Party time people. That’s right, we are kicking off our SXSW coverage this week and really going into full on preview mode. As we tend to do every year, we will coming at you with a whole slew of interviews in the hopes you will appreciate the varied look on the festival. Today we have a new one answered by New Zealand founded, yet no longer based, Yumi Zouma. As always, hit the jump for full interview.
I think my favorite thing about this fresh Wares track is that I was actually unable to pigeonhole the song; it’s got sort of a collection of everything we’re all enjoying in the indie rock community. There’s hints in the opening seconds of emo allegiance, though as the song evolves, dreamier aspects open the tune up, occasionally leaving huge space for rocking breakdowns and Cassia Hardy’s voice. At times, she sings with urgency in her delivery, and at other moments she seems exasperated with the world. Perhaps that’s just a representation of an album titled Survival, with this song shining a light on the importance/joy of “consent and safe sex.” This new LP drops via Mint Records on April 24th.
I want to be forthright and acknowledge that we’ve put out records by 2/3 of Masculine Pain (Big Bill/Literature/Tres Oui). That said, this trio has their pulse on their own brand of synth pop, crafting these seductive, nostalgic beats that are easily digestible, but primed for repeat plays. The band excels in the way they’ve layered the vocals throughout this tune; I think Eric’s voice is the perfect foil for Nate’s sweeping pop tendencies, particularly when they get into chorus mode…don’t be afraid to admit you’re swooning here. As of now, the band are just leaking out singles, so we’ll keep you posted if we hear anything else.
R.E. Seraphin has Austin roots, as songwriter Ray Seraphin spent time in Talkies and our own Mean Jolene, but now he’s living the dream in California. The new project will soon be releasing Tiny Shapes, so why not get this single on your radar. Little guitar stabs and intricately pick notes set the landscape for Seraphin’s voice to deliver these smoky whispers. However, the selling point is definitely the chorus; the song seemingly stops, guitar chords ring and all your emotions crash into one another as Ray delivers the line “I want it all.” Tiny Shapes will be released this Spring by Paisley Shirt Records.
SXSW is here! Well not literally here, but it is getting ever closer as the days go by. I know it’s hard to believe, as many of us feel like we just recovered from the week long fest yesterday. Well it’s here people and it seems like a perfect time to start preparing. As usual, your friendly ATH staff will be providing previews, playlists and our much anticipated SXSW interviews/questionnaires. Now we send these out to a lot of bands in the hopes you can pick up some varying perspectives on the vast amount of bands coming to town and how they approach the week. Our very first interview this year comes by way of Los Angeles based Matthew Doty and his project known as Deserta. Hit the jump for questions and responses from Doty.
Don’t act like we haven’t been hyping up Seablite over the last year or so, and don’t act surprised when I throw another tune your way from the group! I love the latest recording; the band’s trademark fuzz is buried really deep here; still feels like your speakers are broken, but allows for the diamond to come out of the rough. And, boy, does it ever! The vocals come and rise to this sort of crystalline pinnacle, shining at the top of the cymbal crashes and rolling fuzz from beneath. They’re just keeping at the great tunes here. Look for High Rise Mannequins via Meritorio Records and Emotional Response on February 21st.
I’ve spent the last week or so really digging deep into Pure Soul, the newest LP from John Steiner’s recording project as Boy Romeo. Every time I press play, I can’t help but wonder how some folks get big and famous, while others toil in obscurity. For me, this whole LP is a brilliant collection of pop songs; it should be a huge record, even as indie standards go. You can just take the singles to start. “Let’s Roll” has this surf-y swagger filled with hints of doo-wop and vocal layering that would make Brian Wilson smile. “Sophie” brings in a high-stepping jangle, meant to kick your heels up and have some fun, even with a sly hint at 80s club dance floors. But, a great LP needs a ballad, which you get in “Daydream” as the album draws near a close. That doesn’t even cover a song like “Pastels,” which could draw Steiner some Dent May comparisons, but here we have him going all in with a big horn solo added to the mix. Oh, and you need an art-y song too? Well, there’s “Waiting for My Call,” which stretches a solid pop number into a synth exploration. This LP has it all, and you can have it all too if you grab a copy from Z Tapes tomorrow when the album drops! Here it all below!
Opening a song with the chorus seems dangerous, unless you’re Girlatones; they’re a fearless pop outfit from Australia with loads of experience in writing hits. Their newest single jumps right in with this bouncing bop; you can’t listen to those first 15 seconds and not be in head over heels with this tune. The verses don’t let you down either, shimmering like some of the best power-pop you’re likely to hear this day, or ever. Oh, and just a little melodic left turn at the 1:10 minute? You didn’t see that coming did you! Horn if You’re Honky already has my favorite tune of the year, so add this to another reason we’ll be pumped for its release by Lost and Lonesome/Meritorio Records on March 20th.
It’s really interesting to hear what’s being accomplished in the electronic realm of things, like with the Seattle duo Hallows. I thought I had the song all figured out at first, bringing in this driving sparkling synth pop; it was like the sweeter little sister of Crystal Castles. But, then the song took a turn, switched vocalists, and catered to this dark, cavernous haunt, equally as enthralling, however. Things get even more exploratory in the last minute of the tune, bringing in both a little bit of the song’s natural pop tendencies mixed by the tune’s latter dangerous half. This track will appear on the group’s debut Subtle EP, out March 18th via Phage Tapes.
Mopac first caught our ear a few years back when the band released their Kayfabe LP back in 2017; they’ve been hard at work getting out and playing shows, and writing their new Burn & Soothe EP. One thing I really like about the tune below is the introduction of Christin Monts as one of the band’s driving forces; her vocal performance seems to push the band’s sound in a different direction than where they’ve been previously. It can maybe draw some similarities to Alvvays in the way the voice stretches the notes atop the mix, though the music still feels like its in the wheelhouse of the group. It’s a nice change of pace, and one that I think ultimately benefits the new EP…which is out this week!