I really dig how, over the course of the 2010s, the spirit of pop musics seems to have worked its way back around to the hippie stuff, partially because of record-collector nostalgia, but probably also because the whole hippie dream is just intuitively an attractive one. I like psychedelic music because it’s exhilarating in the live setting, organic, and though truthfully I prefer the experimental/krauty stuff, even psychedelic pop is reasonably creative and lyrically interesting. Groups like Secret Colours, Tame Impala, Melody’s Echo Chamber, and MGMT are a good measure of how kids from my generation have followed in the footsteps of folks like Arthur Lee and Roky Erickson, making quality pop music that will definitely stand the test of time. And right here in Portland, there are some great groups who are primed to add their voices to this revival too! I especially like Grandparents, Cambrian Explosion, and Bath Party.
Perth, Australia’s Pond has probably gotten a leg-up off of some occasional collaborations with Kevin Parker, the mastermind behind Tame Impala. The band was initially started by Nick Allbrook, Jay Watson, and Joseph Ryan with the idea of being an open platform for anyone to join; however, by 2010 they had evolved into a heavy-hitting pop act.Their 2012 album Beard, Wives, Denim (on which Parker played most of the drums, though the band’s regular drummer is Cam Avery) could probably be described best as everything you like about contemporary neo-psych, distilled into one high-energy psychedelic rollercoaster.
It is hard not to bob your head in time to hazy, ringing soul-struts like “Elegant Design” and “Dig Brother”. It just makes me smile to put this on, and personally I think that it stands well above the rest in its niche. Have I mentioned also, that they played a show with Damo Suzuki in 2012?! Jay Watson and Joseph Ryan’s lay down an absolutely earth-shattering guitar attack, seemingly channeling both the spirit of Amon Düül II and of Strawberry Alarm Clock. Pond will have a new album out early next year, entitled Man It Feels Like Space Again.
For my readers in Portland, I hope you can make it out to see Pond at the Doug Fir on Wednesday October 29th. It’s sure to be a great one!