psychedelic rock

June 8, 2016 1:18 pm

You can bet those cringe-worthy getups your parents wore in the early-80s are going to be next season’s hot commodity. Human innovation is less about spontaneous combustion and more about an endless mashup of patterns. ‘Dude! What does mine say?  Sweet! What does mine say?’ If only a rock band capitalized on this notion of the never-ending pop cultural Saṃsāra.

There’s no way to properly brace yourself for King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard’s latest high-octane concoction. Nonagon Infinity dishes out a blissed-out 42-minute jam served with a blitz of viciously fast guitar-play, fist-pumping lyrics, and a time-warping motorick beat. It’s also King Gizzard’s most righteously ambitious effort to date: an album that’s deliberately designed to seamlessly loop back to the beginning, again and again, for eternity. The disorienting bombastity crescendos into a seemingly abrupt end on “Road Train,” which fits back into the first track “Robot Stop.” The beginning is the end and the end is the beginning. I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together. C-C-C-Combo Breaker!!

Frontman Stu Mackenzie howls out themes of a dystopian future run by robots (The universe is a machine/That has awoken from a dream), evil flying vultures (People-Vultures waiting to begin/Deadly ulcers feeding on my skin), and the nonsensical (Once I’m Mr. Beat/I only miss a beat).

It’s rare to see a band with seven members, but Australian psychedelic rock septet King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard just wouldn’t be complete without two drummers, four guitarists, and harmonica. Nonagon Infinity was released via According to Our Records (ATO), which features a heady roster including Gogol Bordello, My Morning Jacket, and Old Crow Medicine Show. While certainly conjuring up 70s prog-rock of Pink Floyd and Yes ilk, King Gizzard rev up the ferocity by incorporating the harder edge of metal, and the hallucinatory repetition of Krautrock. Sonically, the band resembles fellow-Melbourne garage-rockers The Oh Sees.

The accompanying music videos also match the novelty-rock theme. “Gamma Knife” features the band circled around a makeshift offering pit as the camera dizzyingly pans around King Gizzard and company shredding guitars and banging drums. Druids adorned in brightly colored robes descend from the surrounding foliage. The video comes to an end as the ritual pit spawns a egg-shaped crystal and knocks out the band and adjoining worshipers. Incidentally this seamlessly leads into the next video, “People Vultures” in which the egg hatches a horrendously lofty paper-mache prop, which King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard painstakingly lug around while performing their instruments (you know, like a People Vulture). They are sporadically attacked by jump-kicking villains reminiscent of Power-Ranger which are vaporized by the vulture’s lazer beams.

If you hadn’t guessed yet, the band has already confirmed they will release a music video for each of the tracks on Nonagon Infinity–which might seem like a page out of Beyonce’s playbook–but this case clearly hints that, yes, there will be a never-ending music video to accompany their never-ending album.

If you’re a connoisseur of Rock’N’Roll’s rich history of novelties Nonagon Infinity is a must have–it fits in right next to Flaming Lips Zaireeka, synchronizing Dark Side of the Moon with the Wizard of Oz, KISS action figurines, and the complete Guitar Hero collection. Unsurprisingly so, the prized vinyl pressing of Nonagon Infinity is already sold out on their bandcamp. You can start placing your bets on Ebay where I’m sure it’ll fetch a fair price.

I say tuh-may-tow. You say to-mah-to. I call it retro, you call it nostalgia. Certainly you’re familiar with the old adage that Pop Culture comes in cycles.  Some call it the 40-year-rule, but…

April 1, 2016 10:58 am

Here at AtypicalSounds we’re always looking out for the next big thing. Our April Artist of the Month is Methyl Ethel, a Perth-based dreampop trio that are hot off the heels of releasing their debut record Oh Inhuman Spectacle, which was released digitally last month via 4AD.  The album showcases a sleek backdrop of psych-rock influences, reverb-drenched guitar, and Jake Web’s oddball lyrics: the chorus to lead single “Twilight Driving” caution unsuspecting drivers to watch out for “roos”.

Methyl Ethel are the latest indie upstart to burst out of Australia in the wake of big acts to emerge from the continent including Courtney Barnett and Tame Impala. The band’s following has been growing steadily since CMJ this past October, demonstrated by their insane and successful performance at this year’s SXSW. They’ve proven their ability to arouse new fans to faithfully follow them wherever their tour may take them.

Unfortunately, if you haven’t had a chance to catch them live yet, you might have to wait a bit. They’ve just wrapped up the US-wing of their international tour and are doing their last handful of shows in Europe and in native Australia. We’ll be waiting their return.

