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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators Mono

Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators Mono
Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators Mono

Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators Mono

Check out this vintage Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators mono LP! It’s rare to find these in such nice shape.
This particular specimen went for $491.00 on eBay.

What's most the best about this album (and the band, really) is how they manage to sound truly trippy and totally weird without any over-the-top production techniques or surplus of technical skill. The album was recorded on a three track machine. The ONLY mix to get of this album is the powerful mono mix.

At this point, the 'Elevators really were a garage band, with all of the usual trappings; their songs were rooted in wonderful, grease-coated rock n roll, complete with nasty guitar riffs (courtesy of Stacy Sutherland) and snarled vocals (thanks to wildman lead singer Roky Erickson).

Their lyrics are pure gonzo poetry, loaded with mysticism and druggy imagery (and accented, of course, with a healthy dose of good old fashioned bad attitude). The guitar notes are fed through Stacy Sutherland's battery of effects, and there are plenty of acid-soaked solos flying around all over the place. Riffs and melodies are perched somewhere between blues-based garage punk and dream-addled pre-punk rock.

The most notable addition is Tommy Hall's "electric jug," a bizarre rhythmic instrument that garnishes several of these songs. Tommy Hall actually sang all those sounds. He held a microphone alongside the top of the jug and would make those noises into the jug. The jug was a prop that *maybe* added a resonation effect.

Just listen to some of these songs! "You're Gonna Miss Me" is a deranged slice of teenage snarl with a meaner-than-mean guitar line and a meaner-than-meaner-than-mean vocal, with Hall's jug floating menacingly in the background. "Roller Coaster" is an "epic" (over FOUR MINUTES!) mindbender with an absolutely archetypal guitar drone and a ghostly vocal from Erickson. "Don't Fall Down," with its chugging bass line and woozy backing vocals, is out-and-out hypnotic, and "Fire Engine" moves into full-on rock out territory.

The result is a whacked-out classic that bridges the gap between rock and the world beyond. It's the sound of a bunch of zitfaced teenagers formerly obsessed with cheeseburgers 'n' fast cars stumbling upon the mysteries of the universe. It's the sound of the 60s lurching into overdrive. It's the mono psychedelic sound, baby!

The Roky CD Club were the first to issue this album on CD waaaay back in 2003. It's still, arguably, the best sounding version. In 2008, Sundazed reissued it on vinyl from a copy of the long-lost master tapes and the mint IA original. Last year, Charly included it in their Sign of the Three Eyed Men box set.

1. Your’re Gonna Miss Me
2. Roller Coaster
3. Splash I (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

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