I first heard of Pocahaunted in college while trying to figure out a thesis topic for a Native American Issues class back in 2007. At the time, there seemed to be a whole re-colonization of the "New Weird American" sonic landscape by an influx of mostly urban white psych // folk // noise outfits stomping their moccasined-feet and thrashing their headdresses to bands with names like Indian Style, Truman Peyote, White Rainbow, Broken Deer, Animal Totem, Totem, Totem Music, Totem Spirit Field, Neon Indian, Neon Navajo, Apache Beat, Crazy Horse, Our Brother the Native, Inca Ore, The Ghost Shirt, Creepy Teepee, Wovoka, just to name a few. I decided to look into this movement further, then discovered Pocahaunted and became unwittingly sucked in to their mysterious spook-a-delic world.
I must say that after seeing them live several times and getting to know some of the members over the years, I realized that despite their name, Pocahaunted transcends the "just another hipster band trying to be Indian" indictment. In fact, they transcend most catch phrases people try to throw at them. Conversely, they are a rotating collective of down-to-earth individuals who are constantly evolving and transforming themselves and their music to produce an alternate reality that is far from escapist, and instead perhaps even closer to the magical and sacred essence of being truly human.
Their last album title, "Make it Real", is a dubbed out, trance-testament to connecting to the "real world" through entering it's dream core, its sacred center, its magical portal lined with facepaint, glitter, and palm-tree graffiti. Pocahaunted conjures the mystical through the gleaming teeth of open smiles. Making it real doesn't mean taking yourself seriously. A lone stuffed Garfield perches stoically on top of a guitar amp blaring divine riffs that swirl around keyboard stands draped with fake flowers and mics magically transformed into ritual may-poles with silk sprays of neon fabrics. Figures appear donning facepaint and sequinned outfits, like some shamanistic-alien-divas performing an exorcism on the set of 80s glam metal music video shot on Neptune.
For Pocahaunted, the concert space is an ontological theatre where the real is subverted into a dreamtime that is equally playful and tangible as it is intense and untouchable. "You've got to save yrself", they croon, and they are. Britt and Amanda are dedicated raw foodists (yes, even on tour). Leyna is moving to NYC for pilates training. They are still actively committed to running Not Not Fun (a label with a growing formidable roster of like-minded DIY psychedelic wizards and noise shamans), and continuing to make music through their various other equally mind-melting projects (Robedoor, Psychic Reality, LA Vampires, Sun Araw, Best Coast to name a few). They have internalized the sacred space their music creates and seem to be taking a break to maintain the "realness" of that space within themselves. I have no doubt that this is just the marker of one energetic phase of their creative evolution. In the meantime, Pocahaunted's ghost will continue to haunt the sonic landscape, and I gratefully surrender to its possession.
Beaming out much love to Britt, Amanda, Diva, Leyna, and Ged for your future endeavors.