Results for psychedelic

interviews

Steve Wynn

In preparation for this week's guest, Steve Wynn, Jim and Greg do a little primer on the Paisley Underground music scene that developed in California in the 1980s. Jim plays a song by one of the seminal bands of this scene, The 3 O'Clock, whose very psychedelic name was inspired by Tom Wolfe's assertion in "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" that if one drops acid in the early evening, the high of the trip will occur at 3:00 a.m. The 3 O'Clock was helmed by Michael Quercio, a musician who started as a punk rocker. After discovering psychedelic rock, however, his sound, and his look, began to change. It was Cuercio's affinity for the music of the '60s, as well as the brightly colored paisley clothes, that gave this scene its name. While the name did not do the music justice, the influence of the Paisley Underground on contemporary bands like Oasis and The Secret Machines is undeniable.

It may surprise to listeners who are only familiar with "Walk Like an Egyptian," but The Bangles were also pioneers of the Paisley Underground. Their original sound, with its three- and four-part harmonies and sing-songy melodies, paralleled that of The Mamas and the Papas and The Byrds. Lead singer Susanna Hoffs continues to work in this genre; she and '90s indie pop star Matthew Sweet just released a 1960s covers album featuring songs by The Left Banke, The Beach Boys and The Who.

Greg points out that the Paisley Underground sound was not a homogenous one — in fact, what bonded these bands was a punk sensibility that welcomed other musical styles. Unlike many other punk bands at the time, these acts didn't see why they had to conform to a strict policy of three-minute, Ramones-style songs. And what's more punk rock than non-conformity? One band that went above and beyond its punk and psychedelic influences was The Long Ryders. They took more of a country approach and can be seen as pioneers of the alternative country scene that now houses bands like Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt, and The Bottle Rockets.

The Rain Parade is the next Paisley Underground band up for discussion. While the members of The Rain Parade never saw the major label success like their peers in The Bangles or The 3 O'Clock (who were signed to Prince's Paisley Park label), many went on to work on successful projects. David Robeck formed the band Mazzy Star, which had an alternative hit single with "Fade Into You" in 1993 and Matt Piucci went on to work with Crazy Horse. The remaining bandmates reincarnated themselves as Viva Saturn.

Greg plays a song featuring this week's guest, Steve Wynn. His band The Dream Syndicate was a group that both Jim and Greg became fans of in the early '80s. They emerged in LA as one of the pioneers of the Paisley Underground sound. Steve then released a number of solo records and has spent the last few years with his most recent band, The Miracle 3. Steve and his band members, Linda Pitmon, Dave DeCastro and Kirk Swan, joined Jim and Greg for an interview and performance at the Chicago Recording Company.

The Dream Syndicate never made it into the 1990s, but its innovative sound continued to influence artists. While other LA bands at the time, like Black Flag, Social Distortion and Bad Religion, were making post-punk and punk music with a really hard edge, The Dream Syndicate stuck to a swirlier, psychedelic pop sound. For this reason, Jim and Greg explain, no matter how many solo projects he embarks on, our guest will most likely always be remembered as the lead singer of The Dream Syndicate.

After playing a track from Days of Wine and Roses, which Greg calls one of the masterpieces of the Paisley Underground era, our host asks Steve about the chemistry between two guitarists. In this case, Steve's partner in guitar is Kirk Swan, who was in another innovative '80s indie pop band, Dumptruck, Steve responds that the basic formula of guitar, drums, and bass is simple, but never gets old. He points to bands like Neil Young and Crazy Horse and Television as examples.

Jim asks Steve about why he continues on in this business after so many years. As Steve jokes on his website, this new album is one of several“comebacks,”but music is not such an easy life to come back to. After being pegged the“new Springsteen,”Steve and the band had somewhat of a difficult time. He explains how that hurt the band (and indirectly how he hurt Jim one drunken night). Thankfully they both came out on the other side.

