In short, Essentials is an ongoing series that provides artists the opportunity to discuss a specific topic while giving their fan base a chance to connect with their various interests and inspirations. But in this case, we are totally okay with things getting weird and uncensored. With their new four-track EP out in the ether, we asked EXPLODED VIEW to break down their favourite psych rock records of all-time. They obliged and even made a playlist (link) that includes Cher’s take on Bob Dylan’s “Masters Of War”.
Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow (1967)
Annika Henderson: “White Rabbit” is one of my favourite songs. I also have a version I perform live for my solo shows.
The Doors’ Strange Days (1967)
Martin Thulin: This is the record that opened up Pandora’s box for me in the ’80s when I was 10-years-old. I was a big fan of Joy Division and I read an interview with them where they stated that one of the albums that had a great influence on them was Strange Days. And viola, there was the vinyl in the boxes of Nice Price Records at the supermarket of my hometown in the south of Sweden.
I figured the teachers at my school that looked 1968 enough probably could tell me more so I asked them: “Do you know this band called The Doors?”. They said yes but with a look on their face saying, “Yes, but who cares?”. They were more fans of Bob Dylan and folk-y stuff which I found boring back then. “When The Music’s Over” though is a fine example of how to write about the destruction of the planet without turning it into a school book.
The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band’s Vol. 2 (1967)
Martin: After my encounter with The Doors’ Strange Days, I started to collect psych records which wasn’t all that easy back in the ’80s as there were no internet or Spotify that would serve you everything within five seconds. Most of the information was word-of-mouth. You had to call obscure record stores and try to milk them for some information, and calling long distance back then was expensive so I always had to call when my parents weren’t at home.
One of the albums I bought on a pure recommendation from a guy was Vol. 2 by WCPAEB. “Suppose They Give a War And No One Comes” is a classic track based on a half-note change; this was punk before punk. “Smell Of Incense” is another beautiful, trippy track.
White Noise’s An Electric Storm (1969)
Martin: Oh, Delia Derbyshire. Do I need to say more? An Electric Storm is just so brilliant. It’s full of Delia’s tape splicing. This is electronica without synthesizers. The first track makes Throbbing Gristle look like a bunch of wimpy wankers. It would also be difficult to imagine bands like Stereolab and particularly Broadcast without this as reference. I found my copy at a street market in Amsterdam.
Catherine Ribeiro + Aples’ Paix (1972)
Annika: I was introduced to this by J.G. Thirlwell and a very happy introduction it was. It’s a wild narrative with a loose framework which lets the singer run free and up into the crazed open hills.
Nico’s The End… (1974)
Martin: Of all of Nico’s albums, The End is probably the most solid one. The Marble Index was an album I had to listen to one side at the time as a teenager, but there was something about these albums that would actually scare me for real back then. Like not some fake goth stuff but some real darkness that I think I can deal better with as an adult.
How brilliant Nico was becomes obvious when Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera destroys her wonderful cover of The Doors’ “The End” with a horrible guitar solo — showing that Nico truly was somewhere completely different and far away from cheesy rock territory. The fact the album ends with a beautiful version of “Das Lied der Deutschen” proves she lived in a parallel universe.