As Manchester gears up for an interstellar takeover next month with the latest instalment of Cosmosis, bringing psych overlords The Brian Jonestown Massacre to town among others, it's hard to not feel excited about contemporary psychedelia.

The countless exciting new bands that sit bellow The BJM on the bill for March 12th should be proof enough that we're at least nearing the end of flowery shirted posh boys tapping wah wah pedals and declaring themselves the next Roky Erikson, but February provided an array of genuinely spellbinding records that should help put to bed any doubts. Say no to creation nostalgia, this is the psychedelia and shoegaze golden age.


Pinkshinyultrablast - Grandfathered

Ditching the straight-up dream pop constraints that they worked so well within on 2015 debut Everything Else Matters, Pinkshinyultrablast's speedy follow-up feels anything but rushed. There's a visceral energy across the entirety of the record, with lead single 'The Cherry Pit' doing its best to capture the sheer wonder and beauty sparked up from such innate passion. All of a sudden it seems entirely possible for the Russian collective to sell out huge venues alone and deafen attendees with screeching guitars that evoke much more than early Creation nostalgia, Pinkshinyultrablast just took a giant leap ahead of their feedback-revelling peers.


Sunflower Bean - Human Ceremony

Behind the tirelessly recycled shoegaze lexicon surrounding its release, Sunflower Bean's debut full length is bursting with primitive, arresting character. Effortlessly punctuating its hazy breaths of subtle psychedelia with timely bursts of strikingly raw garage rock, Human Ceremony wrong-foots the abyss of lifeless reverb-laden LPs that seems so prominent within the realms of self-declared 'experimental' guitar music. The hypnotic spell that the record casts is often broken by earworm distorted guitar solos or life-affirming call and response vocals, Sunflower Bean want you to daydream but they want you to have fun, too.


Chainsaw Rainbow - Polaroid

Hitting the sweet spot between noise and pop lies very much at the heart of modern psychedelia, and it seems to come almost too naturally to Dominic Massaro under his Chainsaw Rainbow moniker. His latest Bandcamp release, Polaroid, is a mostly instrumental EP of soaring reverb and crushing, bright shoegaze soundscapes. Although composed almost entirely of guitar tracks, there's enough innovation within Massaro's approach to six strings to make for an utterly engulfing record.


Virgin Flower - Absence of Essence

Jacksonville noise punks Virgin Flower are sounding darker than ever on their first release with Dead Tank Records. Post-apocalyptic fractured dance cut 'Time Burns' is the brightest track of the lot, serving as something of a misleading precursor to the harsh noise manifestation that reluctantly follows, as if being dragged onto record by the throat. Few bands can have so much fun making a noise this horrible.


Don Glow - Live on the Grill BBQ Party

French outfit Don Glow flicker tirelessly between unhinged garage psych and trance-inducing neo-kraut. Their latest effort is the most solid documentation of their restless urge to make oddball guitar jams that you can dance too, and they pull it off pretty convincingly.