Go to episode 21

Tame Impala

Australian psychedelic band Tame Impala made a huge impact on the US with their 2012 album Lonerism. Jim and Greg were particularly smitten with it, as the album took top slots on both critics' Best of 2012 lists. Tame Impala stopped by our studios in 2013 for an interview and live performance. This week we're revisiting that conversation, just in time for the release of the band's new record Currents. Lead singer Kevin Parker talks about the band's influences, both expected (The Flaming Lips) and not (Supertramp), and his desire to work with producer Dave Fridmann. The musicians also debate whether actual psychedelic substances contribute to a psychedelic sound. Certainly you don't need them to enjoy the result.

Go to episode 503

Keven McAlester

One of rock's most influential and interesting figures is former 13th Floor Elevators frontman Roky Erickson. After performing with the psychedelic band in the '60s and as a solo artist in the '80s, the singer's mental and physical health took a severe decline. But in the past couple of years, Roky's sights have improved, and Jim and Greg took this opportunity to celebrate his legacy. During this you'll hear their discussion with Keven McAlester, the director of the film biography You're Gonna Miss Me. McAlester spoke to Jim and Greg after a special screening of the film at Chicago's Music Box Theatre.

Jim and Greg highlight two of their favorite Roky Erickson tracks from different points in his career. The first is a 13th Floor Elevators song called "Reverberation Doubt," which Jim explains is an example of how psychedelic the band was. The song was not only influenced by psychedelic drugs, but it conveys the experience of using them. Jim discusses the term“synesthesia,”which refers the drugs' ability to allow you to actually see musical notes, and“Reverberation Doubt”has a similar effect. As he states, it gives you the "sense that the entire world is vibrating."

The second is a solo track from a later period in Roky's career. "Red Temple Prayer (Two-Headed Dog)" was recorded after Roky came out of Rusk State Mental Hospital in Texas, and wasn't in very good shape. But, musically he was very productive, and became one of the American artists to really lay the groundwork for punk music. Roky's songwriting at this time was influenced greatly by horror movies, and the title of this song gives a sense of where his mental state was. Greg describes“Two-Headed Dog”as a brutal, but wonderfully hard-hitting song.

You'll also hear a montage of covers from the tribute album Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye:

  • R.E.M., "I Walked with a Zombie"
  • ZZ Top, "Reverberation"
  • T-Bone Burnett, "Nothing in Return"
  • Butthole Surfers, "Earthquake"
  • Julian Cope, "I Have Always Been Here Before"
Go to episode 91

The Flaming Lips

This week's guests are two of the members of Oklahoma's Flaming Lips, co-founder Wayne Coyne and long-time member, multi instrumentalist and co-songwriter Steve Drozd. Wayne chimes in that their two other current band members, Michael Ivins and touring drummer Clifford, couldn‘t make it to the interview. Ivins was too preoccupied erecting the UFO for that night’s live gig in Chicago. Greg points out that Wayne at one time admitted he was part of a band that couldn‘t play, had a singer that couldn’t sing, and heralded from an unknown town. Yet, here they are 25 years later, still going strong. As someone who wrote a book about The Flaming Lips. Jim continues to be astounded by the extensiveness of their career. He feels it parallels the career of Pink Floyd who had at least four different incarnations over 30 or 40 years. The Lips' first era was their '80s psychedelic era with it's key album In a Priest Driven Ambulance from 1990. On this album, former Lips drummer Jonathan Donahue replaced Nathan Roberts and the band collaborated for the first time with producer Dave Fridmann. Fridmann, who would go on produce many other Lips‘ albums, brought a higher level of musicality and production to the Lips’ sound. In a Priest Driven Ambulance was also the album that introduced Steve Drozd to the Flaming Lips (he did not join the band until almost a decade into the band's career). Drozd loved the album's“loud psychedelic rock guitar”with "hokum balladry". Greg also adds that the record contained a non-ironic cover of Louis Armstrong's "It's a Wonderful World" amidst the cynical and cooler-than-thou indie rock community.

