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Get hypnotized by the psychedelic slo-mo hula hooping for Bishop Allen’s new album
08.20.2014
08:39 am

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
psychedelia
hula hoops
Bishop Allen


 
Bishop Allen is one of those indie bands that’s been quietly buzzing around for nearly ten years—I knew about them because they’re a former Brooklyn-based group with the weird distinction of being on Dead Oceans, a label based out of Bloomington, Indiana (my home before all the good bartending gigs dried up). The new album Lights Out is full of the kind of sunny, poppy, electronic-infused tunes one might use to round out the last of days of summer. It’s got a lot of darling hooks and bitter-sweet warmth.

However, I’m well aware that the Dangerous Minds crowd can be a bit… anti-sunny—or at least, anti-Brooklyn Indie Rock. If you feel a curmudgeonly tirade coming on, fear not! There is another component to Lights Out that may yet seduce you!

Perhaps in an attempt to humiliate Beyoncé (we can only speculate, but I believe there is a bitter feud going on between them), Bishop Allen has also released a video to go along with every track on the album, connected as a continuous playlist below. The twist is that every video is some variation on the same theme—their friends hula-hooping, in slow-motion. Now we here at Dangerous Minds would never advocate drug use, but I will say that if you’ve partaken of some “entertainment insurance,” then the videos have a hypnotic effect I’d liken to a liquid light show.

If you want to catch some shimmery synths in person, Bishop Allen just kicked off a big tour. If you are personally affronted by the thought of seeing a sunny Brooklyn Indie band, relax and enjoy the hula hoops.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
The Strawberry Alarm Clock’s marvelous custom Mosrite guitars


 
Of all the psych era’s strivers, I have the softest of soft spots for The Strawberry Alarm Clock. They embraced so many of the era’s musical and fashion tropes so thoroughly they couldn’t help but instantly become a badge for psychedelia (and psychedelic kitsch) itself. They made a huge impact crater with their 1967 debut LP and single, both called Incense and Peppermints (I didn’t even need to tell you that, did I? I’m guessing that song has been playing in your head from the moment you read the band’s name in the headline). They followed up with 1968’s more modestly successful but still worthy Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow, but that would be the end of the band’s classic lineup. In the years after Tomorrow, the band cycled through a number of membership changes, and every subsequent release saw diminishing returns, which, combined with internal struggles over musical direction as the psychedelic era petered out, splintered the band by 1971. Notably, their guitarist Ed King would join up with Lynyrd Skynyrd, and flautist/guitarist Steve Bartek would resurface a few years later as Danny Elfman’s second-banana in Oingo Boingo.
 

 
But in just a few short years of existence, that band got to do tons of cool stuff. The massive success of Incense propelled the band to countless TV appearances, and prominent performance segments in the film Psych-Out and the notorious Roger Ebert/Russ Meyer clusterfuck Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. They appeared on the debut episode of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, and one of them even served as a bachelor on The Dating Game, and won.

But as much fun as all that must have been, I’d ponder giving it all up in exchange for the other amazing perk of being a SAC—these amazing custom-built Mosrite guitars, one of which has been enshrined in the Smithsonian Institution.
 

 

 

The SAC Mosrite on display with the Chinery Collection at the Smithsonian

In 2009, The Unique Guitar blog  ran this amusing and opinionated account of these guitars’ creation. The blogger seems not to have cared much for folk or psych.

[Luthier Semie] Moseley’s fortune came and went and came back and went again. Moseley guitars that sold for up to $300 in the 1960’s are now being sought after by collectors and bring in tens of thousands of dollars. There are over 30 companies making copies of Mosrite style guitars.

Which brings us to The Strawberry Alarm Clock.

In the late 1960’s, about ten years after The Folk Scare, we encountered another music problem that came to be known as The Psychedelic Era. This was characterized by guys usually dressed in clothing they bought from women’s clothing stores (that’s where Hendrix got his attire…you don’t believe me? Check it out!) who imagined they could play guitar which led to writing really awful poetry to complete their musical scat. Essentially these fellows just made extremely loud noise through powerful Frigidaire sized amplifiers and sang their meaningless bad lyrics.

The Strawberry Alarm Clock was one group that actually showed some skill and put together some tunes that people enjoyed. So the music powers that be got them a lot of air time on the radio and a lot of face time in concerts. I won’t go into all the Alarm Clock’s history. Suffice to say, “Incense and Peppermints” is still one of those classic songs no matter how hard you try, you can’t get out of your head because you’ve heard it since 1967 due to 47 years of radio play.

