Frontier Psychiatrist

The 10 Best Psychedelic Albums of 2012

Posted on: November 26, 2012

woh

If you weren’t aware that there is a massive psychedelic revival underway, don’t worry: you’re not alone.  As lovers of the spaced-out and groovy, we at FP decided to put together a top 10 psychedelic list last year, only to watch it become one of our most-viewed pieces of all-time.  As a result, we were particularly attentive to anything that might have the smallest chance of blowing your mind this year.  And now, at the conclusion of a particularly kaleidoscopic twelve months, we bring you are ten most consciousness-expanding records of 2012.  Enjoy the ride.

10. Pond – Beard, Wives, Denim

Given that the band shares members with the better-known Tame Impala, it should come as no surprise that Pond’s debut Beard, Wives, Denim sounds like a distant cousin of that bands excellent 2010 debut Innerspeaker.  But, where Innerspeaker came off as a practiced and polished labor of love, BWD has a looser, riskier, unrehearsed feel.  Throughout the record Pond sounds as if it is trying on for size the many branches of psychedelic music, from the crunchy garage-rock of “Fantastic Explosion of Time” to the hallucinogenic “Sorry I Was Under the Sky.”  Although the music press has filed them away in the dreaded “side project” folder, Pond can stand proudly by this diverse, spirited debut.



9. Moon Duo – Circles

Another entry in the side project file, Moon Duo shares mind-bending guitarist Ripley Johnson with Wooden Shjips, whose 2011 LP West landed third on last year’s version of this list.  Unlike Pond however, whose sound is clearly tied to that of its big-brother-band, Moon Duo bears little resemblance to Wooden Shjips, and the only thing Circles shares with West is its tremendous far-out-ness.  While West was full of meandering guitar-driven explorations, Circles is fundamentally groovy, filled with a kind of meditative minimalism that is central to the psychedelic state-of-mind.  It’s the kind of record that would make Ralph Waldo Emerson proud.

8. Gonjasufi – MU.ZZ.LE

While MU.ZZ.LE features significantly fewer long-haired guitar heroes than, well, every other record on this list, it’s inclusion on a list of mind-bending psych records is indisputably warranted.  Indeed, Gonjasufi and production partner Psychopop make psychedelia for the prescription-drug generation, a kind of hyper-relaxed, haze-soaked music with a slightly paranoid undertone.  Briefer and perhaps less ambitious than 2010’s excellent A Sufi and a KillerMU.ZZ.LE. is nonetheless equally arresting, equally mystical, and equally worthy of your attention.

7. Woods – Bend Beyond

For each of the last four years, Woods have put out a new record, and every one of them has been great.  If anything, the band is a victim of its own consistency: its albums are so uniformly excellent that they surprise no one, finding themselves ranked seventh on lists like this (as they were last year as well) when they probably deserve much better.  Bend Beyond is perhaps somewhat brighter than the band’s previous record, and the guitar freak-outs are a bit more restrained, but all the analysis is a bit beside the point.  If the record says “Woods” on the cover, you should be listening.

6. Foxygen – Take the Kids Off Broadway

Foxygen is the clear winner of “portmanteau band name of the year,” and so it’s appropriate that their first commercially available album is full of sonic portmanteaux, throwing everything from The Kinks to Elephant 6 into a musical blender and serve up some delicious results.  I could go into details, or I could just tell you that this album has a 10-minute song called “Teenage Alien Blues.”  Checkmate.

Foxygen – “Waitin 4 U”

5. Ty Segall & White Fence – Hair

And here’s the crazy part: this is only Segall’s third best record THIS YEAR.

Ty Segall & White Fence – “I Am Not a Game”

4. Royal Baths – Better Luck Next Life

Allow me to quote FP contributer Tim Myers’ review of Better Luck Next Life: “It’s an album drenched in violent lust and strung out on speed. The scene is always a seedy one, evoking images of back alley drug deals and ravaged motel rooms. The subject matter is undeniably dark, as singer Jigmae Baer details vampiric sex scenes and murder fantasies with an icy detachment that makes the album feel that much steamier.”  Um….awesome.

