Boyfrndz’ Dreamy, Groovy Psychedelic Rock


What do you listen to when you want to hear a band that’s a little bit shoegaze and a little bit math rock? What if you want to hear these shoegaze/math-rock songs taken for a spin in a psychedelic noise-pop direction? Yeah, you’d be rockin’ out to Boyfrndz like the rest of the Austin kids-in-the-know already are.

I remember when I saw Boyfrndz for the first time. It was a couple of years back, during SXSW. I was still in college and living over in UT’s West Campus. Free Moral Agents – a groovy band featuring Ikey Owens (of The Mars Volta) was set to play a free show over at the Pearl Street Co-op one night. I wandered over there early and caught a few other bands, including another well known Austin group, Megafauna. Later that night, Boyfrndz set up their equipment on the brightly colored blanket laid out for bands on the co-op’s patio. The first thing I noticed about the boys in the band was their mustaches. Each member had glorious fully-filled out ‘staches – the kind that would make any hipster girl swoon.

Then they started playing, and I could instantly tell that these fellows were the real deal. Owens knew it, too. I could see him filming the band with his cellphone camera. The relationship between Owens and Boyfrndz blossomed, as the next time I saw them, they were playing a show together at the Mohawk (which was recorded and released: “I know I am ugly, but I glow at night”) at the end of recording an EP that Owens produced (Boyfrndz’ self-titled).

Now in 2013, their ever-developing experimental noise-pop-electro-shoegaze-art-rock has definitely continued to gain a dedicated fanbase. I saw the boys play at Holy Mountain earlier this year to a jam-packed room – and every audience member (at least, every crowd-goer in my line of sight) was shaking their hips and nodding their heads along to the band’s set. The instrumentals are complicated – the drumming is mind-blowingly fast (think: Hella or Tera Melos) and the guitars and bass play lines and riffs that sound as if they could be the soundtrack to an epic space battle between two lazer-laden hyper-speed flying ships – yet they also maintain an effortless sort of vibe. And continuing their relationship with Owens through these couple of years, he has produced the boys’ new EP alongside them: Natures, released on July 16th.

Natures features five songs, each one an art-rock movement, melding experimental instrumental power along with floating vocals that have an almost summery, brighter feeling. The EP opens with “All Get Out” – a seven minute dreamy journey. The vocals flow along well with the instrumentation, and all is relaxed. Soon enough, however, the track picks up pace. The song has a bit of a psychedelic wash. It reminds me a little bit of a now defunct band I once stumbled upon out of Seattle called Rishloo. Ikey Owens’ keyboards are clear in this song, which adds a brilliant 1970’s style groove-rock organ sound to the mix.

“Moving Parts” is the next track – another art-psych tune with floating vocals. It is repetitive and makes me want to fall asleep…but I mean that in the best way possible. I feel relaxed listening to it. Even when the catchy tunes of the chorus demand that I nod my head, I nod my head in peace. “Daughter” follows along in the same vein. “Take the Arm” showcases more of Boyfrndz’ trademark fast-paced drumming and proggy math-rock style. “Water Weight,” the last track on the EP, is another more relaxed track, featuring a full, echoing bass heavy sound at a slower tempo.

Natures is a great EP. It mixes dreaminess with grooviness, and showcases Boyfrndz’ growth over the past few years both musically and vocally – setting them up as one of Austin’s premiere math and experimental rock, mustachioed darlings. Go see them live when you get a chance, and pick up a copy of Natures online at their bandcamp page or at your local record store.

– Brittany Bartos