Podcast 2022.10 Black Swan Lane / Unknown Road

I took a road trip recently and my GPS was behaving strangely. It happened a few times where my GPS was slow to identify roads I was traveling on–and I don’t mean back roads, I mean Interstate 95. I thought that was a little odd and then I noticed the street sign a short distance away from my destination: Black Swan Lane. There’s been some chatter recently about “black swan events” and it just seemed to fit somehow. A black swan event is one the is unpredictable, has far-reaching consequences, and somehow after the fact we create an explanation for it that makes it seem like it was inevitable all along. It strikes me that our world is defined increasingly by black swan events.
Even though this episode isn’t geographically defined in the way that Beyond and On The Line (in fact, most of the episodes this year) were, I’ve broken up the playlist into sets defined by geography. The first set is music from Europe, followed by a set from Latin America/Caribbean, and concluding with some tracks from the US and Canada.
The drops in this episode come from Panic in Year Zero, very much a black swan movie.

00:39 Luminous Rift – Bugs In The Module
04:31 Boar God – Birthplace
07:40 The Dharmas – 1000Miles
Europe set
14:39 Misleading – Whirlwinded
16:49 La Casa al Mare – Otherwise
23:50 SWCC Community – Dreams of Space
28:28 Vomit Heat – Dematerialize
33:05 The Moondig – gasvoor
37:20 Bity Booker – Dreaming in the Morning
40:40 Bookhouse – Eferwad y Tonnau Gwyn
Latin America/Caribbean set
43:55 The Kadeem Ward Project – Kaleidoscope (Demo)
52:12 Dorotheo – Alba Rosa
53:33 Mint Field – Contingencia
57:07 Hoja Madre – Hoja Madre III EP
1:00:20 Reverb Chamber – Let Her Burn
1:04:13 Venado Records – Jones Poison
1:08:20 Fulgor – Song
1:10:10 Skintaker – Face of Stone
1:13:32 Giant Jellyfish – Marvelous City
Northern America set
1:16:15 Su Evets – the Deering
1:44:30 The Frozen Heads – Whatever, Sky
1:54:17 Ogua – Play
1:34:35 The Sadies – Stop and Start

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Podcast 2022.06 The Other Side

In the last few episodes I’ve been exploring psychedelia from various parts of the world. The playlist in this episode is made up of new psychedelic music from Australia and New Zealand. I’ve noticed over the last couple of years that Australia, in particular, has a thriving psychedelic scene and this episode really bears that out. Not to take anything away from New Zealand or anywhere else for that matter, it’s just that so much good music is coming out of Australia and it’s really been enjoyable corresponding with the artists.

The drops in this episode come from the 1959 movie On The Beach. In that movie a nuclear war breaks out and the only life left in the world is in Australia, but even they’re not safe from the cloud of radiation that will eventually arrive. It’s a bleak movie, and with the end of the Cold War a lot of people (myself included) thought that we had left this behind and that the risk of nuclear war was remote. The situation has certainly changed with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Things don’t seem to be going well for Putin and he’s made noises about putting Russia’s nuclear arsenal on high alert. Even before that the doomsday clock was already set at 100 seconds to midnight–the closest that its ever been–and the UN secretary general recently said “The prospect of nuclear war is now back within the realm of possibility.”

So anyway, having said that, enjoy the great music in this hour of Turn Me On, Dead Man and just think of the message in the closing frame of On The Beach that said “There is still time, brother.”

00:34 Human Rites – The Serpent and the Rainbow
05:15 Flower Children of the Apocalypse – Return To The Sun
08:00 Golden Sunbird – Voyage, Pt. 2
16:20 Frozen Planet….1969 – Glassblaster (Alternate Take)
20:14 Black Sand – Salutations To The Sun
22:57 Trigona – Petra
30:35 Sons Of Zöku – Yang Yin (Radio Edit)
34:45 Fuzz Meadows – Orange Sunshine
39:13 The Dharma Chain – Shoot Up Love
42:42 Legal Noise – Flashback
45:35 Fortress Europe & Moonflower – Organ Grinder
48:54 Robot God – Valleys of Primordia

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Podcast 2022.03 Carved in Stone

Since the start of the year I’ve been making music maps to go along with these podcasts. Since the maps show where the artists in the playlist are from, I decided to go with a geographical theme for the next couple of episodes. The playlist for this episode features bands from all over Europe. One of the most interesting tracks is from Turas Naofa, who made a holy journey from Berlin back to Ireland to record what I’d describe as a shamanistic track that really gets to the essence of psychedelia.

