You look around the Internet these days and the landscape looks very similar; it all feels the same. But, enter Office Culture and their album, I Did the Best I Could; it opens the door to a blend of pop music that’s as refreshing as it is nostalgic. “Molly” is a jam reminiscent of early Jens Lekman, focusing on the vocals, while letting the music fill in the space behind. Other tracks like “Fool” pull in barroom crooner vibes, though they layer backing vocals and guitar stabs to build the pop sensibility. I’m looking around, browsing my musical library, and there’s nothing quite like the listen I lay before you. This is where pop music succeeds. This is where you’ll find your happy place. The LP hits this Friday.
For the last few months, I’ve been raving about the new music of Romantic States, and since Friday, I’ve spent a lot of time spinning their latest LP, Corduroy in Italy. While the singles have been great at teasing what was to come, opener “In My Arms” illustrates just how far the band has come, perfect blending elements of slow core and fuzzy indiepop. Ilenia and Jim switch singing roles throughout, but I think theIlenia’s performance on “Half Your Life” might just steal the show. Seems cliche, but there’s honestly not a bad song on this entire LP. Go grab it from Gentle Reminder Records; it won’t disappoint.
Debate Club has been on my radar for a bit now, as I closely follow their label, Beko Disques, who do a great job of discovering gems abroad I probably wouldn’t ever hear about. The band release the Fish Fry EP today, and it’s a noisy number of heavy pop songs that will surely find room in your listening rotation this week (and beyond). Fans of new psych stylings will find that the darkened style of the group is entrancing on its own, though be warned of the slight pop sensibility that becomes apparent the more you listen to the EP. Standout track “Depeche” is one of my favorite tracks of the month thus far, especially as the vocals are stretched and the rhythm section pounds in your ears. Go grab the EP today!
With all the nods to pop music, you very rarely find something as endearing (and creative) as Edmonson‘s Strange Durations. Through ten songs, the brothers from Gainesville build layer upon layer of extravagant harmony, experimenting with various flourishes throughout. Songs like “Turnings” see the band experimenting with balladry, with a bouncing piano that moves into a more elegant territory as the vocals reach for angelic tones. I love how the lyrical content reflects the changes in the mundane, such as on “Mobius Strip;” it’s a thematic element that allows every listener a chance to find their own phrase to latch onto in the end.
Don’t rush through your listening of this stream, as it is not an album you can fully absorb without giving attention to the finer details within its confines. There’s such care to every movement, and every note that you’ll quickly find yourself lost deep within Strange Durations. It’s out today via Elestial Sounds Records.
Before there were blogs and music streaming there was the Black Watch. Now, 15 albums into their career, the band have crafted what I’m going to say is their best work yet. Each time I play it, I’m struck by something that has me scrambling to press repeat, to tune into a note or an element I didn’t hear the first run though, even now as I speak, I’m doing just that. If you’re a fan of pop music and poetry, stream The Gospel According to John. And if you want my two-cents on the track by track breakdown, skip beyond the jump. Otherwise, pick up the album tomorrow courtesy of The Eskimo Record Label and Pop Culture Press.
Life got you down? No energy? Well, Skittle Alley is here to make the world a little bit better. They’re spritely indiepop is precisely what’s needed to uplift the spirits. “When She Dance” immediately had me smiling with its ringing guitar chords working over tight percussive lines. Or, you can jump to the end to find a dreamy dose with “They Can’t Cast a Shadow,” allowing your soul to float into the world with a warm grin. Indiepop might not be for everyone, but I promise you can’t turn away from End of a Story; I suggest downloading it immediately!
Slack Capital 2 is a compilation of music by 27 of the most exciting bands in Austin. All proceeds go to SafePlace, which provides support for victims of domestic and sexual violence. We’ve been unveiling one song per day until the the release party on April 14, which is today!
Song of the day: SLUGBUG — “When The Words”
If you live in Austin and care about music– and by music I mean good music– and by good music I mean weird music– you haaaaaave to know about SLUGBUG. SLUGBUG is the longtime musical project of synth ber-wizard Paul D. Millar, who truly forges his own path with his songs of prime neurotic pop bliss. Like a more German-influenced Ariel Pink, or Devo on a hallucinatory trip, SLUGBUG is built quite efficiently to groove you– think Robocop on speed at a disco– but also, even though (but kind of especially because) Millar is never not straight-faced, to make you laugh. “Bread bowl/ I don’t want to eat that” is a phrase you hear at the beginning of the song, a robotic coo spoken into the spheres. SLUGBUG takes its energy from the punk sensibility of protest, and in this case, he’s protesting meaning itself. “Words come out of your mouth/ Can I tell that they say one thing and really mean the opposite?” And “Words come out of my mouth/ Can you tell that the words were/ Nothing more than filler text.” He seems to be saying, none of us know what we’re talking about. Which is the wisest it gets, probably. –Eric Braden
Stream Slack Capital 2 in its entirety here, and download it, or come pick one up tonight at Barracuda for the Slack Capital 2 official release party. $5, doors at 9 PM. Come have fun and help us support SafePlace!
It seems like it has been rather slow out there in the musical world…unless of course you’re living here in Austin (but please don’t move here). This week we’ve got a new Xetas LP and the release of Slack Capital 2. But, last week I missed this great release from Wiretree, so I figured I should go back in time and offer you a nice little stream. It’s a collection of folk-inspired indiepop. Album opener “Let Me In” was definitely a standout track, until I kept going back, where I landed on “Dive” as my new favorite. But the fun is that you don’t have to listen to a word I say, just enjoy the great release.
I could go on and on about how important Xetas isto the Austin sound. I could tell you just how tragic it would be if people overlook The Tower simply because it has the power to tear through your speakers. All I’m going to say is that you need to lay down whatever you’re doing, turn the stereo up and just let yourself listen to the entirety of this LP. Start to finish, this is one of the most impressive pieces I’ve heard in this city in some time. It comes out via 12XU on Friday, with an in-store appearance at Waterloo Records.
It’s that time, the time I hope you’ve been waiting for. We’re finally releasing Growl’s debut LP, Won’t You, today! It’s a great bit of guitar pop, filled with huge hooks and harmonies galore. If you’re looking to pick it up outside of Austin, you can find the album HERE. But, if you happen to be in Austin, and happen to be free Saturday night…come pick it up in person at Cheer Up Charlies! They’ll be joined by heavy-hitters Popper Burns, The Halfways and The Two Lips. We’ll have copies for you to grab, and good tunes for you to love! Just in case you wanted to sample the goods, stream the LP below!