Team ATH has been covering Austin Psych Fest/Levitation since its early inception, probably in the second year at Radio Room (sorry we missed the first year!), so we’ve seen the ups and downs twists and turns. Despite the various venues and changes, Levitation 2019 finally felt like it was home again.
Levitation has made all of our days here in Austin with the announcement of the first wave of artists for the 2019 edition of the spectacular festival. We’re no strangers to the festival, as it’s become one of our favorite excuses to run around town seeing incredible bands, both local and national. Now a fall festival (Nov 7-10), we’ll be treated to the likes of Angel Olsen, Kurt Vile & the Violators, Holy Wave, Death Valley Girls, Allah Las, Chelsea Wolfe, Dinosaur Jr., Devendra Banhart, Black Moth Super Rainbow, and so many more. Tickets for individual shows and four day passes are on sale now. I suggest you go scoop some tickets now as this ‘first wave’ announcement is enough to warrant a four day already–get hyped for the fall with their official Spotify playlist below!
Those of you expecting Chelsea Wolfe to keep releasing the same old album are going to be in for a shock when you give this new single a listen. Musically, it still has that darkness…drawing connections to her past work, but the accompanying band brings in something different. Crashing cymbals, walls of distortion and heavy riffs..it almost sounds like she’s channeling Deftness, but with her own haunting voice drifting through in a ghostly fashion. Her new album is titled Hiss Spun, and it’s always great to see her continue to push her music, so we accept nothing but further success. Sargent House will release the new album on September 22nd.
Year-end lists are everywhere…and I can see why they’re important to people. But, seeing as we generally walk off the beaten path more often than not, our list of the Top 50 Albums of 2015 is in no particular order, save alphabetically. It seems pointless to rank one piece of art higher than another, especially when the four of us at ATH all have varying tastes. We just put this list together of the albums we loved the most this year. Are we saying they’re better than records by Grimes or Kendrick Lamar? No, we’re just saying that these are the records we loved more than others. So, you can read on for what we thought was hot.
Also…put links to individual stores where you can buy the albums from the bands…as that’s how we all survive in this music world.
Though I haven’t seen near as much coverage for Chelsea Wolfe as I remember in the past, count this guy as one who is labeling the soon to be released Abyss as one of this year’s gems. Since I can’t legally share the entire album with you, the best I can do is post another one of the stellar tracks from the album “Grey Days”. Once again we are treated to some heavy, darker pop music sure to get you excited for the new release (if you weren’t already).
Abyss is out August 7th on Sargent House.
I’ve always had an affinity for Chelsea Wolfe and the dark, brooding sort of pop music that she has created over the last several years. The new song I’m sharing with you today, “Iron Man”, might just be one of my favorite pieces she’s ever put out. It’s a song that’s all about the peaks and valleys, the noisy highs of guitar driven rock after you’re calmed with the lows and hushed vocals. Truly powerful stuff and I suggest you have a listen.
Pick up new album Abyss on August 7th via Sargent House.
This is it! The day you’ve all been waiting for! The end of our FFF! Brian shot great photos, and we all had a blast. Thanks, of course, to Giant Noise and Transmission for the privilege of allowing us to cover your festival. Hope everyone had a great time.
Friday night at the Paramount we were treated to two unique artists in Chelsea Wolf and Eels, though they were both different in their approach and delivery. That being said, I’m pretty sure every audience member left with a smile on their face. Thanks to David Hall for grabbing some photos for us.
Making our year-end list of Top Albums is never something we take lightly. We realize that it’s rather arbitrary in the grand scheme of things, but we realize that our role is to at least toss out our opinion, however meaningless it may be. In the long run, we had to take the tastes of several people, and whittle it into a list of 50 great albums that we think are vital to your listening experience. We know it’s a matter of personal tastes, but the records below are reflective of our tastes and our site, so don’t get mad, they’re just opinions. But, feel free to tell us where we went wrong, or what we might have missed. If you click on the album titles, you can also read our full reviews of each album, save the ones that we didn’t get to in time. Sorry we don’t like Kanye.
