TR+ Singles Club: The Cuckoos

the cuckoos

Our commitment to bringing you the best new music continues with this week’s free download – not only is it from a new record label, it’s taken from Austin psych rockers The Cuckoos’ first release.

Psych? What’s all that, then?
Psych is a modern take on ‘psychedelia’. But where ‘psychedelia’ suggests acid-fried hippies in tie-dyed tees and bell-bottoms dancing in the woods to self-consciously ‘mind-expanding sounds (that actually sound hammy and ancient), the new psych seems more like a response to the standardisation and pigeon-holing of modern music. The marketing departments won, man, and record companies aren’t interested in anything they can’t file under the right section in Spotify. Psych refuses to be categorised – hell, those guys don’t like being called psych much – and the bills of the many Psych Fests appearing all over the globe is testament to the genre’s vision. Blues bands, punk rock, shoegazers, goths, stoner rock, electronica, doom metal, world music – all fit the psych label. Anything to break out of the straightjacket categorisations imposed on modern music.

Uh, OK. So what do these guys sound like?
Here’s how their PR puts it: “From Magical Mystery Tour to The Doors, via Velvet Underground and Jimi Hendrix, The Cuckoos’ roots run deep. Within the band’s swirling, trippy sound, there’s the magical alchemy of Pink Floyd, the enigmatic melancholy of Joy Division, and the epic scope of Led Zeppelin, all viewed through the band’s young and constantly-inspired lens to give their sound a fresh feel.

“The Cuckoos – Kenneth Frost (vox/guitar/keyboards), Dave North (guitar/vox), Eric Ross (bass) and Cole Koenning (drums) – are still young, but seem to have explored the rich tapestry of music from the past to the present, each member immersing themselves into different genres: from North’s early interest in Green Day, Metallica and Megadeth, to main songwriter Frost’s fascination with all things Beatles, they have since travelled through the blues of Muddy Waters and Albert King through the funk of George Clinton and Prince to the more contemporary sounds of Nick Cave and The Pixies…with a sprinkling of 60s psychedelia as icing on the cake.

“We just want to make music that makes people feel good….and bad,” Frost explains. “As long as they feel SOMETHING – something that’s passionate and honest.”

Our track, Mind Breakthrough, sounds a bit like a young Sisters of Mercy jamming a Doors song in preparation for a Teardrop Explodes support slot – but with some serious guitar heroism thrown in for free.

OK, I’m ready to have my mind expanded – what do I do?

TeamRock+ members can click the link below to download a MP3 or WAV of Mind Breakthrough. If you can’t see the link you’re either not signed in or not a member. Take a free trial to get access to all of the latest issues of Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog, plus thousands of archive stories from the world of rock and metal.


For more info on The Cuckoos, visit their website or follow them on Facebook. The Cuckoos tour the UK in June - dates below.

The TeamRock+ Singles Club