Somehow Moseley hooked up with the Alarm Clock and was commissioned to design as set of two guitars and a bass for the group. These guitars all had Mosrite style parts, pickups, vibrato and bridges, but also had the bizarre feature of being surrounded by a wooden frame.

After finishing the bodies, Moseley shipped them to famed California artist Von Dutch. He was known for unusual auto pin striping and painted body designs as well as painted designs on surfboards. Due to his involvement the guitar became known also as The Surfboard Guitars.

 

 
It strikes me as incredibly weird that there don’t seem to be any photos or videos of the band actually playing, or even just posing with these. If someone made me something this beautifully bonkers, I’d be showing it off ’til you wanted to kick me. So since there doesn’t seem to be any motion footage of these guitars, and since you’ve surely already heard “Incense and Peppermints” more than enough times in your life, here’s some rare footage of the band’s segment in Laugh In, wearing rain gear and wrecking a car with sledgehammers, because the Summer of Love was OVER, maaaaaaaan.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Cosmic Cartoon’: Trippy early animation from the father of ‘Tron’
05.09.2014
07:37 am

Topics:
Animation
Art

Tags:
psychedelia
Tron


 
I need more vintage science fiction weirdness in my life, don’t you? This is an early production from future Tron creator Steven Lisberger and was made through his Lisberger Studios, an animation business he opened while still an art student at Boston’s SMFA. “Cosmic Cartoon” saw Lisberger receive a Student Academy Award nomination in 1973, which ultimately led to Animalympics (featuring the voices of Billy Crystal, Gilda Radner and Harry Shearer) for NBC in 1980, and then to the creative development of Tron at Disney.

You can really see Lisberger finding his artistic voice here. You got your psychedelic choreography of the galaxy! You got your Utopian futurist landscapes! You got your naked dancing lady montages (possibly NSFW, cartoon pubes alert!). All of this 70s sci-fi goodness is set to an epic synthy score—it should be projected on a planetarium dome. This thing is so fluid and trippy and so damned cosmically prog-rock that I had to make sure I hadn’t accidentally taken the cat’s medication by mistake.
 

 
Via Network Awesome
 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Watch ‘Moon Rock,’ a 1970 psychedelic sci-fi cartoon from ‘Yellow Submarine’ animator George Dunning

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Bad-trip visual overload for garage rockers The Black Jaspers’ ‘Scum of the Moon’

Black Jaspers
 
Here’s a wonderful bit of darkly lysergic quick-cut photo collage for “Scum of the Moon,” the new single by Berlin-based Montreal trash-punker King Khan’s side project The Black Jaspers.

Posted by the charmingly named YouTuber LSD210SCUM, this rather incredible vid captures the extreme spirit of Khan & Co.’s ditty, and is pretty fun to just watch and randomly pause. As one commenter noted, “If you watch this video three times, you’ll be declared legally insane.”

Unfortunately, there are no shots of our King’s Cannes nightclub dalliances with a certain constantly rehabbing and self-reinventing starlet, but hey, can’t have it all…
 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
Navel-gazing: Stimpy takes a trip


Ren, Stimpy and Stinky, by Laberzink

This is one for all you fans of 60s psychedelia, and especially pastiche 60s psychedelia. Not to mention being one for fans of transgressive cartoons, and in particular one of the best cartoon shows of all time, John K’s Ren & Stimpy.

In this clip Stimpy gets invited to climb into his own stomach by his belly-button, which disturbingly enough looks like a talking foreskin. Im sure that’a a metaphor for something or other, but as I have not seen the full episode I can’t offer the context. Once inside his navel Stimpy is treated to some pretty great visuals and a very neat tune called “Climb Inside My World”, performed by Chris Goss (producer of Kyuss, Screaming Trees and Queens Of The Stone Age among many others), here channeling that groovy ‘67 spirit of the Beatles and the Small Faces.

It’s great that what was nominally a kids show could get away with something like this. Of course, this was before cartoons were taken seriously as “adult” entertainment, and we can thank Ren & Stimpy hugely for that change in perception. A bit like Stimpy’s own changing perspective.

Ignore the German intro and skip straight to 0:23 for the action. Ooh, there’s that pesky number 23, but I’m sure it’s just a co-incidence…
 

 
Thanks Joe!

