Show Pics: Panda Bear @ The Mohawk (4/27)

Levitation 2018 was not really a festival; it was a series of curated shows that happened to be on the same weekend. The environmental experience of marching across fields and pivoting from stage to stage was removed for ticketed shows at established venues. Hopefully, this will be a one time thing to keep the concept of Levitation alive. There was a time when it was the most unique fest going, whether in a power plant and by the river…

Anyway, when the lineup was announced, I was down for the deconstructed Animal Collective show with Panda Bear and Geologist at Mohawk. My interest increased when Lou Rebecca was added as an opener. It has been some time since our friends move out west to LA and there have been several mini-tours taken. How has the live set progressed and how do the new songs land?

Click through…

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Show Pics: Animal Collective @ Emo’s (4/30)

Animal Collective 16When ACL cancelled a day of the festival a few years back, we were flooded by a series of pop-up shows to keep visiting artists busy. When the press release landed cancelling the entire festival, I emailed Team ATH to keep an eye out and put an ear to the street. One of the first big acts to land a venue was Animal Collective. The show at Emo’s sold out in two minutes. In fact, most pop-up shows sold out in a ridiculously short time, but I think this one was the fastest by far.

If you were at Scoot Inn or Hotel Vegas, get ready for notes and pics from the big show that featured Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith as the open…

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Pleased to Meet You: Gibberish

gibberishI miss the old days where I felt like the music that Animal Collective was creating was accessible; it bordered on pushing boundaries while still remaining sensitive to pop lovers. Lucky for me I just discovered Gibberish, a California duo. There’s an electronic element, but it turns on the swirling melody that aims for the lofty heights of pop dreaminess. This single just hit the Internet, and with it, I’m hooked on the sound. I’m pretty sure you’ll feel the same, possibly leaving you clamoring for more, so stay tuned to these pages.

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The Levitation 2016 Lineup is Here!

Levitation-Artwork-640x414One of the best festivals in town, Levitation (FKA Austin Psych Fest) has just announced their full lineup for next year’s fest. While we already knew that the folks over at The Reverberation Appreciation Society would not disappoint, they seemed to out do themselves yet again. AnCo? Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds? Ty Segall? Woods? Parquet Courts? Delicate Steve? Chicano Batman? What more could you possibly want from a festival?!

Watch the announcement video below, featuring footage from last years festival, and then go scoop up your tickets for the weekend of April  29th through May 1st over here.


Levitation Teases 2016 Lineup

LEVITATION-2016-square-1500-1030x1030For their ninth year in business as a festival, Austin Psych Fest has announced a preview of nine artists for Levitation 2016. The preview video is embedded below but check this out. While a few of the artists announced are festival stalwarts, we do have a few eyebrow raising teasers, one in particular. The list is as follows: Brian Wilson performing “Pet Sounds“, Animal Collective, Flying Lotus, Lee Scratch Perry, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Ty Segall.

Tickets are on sale already for weekend passes and camping. You can peep the lineup preview video embedded just below these words.


Please Chill in the Cloud

zenThis week has been really trying, for no real reason, so I need something to “call me down,” which is oddly mentioned in the first minute of this new Cloud single.  Imagine Animal Collective actually working to create some real music, something that’s less laptop-laden.  There is a loop, and that’s definitely got my head spinning; is that the Harp you hear when you go to Heaven?  But, I’m not sure how the live set would look, as the band is primarily the work of Tyler Taormina…so maybe more loops than I wanted.  Anyways, he’s got me hooked with this single, and its part of his album, Zen Summer, which comes out via Paper Trail Records.

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More Pop from Beaty Heart

beatyHave you not heard enough of my adoration for Beaty Heart? Well, if you have, I’m ignoring you and posting yet another enjoyable track.  While the band’s used some odder time structures and rhythms in their past singles, this is perhaps the most up-front approach to the band’s songwriting.  Those of you who miss the innocence and joy of early Animal Collective will definitely find this track right up your alley.  It’s got the same sense of playfulness, giving the song a certain flavor that will enable you to bob up and down for the rest of the afternoon.  Their debut album, Mixed Blessings, will be out on June 2nd.


