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Acid Mothers Temple/Perhaps (live at Mississippi Studios)

Portland, OR 9 May 2014

A burly dude writhing on the oscillators wearing a plastic Viking helmet is pretty much what you hope to greet you on stage when attending a psych rock gig.

Portland’s best and beardiest turned out to the barn cathedral interior of Mississippi Studios for a killer psych double-header: Osaka, Japan’s legendary Acid Mothers Temple (and the Melting Paraiso U.F.O., for the occasion), along with Bostonian math-rock eccentrics Perhaps, who were creating the helmeted sludge metal spectacle when I entered the room.

I have been going to Acid Mothers’ gigs for years now, and am always blasted by the spectacle, but there is a special feeling of seeing psych rock on the American West Coast. Where other places, like Chicago, it might seem a bit of a curiosity, a novel throwback, on the West Coast it doesn’t seem like psych has gone anywhere – like it

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Thee Silver Mt Zion/Jherek Bischoff (live at Mississippi Studios)

Portland, OR 30 April 2014

Seeing Thee Silver Mt. Zion, the most famous off-shoot of post-apocalyptic prophets Godspeed You! Black Emperor, on the eve of both May Day, the most famous of socialist holidays, and Beltane, a Celtic pagan festival halfway between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice, often associated with “popular and often raucous celebrations.” Note that I said EVE, as in the night before the big festivities. The air seemed infused with the riotous energy, but minus the pomp and ceremony, without the parades and the buttons and the banners and the labels. One often wonders, is the anarchy that can be spoken the real anarchy? Instead, 4.30.14, an almost already sweltering night in Portland, and it seemed like the REAL celebration. Like we were getting away with something, when no one was looking.

Gary Oaks, my lovely companion for the evening, wandered off, sitting on a

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Trans Am, Federation X, Life Coach (live at Stumpfest )

Mississippi Studios Portland, OR 25 April 2014

The ramifications of the loop, the power of the riff, the subdivision of the motorik beat. College, krautrock, and working for yr music festival.

This jam-packed free-for-all in the barnlike interior of Mississippi Studios on a Thursday night illustrated exactly how far kosmische musik has come since Trans Am first released its seminal Futureworld on Thrill Jockey in 1999. When I first heard Trans Am in college (I hate even writing things like that. I didn’t finish, though, don’t worry), it seemed like approximately 12 people — most likely all musicians and music journalists — were jamming the likes of Can, Neu! and Kraftwerk. It was the ultimate badge of obscurity, to show you were hip and European and futurist.

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Fast forward 13 years, 13 years of Can re-issues and Neu! re-packaging, to a Thursday night in Portland, OR packed

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