Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Mystic Braves at Mercury Lounge

Julian Ducatenzeiler
From 2001 to 2003, Mystic Braves was known as the Blackfeet Braves, until a letter from a former Lynyrd Skynyrd band member alluding to potential legal action persuaded the band members to change their name. Mystic Braves is vocalists/guitarists Julian Ducatenzeiler and Shane Stotsenberg, keyboardist Ignacio Gonzalez, bassist Tony Malacara and drummer Cameron Gartung. Some of the musicians were originally from San Diego and Murrieta, California, but the band meshed together in the Echo Park section of Los Angeles. The band's third album is 2015's Days of Yesteryear.

The Allah-Las and the Growlers are leading the current 1960s garage-psychedelic revival in Los Angeles, but Mystic Braves is not far behind. Mystic Braves' headlining gig tonight at Mercury Lounge was perhaps closer to the retro source, with a low-fidelity sound dominated by wispy, ethereal vocal harmonies, pop-infused melodies, shimmering post-surf guitar lines, and Farfisa-styled organ riffs. Several of the five musicians looked the part as well, playing antique-styled instruments and wearing vintage clothing and haircuts. Songs ranged from about three to seven minutes, depending on how deep the band ventured into guitar noodling and organ whirring, with the rhythm section keeping the songs light and dance-worthy. Although the band explored old rather than new sounds, the compositions were creative and imaginative and felt fresh and compelling. Contrasting most other contemporary music, Mystic Braves does sound mystic and brave.

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