10 Bands Worth Seeing at Austin Psych Fest 2014

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10. The Black Angels

Austin's gold standard of psych, The Black Angels, have a sound that harks back to early acid-rock and garage progenitors, specifically fellow Texans The 13th Floor Elevators. While the label "neo-psych" has fallen on deaf ears as of late -- a tag incorrectly slapped on every new band with a vague sense of experimentation -- The Black Angels give the subgenre a good name and then some. Far from mere revivalists, The Black Angels have that rare intuition for kaleidoscopic arcs, and hold their own alongside their aesthetic forefathers. Their live shows are notoriously incendiary, and if their recent gigs are any inclination, 2014 finds the group in stellar form.

9. The Horrors

Psychedelic bands often lose their way in tired experimentalism and unmusical misadventures. The Horrors are no such band. Their aesthetic is aqueous but visceral, driven by blurry melodies and narcotic flourishes. Masters at consumption, The Horrors implement everything from new wave and krautrock to shoegaze and brit-pop in their quest to find rock's pleasure-center. The results are far from watered-down either, maintaining a consistently rewarding romanticism despite the band's knack for borrowing. It's refreshing to have a psych band embrace pop sensibilities rather than drown trying to avoid them. The Horrors add welcome depth to Psych Fest's left-of-center lineup.

8. Tobacco

Art-ravaged, vomitific and mind-bending, Tobacco's shade of DIY psych is a sonic lobotomy set in cannabis ash and analog fuzz. The figurehead of no-fi maximalists Black Moth Super Rainbow, Tobacco's omni-genre mutations range from campy to grotesque. Yet somehow his maneuvers always swing with musicality, a funky sort of traditionalism -- like bubblegum pop refracted through a meth trip. Fans of Wavves, Jay Reatard and Ty Segall will find plenty to celebrate at Tobacco's Psych Fest set.

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Jonathan Patrick