As of late, the ever-shifting tide of new music that continues to surge its way into existence seems to be drifting more and more into a haze of dreamy, warbly tunes, evoking the warm nostalgia of 60s psychedelia and fuzzy lo-fi rock, while also pulling from newer, contemporary songwriting styles. In addition to the snarling analog tidal wave of garage punk that has been barreling its way into the world, care of surf-cum-garage-rock acts like Ty Segall, FIDLAR, and Wavves, the good-time-loving, hippie-mindset tunes are bringing a gentle glee back into the musical world, happily paired with the shimmering, dissonant production of yesteryear. The intercontinental throwback rockers Unknown Mortal Orchestra bring their own take on the retro rock with their new record, II, and set off on tour with their Jagjaguwar label mates Foxygen, themselves hot on the heels of their sophomore release We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic. Spinning Platters took a little trip with them to the dimly-lit, hazy stage of the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco to document the action!
With both of their albums becoming available to the public barely weeks apart from one another, the men (and woman, for the former) of Foxygen and UMO are well poised to usher 2013 into being the year of a full-blown throwback into 60s psychedelia, encroaching upon the early punk leanings and killer guitar work of the 70s. Foxygen offered up a frenetic, dazzling live performance, with lead singer Sam France hurling himself into each song of the set, playing off the energy of both the crowd and second-in-command Jonathan Rado as they banged out their eclectic pieces. By contrast, the trio of UMO kept the mood to be truly otherworldly and dark, with a gentle crimson the only light available, offering only the slightest of glimpses of the musicians for their hour-plus-long set. The crowd seemed to be heavily split between the two acts, with a small chunk leaving at the end of Foxygen’s set and an even larger mass departing at UMO’s encore break, a vibe of impatience seeming to drift from the early deserters. Nevertheless, both bands held their most devoted fans at rapt attention, and will doubtlessly be back before the year is back to continue where they left off.
Photos from the show below. All photos © 2013 Jonathan Pirro.