We’ve heard some of the upcoming work that’s being previewed for 2016, but I don’t think anything has quite piqued my interest quite like the new stuff coming from Matt Kivel. There’s a sincerity in his voice, prevalent through the other work we’ve heard from him in advance of next year’s Janus. I suppose some might beg for more, musically, but I think it’s needed, with the guitar steadying Kivel’s voice throughout the track. Feels good to just let yourself go in this tune here. Look for Janus on February 5th of next year via Driftless Recordings.
I got turned onto this little Seattle act last week, and have been returning to the two tracks that are being offered by Pleather. I’m familiar with the members, as the vocals are done by Claire Nelson of FF (love ’em) and Andrew McKibben of Couple Skate Records seems to be handling the production. It’s definitely interesting, even if it’s just a little one-off project for the duo. I appreciate the soft touch of Nelson’s vocals, and I think the accessibility of these tracks is super apparent, despite the odd cat sounds filtered in here and their. Should have a tape on its way to you soon via Couple Skate this month.
I’m really impressed with the sound of what Museyroom is doing, especially on this track. It’s not quite indiepop, but it’s not quite bland indie rock, laying somewhere in the middle of both. I appreciate the fact that they’re taking the modern trappings and sort of spinning them in a slightly different direction…particularly the crashing moments coming around the 2.5 minute mark where they draw out the melody ’til the song’s closing moments. Folks will finally get to hear the band’s much-anticipated debut, Pearly Whites, via Grind Select in March of next year.
Listening closely to this single from Aimee deBeer, it’s becoming clear that the power of voice is wholly enchanting…to me anyways. Aimee’s voice sounds youthful and familiar, but there’s this really pristine quality when she manages to hit the higher notes. Lyrically, she seems to be battling it out within herself as she’s confronted with her own demons, her own being. Still, while I like it a great deal, I don’t even think the vocals need the musical accompaniment; it’s that special of a performance. Word on the street is that a new EP will be on its way very shortly; I’ll keep you posted.
It’s that time of year when we all throw arbitrary numbers at you, trying to convince you that our tastes are the best. But, I’m going to try taking a slightly different approach this year, giving you just a list of great Austin records that came out this year, but with no numbers or anything. These are just the LPs that connected with me in some way or another throughout 2015. There’s no particular order, just a bunch of records you should probably own. Also, I added some helpful BUY links for you to take you right to where you can get the goods. Just take my word for it and go buy those things.
Sweet Talk – Double Perfect
Stephen Svacina takes on our mundane world, turns it into catchy pop punk, and leaves it memorable. Recommended for those who like high energy tunes that you’ll remember for the rest of your times. BUY
Reservations – Taking Time
‘To be honest.’ some records hit all the right notes, and hit home. The full length debut by Jana Horn and Reservations is just that. Well-crafted, sincere. A joy of orchestrated indie folk. BUY
Lochness Mobsters – War Tuna
Immediate disclaimer. I helped put this record out. These boys take on the modern Austin cliche of garage-psych and turn it into a sweaty party that’s been proven to rile up audiences, then flip the world upside down by breaking into Beastie Boys. Too good. BUY
Video – The Entertainers
Snarling rock n’ roll, no holds barred. I mean come on, you can’t discard the fact that Third Man Records had a hand in getting these tracks out. People are taking notice. BUY
The Zoltars – s/t
Jared is another of Austin’s artists that probably doesn’t get nearly the amount of credit that he deserves, crafting some of the best guitar pop. Pop songs like the one’s on this album aren’t written every day, and when they are, they last in your memory forever. BUY
Stiletto Feels – The Big Fist
Geoff Earle makes good on his promise to get everyone grooving, while still supplying enough grit to make it important. One of the most diverse in sound to come out of the city; you’re bouncing to electronic elements before guitars jump in to guarantee that this is more than just a programmed, laptop affair. BUY
Grape St. – Wallpaper
Another batch of hooks. Another batch of songs from Curtis O’Mara. If you know me, you know I’ll never get tired of listening to his work. Some guys just get you. BUY
Spray Paint – Dopers
