While Will Johnson has long been a revered songwriter in Texas, I don’t think he’s ever fully indulged in the state’s penchant for country ballads. He offers us glimpses in various releases, and this new single is one such tune. His voice remains his distinctive trademark, but it’s the sliding guitar, bellowing backing vocals and the light percussive touches that really set up the landscape for his approach here. Hatteras Night, a Good Luck Charm will be released on March 24th, giving us a full album’s worth of what are great tunes, with scattered tour dates across the country through June.
Happy Monday everybody! We are very excited this morning to announce Slack Capital 2, a compilation of unreleased songs by 27 of Austins greatest underground and up-and-coming bands. 100% of all proceeds will go to SafePlace, an Austin non-profit dedicated to providing resources for women, children and men hurt by sexual and domestic violence.
Starting today, we will unveil one song per day until the albums release date on April 14. Anytime until then you can can pre-order the album as a digital download ($7 or more) or a compact disc ($10 or more) right here at ATH Records.
The song we’re spotlighting today is Gold Driver, by psych-rockers The Diamond Center. With its swirling keys, hypnotic guitar lines and haunting lead vocals by Brandi Price, this song is lush and mysterious, like getting lost in a desert marketplace only to be picked up by a Rolls Royce limousine. Moody enough for the leather jacket-types but groovy enough for the OG hippies, Gold Driver is a perfect song to kick off todays announcement, and to reinvigorate your post-SXSW work week.
– Eric Braden of Big Bill
I was fortunate to catch Spinning Coin at the Glasgow Buckaroo Ball, so as I went through my emails, this tune stood out, grinning at me, waiting for me to play it. It’s an out-of-tempo little gem, semi-shuffling with choppy guitar chords and the occasional emphatic shout from the distance. While there’s a definite pop sensibility within, you get the sense that this group is working outside the confines of tradition and style, brandishing their own flare as they push forward. They’ll release the Raining on Hope Street 7″ via Domino on March 24th.
Little Star caught my ear with these dreamy little guitar noodlings that work within the confines of their latest single. But, what caught my ear faded as I grew more and more enamored with the slight little turns of tone in the vocals. They’re wrapped up nicely around the swirling guitars, and its just playful enough to elevate the sound beyond many of the peers offering like-minded, dreamy pop. Good Cheer Records will be releasing the band’s self-titled LP on April 14th, and this is a really promising way to get folks excited!
Every year Art is Hard Records try to come up with unique ways to get new music out into the world, and this year they’re doing so with their Postcard Singles Collection. The latest to be part of the collection is Hot Shorts, a Manchester act offering distorted guitar pop. This track is all about discovering the metaphors for mundane life changes, such as hair loss. Something about this song reminds me of late 90s college rock, filled with hooks and huge riffs that ring out in your ears. Pick up the Postcard Single now.
From the moment this tune hit, it felt like it was falling off the proverbial tracks; the recording has this live mentality that many of us pine for in our listening. You’ll even find a layer of pop sensibility placed within the ringing guitars and bobbing bass grooves. Through it all, Top Down manage to keep this tenacious rock vibe, perfect in its little imperfections…emphasized by the little “whoa ohs” that burst through your speakers. They’ll be releasing their album Rough Roads on March 17th via Voodoo Doughnut Recordings.
I’m going out on a limb here, but the new tunes from The Sea Life make me think of Omaha’s music scene in the early 00s. The vocal pitch is a bit off, even a little strained, but it’s filled with passion. There’s even a few hooks amidst the distorted chug of the guitars, opening up as the guitars begin to twinkle ever so carefully. I’m always looking to feel a bit more youthful, and this tune is doing just the trick. Look to find the band’s self-titled LP in stores on May 26th via Babe City Records/Art Is Hard Records.
Friday’s feel like they’re great for folk tunes. Luckily this new Jake Xerxes Fussell just hit the old inbox, bringing with it a classic bit of balladeering. It’s a fairly simple take, mostly just stripped down guitar and vocals, with light accompaniment in the background. There’s a nostalgic vibe to me, reflecting the history of great songwriting gone past; it’s not a sound you hear too often these days, which is refreshing in and of itself. Really looking forward to the release of What a Natural World, an apt title; it hits on March 31st via Paradise of Bachelors.
Late in 2015 Stutter Steps quietly released their debut album; I fawned over it, single after single. Ben Harrison’s outfit are back at it again with the new Floored EP, which features the title track we’re streaming below. Those of you who frequently revisit your Flying Nun record collection will likely be playing this song for the rest of the day. It features a beautifully balanced bit of vocal harmonies throughout, with these lightly angular guitars dancing around one another. There’s a steady sensation that only comes from the best execution of pop music. Blue Arrow will be releasing the album on a limited 12″ come June!
For me, SXSW is all about friendships; you make new friends you’ll share a lifetime with, and ultimately, that’s what’s been so great for me the last twenty years of attending. One such friend hails from Glasgow, and he’s bringing a bunch of his friends over for an official showcase at Mohawk next Friday! The Glasgow Buckaroo Ball features hot Scottish acts like Pinact, The Pooches, Catholic Action, Happy Meals, Spinning Coin and Womps! Should be a great night where all our Scottish friends get to share in their love of Texas, so come find us boogieing all night long! Here’s a few jams to get you going.