Pop music has been around for so long, that you have to work really hard to come up with something unique, something vital for listeners. In the case of Austin’s Sharks in the Deep End, the band had to leave Austin to hole themselves up in Connecticut and just focus on the songwriting, leaving us with the dynamic Killin’ Machine. “Love in Reverse” is the album’s statement piece, the one that led to the recording session; the way the song builds slowly and opens up into the chorus is pretty magnificent. It all leads you to the record’s standout “Shadows in the Sunset,” which seems to up the ante on modern indie rock, both in energy and songwriting. Perhaps my favorite thing about the Killin’ Machine is it’s cohesiveness, whether the band is blasting forward or offering you a slower mood as in “Loveyoutoo.” Every little detail, every little synth note seems united throughout the entire LP. You want a pop record done right? Look no further than this here album.
The band is releasing it on April 22nd, celebrating by throwing a release party at Sidewinder with Ruby Jane and the Reckless and Flavor Raid.
Adrian Quesada has pretty much combined a who’s who of Austin and part-time Austin greats to comprise his latest work as the Echocentrics. Yesterday, as I hope you heard, they unleashed one of the tracks that features Bill Callahan, who we haven’t heard from since about 2014. There’s something about his voice that’s always hit home with me; it’s somewhat forlorn, yet familiar and deep…maybe it’s how I want my voice to be. Anyways, once the production jumps in, the song takes off completely, adding a spirit not always associated with Bill. I particularly enjoy the little guitar part that dances between the 54 second and 1.14 second marks. Echo Hotel is the next project slated for release from the group; it hits on May 20th via Nacional.
By now I hope you’ve heard that ATH Records has teamed up with Big Bill to curate the excellent Slack Capital Compilation! We put the digital version out last week, but tonight at Austin’s Barracuda, we’ll be celebrating the physical release! Buy your way in, you get a copy of the CD, with proceeds going to Anthropos Arts…a foundation helping underprivileged youth get lessons in music. It means a lot to me personally to be part of this…on both the musical front and the charity front. You love Austin music? This is where to be tonight! Doors open at 8 PM.
Here’s the line-up:
12:30–David Liebe Hart
Stream Slack Capital :
Feel like it’s been a minute since I’ve heard fresh music from Crooked Bangs, but that changed with they quietly unleashed a new tune yesterday. I dig the sound here for sure, bordering on blistering punk, yet holding onto a little sensibility from a few other genres that are uniquely blended together. Cymbals crash into your ears, the vocals seem indifferent until they take on a more forceful tone, making the whole song work together. Not sure on a full release or anything, but I’ll take this rocker for today.
Austin amigos Holy Wave just dropped their new LPFreaks of Nurture last month and I can tell you that it is a legit masterpiece. I’ve always thought the band showed tons of promise, and to me they’ve finally really hit their stride. If you have yet to hear much from the new LP, well shame on you firstly, but secondly you should check out their trippy new video for album single “Minstrel’s Gallop”. The video is basically a live shot of the band with some weird bubble action going on in the background. Maybe this will entice you visual weirdos to give the band and shot and pick up their new album (buy it here).
This catchy new track from Slomo Drags has been floating around for a week, and it’s precisely the type of jam you want to have in your music rotation today. There’s this incredible bounce to it, lifting your spirits from the get-go, though there’s an artful style in the way the guitars stab in and the vocals are delivered. Something about it reminds of Islands, early on at least. They’ll be celebrating the release of their new EP on Already Dead Tapes this Saturday night over at Cheer Up Charlies. Get in on this jam.
I’m pretty sure that if you’re going to pick an album up this weekend, then it should definitely be this great new record from Austin’s Bloody Knives. Their latest single opens up with ambient noise, and then immediately blasts off into the vocal moment of the track, surrounded by feedback, pounding rhythms and a guitar that cuts right through the heart of the tune. Then it slows back into the atmospherics before shooting off again. It’s a statement track for I Will Cut Your Heart Out for This, balancing the beautiful moments with the deeper, noisier tones. One has to be careful to walk the fine line, but these guys do it oh so well. Look for the new LP this Friday via Saint Marie Records.
Austin’s Ben Cissner has had quite a month since the early local release of Birds of Night, which I still think is one of the better listens to come out of Austin this year, or really anywhere. He’s got a haunting tone on this latest single, and the musical accompaniment is pretty spot-on, filling in every little spot to drive home the personal touches Ben used to fill up his debut record. This is just a short note to remind you how great his debut is, and encourage you to take a further listen to his work.
We’ve covered Genuine Leather for some time, but I think that this might be one of the best songs to come from the outfit, if not one of the better tracks that’s come out of Austin this year. It’s got an attitude in the recording like there’s not a care in the world, like all that matters is the song and the melody. As soon as I played it, I put it back on repeat almost immediately…I’m thinking you’ll probably do the same. This is a follow up to the equally enjoyable Jeff Jazz EP that came out earlier this year. I’m hoping this isn’t a sporadic blast of tunes, as these are the sort that stick around.
When RayRay and I first met, I think we bonded over a few bands, and one of those was Wilco. Through their changes and different paths, I’ve loved the band’s sound, which is one of the many reasons I’m super interested in Austin’s Star Parks. They call to mind several acts, but their acoustic version of “Theoretical Girls” in this video definitely calls to mind the harmonies that hit the right notes, a la Wilco. You can hear the album version HERE, which has a bit more filled in musical accompaniment…namely some beautiful string/horn arrangements. All in all, this is a band to keep an eye on at the moment. They’ll be releasing their debut, Don’t Dwell, on May 13thvia Paper Trail Records.