By Daniel Fernandez and Taylor Brandegee
Levitation 2015 was eventful on all fronts. Taking place at Austin’s Carson Creek Ranch over May 8-10, the 8th year of the festival broke its own attendance records with thousands of fans flooding into the grounds for three days of peace and music.
Unfortunately, the rainfall also broke records rendering the festival grounds a muddy chaos during the first day. With some adjustments, namely rain boots, the second and third days went much smoother. Over all three days, dozens of incredible acts took the stage to melt the brains, faces, and hearts of their adoring fans reinforcing Austin Psych Fest’s reputation as one of the greatest music festivals in our Star System.
Big names like Tame Impala, The Flaming Lips and even a reunited 13th Floor Elevators delivered mind-bending sets over the weekend. Since you probably already knew that, we decided to make a list of 9 artists at APF you haven’t heard enough about.
THE GOASTT (Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger)
The project of Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl, The GOASTT is a hard rocking band that manages to make whimsical but deep tunes. Lennon is an incredible lead guitarist and Kemp Muhl keeps an airtight groove on the bass. Their harmonies sound heavenly with just a hint of satanism as Lennon was kind to remind us. While inevitably influenced by his father’s band The Beatles, Sean Lennon expands on that signature sound creating an air of mysticism around the band. Their stage banter is also hilarious: “Coachella sucks, this is dope.” It’s true.
Walker is an incredibly talented singer songwriter from Chicago that writes tunes reminiscent of 60s folk and jazz rock outfits such as Grateful Dead, Crosby Stills and Nash, and even Alice Coltrane. With the help of his equally skilled backing band, Walker played what was truly one of the most mesmerizing sets of the weekend drawing largely from his second album Primrose Green.
Heaters are a cosmic surf and garage psych band based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Having released their first EP in February of 2014, the band began receiving lots of attention and eventually got signed to Beyond Beyond is Beyond out of Brooklyn. Recently having released a 7” single on BBiB, the band plans to follow it up with a full length called Holy Water Pool out in September.
THE BLANK TAPES
Matt Adams is the brains behind The Blank Tapes, an ever-changing musical project which incorporates elements of psych, surf, pop, and folk rock. Based in Los Angeles and San Francisco, Adams plays with various musicians in each city, producing his music on an old 8 track cassette tape recorder. Adams’ most recent release is an album titled Geodesic Dome Piece.
Psych-pop quartet Tele Novella falls nothing short of a spooky cartoon dream. With members of Voxtrot and Agent Ribbons, the Austin-based band is a live spectacle not to be missed. Frontwoman Natalie Ribbons captivates the audience with her expressive gestures and range of vocals while the rest of the band keeps the groove locked tight. Tele Novella puts you in a cross between a Wes Anderson and a Tim Burton film. Their set at Levitation was adorned with old fashioned furniture props that complemented their colorful clothing inspired by the 60s pop era.
FEVER THE GHOST
Fever The Ghost is an electric spin on fantasy psychedelic pop-rock from Los Angeles, California. Spacey synths and driving guitar twangs put you in a futuristic world with hints of the 70s. The most interesting part about this set was at the end when a giant glitter vagina with a disco clit came out on stage and danced around for their last song. It was a beautiful moment.
The search was on for our Queen. Who would be the Queen of Psych Fest 2015? Who was going to lead us into the void? Enter Chelsea Wolfe, the last minute replacement for Melody’s Echo Chamber who unfortunately had to cancel. After seeing her Sunday night set, I can’t say I’m too sad about it (Still love you, Melody). Chelsea Wolfe creates a dark, ethereal fantasy world with her music. Incorporating breathy hymns, chanting melodies, and a driving pulse, Wolfe captivated me and the rest of the audience luring us into her dark realm.
Note from Daniel: My Queen is none other than Charlotte Kemp-Muhl from GOASTT.
“For obvious reasons. >_>” Taylor
The most mysterious and mesmerizing band I’ve ever come across, D.allas A.cid put on a show akin to religious experiences. Very little information can be found about the band online and we were not able to speak to them. The band is composed of three musicians whose names we don’t know. Employing vintage synthesizers and a gong, they play sounds we’ve never heard from a galaxy we’ve never been to with lyrics we can’t figure out. Not much else can be said about this band. You just need to see for yourself.
Ty Segall’s latest project, Fuzz, closed out the festival on Sunday night with an explosive set that reminded us what a real rock band should sound like. With infectious vocals, harmonizing bass and guitar lines and insaaane drums, Fuzz is truly a force to be reckoned with. The virtuosic hard rock band proved to be one of the most talented, solid, and rocking bands of Levitation 2015. What the fuzz?