Posts Tagged ‘austin’

ATX Spotlight: Pleased to Meet Pleasers

pleasersIt’s been a pretty awesome week for new Austinite Matthew Melton; we ran a single from some of his solo work, and now we’ve got his new project, Pleasers.  We should probably give a shout out to his bandmate Ben Tipton too, who is responsible for a great deal of rock n’ roll goings on in this city.  Together they have united, crafting a nice blend of Melton’s power pop songwriting and a little bit of punk rock, all in line to prep a new 7″ that will hit later this summer on Southpaw Records. Keep an eye out here guys, and don’t listen to the people saying the city is dying, as bands this good just keep popping up.

ATX Weekend Show Spotlight

austiniloveyouThere’s not a lot in the way of traveling acts coming through town, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have a chance to get out and support tons of local artists, and even celebrate some venues.  No need to wax poetic here, just check out some great gigs.  Read More

Carry Illinois – Alabaster

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Rating: ★★★★ ·

Carry Illinois is an electric departure from the singer songwriter, acoustic guitar strumming scene that Lizzy Lehman has been a part of for years as she has developed as a musician. For this ensemble front woman Lizzy eschews her Martin Acoustic for a Fender strat. On the Alabaster organs swell and pianos sweeps chords providing the harmonic foundation while Lizzy’s lyrics and melody carve out the details above the sounds and rhythms of the songs. Lizzy draws on the everyday struggles and tedium of modern living on Alabaster. She has a knack for illuminating truths through a portrait of another as deftly as she can on her more autobiographical songs. For this album Lizzy leans more heavily on introspection and personal insight than with her previous solo work, which is an interesting irony. One might wonder if donning the costume of Carry Illinois has created a confidence that allows for more personal work to shine through in Lizzy’s song writing.
Musically Alabaster is an album that sits somewhere between Brandi Carlisle Americana and Dr. Dog’s breed of harmony infused indie pop rock. Alabaster is a big step forward from the Siren EP release in 2014. Both Alabaster and Siren represent a departure from the singer songwriter womb of the Austin via Kerville folk scene. I prefer the clean vocal sounds on Alabaster over the harmonica miked and red line hitting vocals on Siren. Lizzy’s is a voice that is best served clean and pure. While I preferred a safer choice for the vocal stylings, I found myself wanting a stronger step forward and reach just a little farther on most of Alabaster song arrangements. As a whole the album tends to lean a little too hard on the tropes and clichés of the Americana genre. Similar tempos and rhythm patterns blended songs together and listening to the album as a whole you’ll find yourself wishing for a break from the organ drones under sprinkles of piano.
There were three big stand out tracks for me. The first – Darkened Sky – hits all the notes of classic Americana. The track starts off with the recognizable strumming rhythm of Lizzy’s guitar and is quickly enhanced with a country train beat and layered strings and keys. The vocals are right in the sweet spot on this tune. Lovers of the Austin Americana scene will be drawn to this song like whiskey lovin’ hipsters to an Eastside Honky Tonk. Another of my favorites is the painfully sincere Lost and Found. Any listener with a small town childhood will connect with the message of emotional emigration in search of a meaning outside the comfort of youth. Lizzy grasps greatness on this song when the bridge crescendos from a pure, slow folk tune to a psychedelic, flanging power ballad.
In stark contrast to, and immediately preceding Lost and Founds psychedelic yearning we have the perfect pop gem that is Sleepy Eyes. From the first horn build to the last splash of the cymbals, this song had me hooked. Lizzy’s vocal sit nice and present in the mix, in a range high enough to make it immediately distinctive from the rest of the album. The dynamics are beautiful driven by a horn ensemble and the groove is wonderfully consistent with just enough sizzle on the cymbals. I should really let this song do the talking for me, so put it on right now, and while you add it go ahead and hit shuffle and let it ride. It’s an album that’s sure to grow on you and make it into the rotation of this year’s great Austin albums.