00:25 Juárez – Nébula
03:57 The Lost Noise Figure – Wake Me Up (When It’s Over)
08:46 Decasia – Hrosshveli’s Ode
14:33 Turas Naofa – I Mo Bholg
18:54 Bad Bed – No One Can Hear You
23:26 Syndrom Samasvanca – Alimpijada-20
30:41 Lunar Funeral – Burn The Shadow
36:10 Courge, MatttKonture, Alice ElRakun – Arthfuzz
38:31 The LSD Zapata – Organik
41:40 Küllä Küllä – Aural Surf
50:11 black (w)hole – unwind
55:24 Apex Ten – The Fourth Passenger


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Podcast 2022.02 Trainspotting

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

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Podcast 2022.01 Eat Some Soylent Green and Calm Down

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


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The Best of 2021

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

My picks for the best albums of 2021:

My picks for the best EPs and singles of 2021:

My picks for the best EPs/singles of 2021:

Podcast 2021.26 One Foot in the Grave

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.

In the past couple of episodes of Turn Me On, Dead Man, I’ve mentioned that the use of psychedelics has been a topic of conversation for Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith and their son, Jaden Smith. It may or may not have been because of their candid discussion of taking psychedelics, but recently a petition has been circulating online to “stop interviewing Will and Jada Smith“. Writing in Psychedelic Spotlight, Emily Jarvie asks the question, “Celebrities: Are They Helping or Harming the Psychedelic Movement?

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

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Podcast 2021.25 Years of Lightning, Day of Drums

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 intense interest. 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

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Podcast 2021.24 Further Experimentation

Investment in psychedelic medical treatments has been rising as liberalization of drug laws has expanded. Detroit became the latest city to decriminalize psychedelics, as voters approved the decriminalization of magic mushrooms and other entheogenic plants. As psychedelics become more accepted and the stigma recedes, research opportunities have increased and even though psychedelic therapy is still in its infancy, investors are putting money into companies focusing on psychedelic mental health treatments. Psychedelics are also being used to help people with end-of-life care. Rick Doblin, founder of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) was featured in GQ, and MAPS announced an upcoming event, Psychedelic Science 2023. Also, the Wonderland conference, the largest psychedelic medicine event of its kind, is currently taking place in Miami.

Despite all the optimism about psychedelic therapy, cautionary messages about psychedelics are also starting to appear in the popular media. An article in RealClearScience suggests, “Staunch Advocates of Therapeutic Psychedelics Need a History Lesson,” pointing out that excitement about psychedelics has reached this level before only to fade away. This was in part due to the “war on drugs” initiated by the Nixon administration, but also because the FDA imposed more rigid regulation on the pharmaceutical industry and tighter restrictions on research, as well. There have also been allegations of misconduct among psychedelic therapists, as detailed in the Forbes article “Psychedelic Therapy Is Hyped, But It’s Not Risk-Free: How Therapy Abuse Can Retraumatize Clients.” Also, an article in Vice, “The False Promise of Psychedelic Utopia,” cautions that the enthusiasm about psychedelics should be kept in perspective.

Recent TV shows and movies have demonstrated a psychedelic influence, such as Dune and Stranger Things. Far Out Magazine lists The 10 greatest psychedelic films of all time. The VW microbus, a symbol of counterculture. is making a comeback as an electric vehicle, and Volkswagen is previewing the new version with a “psychedelic wrap“. An ever-growing list of celebrities has taken ayahuasca. In the past few days, Will Smith and Lil Nas X have both made public statements about their experimentation with ayahuasca.

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


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Podcast 2021.23 The View

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.

For the first time in the last 50 years, the federal government is funding a research study on the use of psychedelics to treat addiction. Three universities (Johns Hopkins, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and New York University) will be studying psilocybin to break addiction to tobacco. Psilocybin is also being studied as a treatment for chronic pain, and Psilocybin and MDMA are also being studied for treatment of mental illness. One study found that psilocybin improves major depressive disorder in cancer patients. Reality Sandwich warns, however, that psychedelics are being commodified in a way that diminishes their cultural value.

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

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