Picnic Lightning
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Picnic Lightning

Fort Worth, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

Fort Worth, Texas, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Garage Rock




"Picnic Lightning - "American Ruin""

This song hits all the right amounts of grittiness for me. It's got a great melody, but it's the muddled, dirty production that makes me want to keep up on the future moves of this Fort Worth, TX quartet. Their debut LP (also called Picnic Lightning) is coming out September 2nd, on the super cool Dreamy Life Records. - Paste

"Album premiere: S/T by Picnic Lightning"

Like a cowboy bringing his herd to market, the debut LP by Fort Worth, Texas-based Picnic Lightning covers a lot of territory across its eight tracks. “(Son Of) Fort Worth, TX Is About To Explode” is a Stones-like sleazy chugger; “Ecosystem” is dreamy and wide-open spacious; first single “American Ruin” roars and stomps on wild, twisted guitars; and “Fever Dream” drapes country-western vocal harmonies over stick-clicking railroad rhythm. You get the picture. But it all hangs together just fine, thanks to a powerful, vivid production by Britt Robisheaux of The Theater Fire.

Picnic Lightning goes on sale this Friday from Dreamy Life Records. We’re happy to bring you this exclusive preview! - The Big Takeover

"Video premiere: Picnic Lightning, ‘American Ruin’"

Two years ago, I described Fort Worth band Picnic Lightning as “deftly walking the line between cerebral and unhinged” on its terrific debut EP, Gilded Youth.

Not long after releasing that set of songs, the foursome — guitarist/vocalist Thomas Ketchersid, guitarist/vocalist Cole Watkins, bassist/vocalist John Lenox Cope and drummer/vocalist Cameron Navarro — began work on what would become its self-titled debut LP.

Again working with tireless producer Britt Robisheaux, the Picnic Lightning fellas turned out eight ferocious and engaging tracks, upping the ante from their debut while refining their approach.

The resulting full-length album, titled Picnic Lightning, will drop Sept. 2 on Fort Worth’s Dreamy Life Records.

But if you, like me, think that’s far too long to wait for a taste of what Picnic Lightning has created, then enjoy the premiere of the freewheeling video, directed by Alex Shumate, for American Ruin, the lead single from Picnic Lightning’s self-titled album. - DFW.com

"Sharing Common History; Picnic Lightning on their new LP"

Ghettoblaster caught up with the band to discuss the LP, which was released via Dreamy Life Records on September 2. This is what they said about it.

When did you first begin writing the material for Picnic Lightning?

The songs range in age. “Lilies of the Valley” was written about six years ago and has been a part of our live sets since day one. We had this creative surge early this year that produced three or four songs that were different in terms of approach, dynamics, and space. The rest of the album came from a list of 30 or so song ideas we had written and recorded on a phone since the band started – it didn’t take long to find ideas that fit with the current mood we were in. “House of the Lynx” is the newest song, we finished writing it in the studio.

The video for “American Ruin“ looks like it was as much fun to film as it was to watch. What was the inspiration behind?

We don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we also write about subjects that are very important to us. When we started thinking about this video, we knew we didn’t want to make a literal visual representation of the lyrical themes. All we knew was that we wanted to shoot a video and didn’t want to think too much about it or spend any money. The less ambitious the better, we thought, and decided to spend a weekend at the lake house, imbibe, recreate tarot, and see what we came up with. We had our best friend and visual wizard, Alex Shumate, come along to film and go wild with – he’s very good for both of those things. Thanks to the Wilmoths for giving us the run of their place.

Are these a collection of songs? Or is there a running thread throughout the album?

There is an underlying theme to most of our songs and this collection fits into that ethos. The four of us share a lot of common history and we pull from many of the same joys, pains, frustrations, and curiosities. This isn’t a “concept album” by any means, but there are certain threads that tie it all together.

We hear some Ty Segall or maybe The Thermals in your music. Are they influences of yours? Who are your main influences?

