The countdown to Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia reaching t-minus one month, Getintothis’ Sue Bennett and David Hall set controls for the heart of the sun and get ready for lift off.
As the UK’s premier pageant of the bizarre fires up in Liverpool once again, Getintothis gets down and dirty to find those acts you might have missed. So peel yourself away from the bar and get up front, we’ve found the names destined to make waves and be on everybody’s lips once the weekend is over.
Now in its fifth incarnation, this year’s two-day International Festival of Psychedelia sprawls across Liverpool’s trendy Baltic Triangle, with around 100 wigged-out acts take to four stages across the Camp and Furnace complex, spilling over into District a street away. With an NME Award for Best Small Festival 2015 under their collective belt, the years since have been an evolution for the PZYK collective.
Of course the impressively A-list headliners assembled for the class of 2016, Super Furry Animals and The Horrors, are set to take the Camp and Furnace by storm. Other canny bookings like Dungen, former Stereolab man Tim Gane‘s latest project Cavern of Anti-Matter and the Kazimier-slaying Silver Apples look unlikely to disappoint.
Getintothis have sifted through the labyrinthine line-up to mine up our pick of the weekend, and now throw these gems your way.
Grinding Portuguese industrial drone is the order of the day from spacey krautrock peddlers 10,000 Russos. Their 2014 self-titled EP/album mixes blankets of white noise and feedback to furious stretches of punkish riffing and clashing, metronomic krautrock drumming. Wads of melody emerge from the maelstrom, staggering with bleeding ears and broken limbs into the light from the furious mess of 10,000 Russos‘ noise. Sometimes they simmer down into a post rock haze of fluid guitar lines and tension-building (see Metalurg Aralkum), only to explode once more, spreading their black wings in another massive burst of distortion. The band make their Liverpool bow before taking off to an exclusive show at London’s Moth Club.
Cellar Doors are a band from San Francisco. Their name, and the pairing of words: “cellar door”, is synonymous with a beautiful sound that unravels itself from literary definition thanks to J.R.R. Tolkien. The trio are no different. A post-punk door to something beyond language opens and you’ll get Trapped in Amber or Higher than Heaven. It’s the same meditation that you’d might have to Pearl Jam; heavy and thrashing, and then steady and calmer with the realisation that you are connected to your body and not your monkey mind. Go underground with them. You’ll hear echoes of R.E.M. and Seattle in the early ’90s before being drubbed into submission by the sexy vocals of Sean Fitzsimmons.
Composer, producer, and past Jonny Greenwood collaborator Oliver Coates‘ recorded material takes the form of trippy, minimalist electronica along the lines of Boards of Canada. But he is also an Artist in Residence at the Southbank Centre, an accomplished cellist and winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist Award 2011. Mixed messages then; what awaits audiences at Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia from Coates is really anyone’s guess. But whatever form his live show takes on Merseyside, it’s bound to be astounding. Any fans he gains can catch Coates when he returns to Merseyside to feature in Steve Reich‘s Different Trains show at Edge Hill Station.
Defining themselves as ‘stargaze’ – a state in which you lie on the grass, tell funny stories to your friends, and watch the shooting stars – it is here that the Russian trio dislocate themselves from genre tags designed for the associative algorithms of digital space. Instead they enter the organic waves of an open mind that celebrates authentic connection and release. In the constellation of sound they would appear as a new configuration of (as yet unnamed) lonely angels; while the oracle would map them on Friday, September 23 as having Euphoria rising in the sky just above Camp and Furnace. Gnoomes‘ relationship with their isolated Russian location in Perm has enabled them to build a creative ethos that values the power of the imagination, and the promise of new beginnings. See them at Psych Fest for a lucid dream and that uncanny feeling you’re hearing myths that haven’t reached our solar system yet.
If anything could make us happier than grown-up girlgroup pop music, it’s Welsh-Cornish former Pipette Gwenno‘s maturation into a unique solo artist. Indie heroes Heavenly Records have stepped in already for a reissue of Gwenno Saunders‘ sold-out Welsh language debut solo record Y Dydd Olaf. The album itself is where spacey future pop and chanted Arthurian folklore meet, full of hooks, soaring arpeggios and glassily-produced electronica. It all swirls around Gwenno‘s accessible vocal harmonies, which are in turn obscured her dead-eyed delivery and Welsh lyrics. It all makes for an intriguing listen, and will go down a treat in the blissed-out psychedelic setting of PZYK.