Download: Beaty Heart – Seafood [MP3]

Freakout With Beaty Heart

I am not a big Animal Collective fan, save for Merriweather Post Pavillion. It was a consensus no brainer best-of for us. The follow-up, not so much.

Thankfully, it seems that Beaty Heart has picked up with the various bears and creatures of the collective could not and put out this sweet little piece of psych-pop. It shares the lovingly effected vocal echo, the conflict of presence and distance, and building layers around a wonderful guitar hook. It is quite fun. LOOOOK OOUUUTTT!!

Debut record from the band, Mixed Blessings, lands 11/11 on Nusic.

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New Collage Pop from Jinja Safari

I can’t hide from the fact that I’m always intrigued by groups that compile various layers of pop instrumentation into their tunes, much like the current single from Jinja Safari.  The group is preparing for a release of their debut sometime in early 2013, but until then I think a lot of people are going to be really excited by this tune.  It’s a weird cross between Animal Collective and Local Natives, using tribal influences that mix with more organic electronic sounds.  Definitely a sound that I’m interested in hearing more of; I’ll keep you posted as news floats in my way.


Download: Jinja Safari – Hiccups [MP3]

Animal Collective – Centipede Hz

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

I realize, of course, that Animal Collective is one of the most divisive bands in the indie world, admittedly acknowledging that I’m the only on this site that has any interest in the group.  So I set out to listen to Centipede Hz aiming to prove a point, hoping to convince my partners that there’s something worthwhile about this band and their recent album.  Honestly, I struggled, barely making it past the first song on the first few listens.

“Moonjock” is an awful choice for an opener.  It’s possibly one of the worst recorded songs I’ve heard from this band, with little focus in the way of song construction.  At times it’s grating, and at other moments, it’s just plain awful.  But, while I can’t stand this song, I found a little bit of solace in the following track, “Today’s Supernatural.”  It’s not going to catch you with powerful hook-laden beats, such as the group’s done before, but the basic outline of the song does work to a certain extent.  However, the group seems to get lost in the plot with the extensive shouting, and then it sort of falls out flat.

As a fan of the band, I was looking for that statement track on Centipede Hz, sort of like “My Girls.”  While it may not have the lofty pop moments, “Applesauce” is probably the standout track in a record with so few.  The vocal effect here isn’t quite as offensive, and the hidden melody does appease my ears; they’re also as playful and joyous as the group can be at the best of times. If I had to pick another track that fit into a similar place on this album, then I’d probably pick “Pulleys,” although this is the most un-Animal Collective track to my ears.  It’s almost holds onto a dream-pop quality, but the weak percussion holds the track back just a bit, keeping it from being a true star here.

Each time I listen, something new pops up, which typically is a great thing for any music listener, but these aren’t necessarily great things that reveal themselves to me, rather they’re the elements of what seems like a tired formula.  For instance, on “New Town Burnout,” you’re going to find the percussion/drum loop uninspired, and the vocals don’t do much more to aid the cause.  Or, maybe you’ll go to the miserable vocal performance on “Wide Eyed.”  I’m not sure what I dislike about it necessarily, but for a group that’s made their name fitting erratic vocals into careful pop construction, this seems rather lackluster.

All in all, I definitely have a few songs on Centipede Hz that I can enjoy in the near future.  But, that being said, I will definitely stand by the fact that this is the first Animal Collective record that’s probably not ever going to be played again on my record player from start to finish.  There are simply too many songs in this collection that are unlistenable, which I’ll admit makes me sad.  I didn’t expect a repeat performance after Merriweather Post Pavilion, but I definitely had something stronger in my dreams than this.  Perhaps their formulaic (albeit an abstract formula) writing style has run its course. Perhaps the band has run its course.  Only time will tell, but at least we’ll always have records like Feels to fall back on.

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