Steve Miller Band — “Space Intro/Fly Like an Eagle”
I think this is the closest I’ll ever come to getting high with my dad. He saw the Steve Miller Band in concert way back when and has admitted to passing out before Miller even hit the stage. Listening to the 1:14 minute short “Space Intro” is a necessity in order to achieve the ultimate zing. The rising synthesizer buzz and blend into a spiraling staircase that acts as the captain speaking, informing you of your current high altitude ascent. “Time keeps on slippin’ into the future” offers enough lyrical fodder to inspire a ridiculous high guy meme and I personally always hear “shoot the children” instead of “shoe the children” during the second verse.
Com Truise — “Cyanide Sisters”
Pairing a doobie with poppy electronic music is a safe bet for blissful harmony. This track is marked by its rhythmically pounding drumbeat that drives the song’s pulse and notifies your head to begin casually bobbing up and down. There’s a visual tone to this song — which looks like that sepia setting on Instagram. “Cyanide Sisters” is a blank canvas. Put it on and color it in. Com Truise was a minor player in that chill wave musical trend that washed over the indie scene this past decade and he’s worth the casual resurgence.
The Kinks — “Waterloo Sunset”
My roommate Oliver donated a dinky boom box for our bathroom and the right speaker is blown out. This means whenever a song comes on that was recorded in stereo not mono, I can only hear one side. Instead of being a nuisance, this effect has opened up songs and shown them in a new fashion. Take the Kink’s cheery ode to happiness, for example. Listen to this track with the main vocals muted and you’ll hear how the backing “oohs” and “la la las” deserve the main attention.
Tame Impala — “Be Above It”
The best thing to come out of the land down under since “Bart vs. Australia,” Tame Impala is an excellent suggestion for highlighting rock’s current state. I don’t know which makes this song more of a trip — the “gotta be above it” repetitive lyrical loop or the rattling drums that sound as if they were recorded on Garageband without using a mic. At the 1:15 minute mark when the wall of sound single chord blast occurs, feel your eyes widen to a kaleidoscope of swirling psychedelic rock.
Pure X — “You’re in it Now”
As a music journalist, I’m frequently coming across bands that I try to plug with any chance I can get. Pure X is one example, but their debut album Pleasure and companion EP You’re In it Now are two masterpieces of chilled out, let’s-rip-a-joint music and are completely worthy of this nod. Start with the EP’s title track and immerse yourself in all of its good vibrations. Drenched in reverb while cleverly toying with a wah-wah pedal, the sounds created by Pure X are the epitome of stoned while wearing headphones jams.
Gonjasufi — “Sheep”
A Sufi And A Killer, the miraculous 2010 debut from San Diego vocalist Gonjasufi, is one of the best stoner albums of all time. The album’s mind-melt vibe is as much the product of Gonjasufi’s scraggly but gentle coo as the dense production from noted names like Flying Lotus and the Gaslamp Killer. This cut is some of the most impressive, artfully crafted and mentally engaging stoner music since the heyday of the Dead.
Balam Acab — “Motion”
Balam Acab rose to fame with a certain strain of Tumblr-oriented drug music that’s grown annoying to anyone not on molly, lean or any other drug Miley Cyrus has ever sung about. Yet he remains the best to ever do it, using haunting vocal samples that could come from R&B or 18th century opera with equal probability but evoke voices far less earthly and tangible.
The Grateful Dead — “Help On The Way/Slipknot”
Anyone familiar with the faintly sad, happy-go-lucky folk of American Beauty and Workingman’s Dead might wonder why the Dead are considered such a great stoner band. The answer lies in their freest-form experiments, usually manifested in their live shows but best captured on record with their excellent 1975 album Blues For Allah. The album’s opening track takes as long to blaze through as an average doobie, and by the time it transitions into the next track, you’ll be too high to notice.
The Beach Boys — “Windchimes (Smile Sessions version)”
A prime cut from Brian Wilson’s drug-addled opus Smile, this song starts out unassuming enough, with the protagonist absent-mindedly gazing at his windchimes. Then, as I like to think of it, the edibles kick in and the protagonist’s mind splits wide open like a banana.
Erykah Badu — “Get Munny”
This lush cut from Erykah Badu’s stunning Return Of The Ankh features Thundercat on bass, who’s made some pretty good stoner music on his own. The bassy, aquatic production and Badu’s friendly yet powerful presence make this song a guaranteed mind-blower.
Want more weed? Here are other Emerald stories about the green.
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