It is less than two weeks to go until the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia and I must admit that I am feeling a little overwhelmed by the number of bands I want to check out before I get there. While I always come away from the event feeling like I have had a brilliant time there is always a temptation to see the bands I know and love, and there are plenty of those again this year. On the other hand I also like to find new acts to listen to, and in the past I have found bands at the PsychFest who I have really dug and have developed a longer term passion for.
Then there is then the risk of missing out on bands who I really wish I had caught, and I can reel off a list of those too; and there are always going to be clashes at a festival. This all sound like I am getting pretty uptight about the whole event, which is actually one of the most chilled out festivals on the calendar.
What better way to remind myself of that than by kicking back to the three Fire Records acts who are playing the PsychFest this year: Virginia Wing, Death and Vanilla, and Novelier; all of whom are guaranteed to add to the cool festival vibe.
Of the three Virginia Wing are the only band I have seen before, supporting Hookworms. A trio from London, the band marry the experimentalism of Stereolab with an element of shoegaze, in a way that gives it a pop sensibility; but is then underpinned by a drone which adds complexity to the sound. The resultant music both drifts over and through you resulting in a really immersive experience.
Death and Vanilla are a new band for me. Sharing many of the above elements in common with Virginia Wing, with Stereolab and shoegaze being common influences; the band nevertheless have a quite distinctive sound. Another trio, this time from Malmö in Sweden, Death and Vanilla have that lysergic feel but bringing in more baroque psychedelic elements from such as Syd Barrett and some 60s West Coast bands. I am feeling thoroughly chilled out listening to the band’s eponymous EP release from 2014 this morning.
Novelier is a solo project from experimental musician, composer, guitarist and filmmaker Sarah Lipstate. Listening to her music you are not at all surprised that she is someone who is also used to working with images. Her music as Novelier is both atmospheric and cinematic (and I really tried to use other words to describe here here but I cannot). Listening to her latest album, Fantastic Planet, I found myself being carried away to some beautiful places; utterly sublime.
I really hope that I can catch all three of these acts at the PsychFest, I will be a lot calmer and musically nourished as a result.
You can find my other writing for Backseat Mafia here, including reports from this year’s Liverpool PsychFest.