When choosing records from the massive pile covered in dust, one has to consider what exactly they’re looking for. Do they want a standard three-minute passing love song, or something that tears away at their insides, making the ground come alive and breathe? Picking my top 10 psych records was a heavy task dwelled upon for several weeks using grave concern and dynamite precision. I am, after all, a music addict. And like any music addict, I’ve dug deep, scouring the stacks for the cloudy wax cuts that demand a little extra attention.These aren’t your mother’s standard, run-o-the-mill records, or even your father’s damp-basement, smoke-filled meditations. These are the deep cuts, rare gems, unsavory, garage-ridden, echo-filled anthems to long-dead, flower-filled summers of love, loss and contagious pop with just enough grungy, punk overtones and careless ramblings to keep even the most tweaked-out of weary travelers contented by their shifting surroundings. Here lies a list of luscious psychedelic albums from an era oversaturated with moody, colorful, transcendentalists and dry-mouthed freethinkers, lost somewhere in the midst of their next epiphany.
With the reunion and rigid touring schedule of resurrected indie giants, Neutral Milk Hotel, in addition to the recent release of Mosaics Within Mosaics
, a giant new album by Will Cullen Hart’s project Circulatory System, the Elephant 6 Recording Company has returned from the locked bedrooms of yesteryear, and reestablished themselves once again as pioneers in pop mastery and psychedelia. The task of picking my top ten Elephant 6 albums was daunting as I approached an entire catalogue both distinctive to their primary songwriters and further perfected by the contributions of their fellow men and women. While my familiarity with this grand cluster of artists began with the obvious Neutral Milk Hotel, I quickly shifted to the deep cuts and rare gems of their roster, and fell hard for the polished differences between these friends and contemporaries. My infatuation with these songs has withstood long beyond temporary placeholders scattered amongst mix CD’s and stands to remind me that often times the retro-past is the best of possible jumping off points.The albums that follow represent the hooks that kept me coming back for more. Apologies to Elf Power, The High Water Marks, The Minders, The Sunshine Fix, The Ladybug Transistor, and many others.