Roky Erickson is considered an undeniable pioneer of psychedelic rock. He’s mostly known for fronting The 13thFloor Elevators, a group out of Texas that many argue to be the first psychedelic band. More than ever, The Elevators’ sound can be heard in modern psychedelic garage rock like Oh Sees, The Black Angels, and Ty Segall. “I Think of Demons,” however, is less psychedelic sonically than it is psychedelic in its strange, surreal lyrics. Put out in 1980 under Roky’s solo project, the song is more similar to a stereotypical hard rock song; the melody itself isn’t that innovative and it’s more so a feel-good, familiar classic rock groove. The simple melody lets Roky’s lyrics shine.
I, I, I think of demons
They never kill
I, I, I think of demons
They never will
They don’t need to
They’ll scare it’s true
I think of demons for you
Roky describes a demon he “reads,” a demon with fangs in dazed moonlight and “blood that never touches [his] lips.” I always feel emotionally hit by this song, the idea of being able to “read” demons and thinking of demons for someone else. Maybe it’s because I know Roky’s difficult history with drugs and mental health that I read into “I think of demons for you” as a declaration of the forced martyrdom he endures psychically. His personal context aside, this sentiment serves as a perverse love song and an acknowledgment of monstrosity and inferno. “I Think of Demons” is one of the less cartoonish songs in the context of The Evil One, an album rife with vampires, zombies, two-headed dogs, and other monsters. While this could very well just be a goofy rock song about demons with my own projections running wild, I think there’s something mystic about the lyrics of this song. It continues to be something I keep with me and turn over and over.
Here’s the song below, and here’s a link to the full lyrics:
Princess Nokia’s “A Girl Cried Red” was, to many, a surprise of a mixtape in its emo nostalgia. “Your Eyes Are Bleeding” seamlessly blends hip-hop elements with a teenage pop-punk aesthetic. While this mixtape is a very drastic shift from Nokia’s brujería feminist, rap heavy debut album 1992, Nokia has long been a cultivator and advocate for people of color’s involvement in punk, anime, video game and emo culture through her social media presence. The aesthetic of the video for “Your Eyes Are Bleeding” takes me back to my middle school days of fingerless gloves and knee-high converse. Despite emo culture being predominately thought of as a white subculture, most of the emo kids in my middle- and high-schools were people of color, queer or considered “other” to society in a larger context.
After watching Nokia’s “A Girl Cried Red” music video, I asked my best friend at the time, Kim Lopez, about her thoughts on the connection she had as a Latinx woman in a largely white public school system to the emo/hardcore scene she was a part of. I met Kim in the 6th grade, where we both bonded over our love of emo staples such as Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas and the anime Soul Eater. As brown tweens, she said both of us accessing this scene “was like us telling the world that we knew we were different and it was us willingly separating ourselves.” We both went to middle- and high-schools that were predominately dominated by white students from wealthy socioeconomic backgrounds. Without acknowledging these implications, we bonded as emo kids. However, after a couple years we left this scene and delved more into hip-hop. Kim decided to leave the scene because “in screamo/post-hardcore I didn’t see any representation and I didn’t see the lyrics talk about anything that I felt was specifically just for me, which is why I gravitated towards hip hop afterwards. I think we just got tired of trying to force ourselves into this space that is supposedly for people who are misunderstood.”
Princess Nokia’s mixtape is a perfect marriage of our sentiments on the way in which we accessed emo culture as brown women, and the importance hip-hop held in our later teenage years. It has the elements of the overt emotional rampage of “other-ness” that exists within emo culture, which sound even louder through Nokia’s position as someone from the afro-Latinx community. While 2008-era emo culture is relatively dead, Nokia’s nostalgic throwback dredges up a reclamation of a scene largely represented by white guys in skinny jeans.
I JUST WANT TO SMOKE CRACK WITH MY FRIENDS! Ok… that’s definitely not what I want to do but that is one of the quality lyrics from Natural Child’s song, Crack Mountain. Crack Mountain is a crisp blend of garage rock with a southern twist. Like most Natural Child songs, it has refreshingly straightforward lyrics. Its upbeat tempo is nearly irresistible and as the weather gets warmer, Natural Child will make you feel like it is already mid-summer. You should definitely listen to Natural Child this weekend and you should certainly avoid their advice.
Starved in metropolis…
Hooked on necropolis…
Addict of metropolis…
Do the worm on the acropolis
Slamdance the cosmopolis
Enlighten the populace….