Even though the band started in 1983, it wasn't until 1992 that The Flaming Lips signed to a major label. The first album for Warner Brothers Records was Hit to Death in the Future Head. Wayne and the band saw this as an opportunity to make a record that's worth the“billion dollars”major labels can spend on albums. Greg feels that their new ambition really exceeded the ambition they had with their previous work. He feels it's clearly evident in 1993's Transmissions from the Satellite Heart. To Jim this album marks the moment when Wayne's songwriting started to rise from the background and move towards the caliber of the Lips' sonic density. Transmission from the Satellite Heart's, "She Don't Use Jelly" is such an example. Even though the song became their breakthrough“wiggy, novelty hit.”it was a "beautiful bubble gum song with a poignant lyric" wrapped inside an amazing musical production. Wayne and the band knew almost from the beginning that the song could be a hit. The song's hook was created from the lyrics which Wayne got from equating smearing chapstick on your lips to buttering your toast. Wayne's story dispels the rock critic myth that these lyrics were a code for sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. Greg brings everyone back to the dense sound of Transmissions From the Satellite Heart. He wonders how Steven came upon the idea layering the heavy“Bonham-esque”drums underneath pop songs. Steven admits that the sound was inspired by Larry Mullen's drums on U2's War.

Greg wonders if the band's next transformation happened after guitarist Ronald Jones left the band in 1996. Wayne agrees that Ronald's leaving changed the band. Although, Steve adds that he himself was burnt out and heavily into drugs at the time. At this point the Lips re-tooled into the era of their parking lot experiments, boom box experiments and the 1997 release of the four-CD album Zaireeka — an album designed for the listener play all four CD's simultaneously on four different sound systems in the same room. Each project was an orchestration of random sounds, a symphony of noise. Wayne wanted to try something new and take a chance.

After the band went through their two year sonic experiment they released the album The Soft Bulletin in 1999, which Jim considers a pop masterpiece. Wayne thinks the signature song from that album is "Race For the Prize". The song is in reference to two scientists fighting to cure a disease. Also on the album is "Waitin' for a Superman," inspired by Wayne and his brother jogging around the lake to deal with their father's bout with cancer. These two songs are full of meaningful and heartstung lyrics. Jim pipes in that that Wayne wouldn‘t have been able to write lyrics like this earlier in the Lip’s career. Wayne chalks it up to the experience of life changing you, which changed him and the band for the better.

2002's Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots is a continuation of the band's lyrical progression, especially with its song "Do You Realize??" Another key song is "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1." (You can hear their live performance here.)

The critical response to these last two albums was, as Jim puts it,“nothing short of ecstatic.”The latest album, 2006's At War With the Mystics hasn‘t seen the same response (including from our own Greg Kot.) Steve and Wayne kind of expected it. They’re just as happy to win a Grammy for a song titled, "The Wizard Turns On…The Giant Silver Flashlight And Puts On His Werewolf Moccasins."

Go to episode 94

Midlake

When Jim and Greg were at SXSW last year they discovered one of their new favorite bands: Midlake. The Denton, TX quintet have been around for about 10 years, but Greg notes that the current Midlake is almost unrecognizable from the old one. He and Jim talk with three-fifths of the band (Eric Pulido, Eric Nichelson, Tim Smith) about how they came together and evolved. The lead singer Tim explains that OK Computer was integral to their development from a 30-minute jam band to what they are today. Psychedelic music fan Jim also wanted to ask what is in the water in Denton. Considering the size and location of the city, it's surprising how many bands came out of there. Eric Pullido, the band's rhythm guitarist, responds that the Denton community really supports art and music.

During their visit Tim and the two Erics of Midlake play "Van Occupanther" off their 2006 release The Trials of Van Occupanther. Tim, the chief songwriter, explains that during a game of “strangest name,”someone came up with Van Occupanther, and everything followed from there. He dismisses the notion of a“concept record,”but admits that there are recurring themes and a cohesive nature to the album due to the fact that all the songs stem from one person. The band also plays "Chasing After Deer," and discusses the process of writing Jim, Greg and Jason Lytle's favorite track, "Roscoe." You can also hear the bonus track "Bandits" here.

