Trainspotting has taken on a narcotic connotation because of the 1996 film directed by Danny Boyle, based on the novel by Irvine Welsh. Although that story was not about psychedelics, the film has its share of hallucinatory moments, the sequel less so. About the music in this episode, the playlist features psychedelia that starts out more in the hallucinatory vein but then becomes more meditative. Check out the music map below. A good illustration of how psychedelia has become a worldwide phenomenon. This episode features artists from the US, Canada, the UK, Norway, Israel, Guatemala, and closes out with a soundscape from Peruvian artist Chino Burga.
The title of this episode is from something my two-year-old and I have been doing recently. We’ve been going to an overpass nearby and wait for trains to pass. I’d never thought of myself as a trainspotter but I guess I’ve had a fascination since my childhood days staying at my grandparents’ home. Their house was about 100 yards from train tracks and I vividly recall the booming sound of the freight trains on summer nights when all the windows were open. So anyway, where my son and I go there are two sets of tracks, one for the DC metro trains, which comes above ground where we are, and one for the intercity trains. It’s always a jolt when we get the metro drivers to honk the horn.
00:19 Self-Immolation Music – Anhedonia 03:30 Helicon – Freakquency 07:46 The Orange Dots – Lost A Dream 12:29 A Crone’s Orchard – Worms 19:23 Solipsisme – Chimiosynthèse 23:31 The Midnight Vein – The Link 29:05 Carlton Melton – Hazel Heat 34:29 Ouzo Bazooka – Monsters 40:25 The Soundcarriers – Falling Back 44:02 The Groovy Nobody – Elevated 47:39 Baghdad Battery – Days Gone By 53:11 Chino Burga – Quien Como Dios
The movie Soylent Green was released in 1973 and offers a dystopian view of the future, set in our current year, 2022. (Spoilers ahead) In Soylent Green’s vision of 2022, the world is overpopulated with a permanent heat wave from greenhouse gases. The Soylent company controls the food supply and they start producing a “miracle food” that they claim is made from plankton but as Charlton Heston discovers, it’s really made from human beings. In other words things get so bad by 2022 that cannibalism becomes the order of the day. As Tony Sokol points out in Den of Geek, Soylent Green did anticipate some of the darker features of our current world: face coverings, meat substitutes, climate change. Cannibalism, though? I don’t know, we’re not quite there yet but who knows? Anyway, in our timeline 2022 is already starting off with great psychedelia. All of the tracks in this episode have been released in the last month.
00:00 Turn Me On Dead Man – Intro 00:19 Solilians – Old Schmeckled Hen 06:13 Lamp of the Universe – Return as Light 10:49 Clyde Von Klaus – Concede 13:40 Turn Me On Dead Man – Break 15:12 Ogua – Waves 24:03 Waylon Thornton – Blown Princes 26:11 Barbican Estate – The Divine Image 31:01 Elephant Stone – La fusée du chagrin 34:40 Los Árboles – Bebe Jesús 38:55 Thee Tabs – Carrier Pigeons 41:27 Parker Sprout – Milk in the Sun 44:02 Monte Meteoro – Contra 50:41 Aeon – Five 53:23 io audio recordings – Awaiting The Elliptical Drift
I’ve already posted my “best of 2021” lists and podcasts. As 2021 comes to an end, I’m including a couple of recordings that made on my “best of” list.
00:00 Turn Me On Dead Man – Intro 00:25 White Manna – Light Cones 06:04 The Myrrs – Buggy Chawnker 08:03 Dislocated Flowers – Renaissance Three Two Zero 14:00 Magoodin – Prisma 16:20 Melt Plastic Group – The Birdman Explodes 21:33 StarBath – StarBath Jam 1 27:54 ST 37 – Over and Over Again 33:08 Den Osynliga Manteln – Vortexlöpare 39:17 Moshi Moshi and the Moist Boys – Fluorescent Eye Part 1 43:03 Sonic Delays – Coast 46:44 Frozen Planet…. 1969 – Diamond Dust
It’s that time of year where we look back, take stock of everything that occurred during the year and try to make sense of it. I’m looking back on a year of loss–my mother died during the summer and my grandparents’ old house where I spent much of my childhood was destroyed in a fire. As if that weren’t enough, I lost two teeth (!) in 2021. Like 2020, though, music was a particularly bright spot in an otherwise challenging year.
