There are a few questions that people often ask me. Doesn’t writing about a new band every day make you go a bit crazy? Doesn’t sifting through the bad bands cause Skittles-coloured-vomit migranes? Just where do you find the time/patience/sanity to do it?
The answer to all those questions is the same: Pass me the own-brand gin, hombre, because my head feels like replicating the surprisingly explosive bit in Scanners. (Or you can help out in a less cheap booze-related way, here)
Anyway, a question I would like the answer to is: why does the Welsh language lend itself so well to psychedelic music? The records of two recent Welsh bands – Gorky’s Zygotic Munki, Super Furry Animals – lends a lot of credence to this idea. And remember Welsh Psyche-Hip-Hoppers Genod Droog? It just seems to… work.
Perhaps having a glut of words with an inherently beautiful and intrinsically kooky sound helps. It certainly does, in its own small way, for Sweeney Straddles The Sun, a Glaswegian artist who nabs some lovely Welsh prose in Bwyda Fi Agwedd, then manacles it the chorus of a swift song whose natty melody will bug you to death.
Sweeney Straddles The Sun – Bwyda Fi Agwedd
In some ways Bwyda Fi Agwedd is soft psychedlic poppy-rock, which sounds like the tag you’d see attached to a Creedence Clearwater Revival CD in a small record shop, but it fits. Note to concerned: Sweeney Straddles The Sun doesn’t sound like Creedence. Or, at least, his songs don’t come on 8-Track.
The Welsh language has always gone hand in hand with the psychedelic. I
recommend getting ahold of the Welsh Rare Beat compilations from Finders Keepers for the classic 60’s and 70’s stuff including the happiest song ever recorded – Y Brawd Houdini by Meic Stevens, which the Super Furry Animals have played live on many and various occasions.
Not surprised you equate the Welsh with psychedelia. In the past, their people great enthusiasts of the prog rock-heavy/latterly metal genre (mixed with the mouth music of ancient days (plus rampant alcohol comsumption), Wales and psychedelia are no enemies. Every gig I’ve attended in Wales, (with some trepidation, I must add-due to the fact that venues unless in ‘larger’ towns were always a bit of a challenge to get to and return from alive), and disparate these two words may seem, I concur that here, they conjucnt happily. Could I remind younger viewers, that the Led Zeppelin of old, were locked into Bron Yr Aur cottage in Wales and it is reputed that they were warned by management not to return to London until they had written at least 2 albums. Wales does seem to have strange and wonderful effects on some.
You are both right, of course! I lived in Wales for four years and witnessed at first hand the sheer quantity of readily available, locally-grown, hallucinogenic mushrooms. I would suggest that this may also be a stereotypically contributory factor!
Great suggestions too, Gareth – Welsh Rare Beat albums are indeed excellent. Good to hear from you!