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Art Is Hard Records to Release 4 Way Split

4wayMicrolabels have to go to great lengths to stay afloat, and often that means they come up with some really creative ways to release music to the masses.  For instance, one of my favorites, Art Is Hard Records, are releasing a rad 4-way split featuring Fruit Bomb, Living Hour, Bruising and Abattoir Blues; it’s a pretty rad idea, and even if it’s done before, it doesn’t take away from the hard work of the label. If you haven’t heard this Living Hour stream yet, check it out below, and consider picking up the Split from the label; it’ll be worth your money.

SXSW 2015 Interview: Moon Duo

moon duo bannerMoon Duo is prepping the release of their new album, Shadow of the Sun, and with that, they’ll also be coming into Austin to show off their new jams…based on this interview, you might get to hear them all. I highly suggest you check these guys out; I’ve been impressed both times I’ve seen them.  They craft their shows specifically to fit their music, so you’re getting an experience, more than just a good old fashioned rock show. Check out what they had to say below.  Read More

Turn to Crime Announce Album Details

ttcWhen I first heard this track open, I thought that Turn to Crime was going to offer some high-energy electro rock, but just as that twelfth second rolled around they completely went all J Mascis on me.  The guitar play is distorted, though with more of a modern touch to it, as opposed to a nostalgic alterna vibe. Still, there’s something undeniable in this track, something that grabs you and has you pressing play over and over again.  This bodes well for the new release from the group, Actions, which is seeing a release on April 28th via Mugg & Bopp.


Have You Heard the New Alexei Shishkin

alexeiA few weeks ago we talked to you about the new Forged Artifacts artist Alexei Shishkin, and now we’ve got yet another tune to really get you inside the songwriter’s head.  On the latest single Alexei seems to turn his focus into the lyrical content, lamenting the loss of a life near the ocean.  It’s interesting when you put that next to our modern world where we’re all seemingly too caught up to catch a breath, so I can empathize with Shishkin’s longing for a slower pace to life. Take a listen and look for The Dog Tape to appear in April.

Fresh Ryley Walker Tune

ryleyOur first listen to the new effort from Ryley Walker was more of a piano-based ballad; it did however show some glimpses of things to come, hinting at the power he’s likely to unleash on his album, Primrose Green.  This tune offers you that inside look; you will find that same remarkable vocal display, but the latter half of the tune really pushes the envelope into a more raucous world where we’re all free to jam out. It’s like singer-songwriter fare, but with an oomph to it, falling just short of being an all-out jam track.  Look for his new effort to be released by Dead Oceans on March 31st.

The Black Ryder – The Door Behind The Door


Rating: ★★★★½

The Black Ryder consists of Aimee Nash and Scott Von Ryper, who hail from Australia, but have recently relocated to L.A. Back in 2009 they released their first album, Buy The Ticket, which earned them some recognition as they premiered their self-proclaimed “rhinestone drone dark rock” music. The Door Behind The Door is a dramatic and gorgeous exploration of this genre, complete with standout tracks as well as an intensifying growth over the course of its duration.

If you were to listen to the first and last track of this record, you would be mystified as how one could lead to the other. Opener “Babylon” is a swirling and twisted slow core jam, complete with heavily distorted guitars that rip through the mix for a brief introduction. Then the band moves into their sweet spot: a sometimes-hazy wall of dark sound comprised of detailed and alarmingly subtle nuances that move you. Take one of my favorite numbers, “Let Me Be Your Light” for example. This number slinks in with its whirring sound and slowly takes off, the transparent vocals of Aimee Nash giving the whole number a juxtaposition between the lightness of her voice and the heaviness of the instrumentation. Infectious, deeply moving, well crafted, this song, as well as the rest of the numbers, hit you in a place you didn’t even know existed.

By the end of the album, there’s an overall shift from the heavy rock that The Black Ryder rolls in with to a beautiful and elegant refined orchestral sound; the very opposite of the historical progression of these genres. However, this transition feels nothing but natural and right for the band, as even when they dwell on the noisier side of things, there are signs of this elegance that creeps into the mix even in the beginning of the album. Like a well crafted novel or movie, upon second or third listen all the way through, you notice these subtle moments of foreshadowing embedded in the mix on moments like “Let Me Be Your Light.” Once you revisit the album, these moments become ever more apparent, calling your attention to the precision and intricacy that this band have done so well. When you reach the stirring last number, “La Dernier Sommeil (The Final Sleep),” you are ready for the tune, but still overwhelmed by its instrumental grace and fluidity.

The Door Behind The Door is a sprawling, constantly changing and progressing work from this duo that resembles a walk down a winding path, one which continuously gives you a breathtaking view with each curve you round. At 54 minutes in length, it begs you to simply sit down and do nothing but listen, letting the music wash over you in waves, though if you’re not careful it’ll sweep you away in the best possible way.


ATX Show Spotlight: Xetas Record Release @ Hotel Vegas (TONIGHT!)

XetasIn a week with several great local releases (Zoltars/Quiet Company included), you’ve got to show up tonight to catch the ballsy rock display that Xetas continuously bring to the stage. The work they’ve put into The Redeemer completely catches their live energy, harnessing it into a ball of fury that’s ready to destroy your Apple headphones; you’ll likely want to hear this record on the best stereo possible.  Go out to Hotel Vegas tonight, as they band will be joined by other local heavy-hitters, Spray Paint, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes and New China.  And if you can’t make it out to the show, grab the album from 12XU; you won’t be let down, I swear it.

Night Drive Release New Music + Video

Night DriveIf you have taken our advice over the last couple of months, you would have already heard this song during a Night Drive set. “Easy to Lie” was an instant ATH IT Department favorite; slightly droning, shimmy inducing, ringing guitar layer. Just so happens, this jam is now available for streaming at the Night Drive soundcloud and to push things over the top, they did a video for the song. It is a stylish throwback, something these guys get pegged for musically, so it all feels right. Click here for iTunes buying.


Stream the track below or click through to watch the video…

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Hazy Return for Vaadat Charigim

vladeThe last time I covered the work of Tel Aviv’s Vaadat Charigm, the band had more of a bend towards psychedelia.  But, as they grow, they’ve crafted this sound that adheres to their influences while still pushing forward in a heavier sonic direction.  This new single has a sound akin to various heavy-hitters out there, with a haunting vocal tone that’s wrapped in a hazy swirl of guitars and atmospheric distortion.  It’s a darkened touch on their own sound; it should make listening to their new effort, Sinking as a Stone, quite a journey.  Look for the album via Burger Records on May 5th.

Mellow Ballad from Big Search

serchinI can’t say that I know much about the IFC show Maron, but I know that when this song from Big Search is featured in the series, it’s going to catch the ears of many a listener.  It’s a ballad of longing, not only in the references to the lyrics, but in the emotive quality of the song’s production.  Seemingly, the song holds onto a fashion that makes it seem as if it’s fading out into the distance, though I think that’s just the quality of the creation created by Matt Popieluch, the man behind the music.  If you’re not an IFC watcher, enjoy the wonderful song below.

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