Josefin Ohrn and the Liberation
Josefin Ohrn and the Liberation’s electro beats look set to provide the pulse to this year’s festival. The imminent release of their forthcoming album Mirage will enjoy an already established fan-base of the Stockholm band. They have described this new experimental offering as capturing ‘the power of being completely lost and thriving on it’. Josefin Ohrn and the Liberation are the dreamy journeymen of the half-state; the band’s name references the Tibetan Book of the Dead and the limbo-like state that occurs before a soul reaches full liberation. It is fraught with approaching delusions that one must resist. In the case of Mirage the hypnogogic is something to be identified with. They request your presence for these ‘elegant nocturnal serenades’ at Psych Fest.
Lorelle Meets the Obsolete
A week after the release of their new album Balance, Lorelle Meets the Obsolete are the first of the evening acts to anticipate Super Furry Animals on Friday night at Psych Fest. The first release on their fourth collection of tracks, La Distinción is available to stream now. The single’s elongated bridge will keep you hypnotised within a dirty rhythmic looping until you can grind to the real thing at Camp and Furnace’s live event. The album’s title Balance is inscribed within the auditory experience; their musical arrangement feels like a dance, and a rock and roll celebration of the masculine meeting the feminine; Lorena Quintanilla’s seductive vocals are set against the psych drone arrangement of Alberto González’s persistent twirling beats. Find your lover in the crowd at this year’s Psych Fest and surf your way to completion on this yin yang duality of mellow vocals, and murky riffs.
Imagine Royal Blood with the stones to get really fucking stonerish and disgusting. If instead of a blueprint of classic rock riffs, they had been brought up on a diet of grungy underground alt-punk in the vein of Throwing Muses. A big ol’ primal funky, fuzzy sound teams a swaggeringly vast low end with frontwoman Lau Betti‘s barking, snarling vocal and drummer James Innes‘ unpredictable turns of pace. Sludgy and sneering one second and firing out bucking, thrashing punk the next moment, the London two piece’s four-track EP Humanoid was released last year, and their Psych Fest show is not to be missed.
Methyl Ethel are the Perth based sunshine kids of dreamy pop. Webb’s vocals range from androgynous to feminine, like Thom Yorke’s voice surfing on a serotonin high. The full length debut album Oh Human Spectacle is the kind of sonic opus that could soundtrack your adventure off the coast of the Indian Ocean. Track one is preoccupied with Twilight Driving, and writers seeking to define the three piece are having a good time with the word crepuscular. It is true that Methyl Ethel could be distilled into that moment of changing light, but not as we know it. This is an Australian twilight, drenched in heat and connected to the natural world. Check out Methyl Ethel for mellow “poltergeist infomercials between your sleepisodes”.
The Moonlandingz are a semi-fictional outsider Ouija pop group invoking all of the special powers of the super-group. This particular incarnation includes members of Fat White Family and The Eccentronic Research Council. Their co-producer Sean Lennon adds a final bit of clout to this rambunctious union of comedy with serious pop-rock credentials. Their conceptual history comes complete with a stalker called Maxine Peake. The band members also have a predilection towards bread jewellery and mustard hair gel. Apart from being talented, funny and dressed like a human sandwich, it has also been reported that they stink. Iggy Pop would like them, and Johnny Rotten would eat a sandwich off the frontman’s face. Does that make sense? There’s a fictional part of us wanting to corner one of them to see if it’s all for show, but we don’t have the guts for that kind of sandwich. The Moonlandingz are totally believable.
Muscle and Marrow
Dark, hypnotic art-drone from the Portland, Oregon two piece next, currently touring in support of their outstanding second album. Plaintive coming-of-age songs threatened with mortality and laced with loss and mourning are painted with a jet black doom aesthetic on their limb-stretching new record Love, one of the years’ essential listens. Muscle and Marrow‘s unlikely torch songs are liable to fill whatever space they find themselves in beautifully. Think Bat For Lashes in a haunted nuclear bunker and you’re getting closer, yet nowhere near.