We’re big fans of Ty. The combination of his songwriting, his sonics, his proliferation, and constant reinvention isn’t just inspiring, it’s heroic. Several of us were heavily influenced by the post-punk revival in the 00’s and spent a lot of time with Detachment Kit, …Trail of Dead, Les Savy Fav, etc. This album was influenced by contemporary and classic artists from Jay Reatard to The Animals and Courtney Barnett to Donovan.

Do you have any plans for a late summer or fall tour?

We will be focusing on shows in the southwest U.S., but we’re open to invitations. If people want to see us, we’ll do our best to make it happen. - Ghettoblaster

"Saturday's Sampler"

Excuse us for channeling our youth when we say Picnic Lightning‘s new song, “Ten Million Thoughts”, is absolutely “Gnarly!” Unlike the book of poetry the band takes its name (by U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins), is anything but subtle or poetic. Instead, it is a grungy, alternative rocker that bleeds of ’90s college radio. The song shimmers at the beginning before growing into a blistering monster. The dramatic pacing with the bombastic finale might have people recalling R.E.M. in their youth and during the What’s the Frequency, Kenneth? days. Canadian music fans might be recalling Sloan in their heyday. Regardless of the comparisons, the song showcases a young band on the rise.

“Ten Million Thoughts” is from Picnic Lightning’s self-titled debut album, which is out now. Dreamy Life Records is the distributor. - The Revue

"Premiere: Picnic Lightning “Ten Million Thoughts”"

On September 2nd, Fort Worth band Picnic Lightning will release their self-titled album via Dreamy Life Records. Surviving the Golden Age is excited to premiere the lead single “Ten Million Thoughts.” The track brings fuzzed out bass and crunchy distorted guitars to Picnic Lightning’s brand of desert rock. The blistering track is good for fans of Queens of the Stone Age or Fu Manchu. - Surviving The Golden Age

"Picnic Lightning - "Ten Million Thoughts""

This indie-rock act out of Fort Worth, TX has has a heavy, psychedelic sound big enough to fill a stadium. Picnic Lightning aptly describes their sound as “Southern Gothic Psych” which fits perfectly with the fuzzed out guitars and darker currents that thread through the track. Listen to “Ten Million Thoughts” here and, if you dig what you’re hearing, delve further into their s/t EP. - Yab Yum Music & Arts

"New Local Music"

Everything Dreamy Life Records has released of late has been on fire, including its newest, the self-titled LP from 817’s Picnic Lightning.

Throughout the eight tracks on the album, the band layers bursts of psych, garage, blues, and arena-rock into a tight half-hour of rock ’n’ roll bliss.

Unafraid to change gears from track to track (and at times midway through a song), the quartet displays the type of finesse seldom seen from a band with only a couple of years under its belt. The album’s leadoff single, “American Ruin,” is a straight-up scorcher: two and a half minutes of pop-rock buried under a blanket of fuzz that sounds like Weezer if frontman Rivers Cuomo’s balls ever dropped.

“(Son of) Fort Worth, TX is About to E X P L O D E” is a slowed-down jangle-pop take on the closing track of the band’s debut release, 2014’s Gilded Youth. The tune takes the original iteration down from 100 miles per hour to the posted speed limit. The new version could be the perfect soundtrack to a cruise down I-30 through Arlington –– while watching an explosion in the rear-view mirror.

“Lilies of the Valley” and “Fevre Dream” pair in the middle of the album and deliver two of the toughest tunes to shake out of your head. The album closer, “Ecosystem,” is a daydream that lulls you into a false state of comfort before erupting into a tantrum akin to an only-child demanding attention at a friend’s birthday party.

