Austin Psych Fest 2014, scheduled for Carson Creek Ranch May 2-4, hits like acid on our tongue.
Topping the seventh annual rite of spring are a handful of UK headliners: veteran Scottish rockers Primal Scream, British drone trio Loop – which recently played its first show in 23 years – gaunt garage goths the Horrors, and the Zombies, who levitated Sixties singles "She's Not There" and "Time of the Season."
Also in the stash box of the Reverberation Appreciation Society, the event's production team made up of Black Angels primaries Alex Maas and Christian Bland, plus Rob Fitzpatrick, are euphoric pop gang Of Montreal, Georgia punks Black Lips, Slasher Flicks featuring Avey Tare of Animal Collective, Black Moth Super Rainbow vocal tripster Tobacco, resin rockers Dead Meadow, heavy instrumental wailers Earthless, desert noise-punks Destruction Unit, and Austin flashback act the Golden Dawn. Additional homeland performers include Oneohtrix Point Never, Moon Duo, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, White Hills, Austin's the Young, Greg Ashley, and much more.
Now more than ever, APF demonstrates a foreign focus, featuring more international acts than you can shake a Vox Starstream guitar at. Japan brings us Mono, Acid Mothers Temple, and Tokyo ensemble Kikagaku Moyo. Western Europeans include London's Toy, France's La Femme, Aqua Nebula Oscillator, and Zombie Zombie, Dutch Baroque-ist Jacco, Berlin hard rockers Kadavar, and Scottish electronics the Oscillation. Canada brings Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, the Boogarins represent Brazil, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard come from the land down under, Mexico gives us Lorelle Meets the Obsolete, Fantasmes hails from Puerto Rico, and Africa exports trans-blues warriors Terakaft. APF's wealth of bands from beyond our borders make it, aside from South by Southwest, ATX's most internationally diverse music festival.
For the first time in its history, the festival returns to the previous year's venue, once again occupying the 58-acre Colorado River-fed Carson Creek Ranch down by the airport, which features a natural waterfront amphitheater and camping. That's a far cry from the fest's beginnings, namely 2008 at the Red Barn in North Austin, then the Radio Room, Mohawk, Seaholm Power Plant, and Emo's East.
Several acts playing APF 7 can't be divulged because they're also playing Coachella, which gets to announce them first. Expect a second wave of Psych Fest artists, including one premier African act, to be added after the Coachella debuts its lineup in early 2014.
If what you've seen so far has your pupils dilating, you can score tickets now at www.austinpsychfest.com.
Gary Hartman had a scarier Halloween than you. At 6:30am that day, the renowned Texas music historian and author was asleep in the upstairs bedroom of his South Austin home when he heard "a big boom." He stood at the top of his staircase and looked down into the living room.
"All of our furniture was floating in six feet of water. The windows were broken and outside there was whitewater on all sides," he recalled. "It looked like our house had been dropped right in the middle of the Colorado River."
In a flood that left his Onion Creek neighborhood with washing machines in trees, Hartman's property was especially devastated, the damages totaling $170,000, only a small portion of which will be covered by insurance.
"We lost everything: family photos, computers, furniture, our cars – it was all destroyed," reports Hartman, director for Texas State University's Center for Texas Music History. His home office was on the ground floor, so music equipment, rare recordings, memorabilia, and extensive research for an upcoming Texas singer-songwriter book were all, as Hartman puts it, "washed away or turned to pulp."
While he's still shoveling mud out of his living room and looking for CDs in his neighbors' yards, people in the local music scene are working on ways to help, setting up a website for donations and organizing a benefit concert. Anytime there's a tragedy, the music community is always right there to help, and with Hartman, it's a no-brainer. He's dedicated his life to preserving Texas music history and honoring the individuals who made it.
"When this first happened, I felt like I'd been dropped in the bottom of a deep pit," acknowledges Hartman. "Then, suddenly, you have friends who are going to help you. I can't tell you how much it's lifted my spirits."
On Wednesday, Dec. 11, Antone's hosts a benefit for Hartman that will feature performances by his band, Lone Star Swing, along with Ray Wylie Hubbard, Cross Canadian Ragweed's Cody Canada, Asleep at the Wheel head honcho Ray Benson, HalleyAnna, and Gourds singer Kevin Russell's band Shinyribs. A silent auction at the event, which runs from 6-10pm, includes a private concert from Terri Hendrix and Lloyd Maines, a guitar autographed by Robert Earl Keen, and lunch with country star Radney Foster.
› As 2013 runs out, the best-of lists roll in, and one Austin artist has already found himself atop a major music publication's list. London's classic rock rag Mojo rated Bill Callahan's gentle-yet-engaging Dream River LP its top album of the year.
› Eighteen-year-old local producer Eric Dingus, whose hypnotic remix of Drake's recent single "Worst Behavior" has gone nuts online, turned heads at the Canadian rapper's OVO label, which posted the mix on their website. Up next for Dingus: a winter EP being released by Been Trill Clothing.
› Local custom design shop Moniker Guitars will auction off a series of axes that were altered by Austin artists for the recent EAST studio tour. Twelve painters, woodworkers, graphic designers, and graffiti artists added personal touches to Moniker's six-stringers. Stop by the Up Collective (2326 E. Cesar Chavez) on Saturday, 7-11pm, and place your bid. Proceeds benefit the Austin Music Foundation.
› Eastside honky-tonk the White Horse celebrates its two-year anniversary on Monday with the Brothers Comatose, Ben Ballinger & Band, King Curse, and the degenerate hillbilly gang known as Clyde & Clem's Whiskey Business.
› Parish, one of dirty Sixth's few reliable venues where you can hear original music, turns 10 on Saturday and rings in the occasion with Daft Phunk, who will play two sets of Daft Punk favorites. The crystalline-sounding upstairs venue was originally called the Mercury Room when it opened in 2003.
› Learn how to step up your touring at the Booking Outside of Austin panel, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 7pm, at Soundcheck (1901 E. 51st), which will include discussions led by industry vets Mike Krug, Matt Hickey, Roggie Baer, and Alex Vallejo. RSVP: www.austinmusicfoundation.org.
› Austin Chamber Music Center director Michelle Schumann leads a trio covering Vince Guaraldi's brilliantly iconic A Charlie Brown Christmas score at Antone's on Sunday, 3 & 5pm.
› Get in the generous spirit of the season with bloody-nosed inspirational rocker Andrew W.K., who parties at Red 7 for a solo show Monday night with Not in the Face and the Blind Pets. One dollar from every ticket sold will be donated to Toys for Tots. Friday, Infest holds its own toy drive, featuring performances from Three Bad Jacks, Sons of Hercules, and more.
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