Chilean Music Takes Mercury Lounge Down the Rabbit Hole

March 22nd, 2013

Dog Gone Blog Presents Föllakzoid and the Holydrug Couple – Mercury Lounge – March 21, 2013


At the end of each of the final two sets at Mercury Lounge last night, each band—the Holydrug Couple and Föllakzoid—spoke to the crowd for the first time, each announcing that it would be the final song of their set. At that point, both bands launched into a lengthy, jammed-out tune that stretched for no less than 20 minutes apiece. This propensity to send the audience into a musical rabbit hole was not the only thing the two bands had in common: both are from Chile, both have great new albums out and both are turning heads as part of the worldwide psych-rock revival.

For all their similarities, each band’s sound was very unique. Chile is that narrow strip of land scrunched up between the Andes and the Pacific, half coast, half mountains, and the bill seemed to split the same way. A guitar-bass-drums trio, the Holydrug Couple were the mountain climbers, hopping from musical peak to musical peak. This was acid-trip music with the visuals from Drippy Eye Projections pulsing on the screen behind them. The guitarist seemed to be playing duets with his lava-lamp shadow, notes lingering in the air with psychedelic reverb. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard Mercury Lounge sound so good, the tech pushing the stereophonic effect, bouncing the jams from one side of the room to the other, adding a torque to the entire room, sending it spinning around.

In this metaphor, the closer, Föllakzoid, was the ocean. Their sound was more of a hypnotic trance, tidal and everlasting. The lights switched up to a constant stream of Technicolor bubbles as each song ebbed and flowed into exploratory movements. The effect was like a strong undertow. Without noticing it, the music pulled the crowd far from the safety of shore, powerful and kind of scary in its power. Like the Holydrug Couple’s music, lyrics and vocals were mere buoys marking the way, the space in between percolating with guitar, bass, Moog synth and a constant steady drumbeat, eventually building to a head and crashing into shore—that spot where the mountains meet the sea. —A. Stein