As for my choices for the best of 2021, I made three lists. The first a Mixcloud compilation of some of the best tracks of 2021, followed by a list (in no particular order) of some of the best albums of 2021, and finally some singles and EPs that I managed to list in alphabetical order.
Last year I also posted a list of notable reissues but I didn’t try to keep up on all the reissues that were released in 2021. I was just happy to finally have The Beatles Let It Be box set, and to finally see the Peter Jackson documentary, Get Back. Really fun to watch.
I’d just like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the artists for providing the world with such wonderful music. My picks for the best tracks of 2021:
00:00 Turn Me On Dead Man – Intro 00:29 The Dharma Chain – So You Wanna Be A Spaceman? 07:03 Mt. Mountain – Aplomb 11:31 Meatbodies – Reach For The Sun 16:22 The Mountain Movers – I Wanna See The Sun 19:21 Thee U.F.O. – Putrefied Block 22:28 Dope Smoker – NASDAQ 27:09 Grinding Eyes – When The Night Falls 31:01 The Holy Family – Inward Turning Suns 37:05 The Myrrs – Buggy Chawnker 39:11 The Slow Voyage – Expansion 43:14 Magic Castles – Sunburst 46:29 Chainsaw Rainbow – blonde with dark roots 50:05 Mantras – Sunlight Swell 53:54 Ogua – Iyan 59:17 Swan Faucet – Wandering 1:05:48 Raw Optics – Aqua Mundo 1:08:04 The Sonic Splits – Like the Steady Flowing of a Stream 1:12:42 Cheval Sombre – Althea 1:20:22 Hooveriii – Shooting Star 1:24:24 Firefriend – Poison Tree 1:29:41 Comet Control – Secret Life 1:36:37 Shirese – The Glue Murder 1:38:54 Broken Sky – California 1:41:41 Goat – Queen of the Underground 1:47:36 Chino Burga – Meditación
As we enter the season of advent, Reality Sandwich outlines the shamanic origins of Christmas. One type of mushroom, Amanita muscaria, has some interesting similarities to Christmas imagery. In our times mushrooms are “finally having a moment,” according to Lucy Jones in The Guardian, and illustrator Brian Blomerth celebrates the history of mushroom lore in a new book.
A number of states (Florida and California among them), as well as the city of Toronto, are discussing or moving forward with legislation to decriminalize psychedelics. The website MDLinx cites “breaking the psychedelic ceiling” as one of the top medical breakthroughs of 2021. Discussions at the Wonderland psychedelic conference were optimistic that psychedelics are to be the next big development in mental health treatment, and the Australian ABC podcast All in the Mind devoted a recent episode to “Psychedelics for mental illness.” Even though barriers against using psychedelics for treating mental health disorders are still substantial, the market for these drugs could be huge. Some worry, however, that if legal psychedelics are dominated by big pharma, it could enrich large corporations rather than a broader community benefitting from these developments.
The music in this episode ranges from psychfolk to lo-fi garage to experimental psych and concludes with an extended jam by Wizard Beast. One of my standard questions for the artists is “What record changed your life?” I’ve been impressed with the wide range of influences the artists cite, but The Velvet Underground and Nico gets mentioned quite often. Here it takes on new meaning through the lens of “Cold Equations”.
00:00 Turn Me On Dead Man – Intro 00:38 Thee U.F.O. – Putrefied Block 03:46 Pancho and the Wizards – Dog With two Masters 07:02 Meatbodies – Reach For The Sun 13:33 Cheval Sombre – Althea 21:14 The Yellow Blackness – Gift of Illusion 24:37 Constant Smiles – Run To Stay 27:07 Sons of Zoku – Lovers Trance 34:40 Anti-Corn League – Let Me Begin 37:25 Alice Tambourine Lover – Forse Non Sei Tu 41:54 Wizard Beast – Pathways of the Magical Mind part 1
It’s interesting to reflect on how the renewed interest in psychedelics started. In the 1990s researchers at Johns Hopkins wanted to study the mental health benefits of psilocybin. Psychedelics were so stigmatized at that point, however, that they weren’t sure the FDA or even their own institution would approve the research. They managed to get approval for their research efforts and published their positive results in 2006, and the “psychedelic renaissance” has gained momentum since then.
