WELCOME TO THE Mercury's bi-annual Music Issue, entitled "Let's Get Psychedelic!" First off, there were a couple options weighed while choosing the theme, but I went with psychedelic music because I like it, and because Portland seems to like it too. The choice and topic were, if anything, cut and dry.

As far as bands go, you'll probably see some old and familiar faces, but chances are you'll run into some new ones too. This isn't to be exclusivist or bore or confuse anybody; put simply, one of my goals with this thing is that you'll take interest in some of the unknowns and maybe find a new favorite band that might—hopefully—change your life.

Now, there are many among us who call bullshit (or idealism, hyperbole, etc.) on the idea that music can change your life. But that's where I think they've gone wrong, that somewhere along the line they've been twisted by cynicism or become hard and embittered by some dark outside force. So let's hear it for music fucking your shit up and changing your life. It doesn't happen often, but when it does it can shine a light so hot and bright you can't help but feel excited—and less jaded—about life and music and yourself in general.

So, over the next few pages you'll find armchair rock historian Mike Nipper dishing on the history of psychedelic music. Josh Blanchard will analyze the strange, mysterious voodoo that goes into making music psychedelic. We've got Bart Schaneman telling us why psychedelic music is terrible, and Adam Forkner talking about his life as a seeker of trippy sounds.

We also have reporting on the weird phenomenon of punks becoming hippies; a piece on the connection between psychedelic music and religion; an essay on the effects of drugs on writing songs; and a roundup of great bands you should check out. Oh, and make sure to stare lovingly at our cover, which is so fucking cute I wanna smash it up in a ball and give it a great big kiss.