Collectively, Ralph White and Steve Marsh have a history deep-rooted in the Austin music scene. Together, they’ve written Two Distinguished Gentlemen, with one of the album’s standout tracks running down below. What I’ve come to appreciate about the two is how their musical friendship seems to shine through in their folk stylings, with guitars counteracting, then swinging back into balance. And while those leanings might hint at a purely folk vibe (and it is), there are these light little atmospheric brush strokes that exhilarate even as the song seems to subdue you. It’s the slightest hint of extra effort, elevating the sound beyond mere pastiche. Their LP drops this Friday via Self Sabotage Records.
Clearly this is the show pop fans have been waiting for, and you’d better get there right at 6:30 so you can prepare yourself for The Spook School. Sure, they’re the opening act, but they might just have released one of the best albums of the year in Could It Be Different. The record is insightful and biting, but also naturally charming…and no one is doing indiepop better than this band. And, they just kill it live. Hands down. Plus, you also get to see a few other way popular acts in Great Grandpa and Diet Cig…they need no introduction. You can still grab yourself tickets HERE, and once you do, get in line behind me because I’ll be rushing to the stage to sing along with the Spooks at the top of my lungs.
Seems like just yesterday that Ty Richards was releasing his debut Zillion, yet here he is this week with a brand new record on the way in April. This track is a synth driven pop number, with bleeps, bloops and electronic beats serving as the song’s background. What I really love is the way Ty switches up his vocal approach, at times its sharp and to the point, yet he’s able to draw it out to a round melody at other points. Even more impressive is the work on Welcome to Flat Earth was done all analog, sans computer invasion. Look for the new LP on Tremolo Records on April 20th.
Why Bonnie haven’t been around for too long in the Austin scene, but things are already looking promising as we near the release of the group’s In Water EP. They dropped this new tune today, and while not much longer than 3 minutes, there’s an impression left that seems to make your listening experience feel as if it’s sprawling across days. Guitar chords circulate in the background, washed synths atop…both meeting the slowly billowing vocals. There’s a nice little touch where the song seems to slow to a crawl near the 2:20 mark, then bursts back in with an emphatic punch. Look for the new EP on February 16th via Sports Day Records.
In just over a month, we’ll get to hear the More EP from Austin’s Dryspell, and the releases is definitely high upon our radar as they slowly let singles trickle out. This new tune is a chilled out guitar journey, with crisp guitar lines working against a more soulful vibe on the other side. For me, the best part is how settled the band sound on this number, as if they’ve finally mastered the recipe to their songwriting success…and they know it. Good on these lads; look for their EP on March 1st from Highland Park Records.
Mary Bryce has impressed us over the last several years, most recently with his band Smiile. But, she’s now ready to step out for a solo outing, and we’ve got a track for you to familiarize yourself with her songwriting. Immediately, you’ll notice the power of her voice; it has this huge range without seeming forced. The string arrangements accompanying the central piano passage are quite stunning, perfectly accenting Bryce’s voice as she stretches her pipes into the soulful closing in the song’s latter half…akin to the work of Amber Kauffman. Have at it kids.
We’re really really excited to kick of the label side of ATH with our first release of 2018: Blushing‘s Weak EP. It’s a heavy dose of dreamgaze gems, all organized into a handy 12″ record. Several tracks have already garnered raves from the likes of DKFM Radio to the esteemed Gold Flake Paint, so clearly they’ve got something you need. Plus, if you’re in the Austin area, you can catch the band live at their release show at Cheer Up Charlies on Saturday night. It’s a pretty solid bill, with Ringo Deathstarr and Single Lash among bands filling the evening out. Just because we love you, we’re streaming the album below for you, in advance of its Friday release. You can grab the vinyl version HERE or the tape HERE.
Sometimes, we get invited to little functions here in the business end of the music industry in Austin, TX. We are quite fortunate to have one of the great venues in the world in our backyard, a venue that takes its name from one of the great music television program in the world. ACL Live is coming up on seven years as the home of Austin City Limits show tapings and has not rested on their reputation. Small tweaks have been made throughout the years, but the first major overhaul of the show experience was just completed. The lighting system has been fully revamped, all LED with more and better housings with variable colors, new pattern and motion capabilities and less power consumption and downtime for maintenance.
This seems as good a time as any to take a little tour ACL Live and little brother venue, 3TEN, and learn what’s up in the bat cave.
Loma won’t release their debut full length until February 16th, but they’re here to give you one final enticing listen before Sub Pop drops it on the masses. This, for me, is the first song where I truly feel like the worlds of Meiburg and Emily Cross collide; her vocal performance is as solid as anything she’s done on her own, but the layered instrumentation definitely wears the badge of Shearwater. Interestingly, this was the first song the group wrote together, which might explain the presentation, but by no means does that means its disjointed. Enjoy this gem, and get your waller ready!
Daphne Tunes is the project of Santiago, who happens to be one of my favorite songwriters in Austin; I like him so much I begged and pleaded to put out his other LP with his band Growl. In this project, Santi favors a softer side with carefully picked riffs and melodic vocal lines. What’s impressive about this song is how it jettisons off in an entirely new exploratory zone, highlighted by monosyllabic vocal notes riding the high of the galloping guitars. The Volume 1 EP will be released at the end of the month by Two Moons.