I have to apologize to Spray Paint, as this is the only record of theirs that’s going to make it onto my list this year. Maybe people are tired of these guys, but how can you look away when they’re just continuing to release solid album after solid album. It should say a lot that even when they’re so prolific, they never seem to leave you with a track that you can throwaway. BUY
Single Lash – s/t
Lurking beneath the belly of Austin’s rock n’ roll scene is a slowly blossoming shoegaze/indiepop scene. There’s this dense coat of atmosphere coating the album, making it perfect for those who seek darkness reinforced by standard pop structures. BUY
BOAN – Mentiras
If I were still into making mixed CDs for people, “Babylon” would be one of the opening moments; it’s perfect in both it’s simplicity and its construction. One of the few electronic Austin acts that really matter. BUY
Xetas – The Redeemer
How do you take the tenacity and fuel of a great live band, then capture it on tape? Well, Xetas did it, and you’ll be remiss for skipping over the record. BUY
Institute – Catharsis
A few years ago everyone was raging about The Men. That was fair, but if you’re looking for solid rock n’ roll, I hate to tell you that Institute does it better. Catharsis is one of those albums that seems timeless from the moment you press play; it sounds familiar, yet the songs brim with attitude and execution that you’re not going to find in many scenes. BUY
Good Field – Future Me
Indie rock is only sustainable when it’s executed perfectly. These guys nailed it on this go round, giving us the “Business.” Smells like Spoon, sounds like awesome. BUY
Abram Shook – Landscape Dream
Guys. Abram Shook. How many times do we have to tell you. ABRAM SHOOK! Another perfect collection of songs. BUY
You know we’re always keeping our eyes on the scene in Finland, and Varvara is one of the band’s overseas making some waves with their new effort on the way. This time around, they’ve released this cracking rocker, akin to some classic college rock sounds. Maybe it’s just me, but the more I listen to this song, the more I feel they owe a debt to Robert Pollard, though I will say that the group have definitely upped the production quality on their offering. Stay tuned to the track for the soft breakdown lurking in the middle. They’ll be releasing Death Defying Tricks in January via Haminian Sounds.
Recently, I caught Antemasque at FFF Fest. Despite the endless talent musically, the songs just didn’t really appeal to me; they didn’t have any accessibility or focus. But, that’s why Jim Ward has always been the unheralded mastermind that made At the Drive In work. You can hear his songwriting talents in his Sleepercar project, though the sound is admittedly a slight bit more Western. Still, there’s soul to this song, featured on his new Breathe and Count EP. There’s hints of Beck in Ward’s vocals on this round, but I love how the song opens slowly, then erupts a little bit later on down the line…sort of like a journey with Jim. If you’re in Austin, he plays at the Mohawk Wednesday night to celebrate the new EP.
Sure, we hit up this dreamy new song from Sea Pinks a few weeks ago, but we wanted to remind you of its greatness by way of this video the band just released over the holiday break. It’s interesting, as the band is playing behind some psychedelic washes on the wall, which seems to be a little different than the feel of the track. But, it’s still a solid performance video, hopefully hipping folks to the band’s sound prior to the release of their new record, Soft Days, which hits January 8th via CF Records.
After a brief little hiatus, we’re trying to play catch up with some of the tunes that came out last week. This one immediately caught my attention, seeing as Yndi Halda hasn’t released an album for some eight years. Well, like us, they’re back with something new, and I love the understated approach taken on this tune. Everything seems equal here, even the vocals seem to sit right inside the main mix of this tune. Still, the band employ a post rock approach, building and building towards a crescendo that never quite comes. encouraging listeners to keep coming back for more. Definitely excited to see what comes our way when the new LP is unleashed in March.
It’s a gray day here in the ATX, which makes me prone to listen to the kind of hazy dream-like tracks that Newcastle artist Keiandra is putting out. This new track, taken from her debut EP Empty Places, which is due out early next year, is a crescendoing sequence of layered vocals and minimalist instrumentation which creates this elegant and mystical sound to “Wanted.” Each sound melts into the next, generating a multi-faceted aspect to the song that reminds me of other alt-folk female artists like Daughter bring to the table. Take a listen below and get a little lost in the song.