Published on May 14th, 2015 | by The Beige Baron2
Reddit Psych Rock Indie and Unsigned Mixtape Vol. 3
Welcome to our semi-annual showcase of the killer talent behind some of the usernames that post content and contribute to the community over at reddit’s r/psychedelicrock.
A couple of years ago I had the idea of soliciting tracks from bands connected to the community that currently weren’t on a record label for a mixtape.
It’s a pretty tough slog when you’re in an indie band. As well as actually creating the material, it costs a lot to record, distribute, promote, and even play live — gas money has to come from somewhere.
Even if your band is fucking excellent, the odds of reaching enough people to cover the physical cost of sharing your music, let alone make a living, are really bleak.
So I figured as a (then) moderator of a community of thousands of users, I should do what I could to help get independent band’s music into as many listeners’ ears as possible.
The response to the first mix blew me away — well over 1,000 downloads and counting. The second mix is also doing well with over 600. I hope that this volume — having a platform with which to present the bands a little more comprehensively — will do even better.
So here we are with mix number three. It’s good — seriously awesome music from all over America as well as the U.K. and other parts of Europe.
So strap in, plug in a set of cans or crank up the Hi-Fi, and get acquainted with a new wave of psych rock bands via these snapshot profiles. And don’t forget to download your free copy in quality V0 MP3 below!
Featured track: Carmen’s Secret Garden
The Peace Pipers seem to have a hotline to that classic late ’60s sunshine psych with a twist of lysergic folk thrown in. Formed in late 2014, the four-piece band is from Manchester and features Alexander Hislop on vocals (and, unusually, bouzouki); Neil Cummings handling bass and backing vocal duties; Gabriel Catelli on drums, other percussion, and production, and Martyn Jarmin on guitar.
The band name-checks all the classic bands from the 1960s and 1970s as influences and invites you to “follow on the euphonious journey of nature, life and all things ethereal.”
Featured track: Wake
The California Death may have formed from the remains of various indie rock bands in the state of Virginia, but their sound (to my ears anyway) has more than a good dash of English ’80s pop along the lines of The Cure or very early Primal Scream to it—which is a really good thing.
Describing their music as “shoegazey dream-pop”, the band met at university and released their first self-titled EP in March 2015.
So what you’re hearing is about as fresh as fresh can get.
Their present lineup features Mike Hayes on vocals/guitar, Chad Hollman on drums, and Sam Atkinson on bass.
Featured track: Ghost
The gentle melancholy of this song Ghost was created by Escondido, California band Cloud Mammoth. It’s refreshing to learn that despite the gravitas of their music—expressing, in this track at least, the pain of a broken heart—the band has a pretty good sense of humor.
“We basically make elevator music,” offers the group’s bio. “The band was started in July 2014 by four people who were friends. Today, only two of the original four remain, with two new people who also happen to be friends (only with each other though).
“They take everything seriously and all hope to become real musicians one day.”
Cloud Mammoth has a new album out now entitled The Sounds of Sleep—about a man who goes to sleep only to wake up to “a vivid hallucinatory representation of all the problems in his life”.
Sounds like every Monday.
Featured track: Vaderkvarn
Sweden has always been something of an epicenter for psychedelic music, from International Harvester in the ’60s through to Goat and Dungen today—and the members of Lejonslaktet really dig both of these bands.
This ambitious Swedish collective, comprising members Alexander Eldefors, Volter Hagman, Hannes F. Franck, Patrik Lantz, and Petter Owén, play folk-tinged psych pop and demonstrate some serious songwriting chops for such a young band.
“We aim to change todays popular music and raise awareness about music, it’s meanings, poetry and feelings,” says the group. “In our opinion, music has lost its roots and gone away to another place of existing. A place of non-poetic lyrics and non-musical verses.
“We want to capture the feeling of pure, naked lyrics in our native language: Swedish, and bring back the work of yesterdays art.”
Featured track: Innerspace
Direct from the swamps of Van Nuys outside of Los Angeles comes Loud Lord, “Two dudes who could be breaking into your garage, ripping through a blistering set, and blowing out the custom wall mounts you put up last winter, and killing the neighbor’s grass.”
Musically the band has their dials tuned to the ’70s with a good splash of Ty Segall-style fuzz to produce an pleasingly fat wall of sound—pretty amazing for a two-piece.
Featured track: You Know I Know
From icy Saint Paul, Minnesota, comes the music of a dude called Jonny Kasai aka The Electric Circus.
According to his brief bio, he writes, records, and produces music in his loft, “filtering through ethereal sounds emitting from the cosmic energy of the universe and channeled into the mind.”
Did you know they sell an excellent strain of weed in icy Minnesota?
Expect big keys, a peeling guitar hook, power chords, and Keith Moon-style fills in this cruising slab of psychedelic pop. It’s pretty awesome.
Featured track: Sister Satan
Next up we have a band called The English Language, who write, “The English Language began in downtown San Jose in the kitchen of Kyle Langlois’ upstairs apartment near the mortuary.
“Tristan Perotti, having just moved in next door, overheard an informal jam session between drummer Mark Danley (a friend of Kyle’s roommate), Kyle, and then bass player Greg Heimann.
“Tristan yelled up to the kitchen asking, ‘Can I play with you guys?’ Kyle responded, “You got an amp?” And from that day on the group began playing together regularly.”
Recording of their first album took place in various practice studios, houses and apartments, and the “soul kitchen”. Early in 2013, the record was released and the group immediately began working on their sophomore material.
