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Levitation Fest Returns With A Triumphant Weekend of Shows

 

If you are a music fan in Austin, it’s a near impossibility that you have gone these last couple years without being exposed to the rumor mill of the tortured/triumphant saga of Levitation Fest. Cancelled because of weather in 2016, less than 24 hours before gates were to open, the festival took a year off in 2017 with many thinking it would never return.  The beginning of the comeback story began when 2018’s lineup was released, and it became evident that the festival was aiming for a complete return to former glory, not some spurious money-grab.  The redemptive arc was completed this weekend, when thousands of psych rock fans descended on a handful of downtown venues for a truly mesmerizing and immersive festival experience.

 

Headliners

 

While it may seem cliché when describing an event as having ‘something for everyone’, Levitation verifiably checked all the boxes on different music genres and music tastes.  From the spacey shoegaze of Slowdive, to the industrial metal of Ministry, attendees were not forced into a homogenized lineup.  While hipster-god, Ty Segall, and eternally touring, Thee Oh Sees, were somewhat ‘expected’, surprise bookings like Electric Wizard, Panda Bear, and Dan Deacon gave the festival a distinct edge.  The best performances of the weekend could be found in the sets of Ariel Pink, Windhand, and Chelsea Wolfe. The festival owners, The Black Angels, put on a riveting Sunday night show at Stubbs to close out their resurgent pet project.

 

Local Acts

 

Major music festivals can sometimes only include local bands as slot-fillers, but Levitation makes sure to highlight a slew of Austin bands. Christian Bland, a local Austinite himself, has a good grasp on which groups to include in the festival, and he did not disappoint this year. A Giant Dog, Golden Dawn Arkestra, and Holy Wave all had epic showcases that brought out their local fan-base. However it was the music veterans in the Octopus Project and SURVIVE that proved to host the most exhilarating showcases for the local contingent. Levitation continues to serve as a pedestal for Austin bands to increase their national exposure.

 

Culture

 

Levitation, previously called Psych Fest, had to adapt from the weather-vulnerable Carson Creek Ranch to a location with less liability.  The solution would lie within eight music venues that would host their own individual showcases under the umbrella of the Levitation festival.  While the bohemian vibe of Carson Creek Ranch was certainly missed, the individual micro-cultures within each venue brought a different backdrop of its own unique appeal. Mobility was limited and individual tickets had to be bought, but you also didn’t need to drive twenty minutes or deal with sound bleeding over from other stages.  At the end of the day, it’s the people who make the atmosphere, and while the physical location may have changed, the same crowd that had been showing up for the last ten years continued to attend, guaranteeing a vibe that continues to thrive through Levitation’s different permutations.

 

 

 

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Showcase Alert: Throwin' Bo's at The Elbo Room (5.3) ft. dot Vom, FRONDS, & Free Paintings

Throwin’ Bo’s is back again with another installment; so, if you’ve been kicking yourself for missing opening night last month, then it’s your lucky day. This month’s lineup promises a night of dreamy, indie rock—all from Bay Area locals. Hailing from San Francisco are dot Vom (streaming below) and FRONDS, both of which offer nothing but the sweetest doses of echo-laden goodness. Oakland’s free paintings will also be joining the party, topping off the set with their own personal blend of art-rock and shoe gaze. - Lilly Milman

The event will once again be at The Elbo Room, and it is 21+. Tickets are $5 in advance and $7 at the door. Make sure to RSVP on Facebook





Out From The Shadows Fest accompanied by new Songs From Under the Floorboard compilation

Dave Cantrell knows what's good when it comes to post-punk. As Portland's resident cognoscente of dark sounds, Cantrell has shared his knowledge regarding the peak of the genre's original years, from 1977 to 1983, as well as on present-day synthwave, darkwave and post-punk through his leading source of a radio show, Songs From Under the Floorboard. This weekly space has been turned into a compilation album, and it's coming out right in time to pair with the fourth year of Cantrell's curated festival Out From the Shadows.

Out on a split between local labels Accident Prone and Green Noise Records, the Songs From Under the Floorboard comp highlights just a few of the amazing artists Cantrell has discovered so far from around the globe, including Spain and Germany. The tracks on the compilation are rare and previously unreleased, the proceeds from what hopefully will be the first of many being donated to Planned Parenthood. As far as local representation is concerned, trio Vice Device are the only Portlanders on this volume of the comp, but there are quite a few named on the Out From the Shadows' bill.

Ritual Veil has been blowing up the scene lately and is expected to take the stage, along with the anarco-death rock of Over and the punk wave sounds of Arctic Flowers. Vibrissae's shoegazey synth sounds, some electro-industrial feels from Die Robot and some classic, gritty post-punk from Deathcharge

Out From the Shadows IV starts tomorrow. To purchase tickets and find more information on individual day's sets, view the Facebook event page. Songs From Under the Floorboard Vol. 1 drops on 4.06, but stream the compilation in full below.





The Tang - "I'll Try Harder Next Time" EP

Interesting lo-fi pop group The Tang have a very unique thing goin’ on. It sounds like 60’s pop drenched in shoegaze. Their latest EP “I’ll Try Harder Next Time” opens with a jangly, fun tune called “Deep Space Nine” which sort of takes you on a journey through space…but only if space had sunny afternoons with beautiful green grass. Maybe it does…I have never been there. If you’re into any of the psych influenced tunes that are popular these days then have some Tang. – Kris Gies





Lavender Blush brings atmospheric noise rock to Shoegaze Fest (4.15)

One way to describe Lavender Blush is a diamond in the rough soundscape of San Francisco shoegaze. Another, more simple (and perhaps even more meaningful) descriptor is just good. Like their sound, there’s no need for over-complication. This is the type of band that sneaks up on you, that stuns you into a silence with driving guitar parts, fuzzy production, and haunting vocals. The track “Misdirection” (streaming below) is an exercise in the genuine, one that is meant to be listened to over and over again. Lavender Blush will be playing at the EB Shoegaze Fest on April 15th at The Fireside Lounge in Alameda. - Lilly Milman

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