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.
Day 2 really ups the ante, with an incredible full day of music (over 12 hours worth to be exact). Here’s just a few of the acts we’re looking forward to on Saturday.
Circuit Des Yeux | Elevation Amphitheatre, 12:45PM
Serious in tone, Circuit Des Yeux is characterized by the baritone vocals of Haley Fohr and foreboding guitars. I’m looking forward to experiencing the ambiance and the reverb that is Circuit Des Yeux at APF’s Elevation Stage. Though I feel a nighttime performance would set the tone way better, it’ll be awesome to start off this Texas afternoon with these hypnotic sounds. Overdue, her fourth full-length, was released in October of 2013.
Yamantaka Sonic Titan | Levitation Tent, 2:30PM
This Canadian experimental band is a joy to listen to. But to really get the full picture, you have to experience their theatric stage show. The band was formed by performance artists alaskaB and Ruby Kato Attwood and really is more of an art collective that makes wonderfully epic, atmospheric music. It’s a little metal, a little psych-rock, and everything in between. Here’s a track from their latest release UZU, released last October via Suicide Squeeze Records.
Pure X | Reverberation Stage, 4:30PM
Angel, the outfit’s third studio album, is light and mellow in all the right ways. Their soundscapes are crafted by layering gentle acoustics and vocal harmonies with occasional accents of synthesizer. After switching gears from their 2013 release, their brand of dreamy indie ala Angel is simple and blissed out. Pure X’s pop melodies are an absolute perfect fit for warm, sunny afternoon listening.
Jacco Gardner | Elevation Amphitheatre, 5:30PM
Keeping the style of Baroque pop alive but mixing in a healthy dose of psych-folk is Dutch artist, Jacco Gardner. He utilizes a wide array of classical instruments, such as harpsichords, strings, flutes and others along side simple guitar parts and other psychedelic sounds to make for a truly unique vibe live and on his studio recordings.
Bombino | Reverberation Stage, 7:00PM
The musical project of Omara “Bombino” Moctar of Niger has garnered critical acclaim the world over. Bombino’s brand of “world music meets garage rock” has gotten the attention of critics and fellow musicians alike. He was raised as a muslim, and as part of a nomadic tribe in the Sahara Desert known as the Tuareg. His live show has earned him comparisons to Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Jerry Garcia and others. Highly recommended.
The Golden Dawn | Elevation Amphitheatre, 8:00PM
No, this is not a Greek political party, the original Golden Dawn is a far more relevant psychedelic band from none other than Austin, TX. Their only album, Power Plant, has become a psych-rock staple since it’s 1968 release. Plagued by comparisons to fellow Texas psych pioneers of the time, The 13th Floor Elevators, the band broke up shortly after the release of Power Plant. That being said, the Golden Dawn are a unique force all their own and Austin Psych Fest veterans to boot. It’ll be a pleasure to see them grace the APF stages again this year.
Mono | Levitation Tent, 8:45PM
A favorite of mine since my younger days, it’s a dream come to true to be able to see them live finally. The Japanese instrumental band has been making gorgeous atmospheric and energetic music since the late ’90s. These days, their live set incorporates a lush backing band aptly known as The Wordless Music Orchestra. They provide a landscape for Mono’s often delicate, but seldom boring, guitar and bass arrangements. Don’t let the gentle tune fool you, these guys can get as heavy as any other hard rock band around.
The Horrors | Reverberation Stage, 10:45PM
This band never seems to do any wrong in my book. From their early “punkier” days to their recent shoegaze infused album Skying, the band has always done well playing any style of music. With a new album coming to us a mere two days after Austin Psych Fest, it’s an exciting time to catch these guys live. The first single released from Luminous is a 7 1/2 minute piece of psych-pop that enters sounding along the lines of Echo & The Bunnymen but once the song comes to a climax, it’s an entirely different animal. Give “I See You” a listen and you’ll surely keep coming back for more.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre | Reverberation Stage, 12:15PM
Many love to hate this band but it’s hard to ignore singer/songwriter Anton Newcombe’s staggering amount of brilliant songs that cross a wide array of genres. The lineup has been a revolving door of members leaving and returning over the years but at the moment many of the principal players are on board. Anton has a new album in the works and will surely showcase some of the songs from Revealation at this year’s festival. I’ve only had the pleasure of seeing them live once, but it absolutely blew me away. Here’s a clip from APF 2012, where the band is joined by Elephant Stone frontman, Rishi Dhir, on sitar.
Of Montreal | Levitation Tent, 12:45PM
One of the most prolific acts of the last 20 years, frontman Kevin Barnes & of Montreal have been producing their own brand of quirky pop music for some time now. With 11 studio albums out, there are very few “misses” among their discography. From pure Beatles-esque pop music to introspective dance tunes, Kevin Barnes has more than proven his prowess as a songwriter. The band is not necessarily an obvious choice when it comes to this years APF lineup, but they are a prime example of how broad the world of “psych” music can be. Oh, and their live show is a thrilling display of costumed actors, trippy projections, and other weirdness that is not to be missed.
More notable acts worth catching are Barn Owl & Boogarins in the afternoon. As the sun starts to set be sure to catch Temples, Moon Duo, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, & Dead Meadow. If you time it right, you may be able to take it a good portion of this daily lineup, it’s overwhelmingly good.
I’m exhausted just writing all of this, easily the best day of the festival ever. But stay tuned, our Sunday preview is coming soon, as well plenty of interviews, photos, and other coverage from Carson Creek Ranch as we get closer to the weekend! More to come!