6 November 2023
Best Trip Ever – Acid Rock Anthems!
So what is Acid Rock, man? Define it, dude. Yeah, well that’s a bit tricky…
You know Acid Rock when you hear it whether its classics from Hawkwind or Jefferson Airplane or revisionist updates by the likes of Monster Magnet and most of us indulge in it for brief spells at a time whether we know it or not. But a hardy few souls plan out serious trips into space with an accompanying soundtrack.
A starting point of discussion (surely over a pint of Ol’ Bastard at the Slaughtered Lamb pub?) might be to consider whether you could imagine any contender to be included on the soundtrack to seminal pagan horror flick, The Wicker Man (no, not that shiiiite re-make featuring the risible Nicholas Cage, but the original late sixties creepy cult classic with Christopher Lee).
Ingredients? There’s usually a surfeit of ethereal female vocals artfully slipping between the shimmering worlds, but they’re not vital. It’s nice to hear a Hammond organ pomping away as part of an extended instrumental jam, but it isn’t essential and many don’t. There’s an awful lot of wah-wah riffing and full on fuzzbox distortion, but often there isn’t. It’s usually an upbeat, almost ritual sound too, but there is plenty that forgo this. You can easily slip into Dark Americana, Doom, Stoner rock or even Pagan Folk realms because its such a multi-chemical formula of sub-genre.
In which case RH suggests that you best keep it safe in the freezer, until you really need it. In the meantime, turn on, tune in, burn out with the suggested trippy list below, and beware, it twists through different stages of the reality prism as it unfolds:
Hawkwind – Hurry On Sundown.
Yes, start with a belter. It could’ve been Silver Machine of course, but let’s get the party started with the good vibes not the gnashing of teeth.
Black Sabbath – Hole in the Sky
Could’ve been Planet Caravan or the hatstand insanity of Supertzar clearly, but if you want blasting, burned out trippy nonsense played at full volume then how can you beat it? And why would you want to? “Hole in the Sky, take me to Heaven, Window in time/ through it I fly…”
Goat – Soon You Die
The modern psyche greats. Hear them at their best on last year’s Oh Death album. A searing, sneering psycho-cookie of reckless oblivion. Oh yes!
Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats – I’ll Cut You Down
Three back to back genre classics delivered in quick succession mark Uncle Acid as genre front runner, namely 2011’s Blood Lust, 2015’s The Night Creeper and 2018’s The Wasteland, but Ill Cut You Down from that first one of the trio captures the manic, fevered side of the band in fine style.
Purson – Electric Landlady
Wouldda, shouldda, couldda. They were here, burned bright and faded away from their psyche roots all too soon. This track, from Desire’s Magic Theatre captures their playful vision best. Purists would cite earlier works such as Leaning on A Bear, with good reason
Devil’s Blood – Christ or Cocaine
A cheeky number, half an eighties Bonnie Tyler-esque stadium stomper and half a dark-hearted chuckle at hypocrites everywhere. Try before you buy…
Graveyard – Bird of Paradise
Not so much of a typical screamer from the G’Yard like the more popular The Fox or Never Theirs To Sell and certainly far bluesy take on the acid sound but the central theme of touching your dreams warrants inclusion on what is a finely crafted rock tune of any genre or label.
Spiritual Beggars – Angel of Betrayal
Should be included in any lost gems list, a heavy riff first stomper full of bad intentions and trippy interludes.
Blue Cheer – Summertime Blues
Might as well get the sun cycle’s lined up. What would Wolfmother and a league of also rans ever done without this blueprint? Simple genius.
Monster Magnet – Tractor
What else? I mean the evil sod is actually swapping sorties with fellow inmates at a rehab centre imagining himself harvesting a field of psychedelics, just to keep himself entertained.
The Cult – Phoenix
More than a few Cult tracks from their early period could be thrown into the mix, but the splendid first to last note swirling solo by Billy Duffy takes the crown. Splendid.
Night Beats – Right/Wrong
Warm, liquid-lava lamp like fun. The Night Beats have a style and they stick with it to great effect often toying with funk territory as much as any outlaw RnB, as they term it
16 Horsepower – Black Soul Choir
An outlier intermission of burnt out n charred Dark Americana and, much like Clutch, these retro themed preachers of the wastelands have a knack of channeling all that’s crazy about the modern world. Also try Wovenhand Come Brave, if you dig this.
Blood Ceremony – The Great God Pan
Heading to the The doomier side of the acid coin now, certainly, but equally as unhinged and creative in places. It’s the missing soundtrack to a late 60s Hammer Horror film Blood of Satan’s Claw set in the lost backlands of the in-bred English countryside…
Lucifer – California Son
…And speaking of which here’s the real morning star, replete with Ozzy style Vol 4 tassled shirts and stack heeled boots….
Iron Butterfly – Inna Gadda Da Vida
And you might as well end your trip ’round the sun with an epic, so how about a 23 minute one of crazy brilliance and hopeless nutso fun. Madder than a bag of badgers…