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It was another lovely day in Austin to experience all kinds of psychedelic music with influences from folk to drone to metal to pop to rock. The day seemed to be about people experiencing how far the genre could take them and enjoying both the onslaught of noise from the more aggressive bands to the relaxing sounds of music with a much different tone. Austin Psych Fest offered the whole spectrum of the genre for those with an adventurous spirit.
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan
Five piece Canadian band Yamantaka // Sonic Titan was a great way to bring in the day with a style so outside the box it combines psychedelic sounds,with metal elements as well as traditional Japanese ceremonial culture in a synching up of styles that as a whole really recalls nothing else. Their first album (self titled) made this reviewer’s top albums of the year list for 2911. The second album (Mark & Blade) hasn’t resonated as strongly yet but their already fantastic live show has definitely grown tighter in the last year.
Providing the festival with psychedelic drone music, Barn Owl channeled a very organic sound for most of their set with his voice also adding some very deep and low vibration. It felt a little like the saddest trees in the forest crying out for relief at some points but then other portions seemed removed from nature and Earth’s temporal space altogether like a mission landing on a far away planet. All these tones were blended together quite seamlessly evolving over time and what was once devastating became a resolution over time as the silence in the intense sun grew thicker than ever.
Just suppose you were to take a group of people who were finding that the world was just too much for them and you were to convince them that the only way you could possibly heal is to blast the world with epic sound until it gave up all the hateful resentment. And let’s just say you gave these people some nice equipment and about fifteen minutes to really give it all they had. This is the best possible way for me to describe the band Destruction Unit
Heavenly Brazilian psychedelic pop music. Is there really anything more you need to know?
Hypnotically spooky French music is technically what two piece (playing as a thee piece piece with dual drumming live) Zombie Zombie is but that doesn’t even come close to capturing how energetic and tight they are live between the dual drumming, frantic yelps, and synth pedal effects galore. To put it another way, if the band were to play Pere Lachaise, I’m sure we’d see the undead dancing.
If you’re a fan of “Wooden Shjps“http://www.woodenshjips.com/ but prefer songs you can dance to, Moon Duo could be your new favorite band! The great thing about the band is that Ripley Johnson still rocks out just as hard but the addition of his wife, Sanae Yamada on synth keyboards and vocals adds a real nice feminine feel. This set was also more exciting than some of their other sets because of the live drummer.
It is always lovely to see the creative Dutch wizard that is Jacco Gardner and his set was definitely well attended and received this time around!
Temples is one of those bands, much like Savages, that impresses you immediately when they start playing. There’s an acknowledgement of a sort of raw and awe inspiring talent. Their sound slightly recalls an English vs. Aussie sounding Tame Impala but has some elements of glam as well (It doesn’t hurt that lead singer James Bagshaw resembles a young Marc Bolan). This was definitely this reviewer’s highlight for the day!
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
This reviewer has seen Unknown Mortal Orchestra play both other festival sets and proper venue shows and never has the band appeared more animated. It wasn’t just that Ruban Nielson was in a good mood. It seemed more like he was taking the band’s songs towards the direction of a previous band he was in, the Mint Chicks with a much greater accessibility factor. Hopefully, the larger audience there for them at Austin Psych Fest really dug the way the songs were performed.
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