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LSD & The Search For God At The Ritz

In Music
WALL OF SOUND:  Despite releasing only two EPs over the last decade, LSD and the Search for God have quite a cult following.

WALL OF SOUND: Despite releasing only two EPs over the last decade, LSD and the Search for God have quite a cult following.

Andy Liszt takes  a winding, loopy path to answering an admittedly abstruse inquiry into the philosophical intent of his music. That’s fine. His rambling approach fits neatly within confines of the not-so-neat piles of feedback and swirls of delay he and his bandmates conjure up as LSD and the Search for God.

Besides, the San Francisco-based psychedelic shoegaze crew has never felt rushed when it comes to putting out music. Their well-received debut—a 2007 self-titled EP—was followed by nearly a decade of silence. Liszt attributes the extended intermission to the typical distractions of living life, as well as his work in English space rock outfit The Telescopes, whom he and fellow LSD guitarist Chris Fifield joined shortly after releasing their first five-song set.

Nonetheless, the group has an enthusiastic cult following. They’ve earned it through their energetic, loud and highly trippy live performances.

Things have been picking up for LSD and the Search for God lately. The band released its second EP in in January 2016. Titled Heaven is a Place, the follow-up finds Liszt and Co. in top form—pushing washed-out psychedelic swells over the breathy, wistful and barely discernible melodies of Liszt and co-vocalist Sophia Campbell. They are going back into the studio at the beginning of September. According to Liszt, the plan is to put out new music sometime early next year.

“We’re not going to dawdle,” says Liszt, who brings his band to The Ritz this weekend for a show with Cola, kindred shoegaze spirits from San Jose.

Speaking of spirits, Liszt doesn’t shy away from his band’s lysergic and lofty name—and all that it might imply. “It is a spiritual thing for us,” he says of the music he and his bandmates make in LSD and the Search for God. “We believe in what we’re doing, and we believe in the music.”

Liszt also believes in his adopted home of San Francisco, which is currently celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love.

“I love the Bay Area—the land is beautiful and it’s an amazing part of the world,” he says. “I still romanticize the area, in the same way that I did when I moved here.”

Looking back at the psychonauts of the ’60s who made San Francisco their home—and to the Beats before them—and on to today, with artists like John Dwyer and his long-running Oh Sees project, Liszt says he finds a lot to draw on in the city by the bay. “There is so much of the spirit of the psychedelic movement in San Francisco.”

When Liszt finally gets around to putting his band’s guiding philosophy into words, he channels a little bit of Timothy Leary’s famous speech—delivered at the Human Be-In, held in Golden Gate Park. There, in January 1967, Leary forecasted the Summer of Love and coined one of the most quotable phrases to come out of the psychedelic movement.

“Like every great religion of the past,” Leary proclaimed, “we seek to find the divinity within and to express this revelation in a life of glorification and the worship of God. These ancient goals we define in the metaphor of the present—turn on, tune in, drop out.”

Liszt says he hopes his music can help bring the listener into the ephemerality and immediacy of the now so that they “aren’t thinking about the past or future, and are right there in the moment. Ultimately that’s where life exists—in the now. If there is any way our music can offer that, even for a moment, it’s probably a good thing.”

LSD and the Search for God
Jul 15, 8pm, $10
The Ritz, San Jose

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