May is coming, and for psychedelic music fans that can mean only one thing: Austin Psych Fest is back. Returning to the beautiful Carson Creek Ranch for the second time, the festival is bigger and better than ever. The lineup continues to get more diverse as does the ever expanding world of psych music. With 3 days of music, and two incredible Kick-Off parties, this is one of the biggest festivals around. 

The festival gets its proper start on Friday, May 2nd, and it’s jammed pack with great acts from all around the world. Here’s a rundown of what we’re most excited for on Day 1:

Bone Fur & Feathers | Reverberation Stage, 3:30PM

There’s an eerily little amount of information about Bone Fur & Feathers online, and that only intensifies my intrigue for this psych rock act. Their sweet female vocals don’t hurt either. The group’s single, “Someday”, was released in December of 2013 and has that perfect mix of synth, lush rock instrumentation, and ringing percussive accents that guarantee listen after listen.

Gap Dream | Elevation Amphitheatre, 5:00PM

The wind chimes were what did it. The wind chimes were what made me fall in love with Gap Dream. Chimes aside, the music’s approachable and melodic, and therefore catchy as hell. This is power pop for the psych rock crowd – it may even have you clapping (or strutting ala “Fantastic Sam”).

Shannon & The Clams | Reverberation Stage, 5:45PM

Representing the garage rock/doo-wop side of the fest are the fantastic Shannon & The Clams. If Buddy Holly had a more lo-fi child with The Shangri-La’s, and raised it on a healthy dose of The Vaselines, that child would be Shannon & The Clams. They hail from Oakland and have more soul than most anything else happening in the bay area. The track “Troublemaker” below should be enough to get your motor revving.

Quilt | Elevation Amphitheatre, 6:15PM

After one listen of “Tie Up The Tides”, Quilt became the only thing I listened to for about a week straight.  The Boston-based psych pop group just put out their second full-length album, Held In Splendor, this past January, and it’s quickly become one of my favorites of 2014. Quilt is the right combination of far out jangly guitars and catchy pop vocals that borrow from the ’60s but don’t rely to heavily on the past either.

Aqua Nebula Oscillator | Levitation Tent, 6:30PM

Aqua Nebula Oscillator has a revolving identity, and the group, as it is currently, is led by David sphaèr’os (Master Of Ceremony) along with cosmicoboy, Adrian Bang, and Alexis Raphaeloff. Their most recent album, Spiritus Mundi (2013), is a dark, psychedelic trip. This, combined with a stage performance boasting the potential to “blow your mind away”, should make for a fitting lead-in to the night’s headliners (assuming your mind returns for the rest of the festival).

The Zombies | Reverberation Stage, 9:30PM

This should be a given. If you’re making the trip to psych fest this year, go see The Zombies. While their 2011 release Breathe Out Breathe In might not have quite lived up to their previous output, the band is still one of the greatest pop groups ever. In their defense, how the hell do you make a follow up to an album like Odessey and Oracle anyway!? In case you forgot how great this song is, here you go.

The Dandy Warhols | Reverberation Stage, 10:45PM

The Dandy’s were a late addition to the Austin Psych Fest lineup, but a welcomed one. I still remember buying their debut album Dandys Rule OK simply based on their name alone. Luckily, the music also blew me away. Personally, I’m hoping to see the band revisit some of their earlier psychedelic roots at APF this year. I’d kill to see an extended jam of this one live.

The Black Angels | Reverberation Stage, 12:15PM

The Black Angels are the whole reason this incredible festival even exists. The band founded APF back in 2008 along with its counterpart record label The Reverberation Appreciation Society, and it’s been growing grander every year. If you’re reading this post chances are you know a little about these guys already. They’ve been at the forefront of neo-psychedelic music for sometime now and show no signs of slowing down. This band has only gotten better with time, here’s a classic performance from APF 2012.

Liars | Levitation Tent, 12:45AM

This L.A. three-piece is so much more than just cryptic promo videos and piles of colorful yarn. They’ve been taking art-rock to new levels for almost 15 years now. Their latest album Mess just hit stores the end of March, and it’s quickly become a dance-punk hit. They should prove to be an energetic end to the first night of Austin Psych Fest (assuming you can stay on your feet past midnight).

If you get down to Austin early don’t forget to check out the Official Kick-Off Parties at Mohawk & Red 7 on Thursday, May 1st. You’ll see the likes of The Asteroid #4, Flamin’ Groovies, Elephant Stone, Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor and much more.  Stay tuned this week for our Saturday & Sunday previews and live coverage from Austin Psych Fest!

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