All this week, the Song of the Day will profile performing artists at this weekend’s Austin Psych Fest
Sounds and styles are recycled endlessly in music history, and psychedelia often likes to cannibalize itself. The first strains combined gritty blues with country harmonies and a whole lotta reverb. Most of the bands playing at Austin Psych Fest this weekend include some darker, more modern takes on the sound, but El Paso’s Holy Wave skew closer to the subgenre’s garage rock roots. They pay homage to the 13th Floor Elevators–arguably patient zero of psychedelia–with a consciously non-modern sound. The band’s second album, Relax–recorded here in Austin by Erik Wofford–is a time warp, planting its feel firmly in the mid-60s in both sound and spirit.
In fact, Holy Wave nick Roky Erickson’s elliptical guitar riff from “Don’t Fall Down” and graft it to the laid-back groove of their own “Do You Feel It” (which probably takes its name from the Elevators’ own ghostly shrieks on the former). Sure, it’s blatant, but appropriation is one of the defining pillars psychedelia (and, for that matter, rock, blues, country, dance, etc.) is built on. Holy Wave is tipping its cap while bringing their own hazy sensibility, but if that argument doesn’t convince you, there’s a better one right in the album title: Relax.
Catch Holy Wave tonight at the Mohawk as part of the official Austin Psych Fest pre-show, presented by the Reverb Appreciation Society