Austin Psych Fest – From Woods to Wooden Shjips,
Black Angels to Black Lips:
“One of the main reasons why we’re doing the festival is because there wasn’t a festival in Austin that brought our favorite artists. You have ACL and South by Southwest, but those are just insanely big and you can’t see the bands you want to see.
Through all the years of touring, we’ve met tons of amazing artists that we want to tour with or that we’ve seen and this is just our chance to bring them all to Austin and show Austin what’s happening in the psychedelic music scene, which is growing tremendously…We ask people what they want to hear, so we’re communicating with people who are coming to the festival. We have bands that we like, but we don’t know every band. It’s impossible. So through asking the community, you’re getting this poll method and we’re pulling from what the community wants. We want to be the festival that shows you music you’ve never heard before, but at the same time, we want people to have a hand in picking these bands…
-The Black Angels’ Alex Maas to Relix
Since 2008 The Black Angels and the Reverberation Appreciation Society have annually rounded up some of the most mind-bending bands working today for the Austin Psych Festival. Honoring the city’s rich psych heritage this year’s fest features two cult legends: The Meat Puppets and Olivia Tremor Control.
This 5th annual fest is the last weekend of April at Austin’s two newest rock venues: Emo’s East and Beauty Ballroom. Besides the above mentioned artists, the line-up includes Brian Jonestown Massacre, Black Angels, Woods, Wooden Shjips, Dead Meadow, Pink Mountaintops, New Fumes, Peaking Lights, Sun Araw, Lotus Plaza (Deerhunter side-project), Bombino, Dissapears, Prince Rama, Psychic Ills, Pure X, Sleep Over, Moon Duo, Quilt, Entrance Band, Stepkids, Quilt, Amen Dunes, Thee Oh Sees, Brooklyn Raga Association, Dead Confederate and others. Additionally, Golden Dawn will perform their 1968 psych cult classic Power Plant in its entirety. The full schedule and other details are listed at facebook.
The Black Angels’ Alex Maas recently discussed the growth of the festival and Golden Dawn with Relix, “At first it just started out as this one day thing during SXSW, then tons of people started showing up to it. Then the next year, we did it again and people started flying in from out of state and out of the country and we were like “woah, maybe people would want to come to this thing for a couple of days?”… We’re expecting 6,000 total over the whole weekend, maybe a little bit more. Each year we’ve been slowly growing the festival. We haven’t had a crazy huge spurt in growth, but at the same time if you look at the genre, it’s slowly been inclining in terms of popularity. We talk about how everything is cyclical. Everything in psychedelic music is cyclical—every 20 years or so it comes back around. And who knows how long this will last, but now with so many people really expanding their sound the potential of the genre can really grow. It’s just a matter of how many people want to refer to their sound in that way….
Part of our goal for this festival is to hit every single style within the psychedelic genre—which is kind of difficult because you have surf-psych, folk-psych, electronic music, rock and roll and garage psych…There’s tons of different types of genres of psych… Any style of music can be referred to as [psychedelic]. But if you go back to the first elements of psychedelic rock and roll, that has a certain sound. It’s very unmistakable. It’s got a certain sound. But it’s misleading and, for a while there, it was also deterring people from getting into it. People just didn’t take these artists seriously, or they thought they were all about drugs and that’s just not true. The music should take you there. And that’s kind of the whole misconception as well, that there’s this whole culture behind it. I know tons of people in psychedelic bands that are creating this sound and they’re completely straight and sober people who have never done anything in their entire lives. It has less to do with that and more to do with the sound that they’re creating—how the music is making the people feel…. Art is always reflecting the political climate and the climate that’s happening, whether it’s a complete opposite reaction or whether it’s with it. I definitely think that the scarier things get, the more turmoil, the more chaos, the lack of information, the lack of truth given to the public, the lack of care from the public to search for the truth, and people being blind to what’s happening around them creates a kind of fear and it’s not just in the music scene…”
“We always want to have a vintage element. Last year we had Roky Erickson and this year we have Golden Dawn. They put out a record in ’68 called Power Plant, and it’s just this record that never got the credibility and attention it deserved. So they’re from Austin and they were playing with the Elevators back in the day.”
$120 day passes and $45 daily passes are still available at austinpsychfest.com.
Ok, then download the official Austin Psych Fest 2012 free mixtape here.
Olivia Tremor Control – Elephant 6’s signature psychedelic group – reunited for reissues, a new single (embedded above) and a tour last year (hear an entire pro-recorded show from the 2011 tour here, and download a 2012 show here). In anticipation of Austin Psych fest Boll Doss recently spoke to Austin Chronicle about the reunion and upcoming releases: “Will [Hart] was abusing himself after his diagnosis, drinking too much, so we started playing together again to try and help him. Recording stuff for fun, like high school. Then some of that stuff started turning out pretty good, so we decided to book a show. That led to two shows, then a couple more shows, and then the recordings started stacking up on each other, so it was pretty clear we should make a record. It wasn’t necessarily something we intended to do. It just grew organically, just like how we started as a band… When we went on hiatus and everyone was involved in different things, it seemed clear that we were going our own ways. There was always part of me that hoped we would get back together, but I didn’t expect it.”
The same weekend Olivia Tremor Control, Woods and New Fumes play Austin Psych, they also play Norman Music Fest (Olivia also has a gig in Dallas on the 27th between their Norman and Austin festival appearances on the the 26th and 28th – as of now their only other US show is July 13th at Chicago’s Pitchfork Festival).
Norman Music Festival also features Other Lives (fresh off their tour with Radiohead), Portugal. The Man, Deerpeople, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Chrome Pony, Evangelicals (with Stardeath’s Matt Duckworth on drums), BRONCHO, Beau Jennings, Locust Avenue and a showcase of student bands from (The Flaming Lips-associated) ACM@UCO (more on the latter here). The full NMF schedule and other details are available at normanmusicfestival.com
Checkout photos of Wayne Coyne, Deerpeople, Stardeath and White Dwarfs, White Denim and others from the past two Norman Music Fests here. Brooklyn Vegan’s photos from the 2011 Austin Psych Fest (at Seaholm Power Plant) are here.
UPDATE Tweets from Norman Music Festival and Olivia Tremor Control photo:
www.oudaily.com: “Big in Oklahoma, who’d have thought?” Guitarist and singer Bill Doss said, remarking at the nonstop energy of the crowd, who was dancing and singing along with every song… …felt intimate, like you had invited them over to your place to just play couple songs. They clearly were having a great time; with every song flowing together, linked by playful melodies ebbing inside a pool of ambient sound. The experience was physical…. Between every song, almost everyone would switch instruments, guitar to bass, bass to clarinet, to the violin and then over to maracas or tambourine. No matter what instrument they picked up, the sound still came together as one in a way that showcases their undeniable musicianship. The instrument changing lead to one of the most memorable moments of the night as every member of the band switched to an acoustic instrument right in the middle of a jam. As the volume descended, they descended from the stage into the crowd and out the front door. They never missed a beat as they circle around the building, returning to stage through the back door. It was something I’ve never seen at a concert and it blew my mind.”