A growing number of studies have shown the mental health benefits of psychedelics, and this has become an area of intenseinterest. Veterans are a group that has shown great interest in these studies, as psychedelics have been demonstrated to be effective in treating PTSD. Among others, veterans have been given new hope by these developments, and the New York Times points out that “Veterans Have Become Unlikely Lobbyists in Push to Legalize Psychedelic Drugs”. Some health insurance providers are starting to cover psychedelic mental health treatments, and private companies are now competing to develop treatment regimens to tap into this potentially huge market.
One interesting note emerged from a recent study where some attendees of an ayahuasca retreat were given placebos. The people who took placebos reported benefits, such as lower anxiety and depression, and using the measures devised by the researchers, these benefits were statistically similar to the attendees who actually took ayahuasca. The researchers acknowledged that there may have been mitigating factors in their study, but it remains a subject for future research.
The optimism about psychedelics is being felt in a variety of unlikely places. Benzinga writes about parenting aided by microdosing psychedelics in the article “Moms on mushrooms“. House Beautiful suggests that the popularity of decorating home decor items with mushrooms is “a side effect of—or even a sly wink to—the recent legalization of magic mushrooms in some parts of the world.” Big Think discusses research showing that psychedelics can change how users see the universe, leading individuals to adopt a more transcendental outlook.
More celebrities continue to make public their psychedelic experiences. I mentioned Will Smith in my previous podcast, but this time around more members of the family join in the discussion. Jada Pinkett Smith and their son, Jaden Smith, shared their psychedelic stories on Jada’s talk show, Red Table Talk. Mike Tyson has become a rather unlikely advocate for psychedelics, as he has been open about his life-changing experiences with 5-MeO-DMT, which is the venom of the Bufo Alvarius toad. L.A. Weekly is calling him the “New Face of Psychedelic Healing.”
While the music in this episode of Turn Me On, Dead Man is psychedelic, the theme is not. Today is November 22, 2021, which is the 59th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. A couple of days ago I made my regular trip to Joe’s Record Paradise and found a still-sealed LP copy of Years of Lightning, Day of Drums, a celebration of JFK’s life as a counter to the shock of his assassination. You can draw a direct line from the JFK assassination to our current polarized and conspiracy-theory-driven political environment, but I’ll leave that there for the time being. Right now I just want to enjoy the breadth and depth of current psychedelia.
00:20 Dope Smoker – NASDAQ 05:17 Electric Eye – Den Atmosfaeriske Elven 11:12 Bard’s Flying Vessel – Cut In Half 15:57 The Violet Mindfield – Stranger In The Mirror 18:50 Exnovios – Un Nuevo Día 22:10 Dead Horse One – Nevermore 25:22 Dead Otter – Eye Elevator 31:34 Yokujitsu – Yawarakai Tejou 37:27 Hanford Flyover – Golden 42:10 Kuunatic – Para Bennyà 48:28 Some Pills For Ayala – Space Octopus
This episode of Turn Me On, Dead Man features a number of artists from Latin America. The opening set features The Slow Voyage from Los Angeles, Chile, Firefriend from São Paulo, Brazil, and El Universo from Mexico City, and this episode closes with Telephone Exchange, another artist from Mexico City. Other than Annunaki from Nanaimo, BC, Self-Immolation music from Leeds, UK and Shamaniacs from Berlin, the rest of the artists are from the US: The Sonic Splits and The Webbers from Oregon, The Mary Veils from Philadelphia, and the Poppy Seeds from Los Angeles. The breaks are from an episode of X Minus 1 called “No Contact”.
00:00 Turn Me On Dead Man – Intro 00:32 The Slow Voyage – Expansion 05:11 Firefriend – Poison Tree 10:29 El Universo – Monkeys & Apes 16:15 The Sonic Splits – Doors of Perception 20:00 The Sonic Splits – Like the Steady Flowing of a Stream 24:35 Self-Immolation Music – Remain Eternally Hateful 28:22 The Webbers – The Skinwalker 30:31 Shamaniacs – Dopamine – دوبامين 32:40 The Mary Veils – Home Video 35:41 The Poppy Seeds – Coming To Get You 38:40 Annunaki – The Cries of Hypatia 51:53 Telephone Exchange – Qué irresponsable
There’s been a lot of discussion recently about decriminalization or legalization of various kinds of drugs, including psychedelics. The podcast “The Argument” held a panel discussion on this topic in the episode “The World’s View on Drugs Is Changing. Which Side Are You On?” Oregon was among the first to experiment with decriminalization of drugs, but according to the website Governing, this has not resulted in connecting people with treatment. They point out, however, that COVID-19 may have impeded these efforts.
