Levitation Picks

Willie Thrasher & Linda Saddleback

Fri., 5:30pm, Elevation Amphitheater
An Inuk from Aklavik, Northwest Territories, Willie Thrasher has made music since the mid-Sixties, when he drummed for the Cordells, the first Inuit rock band. Since then, he's replaced the sticks with a guitar, writing songs reflecting his heritage and personal experience. He recorded his acknowledged classic Spirit Child in 1981, appeared on last year's acclaimed compilation Native North America Vol. 1, and currently performs with partner Linda Saddleback. – Michael Toland

Mr. Elevator & the Brain Hotel

Fri., 6pm, Levitation Tent
Given its moniker, this L.A. combo couldn't play anything but Sixties-fueled psych rock. Led by organist Tomas Dolas and drummer Wyatt Blair, the quartet has key-jamming trip-pop mastered on 2013's Nico & Her Psychedelic Subconscious. Forthcoming on Burger Records: When the Morning Greets You With a Smile. – Michael Toland

Indian Jewelry

Fri., 8:30pm, Levitation Tent
Pretty while eerie, 2012 LP Peel It is on psychedelic par for this Houston drone-rock outfit. Reverb saturates its shoegaze noise-pop, their live gigs a strobe-soused visual bath. New tunes arrive in September, teaser track "Turn It On Again" uniting the industrial synth of Gary Numan with the Texans' cosmic hallmarks. – Neph Basedow


Fri., 9pm, Reverberation Stage
DIIV's Zachary Cole Smith might be better known for his modeling career, or his heroin arrest, or his relationship with fellow tastemaker Sky Ferreira than actual music. That's a shame, because beyond the navelgazing, he's responsible for a hooky, watercolor debut called Oshin. I'm rooting he transcends the culture vultures. – Luke Winkie

White Fence

Fri., 9:30pm, Elevation Ampitheater
Six studio LPs and two live discs since adopting the moniker White Fence in 2010, Tim Presley's lo-fi psych ranges from warped bedroom tapes to explosive electric jams. Last year's Drag City debut, For the Recently Found Innocent, stepped up from four-track production with frequent collaborator Ty Segall, while still keeping the fuzz and aural intoxicants intact. – Doug Freeman

Gourisankar & Indrajit Banerjee

Sat., 3pm, Elevation Amphitheater
Whether offered up by Ravi Shankar, George Harrison, or Brian Jones, the hypnotic strains of Indian classical music added an integral element to Sixties psychedelia. Indian-born/Austin-based Gourisankar & Indrajit Banerjee, tabla and sitar masters, respectively, remain among the top musicians of their generation. From concert halls to Carson Creek, the music they make emanates timeless and transcendent. – Jay Trachtenberg


Sat., 4:45pm, Levitation Tent
When this antagonistic Philly quartet was asked about "American Smile," due on their upcoming third LP Cemetery Highrise Slum, Sean Miller referenced "our own tenuous mortality, our personal struggles, and our shortcomings as human beings." 2014's eponymous breakout is the most tortured showcase at Levitation. Come hear guitars bleed. – Luke Winkie

Las Robertas

Sat., 6:15pm, Reverberation Stage
Costa Rica represents with acidic garage pop trio Las Robertas. Via 2014 LP Days Unmade, the San José act buzzes and jangles, catchy and reverb-loving. International touring and smart licensing placements mean "Ghost Lover" and "The Curse" ring outside their homeland.  – Michael Toland

Chui Wan

Sat., 6:45pm, Elevation Amphitheater
Beijing's no psych-rock mecca, so Chui Wan developed in artistic isolation, bringing its own swirling, echo-laden vision to fruition. Led by multi-instrumentalist Yan Yulong and guitarist Liu Xinyu, and owing nothing to any specific culture, the Chinese quartet reaches the outer limits of inner space on its upcoming LP. – Michael Toland

Vaadat Charigim

Sat., 7:15pm, Levitation Tent
Pairing woozy guitar washes with a late-Eighties college-rock undercarriage, this Tel Aviv shoegaze trio wrings fresh life from familiar forms. Singing in Hebrew, Yuval Haring's droll delivery conveys stoic resignation while Yuval Guttmann's drumming provides energetic punctuation. New LP Sinking as a Stone arrives this month. – Greg Beets


Sat., 8pm, Elevation Amphitheater
If Sergio Leone dropped acid before handing in his latest soundtrack assignment to Ennio Morricone, the resulting mind-meld might have taken the form of Spindrift. The brainchild of guitarist/composer Kirpatrick Thomas, the L.A. unit apes themes to imaginary westerns with psychedelic style. Latest LP Ghost of the West inevitably puts its spin(drift) on classic cowboy songs. – Michael Toland

Primal Scream

Sat., 10:30pm, Reverberation Stage
Glaswegian Bobby Gillespie and his chameleonic Scream have grooved from the jangle pop and acid house of 1991 landmark Screamadelica to the narco-sonic blues and electro-nihilism of Vanishing Point and XTRMNTR with zed obvious effort. The frontman's soulful vox and Martin Duffy's alternately ecstatic and paranoiac keyboards remain the constant, but every new LP, including 2013's More Light, is a stone cold revelation. – Marc Savlov


