Postmodern Conservative

Carl’s Rock Songbook No. 117: My Second Psychedelic Revival

And What It Says about the Songbook

A certain aesthetic appears on the scene, fades away, returns, fades away, and returns again.  In truth, it never entirely vanishes, and each attempted “revival” of the whole or recycle-ment of some of its elements is slightly different.  We may take what instruction we will from the fact that at its first appearance, it was hailed as an avenue into ever-progressive forward movement.  And from the fact that we lose precise track of just how many little returns and fadings-away there have been. 

Such are the pleasures available as we trip everlastingly around our post-1960s cul-de-sac.

Back in the 1980s, I was a teenage fan of bands revisiting the garage-rock, baroque-pop, folk-rock, and psychedelic sounds of ’65-69. 1980s garage-rock, as I’ll explain, had a serious claim to be its own distinct scene, but otherwise, the bands were labeled the “Paisley Underground.”  The key ones were The Rain Parade, The Three O’ Clock, and The Bangles.

And whattya know, here in the 21st-century teens I find myself a middle-aged fan of another set of bands reliving 60s sounds in their own way.  Writers are calling this a “psychedelic revival” or a “pysch-garage” scene.  The key bands are Woods, Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, White Fence, Cate Le Bon, and The Growlers.


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