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Ren & Stimpy creator John K animates The Simpsons

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
The Flaming Lips meet Lightning Bolt (in space)


 
This is one for the noise cognoscenti out there. Two of the best modern rock bands in America come together for a collaboration (full title: The Flaming Lips With Lightning Bolt EP) and the results are pretty unusual - though not necessarily more than you’d expect. ‘Cos let’s face it, it’s highly unlikely that the genesis of this project was a desire to push either of these acts further up the charts. I’d like to think it had more to do with a shared love of acid-burnt neon psychedelia.

The clue may be in the song titles. “I’m Working At Nasa On Acid” and “I Want To Get High But I Don’t Want Brain Damage” are the first two tracks and the Flaming Lips’ main contributions, being the kind of bass driven psych-garage we’ve come to expect, but now with a whole extra layer of fuzzy noise on top. The remaining two tracks are reworks of the first two by Lightning Bolt, which feature even more noise and, of course, the furious drum chops of Brain Chippendale. These reworkings are called “NASA’s Final Acid Bath” and “I Want To Get Damaged But I Won’t Say Hi”.

The EP has been released on 12” mixed-color vinyl (some copies feature translucent vinyl mixed with black) but because of its limited nature was only shipped to some shops a few weeks ago. It’s likely to have completely sold out. If you really want one, I say get in touch with your local decent independent record store and ask if they can get it - failing that it has already turned up for sale on eBay. In the meantime though, here is the lead video introduced by Wayne Coyne, and the other 3 tracks:
 
The Flaming Lips and Lightning Bolt - “I Want To get High But I Don’t Want Brain Damage”
 

 
The Flaming Lips and Lightning Bolt - “I’m Working At NASA On Acid”
 

 
Lightning Bolt and The Flaming Lips - “NASA’s Final Acid Bath”
 

 
Lightning Bolt and The Flaming Lips - “I Want To Get Damaged But I Won’t Say Hi”
 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Hear The Horrors’ new album ‘Skying’ in full


 
British garage act The Horrors are set to release their new album Skying through XL Recordings on August the 9th (US) and July 11th (UK), but you can hear the album, in full, via the widget below. In fact, it’s not really fair to describe the Horrors as “garage rock” anymore - that may have been their initial template when they burst onto the scene five years ago, but their sound has evolved and mutated quite a bit since then.

I admit I was put off the band when they first started getting press attention, consigning them to the hype bin based on their highly coiffured hair and dandy dress sense. But all that changed as soon as I actually heard them - here was a band that was keeping alive the swamp rock / dirt blues flame of acts like The Birthday Party and the awesome Gallon Drunk. Their second album Primary Colours, produced by Portishead’s Geoff Barrow, marked a shift in tone towards something deeper and a bit more pastoral, while retaining the all important dirt and grit. With nods to krautrock, kosmiche and shoegaze, it won the band some high praise, even becoming the NME’s album of the year for 2009.

Skying continues where Primary Colours left off, though taking us further away from the 70s and 80s influences. The ghost of shoegaze still haunts The Horrors’ sound, but now, rather than the woozy, noxious and slightly nauseous tones of pioneers My Bloody Valentine, the layered guitar and synth noise is more akin to the lush soundscapes of bands like Slowdive and The Telescopes. The early Nineties seem to be what the band are tapping into for inspiration just now, and some of the tracks even feature, surprisingly, a shuffly, Madchester-style beat. “Monica Gems” is like Suede dragged backwards through a thorny hedge and there are shades of The Doors here, but as refracted through the prism of Echo and The Bunnymen (in particular the excellent track “Still Life”) . For me the album highlight is “Moving Further Away”, which starts as gorgeous, driving Germanica before before being engulfed in layers of blissful synths and ending as a dirty rock dirge. Listen for yourselves:
 

 
For more info on The Horrors, visit their website, or their record label XL Recordings.

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
The Horrors’ new offshoot band Cat’s Eyes

image
 
Farris Badwan is lead singer of the British psyche-garage troupe The Horrors, and Cat’s Eyes is his new project, co-founded with the London-based Canadian opera soprano Rachel Zeffira. The pair’s debut album, cunningly titled Cat’s Eyes, has just been released on Polydor, following up their debut Broken Glass EP which came out in January, and it’s really rather good.

