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!
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?
When 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…
Saturday is THE day. No days are bad, but Saturday is chock-full of ridiculous talent. Ultimate Painting and Parquet Courts have been covered and talked about til the Internet was blue in the face…and apparently this Brian Wilson guy is a big deal. Plus, you’ve got perennial indie rock powerhouses in Animal Collective and Black Mountain, but let me point you in the right direction, a little off the beaten path, perhaps. Read more
Austin amigos Holy Wave just dropped their new LPFreaks of Nurture last month and I can tell you that it is a legit masterpiece. I’ve always thought the band showed tons of promise, and to me they’ve finally really hit their stride. If you have yet to hear much from the new LP, well shame on you firstly, but secondly you should check out their trippy new video for album single “Minstrel’s Gallop”. The video is basically a live shot of the band with some weird bubble action going on in the background. Maybe this will entice you visual weirdos to give the band and shot and pick up their new album (buy it here).
For 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.
Beach House and Dream Pop have become essentially synonymous these days, and rightly so; Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand have been cranking out the dreamiest tunes for a little more than a decade and Depression Cherry marks their fifth full-length release. 2010’s crescendoing and huge Teen Dream solidified their place as Dream Pop masters while 2012’s Bloom showed them exploring choppy percussion’s effect on their hazy and soaring tunes. So what does Depression Cherry have in store for us? In a press release written by the band, they called it “a return to simplicity,” but later mentioned their disdain for uttering those words. While they may not think fondly of this sentiment, it was a prematurely apt descriptor for the album.
Starting off with, “Levitation,” Beach House doubles down on this sentiment right off the bat. The familiar synth sound, fluttering guitar and Legrand’s whispery yet substantive vocals declare: “I go anywhere you want to” while the track warms up, making it feel like the band is reintroducing themselves to us. It’s far from a ‘simple’ song, but it’s mild in that each element seems to share the limelight with the others, soloing when appropriate and then blending back in. Near the end, Legrand urges us to follow her and Scally into the rabbit hole of Depression Cherry, repeating, “There’s a place I want to take you,” before the track slowly dissolves and folds in on itself and into the next song, “Sparks.” From this first song, what’s noticeably different is the smoothness and warmth of the sound here. The guitar is a little buzzier than before, filling the space with yet another hazy texture; Legrand’s vocals are there-and-not-there, fog illuminated by headlights, simultaneously lush and hollow; the drums are even and tempered, the synths ubiquitous. It’s the kind of track that makes you want to close your eyes and just listen to the subtle magic unfolding and its subtlety marks the rest of the album.
As I mentioned before, the last two albums from this band took definitively clear paths, so what may seem unsettling to listeners at first is the lack of this strong inclination as to where we’re going. Sure, there are strong numbers that you’ll immediately latch on to, but it may take a little while for some of the numbers to really hit you. For me, these initial winners were “Space Song,” and “Bluebird.” “Space Song” is third up, and it features sharp and emotionally cutting guitar riffs that just slice and float through the mix, screaming through the hypnotizing haze of synth and vocal. Later, “Bluebird” is a bit more of a groove, still sleek and simmering, but the guitar is tight and close to the rhythm in a darker fashion.
Even though this album doesn’t seem to strike a clear directional path like their last two albums, this seems to be part of the allure for fans of Beach House. Depression Cherry doesn’t aim to be anything other than dream pop and at the end of the album, you can’t fault Beach House for doing more of what they do so well. Upon first listen it may seem underwhelming, but over time it trickles in to your psyche song by song akin to waves lapping against the shore—instead of choosing a direction, it seems this album is bent on getting lost and not wanting to be found, suiting the dreamy genre perfectly. Spend some time with this album and you’ll find yourself in the same position.
Psych fest starts tomorrow! Tomorrow I tell you! Now that I’ve got your full attention, lets focus on the task at hand and get you even more prepped for the weekend. Today I’m continuing our coverage with yet another interview this time from L.A. based band Fever the Ghost. Follow the jump for full interview and deets on the band’s festival set.
We’re just about there. A few more short days and Levitation 2015 will be upon us. ATH is excited for the weekend and we’re also excited to bring you another interview today from Holydrug Couple. Follow the jump for interview.