It’s been a little quiet this year for Dallas psych-rockers Monoculture. Aside from a show here or there, we really haven’t heard much — until today that is.
Tuesday, Monoculture announced the lineup for their annual Paisley Maze music festival going down May 26 at the Deep Ellum Art Company.
Monoculture began a few years back when long-time friends Olan Mijana and Nick Leibold completed a four-track demo while living 300 miles apart. That demo laid the foundation for the band’s 2016 release, Heavier Daze.
Two years later, the band is set to release their second album, Blueprint for Dysfunction, on May 11 — this time as a four-piece band with Jason Trevino on bass and John Valentine on keys.
Heavier Daze saw the band taking a more eclectic approach to psychedelic rock, with a sound that was more often reminiscent of '90s grunge pioneers the Meat Puppets — especially on the album’s title track. A bluesier, folksier album, Heavier Daze feels more appropriate for a lonely weeknight visit to dive bar than it does for a room laden with lava lamps and blacklight posters.
Things have certainly evolved with Blueprint for Dysfunction, which Mijana describes as a concept album “about identifying the ego’s manifestation in everything.”
This is an album that has much more in common with Sgt. Pepper’s than it does with Too High to Die, which can be heard in the swirling sounds of the album’s first proper track “Get Lost.”
Other tracks, like “Life Goes By” (available on the band’s SoundCloud) showcase Monoculture’s musical development over the past few years where Valentine’s keyboarding skills stand out in a cosmic spiral with Mijana’s ethereal flute.
Their lyrical development shines through on “Bad Faith,” on which Valentine takes over vocal duties for Mijana, crystallizing the concept of the struggle to grapple with a negative reality that holds us back while we constantly strive to move forward and see things in the most positive light we can.
Blueprint for Dysfunction’s mostly instrumental title track is a medley of all the songs on the album that slowly digresses into the worried panicked line, “Be afraid to see a way that’s not what you know is real,” which is the real key to unlocking the puzzle the album presents its listeners.
In celebration of the album’s release, Monoculture will host a release show May 11 at Club Dada with Dallas’ favorite dance-punkers Sub-Sahara and suburban psych-poppers Native Fox. The Club Dada show also marks the kickoff of the band’s Midwestern tour, which will see the band spreading their joyful noise across nine states in just 13 days.
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And, it is upon the band’s triumphant return to Dallas, that we will be blessed with an all-star psych line-up at the Deep Ellum Art Company for Paisley Maze, which will feature nine bands, each bringing its own brand of psychedelia to the stage.
Aside from Monoculture, the lineup is as follows:
Same Brain – Garage psych from Fort Worth, TX.
Helen Kelter Skelter – Psychedelic folk rock from Norman, OK.
Native Fox - Psych-poppers from Garland, TX.
Kwinton Gray Project – Jazz-inspired psych from Dallas, TX.
Rotten Mangos – Lo-Fi Psych from Austin, TX.
Trái B? – Funk-psych from Dallas, TX.
Annabelle Chairlegs – Psych-Rock from Austin, TX.
Midnight Opera – Dark psych from Dallas, TX.