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Doc Aquatic / Press

“There are even some trad indie songs...the gorgeous American Analog Set-like jangle of Doc Aquatic’s “Bank to Keep.””

“Doc Aquatic excel at uber-melodic, multilayered indie pop with a hint of psychedelia. The band's high-energy shows have quickly earned it a devoted following and regular slots at local festivals — including All Go West and Music on the Mountaintop this year — along with opening spots for nationally touring acts. Despite the frequency of its local appearances, Doc Aquatic has avoided the pitfalls of overexposure with nuanced songwriting that offers something new with every listen. Last month, the band released its debut EP, Distance Means, and rumors of a full-length, due this fall, have begun to circulate, although the band has yet to announce a release. Its 2:15 p.m. performance at the Battery Park Stage promises to be a highlight of the weekend.”

“There’s something so buoyant and blithe about local indie/psychedelic band Doc Aquatic that it’s pretty near impossible to watch them on stage and not smile. ”

“In fact, the crowd for the opener was sizable — actually a little larger than the group that hung around for Austin, Texas-by-way-of-Asheville group The Bakers. It was a testament to the following Doc Aquatic has built since relocating to Asheville from Boone in 2009, and the audience was rewarded for its devotion. Doc Aquatic’s sound, on the Grey Eagle stage, was the best this reviewer has heard to date — and that crisp, clarity made all the difference. The standard rock setup of Doc Aquatic can grow muddy when the band launches into its trademark, psychedelic-tinged instrumental breaks. It’s that effect that gets labeled “jam.” But on the Grey Eagle stage, with each instrument differentiated, Doc Aquatic’s nuances come to light.”

“Front man J.C. is a pleasure to watch because, on stage, he conveys such a sense of audacious fun. If his glasses and shawl collar sweater seem out of character for a rocker, his loose-limbed movements and experimental guitar parts are fully realized. “Run,” another new song, shows J.C. in full form. The melody is languid and layered, the song’s formula a combination of a simple lyric (highlighted by J.C.‘s apt falsetto) leading into the extended barely-controlled chaos of instrumentals. But even as J.C. throws himself into an unabashed dance, the music is never less than taut.”

“The band’s final number, “Summertime,” is lush and aptly summery with a kick drum opening and washes of descending guitar scales as the band clustered around Zack. From there, the music opened into something primordial and jangly, sprawling into to Steve Miller/“Wild Mountain Honey”-esque psychedelia as J.C. hit the verse, “Yes, I believe in summer time, even though it’s snowed for days.” Charles plays the bass with one hand and hits a drum with his other, the song’s tightly-coiled tension builds and crescendos swept over the audience in a perfectly-timed apex. The end of the set came all too soon.”

“From dreamy, ambient psychedelia to thoughtful indie rock infused with melodic and angular guitar work, Doc Aquatic is well on their way to distinguishing themselves from other High Country bands.”

“Deeply cool. Arctic. Chasing the sting of heat away, soothing the afternoon with meditative loops of guitar and rhythm that allow the mind to drift. The song, the musicianship, remains tight but plays like a score of unwinding. An exhalation. A Sunday of pool floating, hammock swaying, clouds lazing. Playing out the festival, wringing it out with every note.”

“What Doc Aquatic pours into the audience is both a balm and an affliction. The haze of sleep deprivation that rings everything with a fuzzy halo. A scrape of nails and a promise of cool comfort. The welcome shine of the outside world eclipsed by the burn of sunlight onto retinas. And then there's the gentle light (light, here, being sound). Dappled, soft, easily warming the skin or flitting just beyond the reach of shade. And an easy beat you can almost dance to. One girl does dance, though it's more an act of swinging her arms and her long hair like a slow fan around her body. Because hair can dance to Doc Aquatic, and if that isn't psychedelic, than what is?”

“The mind-blistering portion of the set was intended either to shake off any cobwebs lingering from the previous night's excesses, or to drive the photophobic back into their caves. Or maybe it's music that emanated from caves — not dark, itself, but over-bright to burn against darkness. Something muscular and searing; an opal unearthed in a mine. But Doc Aquatic's guitar, bass and drums don't combust with quiet opaline flame. Together they craft something otherworldly, though not altogether unknown. The grind and squeal of a train trestle, a steel mill, a river crashing angrily over a rock ledge. Front man JC Hayes wrings notes from his guitar, twisting and turning the instrument to draw sounds from all angles.”