Sat., 11:30pm, Levitation Tent
Health disappeared after all the L.A. bands broke, thrived, and burned out around 2010. All the while, they soundtracked video games and enjoyed the spoils of diversified revenue. They're back with the brand new Death Magic, their first album in six years. Expect the usual: barreling drums, hot synth, and bloody screams of pain. – Luke Winkie

Levitation Picks
photo by John Anderson

Tame Impala

Fri., 12:15am, Reverberation Stage
Equally influenced by My Bloody Valentine, Flaming Lips, and Kylie Minogue (!), Perth, Australia's Kevin Parker constructs Technicolor jams with heavyweight hooks. Ignoring notions of a sophomore jinx, he followed his impressive debut Innerspeaker with 2012's Lonerism, an album recognized as a new classic. Live, expect to hear tracks from much-anticipated summer release Currents. – Kahron Spearman


Sat., 1am, Levitation Tent
Veterans of Austin Psych Fest, S.F. duo Tamaryn gets creative with its reverb. Rex John Shelverton's guitar coos, as do the half-awake vocals of Tamaryn herself. 2012's Tender New Signs billows up your insides and refuses to let go. – Luke Winkie

The Paperhead

Sun., 4:30pm, Reverberation Stage
Nashville quartet the Paperhead sports crackling Sixties pop melodics filtered through all the earnestness and devotion of a group of millennials. Check the squiggles, laser beams, and Lennon-isms on last year's Africa Avenue. The Beatles recorded three-minute songs because that was the format then; the Paperhead does it out of pure adoration. – Luke Winkie

Samsara Blues Experiment

Sun., 5:15pm, Elevation Amphitheater
Launched by ex-Terraplane guitarist Christian Peters in 2007, this Berlin trio redefines the blues with meditative jams that explore the confluence of psychedelia, space rock, and proto-metal. Swatches of sitar and synth flesh out the crash-and-burn aesthetic, setting the stage for Peters' solos. They can also deliver coliseum bombast, as "Midnight Boogie" from 2014's Rarities attests. – Greg Beets

Los Mundos

Sun., 5:30pm, Levitation Tent
Led by veterans of the Mexican indie rock scene, Los Mundos bonded over a shared love of distorted guitars, pop melodies, and homegrown recording. Two years later, 2013, the Monterrey band released an EP covering Syd Barrett, Spacemen 3, and the Jesus & Mary Chain, all sonic hallmarks of most recent LP Retroterapia. – Michael Toland

The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger

Sun., 5:45pm, Reverberation Stage
After years of spelunking, John Lennon's multi-instrumental scion Sean finally struck gold with GOASTT. Formed in 2008 with partner and fellow music polymath Charlotte Kemp Muhl, the band wanders all over the acid-pop map, from the whimsy of 2010's Acoustic Sessions to the full-bodied brilliance of 2014's Midnight Sun. – Michael Toland

The ZZZ's

Sun., 6:45pm, Levitation Tent
Formed in Japan in 2011, the ZZZ's honed their tripped-out post-punk in New York and at U.S. festivals, but it was a chance encounter with Thurston Moore in Miami that lit the flame. Nothing like that sort of endorsement to spark international interest. The trio's latest EP, Magnetica, came out in 2013. – Michael Toland

Mac DeMarco

Sun., 7pm, Reverberation Stage
Born Vernor Winfield Macbriare Smith IV, the Canadian songwriter is zanier than his regal handle suggests; his junior LP, last year's lo-fi Salad Days, dropped on April Fools' Day. Its mellow bedroom-pop embodies stoner slack, whereas the now-New Yorker capped his jangling ACL Fest set last year with an epic crowd surf. August ushers follow-up Another One. – Neph Basedow


Sun., 8pm, Levitation Tent
That Philadelphia dream-pop outfit Nothing is signed to metal haven Relapse says a lot about its wide appeal beyond early-Nineties worshipers. That the quartet is still touring on 2014 debut Guilty of Everything likewise speaks to the quality of the band's work. Mandatory guitar worship. – Michael Toland

Levitation Picks

Chelsea Wolfe

Sun., 11pm, Elevation Amphitheater
Since her 2010 debut, prolific singer-songwriter Chelsea Wolfe has often alluded to heavy influences in her distinctive acid folk/goth weirdness, but her forthcoming fifth disc, Abyss, proudly adds a psych-metal wing to her already haunted mansion. New single "Iron Moon" pounds and beguiles, fair description of the Southern Californian's artistic impact. – Michael Toland


Sun., 1am, Levitation Tent
Buds since high school, this San Franciscan trio turns out Sabbath-like riffs alongside Sixties-acquired dual harmonies. Their 2013 debut LP, a guitar-solo-centric rocker, dishes heavy metal brawn and punchy garage-punk. "Loose Sutures" reveals its famed drummer and co-vocalist Ty Segall as skilled at time-keeping as bandleading. – Neph Basedow

9507 Sherman, Friday, May 8, through Sunday, May 10. Weekend ($165) and day ($65) passes are available online at www.austinpsychfest.com. Weekend camping passes are $75 per person.

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