Thursday, March 20, 2008

10 Questions


Happy Vernal Equinox readers! (Northern Hemisphere...) Good bye and good riddance to that much-loathed season!
Our guest today, answering the "10 Questions" survey is Leon Jones of the U.K. psychsters Alfa 9! Leon proved more than up to the challenge. Of his band:
"Whilst their peers sledgehammer home the horrors of city centres deserted but for whirring CCTV’s, Alfa 9 achieve the same effect via a mellifluous menace. Duly snapped up by the management company responsible for psych-godfathers Echo & the Bunnymen, the band signed to Blow Up records for debut single ’For Your Bones’ (released Dec 2005). A haunting slice of psych-pop, it coincided with a spate of gigs where the band could show-off both their Floyd-like live extravaganza and get to grips with Service Station cuisine.
"Gigs are one-offs" enthuses Ali.
"There’s a communal aspect to them where you can get lost in the music. Better still, you learn something every time."

The lessons learned at over a hundred gigs have been channelled into debut album ’Then We Begin’ (released August 7th). Recorded over six weeks at The Charlatans Big Mushroom studios, it is, quite simply, a gem. Full of euphoric surges, cool dignity and a scope to shame the guitar-pop scenesters clogging up the charts, it is as expansive as Secret Machines but as neo-folky as Dungen. If the meticulously layered instrumentation, and glacial pop tunes don’t move you, songs like new single ’Deadman’ suggest chart occupation is imminent.
"Deadman’ is such a good song" enthuses Phil.
"It sounds beautiful in one sense, but if you look a little more closely at it, there’s darkness in there too.".
’Give Me Your Heart Again’, meanwhile, could be the Coral at their peak, with the playground surrealism traded in for a more worldly-wise mindset. There are traces of sweaty old rock music, but ’Then We Begin’ always ends up sounding thoroughly modern.
Don’t dip in, is the subtext, dive into the depths of the past and see what you can find. As Phil says:
"Dust off your headphones and make up your own mind."
These astral arbiters of faith, dope and clarity will be playing live near you soon.
Alfa 9: watch the skies.
- Paul Moody
(Editor's Note: My headphones NEVER get dusty. As I listen to the opening strains of their album's "Prelude" I can tell you: "This IS a trip...")
OK, on to the questions. Leon take it away!


1. In ten words-or less, define "psychedelic music."

...takes your mind to a (sometimes unexpected) different place


2. What is the most psychedelic instrument, why?

Apart from the vocal, the guitar...with the right pilot it can take you anywhere

3. Favorite psychedelic album of all time?

Hard...Pretty Things' SF Sorrow...it'll be different tomorrow


4. If you could be a member of any band in history, what band would it be and what would you play?

Possibly The Yardbirds late period just as they were blossoming into psychedelia - Happenings Ten Years Time Ago sort of time-playing 3rd guitar behind Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page


5. What era has the best roster of psychedelic music?

60's

6. What psychedelic album do you wish more people knew about?

The Pretty Things' SF Sorrow

7. What band, active today, most defines "psychedelic" to you?

Asteroid #4



8. What album would you most like to cover in its entirety, why?

Not sure we'd like to do that...didn't Royal Trux cover the whole Exile On Main Street album once? If we did then probably a Dylan album - great songs - where can you go wrong? But a "Psychedelic" album...Notorious Byrd Brothers?





9. Top Ten Psychedelic Songs?

Pink Floyd - Astronomy Domine
Yardbirds - Happenings Ten Years Time Ago
Beatles - Rain
Byrds - Eight Miles High
13th Floor Elevators - Slip Inside This House
Rain Parade - This Can't Be Today
The Seeds - Pushing Too Hard
Brian Jonestown Massacre - Hide And Seek (live)
West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band - 18 Is Over the Hill
Rolling Stones - We Love You

10. Turn the tables, if you'd like, and ask me a question.
Leon: All of the above please...

valis: Hmmm. Although my aim has never been to make this about me, you did say "please." Very well, so it is written shall it be done:
1. In ten words-or less, define "psychedelic music."

Music which encompasses the end-slice of Zeno’s Paradox.


2. What is the most psychedelic instrument, why?

Sitar. First, last, and always.

3. Favorite psychedelic album of all time?

This changes every three hours. Right now it’s The Zerfas – Self-titled album.


4. If you could be a member of any band in history, what band would it be and what would you play?

Rain Parade or The Chemistry Set UK…, for the same reason: the times in which they played. Rhythm guitar.


5. What era has the best roster of psychedelic music?

Right now….

6. What psychedelic album do you wish more people knew about?

The Squires of the Subterrain – Feel The Sun

7. What band, active today, most defines "psychedelic" to you?

See my answer to Kurt's question, #10,here.

8. What album would you most like to cover in its entirety, why?

If I could cover one it might be the Outsiders' CQ



9. Top Ten Psychedelic Songs?
This will change every hour…..


1. The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows
2. Our Plastic Dream - A Little Bit Of Shangri-La
3. The Rolling Stones - Paint It, Black
4. The Syn - 14-Hour Technicolor Dream
5. 13th Floor Elevators - Slip Inside This House
6. The Move - I Can Hear The Grass Grow
7. The Lemon Drops - Sometime Ago
8. Pretty Things - Baron Saturday
9. The Creation – Through My Eyes
10. Traffic – Paper Sun

Thanks Leon!!! Again, Happy Spring and check out Alfa 9!!!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

& a happy Spring to thee too mon ami. Digin' Alfa 9 bien sur, Leon seems to know his stuff, though isn't everyone familiar with S.F. Sorrow ?

Enlightening and interesting to see your own answers to the set questions too.

Sitar every time say I!

Cliff.

sr-71 said...

Damn, both of ya are right on my wavelength today....

Anonymous said...

Yep. As much as it pains me to say it, I've got to agree that the present examples of psych trump that which was available in the '60's. There may have been something more "present" about the music then (the pharmaceuticals were better and more prevalent) but the entire concept has had longer to simmer at this point, and technology is being well used. Curious things, eh?

Jim K.

Anonymous said...

And, a nod goes to the oft-overlooked Syn! Ahh, this going to be fine mixin' fodder.

Gnomalicious