November 2, 2015 12:02 am

It was a drizzly, damp evening. The Boot & Saddle is a cosey South Philly music venue that bring in a wide range of indie upstarts befitting its intimate setting. Carroll is a Minneapolis four-piece that creates gentle, lush sound collages tinged with swirls of mild psychedelia. The quaint stage a perfect platform to usher in their debut self-titled album and kick off a brief tour of the East Coast.

keys1Carroll are a young band and you can tell. They haven’t gotten all of the nerves out yet, there are some hesitancies, nervous fidgeting, minor nuances in their stage presence. To be fair, I’ve always found the smaller crowds make it tougher to get into your groove. Large crowds are so all-encompassing- insignificant little ants. Smaller audiences are a nerve-racker, brings you back to classroom stage-freight. There’s nothing covering up even the most trivial imperfection, missed note, belting out a line in the wrong key. None of this mattered though, Carrol’s sound mirage was spectacular.

Colorful interlocking guitars. Vibrant vocal harmonies. Swift, punchy drums that gave the music an energetic punch. Waves of deep, robust bass- filling out the hazey soundscape. They played through the highlights from their new album no particular order, and also threw in a few bonus concoctions. All in all a solid set. Each song had a new and unexpected transition, rewarding avid listeners with a fresh dynamic.

This promising new band is traveling across the country to rile up hype for an album they’d put countless hours into, and that passion and genuine love to entertain spews out.  Definitely catch them if they come through your city.

I got a chance to ask Carroll’s bassist, Charles McClung, a few questions prior to their show, discuss the origin of the name “Carroll”, transplanting from the outskirts of Minneapolis to Philly, and the nervous energy associated with a new album. Here’s what he had to say:

So we know the name Carroll is derived from the Iconic Minneapolis hot spot, what brought you to name your band after that?

We named the band after the avenue in St. Paul where Brian and Charlie started the band. In our own way, we made it a hot spot, although I doubt anyone else would consider it such.

I looked up name “Carroll” online, it’s a surname, Irish in origin, meaning “manly” or “champion”…so you guys believe you’re “manly champions”?!  

We would be very hesitant to call ourselves manly champions.

You guys are picking steam in Minneapolis and you’re summoned to record an album out here in Philly. What was that like?  

It’s funny you use the word “summoned”! We definitely learned a thing or two about the art of summoning from that experience; namely, summoning the psychedelic vibes from within!

How does that compare to the Northern Wilderness?

On a more serious note, it was definitely a rad experience to leave the Twin Cities to record in a totally different creative environment out here in Philadelphia. Some of us liked it enough to move out here, actually. Both cities are special places.

Recording tracks in a studio environment versus recording demos out in the woods are very different experiences. I think we have an affinity for both domains, though. Disparate inspirations come into play.

Apparently you guys recorded the album in 18 days–did you guys actually get to check out the city?  Or were you locked up in the studio the entire time?

You can fit a lot into 18 days, as it turns out! We were able to finish tracking and get a feel for the city as a whole during that recording session. Some days were more stressful than others, both in and out of the studio. From Max taking his sweet time dialing in guitar tones to Charles getting lost in South Philadelphia looking at murals… it was a fun time.

Are you looking forward to returning to Philly and playing the Boot & Saddle?  Philly’s a pretty fun crowd, right?!?

Yeah, Philadelphians are a hoot. We actually just peeped Here We Go Magic at Boot & Saddle earlier this week, and we’re excited to get back in there!

How was it working with Jon Low (who’s produced Kurt Vile, The War On Drugs, The National, and many more) you must have been absolutely floored.

Jon Low is a wizard. But he’s not the only one. See for evidence.

Releasing a record is a major milestone for any up-and-coming band. Are you more anxious or excited about rolling out your self-titled second record? It sounds amazing by the way- as if my opinion counted for anything.

Thank you so much! Your opinion totally counts, don’t sell yourself short! Although we are generally an anxious bunch, I think that it would be the wrong adjective to describe our view on our record. We’re proud of it and happy that it’s out in the world now.

Sunflower Bean Blending Flavors
September 24, 2015 4:30 pm

If you’re looking for a soundtrack to accompany your drugged out road trip through the desert, then I have the perfect band for you.

SunFlower Bean

Sunflower Bean‘s latest release Show Me Your Seven Secrets hit all the psychedelic buttons you’ve been missing since the 60’s, and some others besides. Incorporating elements of punk, grunge, and even jam music, New York’s Sunflower Bean is putting a new spin on the spaced out rock of old. They flash more grit than other current psychedelia-charged groups like Tame Impala, and their songs carry a feel closer to the raucous bands of past decades than the tight indie-electronic groups so popular today.

