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Austin Psych Fest: Saturday Dispatch 

Destruction Unit

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Photo Credit: Jaime Monzon


Tempe, Arizona's Destruction Unit are a quintet that have dedicated themselves to their craft, running the Ascetic House tape label (which provides free material to the incarcerated), touring without interruption and performing with absolute disregard to their personal health. It's to their credit that through the cacophony, animal thrashing and sheer outpouring of noise, that the Tempe five piece can maintain an astonishing amount of order through their set. As their name suggests, Destruction Unit takes all expectations of hardcore and tosses them out the window with violent flair. And good news SA noise fans: Destruction Unit will be in SA on June 2 at the Silk Worm Gallery, where you can see the band take the Britney Spears headset mic to new aural and oral destinations.



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Photo Credit: Jaime Monzon









As you might derive from the name, Austin Psych Fest is keen on psychedelic, mind-manifesting explorations in music. But Tuareg guitarist Bombino plays closer to the idea of "somadelic," or body-manifesting, a word concocted by producer extraordinaire Brian Eno. Though he knew but a word of English, Bombino spoke to the main stage audience through his bodysnatching guitar music, singing in French and the Tuareg language of Tamashek. Like the Afrofunk of Fela Kuti and Tony Allen, Bombino incorporates American tendencies into the long, incantational rhythms of African music. But where Kuti and Allen search the catalogues of James Brown, Bombino pulls from the stacatto-swung, virtuosic blues guitarists Buddy Guy and B.B. King. As the sun set long and beautifully through the dusty air at Carson Creek Ranch, Bombino's Afrobeat blues shook loose the sore shoulders and toes of the main stage audience.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

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Let it be known that Unknown Mortal Orchestra can shred. Too often do indie rock guitarists find themselves playing the same licks in new contexts, but guitarist Ruban Nielson controls his instrument with incredible precision and grace. Drummer Riley Geare is no slacker either, emerging from UMO's shred-heavy, loose funk beats to wail out a whopping solo from time to time.

With two albums under their belt, Unknown Mortal Orchestra have yet to pen a trite tune. On stage, UMO made good use of their brief collected works as Nielson sang in a clean falsetto and the band extended the jams out into wandering, Electric Ladyland territory. Up on the main stage, Nielson looked a little Jimi-like too, falling into his playing like a marionette with cut strings.

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January 12, 2022

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