psych Archive

Mdou Moctar Plays By His Own Rules

The digital age brought with it some fundamental shifts in music industry paradigms. Tuareg guitarist and songwriter Mdou Moctar was a beneficiary of those changes, leveraging them to catapult himself to prominence in his home country of Niger. More than a decade later, he’s signed to an established label and touring the globe with his

Combo Chimbita: The Music Tells the Stories

It was five years ago when the four Colombia-born members of Combo Chimbita released their debut EP, El Corredor del Jaguar. At the time — and for a couple of years to follow — the group made a point of defining its music as “tropical futurism.” They explained that to mean that the group made

Album Review: Nektar – …Sounds Like Swiss

Nektar was one of those bands that got lost in a sea of great music. Though they were British, being based in Germany certainly didn’t help gain them exposure in places like the U.S. So despite the high quality of their music – especially on albums like 1971’s Journey to the Center of the Eye,

Mushroom: Don’t Sit This One Out

When critics try to describe Mushroom, they call upon labels like krautrock, free jazz, freakout, ambient and electronic. Launched in 1997 by drummer Pat Thomas, Mushroom is all of those things and none of them. The San Francisco instrumental collective played its first-ever gig at The Make Out Room; now, more than 24 years later,

Sandy’s: Rewarding the Listener’s Investment

The third album from psych-pop outfit Sandy’s, Magic Mind has a shimmering, multilayered character that may evoke thoughts of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots-era Flaming Lips, early Crowded House and even Pet Sounds. Yet it sounds like none of those things; the third album from the Bay Area group is a fully-realized work that showcases

Album Review: Anton Barbeau — Oh The Joys We Live For

Over the course of his career, Anton Barbeau has confounded those who would pigeonhole him. But there is a consistency of creative vision that connects his varied works. Whether as a solo artist or with a band, his music expresses his unique, singular (and sometimes idiosyncratic) musical worldview and perspective. His latest release, Oh the

Album Review: Mahogany Frog – In the Electric Universe

These days, much of what sees release through Leonardo Pavkovic’s venerable MoonJune label tends toward jazz/fusion. That’s great, as the label brings some of the best those styles have to offer to a wider audience. But it’s nice to find the occasional progressive rock entry, something that – while ambitious – appeals to a slightly

Remembering Roky Erickson, Part Three

Continued from Part Two… But Luckin “couldn’t find any commercial American label that wanted to put this guy out,” says Chris Knab, co-founder of San Francisco-based independent label 415 Records. Selecting songs from the UK release and adding five other tracks from the sessions, 415 released the music as The Evil One in 1980. Taken

Remembering Roky Erickson, Part Two

Continued from Part One… Bill Miller would play amplified autoharp in Roky’s late ‘70s band, The Aliens, but by that time he had been a fan for years. He says that Roky was always unpredictable. “One thing about working with Roky: any day might be the last day,” he says. “Back in the days of

Remembering Roky Erickson, Part One

The Bay Area’s rich psychedelic music tradition has its roots in familiar places: Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company and The Grateful Dead laid the groundwork and built upon that foundation. More than a half century later, artists like The Fresh and Onlys, Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall carry on that tradition.