Heavy psych rockers Monster Magnet have announced a new covers album, A Better Dystopia, out May 21st. As a preview, the band has shared a ripping version of Poo-Bah’s “Mr. Destroyer”.
The 13-song tracklist showcases Monster Magnet’s esoteric knowledge of obscure psych rock. They take on Hawkwind (“Born to Go”), cult NYC heavy psych act Dust (“Learning to Die”)”, The Pretty Things (“Death”), and The Scientists (“Solid Gold Hell”), among other relatively obscure gems.
The idea for the covers album came after Monster Magnet’s European “Powertrip” tour was halted in February of 2020 when the pandemic hit. To occupy the downtime, the band set out to record a DIY album rather than play streaming shows or sell merch.
“We all agreed that we would be bored out of our minds within a month of lockdown,” frontman Dave Wyndorf said. “Monster Magnet loves the road. It’s a lifestyle. So, I considered our options. Rather than panhandle on the internet, hawking masks and Zoom-rocking practice sessions for dollars, I suggested we record a ‘bunker record.’ A total DIY affair (band only) recorded and mixed in Bob Pantella’s small but potent Freak Shop Studios/rehearsal space right here in New Jersey. But what to record?”
The band went down a “rabbit hole deep dive” of ’60s and ’70s photo-metal, prog, and heavy psych that would impress any hardcore record collector. The song selections, as proven by the “Mr. Destroyer” cover, undoubtedly lend themselves to Monster Magnet’s signature sound. They also reminded Wyndorf of the distant, tumultuous past.
“I didn’t feel much like writing, but working on anything was better than watching the news as hospitals filled up, people died, and American politics went bat-shit crazy,” he said. “The world roared ‘Dystopia! Apocalypse! Revolution!.’ I’d heard those words before, and they brought to mind my childhood in the late ’60s/early ’70s… and the music… and short playlist of songs (just one of many) that I’d been carrying around with me on my whatever-device to listen to before shows.”
He continued: “Of course, these tunes have also been in my head for more or less my whole life. These were not the popular hits of the time. This was like a playlist from the 4th dimension… strange bits of musical obscurity, mostly dredged up from that inglorious and freaky ‘twilight zone’ time that preceded arena rock, heavy metal, reggae, and disco. A no-man’s land of hard rock that still had remnants of psychedelia and garage punk but had abandoned any notion of ‘flower power’ or frat-house fun. And of course, they rocked. Yeah, these songs were it.”
Wyndorf described the bands covered on A Better Dystopia as “fringe” and “underrated,” calling the selections a “collection of songs that I think reflect (knowingly or unknowingly) a paranoid time in history, but also deflect that same paranoia by owning it, fully.”
A Better Dystopia Artwork:
A Better Dystopia Tracklist (Original Artist in Parentheses):
01. The Diamond Mine (Dave Diamond)
02. Born to Go (Hawkwind)
03. Epitaph for a Head (JD Blackfoot)
04. Solid Gold Hell (The Scientists)
05. Be Forewarned (The Macabre)
06. Mr. Destroyee (Poo-Bah)
07. When the Wolf Sits (Jerusalem)
08. Death (Pretty Things)
09. Situation (Josephus)
10. It’s Trash (The Cave Men)
11. Motorcycle (Table Scraps)
12. Learning to Die (Dust)
13. Welcome to the Void (Morgen)