Joel Biswas refuses to see Dead and Co.
In Amir Bar-Lev’s seminal Amazon documentary Long Strange Trip, Jerry Garcia recounts coming of age in late ’50s and early ’60s America and yearning for a human experience bigger than apple pie, Chevrolet, and the prospect of nuclear annihilation. That yearning remains the essence of psychedelia. Musically it’s the sonic equivalent of the chase; simultaneously within and without, where it’s possible to be in a moment and yet still yearn for it, an irresistible magnetic field of pure experience. It’s music that’s expansive enough to reveal the universal and intimate enough to be a personal revelation.
Years later, a new age of soul-sickness calls for new psychedelic heroes. For those attuned to the right vibratory frequency, there’s Dungen and Woods—kindred spirits in stoking the psychic fire despite wildly diverging influences and provenance (Stockholm and Brooklyn, respectively). Each have been mapping interior worlds for more than a decade. They wear their rich palette of influences lightly—from Wilco and Flaming Lips to Blue Cheer, the Velvets and Can, Jorma Kaukonnen and Procol Harum. And beneath the shimmering keyboards and cosmic instrumentals, each writes indelible songs.
Best of all, Dungen’s Gustav Ejstes and Reine Fiske and Woods’ Jeremy Earl and Jarvis Taveniere have now recorded a seven song EP for Mexican Summer’s Marfa Myths series, set to drop March 16th. The first tune, “Turn Around,” appeared on Soundcloud just in time for the Super Moon. Penned by Woods’ Jeremy Earls, it’s a surprisingly retro paean to British psychedelia with stabs of doo-woop piano, a lush surf-rock guitar line and a dreamy vibe that wouldn’t be out of place in London’s UFO Club circa ’66. Together, the foursome shrug off any super-group expectations for a vibe that’s more like old friends picking up where they left off. It’s four minutes of spooky pop that primes the synapses for freakier happenings to come.