from Beatles/Byrds/Beach Boys/Who.

The Pretty Things – S.F. Sorrow (Harvest, 1968)
Love – Forever Changes (Elektra, 1967)
The Zombies – Odessey & Oracle (CBS, 1968)
Pink Floyd – The Piper At the Gates Of Dawn (Columbia, 1967)
The Millennium – Begin (Columbia, 1968)
Small Faces – There Are But Four Small Faces (Immediate, 1967)
July – July (Epic, 1968)
Tomorrow – Tomorrow (See For Miles, 1968)
Small Faces – Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake (Immediate , 1968)
The Left Banke – Walk Away Renée/Pretty Ballerina (Smash, 1967)
Kaleidoscope – Tangerine Dream (Fontana/Repertoire, 1967)
Donovan – A Gift From A Flower To A Garden (Epic, 1967)
The Rolling Stones – Their Satanic Majesty’s Request (London/Abko, 1967)
Yardbirds – Roger The Engineer (Columbia/Edsel, 1966)
Donovan – Sunshine Superman (Pye , 1966)
Traffic – Mr. Fantasy/Heaven Is In Your Mind (Island, 1967)
Art – Supernatural Fairy Tales (Island, 1967)
The 13th Floor Elevators – Easter Everywhere (Internatoinal Artists, 1967)

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