Show Review: The Radio Dept @ Mohawk

I’m sure if you’ve ever read our site, you know how much I was looking forward to the Radio Dept blowing into Austin on a crisp evening. My anticipation was pretty high, and for the most part, the band was successful in their delivery to a grateful crowd.

Photoguy Comment: During their set, fans would randomly raise their hands in an effort to catch the music. I love that feeling. It happened a lot. It also rained just after their set was done. That was cool.

Thoughts and B.Gray photos follow.
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Indiepop from Secret Meadow

It seems that the arms of Jigsaw Records are stretching across all continents, with the influential label now reaching its hands into Indonesia to work with Secret Meadow. The project is fairly new, or so we’re told, but holds great promise. Guitar chords spin around within the confines of the song, especially during the more instrumental latter half of the track. Spiritually, it’s uplifting, as most great indiepop should be, filled with fantastic energy and just enough coated darkness to add a layer of mysteriousness. Together, they label and band have just released Same the Old Fear EP, which you can stream below.

Stream Dag’s Debut, Benefits of Solitude

Since late last year, Dag has been pretty high on my musical radar. The band crafts this dreamily discordant rock n’ roll. It’d be easy to toss this act in the bin with the rest of their Oceanic peers, but there are some things that stick out to my ears that elevate the sound on Benefits of Solitude. You’ll hear some little bits of noise, be it squawking horns or string instruments stretched to the maximum of their tones. “Exercise” and “Guards Down” have to wear the badge of lead singles, but while those offer more swinging energy, don’t skip on some of the more subdued numbers like “Company” or “JB,” — the latter sounds a great deal like Tim Kasher. You might even just jump right in with my favorite, “Staying Up at Night.” Clearly, one run through, and you’ll find textured indie rock begging for repeated plays, so be sure to guarantee your listening by buying it from Bedroom Suck Recordsthis Friday

ATX Spotlight: New Daphne Tunes

We’re really excited to be releasing Growl’s new LP, but like most Austin bands, the rest of the group are constantly working on other projects. For singer Santiago, he’s been honing his craft in Daphne as of late. His voice always has this mellow shine to it, drifting through the ether; that quality is definitely present throughout this number. Musically, the band takes on a casual indie vibe, with a faint bit of piano/keys tinkering in the background. I think the feeling of the track is best exemplified by the line “I won’t shout it;” there’s no need to break out the noise here. Sit back, be cool and enjoy Daphne tunes today.

Brand New Secret Shine Tune

The last decade has seen a huge resurgence in acts claiming to nod to shoegaze, but it’s great to see one of the genres oldest purveyors making a new album. Secret Shine have just announced There is Only Now, which they’ll be releasing through Saint Marie Records. The first single is drenched in quietly squalling guitars, yet there’s a softness to the vocals, letting the band walk a line where the voice is almost an added textural element. I always thought the original sound in shoegaze came across a little harsh, but these guys (and gal) craft it melodically, which is music to my ears. The release will hit on March 17th.

Here’s Some More New Magnetic Fields

Not really sure how many folks will be working today, so why not run something we’re all going to love…at least I think we should. It’s a new video from Magnetic Fields, offering another glimpse at what’s to come with 50 Song Memoir. While we’re all pretty used to Stephin’s ukulele, he opts for a song entirely built on synthesizers. His voice is spoken word for the most part, except when he offers that deepened croon during the song’s chorus. I love the fact that Merritt always stretches his songwriting when he takes on these elaborate musical plans. The album is being released by Nonesuch on March 10th…and I’m oh so ready.

Show Preview: The Radio Dept @ Mohawk (2.20)

Long ago, when I was really into buying soundtracks, I picked up the Marie Antoinette CD. Admittedly, I bought it because of the Strokes, but it opened the door to my obsession with the Radio Dept. At the time, my tastes were pretty broad, indie rock speaking, but this opened an entire different world to my realm. Their songs were always playful, rooted in this expansive bit of electronica, though they tended to experiment a bit more than the other things I was listening to at that age. What struck me, probably later than my first few listens, was the band’s ability to drape political content in this airy delight that was supremely rewarding. I’ve picked up everything I could get my hands on throughout the years, with Clinging to a Scheme being my personal favorite. If you’re new to the band, I suggest Passive Aggressive, which is a great compilation from some of their best 2000-era work. They come to the Mohawk Monday night, for what I’m assured will be an exhilarating experience. It’s fresh off some rave reviews for their recent album, Running Out of Love, reigniting America’s love for these Swedes. They’ll be joined by Brooklyn’s Germans. Buy your tickets HERE. Not many make music as grand as this, but when they do, you’re better off if you come experience it live!

Bouncing Ballad from Sono Oto

The odds are, like me, you’ve heard the work of Mark Henry Phillips; he’s done musical work for the Serial podcast, and much more. But, now he’s working under the moniker as Sono Oto and prepping his first release. A few snaps of the drum sticks, and the piano and snare bounces him off into playful pop realms; it reminds me of a different version of Albert Hammond Jr, especially on the way he elongates certain vocal notes/syllables. While the song’s structure seems fairly simple, strings and other bits beneath illustrate there’s much more beneath the surface for Phillips. Can’t wait to hear the entirety of Inheritance on March 24th.

More New Music from Will Johnson

Looks like I’m just going to listen to Undertow Records for the entirety of the year 2017. They’ve got the new David Bazaan, The New Year and this great new LP from Will Johnson. On his latest single, I can’t help but be nostalgic about being a Texan; it’s a pride that runs deep…and whether Will means it or not, he’s captured that. I can hear myself playing with friends in the yard as music plays in the distance, or studying for school while my dad’s record collection plays through the walls in the other room; there’s bending strings, extra orchestration and of course, Johnson’s croon.Something about this song just feels like home. Hatteras Night, a Good Luck Charm comes out via the label on March 24th.

Weekend Show Preview

We’re nigh approaching SXSW season, so naturally you should be taking advantage of the fact that your city has great music to see year round and head out to a show this weekend before it’s so crowded that you can’t stand it. Below are merely the highlights and my picks as to where you should post up Friday and Saturday nights. Wherever you go, you really can’t go wrong; the weather should be lovely, so go outside during the day and round out your night somewhere downtown…

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