Go to episode 95
reviews
New Amerykah, Pt. 1 (4th World War)New AmErykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War available on iTunes

Erykah Badu New AmErykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War

Ever since 2000's Mama's Gun, Erykah Badu fans have been waiting for a follow-up. Jim and Greg are included in that anticipatory group. She's finally back with New AmErykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War, but Jim and Greg warn that listeners should not expect the same sound. Badu has taken "neo-soul" to an even more neo level. Greg describes it as a murky, psychedelic sound that owes as much to Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock as it does traditional soul artists. While it's not an easy listen, it's worth your effort according to Greg. Jim asks the listener to imagine Badu jamming with George Clinton, Curtis Mayfield and a psychedelic band somewhere in New Orleans. If that sounds like something you'd like to hear, both hosts urge you to Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 118
In the FutureIn the Future available on iTunes

Black Mountain In the Future

The final album up for debate this week is In the Future from stoner rockers Black Mountain. Jim and Greg describe the genre as something you either get or you don‘t. So if you’re the type of listener to get down to the heavy, psychedelic metal sounds of bands like Kyuss and Fu Manchu, you‘ll find this record to be pure, headbanging joy…at least according to Jim. Greg is also a fan, but he’s impressed with how smart the band is and how relevant their lyrics are. Whether or not you choose to pay attention to the lyrics, both critics recommend that you Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 118
The Odd CoupleThe Odd Couple available on iTunes

Gnarls Barkley The Odd Couple

Next up is a review of an album that's sure to make news in 2008. Gnarls Barkley has released their highly anticipated second album The Odd Couple. This is the follow-up to 2006's successful release St. Elsewhere, which featured the hit single "Crazy." The genre-blending duo consisting of singer/songwriter Cee-Lo Green and DJ Danger Mouse went for an even darker mood on this album, and both Jim and Greg think it's a success. Jim loves the psychedelic universe Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse created-one that's part soul, part rock, part hip-hop. He admits that there are no "Crazy"-style singles, but gives The Odd Couple a big Buy It. Greg was impressed by how the two men take traditional pop genres like British invasion and Motown, and update them for the 21st century. And beneath the psychedelic swirl of sounds are great melodies and complicated lyrics. Greg seconds the Buy It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 122
Electric ArgumentsElectric Arguments available on iTunes

The Fireman Electric Arguments

The Fireman is Paul McCartney's attempt at anonymity. But, when you are Paul McCartney, nothing is anonymous. In 1993, the Beatle teamed up with British electronica producer Youth as an artistic pet project. Now they are back with a more traditional album called Electric Arguments. Jim is a fan of the psychedelic soundscape tracks–McCartney practically invented the genre after all. And he appreciates the quick, punk rock approach to recording. But, as with most of his solo albums, Jim finds Electric Arguments wildly inconsistent. He gives it a Try It rating. Greg, on the other hand, really admires the songwriting on this album. The pairing of McCartney's trademark melodies with Youth's production is intriguing. And, McCartney has successfully removed much of the sentimentality that bogs down his other records. Greg gives Electric Arguments a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 158
ManipulatorManipulator available on iTunes

Ty Segall Manipulator

Prolific San Francisco garage rocker Ty Segall has released an abundance of material during his 27-year lifetime. From cassette tapes to EPs to singles, rarely does a year go by without the songwriter starting a new band or collaborating with another. Occasionally, though, Segall does step into the spotlight with a solo release, and his latest, this month's Manipulator, is a real stand-out. Jim thinks all 17 tracks on the album are uniformly great with their refined blend of lo-fi psychedelic pop that harkens back to the best of San Francisco's 1980's psych rock revival. Greg loves it, too, notably for Segall's precise production and successful expression of all his musical personalities. Manipulater is a sprawling album full of loving melodies, great guitar playing, and contemplative lyrics; both critics say Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 458
Imani, Vol. 1Imani Vol. 1 available on iTunes