Royal Baths – “Faster, Harder”

3. Six Organs of Admittance – Ascent

If I ever make a list of “The 10 Best Albums full of face-melting guitar solos of 2012,” this will be #1.

2. Goat – World Music

I desperately wanted to put this album at #1, and I struggled long and hard before deciding to move it down a notch.  Goat, whose members wear masks while performing, whose album features songs entitled “Goatman” and “Goatlord,” whose membership may include the entire population of Korpilombolo, Sweden, are the quintessential psychedelic band.  Filled with chemically drenched drumming, orgiastic organ, and cosmic tales spun on an electric guitar, World Music is as mind-altering as rock music comes.  Goat emerged like a lightning bolt in the night sky this year, and in any ordinary year, their debut would have stood head and shoulders above their psychedelic brethren.

1. Tame Impala – Lonerism

But, 2012 was no ordinary year: it was the year that Tame Impala dropped Lonerism.  A lot has been made of this album’s relationship to Revolver, and perhaps the greatest compliment one can pay it is: the comparison isn’t ridiculous.  Indeed, Tame Impala have managed to do what I dare say no other band has achieved to date.  They have created a psychedelic album for the 21st century, an album that manages to stay true to all of the principles of 1960s pop without sounding dated or derivative in any way.  From “Apocalypse Dreams” to “Music to Walk Home By” to “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards,” every song is a 4-minute gem more valuable than the last.  In fact, why don’t you stop wasting your time reading this review and just listen to the record.  You can thank me later.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow Us:

Send Us Your Music:

Staff

L.V. Lopez, Publisher
Keith Meatto, Editor-In-Chief
Peter Lillis, Managing Editor
Freya Bellin
Andrew Hertzberg
Franklin Laviola
Gina Myers
Jared Thomas
Jordan Mainzer

Contributors

James Tadd Adcox
Michael Bakkensen
Sophie Barbasch
John Raymond Barker
Jeffery Berg
P.J. Bezanson
Lee Bob Black
Jessica Blank
Mark Blankenship
Micaela Blei
Amy Braunschweiger
Jeb Brown
Jamie Carr
Laura Carter
Damien Casten
Krissa Corbett Kavouras
Jillian Coneys
Jen Davis
Chris Dippel
Claire Dippel
Amy Elkins
Mike Errico
Alaina Ferris
Lucas Foglia
Fryd Frydendahl
Tyler Gilmore
Tiffany Hairston
Django Haskins
Todd Hido
Paul Houseman
Susan Hyon
Michael Itkoff
Eric Jensen
David S. Jung
Eric Katz
Will Kenton
Michael Kingsbaker
Steven Klein
Katie Kline
Anna Kushner
Jim Knable
Jess Lacher
Chris Landriau
Caitlin Leffel
David Levi
Daniel F. Levin
Carrie Levy
Jim Lillis
Sophie Lyvoff
Max Maddock
Bob McGrory
Chris Lillis Meatto
Mark Meatto
Kevin Mueller
Chris Q. Murphy
Gina Myers
Tim Myers
Alex Nackman
Michael Nicholoff
Elisabeth Nicholson
Nicole Pettigrew
Allyson Paty
Dana Perry
Jared R. Pike
Mayumi Shimose Poe
Marisa Ptak
Sarah Robbins
Anjoli Roy
Beeb Salzer
Terry Selucky
Serious Juice
David Skeist
Suzanne Farrell Smith
Amy Stein
Jay Tarbath
Christianne Tisdale
Phillip Toledano
Joe Trapasso
Sofie van Dam
Jeff Wilser
Susan Worsham
Khaliah Williams
David Wilson
James Yeh
Bernard Yenelouis
Wayan Zoey

Listening To:

Sons of Dionysus


A Transmedia Novel of Myth, Mirth, and the Magical Excess of Youth.