The biggest news in psychedelic music is that Earthless has announced that they will be touring this winter. Levitation (formerly Austin Psych Fest) will take place this week in Austin. And this episode of Turn Me On, Dead Man features several new psychedelic tracks, starting with the Altered Hours. The Irish Times praised their latest album, stating that they “inject doomed Irish romanticism into psychedelic rock.”
00:00 Turn Me On Dead Man – Intro 00:28 The Altered Hours – Radiant Wound 04:23 Strawberry Sleepover – For Tomorrow 08:05 Halo Noose – Journey to the Sun 12:15 Turn Me On Dead Man – Break 14:19 Chainsaw Rainbow – blonde with dark roots 17:57 Sly Fungi – Panspermia 23:12 The Squarevoyants – Motor Psychos (Ride) 25:02 The Wizard – The Wicked Messenger 27:52 American Cream Band – New Gods FM 31:47 Wah Wah Wah – Wormhole 36:10 Speck – The Metz Sessions
Not only are a growing number turning to psychedelic assisted therapy, particularly as the pandemic has exacerbated a mental health crisis, but studies are showing that psychedelics may have other benefits, as well. A study published in Nature finds that psychedelic use is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes. A study also found that magic mushrooms enhance our emotional reaction to music.
Seattle, as well as three cities in California, have recently decriminalized psychedelic drugs. The city council of Santa Cruz, however, voted to recriminalize peyote. They did this on behalf of Native Americans who use peyote in religious rituals. With use of peyote spreading, the move to recriminalize peyote is to protect “individuals who cultivate entheogens for use in religious, spiritual, healing, or personal growth practices.” Still, the psychedelic reform movement is expanding and Denver, a city that has already decriminalized magic mushrooms, is exploring further easing their restrictions in a couple of years.
And then there’s the music. Psychedelic music has never really gone away but the recent past has seen a steady stream of great psych, as this episode demonstrates.
00:00 Turn Me On Dead Man – Intro 00:45 The Oscillation – Forever Knowing 08:43 Swan Faucet – Wandering 14:56 Turn Me On Dead Man – Break 16:26 DDT – Set Alight 19:53 Dislocated Flowers – Temple 24:47 The Buzzards of Fuzz – Lonely In Space (Slight Return) 30:36 Andrew Thomas Jacobs – Parum Luceat 34:26 Mystery Egg – Gate Shrouded In Time 39:40 Wine Lips – Eyes 40:58 Apex Ten – Orbiting Jupiter (Extended Version) 52:30 Zodiac Rippers – Morningstar
Back with another collection of recent psychedelia, ranging from stoner to psychedelic pop. There have been a couple of interesting items about psychedelic music in the past few days: In Dublin, the inaugural Stratospheres Psych night took place at The Grand Social on Sept. 25th, featuring some of Ireland’s best psych rock acts: Sun Mahshene, Tuath and Thee UFO. Stolen Body Records announced the dates for Astral Festival VII, April 30/May 1, 2022 at Strange Brew in Bristol. Australia has a thriving psychedelic scene, and Adelaide’s CityMag ran an article “Introducing Mystique Records: Founded by musician Harry Taylor, Mystique Records aims to bring Adelaide’s thriving psychedelic music scene out from the underground.”
00:27 Vulcanodon Phazer – Lemurian Thunder 07:10 Ogua – Iyan 12:39 Jeffrey Alexander & The Heavy Lidders – Beowulf’s Trip 18:49 Mort Rose – On part au soleil 23:06 Scatter Light – Leave Some Room Inside Your Mind 26:40 Psyconauts – Breathe The Love 31:24 Saucer Eyes – Out Of Vision 35:11 Acid Magus – Rituals 41:47 Black Magick Marching Band – Big Dead Everything 44:39 Su Evets – Arc Awakening 52:12 Maragda – Hermit