Back in the developmental days of the late '60s, all those sloppy, three-chord, Nuggets-style nose-pickers that now get name-dropped by the garage revivalists were lucky to land third place in local battle-of-the-bands contests. Meanwhile, the spacey psychedelic end of that teen explosion -- bands like Pink Floyd, the Creation, Jefferson Airplane -- were actually selling records. The quick degeneration of psych rock into dopey, self-indulgent bullcrap has rightfully relegated the genre to the status of a historical embarrassment.
But there are current indie rockers who look to reclaim three-chord jams as the launching pad to rock and roll's outer orbit, while remembering that emergency splash-downs into the muddy waters of garage rock help stave off pretension. The Warlocks, Mars Volta, Cleveland's Volta Sound, and Oakland's Gris Gris are among a flowering legion looking to freak out. Gris Gris, like its obvious influence the 13th Floor Elevators, dribbles out echoed vocal moans, slow-burning guitars, and bloopy alien squeals, reining it all in periodically to pump out a straight-up stomp. For those whose idea of psychedelics is of the pre-Ecstasy and sequencers variety, your flight has arrived.