Blackalicious Imani Vol. 1

Sacramento rap duo Blackalicious has had a huge influence on hip-hop over the past twenty years, crafting a more psychedelic Northern California sound than their LA counterparts. Imani Vol. 1 is their first album in a decade and, to Jim's ears, they haven't lost a step. Jim praises the complex, philosophical rhymes of Gift of Gab as he explores themes of perseverance and faith. Producer Chief Xcel continues to bring in sounds from across genres to create dense but accessible backgrounds. Greg appreciates that Blackalicious is picking up where they left off, not making a forced attempt at modernizing their sound. The record maintains the optimism and spirituality always present in their music, while also addressing the continuing struggles faced by African-Americans. Both critics are glad to have them back and give Imani Vol. 1 a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 512
Def Mask - SingleDef Mask available on iTunes

Divine Styler Def Mask

R&B singer D'Angelo wasn't the only artist to emerge from an extended hiatus last month. Brooklyn rapper Divine Styler also returned with a surprise album in December. Def Mask is his first new dose of radical hip-hop in almost 15 years. The album steers clear of Styler's previous pseudo-psychedelic rhymes and rhythms. Instead, it charts a course for the stars joining the ranks of prominent musical Afrofuturists like George Clinton and Janelle Monae in creating a dense, sci-fi-laden sound. Styler's impressive wordplay takes a leery look at today's technology obsessed culture, but despite its dark, neo-noir tone, the album is able to maintain a certain amount of optimism throughout. Def Mask is an ambitious undertaking that is at times both unsettling and uplifting and it marks a celebrated return for Divine Styler. Both Jim and Greg say Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 476
Lost in the DreamSlave Ambient available on iTunes

The War on Drugs Slave Ambient

The Philadelphia band The War on Drugs straddles the line between indie singer/songwriter and psychedelic rock. It was originally founded by Kurt Vile and Adam Granduceil, but Vile has since left to pursue a solo career. Granduceil continued as The War on Drugs, releasing a moderately succesful record called Slave Ambient in 2011. His new album, Lost in the Dream, is his best, according to Jim. Working out the songs on the road created a wonderful live atmosphere. It's perfect headphone music, says Jim: Buy It. Greg likes the record as well, but wishes some of the more meandering tracks were better edited. He gives Lost in the Dream a Try It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 433
PLECTRUMELECTRUMPlectrumelectrum available on iTunes

3rdeyegirl & Prince Plectrumelectrum

The second Prince album, out the same day as Art Official Age, is Plectrumelectrum, a collaboration between Prince and female funk band 3rdeyegirl. Of Prince's two albums, Jim prefers this one, which features a hard-hitting sound from the band and some fine psychedelic guitar playing from Prince. Although he admits no one's doing any real heavy lifting in terms of innovation, the record is still fun and worth a Try It. Greg concurs. Unlike Art Official Age, Greg feels like Prince is coasting a bit on this record by having picked a backing band that doesn‘t challenge him in any real way. Mediocre songwriting means the songs range from simply OK to good, but nothing’s so bad as not to recommend you Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 462
The Information (Bonus Video Version)The Information available on iTunes

Beck The Information

Beck released his ninth album this week, and boy, do we feel old. The L.A. rocker is also feeling more mature now that he is a married man and a father, but he's still up to his old cutting and pasting, genre-hopping ways. On The Information, Beck Hansen teams up with longtime Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich to pump the album up with a hodgepodge of samples and sounds. For an extra psychedelic touch, the final track is a spacey outro read by author Dave Eggers and director Spike Jonze. Greg is happy that Beck isn‘t repeating himself like he did on 2005’s Guero; he's experimenting with sounds in really inventive ways. But, Greg explains that the hooks and melodies are lacking on the second half of the record. He recommends that fans cut and paste to make their own album, and he gives The Information a Burn It. Jim, however, doesn't think that Beck has ever been better than he is on the good moments of The Information. He recommends fans Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 45
Skull WorshipSkull Worship available on iTunes

