Tag Archives: Pink Mountaintops

Austin Psych Fest day 2: the ladies won this one

Just as expected, my favorites from yesterday were unexpected. The two shows that really got my attention were from girl bands. Both were at the “small stage” at the Beauty Ballroom.

Prince Rama

Prince Rama down in the crowd. The were very shiny. (Chris Kinney photo)

Prince Rama gets into the audience - which clearly got into them also. (Chris Kinney photo)

The first was a duo called Prince Rama of Brooklyn, NY, two ladies performing a sort of electroclash with a lot of percussion, some programmed, some acoustic. One song started with Enya’s “Orinoco Flow” and turned into a really cool tribal jam. For their last song, they got down into the crowd and danced. The crowd loved them. Enough to beg for an encore. We didn’t get one, alas (I guess if every band did that, the festival would drag on forever).

Chris, my concert buddy for the weekend, compares them to Govinda and Fisherspooner.

The two sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson, have an interesting background. They were raised on a Hare Krishna commune in Florida and went to an art school in Boston. They were picked by Animal Collective to perform at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in May 2011. Pitchfork recently gave them a really good review.

Feathers

Feathers singer dances, bewitches the audience - especially the guys. (Chris Kinney photo)

Blue disco ball, smoke machine, black lingerie outfits, Feathers put on a spectacle and the music was awesome. (Chris Kinney photo)

An all-female group from Australia, Feathers also lit up the Beauty Ballroom last night. Lots of percussion, they had a dark, brooding electronic sound, very danceable, and an impressive light show. They were dressed in black and were sexy as hell. I guess you would refer to their stuff as electro clash, but I also thought of witch house. Definitely a darker vibe than Prince Rama.

Here are a couple of their songs on Bandcamp:

Pink Mountaintops

Pink Mountintops, doing one of their folkier numbers. (Charles Wood photo)

The Pink Mountaintops rocking out at Psych Fest 2012. (Chris Kinney photo)

I have enjoyed the light shows so far for all the bands. Most have been computer generated. I really enjoy the old school effects though. We were standing close to this guy, who swirled dye around on plates, with the images projected on screen. Really cool. (Chris Kinney photo).

It wasn’t all about the ladies. I really enjoyed Pink Mountaintops of Canada, which is a spinoff of another favorite band of mine, Black Mountain. The music was at times hard and heavy and at other times rather folky.

Tonight looks to be a big night. I’m looking forward to seeing Tuareg singer Bombino, Thee Oh Sees, The Meat Puppets, and of course the Brian Jonestown Massacre.

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Austin Psych Fest first day: Disappears killed it

Disappears - awesome performance at Psych Fest 2012. (Cellphone camera couldn't cut the mustard so I nabbed this one off the band's Facebook page.)

Just starting to feel human again after a late night at Psych Fest. As usual, the band I enjoyed most wasn’t the one I expected it to be. Best performance and a definite band to watch, is the Chicago-based band Disappears.

I did enjoy the bands we went to see: Dead Meadow were very good and The Black Angels were great as always, I enjoyed a few other bands as well, both at Emo’s East and the Beauty Ballroom. The thing is, none of that really jumped out at me. It was the kind of fare you expect to hear at a festival devoted to psychedelic music – lots of reverb, lots of Velvet Underground influence.

Disappears stood out from the crowd (kind of an amusing statement now that I think of it). They were very together, every member knowing what the others were doing at all times. Different rhythms, vocals higher in the mix. I got a strong postpunk vibe from them. They made me think of bands like Joy Division, Magazine and The Fall.

Chris, my concert buddy, was so impressed he bought three of their CDs. I would have if I hadn’t been a little strapped after buying a few drinks. We played through a couple of the albums after we got back to Chris’s appartment and their latest – Pre Language – is unquestionably the best. The others were good also, but they had a different sound, reminding me a lot of the Stooges.

Here’s one of their best in my opinion:

BTW, I just found out after a bit of searching that their drummer is Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth.

Disappears will be playing in Dallas tonight and in Memphis, Tenn. tomorrow night. They are also getting ready for a summer tour of Europe. Check out their website for more. Also visit their store. You can get Pre Language for $12. Worth it I would say. And check out their Facebook page.

Bands I look forward to seeing tonight include Pink Mountaintops, Olivia Tremor Control, Telescope and the Black Lips. But who knows? Best show might once again be someone completely off my radar.

Emo’s East

I’ve decided I really like the new Emo’s East location on East Riverside Drive. I will miss the old location on 6th Street. I saw so many great shows there. But this one is big, still homey somehow, and they kept a lot of the art from the old place – like the creepy/weird/trippy painting of the elephant cutting open its third eye and the one of Johnny Cash flipping the bird.

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Black Mountain serves up sweet mix of hard rock, prog & psych

It’s great to find a young band whose members have been listening to the right stuff. Black Mountain is obviously one such band. I found them online and was so impressed I looked them up and ordered two albums and an EP. I have really enjoyed all three – the self-titled Black Mountain (featuring a song you might remember if you used to frequent T61, “Druganaut”), In the Future (featuring “Tyrant”) and the Druganaut EP (with an extended mix of the song, plus three others). They’re like a whole bunch of my favorite bands all rolled into one.

I’ve seen them compared to Black Sabbath (maybe because their name starts with “Black”?) and I’m sure that’s part of the mix, but they remind me of a whole slew of bands from the ’70s that fell into transitional period between the hippie music of the ’60s and what would later evolve into hard rock and heavy metal. They could sound extreme, and engage in dark imagery, but at the same time delved into the mystical and philosophical – the roots of progressive rock.

Some of the bands that spring to mind include Deep Purple, Iron Butterfly, early Rush, very early Scorpions (as in The Lonesome Crow album, which sounds nothing like the Scorpions you probably know), early Judas Priest (as in Sad Wings of Destiny, back when Rob Halford had long hair like a proper hippie).

These guys (Stephen McBean, Amber Webber, Matt Camirand, Jeremy Schmidt and Joshua Wells) have similar inclinations. Their songs rock hard, slow down into trippy dirges, then rev back up into solid kickass. Powerful stuff. Lots of bands are doing psych, lots are doing metal or even classic-sounding hard rock. Not too many are able to mine this particular vein of rock ‘n’ roll. Perhaps it’s because they’re Canadian. Lots of great rock of the style I mentioned came out of that country – Triumph, Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush, and the aforementioned Rush.

Check out this video of Druganaut. Doesn’t it do a great job of capturing that druggy era of the late ’60s/early’70s?

Visit Black Mountain’s website and consider ordering some of their music. (They’re on a nice independent label, Jagjaguwar, so no indie guilt, if that matters to you.) The band is also on MySpace and Facebook.

And btw, there is a band featuring many of the same members called Pink Mountaintops that is more psychedelic and experimental. I have yet to check it out, but you bet I will.

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