The band invites this comparison with a track and video off the new EP called “Tame Impala.” The song kicks off with a low fuzzy riff before bassist Julia Cumming comes in with a squealing cry. The song settles with groove and guitarist Nick Kivlen comes in with a countering spacey melody. The song flips to a halftime feel with Black Sabbath-esque undertones. Shots of the pair rocking out with drummer Jacob Faber in front of a wall of blacklight posters proves that they hold true to their psych roots.

With a new spin on psychedelic that brings more attitude, Sunflower Bean has its niche nicely carved out.


La Luz, A Weirdo Shrine
September 17, 2015 11:47 am

Seattle based band La Luz just released their second full length album Weirdo Shrine and it is bangin! The psychedelic garage surf rock quartet La Luz teamed up with producer/engineer Ty Segall and released the album with 11 songs at a mere 31 minutes. I wouldn’t have been happy with any length, I would just want to hear more and more from these girls. From start to finish, the timing and layout of the songs really paint a beautiful visualization for the imagination. There’s a melancholy feeling to the lyrics, an overall cloud of sadness that meets a blissfulness of love and death with the hypnotizing organ and dreamy guitar solos. At some points the lyrics get drowned out by the reverb to where you can hardly tell what the hell they are singing about. They transition into instrumental elements that work perfectly for their surf rock tune. Their talent together with the guitar, bass, organ and bitchin’ drum beats all fit together so perfectly with their harmonizing and overall creation of the band. Sounds trippy right? That’s because they are.  The album was released in August with their label Hardly Art and selling exclusively as a cassette with Burger Records for just $6!

June 24, 2015 3:22 pm

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, a band that originally started out as a self-admitted “joke”, came all the way from Melbourne, Australia to play New York City’s Bowery Ballroom this weekend. With a name like that, seven members, a harmonica and a jazz harp in their camp, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard does sound admittedly ridiculous, but their live show and musical repertory is anything but. The psychedelic-rock band is on their fifth album and played to a sold out room.

Organized chaos is the best way to describe the band’s set. Trippy visuals were projected on the background and perfectly supported their eclectic sound. Set highlights were “Hot Wax” off their last album Oddments, which has growly lizard-esque vocals and pounding bass, and “Cellophane”, which sent many audience members crowd surfing and moshing like mad-men (and women).

As is often the case with psychedelic music, it either clicks or it doesn’t. Not every band can be Yes or Jefferson Airplane, but King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard come close. Not to mention, they have the coolest merch I’ve seen.

Written by Alessandra Licul 

Temples Get Colorful at Music Hall of Williamsburg
June 10, 2015 1:12 pm

Temples has yet to set foot on stage, and Music Hall of Williamsburg already has the mellowed energy set up. It’s a quiet Monday night, and the audience is more than happy to stretch the weekend out a little further. This is Temples’ second tour of the U.S. with their 2014 debut record, Sun Structures.

Part of the album’s genius is its immediate ability to make you forget which decade you’re in. For all of its glossy production, the outcome doesn’t feel far from laying on the floor in front of a record player with two lungs full of Nag Champa. It’s disorienting in the best way.


The band opens the show with Sun Structures, one of the longest tracks on the album at about 6 minutes. It’s sprawling and dreamy, like the music is stretching out across the crowd. Singer James Bagshaw’s face is hidden in his hair, and he’s mostly obscured in the swirling lights of the backlit stage, a silhouette with a guitar.

The audience is completely blissed-out. The couples in the crowd are in a cuddling trance, girls are dancing slowly, eyes closed with their arms above their head, swaying back and forth gently. All those people who believe a show isn’t good if the audience isn’t freaking out have never been to a Temples gig.

Beyond the music, it’s worth noting that the band looks absolutely fantastic. Bagshaw’s resemblance to Marc Bolan of T. Rex has been noted in publications like NME and The Guardian, an observation that is sure to increase in frequency as the band continues to gain popularity. Bagshaw is wearing a suede shirt with fringe, while bassist Thomas Walmsley takes the crowd back to a nostalgic time when Sweet was on their cassette tapes.

They close the show with Mesmerise, a beautiful choice for the remaining minutes of the gig. Partway through the song, a silver spaceman playing tambourine dances onto the stage, and continues dancing around the band until the song ends. The audience is broken from their trance to watch this strangely well-choreographed routine.

Then, it’s over. Virginia Plain by Roxy Music blasts from the PA system as the room clears. After such a colorful performance, the outside world feels a little grayer.


Set list:

Sun Structures

A Question Isn’t Answered

The Golden Throne


Colours To Life


Henry’s Cake

Keep In The Dark

Sand Dance

Shelter Song


Fragment’s Light