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5 must see acts at the 2014 Austin Psych Festival

Austin Psych Fest 2014 logo
Austin Psych Fest 2014 logo
Austin Psych Fest

When Austin music festivals come up in conversation most folks want to talk about South by Southwest (SXSW) or Austin City Limits Music Festival and that is expected. But one of our favorite local music festivals is the internationally attended Austin Psych Festival. The festival fits the River City because psych-rock has roots here in the early days of the genre when Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators released "The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators."

Last year Erickson was invited back to the festival to perform. This year may be the best lineup yet for this young festival located just outside downtown at Carson Creek Ranch with bands like hosts The Black Angels, Temples and Mono. We cannot wait to get out the festival and begin discovering the new acts that have been invited.

There are a lot more than five bands we think you should see but in the interest of saving you (and us) time, we listed our top five acts performing at the 2014 APF. If you are attending for the first time prepare to be amazed at the beauty of the location, the chill of the vibe and the great live music curated.

Three-day passes and single day tickets are still available from the Austin Psych Fest box office. Already have your weekend passes? Check out the lineups (plus full schedule) at tomorrow's pre-parties at The Mohawk and Red 7.

Did we miss your favorite band performing? Let us know in the comment section at the bottom of this page.

The Black Angels
The Black Angels Jason Kempin/Getty Images

The Black Angels

The Black Angels
Reverberation Stage
Friday, May 2
12:15 a.m.

We know, we know... it is a no-brainer to list festival curators The Black Angels who headline Friday in our list of must-see bands but after seeing them perform last month at Maverick Festival in San Antonio all we can say is we cannot wait to see the psych-rockers do it again this weekend. Alex Maas (pictured) is only part of the reason this band is so highly recommended. The entire unit has morphed and matured over the past ten years since the band was formed. So has their sound which is still rooted in the vocal reverb style made famous by Roky Erickson. These days though, The Black Angels have added a wrinkle or two to their sound and the result is magical.

Listen to a couple cuts from The Black Angels latest release, "Indigo Meadow." We got ten dollars that says "Don't Play with Guns" chorus gets stuck in your head.

Temples
Temples Jason Kempin

Temples

Temples
Reverberation Stage
Saturday, May 3
8:15 p.m.

Each South by Southwest Music Festival a select few bands get labeled buzz acts. In 2014 Temples from the UK was one such group. The English neo-psych outfit seemed to be everywhere in Austin during music week at SXSW and then in every music publication you can think of. Although we have yet to see this band in action, we have it on good authority that this is one set you do not want to miss.

Rolling Stone liked their debut album "Sun Structures" so much the magazine gave it 4.5 stars in their review.

Indeed, there is the "Sun Structures" not a single bad song, not even a small trailer. Once you think you have seen through the mystery of the Blessed melody and sumptuous music, the band is traveling through the wormhole with a new woozy sound idea. -Rolling Stone

If that does not make you want to see this band we do not know what will.

The Octopus Project
The Octopus Project Emily Lim

The Octopus Project

The Octopus Project
Levitation Tent
Saturday, May 3
7:30 p.m.

Electronic music has come back in a huge way in the second decade of the new millenium. Like every popular musical genre there are many pretenders and few innovators like Austin's own The Octopus Project. Similar to fusion bands that have paved the way, the group melds a blend of music styles; electronica, rock, pop and even a dose of punk to give their sound the edge that makes the band stand apart from the rest.

The Octopus Project feature unusual instrumentation like the theremin Yvonne Lambert plays. The theremin is famous as the source of spooky sounds in classic horror films but in the hands of Lambert it makes beautiful, weird sounds that lends a unique twist to her band's music. Lambert is a sight to behold herself with a 50's ara flip hairdo, classic clothing and an intense stage presence.

The visuals in The Octopus Project live performances do not stop at Lambert. The band orchetrates a complex visual component in every show. Bit mapped projections with custom lighting effects and fog machines keep the audiences attention without taking anything away from the music.

One last thought on this set -You will dance your ass off.

Mono
Mono Mono (publicity photo)

Mono

Mono
Levitation Tent
Saturday, May 3
8:45 p.m.

The last time we caught post-rock sensations Mono from Japan at The Mohawk, the venue had not begun their latest rennovation which added multiple observation decks from which to view performances. Suffice to say it has been awhile. Like last year's Austin Psych Fest performers, Boris this band has earned a world-wide audience in a genre that gets little or no mainstream attention.

Watch the official video for their song, "Dream Odysey" which depicts classic the soft/loud song structure of post-rock music perfectly. Their live show is strangely entrancing. Between watching the dramatic, Taka Goto on guitar and the mysterious Tamaki on bass and keys we think you will be thanking us for recommending this set.

Tobacco
Tobacco Aesop Rock via Facebook

Tobacco

Tobacco
Levitation Tent
Sunday, May 4
12:45 a.m.

This rare photograph of the seldomly seen artist known as Tobacco might make this performer appear less mysterious but that will quickly change once you fall under the spell of this sonic wizzard. He is also the leader of the more recognizable act, Black Moth Super Rainbow which first gained popularity on the college radio circuit and now enjoys national attention.

Here's what we said about BMSR's last visit to Austin:

BSMR took about 75 minutes to play through a 14-song set that featured Tobacco's trademark vocoder-distorted vocals with digital effects, keys, bass, guitar and drums clicking away in suppport. Although the band frequently appears with masks on, none wore one unless you count the balaclava drummer, Iffernaut wore the entire set. Give the musician props for persisting with the hood in the hot, humid Texas night.

That might give you an idea of what to expect if you make to Tobacco's set during Psych Fest. Or it might freak you out a bit.