Jake Garcia of The Black Angels explores the sounds and history of the golden era of 1960s psych and rock & roll in 13 FROM THE 13TH FLOOR.
Listen + read Jake’s thoughts on each of his picks for the debut of this new series below:
We miss him already. I just had to put this track as #1 in tribute to the king and naturally being that we named our establishment The 13th Floor (and Levitation) after our hometown heroes. Such an inspiration, there are actually no words.
Serge Franklin – Exister
Magical sitar psych groover from French composer Serge Franklin circa 1968. Serge Franklin gained experience as an author, composer and interpreter before becoming a virtuoso sitar player. A great traveller and collector of exotic instruments, he became familiar with the traditional music of many countries. This track is the definition of “tripped out!”
Los Destellos – Guajira Sicodelica
Peruvian Cumbia/psychedelic-rock instrumental circa 1968. That 12-string guitar really takes flight as the percussion guides us through. I can name a couple of contemporary groups off the top of my head that this has definitely influenced and they do it well.
Birgitte Fontaine – Brigitte
A short and sweet French acid-folk gem here. The artist Brigitte Fontaine is in a category all to her own. This track is so good we don’t even realize the drums are missing and then it’s over.
Los Chijuas – Changing The Colors of Life
Raw 60’s garage-psychedelia from El Paso, Texas and later Juarez, Mexico. “Music a go go” as it was once known. Los Chijuas encourage us to “open up our minds” here.
Bjorn Famne – Vampire
Amazing psychedelic break-beat monster from early 70’s Sweden. This was a private pressing and previously difficult to find but luckily its been repressed so we can all enjoy it. Dracula with bellbottoms.
Xhol Caravan – Planet Earth
Sounds like futuristic psychedelia at top peak. Originally called “Soul Caravan” from Germany circa 1968. They had two African American lead singers and a Motown influenced bass player but with an ultra-psychedelic vibe. One of my favorite all-time guitar solos is in this song, it’s really something special.
Brainticket – Places of Light
Groovy Belgium psych with a meditational guide. This album came with a warning label that insisted “You should only listen once a day to this record. Your brain might be destroyed,” which led to the album being banned in several countries including the USA. It also has one of the best album covers.
The Golden Dawn – Starvation
A lesser known 60’s psychedelic group from Austin, Texas that have been overshadowed by The 13th Floor Elevators but are equally as good. They were also on the International Artists label but rarely played out live because of some strange contract stipulation with the label which eventually killed the group. They are still making music today, and have played Levitation several times. Go out and get “Power Plant” if you don’t have it.
Breakout – Posztabym za toba
The title translates to “I would do it for you.” Smokin’ Hendrix vibes from this Polish blues-psych group with a touch of Jefferson Airplane but all their own sound. This track is from their second album “Na Drugim Brzegu Teczy”circa 1969. The band became more and more criticized by Polish mass media for pro-West lifestyle and long hair. As a result, the radio and TV stopped broadcasting their songs but that didn’t stop them from making 8 more records. Turn it up!
The United States of America – Coming Down
I bought this record at a flea market in San Antonio, Texas when I was 18 and I’m still blown away. American experimental psych rock recorded in 1967, Los Angeles. This is an early example of the use of electronic devices in rock music. The voice of Dorothy Moskowitz is calming in this storm of a song. Portishead seems like a modern version of this group sometimes to me.
Pearls Before Swine – The Surrealist Waltz
Farfisa-driven psychedelic folk with repetitive minimalism. This is the last song from their debut album “One Nation Underground” circa 1967. Haunted in the most beautiful way. Tom Rapp the singer was unique because he sang with a lisp. He later became a criminal lawyer and we unfortunately lost him on Feb.11th, 2018 but we will always remember him in this song.
Morgen – Of Dreams
– Jake Garcia