Twelve new tracks were mixed, mastered, and ready to press by the end of 2013. Their second album This Is Science/Rock & Roll was released in February 2014 and band then went touring up the west coast.
The band has since relocated to Portland, Oregon, and released their third full length Happy Horror now available on Bandcamp.
Featured track: A Glass of Tears Half Empty
Aura Blaze is a project created by New Jersey-based multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Rhode Rachel.
So far he’s only officially released a single, A Glass of Tears Half Empty featured on this mix—as well as a B-Side cover version of the Doors’ The Crystal Ship which featured on Volume II of this indie psych rock series—but is promising to debut a full-length in the next few months.
The music here is solid—“a creative exploration across New Age, traditional rock, jazz, and even classical” according to the bio—and apparently this track has been added to over 60,000 TouchTune jukeboxes across the United States.
So if you happen to be in a burger joint off the Interstate, have a look and surprise the locals with this little slice of weirdness.
Featured track: I’ve Got Less Important Things to Do
The Halfways are a psychedelic rock band from Austin, Texas, that started out as the solo recording project of Daniel Fernandez.
According to their bio, the band mixes elements of many different genres such as space rock, grunge, baroque pop, and jazz to create a unique mixture in each one of their songs.
I’ve Got Less Important Things to Do is four minutes of chilled-out psych rock. I dig the guitar tone and sweet organ action back in the mix.
I’m looking forward to this summer, when The Halfways release their debut studio EP as a full band.
Featured track: Helouisa
Time for a change of pace with some driving electronic rock from Helen Kelter Skelter, a band hailing from Oklahoma.
The band lists Eli Wimmer as “motivational speaker”, Cody Clifton as “bass thumper”, and Nathan Harwell “The Rock & Hammer”, which I’m guessing is drummer.
Also on board are Jay Jamison the “Mad Scientist” and Tim Gregory, a “technician of sorts”.
It all adds up to a very cool sound, and from the looks of their webpage the band is gigging regularly and drawing good crowds.
This song has a kind of creepy, menacing vibe, and features a good jammy breakdown from about halfway through. I like the vocals, and I’m going to go out on a limb and guess the vocalist listened to a bit of Josh Homme and Queens of the Stone Age: he sings, at least on this track, with a similar kind of meter and inflection. Again, this is not a bad thing.
Featured track: Feel How It Sees
Speaking of influences, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Interpol when I first heard this next band, Mute Swan. As well as the similarity in timbre and delivery of the vocalist, the jangly guitar is there too.
Where Interpol can get a bit monotonous after a while, Mute Swan seems to have gotten a good grip on the melodic pop hook, and that keep’s this band listenable.
I like it—great potential. I love those echoey, reverbed-out guitars.
Mute Swan is from Tuscon, Arizona (like fellow r/psychedelicrock community members The Myrrors) and formed out the ashes of a band called Peaks.
In terms of influences, I seem to be way off the mark, with the band claiming CAN, Ash Ra Tempel, Neu!, The Verve, and Spiritualized as influences.
Featured track: Holy Operator
R/psychedelicrock founder “Rabbithole” was particularly entranced with this track Holy Operator by Karma Repair Kit, from Bristol in the U.K.
The band seems to be getting heaps of attention in their own corner of Europe, and it’s not hard to see why… they rock pretty hard.
The band’s vocalist is channeling Jim Morrison on this cut, his clean and soulful singing borne up by fat bass with just the right amount of snarl in the tone, and layers of crunchy guitars aplenty.
“We draw influence from classic and contemporary acts to push psychedelia further,” reads the band’s presser, “blending the spaced out, dark psych of acts like The Velvet Underground, The Doors, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre with the visceral, dynamic noise of The Jesus and Mary Chain, Spacemen 3, and Ride.”
Keep an eye out for this band—if they are as good live as they are on this record, they’ll be on the festival circuit in no time.
Featured track: The Mark
We reckon Inner Outlaw could have a hit on their hands with this track called The Mark.
Inner Outlaws is a five-piece rock band from Brooklyn, New York.
Led by vocalists Ian Dudley and Emily Fehler, the group “creates Americana for a collapsing world, layering classic rock-and-roll with modern psychedelia and dream pop,” according to their press release.
Outstanding harmonies and a groovy, almost motorik walking beat make this cut really infectious. If they can keep producing music as sophisticated as this, big things are in store.
Featured track: Separate Me
From the glistening-slick studio production of Inner Outlaws to something a bit more lo-fi, we have The Astral Planes from Kentucky.
Band member Jonah writes: “We’re from Louisville and we play a style that’s psychadelic, shoegazey, and noisy.
“We all went to high school together and have been writing music ever since we first picked up instruments back in the day.
“Though it took a while to crystalize due to school concerns and some tragic events, we’ve finally recorded an album and are playing out! We love it more than anything in the world.”
Featured track: Maanantai
To close out this monster Indie Pysch mix, we picked a dreamy, droney track from Finnish (no pun intended) band J. Kill & Mr. Mule.
The artist sent through this together with a link to their EP, which is really good shit if you like more ambient-style psych music.
“J. Kill & Mr. Mule is one fucked-up individual from Finland. Spending most of his time screaming in a grindcore band, he needs an output for other sort of emotional expression too.
“This is it. All instruments are cheap, percussion is just junk found from kitchen and construction sites, music is cheap and filthy, which is quite a fitting description for the composer too.”
Rock on! I really like the concept behind this band, using crap lying around and making beautiful music with it. Really cool.