Hometown Psych

Tucson’s Myrrors play a home show with new album, new sounds and new directions

On the new "Arena Negra" album, The Myrrors embarked on a journey to push their sound to new edges and in new directions.

The result, a dramatic and otherworldly collection of psych-rock songs, was released this week on the fittingly named Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records.

The Tucson band—which has until now slowly and steadily built an audience elsewhere that's larger than in their hometown—celebrates the album release with a Saturday performance at Solar Culture.

The album draws largely on the band's experimental instincts, incorporating free jazz, drone sounds and different sonic textures from unusual instruments.

"The album got its sound by molding all those things together," says frontman Nik Rayne. "We were pushing it in all directions and finding what there was in the middle ground. The guiding ethos is pretty much to look for something we like, something that seems to click, even if it's intangible or indefinable.

"One of our biggest passions is learning instruments, learning about instruments. When you walk into my house, you see walls of unusual instruments," he says. "A lot of instruments, especially foreign instruments, are meant to be played in very different formats than a rock band, so we end up with unusual textures and unusual sounds."

The Myrrors formed in 2008 and released an earlier album, but the band took a hiatus after a little while, the musicians embarking on their different paths. About two years ago, they got together again to jam informally.

"It felt good playing with everyone, so we decided to kick it back into gear," Rayne says. "We were all the same people, but we'd acquired some different musical tastes."

In the band's first era, The Myrrors played a more straightforward rock, but after getting back together again, the musicians have found themselves drawn in different directions.

"We'd all gotten into a lot more esoteric music," he says. "We found that we're all on a similar track in terms of pushing the band in a new direction, pushing the sound out to the edge. It seemed to gel really well."

The lineup fluctuated a bit, but has settled on Rayne, Grant Beyschau, Cody Schwartz, Connor Gallaher and Miguel Urbina. The release of "Arena Negra" heralds a big year for The Myrrors, with performances scheduled at the Austin Psych Fest and Milwaukee Psych Fest.

"It seems like we exploded everywhere else before the word got out here," Rayne says. "We've been playing a lot of shows recently, trying to get out as much as we can, woodshedding ideas and tightening up as much as we can."

The album is a 42-minute collection of four songs, opening with the 12-minute title track and devoting all of side B to the 20-minute "The Forward Path." The term psychedelic is applied to the band's music so often, they found themselves discussing the term, its roots and morphing meaning over the years, Rayne says. The description is accurate in a sense, but not entirely.

"None of us are serious stoners or anything," he says. "For us, it's about pushing the boundaries musically and taking things in different directions. It's more about creating interesting textures than incorporating some sort of trippy elements into the standard format."

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