The Warlocks Skull Worship

Psychedelic rockers The Warlocks have undergone numerous shakeups and setbacks over the years, leaving many to wonder if the band would ever release new music. Yet, like a locomotive charging ever forward (a sound Jim likens to their music), The Warlocks just keep coming back. Jim is excited by the group's newest album, Skull Worship, finding its drones and incessant rhythms utterly hypnotizing. And while he admits the Shoegaze sound doesn't break any new ground, he still thinks nobody is doing it better. Jim says Buy It. Greg is less impressed by the album, feeling that the pace is too slow. He admits there are moments of greatness (mainly towards the beginning of the album), but altogether Skull Worship isn't a complete success. Greg says Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 418
Pick a Bigger WeaponPick a Bigger Weapon available on iTunes

The Coup Pick a Bigger Weapon

Switching gears, Jim and Greg next discuss Pick a Bigger Weapon, the fifth album from hip-hop group The Coup. They play a bit of "Laugh, Love, F@#*k" which sets the tone of the record according to Jim. The Coup is known for their lefist politics and electro-synth grooves, but this record was mostly recorded live. Rapper Boots Riley and DJ Pam the Funkstress are joined by Tom Morello, Dwayne Wiggins and members of Maze and The Gap Band for a funkier, psychedelic sound. Greg hears great grooves and enjoys how, like Desmond Dekker, The Coup combine politics with party music, but he can't really recommend most of Pick a Bigger Weapon. Jim believes he is being too kind. He explains that lyrically, many of the songs pander to the lowest common denominator, and he wishes that the grooves were tighter and more hypnotic. Therefore, this record gets a Burn It from Mr. Kot and a Trash It from Mr. DeRogatis.

JimGreg
Go to episode 27
Wilderness Heart (Bonus Track Version)

Black Mountain Wilderness Heart

Vancouver quintet Black Mountain also has a new album out called Wilderness Heart. Don't let the name make you think this is another folky, beard rock band. Black Mountain is straight up classic stoner rock ala Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, and they make no bones about it. Jim describes it as heavy, psychedelic, sultry, trippy-how could he not like it? Greg is happy to hear Black Mountain bringing their sound and influences forward. The songwriting is great, not to mention the mellotron. It's a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 254
Ten Silver DropsTen Silver Drops available on iTunes

The Secret Machines Ten Silver Drops

The first album up for review is Ten Silver Drops by The Secret Machines. This is the second album by the psychedelic Dallas band (now based in Brooklyn). Their previous release, Now Here is Nowhere, earned quite a bit of praise and won them some impressive fans. In fact, Bob Ezrin, who produced Pink Floyd's The Wall, even offered to handle Ten Silver Drops. The band decided to go it alone, however, and Jim and Greg manage to agree on the results. For them the album is full of strong melodies, surprising harmonies, and Josh Garza's signature seismic drumming. Both critics believe they may have surpassed their debut album and give this go-around a Buy It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 20
Songs In a&E (iTunes Exclusive)Songs in A&E available on iTunes

Spiritualized Songs in A&E

Psychedelic shoegazers Spiritualized also have a new album out called Songs in A&E. The“A&E”in the title refers to Britain's“accident and emergency”hospital wards, where Spiritualized founder Jason Pierce recently spent a lot of time due to a near-fatal bout with pneumonia. As Jim and Greg explain, this personal crisis definitely informs much of the album. Greg wishes Pierce had been more concise with this theme, though. He enjoyed the first half of the album, but found that the songs, like Pierce's health, only got weaker. He gives the album a Try It. Jim doesn‘t think Greg enjoyed the album in the correct context. The pace of the record, which includes a number of instrumental interludes, mirrors the band’s live show. He thinks Songs in A&E is the band's best effort since Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space and gives it a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 140
dijs

Jim

“My White Bicycle”Tomorrow

Jim uses his turn with the Desert Island Jukebox to pay homage to a man who changed the face of rock and roll. Albert Hofman, the Swiss chemist who discovered LSD, died last week at the age of 102. After LSD hit the music scene, bands that were once R&B and pop became experimental, psychedelic acts. One of the best examples of rock's psychedelic era is Tomorrow. Jim always interpreted their song "My White Bicycle," as a tribute to Hofman's famous bike“trip,”and he thinks that listening to the tune is the best way to remember the scientist.