“Ghetto Defendant” is one of those songs that will never tire me. I’ve listened to it religiously for months, always finding something new in the lyrics and the way in which the different speakers’ words interact with one another. That pleasing, old poet voice rhythmically purring is none other than Allen Ginsberg reciting lyrics he wrote for the song, communicating “the voice of God.” Take a listen:
Loving is a mellow indie rock band from Victoria, British Columbia. Their song “Bowlly Going Dancing Drunk Into the Future” is off their 2016 self-titled LP, an album heavy with motifs of delicate nature, letting go, and wandering. Listen to “Bowlly Going Dancing” while sharing a dessert with a friend this weekend.
maybe you could talk freely
speak to me for once so truly
for once so truly
i could know
just where you’re going
just where i’m standing.
that would really be something.
in most ways on most days
i am clearly disappearing
i am clearly disappearing
at the thought of our nearing
this morning i awoke
and read the words
that you wrote.
they were different from what you spoke
they were different from what you spoke
and it was there you declared
all love is unfair.
Photo credit of Loving from their bandcamp, https://loving1.bandcamp.com/
Breaking the silence
Of an ancient pond,
A frog jumped into water-
A deep resonance.
-Matsuo Basho, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Daniel R. Robinson was an acoustic guitarist who changed his name to Robbie Basho in honor of the Japanese poet Matsuo Basho. Like Matsuo Basho’s poetry, Robbie Basho’s music captures a beauty and calmness deeply rooted in the natural world. In Robbie Basho’s rendition of Debussy’s piano solo “Clair de Lune,” Basho’s guitar echoes the effects a piano’s sustaining pedal would produce in a typical performance of the song while adding a rugged folksiness and energy to the piece. Take a listen:
Faust’s fourth and arguably best album, Faust IV is one of the best krautrock records ever recorded. Full of the usual frenetic, psychedelic, free-form jams Jennifer is a gorgeous psych ballad. The lush, repetitive guitar arpeggio and oscillating bass drones meld into a reverberating soundscape, only to be interrupted by a wonky riff that seamlessly flows back into the verse. Jennifer is Faust at their most meticulous and refined, without loosing their experimental nature. As the weather gets colder and winter sets in, I keep coming back to this song. Dig it.
Dog Years is a “heart-shaped box”-esque slowburner. Its lyrics steam with hate. Dog Years reveals the vitriolic aftermath of a relationship. In its soul-crushing relentlessness, the song captures how the subject of the song meticulously ruined life’s simple joys. Jenna Moynihan begins by singing, “If you could do anything / You would ruin the best things / You would spoil the ending / You’d dissolve cotton candy.” Later on she seems to find sadistic pleasure from imagining the death of whomever she is singing about. The pain and disgust are palpable.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about math rock. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the genre, here’s my stripped-down definition: experimental rock made up of layered rhythms that really should not sound good together. In my experience, math rock can range from utterly abrasive to mind-blowing. Palm lands on the latter end of that spectrum.
I saw this band play at an itty bitty coffee shop up in Boulder a few weeks ago. The performance had me fully immersed – it almost becomes a game, trying to figure out when the downbeats land or when the keys change. It’s impossible to concentrate to this sort of music, yet it tickles the brain in an inspiring way.
Palm is full of contradictions. I should really stop trying to describe it, and you should really just listen to their newest track below. Enjoy.
I haven’t posted on this website in a while, but in that while I’ve managed to fall completely into a bottomless pit of admiration/adoration for King Krule, and specifically for his new album The OOZ. If you’re interested in hearing him say the album title in his glorious British accent, or in learning more about how the album was made, check out the Beats 1 session he recorded in his bathroom-turned-brainspace: https://itunes.apple.com/us/station/king-krule-takeover/idra.1295672630
Right now, though, on this cold Colorado Tuesday evening, I want to bring your attention to the first single from The OOZ–– Czech One. Not only is the song just really fucking spaceously beautiful, but the video is one of the best music videos I’ve seen in some time. If your self-esteem needs a little hammering, King Krule (or Archy Marshall, the man behind the project) is 23 and the director of “Czech One,” Frank Lebon, is 20. (But don’t actually feel bad; they both come from ridiculously creative/artistic lineages, which is its own sort of privilege)
Anyway, here’s “Czech One”:
If you liked what you saw, you should check out (The OOZ, obviously, but also) the art collective that Frank Lebon is a part of: http://www.dobedo.co.uk/
picture taken from altcitizen.com