After a somewhat down year in 2018 for music, I’m moving into 2019 with the hopes of finding some inspiration via new bands and tunes. Today I look no further than Jacksonville, FL based band Sea Cycles and their new single entitled “Quota”. It’s as if a band like Choir of Young Believers took their mellow pop and meshed with with the striking beats of a band like Grizzly Bear. Here’s to a new year, and new music.
Sharon Van Etten is poised for great things in 2019, at least if you read all the cool blogs and what not. I’ve always enjoyed her work, but I’m admittedly on the fence with the new sound. Her voice has always had this emotional sprawl and surprising range, but that’s always been draped over some great guitar work. This time around, the vocals have the same power, but there’s less guitar and more prominent electronics. It still pulls at your emotions, and Van Etten can still draw you in on her voice alone, but, I just am not connecting like I once did. But, who am I to say…make your own choices. You can do that when Remind Me Tomorrow drops on January 18th via Jagjaguwar.
I’ve definitely been way into Fog Lake, but somehow the Carousel EP slipped past me during peak list season. But, over the break, perhaps this was the one piece of music I kept returning to time and time again. There’s something nostalgic in the work of Aaron Powell, as if we’re looking back on the classic sound of the 50s. But, rather than just make it a revisiting project, he’s adapted his own sound, quieting his voice, muddying the mix just a bit, leaving you with more of an homage to the past. I’m in love with every song on this EP, and I reckon you will be too. It’s listed as NYP, but remember, tip your favorite bands!
As someone who runs a label (and works on this web site), a lot of folks outside Austin probably assume it’s a full time gig. Truth be told, my main gig is as an 8th Grade Teacher, then a soccer coach, then the site and the label. It got me to thinking of all the other small labels that are out there that I follow closely; they’ve all got their own stories, their own side hustles to make things work in order to bring you the music they believe is the best. So I reached out to a few of them of them to see if they’d briefly share their stories; today we have words from Lost Sound Tapes, The Nothing Song, HHBTM and Arrowhawk Records. Read more
As most blogs and sites get back to work today, there’s only one song, at least that’s come my way, that will lift your spirits; it’s this delightful new tune from Kirsten Peckham. The instrumentation instantly creates this healthy bounce, from the jagged guitar lines dancing around strummed ukulele and a rolling back beat…I dare you not to tap your toes. Peckham has this smoky voice that rides throughout the tune, but I’ve found myself captivated by the way it rises and falls around various notes…not to mention the very soft backing vocal just beneath the mix. You’ll find this charming number on Kirsten’s new album, KP Time!, which is being released on January 25th via Crush Grove Records.
Dan Francia seems willing to let all his friends (features members of OVLOV, Gobbin Jr and Titus Andronicus) play on his forthcoming debut, Coming Back to Life, and we’re all the better for it. A wonky note opens the track before keyboards walk in with the song’s natural hook. But, that’s about as normal as the song gets, structurally. Guitars and bass and vocals pop up intermittently, trading places with one another as Francia corrals his friends into this recording. It layers everything in a unique fashion, leaving the listener with an insatiable desire to revisit each and every note that caught their fancy. The new effort will be released by Exploding in Sound on January 25th.
As many of us head back to work full time for the first time in awhile, it’s important to find some music to uplift your spirit and keep you focused. My new friend Mr. Jason Matu out of Brooklyn, NY has just the thing for you with his new single “I Don’t Wanna Do It”. His sound reminds me distinctly of a guy like Damien Jurado if he wrote more ironic/funny songs like David Bazan. Those are of course two artists I love so naturally this track is tailor made for me and I hope you enjoy it as well.
I’ve always enjoyed Go Fever, but if there’s an Austin band that I’m pulling for this year, it’s them! They already dropped one anthemic gem of a pop tune, and with their latest single they don’t look to stop. Acey walks into the song with this seemingly sullen attitude; it’s a cool effort, though you get the feeling by the increased paced of the percussion that we’re in for more. Suddenly you’re thrust into this twirling chorus, dizzying in its pop sensibility, bordering on over the top. But, therein lies the brilliance…they bring cool back to saccharine that hits home for us all. The group should have a new effort coming right around the corner.
Jared Boulanger has been a long-time friend of the site, and so it seems fitting we start off our 2019 with another Austin Story, this one from the leader of Sour Notes/Memory Keepers, wherein he talks about hardships and being grateful. And, if you’re interested in hearing Jared’s work live, he has two shows for our infamous Free Week: January 1st at Volstead and January 5th at Barracuda! Read on to hear Jared’s story. Read more
Viking Moses is the moniker of songwriter Brendon Massei, and he’s finishing up the work on his next album, Cruel Child; it’ll come out in early next year via Epifo. Today we’ve got one of the album’s standout tunes, and it’s a seemingly simple track, working with little more than guitar and vocals. That said, there’s this natural emotive quality that lurks in these songs; it’s a connection between your speakers and Brendon that is some rarely accomplished. Each time I press play here, I tend to think back to last year and a Ted Leo solo set I caught that kept me captivated for over an hour. Viking Moses presents the same passion and knack for songwriting, so go on and hear for yourself.