Our friends, The Spook School have been on tour with Great Grandpa and Diet Cig. Winter tours can be fickle things, especially if you run through the southwest, shorts and a t-shirt to parkas and snow boots. In speaking with the band’s spokesperson, aka Niall, he shared a few tour anecdotes as he was warming up pre-set in his customary vest and boxer shorts. House party shows, sold out gigs, long runs cross country, actually paying rent while on the road, things are on the up for the band. We are huge fans and love their songs, their message and their shows. Though The Spook School played first, they were our headliners.
Click through for pics of the set and some notes on the bands sharing the stage…
I think I needed a break from Parquet Courts after their first couple of albums; they were everywhere, putting on killer shows and releasing pretty solid tracks. So I took a break, but this great new single definitely has me ready to devote myself to being a Parquet Courts fan. As ever evolving, they still have their distinct sound, though it’s unfolding in different ways, perhaps hard-hitting at moments…this tune in particular seems to have definitive sections…so, diverse, brash and weighed down by hooks…yeah, I’m in. Wide Awake! will be released on May 18th via Rough Trade.
I’ve always admired the work that Jigsaw Records has done, and I’m really stoked on their latest release from Anthony Rochester. Honestly, it’s low-key pop with perfect execution; it’s as endearing as it is dreamy. Opener “Sing us a Seaside Song” works twinkling guitar lines over minimal percussion, or get into the light-hearted side of pop music with “Cat food etc.” Regardless of which song you land on, you’re going to be rewarded with tunes that delight time and time again; Anthony Rochester Sings for You is available now.
Chile’s Maff have already given us one spectacular single, and they’re back with a new tune…this time in English. Once you listen, you’ll clearly hear the distinctive sound of shoegaze, though I’m particularly fond of the presentation here. The verses are soft, predominantly percussion and reverb vocals. It’s the space in between verses where the pedals jump in with walls of distorted guitars cascading down through your speakers. Perhaps the strength of the group is the restraint, as they craft their noise around a central melody, never jumping too far into the noisiness that accompanies the work of many a peer. The band will release their Melanina EP, and let’s hope that sets the tone for a future LP, as I can’t get enough of this.
Collectively, Ralph White and Steve Marsh have a history deep-rooted in the Austin music scene. Together, they’ve written Two Distinguished Gentlemen, with one of the album’s standout tracks running down below. What I’ve come to appreciate about the two is how their musical friendship seems to shine through in their folk stylings, with guitars counteracting, then swinging back into balance. And while those leanings might hint at a purely folk vibe (and it is), there are these light little atmospheric brush strokes that exhilarate even as the song seems to subdue you. It’s the slightest hint of extra effort, elevating the sound beyond mere pastiche. Their LP drops this Friday via Self Sabotage Records.
I’m always on a Josh T. Pearson kick, though admittedly that’s mostly been from that other band he was in back in the day. That being said, there’s a lot of promise from what we’ve heard off his forthcoming The Straight Hits. Opening moments of the tune have Josh carrying his distinctive vocal drawl, but always one to push the envelope, it stretches near falsetto around the 1.30 mark. Something about the keyboard sound almost makes this track playful, and I love the way he swirls the vocals in and out of the front of the mix. This new LP will drop on April 13th via Mute.
The Ancients first came to my attention when they released Night Bus via Chapter Music back in 2013. Today news has made it overseas that the band will release a brand new LP, this time on Tenth Court. There’s a slightly new line-up since the last record, though it still is centered around Jon Michell. In regards to the song, it’s precisely what I love about the band, casually plodding along with these airy guitar chords and delectable melodies floating in and out. They take the liberty to playfully jam out as they wrap up the song’s last minute, filling in every inch of space with layered instrumentation. Prepare to be charmed on February 23rd when they release Frozen Aisle.
Last year’s In the Garden, In the Night EP made huge waves across the music landscape, cementing Emi Night as a songwriter to keep your eyes upon. Strawberry Runners are making a return to SXSW this year, and we caught up with them real quickly to give you a glimpse into their expectations coming back into Austin.
London-based Firestations have been on my radar for some time, and I’m really looking forward to the release of their new LP, The Year Dot. We’ve got their new single below, which should be an indicator of positive things to come when the album hits worldwide. This track takes on a darkened brooding pop tone from the get go, forcefully entering your listening space. But, while the song feels heavy, there are little touches that create the perfect pop balance, particularly the male/female vocals harmonize with one another. It’s like futuristic indiepop, and I dig it. Look for the album to drop on April 6th via Lost Map Records.
Clearly this is the show pop fans have been waiting for, and you’d better get there right at 6:30 so you can prepare yourself for The Spook School. Sure, they’re the opening act, but they might just have released one of the best albums of the year in Could It Be Different. The record is insightful and biting, but also naturally charming…and no one is doing indiepop better than this band. And, they just kill it live. Hands down. Plus, you also get to see a few other way popular acts in Great Grandpa and Diet Cig…they need no introduction. You can still grab yourself tickets HERE, and once you do, get in line behind me because I’ll be rushing to the stage to sing along with the Spooks at the top of my lungs.