In a city where it feels like there’s a festival or party for everything, we’ve come to appreciate the diversity represented in the Sonic Transmissions Festival (Year 3). Rarely will you find a festival that operates within the confines of our fair city that puts experimental jazz next to cumbia and punk rock…yet here they are! They’ll kick off things Thursday evening over at Barracuda, then moving to Kick Butt Coffee on Friday and ending at Victory Grill/Kenny Dorham’s Backyard on Saturday. It truly is a festival that encapsulates everything that Austin’s music scene has to offer.
You can get your hands on tickets HERE, or try your luck at the door. Stream a curated playlist by the festival below.
What do you get when you take former and current members of Octopus Project, The Sword, Ume, Skate or Die, Midnight Masses and Stiletto Feels all into one? You get a supergroup, of sorts; you get All Eyes crafting a brand of music you’re not likely to hear anywhere else in the Austin landscape. This tune opens with a bit of doom and gloom (perhaps the Sword influence), but the string samples hint at pop sensationalism. You don’t have to wait long to hear Jordan from MM spin her vocals atop the chorus. It circles back for the crashing rock moment, surrounded by swirling bits of noise, and then back again. You’ll never be able to pigeonhole these guys, and thank goodness for that. The band will have their live debut over at The Electric Church this Saturday night, with Teevee, Fire Walk with Me and This Cold Night. Go meet this great new Austin act!
Another act that’s coming back to us after a long time away is Austin’s Damn Hands. They just dropped the More Songs EP…their first taste of new music since 2013. You get two completed songs, as well as two instrumentals…which may or may not be revisited at a future point. I love the fuzzy lo-fi pop on opener “Shithead March,’ juxtaposed with the more garage-y “Open Range.” I’ll admit, love to see some lyrics added to the EP ender, “Sansui.” Hopefully we hear more from these guys before they go back into hiding, as I’m definitely digging these new tunes.
Recently, rising Austin band Roaring Sun changed their name to the Timothy Leary themed The Millbrook Estates…and now they have their first single under said name. It’s precisely the sort of tune we’ve come to expect from these youngsters, delving into the pure psychedelia via washes of keys atop intricate little guitar bits. I love the understated drumming too, serving as the central nervous system for the track. Despite their age, these guys are really starting to find their groove, and hopefully that brings incredible things from them in the near future. Get lost in this tune.
If you happened to hit up our SXSW show with our friends at Side One Track One, then perhaps you’re in on this, but Darkbird were one of the band’s that stole the show that night. Their set was energetic and forceful, and lets face it, pop music just doesn’t get much better. The group just dropped two powerhouse new tunes, leaving me with the same dropped jam I got from their live performance. Just press play and fall in love with these Austin folks.
You’ve all heard that Harlem is returning, at least in temporary form. The band is reuniting, and doing a bit of touring…starting with a show this Saturday at Hotel Vegas…then they go off to Australia. So, in effort to be their best, the band have been practicing non-stop, trying to guarantee good times and good vibes. Luckily, they managed to lay down a new track too…so give it a go right here! Hope you realize it’s a cover of Lana Del Rey’s “Cola.”
Austin’s Brendan Bond is a jack of all musical bands; he’s played with Matthew Logan Vasquez, Grape Street, A. Sinclair, Golden Dawn Arkestra…but now he’s teamed up with his brother, Andrew, to release their own Just Kids EP. I love how you can hear the various influences in the sound the duo have crafted. There’s an innate infectious quality, particularly in the chorus. Speaking of that, I like the little guitar line that sets up the vocals. You’ll also hear a bit of a Texas twang in the guitar work of the song…home grown boys are the best. Enjoy this ode to summer and pools, but be sure to join the Bond Twins for the release of their EP on August 31st over at Mohawk with, Slomo Drags, Magic Rockers of TX and Lola Tried.
Those in and around Austin already know of the many talents of David Petro (Xetas, Gospel Truth, Art Acevedo), but he’s not slowing down, as he is set to drop a new cassette as Cruel Whip. Our first listen to the new music has him crafting this dark tinged industrial collage called “Table of Drops,” which has this sly little pop sensibility lurking beneath the surface. You’re confronted by a wash of white noise, but light little synth bits drop in from the background, carefully build a touch of the uplifting spirit. Cruel Whip will release the Fatal Man Cassette on September 1st via Self Sabotage Records, followed by a release show Beerland on September 13th.
Disbanding a popular outfit such as Dreamboat can’t be easy, but it doesn’t seem to have slowed down Will Maxwell; he’s bringing his new project, The Oysters, into the Austin limelight. It can’t hurt that the band recorded their upcoming EP with Austin’s Ian Rundell (a hot commodity who recorded our own Pollen Rx). The song we’re sharing with you today opens up with a meandering folk bit, sending you right into daydream mode…though careful ringing sounds of the guitar seem to indicate an impending burst. However, the band doesn’t just toss that out willy-nilly, moving into a mathematical jam in the song’s middle before forcefully erupting with a growl just beyond the 3.5 minute mark. I’m a huge fan of movement within the confines of a track, and really happy to see these guys execute it so well. Lookout world, The Oysters are here!
P.S. Don’t be afraid to click on the Bandcamp link below and find another new track waiting for ya!
Redding Hunter aka Peter and the Wolf has long been a staple of ghostly folk music in Austin (and beyond…when he’s left town). He recently created the soundtrack to Long Nights Short Mornings, a film by Chadd Harold. I’m sharing this gem with you, which begins as many of Hunter’s early tracks do, with vocals popping up just over the light guitar strum. Eventually, through whistling and careful percussion the song picks up a slight pace, whilst still leaving that space for the vocals. There’s an emphatic burst of primality right at the track’s end. The full soundtrack will be released on August 22nd, but feel free to sample this tune below.