Australia is a country, a whole friggin’ continent, and a place that’s producing some of the coolest psychedelic rock around these days. From the country that brought you groups like Tame Impala, and recent song of the day alums The Growl, here are Sydney’s The Laurels.
The four-piece formed in 2006, and worked their way up on the local Sydney scene. Their reputation as a live act’s earned them a few accolades from outlets in their home country. And speaking of live, they’ve played with psych-friendly acts like Austin’s own Black Angels, San Francisco’s Wooden Shjips, the U.K.’s Swervedriver, and fellow Aussies Tame Impala. They’ve also got some cool stuff on wax as well. Back in 2011, The Laurel’s released their debut six-song EP Mesozoic. The EP’s a bit of a departure from the modern style of psych in that it eschews ultra-heavy, washy sound in favor of crisper production that manages to not skimp on the lysergic haze.
The Laurels followed up Mesozoic last year with their debut full-length Plains, which got a stateside release last week. One of the stand-outs on the record is a tune called “Manic Saturday.” The song begins with a steady, pounding bass bubbling underneath scrawly feedback. A repeated, klaxony guitar line slices through the haze. Despite all its swirly psychness (the half-minute break-down that closes the song is particularly cool–include backwards guitar lines that evoke the switched-on middle-Beatles), this is a pop song, as hook-laden as anything on the Top 40. The Laurel’s welcome embrace of fidelity is like a cool drink on a hot day, and you don’t get cooler than this band.
The Laurels are joining the likes of The Black Angels, Roky Erickson, and The Moving Sidewalks this Sunday (April 28) on the Reverberation Stage (they kick off the day at 3:00 p.m.) at Austin Psych Fest.