Groovational Pull: The Austin Psych Fest Preview

by Helen Grant

Later this month, whilst the OKC.NET staff cover Norman Music Festival, the OKC.NET editorial staff will fly down I-35 to Austin, Texas at speeds approaching 65 miles an hour. Our destination is Austin Psych Fest, a weekend long celebration of all things trippy and freaky. One of the fastest growing regional festivals, Psych Fest draws people from all over world, so I doubt we’ll be the only Okies in attendance. Even though there are no Oklahoma bands playing this year, something that may change in coming years given the number of good psychedelic and garage-tinged bands circulating in the OKC music scene, we still aim to capture quality interviews with both emerging and established bands, take great photos, sneak in a little video content, and maybe even garner a little insight into the craziness that is music festival season.

To that end both Colin and I have decided that we’re going to let “music” be our drug of choice and forgo anything that might be handed to us. Especially since we are there for mostly work and with like a dash of play sprinkled on top.  Read: we’re leaving the acid trip Gonzo journalism to the publications with writers who don’t have children and a mortgage to pay. Also I’m pretty sure neither of our spouses would be happy with us if we called from Austin in need of bail money, even if the events leading up to that kind of situation made for one hell of a story.

So to compensate for our lack of crazy antics, as I’m pretty sure we’ll see some on stage, we’ll also write a little bit about the cool things between here and Austin. Here are some of the bands we are looking forward to covering.  We’ll start first with my picks as Colin is still trying to decide who else besides Os Mutantes that he would like to see.

The Black Angels:

I could rattle off a list of favorite songs from this group, but there’s really no point. Plus I had a long stretch of not going to concerts, children will do that to you, and so I’ve missed them when they played The Conservatory. All said, this is a band that doesn’t disappoint and they’re partially responsible for Austin Psych Fest’s existence. Two members of The Black Angels, Alex Maas and Christian Bland, co-founded The Reverberation Appreciation Society and Austin Psych Fest along with Rob Fitzpatrick and Oswald James. Their latest album “Indigo Meadow” is fantastic and I cannot wait to see “Evil Things” performed live.

 

Suuns:

I really like a lot bands on the Secretly Canadian label. Although managing okc.net keeps me pretty busy, so it’s not like I’ve found lots of time to get intimately familiar with each of their artists. Even so, Suuns is new to me and I’ve since bought their album “Edie’s Dream.” I look forward to seeing them perform live.

 

 

Deerhunter:

I’ve been following Deerhunter, and more specifically Bradford Cox for years. Do you know he has a blog? Well he does. Been reading that thing for years. But not in a stalkerish way…psssh. Please. It’s for the mixtape downloads. Honestly, this will be a real treat. I don’t know really what else to say other than it makes feel like sunshine and rainbows to finally get a chance to see them perform.

 

 

Capsula:

One thing I really appreciate about Austin Psych Fest is their commitment to keeping interested parties informed. Whether it is mixed tapes for download via Soundcloud, promoting album releases of artists playing Psych Fest, or just highlighting the past work of others, I feel like they’ve done a terrific job making sure attendees get a chance to know the artists on the festival’s line up. So that said, I found out about Capsula through Austin Psych Fest’s Facebook page updates. They’re from Spain and this performance of “Communication” caught my attention. I love how the bassist loses her headphones halfway through their song.

 

 

Elephant Stone:

Trippy and one of the founders of the Reverberation Society, Oswald James helped produce this video.

 

 

War Paint:

Dream pop, psychedelia, with a tie-in to James Blake’s new album “Overgrown,” really, this just cherries in my opinion.

 

 

King Khan and the BBQ Show:

I found out about King Khan and the BBQ Show via their work with Black Lips in a dirty lil’ basement gospel jam session that resulted in the brief formation of The Almighty Defenders. King Khan and the BBQ Show will also be playing at the Norman Music Festival, so if this appeals to you, don’t miss them! They’ll be on the Main Stage Sat. April 27th. Meanwhile over in Austin, on the Reverberation stage at 6:30 p.m., they’ll be playing and that’s where I intend to see them. Plus I missed “BBQ” Mark Sultan last time he was in OKC at the Blue Note, which is literally down the street from our office, but a flat tire and a crazy storm system kind of nixed it. Needless to say, I have no excuse to miss him this year.

 

 

The Novelty Picks

 

Acid Mothers Temple:

Because everyone needs a novelty pick and this is far out and freaky. They have countless iterations of this band, so you should go Wikipedia that if you’re dying to know every single “Acid Mothers Temple” + (Insert Wacky Name Here.) It kind of makes me think if Yoko Ono had a psych rock band, they’d probably sound like this. Why? Because they’re Japanese and they make freaky noises. And overly-indulgent tracks that go on for awhile. You could easily feel like a chunk of time has morphed all around you by listening to just one song.

 

 

Roky Erickson:

Because he is a founder of the 13th Floor Elevators, helped pioneer Psych rock, and I heard a song by Dead Ghosts recently that was titled “Roky Said.”

 

 

 

 

Moving Sidewalks:

Living History Yo’.

 

 

Silver Apples:

If you noticed, my “novelty” picks are almost all bands from before my time, with the exception of course being Acid Mothers Temple.

At any rate, for Silver Apples the main appeal can be summed up in a word: oscillators.

 

 

There are a lot more bands I’d like to see. And I really wish “time turners” where a real thing, because I would magic myself between the various stages at Austin Psych Fest. But they’re not real. And cloning isn’t quite the same thing, experientially speaking, so for now this is what I’m going with unless I discover a scheduling conflict. Or something runs late. Or I might just say the hell with it and end up where I end up.

 
 
 

Think you might be down for attending? Check the Austin Psych Festival website to see all the bands playing and what your options are for buying tickets and possibly camping out doors that weekend. Otherwise hit their FB page to get a sampling of that awesome reverb-laden sound and find new bands to check out.

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