Sometimes a friend on the intarwebs shares a band with you via the social media to PYAITK. Fellow music photog Randy tagged me in a post due to my penchant for synth pop after he stumbled across Nation of Language on a Soundcloud bender. They were supposed to come for SxSW where I probably would have stumbled into one of their sets and subsequently followed them around, but recording took the budget. Developing.
Nathan and I’s slow, steady bromance started with The Twilight Sad headlining a show at Emo’s. Our manniversary. The last time I saw the band was opening for The Cure a couple years back. Those of you lucky enough to attend the Cure’s 40th Anniversary party in Hyde park may have been there early to see our friends from Scotland, along with Interpol and Slowdive and many others. Jealous.
The lads from Glasgow have a new track to share via Rock Action Records. With a textural undertone and the gradual surge inwards to focus on James’s vocal, which later gets buried again, the song navigates through all the things I love about the band. You can’t escape the accent, the deliberate clarity of core messages, the layers of guitar and synth that cause focus or escapism. There are new things for me here, or at least new application of familiar tools like how the piano comes in not to haunt or highlight, but to fill. Album news soon, they are touring in the fall, though staying on the west coast and before crossing the northern US and Canada and then heading back to Europe. Come to Austin – tacos, bromance and Lone Stars await.
A piece of straight-up playful pop has been unleashed upon the world. Our friends over at Heist or Hit sent word of the latest track from Her’s, a band that has 100% been on the hit side of that label name for the ATH team. The full-length Invitation to Her’s drops August 24th. Starting with a little bit of Casio keyboard drum machine and hook, “Harvey” charms you like a happy secret. It is a pleasant three and half minutes well worth your investment on a Thursday.
I am the resident sucker for the synthy goodness. We occasionally get a little something in the inbox that catches our eye and more importantly, an ear.
Alexa X is the new project from Michaela Newman. The road to this song includes being a pop-folk duo and some solo work away from the digital landscape. But alas, the synths came calling and Alexa X found a background for the voice that had been there all along. The time spent writing and in studio for anything but a synth shows through in a building and brooding, sparse and tense tale about taking a chance. Solid first single, staying tuned.
ATH was always down for a night out when Letting Up Despite Great Faults was on a bill. Bedroom pop shimmy vibes…
Out of that project, we now have Fanclub (or ffffanclub for your social media searching needs). This trio is comprised of Letting Up lead Mike Lee and drummer Daniel Schmidt with new-to-the-mix-on-vocals Leslie Crunkilton. Some of us at ATH always felt that Mike would find his way into a collab using a female-vocal up front. So, here we are with a shiny new track to give us something use to preview their upcoming appearance during Hot Summer Nights at Mohawk on the 28th.
I absolutely love the synth fopundation on this track.
“Go Low” is the second single off of Film School‘s pending LP release Bright To Death. The record is due 9/14 on the shiny new Hauskat Records. It seems our eight year’s worth of patience is going to be rewarded by a reinvigorated and revitalized Greg Bertens in a collaborative environment with his bandmates that are bringing ideas in like the aforementioned synth line. The new tracks both share the first record depth, the notion that the first major release of any band has a more weight as the first record’s songs carry the artist’s thoughts and motivations of their life up to that point, not just the few months in a studio after a tour. Do you agree?
Glaze played earlyish during our SxSW party, ATH VS SOTO. I called them out as a local highlight when it came time to reflect of this year’s conference. They have an effective blend pop and gaze; do we have Gaze Pop as a sub genre name post tag yet and why not? The trio has released a video for their latest song “Daisy”. The set up for the video is straightforward according to Stephen McEwlee (guitar and vox) – “Falling in love is like being at a carnival… pretty and fun, but by the end of it you’re ready to throw up.” The song also makes me anxious for more new stuff, but if you want to review with the 2017 Wasted Mind EP, check out their bandcamp.
How’s that World Cup going? My beloved Spurs are all having good showings for their respective countries, so far. Kane has two goals, Eriksen another and Trippier was wrecking defensive tactics with quality service from the wing. I digress.
There is no mystery that Ghostly International is one of my favorite labels, from Tycho to Beacon to Matthew Dear. They have another gem of a release pending with Steve Hauschildt‘s full-length album Dissolvi, due early August. Currently working out of Chicago, the Cleveland born producer employs texture and an ethereal vocal from Julianna Barwick to create a haze inducing atmosphere with progressive weight while percussion echoes with subtlety. This record is gonna be good.
Hey y’all. Float Fest is coming up this summer and we’ll have some coverage, but first, we need to remind you that pricing goes up at midnight. If you are on the fence, get in now. Camping is a thing and Amazon sells air-conditioned tents. Take advantage of tubing and then revel in Tame Impala, Modest Mouse, Snoop, White Denim, RTJ, A Giant Dog and many more.
I wanted to highlight a few shows, but Nathan killed that.
Instead, I am going to focus on a PYAITK scenario. There has been so much hype around SURVIVE and deservedly so, super talented team of analog synth artists. Anyone obsessed with SURVIVE should certainly take some time to review the history of the genre, and in particular, spend time with Orbital. Orbital is Paul and Phil Hartnoll, brothers residing in Brighton. I have loved this band since the release of “Chime/Midnight” and “Belfast” singles. Their releases have been remarkably staggered over the last decade, long breaks between releases, sabbaticals, final tours, reunions. But there is a new single and from a new record, which I can only dream will result in them coming close enough to Austin for me to see them again for the first time since the late 90’s. They lead the path that many stopped following, but popularized again by the analog synth revolution, live programming their performances, even “recording live” on occasion. If you know not of the band, I recommend Orbital II (aka the Brown Album) and In Sides to kick you off.
The track featured in the gorgeous video below is called “Tiny Foldable Cities” from the forthcoming Monsters Exist due in September.