Anything could happen at the Nawksh live show, one of the more out-there propositions this year, courtesy of festival partner and purveyor of the strange Guruguru Brain records. His latest work Mythic Tales of Tomorrow II was released earlier this month, and showcases more of the bleeping, chirruping 8-bit-influenced madness which informs the Karachi resident’s busy rhythms and intricate Flying Lotus atmosphere. A more organic and dubby affair which at times smooths the edges of Nawksh‘s sharp, severe early releases, the ever-evolving 12-minute analogue drone of Exile & A Mirror is particularly thrilling. Guaranteed to be a name on the lips of all PYZK attendees.
New Candys are the Italian quartet surfing the darker waters of psychedelia and keyed in the pitch of night. They originate from Venice and two of the line-up also belong to Lorelle Meets the Obsolete for the duration of their live European tour. You can catch both over the festival weekend, and compare the band to their dark sibling of Lorelle during this hypnotic offering. The album New Candys As Medicine will be the antidote to your early mornings, humdrum routines and your shit boring boss. Their twirling western riffs have the power to disturb the mundane. If you had a horse to ride off on after hearing New Candys play at Psych Fest no one would bat an eyelid. Hop on baby.
If acknowledgement of your dark side signals completion of the self, then The Oscillation is the act of the night on September 24, threatening to beat you up like a BRMC beat at Marilyn Manson’s Dope Show. The notion of the Truth in Reverse asks for complete surrender to your most resisted contrary state. Frontman Demien Castellanos sings: “God cannot save my soul, It’s straight to hell for me I know, And when I get there, At least I’ve found a place to call my own”. Wear black boots, bang your head, and prepare for the release of strong suppressed emotions as The Oscillation give you something to repent on Sunday.
Instrumental Manchester three-piece Plank make their way down the East Lancs Road, stopping off to hit Psych Fest on the journey towards album number three next year. They bring with them a rich body of work, particularly in 2014’s Hivemind, which was based thematically around the arthropods which the Earth’s ecosystem would collapse without. A swirling conceptual delight with guitar stings that are both incisive and nuanced, Hivemind wafts along on a heady synth undercurrent. Fans of horror master John Carpenter‘s Lost Themes work will find much to like in Plank‘s melodious melding of Tortoise-esque post rock and high concepts worthy of science fiction.
The self-styled ‘cyberpunk’ noiseniks hail from New York, with a new album released this year in Paradise to parade. If The Kills faced Sonic Youth in a slanging match over who had the grittiest snarl, Pop. 1280 would probably come off the victors. With other New York influences such as Liars also under their bandoleros (think more the incessant pound of Drum’s Not Dead, less the sickeningly deviant electronica of Mess), Pop. 1280 are proud to call Sacred Bones Records home. With noise luminaries such as Crystal Stilts and Blanck Mass also on their books, nobody with a mile radius will have a quiet night when this quartet hit town.
PZYK is a truly multi-national affair, with acts descending upon Liverpool from all corners of the planet, but home grown talent is equally well-represented. Merseyside trots out the likes of The Stairs and Pure Joy, whilst Londoners Ulrika Spacek floored Getintothis at Studio 2 last year, and scene veterans That Fucking Tank roll in to represent Leeds. There’s plenty for all musical tastes to enjoy.
Get PZYKED! It’s Getintothis‘ PZYK YRSELF UP! for a competition
If all that weren’t enough, we’ve put together a pretty out-there bundle of PZYK merch for an exclusive prize package, you’re seriously going to want to get your mitts on it.
The lucky winner will pick up the PZYK Vol.1 compilation which was anointed with the Compilation of 2015 gong in Piccadilly Records’ review of the year. Plus it’s companion piece the PZYK Vol.2 – another triple LP compilation – which will be available at this year’s festival. Added to these vinyl treasures are choice bits of Psych Fest merch – a t-shirt, record bag and numbered screen print poster from the 2016 programme – all yet to be revealed. Perfect for the ardent PZYKhead.
To stand a chance of winning all that – simply like our Facebook page, tag a friend and share the below post to your own wall. ZIMPLE. Good luck and we’ll see you at Camp and Furnace in September.