In a year in which a black man is running for president, a limited-edition, colored vinyl doesn't pass as a freakout.
Then again, these performers are compelling because of their attention to aesthetic detail and creative sense of rock historiography. It's unavoidable that musicians weaned on punk would approach psych-rock differently from those only a decade or two on the Dead's coattails, but one is struck again and again by their experimental impulse. Certain key reference points are a given: besides the aforementioned '60s groups, there are usually traces of Neil Young, Spaceman 3, and the Velvet Underground. But so too do most of the groups venture further afield to add dabs of Terry Riley, Can, Morton Feldman, or Skip Spence to their spectroscopic sounds. Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound's improbable mix of raga, Canned Heat, sci-fi sounds, and Black Flag is batty enough to warrant a Greil Marcus study.
Psychedelic rock exists, like almost any music genre in the Internet age, beyond regional boundaries, but it still makes a special fit with California's earth-tugging landscape. At the same time that the Western mythos of the frontier crumbled in Vietnam's shadow, the original Frisco freakouts pushed past the real wilderness for a psychic one. These newer bands thrust us even more precipitously into this "lost" mental space, seeking to refurnish psych-rock with its dangerous luster. 2
Sat/11, 2 p.m., $15
1600 17th St., SF
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