ATX Spotlight: Tamarron Release Dadrock

tammyOkay, don’t let that title mislead you, as Dadrock is the name of the new EP just released by local Austin band, Tamarron, who we’ve raved about before.  And no, it doesn’t sound like dad-rock at all; it only furthers their exploration into the realms of psychedelia.  Your ears should immediately gravitate towards the atmospheric wash, pushed on by a grinding organ that lurks in the background of standout track, “Cinnamon Skin, which I’ve got below.  You can grab your own copy of the band’s EP right HERE, for the NYOP…I suggest a nice donation.

First Annual Austin Record Label Flea Market

10479400_783936648390606_8423787667357574879_oThis Saturday is the First Annual Austin Record Label Flea Market; it’s at Mohawk, starting at 5 PM.  Entry is free, all ages welcome, and there will be 28 local Austin labels selling their wares, including some rare out-of-print pieces from a few of them.  There will be a great show following at 9 PM, which is also free. I’m one of the people responsible for this event, along with my friend Marcus at Transmission and Dan at Punctum Records.  So, with that in mind…here’s a few ideas on why I wanted to put this together…including a playlist with a sample from all the labels that are on Soundcloud. 

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ATX Spotlight: Fresh Good Field Track

goodyPaul Price is one busy guy, though most Austin musician’s are nowadays.  He’s been working on two projects and their releases, Reservations and Good Field, his baby…we’ll focus, for now, on the latter.  I’ve played this tune several times, and honestly, I’m really impressed with the growth of the band.  They’ve long been tossed in the realm of dream pop/indiepop here in Austin, but this takes on almost a Vile/Leithauser/Springsteen feel, though spun through the unique ears of Mr. Price.  If this song’s any indication, their new record, Future Me, is going to be on a lot of local year end lists…and hopefully beyond; look for it on July 28th.

Welcome Home Monk Parker

d6c9f0de-991e-448a-8ece-723319c91707Many locals around these parts venture off to greener pastures at some point in their career and Monk Parker is no different.  Having moved off to NYC a while back with his band The Low Lows, Parker is back home here in Austin after his band’s breakup.  From the ashes of his now defunct band, comes an entire LP of solo material recorded at his family farm just outside of ATX.  As a preview of the upcoming album, new single “Sadly Yes” has just been released.  To me, it’s in the vein of alt country, similar to fellow locals like Will Johnson as a solo musician or with his projectSouth San Gabriel.  Very majestic and beautiful.  Welcome back.

New album, How the Spark Loves the Tinder, is due out on August 28th via Bronze Rat.

ATX Spotlight: Comforter Ready Album

11270397_405357546315566_474241612007102356_oTons of great music is coming out of Austin lately, and Comforter have kept my attention with their first few singles.  Their latest, “Hardies,” opens up slowly, twinkling guitar chiming in the foreground.  As the drums kick in the song takes off, soon joined by resounding backing vocals to emphasize the lyrical content.  The drum work also adds a nice little pace to the track, while the emotional warmth steadily climbs in the listeners ear.  They’ll be releasing their new album for Merdurhaus Records this Saturday at Cheer Up Charlies with Alex Napping and Summer Salt.  Definitely something that should be on your radar going into the weekend.

ATX Spotlight: Sleep Good/Austin Leonard Jones

a2921849332_16We’ve always been a fan of Will Patterson’s work and his time with Sleep Good has been no different over the last several years.  Today we are being treated to a new split EP featuring two new songs from Will & co. and two songs from fellow Austin songwriter Austin Leonard Jones.  Your Sleep Good songs on the split of course feature some great shoe gaze style pop music with a little bit of psych underlying everything.  Songs from ALJ are certainly in the singer songwriter vain, but with a little bit of quirkiness to provide some nice pop elements.

Stream the entire new split bellow and of course throw the guys a few dollars on bandcamp if you dig.

A Tale of Two Nights: Courtney Barnett in Austin (6.4 & 6.5)

Admittedly, I’m a sideline Courtney Barnett fan.  The tunes are good, and I enjoyed The Double EP, but these two nights were definitely meant for my ladyfriend, who many might call a super-fan.  So, for the two nights we shared together with Courtney Barnett, I just sat back and watched her enjoyment, while taking in the whole situation of one of indie rock’s fastest rising stars taking over Austin.

Please, read more…

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