Top Five of 2008: Psych records

Fan-Belt co-editor and psych-rock duchess Erin Wolf shares her five favorite psychedelic records from this year. I find her taste in music bland and overly mainstream. PSYCH! (sike?) Couldn’t resist. Sorry.

Photo and words by Erin A. Wolf

Psych albums are strange creatures, encompassing everything from straight up drone-rock to sweaty-haired metal symphonies to paisley-inspired garage rock or sweetly-laced folk and pop. Whatever your definition of ‘psych’ is, this is what I think of when I recall the best fade-out moments of 2008 in no particular order…

1. The Black Angels, Directions to See a Ghost
Hauntingly sinister, The Black Angels sound like the welcome arrival of a plague, bringing sweetly evil relief to the masses. Lungfish on an acid trip.

2. Dead Meadow, Old Growth
Dead Meadow creates an intense caterwauling of loose guitars hyped up on wah pedals, droning fuzz and reverbed vocals — music that comes with its own built-in fog machine. This isn’t their strongest album, but it’s still a force. Part metal, part folk, part who gives a fuck — let’s get lost.

3. The Black Hollies, Casting Shadows
Straight-up ’60s garage rock. No interpretations, no morphing into a new genre, no pandering to the judgmental youth who only accept original-sounding music (even if it sounds like total crap) – The Black Hollies make solid psych-garage without the embellished trappings of this generation.

4. Beach House, Devotion
More sleepy psych-folk than anything, Beach House’s Devotion is light where The Black Angels are dark. Gorgeously gauzy, this album is the musical equivalent of sleeping pills and a warm glass of milk. Cue the blinking fireflies.

5. The Raveonettes, Lust Lust Lust
Calculatingly creepy, yet a creation of completely dead-pan washed-out mind-drain music makes The Raveonettes’ Lust Lust Lust so cunningly irresistible. Godamn those Europeans. They really don’t even have to try — fuzz and feedback at its most appealing.

Worth remembering:
Deerhunter, Microcastle
Elf Power, In a Cave
Department of Eagles, In Ear Park
No Age, Nouns
Boris, Smile

Listen to Erin’s radio show Rock Kaleidoscope noon-3 p.m. Tuesdays on 91.7-FM WMSE


2 Responses to “Top Five of 2008: Psych records”

  1. amy Says:

    I spent a lot of time this year with both Beach House and Department of Eagles. And that was good time spent.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    The Black Angels played an amazing show at Mad Planet earlier this year.

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