13th Floor Elevators

Picture of 13th Floor Elevators

The Psychedelic Sounds Of

13th Floor Elevators - The Psychedelic Sounds Of ©1966 Collectables Records
1. You're Gonna Miss Me
2. Roller Coaster
3. Splash 1 (Now I'm Home)
4. Reverberation
5. Don't Fall Down
6. Fire Engine
7. Thru The Rhythm
8. You Don't Know
9. Kingdom Of Heaven
10. Monkey Island
11. Tried To Hide

Led by world famous songwriter, vocalist, and crazy man Roky Erickson, The 13th Floor Elevators tripped out of the mid sixties with a sound that would come to embody the emergent psychedelic aesthetic: electric amplifiers letting loose washed out, reverberated guitar tones of a folk/blues/early rock and roll persuasion, topped off with the crowing, crooning, or hollering of some young longhair, all submerged within the gloriously warm bask that warm, seemingly alive sixties sound. This is the kind of music that is made to get lost within; it is made not only to listen to, but to "experience" so to speak…or at the very least, to listen to while you are experiencing something else, more than likely taken either in tab or joint form. Not that you have to be a drughead to enjoy electric-heavenly sounds of The 13th Floor Elevators; I'm certainly not, and I love this band. I'll be honest here and admit that I don't know nearly enough about the intimidatingly large body of psychedelic/garage rock history to know whether or not The 13th Floor Elevators were indeed the first psychedelic band or just one of the first to start playing in that style, but I do know that they were one of the most impressive and distinctive bands of the bunch, and that their debut album, The Psychedelic Sounds Of is rightly considered a classic of the genre. And it's got electric jug all over it! Have you ever heard the sound of an electric jug? It sounds kind of like the swishing of a boomerang fast-forwarded on a VHS tape. Long live the electric jug!

While the big hits (in my mind and the mind of many fans, surely) of this album are the garage stompers "You're Gonna Miss Me" and "Reverberation", and the dark, brooding "Splash 1 (Now I'm Home)", every single one of the tunes on this disc are a winner. The 13th Floor Elevators take the stripped-down, punchy approach of garage rock and space things out a bit through slowing things down just a tad, adding in some surf elements, and drenching each instrument generous helpings of reverb. Topped off with the remarkably strong howl of a young Mr. Erickson, and the result is a powerful set of highly immersive rock and roll songs…very atmospheric but not droning, hazy but not unfocused. Another thing worth noting is that while this is indeed very druggie sixties music, this is not the sort of la-dee-da flower child flavored folk-psych which was parodied so well by Spinal Tap with their song "Listen To The Flower People". Although tripped out for sure, this is, at its heart, rock and roll with real punch and powerful pop hooks. Expect no "Green Tambourine" moments on this album, for there are none to be found. The songs are also quite smartly arranged, to boot. Have I stopped making sense yet?

Anyway, this album is a must for anyone interested in dipping their feet into the psychedelic genre. Whether one is looking for music to freak out to or simply a record of great, well-composed music, one is neigh likely to go wrong with this release. Don't deny the power of the electric jug – go ahead and lose yourself in The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators.

Review by Hunter Brawer

Review date: 05/2010

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