Go to episode 128

Greg

“Nowhere Again”Secret Machines

Music fans experienced another loss over the holidays: Benjamin Curtis, one of the founding members of Secret Machines died at age 35 after a battle with cancer. He, brother Brandon and cousin Josh Garza, visited the show in 2006, and Greg fondly remembers their distinctive sound. While contemporaries like Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Strokes were steeped in a New York punk and New Wave sound, Secret Machines had a more experimental and psychedelic edge. And when people lament the lack of great modern rock bands, Greg refers them to this one. So to remember Ben Curtis and Secret Machines, Greg adds "Nowhere Again" from the band's 2004 debut Now Here is Nowhere to the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 424

Jim

“Mink Dress”Plasticland

Jim's Desert Island Jukebox pick for this week is "Mink Dress" by Plasticland. The song is one of many psychedelic tracks found on Children of Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the Second Psychedelic Era—1976-1996. This Rhino compilation is one of many Nuggets installments, the first being the two-vinyl set compiled by Lenny Kaye in 1972. While there are some gems on the most recent collection, it is pretty much a mess according to Jim, a huge fan of the psychedelic genre. "Mink Dress" is one of the standout tracks. Plasticland was started by Glen Rehse and John Frankovic in Milwaukee in the '80s. Despite their Midwestern roots, Rehse and Frankovic were drawn to the colorful '60s-era British Psychedelia. Their song follows in the tradition of "Arnold Layne" by the Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd and explores the songwriter's fascination with women's clothing—in this case, a mink dress.

Go to episode 3

Greg

“Another Mellow Winter”Mellow

In light of recent tragic events in Paris, this week Greg wanted to celebrate the music of France with his Desert Island Jukebox selection. He focuses in on French rock band Mellow, a group he had a memorable experience watching perform at SXSW in the early 2000s. Even though they have been relatively inactive the past few years, their 1999 album Another Mellow Spring is their masterpiece. Greg chose the track "Another Mellow Winter" off the album because of its psychedelic, electronic and surrealist vibes. It's an epic track that reminds Greg of the power and strength of French music.

Go to episode 521

Jim

“Bad Vibrations”The Black Angels

Recently, Jim was in a tattoo parlor getting some work done on a sleeve full of his favorite album cover art. As one can imagine, he endured a fair amount of (self-inflicted) discomfort. However, he found refuge in the song "Bad Vibrations" by The Black Angels, which was playing in the shop. Jim's Desert Island Jukebox selection comes from the 2010 album Phosphene Dream by the psychedelic southern rock band. Even though Jim was getting poked and prodded by a needle for three hours, this song momentarily took him to a groovy place in his mind where he forgot about the pain. The Black Angels conjure up a musical image of a hypnotic, chaotic“bad trip,”and Jim digs it big time for the Desert Island.

Go to episode 565

Jim

“Betrayal”Tangerine Dream

Like much of the TV-watching public, Jim enjoyed binge-watching the Netflix horror series "Stranger Things." The show hearkens back to many pop cultural touchstones of the '70s and '80s – including in its music. Jim notes that the synth-based score takes inspiration from the soundtrack work of the German band Tangerine Dream, a key act in the psychedelic krautrock movement. Jim's favorite Tangerine Dream score is for the 1977 William Friedkin film Sorcerer. He says the soundtrack perfectly matches the movie's dark, tense jungle setting. So as a dual nod to Stranger Things and Tangerine Dream, Jim nominates "Betrayal," the main theme from Sorcerer, to the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 561

Jim

“Her Head's Revolving”The Three O'Clock

During his most recent adventure on the desert island, Jim took comfort in a Paisley Underground classic called "Her Head's Revolving" by a band that truly exemplifies the genre. The Three O'Clock* came up in Los Angeles at the start of the 1980's alongside similar sounding groups such as The Dream Syndicate, Green on Red and The Bangles. The band's mix of 1960's psychedelic harmonies and 1980's pop flavor produced a new distinct twist on a classic sound. Lead vocalist Michael Quercio dubbed it“Paisley Underground,”a tribute to the“far out”decade. And none other than Prince took notice.

