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Album Review: Neil Young and Crazy Horse - "Psychedelic Pill"

Young’s latest, Psychedelic Pill, is a ferociously stubborn assertion that he has no intent to waver from his commitment to feeling, art, or for that matter, artlessness if that’s what moves him.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse
Psychedelic Pill
Warner Bros./Reprise


Neil Young has never really given a hoot about polish. And if his first-thought-best-thought, flamethrower approach to creation has occasionally resulted in works of uneven quality, it has also spawned some of his very best—Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Tonight’s the Night, and Zuma among them. And no stance is a gesture of artistic courage that’s appallingly absent among musicians in the multimedia age.

Young’s latest, Psychedelic Pill, is a ferociously stubborn assertion that he has no intent to waver from his commitment to feeling, art, or for that matter, artlessness if that’s what moves him. Young’s fellow soul barbarians Crazy Horse are along for the ride again, and the crackling, electric racket they create on Psychedelic Pill is deliriously sprawling, fractured, patina’d, and at times tectonically powerful. Sonically speaking, the template is little different from the recipe the band concocted around the time of Rust Never Sleeps—chugging, mid-tempo, hazy, and distorted jams that shift and drift around Young’s queasy Bigsby cries and drummer Ralph Molina’s rather subjective notions of time.

Psychedelic Pill’s finest moments are when that formula is taken to extremes. The three finest tracks are the longest, and at 27:37, 16:50, and 16:29 minutes respectively, “Driftin’ Back,” “Ramada Inn,” and “Walk Like a Giant” are minor key, melancholy fever dreams that alternately explode and meander around Young’s boundless, stream-of-consciousness leads. The latter ends with about three minutes of Neil and Crazy Horse approximating the thunder of a giant’s plodding steps. If there were any justice, it would find saccharine pop’s most shameless peddlers looking over their shoulders and considering their imminent doom. —Charles Saufley

Must-hear track: “Walk Like a Giant”

While Annie Clark was named the 26th greatest guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone in 2023, she couldn’t care less about impressing an athletic stamp on either her sound or her image.


Photo by Alex Da Corte

On her eighth studio release, the electroacoustic art-rock guitarist and producer animates an extension of the strange and singular voice she’s been honing since her debut in 2007.

“Did you grow up Unitarian?” Annie Clark asks me. We’re sitting in a control room at Electric Lady Studios in New York’s West Village, and I’ve just explained my personal belief system to her, to see if Clark, aka St. Vincent, might relate and return the favor. After all, does she not possess a kind of sainthood worth inquiring about?

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U.S.-made electronics and PRS’s most unique body profile make this all-American S2 a feast of tones at a great price.

Many sonic surprises. Great versatility. Excellent build quality

The pickup selector switch might be in a slightly awkward position for some players.

$2,029

PRS S2 Vela
prsguitars.com

4.5
5
5
4.5

Since its introduction in 2013, PRS’s S2 range has worked to bridge the gap between the company’s most affordable and most expensive guitars. PRS’s cost-savings strategy for the S2 was simple. The company fitted U.S.-made bodies and necks, built using the more streamlined manufacturing processes of PRS’s Stevensville 2 facility, with Asia-made electronics from the SE line.

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A Gibson Explorer (left) and a Dean Z model.

In a legal battle over guitar body designs between Gibson and Dean, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the 5th circuit has ruled that Dean has the right to appeal an earlier decision by a Texas court, ordering Dean to stop selling guitars that Gibson says infringed on its iconic body shapes.

In a legal battle over guitar body designs between Gibson and Dean, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the 5th circuit has ruled that Dean has the right to re-try an earlier decision by a Texas court, ordering Dean to stop selling guitars that allegedly infringed on longtime Gibson body shapes, including Dean’s V and Z Series instruments, according to a report in Bloomberg Law published on Tuesday.

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Slash's Blues Ball Band Rig Rundown
Rig Rundown: Slash's Blues Ball Band with Tash Neal

The rock ’n’ roll icon brings his blues-rockin’ Orgy of The Damned to the people headlining the S.E.R.P.E.N.T. Blues Festival tour.

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