The Prefab Messiahs - "Psychsploitation" (video) (premiere)

Photo: Plastic Mynd

Put down your phone, turn on your mind, relax and float down the river of time with veteran underground band.

Some music simply casts us backward to a past that, real or imagined, seems more intense, more romantic than our own. A quick listen to the Prefab Messiahs, and one might think they're hearing some twentysomethings who were weaned on Rock Band, then graduated to guitars and micro-dosing in the final hours of the Obama presidency.

The truth is more tangled a conspiracy theory involving the CIA, the Grateful Dead, and a law and order senator from Montana.

This outfit crawled from the basements and alleyways of Wormtown (Worcester, Mass. to the uninitiated) in 1981, died in 1983 and has been resurrected all these decades on to deliver a new and impressive gospel to a generation with its eyes open and tongues extended, excited about receiving a holy communion in which traces of the lysergic and psychedelic abound.

If you were into trading tapes on a wink and a nod, you might have stumbled upon the Flex Your Mind cassette, issued the year The A-Team first beamed its majesty into the hearts and living rooms of America. Otherwise, your only hope of hearing the lads would have come via short-run CD-R titled Devolver, an anthology that poked its head into the light in 1998.

If that didn't set the world or the local Burger King grill aflame, a reissue of that collection and a brand-new 2015 EP titled Your Stupid Dreams Alive fanned the flames. The Prefab Messiahs had been prescient: Listening to those early songs you could imagine the arrival of the Oh Sees, King Tuff, Ty Segall, the whole lot.

Now, the quartet (Xerox Feinberg, Trip Thompson, Doc Michaud and Mattyboy Horn) has taken a deep dive and prepared a new full-length to blow hearts and minds into little pieces come January 2018. Titled Psychsploitation Today the album promises to upend our notions about the old/new binary and, indeed, the word binary itself.

As one might gather from this new video and track, “Psychsploitation", these dudes have not traveled all this distance merely to know the place for the first time. They've come to own it.

Chieftain/elder/Chief Pontificator Xerox Feinberg held court on the matter of the new aural/visual release recently, uttering in his utterly inimitable fashion, "The term 'psychsploitation ' usually refers to blatant and clumsy commercial attempts to co-opt the authentic groovy vibes of the psychedelic '60s. We're giving it a 21st-century twist. Today giant high-tech forces are working overtime to manipulate and exploit us constantly. It's a mass mental assault we all accept as normal every time we look at our phones," he offered. “Our song is about this modern 'psychological exploitation'. But like all warped message songs, it's also cleverly disguised as a classic gripe about a controlling, messed up personal relationship. Either way, you take it is fine with us!"

The Prefab Messiahs' Psychsploitation Today will be available on limited edition vinyl, CD, cassette, digital and streaming formats 26 January 2018 via Lolipop/Burger Records.





Run the Jewels - "Ooh LA LA" (Singles Going Steady)

Run the Jewels' "Ooh LA LA" may hit with old-school hip-hop swagger, but it also frustratingly affirms misogynistic bro-culture.


New Translation of Balzac's 'Lost Illusions' Captivates

More than just a tale of one man's fall, Balzac's Lost Illusions charts how literature becomes another commodity in a system that demands backroom deals, moral compromise, and connections.


Protomartyr - "Processed by the Boys" (Singles Going Steady)

Protomartyr's "Processed By the Boys" is a gripping spin on reality as we know it, and here, the revolution is being televised.


Go-Go's Bassist Kathy Valentine Is on the "Write" Track After a Rock-Hard Life

The '80s were a wild and crazy time also filled with troubles, heartbreak and disappointment for Go-Go's bass player-guitarist Kathy Valentine, who covers many of those moments in her intriguing dual project that she discusses in this freewheeling interview.


New Brain Trajectory: An Interview With Lee Ranaldo and Raül Refree

Two guitarists, Lee Ranaldo and Raül Refree make an album largely absent of guitar playing and enter into a bold new phase of their careers. "We want to take this wherever we can and be free of genre restraints," says Lee Ranaldo.


'Trans Power' Is a Celebration of Radical Power and Beauty

Juno Roche's Trans Power discusses trans identity not as a passageway between one of two linear destinations, but as a destination of its own.


Yves Tumor Soars With 'Heaven to a Tortured Mind'

On Heaven to a Tortured Mind, Yves Tumor relishes his shift to microphone caressing rock star. Here he steps out of his sonic chrysalis, dons some shiny black wings and soars.


Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras' tētēma Don't Hit the Mark on 'Necroscape'

tētēma's Necroscape has some highlights and some interesting ambiance, but ultimately it's a catalog of misses for Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras.


M. Ward Offers Comforting Escapism on 'Migration Stories'

Although M. Ward didn't plan the songs on Migration Stories for this pandemic, they're still capable of acting as a balm in these dark hours.


Parsonsfield Add Indie Pop to Their Folk on 'Happy Hour on the Floor'

Happy Hour on the Floor is a considerable departure from Parsonsfield's acclaimed rustic folk sound signaling their indie-pop orientation. Parsonsfield remind their audience to bestow gratitude and practice happiness: a truly welcomed exaltation.


JARV IS... - "House Music All Night Long" (Singles Going Steady)

"House Music All Night Long" is a song our inner, self-isolated freaks can jive to. JARV IS... cleverly captures how dazed and confused some of us may feel over the current pandemic, trapped in our homes.


All Kinds of Time: Adam Schlesinger's Pursuit of Pure, Peerless Pop

Adam Schlesinger was a poet laureate of pure pop music. There was never a melody too bright, a lyrical conceit too playfully dumb, or a vibe full of radiation that he would shy away from. His sudden passing from COVID-19 means one of the brightest stars in the power-pop universe has suddenly dimmed.


Folkie Eliza Gilkyson Turns Up the Heat on '2020'

Eliza Gilkyson aims to inspire the troops of resistance on her superb new album, 2020. The ten songs serve as a rallying cry for the long haul.


Human Impact Hit Home with a Seismic First Album From a Veteran Lineup

On their self-titled debut, Human Impact provide a soundtrack for this dislocated moment where both humanity and nature are crying out for relief.


Monophonics Are an Ardent Blast of True Rock 'n' Soul on 'It's Only Us'

The third time's the charm as Bay Area soul sextet Monophonics release their shiniest record yet in It's Only Us.


'Slay the Dragon' Is a Road Map of the GOP's Methods for Dividing and Conquering American Democracy

If a time traveler from the past wanted to learn how to subvert democracy for a few million bucks, gerrymandering documentary Slay the Dragon would be a superb guide.


Bobby Previte / Jamie Saft / Nels Cline: Music from the Early 21st Century

A power-trio of electric guitar, keyboards, and drums takes on the challenge of free improvisation—but using primarily elements of rock and electronica as strongly as the usual creative music or jazz. The result is focused.


Does Inclusivity Mean That Everyone Does the Same Thing?

What is the meaning of diversity in today's world? Russell Jacoby raises and addresses some pertinent questions in his latest work, On Diversity.

Collapse Expand Reviews
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.