Austin Psych Fest Live: Tamaryn

‘Tender New Signs’ of shoegaze’s golden era

Tamaryn Sitha Brown
Tamaryn Sitha Brown
photo by Shelley Hiam

By 8pm, we sat contently, watching a gorgeous sunset cascade through the thickness of the grayscale sky. The angry humidity had lessened. Beauty was all that was left.

So far, the best thing about Psych Fest this year might be the Elevation amphitheater, with its small but sturdy PA pumping sound along a rustic green river. As nighttime fell upon us, a woman with pink hair took the stage and sang breathlessly into a microphone amongst the soothing buzzes of her band’s guitar.

New Zealand-born/New York-based, Tamaryn evidences a list of ingredients that appears woefully desperate for hipness: Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, a dash of Brit-pop. Yeah, Tamaryn Sitha Brown isn’t the first new-school student cashing back in on the reverberating hum of shoegaze’s golden days.

Then again, last year’s Tender New Signs remains a surprisingly sticky album, and for all the blear and vibrations, it remains entrancing. Some lovers walked along the riverside listening to the warm, ethereal fuzz, letting it wash away any words. Mostly this group makes me think of every other band with a few pedals and a sigh, and how they’ve spent so many weeknights reducing rock clubs to boring, invisible, one-note ruptures.

Tamaryn avoids all that, not because of anything supernatural, but because Brown’s songs are better composed. Sometimes it’s easy to forget just how much difference that can make.

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