Out of the late 60s, drug-induced Woodstock haze in America came the new music/art genre of Psych Rock. Pioneered by bands such as Jefferson Airplane and The Doors, we at FAULT have been privileged enough to oversee its modern day revival in the form of The Reverberation Appreciation Society.
The Reverberation Appreciation Society, founded by Christian Bland, Alex Maas, Oswald James and Rob Fitzpatrick is exactly what it says on the tin. When you mix lots of reverb, trippy rock sounds and four guys with an appreciation for the people who make them, what do you get? Austin Psych Fest - the festival started in 2008 by The Reverberation Appreciation Society to showcase some of the genre’s best and brightest talent right in the heart of one of its birthplaces – Austin, Texas. Bands that have previously played the festival include The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Black Lips and Beach Fossils, with Warpaint, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Black Angels and Acid Mothers Temple already announced to play in 2013.
FAULT interviewed Christian Bland and Rob Fitzpatrick, as well as 2012 headliners The Brian Jonestown Massacre, for our Underground Issue (Issue #11) earlier in the year to delve deeper into the festival’s history and the two founders’ visions for the future of Psych Rock. What they didn’t tell us in the Summer Issue is that they’ve been busy collaborating with Fuzz Club Records on the first in a series of European Psych Rock compilation albums: The Reverb Conspiracy – Vol 1.
The Reverb Conspiracy – Vol 1 is a double LP available as a digital download and also in limited quantity on white vinyl – the perfect format for the album considering the importance of art within the genre. It is also a decision which shows its producers have taken into consideration the unrivalled sound quality of vinyl. The double LP opens with Black Market Karma’s ‘Weightless’ which shares a warm nostalgic resemblance to MGMT’s ‘Pieces of What’. The band, which formed in London in 2007 liken themselves to My Bloody Valentine, Nirvana and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - which is apparent from their song composition. ‘ Weightless’ is taken from their first album Comatose where other tracks such as ‘March’ share similarities with new Indie band on the block Peace with their close vocal and guitar styles.
The Reverb Conspiracy – Vol 1 has been carefully put together with no songs feeling out of place. From the first track there is a consistent flow through soundscapes, samples and a build up into heavier sounds towards the end of the first LP. The second LP has been approached more delicately and features one of the best songs on the compilation: Lola Colt – ‘Diamonds’, as well as The Underground Youth – ‘I Need You’ – both of which will appeal to fans of The Cure, Sonic Youth or early New Order. The Underground Youth, a Manchester-based band inspired by Shoegaze and Psychadelic Rock that have been described as “combining psychedelic and raw garage sounds with a hauntingly beautiful twist”, are particularly worth checking out.
The compilation album’s epic 19-track list is a great documentation of the Psych Rock genre, coming to a head with Dead Rabbits’ dreamy, Oasis-reminiscent ‘When I’m Blue’ with Hammond organ interludes and strong influences of early 90s Rock. Although this LP is primarily aimed at devoted followers of the Psych Rock genre, given that both so-called Indie and Pop music have always taken varying levels of influence from psychedelic music it is a great entry point for more mainstream listeners to hear some brilliant bands that are still playing under the radar in the UK and Europe.
The Reverb Conspiracy – Vol 1 is on sale now from austinpsychfest.com and fuzzclubmusic.com with 25% of proceeds going to Child’s i Foundation that help abandoned children in Uganda: childsifoundation.org