Despite sounding as if someone shoved the original Nuggets box set into a blender with the arena-rock swagger of the ’70s, every track on the LP sounds fresh and modern. Producer Britt Robisheaux (Bludded Head, Theater Fire) once again demonstrates that he “gets” what Picnic Lightning have set out to do. - Fort Worth Weekly

"Track Premiere: Picnic Lightning Prep Debut"

Need some rock n’ roll in your life? Seems like you should get involved with Texas’ act, Picnic Lightning today, just to hedge your bets. It’s interesting in listening to their first single from their debut album; you can hear traces of influences such as Thermals or Segall, but hinting at pop sensibility like Nada Surf or Death Cab. None of those things are bad, and in fact, if you can pull it off, there’s likely some success in finding the perfect intersection where those sounds are bound together, which I think is why I’ve enjoyed jamming to this song so much today. Their self-titled album will be released on September 2nd via Dreamy Life Records, so for now, just let your ears buzz with joy. - Austin Town Hall

"Songs of the Week"

Picnic Lightning -- s/t.
RIYL: Eating outdoors.
What else you should know: Fuzzy Fort Worth rock act Picnic Lightning released its self-titled debut LP today via Fort Worth's Dreamy Life Records. It was produced by the label's defacto in-house producer Britt Robisheaux. That winning combo is just another reason Fort Worth is about to explode. - Central Track

"MM Shorts 863: Picnic Lightning"

Picnic Lightning’s self-titled debut LP sees the light of day early next month and the first single from the Fort Worth, Tx band is the excellent American Ruin.

A naggingly insistent tune of taut, barely restrained indie rock that has touchpoints from Yo La Tengo to Sonic Youth to Ty Segall.

Really good stuff. Listen below. - The Mad Mackerel

"Get Ready for Picnic Lightning’s Self-Titled LP This September"

This debut LP serves as an artist’s reaction to their own art, its reception and effect on their own lives this self-titled LP from Picnic Lightning is grounded in the every day absurd and the dialectic in everyday life. This serious self-reflection has landed the band in the middle. Or more likely it’s opposite and has created a sound rooted in recognition of equal and opposing forces, grit met by a hint of pop sensibility, reminiscent of The Thermals and Nada Surf.

The album is to be released on September 2nd and Picnic Lightning is moving on from their Gilded Youth EP released in the fall of 2014, the time in-between has changed them and this LP explores that change and the self-assessment that followed.

The single from this album, “American Ruin” exhibits the hard tenacious guitar that has evolved a bit from Gilded Youth. If Gilded Youth was their frustrating adolescence then the self-titled LP is their soul searching, courageously charging and questioning without fear of an answer. Picnic Lightning searched through a liminal space provided after the reception of Gilded Youth. Relishing in this undefined middle ground, Picnic Lightning and their debut LP fearlessly explore individual experience grounded in dirty reality wrought with beautiful despair. For now, we will have to rely on Gilded Youth and “American Ruin” to get through the next month or so. September 2nd is a much-anticipated date for this up and coming band that will not disappoint. - Audible Addixion

"Introducing… Picnic Lightning"

Picnic Lightning, aside from having an awesome name, approach their second album channelling plenty of rock, grunge and twisted angst. I’m late to the party and have only just discovered them but everything I hear – I love. They carry the right amount of lazy muddy guitars and vocals alongside a discordant aggression and I feel like I’m back in my mid 90’s hey day of tightly woven three minute anti-classics.

Their new single is “American Ruin” is below and their new self titled album will be out 2nd September. - Higher Plain Music


Fort Worth, Texas, based five-piece Picnic, Lightning are set to release their ‘Gilded Youth’ EP in the Autumn. In preparation, the desert rock meets lo-fi punks have released a teaser video and are streaming a new track, ‘Smoke Signs’.

Picnic, Lightning describe their sound as hymnal born, grassfire burnt, hell-fuzz harmonies oscillating from the pit of Fort Worth, Texas. Well… there you go. - Punktastic

"Forecast: Picnic, Lightning"

It’s rock, punk, blues, swamp, and psychedelia all in one neat package.

The EP Gilded Youth is the debut recording from Picnic, Lightning, a new quintet featuring former members of Modico and Jefferson Colby, two interesting and dearly departed local outfits. Recorded this spring at Eagle Audio Recording and produced by Britt Robisheaux (The Theater Fire, Bludded Head, Drug Mountain), the five tracks are stylistically diverse, sometimes within the same song, but united by a furious immediacy. “We’re certainly pleased with the results,” said bassist/vocalist John Lenox, adding that the band spent several months fine-tuning the material before even walking into the studio. “This … will deliver a first impression to listeners, so, obviously, it’s extremely important.”