50 – Wampire – Curiosity
49 – Dot Dash – Half Remembered Dream
48 – Mantles – Long Enough to Leave
47 – The Appleseed Cast – Illumination Ritual
46 – Bad Sports – Bras
45 – Part Time – PDA
44 – Dick Diver – Calendar Days
43 – Math and Physics Club – Our Hearts Beat Loud
42 – Veronica Falls – Waiting for Something to Happen
41 – Eat Skull – III
40 – The Lonely Wild – The Sun as It Comes
39 – The Love Language – Ruby Red
38 – Gun Outfit – Hard Coming Down
37 – Cate Le Bon – Mug Museum
36 – Daughn Gibson – Me Moan
35 – Andre Obin – The Arsonist
34 – Arp – More
33 – Gap Dream – Shine Your Light
32 – The Black Watch – The End of When
31 – Ty Segall – Sleeper
30 – The Stevens – A History of Hygeine
29 – Of Montreal – Lousy with Sylvianbriar
28 – Mirror Travel – Mexico
27 – Local Natives – Hummingbird
26 – Girls Names – The New Life
25 – GRMLN – Empire
24 – Small Black – Limits of Desire
23 – Audacity – Butter Knife
22 – Mikal Cronin – MCII
21 – Chelsea Wolfe – Pain is Beauty
20 – Foals – Holy Fire
19 – Radical Face – Family Tree: The Branches
18 – Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse
17 – Terry Malts – Nobody Realizes This is Nowhere
16 – Shout Out Louds – Optica
15 – Kurt Vile – Waking on a Pretty Daze
14 – Braids – Flourish//Perish
13 – Crystal Antlers – Nothing is Real
12 – Typhoon – White Lighter
11 – Ski Lodge – Big Heart
Admittedly, this album makes nods to folk troubadours of Christmas’ past, but what grabbed me from the moment I heard this record was the sincerity in what’s being created. In leaving us with a stripped down listen of folk tunes and incredible poetry, we’re asked to look into the history of American songwriting tradition; it’s been awhile since it was executed so well.
9 – The Growlers – Hung at Heart
I’d put this album on any list for one song alone, “Someday.” But, it just so happens that the rest of the album maintains the sensation that’s established on the opening track. I’ve heard it referenced as a surf-psych opus, but what’s been assured in my mine is what an incredible listen we’re all be treating to when we put Hung at Heart on our record players.
Hether Fortune seems to scare people. Her work is in your face, never making an excuse for who she is or what she believes. That attitude carries on into her music, allowing listeners to experience a musical world void of any pretense. The songs on this album are angular, dark and abrasive; the vocals have Hether dominating the scene of modern lady rock warriors. If you don’t dig it, she doesn’t care, but I do because this record rules.
While many of the songs on this effort leaked out before under various EPs, the whole masterpiece exists in the way it was tied together as a complete work. It’s operatic and grand at every corner, but it’s also undeniably a pop record. The emphasis might revolve around the more artful spectrum of pop music, but this is an album you can play for everyone in your family, and they’ll all find themselves swept up in the wonderment of Privilege.
What else really needs to be said about The National. They consistently make great albums that are lauded then often overlooked, but we didn’t want to do that to one of our favorite acts. I mean, if they played 8 shows in 8 days, we’d be at every one, and the DJ set after party. Their accolades and recognition are warranted, and it’s especially clear on this, their latest release.
When listening to Pass the Ringo, I thought of one thing: this is the sort of record that makes a small label, like Loglady Records, a household name. It’s spun around garage rock and psych rock structures, whilst still maintaining an accessibility that few people working in that genre achieve. Some albums can play in the background of your house, and might be happy to do so, but Legs created something that made me stop and listen at every turn; I’m thankful for that.
Someone For You came our way in January. On my record player, it hasn’t left since. This is one of the most rewarding power-pop records I’ve gotten my hands on, and trust me, I’ve gotten my hands on a lot of great records. Each song is filled with innate hooks and garage rock grit, encouraging you to tap your toes for the entirety of the record. You’d think after a full year our interest would have waned, but with time we’ve only grown to appreciate the record even more.
At the moment, there’s not too many people releasing music that’s the quality of Mathew Cothran and Coma Cinema. There are elements of the bizarre, similar to the work of early Elf Power, yet there’s this intimacy that artists like Eliott Smith were able to create with their listeners. You wrap that up and put it in a package of pop sensibility, and you have an album that can’t be ignored.
In today’s musical climate, we buy into the fact that artists have to be doing something strange, or something that’s vastly different from their peers. But, in the grand scheme of things, we often forget what it’s like to take enjoyment out of the music. This album was one of the many reminders that music, when it’s good, can be quite special. Every song here is a single, and worth your time; it’s the best thing Laz has done, and I feel like he’s just really getting started.
This album is about Devon Welsh. From the first instant I heard his voice, it took hold of me. Throughout the year, Impersonator, consistently played on my radio. His voice was mesmerizing, captivating audiences on several occasions in Austin, convincing us to be as quiet as a mouse, so as to hear every note. The unique quality of the album will reward listeners for years to follow. It made us believe in great music again.
After spending several weeks listening to Pain is Beauty by Chelsea Wolfe, I was really anticipating an incredible show on Friday. Her voice and her continual growth led to a rather full crowd of eager lookie-loos yearning to hear her dark take on pop music. She was joined by Dallas act True Widow who aimed to set off the night in the right way.
Read on for thoughts, and thanks to our friend Bryan at PopPress for sharing some photos with us.