Hello, all! Due to some last-minute heroics by my heroic friend Rachel, I was able to secure a free wristband for Austin Psych Fest 4. And Lo! just like that, my weekend’s been transformed from a quietly productive one gardening, cooking, and reading to a loudly unproductive one watching stoned people melt other stoned peoples’ faces off with musical hypnosis. I have to apologize to my collards, which will have to deal with looking like Swiss cheese for another week.
I only saw a couple bands last night, but here are My Thoughts, in descending order of coolness:
As I pride myself on at least semi-outsiderness when it comes to new music, I’m depressed to even know the whole “Crystal is the new Wolf” meme. But, dammit, it’s true. And, just like bands with Wolf in their name, Crystal-themed bands usually suck. But Crystal Stilts was actually pretty good, coming across like Disc 5 of the expanded Nuggets box set. I mean that as a compliment. There was one jam which was particularly hypnotic and dark and minor-key and transcendant that I found particularly “groovy.” If I knew anything else about these guys, I’d even mention the name of the song that so impressed me. Alas.
May I humbly admit surprise bordering on shock that I liked this? I will admit that my musical obsessions lead, more often than I’d like, to knee-jerk elitism, and I’ll have to say that Atlas Sound was a victim of my tendency to make snap judgments of Pitchfork-approved acts. To be fair, I think Deerhunter suuuuucks, so I was expecting this Bradford Cox’s solo thing to follow suit. Wrong! The loopy layery solo live thing has been done to death, for sure, but I’m a sucker for hypnotic repetition, and Cox served that up with aplomb. I will be returning to this.
A Place to Bury Strangers
No. Just…no. Let me be clear: I love shoegaze. I adore Slowdive and like My Bloody Valentine and Ride and Swervedriver. I get it. I don’t get the Jesus and Mary Chain, though, because it sounds painfully elementary to me in the way that traditionalist punk does, and really, a Place to Bury Strangers is just Jesus Mark II, except doomier (in a crappy, Joy Division-esque way, not an awesome, Om-esque way). I guess I can see the psychedelic connection, in the sense that Strangers manipulates and explores sonic possibilities, but the shared means do not come from shared origins (post-punk vs. psych) or reach shared ends. Thus, to me, the connection is spurious, and I can comfortably say that I was bewildered by their presence at Psych Fest, and that I thought they really just kinda sucked. Thanks, but no, I will not be having seconds. Boy, do I sound like a cantankerous asshole today. Is my distaste for punk showing?
Some Dudes From Boston
I may or may not have made their origin up, but I attribute this band to being from Boston because the singer, at one point, repped the Celtics. I don’t like the Celtics.
…aaaaaaaand that’s it! I will now go back to listening to nothing but Labradford and Zelienople and South (the US (good) band, not the British (bad) band). I may or may not post thoughts about today or tomorrow’s Psych Fest offerings. But I can definitely say that I’ll be writing more about Labradford and/or Zelienople and/or South [US] really, really soon, because I’ve been really, really addicted. Until then, ta!