This year, we face one of the most stacked lineups for indie music that we’ve seen in a hot minute from the folks at ACL Festival. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining; I love a good challenge and will happily take a full day of sets then a lot of downtime at Zilker. However, with great lineup comes great responsibility. There are some key choices you’re going to have to make when you set foot at Zilker park come October. Don’t fret, I’m here for you; I’m breaking down some scheduling conflicts for you after the jump. These are only some of the problem areas for me–what are your tough choices for ACL?
Michael O is perhaps most known for his work in the Mantles, but his solo work has been equally as remarkable…in my book anyways. Just you go check out Really? and tell me what you think. Regardless, he’s back on the solo tip, with a new 3-track EP for Fruits & Flowers…with one of the delighting tunes running below. This song has this communal feeling to it, as if you’ve been sitting around jamming with Michael for sometime. The strumming steadies the melody, while the string arrangements are a nice textural touch in the far off distance. Just makes you feel better about the world knowing this song’s out there. The new 7″ comes out October 19th!
Just this past April Graham Smith and Kleenex Girl Wonder released Vana Mundi, but he’s already returning with his second offering of 2018, White Lacuna. The music he’s crafted for the last 25 years is perhaps best described on the poppier side of the college rock world; think Harvey Danger with a little bit more literary word play. And it’s not just the literary quality, it’s the way those lines are delivered, with certain syllables supplying added emphasis to the song’s musical quality. For my two cents, I think the chorus is worthy of your listening alone; the guitars sparkle in the front of the mix, while Smith brings out a smoothed vocal melody that certainly pulls you into the track. White Lacuna will be out later this year via Reasonable/HHBTM.
The opening guitar chord, accompanied by bass, crafts this disorienting pop vibe the minute you press play on this new Lens Mozer tune. But, once Lens jumps in with this voice, you’re transported into the backseat of a car cruising down the coastline with wind at your back. That vibe gets ridden, then the playfulness is upped a bit when breathy vocals jump in to play just after the 2 minute mark. You ride that feeling out until the end as the song fades away into your memory…and if you like it, you’ll be sure to grab Don’t Stop at the end of 2018 via Plastic Jurassic.
Philadelphia’s SOLD might not be a household name at this point, but here’s to hoping you spend some time getting to know the group now…especially as they have a new EP on the horizon. The band’s musical diversity keeps the below single interesting, starting off with this bounding opening that definitely draws from the band’s indie rock influences. Different vocals in the song’s middle bring the track to life; I think one even has an almost folk-y drawl, which is contrasted by the song’s natural haunting; there might even be some Arcade Fire yelps too! Then the guitars cascade down in an angular fashion, like pelting rains, matched by similarly fashioned vocal lines. Feels Unreal comes out today courtesy of Hits Direct Records.
You’ve heard of our adoration for Joe Stevens’ project, Peel Dream Magazine, so it might be our last chance to sample a track before the album drops at the beginning of October. I’m instantly drawn to the combination of Stevens’ voice and the warbling pulse of electronics just beneath the surface; it’s disorienting, yet captivating. We’re further drawn in when the guitar begins to playful dangle in our ears, loudly at first, then receding, only to come back to life as the song moves towards its end. No one’s making music quite as cathartic and entrancing as what you’ll find below; look for Modern Meta Physic from Slumberland on October 5th.
Some songs come across the old Interwebs and you’re just drawn to them. The latest from Borzoi is one such tune (not that I haven’t enjoyed the others); I love how the song just seems so jittery and out of control…and yet it’s not. It’s controlled chaos, thrown out into the world with indifference; I just get the feeling of running around in a circle whilst the band seemingly increase the pace, driving me into a spastic frenzy…such feelings that only occur with the best of rock n’ roll. I love the call and response after the 2 minute mark, bringing the tune to an emphatic close. A Prayer for War is out tomorrow via 12XU, and it’s going to be brilliant.
Holy Golden are a duo out of New York comprised of Leslie Schott and Andrew Valenti. Together, they make dream pop mixed with 90s alt-rock that will have you coming back time and time again. The latest from them is “Wheel of Fortune,” which reminds me vocally of The Cranberries mixed with Evans The Death–that kind of immaculate and crisp angelic voice. Instrumentally, the track is sparse, letting each element take up just the right amount of space before the track really builds up. Give it a listen below.
Tomorrow you’ll be able to get your hands on Crazy Love, the latest batch of song’s from Austin’s Will Courtney. On his final single before the release, he had me with the opening piano prelude…it doesn’t take too much. Then the track settles in with Will’s voice carrying a light bit of scratchiness, like a cooler Tom Petty…that is until he reaches the chorus. He stretches himself, reaching for higher vocal notes, which in my mind recalls the best of the Americana genre, especially when its accompanied by the layered musicianship behind it. You can tell with every note he hits, and every layered bit of instrumentation that Courtney’s fine-tuned all those bits of promise he’s shared with us over the years. Crazy Love will drop Friday via Super Secret Records.
It’s been a few years since we last heard anything from the Proctors, but it looks like there’s a new album brewing right around the corner. It only takes a few seconds for those crystalline jangles to circle around your ears and whisk you away to that happy place; I mean, even the song title references that sonic touch. But, what elevates this track, for me, are the nice little layered vocals that emphasize the melody; they build in a warmth that blankets the jangle just enough to open the doors to more than just pop fans. Not sure on a release of a new LP, or if it will even include this song…so we’ll keep you posted!