What the duo are doing is nothing we haven’t seen before, but they do it very well. Take the dark romanticism of male/female duos like Nancy & Lee, Isobel & Mark, even Kylie & Nick, filter it through the girl-group and 60s pop lens of Phil Spector and inject it with occasional jolts of psyche-rock and you pretty much get the picture. What a lovely picture that is too, a balance of light and shade, of anger and tenderness blended to perfection by veteran producer Steve Osbourne.

Cat’s Eyes is not the first Horror’s off-shoot band. That honor would go to Spider And The Flies, which is Rhys and Tom experimenting with analog synths and Joe Meek-esque production techniques. That too is really good, and floats my particular boat very much. I have to admit I was really wary of the Horrors when the emerged about 5 years ago - I took one look at their haircuts and goth-dandy stylings and dismissed them straight away as another “fashion” act. Their music blew me away though, keeping alive the heavy sleaze-garage vibes of one of my favorite bands from the 90s, Gallon Drunk. Their Primary Colours album from 2009 (produced by Portishead’s Geoff Barrow) took their sound in a more psychedelic/shoegaze direction and straight to the top of the NME’s best albums of the year poll. Now The Horrors have just announced a short string of UK dates for this summer, and their official website says they are currently in the studio.

I eagerly await what they do next, but in the meantime am more than happy to make do with Cat’s Eyes, who have more info (and some free MP3s) at the Cat’s Eyes website. The album Cat’s Eyes is available to buy on Amazon now, here’s a taste of what’s on offer:
 
Cat’s Eyes - “Face In The Crowd”
 

 
Cat’s Eyes - “The Best Person I Know”
 

 
Cat’s Eyes - “Cat’s Eyes”
 

 
Cat’s Eyes - “When My Baby Comes” (Grinderman cover)
 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Soul man Bilal takes it to the next “Levels” with a freaked-out Flying Lotus-directed video

image
 
Innovative L.A.-based electronic music label Plug Research scored big-time when they signed Philly-raised soul singer Bilal Sayeed Oliver in the middle of 2009 to release his revelatory sophomore album Airtight’s Revenge. Bilal left his former label Interscope soon after they shelved his proposed second album, Love For Sale, based on their skepticism of its commercial potential and the fact that it was leaked before official release. Seems like an aphorism for the steady decline of the music industry to me.

Directed by stoned prodigal son Flying Lotus (damn, does that mean he did all that animation?), the recently released video for Bilal’s track “Levels” seems to evince how eagerly the singer has swallowed the red pill. This is some high high Afromythofuturistic material right here.
 

FULL SCREEN
The Sounds of VTech / Bilal Levels   

 
Get: Bilal - Airtight’s Revenge [CD]

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
Cleveland’s Black Rock Legacy: Purple Image

image
 
Today’s resurgence in black rock and Afro-punk has been accompanied by a boosted interest in obscure post-Hendrix black rock from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, as shown by the rediscovery of Detroit bands like Death and Black Merda.

Elsewhere in the heartland, Cleveland’s late-‘60s soul and R&B scene (a role-call of which can be found in this bio for the Imperial Wonders) also boasted a clutch of guitar-centered rock bands, including the excellently named Purple Image. Rising from the 105th St. & Superior area (which took a big hit during the unrest resulting from the 1968 Granville Shootout), PI traded on a thumping, harder-than-Parliament psychedelic sound fortified by powerful group vocals and the two-guitar attack of Ken Roberts and Frank Smith. Unfortunately Purple Image’s excellent self-titled 1970 debut would be their one and only, becoming a rare black-rock nugget before it was re-released by the UK’s Radioactive label in 2007.

It would take another Midwestern black rocker to pick up the

purple

but that’s another story…
 

 
Get: Purple Image - Purple Image [CD]

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
The Equals: British Multiracial Soul

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Before he went off to make a mint singing about the main market street in Brixton, Guyanese-born London resident Eddy Grant put together the Equals, one of England’s most stomping multi-racial soul-rock bands.

Before the Equals scored their first hit in the UK with “Baby Come Back,” it went #1 in Germany, from which the first clip below originates, featuring a rather bossy 19-year-old Grant. It would take Top of the Pops a full year until they booked the Equals to perform the same tune. Oh yeah, they tossed over the song in clip #2 to a bunch of punks a few years after they recorded it in ’69.

Original North London skinhead psychedelia!
 

 

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment