Local band Calico Vision, a psychedelic garage rock powerhouse, is embarking on its first tour up the East Coast following the release show of its first album.
The band got together three years ago, but only two of its original members remain – Naoko Uno, who plays the keyboard and sings backup vocals, and Bren Bailey, who plays the guitar and sings.
Three other band members have gotten on board along the way, including bass guitarist Evan Leima, drummer Mike Talkovich and guitarist Patrick Doherty. Uno said Calico Vision is a “stereotypical Athens band” in which they started simply as a group of friends getting together to play music.
Bailey, the main writer of the album, described self-titled “Calico Vision” as “psychedelic slacker dream pop.” The band recorded the album in a home studio, and it was mastered by local music engineer Joel Hatstat. The final mastered album will be available for purchase at the release show Saturday night.
“The album sounds somewhere between Broadcast and Pavement,” Bailey said. “If you mix those bands together you get something pretty similar to what we’ve done.”
Uno’s favorite track on the album is “Megahex” because it is named after her favorite comic book, which holds her sheet music and travels with her to every show she plays. She obtained special permission from the comic’s author, Simon Hanselmann, to use the title in the name of the song.
Another favorite is “Neptune”, which is a love song featuring a saxophone solo by Ben Hackett of the band New Madrid, Leima said.
The band is proud to have grown from playing Tuesday afternoons in less-frequented bars to headlining weekend shows in more popular venues. Bailey thinks it’s ridiculous and exciting that his band has rarely played outside of Athens but will now head out on a two-week tour up and down the country.
The band will play its way up the East Coast, hitting major cities like Atlanta, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Brooklyn and more. Calico Vision’s Cincinnati venue will be Urban Artifact, an old church that was transformed into a brewery.
“I’m weirdly excited for Cincinnati,” Leima said. “It’s a place that I never thought I would play at so soon.”
Calico Vision has taken the stage at countless local venues, including the 40 Watt Club and the Georgia Theatre. The band plans to continue performing at venues it hasn’t visited yet, Uno said.
It’s no question that Athens is the host of a thriving and talented music scene, but Bailey believes this is due to the high volume of bands in the area. With so much competition, bands need to continuously put out good music to stand out and be recognized, he said.
“It’s funny how the UGA scene and the music scene don’t really mix a lot,” Uno said. “A lot of us are in Athens for the music, and a lot of the students don’t think of the music as a big thing.”
The band anticipates applying to play at South by Southwest, a massive music festival held next March in Austin, Texas Uno said. Calico Vision also has future plans to play regional tours and stick closer to Athens, and has already begun writing songs for its second album.
Calico Vision will celebrate the release of its album “Calico Vision” on Saturday night at the 40 Watt Club in downtown Athens alongside Wieuca, Secret Nudist Friends and Kudzu Samurai.