Psychomagic's latest record came together fast — maybe too fast. "We only had three weeks to write the songs and three days to record it," singer and guitarist Steven Fusco says. But they were able to pull it off. The album, Bad Ideas, mixes and matches garage rock with psychedelia to create a keeper of an LP that, in spite of the speed with which it was produced, sounds fully formed. As his band's van cruises through the Southwest, Fusco recounts the group's touchstones. "We took influences from every nook and cranny we could get, from the Cramps to Thee Headcoats to the Zombies and then assimilated."
The young group formed in 2013 at a Portland concert when Fusco bonded with drummer Anthony Brisson over a shared love of throwback 1950s tongue-in-cheek, bubblegum rock 'n' roll. "The four of us come from all over the country. I'm from New York."
Fusco says that's where his parents raised him on the retro weirdness of Harry Nilsson, the Ramones, and the comedy stylings of Andy Kaufman. The other members of Psychomagic are spread out, one coming from Minnesota and another from Seattle. But these days, Fusco and the group find themselves happily residing in Oregon. "We've gotten ourselves entrenched in Portland," he says contentedly.
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But not so entrenched that the band isn't willing to hit the road every once in a while. The group's Mentally Ill Tour will bring the guys to Gramps this Friday. It's a date they're looking forward to because they have fond memories of Miami. One show from last year in particular — at Churchill's, naturally — sticks out. "It was wildness," Fusco remembers. "Miami was crazy. They were jumping onstage and taking their clothes off. The kids there are hungry for rock."
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Those who are hungry for more Psychomagic don't have to starve much longer. "We've been writing some new music. We have two new singles out now where we're going for a heavier tone. We used to have five members; now we're going down to four guys, so we have to play with the dynamics and the melodies, but we think it's going to be more synth-y, emo, and power pop. Any way it turns out, we're going to take our time with the new album."
Maybe this time it'll take them an entire month to write the songs and one whole week to record it.
Friday Nite Live with Psychomagic, Plastic Pinks, the Gun Hoes, Dénudés, and Buffy. 10 p.m. Friday, December 11, at Gramps, 176 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-699-2669; gramps.com. Admission costs $5. Ages 21 and up.