GREAT SCOTS After nearly 30 years, the Jesus and Mary Chain are now considered legends in the psych-rock subculture.

For anyone interested in gritty, stylish psych-rock with smoky swirls of noise and ambience, 2012 is a pretty good place to be. Austin's annual Psych Fest and Boston events like the Deep Heaven Now series are proof that, as musicians discover new ways of incorporating computers, just as many are diving deeper into the guitar-driven world of classic psych. There is no doubt that the face of American psych looks a lot different than it did in years past. Whereas the Paisley Underground in the '80s and Elephant 6 scene of the '90s took cues from the Beatles and Beach Boys, most current psych bands look toward the darker hues of the Velvet Underground, Krautrock, and early alternative bands like Scottish legends the Jesus and Mary Chain, whose seminal 1985 debut, Psychocandy, brilliantly married minimalist early rock with noise and pop.

"Everyone since Link Wray or bands like the Beatles were trying to find a unique sound by incorporating intentional feedback loops," says Jasno Suarez of New York City psych-rock band the Vandelles. "Using feedback as an instrument itself was something of a breakthrough when I discovered Psychocandy in my early teens." Deep Heaven Now producer/founder Jinsen Liu, also of Boston's 28 Degrees Taurus, agrees: "They were undoubtedly one of the most influential bands that set the tone for a lot of what was to come. They were at their core very accessible rock, pop, and even delved into elements of country late in their career as well. They took a lot of chances."

At his home in the Southwest of England, JAMC founder Jim Reid is a little surprised that the band that he started almost 30 years ago with his brother William has become so influential. Although he's heard whispers here and there that people are copping his sound, Reid feels detached from the music scene he has long left behind (JAMC's last proper album was 1998's Munki). Now a father of two and separated, Reid doesn't follow new bands anymore, but his light, soft-spoken manner indicates a newfound peace; no longer does he have to be scared of pleasing record labels or troubled by the stresses that once drove him and brother William to feverish mutual animosity.

"It's all totally on our own terms now," says the singer and guitarist, who brings the Chain to the 'Dise for two shows next week. The UK scene was not only stifling in terms of labels, but also in terms of the narrow channels that existed for music, period, compared to today. "There seemed to be nowhere for alternative music to exist back then. You bring out a record, and you're on the same TV shows and the same radio programs. You're kind of up against Spandau Ballet and Culture Club. It did feel like people were fighting over the same crumbs." According to Reid, much of the conservative, unhealthy competitiveness that led to his success had to do with the Thatcher government, where the mantra was to stomp on as many people as you could on the way up. "There was kind of a national mentality of greed, I suppose. I don't even say that we didn't buy into that. It seeps into you."

1  |  2  |   next >
Related: Review: La Roux at the Paradise, Not teens, not dreams, This bird can sing, More more >
  Topics: Music Features , Paradise Rock Club, Music, The Jesus and Mary Chain,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   THE UNIFIED MELODY OF SLOWDIM  |  March 20, 2013
    Slowdim drink wine with pizza. It's true. I was there.
  •   THE MARY ONETTES | HIT THE WAVES  |  March 13, 2013
    Hit the Waves is so heartfelt as a pastiche of '80s alternative music that it almost muscles its way into being brilliant.
  •   THE MODERN RETRO OF JESSE DEE  |  March 05, 2013
    On his new record On My Mind/In My Heart , the question is not if Jesse Dee can step up to the challenge of making authentic soul and R&B music in 2013, but rather how he goes about it.
  •   TAME IMPALA’S NEW SURROUND SOUND  |  March 08, 2013
    Whether it's Bradford Cox with Deerhunter, or Dan Snaith with Caribou, or Kevin Parker with Tame Impala, there must be something with this trend in sonic auteurs with cervine band names.
    "It seems like a challenge to make something that you have to pay a lot of attention to," says Josh Dibbs.

 See all articles by: JONATHAN DONALDSON