The brainchild of frontman Thomas Kay, the band got together last November after Kay said he found his voice from writing songs and from writing and reading fiction. “It was when I connected the work I was doing musically, narratively, and philosophically that a vision for Picnic, Lightning began to form, and once it did, it became the conduit,” he said. “I dumped all my inspiration and creative energy into it. I began approaching the process like world-building, and eventually … it grew into something I couldn’t ignore.”

The goal starting out, Kay said, was simple: “No one should suffer our music.” That’s the band’s mantra. “We don’t want our craft or an audience to suffer just because we dig the smell of our own farts.”

Robisheaux was Picnic, Lightning’s first choice. “He gets it, man,” Kay said. “You can tell the guy that you want this chorus to ‘hurt’ or ‘fall off the hinges’ or ‘feel like drunken revelry,’ and it will be on the track.”

Kay, Lenox, guitarist/vocalist Cole Watkins, drummer/vocalist Cameron Navarro, and guitarist/vocalist Daniel Mabe were in and out of the studio in about two days. The band is hoping to release Gilded Youth digitally this fall and not long after on vinyl and cassette.

Along with filming a video for the track “Smoke Signs,” the band is booking shows. In addition, that is, to Wednesday’s gig with Rocket Science Academy at The Chuggin’ Monk and a concert on Saturday, Aug. 23, at Shipping & Receiving. “We’ve spent time becoming the band we want to be, working on ourselves, and tweaking areas that need improvement,” Lenox said. “Now we’re ready to go out and meet people. We’re hopeful the dates go well.” - Fort Worth Weekly

"Lonestar Sounds"

“That restless middle twixt Townes Van Zandt and Pantera” is how Picnic, Lightning pitches its sound, and while it’s a bold and eyebrow-raising bit of blurbage, that description also, incredibly, seems to fit. The Fort Worth quintet — John Lenox, Thomas Kay, Cole Watkins, Daniel Mabe and Cameron Navarro — fashions fuzzed-out rock (produced by the tireless Britt Robisheaux earlier this year) that deftly walks the line between cerebral and unhinged. - DFW.com


Picnic Lightning 

Dreamy Life Records
Street Date: September 2, 2016

1. Ten Million Thoughts
2. American Ruin
3. (Son of) Forth Worth, Texas is About to Explode
4. Lilies of the Valley
5. Fevre Dream
6. 7
7. House of the Lynx
8. Ecosystem

Gilded Youth EP

Weiner Records 
Street Date: October 14, 2014

1. Titans, Psalms, and 7's
2. Smoke Signs
3. Gilded Youth
4. Somatic Love
5. Fort Worth, Texas Is About To Explode



What is the opposite of the middle? Dark has light, truth has lies, God has Satan, but what (or who) is the middle’s foil? Theories abound, but it is the four gentlemen in Picnic Lightning who claim dominion over that murky abyss. They may hail from where the west begins, their feet may stomp Fort Worth concrete, but their music dwells in the shadowland of trenchant questions and orphic revelations.

After releasing its Gilded Youth EP in the fall of 2014, Picnic Lightning went straight to work on new material at shows and in the studio. The eight tracks on the self-titled debut LP are what was left from a thirty-song list on a dry-erase board wielded down by trial and error, and an adherence to the band’s mantra from day one: let no one suffer.

In many ways Picnic Lightning’s debut LP serves as a chronicle of their sonic, enlightening and ruinous experience since the release of Gilded Youth. It’s a chronicle of their life in the middle - a tribute to fear first tasted, total despair first felt, and reality at last acknowledged. On this LP, Picnic Lightning deftly touches the inexhaustible complexities of life and does so with sonics as singular as the individual human experience. The eight songs on this LP croon when they want to holler, stomp when they want to skip, wax thoughtful where vengeance belongs; and vice-versa. It's the fuel that sets your car aflame or gets you home; the drug that puts you down or brings out the beast; your first peace or your worst nightmare - the middle claims victory in all cases.

Band Members