Written by: Alex Green
Psyched to have Ola, host of Ola’s Kool Kitchen bring us her preview playlist for this year’s Liverpool Psych Fest. Ola’s been deejaying at the fest for several years now and is an authority on shoegaze and dreampop.
Enjoy her selections–she knows her stuff!
As autumn unfolds, cascading an array of golden red and brown leaves on the streets, it’s time for Liverpool Psych Fest 2017. Returning to DJ for my third year in a row at the festival, I’ve been asked by PZYK to compile a list of tracks from my favourite artists playing this year. To introduce myself, I’m Ola’s Kool Kitchen, and I’ve been hosting an international radio show since 2007, which is currently on KCLA 99.3 FM in Los Angeles, 107.5 andhow.FM, Rock Velvet Radio, Maximum Threshold Radio, Rock Radio UK, Sword Radio UK, 365 Radio Network, Jammerstream One, Kor Radio, Firebrand Radio and Bombshell Radio.
It’s an eclectic ride through time and space not limited by genre, era or location; created because mainstream radio sucks and good music has no boundaries. I frequently play psych, freakbeat, dream pop, garage and shoegaze and have nifty guests like my most recent, Zia McCabe from The Dandy Warhols, so I found there’s a virtual cornucopia to cherry-pick from this year’s line-up.
The Telescopes is a good way to get this party started.
Founded in 1987 by Stephen Lawrie, they’ve been mining a unique seam of noise, dream, psych and drone for over twenty years. One of the more interesting bands on Creation Records, they’ve influenced the likes of Brian Jonestown Massacre and the wider shoegaze movement. The Telescopes gigs are an amazing experience filled with noisy, hard space rawk that leaves a lasting impression. At times they’re raw, primitive, yet deeply original and melodic with a brutal, thrusting appeal. You don’t fall asleep at one of their gigs. It’s loud, impressive and it leaves a burning fire in the soul. Stephen joined me on the show as a guest DJ, which you can check out here – as well as a track from their latest album, As Light Return.
Loop is another important progenitor from the 1980’s that fostered queasily churning, repetitive riffs with brooding vocals. Their stated intention being to sonically reproduce an acid trip gone wrong, they conjure up a hallucinogenic fever of dark landscapes, a hypnotic trip to the scary side of the human psyche. Enjoy the psych wah-wah nightfall.
Jane Weaver has been described as “the sound of Cat Power if she’d grown up next door to Oasis, stealing their Beatles records and outshining them at the school Christmas concert.” The singer’s latest album, Modern Kosmology manages to convert a, “very groovy and carefully curated record collection into 45 minutes of gleaming modern psychedelia. Her cut-glass vocals float over musical backdrops that meld the mesmerising repetitions of krautrock with early 80s synth pop, eerie folk, obscure soundtracks, library music and experimental electronics.” Try a slice, it’s beautifully scrummy.
New York City’s loudest band, A Place to Bury Strangers will bring some very welcome wall of sound, ear-shattering psychedelic/garage and space rock. An all-black wardrobe outfit, they’ll definitely be catering to the indoor sunglasses crowd. I had the pleasure of capturing one of their London gigs for the show, so you can get a taste of the live experience. This tune is a stunning example of their Cimmerian exquisiteness.
Rancho Relaxo is twangy guitar shoegaze fused with a proper dose of neo-psychedelia, soaked in reverb and sprinkled with fuzztastic freak-outs. These Norwegian rockers know how to make you feel like you’re basking in a sonic rainbow showering down on a field of sunflowers. This will make you feel very groovy.
The Black Angels will be a highlight. The band co-founded Austin Psych Fest – now morphed into Levitation – which inspired a cluster of similar festivals, including Liverpool Psych Fest. It’s appropriate that they should grace this year’s line-up. They tend to walk in the shadows, echoing the aural dirges of the 13th Floor Elevators. An Edvard Munch quote used in the liner notes of their album, Passover, sums it up perfectly: “Illness, insanity, and death are the black angels that kept watch over my cradle and accompanied me all my life.” I was very fortunate to interview them and record their show at Primavera Festival, which is available here . I’ll leave you with this classic display of caliginous bliss.