Far-Out Alt-Psychedelic Tripping
by Dan Weiss | August 14, 2013
Psychedelia and alt rock have been bedfellows pretty much since alt rock stopped meaning "punk." Bands like Butthole Surfers have freely sung about their not-so-secret LSD habits, while Primal Scream tripped from acid house to Stones-y garage rock to dub explorations -- all of which can be found on 1997's excellent "Burning Wheel." But most crucially, the Elephant 6 collective (Olivia Tremor Control, The Apples in Stereo, Of Montreal) brought the '60s back in a huge way, especially the paisley-fringed, patchouli-soaked stuff, into bricolage bedroom pop (Olivia's "Hideaway") and ecstatic Nuggets-style jams (Apples' "20 Cases Suggestive Of …"). Then The Flaming Lips exploded into one of the biggest psychedelic bands of all time with such orchestral masterpieces as "A Spoonful Weighs a Ton" off their landmark The Soft Bulletin.
The 2000s brought a huge new wave of bands that wanted to re-create the feel of hallucinating in sound, from doomy garage stompers like Black Mountain ("Don't Run Our Hearts Around") and Dead Meadow ("Between Me and the Ground"), to The Polyphonic Spree's Fifth Dimension-inspired euphoria ("Popular by Design") and Dungen's prog rabbit holes (the drum-bonkers "Panda"). Hugely influential explorers like Animal Collective (2007's hypnotic "#1"), Ariel Pink (the jangling, gorgeous "Only in My Dreams") and Black Moth Super Rainbow (the vintage keyboard panorama "Sun Lips") have reigned supreme over the landscape in the last several years, while most recently, acts like Youth Lagoon ("Mute") and Washed Out ("It All Feels Right") keep the imagination tilted. See you on the other side.