On May 2nd, Austin Psych Fest will kick-off the 7th iteration of the psychedelia drenched music festival on the lawns of Carson Creek Ranch in Austin, Texas. The festival, which has become the quintessential modern day psychedelic experience, began in 2008 as a one-day event that featured merely 10 bands. This year, the fest is featuring over 80 bands covering a wide variety of genres from shoegaze to psychedelic folk to baroque pop. Since the psychedelia won’t come to Miami, we have taken it into our own hands to go towards the light and report back from the other side to all our fellow psychedeliacs back home. We know you’re out there. We can feel you.
To the advantage of spectators all around the world, Austin Psych Fest will be streaming live on Youtube; we have decided this is something you Miami folk can’t miss.
There will be a wide variety of bands in attendance but since we can’t be everywhere at once, at least not in our current state, we have narrowed it down to our eight artists to watch at Austin Psych Fest:
Jacco Gardner ϟ
This Dutch multi-instrumentalist released his debut album, Cabinet of Curiosities, in early 2013, proving to be a studio wizard. The album features whimsical soundscapes full with psychotropic key arrangements and lush vocals evocative of the psychedelic greats of yore such as Love, 60’s Pink Floyd, Van Dyke Parks, and The Zombies. Simply put, Gardner is a modern day psychedelic luminary.
♫Key Tracks: “Clear The Air”, “Lullaby”, “Watching The Moon”
The aptly named 4-piece band from Boston, MA excels at making complex yet palatable tunes that seamlessly knit completely different musical ideas and make it into one unified song. One of the identifying traits of Quilt is the intrinsic sweetness of vocalist Anna Rochinski and guitarist Shane Butler’s vocal harmonies. Their sound has been described as “kids from the 80s dreaming about people from the 60s thinking about life in the future.” Their new album, Held In Splendor, came out in January.
♫Key Tracks: “Arctic Shark”, “Eye of the Pearl”, “The Hollow”
This English foursome was formed in 2012 as a home project by singer-guitarist James Edward Bagshaw and bassist Thomas Edison Warmsley. They caught the attention of Heavenly Recordings owner Jeff Barrett and they released their debut album through the label in February of the current year. They have been called the best new band in Britain by Oasis’ Noel Gallagher and The Smiths’ guitarist Johnny Marr.
♫Key Tracks: “Mesmerise”, “Shelter Song”, “Colours To Life”
Panda Bear ϟ
Noah Lennox from Animal Collective, more commonly known as Panda Bear, has found success in his solo career and thus is taking a break from the band to perform his own heavenly harmony infused tunes these days. As a side note, fellow Animal Collective member Avey Tare is also performing his solo music under the name Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks.
♫Key Tracks: “Comfy in Nautica”, “Alsatian Darn”, “Slow Motion”
The Zombies ϟ
The legendary English psychedelic rock band formed in 1961. They went on to record 2 albums before breaking up in 1968, after which their song “Time of the Season” became a nation-wide hit in the United States. Unfortunately, they were already broken up by this time. Their music lived on however. In 2001, The Zombies came back from the dead and started touring and recording relentlessly again. They are almost certainly an influence to most bands on the APF 2014 lineup.
♫ Key Tracks: “Care of Cell 44”, “Time of The Season”, “Friends of Mine”
The brainchild of Robert Hampson, Loop doesn’t get caught up in genre-naming (Hampson himself detests such labels), but the driving, roaring four piece have long been applauded for their simplistic approach. Hampson does not concern himself with choruses or technicality, opting for extended songs with heavy guitar riffs. Originally formed in 1986, the band lasted for five years and released three studio albums before parting ways in 1991. Loop is currently in their first US tour since reuniting last year.
♫Key Tracks: “Afterglow”, “Thief (Motherfucker)”, “Blood”
The Brian Jonestown Massacre ϟ
Frontman Anton Newcombe has a reputation for being unpredictable and eclectic, which is reflected by the BJM’s prolific output. The band has released countless albums since the early 1990’s, with a new album set to be released later this year titled Revelation. Having dabbled with shoegaze, drone, and pop-psychedelia, Newcombe continues to experiment, forging ahead with different styles and perspectives instead of relying tired psych tropes. One recent example of this is his French duet with Asia Argento on “No Le Sacre Du Printemp”.
♫Key Tracks: After fourteen studio albums, there are too many to pick!
The Horrors ϟ
With a fourth album on the way titled Luminous, The Horrors are quickly cementing themselves as a reliable, musically progressive group capable of melding haunting post-punk sensibilities with a modern twist. Even with the obvious psychedelic influences hanging over their heads, the band pays homage to multiple influences, with songs that border on post-punk dirges, or more recently, synth driven melodies. Performing on Saturday night of APF, The Horrors are sure to play one of the most anticipated sets in the festival.
♫Key Tracks: “Who Can Say”, “See Within a Sea”, “I See You”
La Femme ϟ
French. Psyche. Punk. Pop. La Femme’s Psycho Tropical Berlin (2013) should be assigned as the soundtrack to any, if all, James Bond films. The band consists of nine essential members, a formulation of fun that bleeds through the music to their live performances and vise versa. The sweet, surf-pop guitar cradles the contrast of sensual female/male vocals while riding on upbeat tempos and effortless “cool”. This is the type of music that you want to play at your birthday party, wearing your coolest outfit, drink in hand.
♫Key Tracks: “Antitaxi”, “It’s Time to Wake Up”, “La femme ressort”