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The next generation of Austin psych rock has arrived
Any claims that psychedelic rock began at any precise time or place are as stupid as pointing to any singular record as the first rock & roll album. Having said that, I’m pretty sure psychedelic rock began here in Austin, TX in December 1965 when Roky Erikson formed the 13th Floor Elevators. Think about it. Every cool iteration of psychedelic music, whether it be neo-psychedelia, acid-punk, etc. comes back to the sound of one city: Austin, TX. Before you say it, it definitely wasn’t those godless San Franciscans. They were too busy singing kumbaya and putting flowers in their hair to make the kind of seminal records Roky was putting down and nobody is trying to sound like Quicksilver Messenger Service.
Okay, here’s a more rational claim: Austin, TX has been, and continues to be, home to some of the world’s best psychedelic music. Even now the next era of ATX psych rock has already begun and they’re called DAIISTAR.
Made up of Alex Capistran (guitar/vocals), Nick Cornetti (drums), Misti Hamrick (bass), and Derek Strahan (keys), the fourpiece began in Spring 2020, and despite what you may think, it was perfect timing for the bandmembers. Alex Capistram says, “To us, these songs were a glimmer of light…it was a way to escape for a moment. There was something to look forward to and we kept our heads in the future. These songs guided us through some dark times and hopefully, they can do the same for you.” Capistran’s compassion and candor are among the many things that set DAIISTAR apart from their contemporaries and influences. Psychedelic music usually prefers to dissociate from and obscure its emotions in a lysergic haze, but DAIISTAR isn’t afraid to have a soul.
Make no mistake, across its ten tracks, Good Time is both a masterclass and a reinvention of neo-psychedelic’s greatest moments. “Tracemaker” sounds like an irradiated version of The Charlatans, “Purified” distills Spiritualized’s most transcendent passages into the length of a pop song, and “Repeater” exists in the liminal space between Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized. There are even occasional desert rock whispers with Kyuss-like buzzsaw guitar tones. However, unlike the music of Sonic Boom for example, DAIISTAR does not come off like they took drugs to make music to take drugs to. Instead, they have the moxy to be vulnerable, earthbound, and human in spite of their predecessors’ attempts to leave the planet.
With their abundance of pop sensibility and a psychedelic sound refined by the Black Angel‘s Alex Maas‘ production and White Denim‘s James Petralli‘s engineering, DAIISTAR’s debut Good Time is the best psych record you will hear this year. How could it not be? It was recorded in the consecrated birthplace of psychedelic music itself.
Good Time is out now on via Fuzz Club, but the album release show is on Saturday, September 23rd at Hotel Vegas and their live show is just as incredible as the record. They did spend the entirety of lockdown jamming together after all. Until then, check out this Studio 1A performance.
Date: Sept. 5, 2023
Album: Good Time (out Sept. 8, 2023 on N.I.T.A Records)
Alex Capistran: Vocals, Guitar; Nick Cornetti: Drums; Misti Hamrick: Bass; Derek Strahan: Keys
Producer: Deidre Gott; Audio Engineer: Jake Perlman; Rene Chavez; Audio Mix: Rene Chavez; Cameras: Deborah Cannon, Patrica Lim, Isak Kotechi Edit: Deborah Cannon; Host: Ryan Wen