Shoegazer

Wishyunu Single Release: A Sampler of Psych

Walking in to Mississippi Studios last Sunday, it felt like the three band pairing of Cambrian Explosion, Jackson Boone and Wishyunu would be a strange one. Based on their recordings, it appeared that there was very little to tie all the music together aside from the fact that each band identified with psych music in some way. What seemed to be an evening of mismatched artists turned out to be an ideal sampler of all the variations that psych-rock can take. 

Cambrian Explosion played first, their set a dark dreamscape. Members of Cambrian Explosion appeared introspective on stage, incredibly invested in the music, which didn’t leave the audience with much to look at. However, the intricacy and unpredictability of the music gave the audience plenty to focus on: songs exploding surprisingly into sound, heavy distortion, and instruments blended so expertly it was difficult to decipher who was playing which part.  

Playing second was Jackson Boone whose take on psych is both dreamy and jazzy. Their set seemed like a fitting middle-ground between the dark vibes of Cambrian Explosion and the more pop-centric focus of Wishyunu. Jackson Boone’s specialty seems to be creating psych-pop lullabies that develop quietly into full psych-rock cacophony. “Open” was decidedly the most experimental song they played, straying away from the easy rhythms and soft melodies comprising most of their set. The crowd was receptive and seemed more willing to nod their heads along as the night progressed.

Wishyunu’s set started with some technical difficulty, probably in part because the duo is so busy on stage, with Bei Yan filling the role of guitarist, synth-player, and vocalist. As Yan sorted out her issues on stage, dropping in an out of sound, drummer Tony Bertaccini remained solid on the drums, helping the audience stay engaged as they waited. Wishyunu’s songs are progressive, layering beat on top of beat and then dreamily disintegrating melodies into new ones, catchy hooks giving way to unexpected drum fills. The energy of their set was frenetic, unlike Cambrian Explosion or Jackson Boone, their music made your blood move faster, catapulting you forward with them as they played.

Their new single “Photoplay” is a dark electro-pop song that seemed to show a new direction for the band, less ambient than their older songs and more driven. The other song off of their 7-inch, “Summer Suit” was ethereal and focused, especially compared to the older songs they played surrounding their new releases, again proving that Wishyunu has started refining their vision and sound. You can catch them next in Portland on June 21st at the Holocene. 

-Sarah Eaton

Photos by Lena Knofler

   

Vast Robot Armies

There’s a bit of a mystery surrounding Toronto prog rock band Vast Robot Armies. Are they space-robots? or something? Their latest record “Little Creatures” out early this month is an epic adventure. “Revenge For Nerds” sets the tone with some space-aged guitars that guide you through the intergalactic journey on the Vast Robot Armies spaceship. The vocals remind me a bit of the Meat Puppets with more of a rounded edge. This record will keep your head in the clouds wondering where you’re going to end up next. And that is the question…when will Vast Robot Armies appear for a live show in Toronto? Like their facebook page and download their record and the message will arrive when the planets have aligned. Whoa.-Kris “Big City” Gies

   

Wildfires is the Austin Deli's Artist of the Month

Yet another poll hath gone, and the people have spoken: Wildfires is your Austin Deli Artist of the Month, coming in hard with a big push in the last few days that rocketed them straight into first. We've got a pretty good idea where Wildfires' roaring race to the win got its fuel, as this dreamy and deceptively-named indie outfit had a recent EP release at Cheer Up Charlies on March 11. Wildfires has transitioned over the years from a more acoustic-heavy American roots sound to poppy indie with a hazey shoegaze bent, which is what you'll get from single "Sad Wolverine" off the new EP and found below. The digital release of the album is said to be available soon, and we think it's a pretty cool coincidence that the band was able to time its release to match so perfectly with the weather, as this airy indiepop entry goes quite lovely with the light spring weather we've got in Austin right now. We suggest making Wildfires your spring soundtrack for all the hours of driving about looking for parking you're about to do this fest, so get listenin' and happy goddamn SX, y'all.

   

California X: Nights in the Dark

Usually when I hear the words “Western Massachusetts”, I think of an imaginary land populated by a few hippies and raging-drunk college students. After hearing California X’s new record, Nights in the Dark, I’ll be holding Western MA in much higher regard from now on. Super-tight riffs, crunchy guitars--these guys pull off a great metal/punk sound that’s versatile enough to appeal to punks, metal-heads and laid-back rockers alike. My favorite track is "Hadley, MA," with is slow, churning riffs and Pavement-esque feel. This song captures the band’s grit, but with added hints of lo-fi pop-punk that I find really appealing.

For more info on California X (and to see a list of their upcoming 2015 tour dates), check out their Facebook page.

-Dan McMahon (@dmcmhn)

  

   

Dr Neanderthal compares his latest album "Perihelion" to the Caveman Diet!

 

“It’s heavier on guitar and there are few synthesizers” says Chang Won Chang about his newest project, Perihelion. “It’s like a caveman diet.” Chang, known on stage as Dr Neanderthal, says his creative process is much like the prehistoric nature of the paelo diet- heavy on the proteins and light on the carbs.

Chang’s five- track album is audibly dark and primitive, influenced by the ambient sounds of Brian Eno and 90's drum & bass. Chang doesn’t sing, but rather howls and echoes his lines. Lyrically, the album is based on the theme of perihelion - the point in orbit in which the Earth is closest to the sun. “Life is a cycle, and sometimes it can be really intense,” explains Chang. “And that intensity is different for different people.” So in his songs, the subject matters are left up to the interpretations of his listeners. “The songs can be about love or even your job.”

The D.C. based musician is currently working on a brighter, "poppier" album he is hoping to release next year. For now, take a listen to the unique sounds of Dr Neanderthal’s Perihelion below. -- Sade A. Spence