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Psychedelic rock band pays homage to Denton beginnings on new LP

Psychedelic rock band pays homage to Denton beginnings on new LP

Psychedelic rock band pays homage to Denton beginnings on new LP
September 26
10:00 2020

Psychedelic rock group Acid Carousel’s fourth LP “The Most Oddest Thing” encapsulates the memories of their Denton roots in an acoustic, hometown style. The five-piece band is a tight-knit group of friends that lives and collaborates together. The group centers around a 60s psychedelic rock aesthetic and dabbles into other punk and pop sounds. Their new music recounts numerous aspects of their Denton beginnings, signaling their official transition as a group to Austin.  

The membership fluctuated over the years, but the current line-up features decade-long North Texas friends John Kuzmick, the guitarist, bassist, and keys player, and drummer Gus Baldwin. Later on, guitarist and bassist Lucas Martins joined after befriending Baldwin his freshman year at UNT where they are now both media arts seniors. Other additions to the band came from connections in the Texas music scene with guitarist David Rawlingson and saxophonist, bassist and keys player Nick Leon.

“We all like similar music, but we have our own little niches that we like,” Baldwin said. “It helps to bounce ideas off of each other because we each think of different styles or stuff to blend together. We like using a lot of instruments and switching around because it helps the creative process.”

The group described their new LP “The Most Oddest Thing” as an album from Denton and about Denton with a “real Texas rock” acoustic sound. The lighthearted hometown instrumentation is a shift from their 2019 psychedelic rock opera “Another Everything which followed a linear narrative through dramatic guitar leads and grand production style. The new record showcases standalone songs that highlight life and experiences around Denton. 

“The album is just us,” Kuzmick said. “It’s made in Texas and about Texas. The songs are actually about us as people instead of us as characters and are about living in Denton, so I think people can resonate with it.” 

The LP features other creatives in the music scene from Denton bands Pearl Earl and Manifest Destiny’s Child.

“It’s about as Denton of a record as you could have,” Baldwin said. 

The band formed amid the Denton music scene in 2016 and members quickly became entrenched in the Texas music life. Venues held mixed-genre shows where the group could play their psych-rock next to other hip-hop, pop or punk groups. 

“It was really cool, and then it started kind of like, going away,” Baldwin said. “A lot of places started closing down and turned more into the DJ scene. House shows in Denton kind of became the main thing, and then the shows were getting too rambunctious and not really about music. They’re fun to play every now and then, but it wasn’t something we could take seriously.”

Eventually, they were playing more shows in Austin than in Denton, so they relocated in late July to progress their musical ambitions in a more lively music environment. 

“It was already pretty much our home,” Kuzmick said. “All of our friends live down here.”  

The transition to Austin made sense because Martins and Baldwin already registered for online classes at UNT to go on the group’s European tour, which ended up being canceled due to the pandemic. 

“We just want to make records and tour but we can’t do that anymore,” Baldwin said. “It’s a little depressing honestly and a little existential because it’s like, this is what we want to do forever.”

The group found creative ways to use the extra time, though. Martins and Baldwin helped The Bralettes make a record, and the band promotes more merch and live streams to make up for not touring. Martins is building custom cruiser skateboards to sell. The members said quarantine gifts them extra time to make more records, but they miss their old life on the road. 

Their new music video for “Always Something,” a single off the LP, commemorates some of the touring sagas the band experienced. It begins with Martins driving their van, Rhonda, down North Texas backroads. They wanted to portray some of the goofy chronicles and inconveniences they encounter while touring, such as Rhonda always breaking down. The video ends with a clown approaching the van as a teaser for one of their next projects. 

“‘Always Something’ just feels so fitting, like there is always something going on when you’re on the road,” Martins said. “It was fun filming. We just started throwing in random ideas like eggs falling from the sky. And then, we have this whole dream sequence in the middle where we all collectively dream that we got saved by this other little van driven by Nick and David.”

Most of the members lived in North Texas for many years and their career partially centered around campus culture, Kuzmick said, who graduated from the visual arts program in 2018. The cover of the LP was designed by Matt Cliff, another visual arts alumnus, who has collaborated with the group over the years. 

Many of Acid Carousel’s other projects feature Denton elements as well. The video “Killer on the Moonbeam” from its EP “Street Cowboys” features locations around town like Cool Beans and parts of campus. Other videos highlight the scenery around their old house, a place they said was central to their growth as musicians and a band. “The Most Oddest Thing” acts as a closing to a chapter that pays homage to their Denton start-up and kicks-off their new life in Austin. 

“It’s like a farewell bid to an era,” Martins said. 

Singles “Always Something” and “I’m Peach, The Monkey” are streaming now on Spotify. “The Most Oddest Thing” is available for pre-order on bandcamp and will be released Oct. 30.

Courtesy Connor Mizell

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Lauren Putnam

Lauren Putnam

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