Go to episode 449

Greg

“Strawberry Letter 23”Shuggie Otis

A tour and a raft of new reissues have got Greg thinking about Shuggie Otis again. A guitar prodigy, Shuggie got his start in father Johnny Otis's band at the tender age of fifteen. Just a few years later, he dropped the band gig to explore more avant-garde and atmospheric territory, making some of the most genre-defying guitar music of the seventies. Greats like Al Cooper and Frank Zappa clamored to work with him, but by the mid ‘70s, Shuggie had largely dropped off the musical map. Luckily, songs like Greg’s DIJ pick, "Strawberry Letter 23" haven‘t grown stale with age. Thanks to renewed interest, Shuggie’s back on tour. Listen to Strawberry Letter's psychedelic glockenspiel and guitar solos, and you might just be inspired to check him out live.

Go to episode 386

Jim

“The Porpoise Song”The Monkees

While Jim doesn't dig the Jonas Brothers, he's certainly not anti-bubblegum pop. His favorite band in the genre is The Monkees, a group who was manufactured as an“American Beatles,”with their own TV show. Head, their self-made movie, presented a different image from the cute, harmless one their TV show portrayed. At the time they made the movie, the band members were experimenting with psychedelics and a little more musically inspired. The opener is "The Porpoise Song", a classic, albeit drug-inspired, bubblegum pop song, and it is Jim's latest Desert Island Jukebox pick.

Go to episode 143
features

Sample Platter: Beyoncé's "Freedom"

This week we debut a new segment called Sample Platter, where Jim and Greg highlight a fascinating use of sampling in a pop song. They kick things off with "Freedom" from Beyoncé's album Lemonade, one of the most compelling records of the year so far. The centerpiece of the song is an organ sample from "Let Me Try," an obscure 1969 recording by the Latin American psychedelic band Kaleidoscope. The band formed in Puerto Rico, signed to a Mexican label, and recorded its only album in the Dominican Republic, which sold only a few hundred copies. Beyoncé resurrected it, transforming its trippy vibe into a stomping, raging march. While Kaleidoscope's hippie-ish song came in the wake of the riots of 1968, Beyoncé brilliantly recontextualizes it as a modern protest anthem in the era of Black Lives Matter, featuring a notable guest appearance from Kendrick Lamar.

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The 2006 Nielsen Soundscan midyear report came out this week, and some of its findings are surprising. While the buzz seems to be that the music industry is being killed by digital music sales, which increased by 77% from 2005, albums are only down by 4.2%. So Jim and Greg aren‘t consoling record executives just yet. The more significant revelation? The disconnect between what critics enjoy and what people buy may be even greater than previously thought. The number-one selling album of the year so far is not by a venerated rock artist or a hip-hop star — rather, it’s the soundtrack to High School Musical, a Disney made-for-TV movie. The tween phenomenon shows how young girls still have much of the buying power in the industry. Coming in second is country/pop act Rascal Flatts. And a further scan of the list reveals that Jim and Greg were only compelled to review two of the records on it: Mary J. Blige's The Breakthrough and Taking the Long Way by the Dixie Chicks. Hopefully that trends turn around in the months to come. Otherwise Jim and Greg will have to score that interview with Zac after all…

Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett died this week at his home in Cambridge, England. Barrett started the band, which he named after two American bluesmen, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council, in 1965. After releasing The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (which was recorded at Abbey Road the same year as the other British psychedelic hallmark, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band), Barrett became a superstar. However, as Jim and Greg explain, this natural frontman shunned the spotlight. Barrett became a heavy LSD user and was likely suffering from schizophrenia. By 1968 he was forced to leave the band. He subsequently made two solo albums, but eventually went into virtual exile. Yet his influence on the band, and on future musicians, remained strong, as bandmate Nick Mason tells Jim. Mason, like all Pink Floyd fans, understood what a talent Barrett was and wished he had intervened to prevent such a tragic end. Still, Barrett's legacy lives on through his music. Listen to "Baby Lemonade," one of Barrett's last performances with members of Pink Floyd, as well as David Bowie's cover of "See Emily Play."

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