Free Week is great. The concept of having people fill venues so bartenders and stage crews have a little cash in their pockets is totally a get-behind theme. Now, my epic level of cynicism that creeps in from time to time means that I will give the evil eye to anyone mad about one-in-one-out at a venue. These bands are playing all over town, all year long and sometimes opening for a touring band you would think is too expensive to go see. #value Let’s go, Austin, spend that twelve bucks.
My Free Week rant is over. Let’s get on to some notables and photos. A. Sinclair is a constant fave for rock and or roll. Abram Shook lends credibility to any music catalog. That performance had two-thirds of Feverbones; they are wicked excited for the new record, naturally so are we. Tres Oui‘s invisible bass player had a killer set (#sarcasm). Space-sparse of Soft Healer was a reset. I got to see The Infinites at Beerland as a full band. I do miss a little of the DIY nature of looping to fill sounds, but the layered gazy post punk sounded really rad with guitars filling the room. Fave thing of the time I spent Red Rivering.
Peep the gallery. I spent time taking photos of friends and the people that make Free Week go. I even used a flash. Crazy right?
Feel like we had a banner year for ATH Records last year, but 2018 seems really big (in my mind anyways). I couldn’t think of a better way to start off the new year than with the release of Blushing‘s Weak EP. The band just dropped another of the tracks from the album today, and it’s every bit as enjoyable as the entire EP. Shouldn’t have to go on and on about how much I really enjoy it, so I’ll just leave you with the tune below. You can grab the vinyl version HERE, or pick it up on sweet cassettes over HERE. Don’t forget the release show at Cheer Up Charlies on January 27th!
It should come as no surprise that members of Cross Record and Shearwater will garner a lot of attention, but the depth of song’s like the one below clearly hint at how great this new Loma album is going to be. There’s a wonky, unsettling groove that opens the track, but Emily quickly comes into the picture to calm the storm with her voice. This track was built for her, with layered atmospherics withering in and out of the tune, leaving plenty of negative space for her to carry us with her voice. A different vibe than the first tune, but one we adore over here; look for the self-titled album to hit on February 16th via Sub Pop.
Robby is a brand new act ready to make waves in Austin, but members of the group have a pedigree all their own…featuring members of Magia Negra and Ringo Deathstarr. They’ve just put up two songs for your listening pleasure, and both illustrate a group that has the knack to handle various styles. “Shade” has a slight Spoon sound, especially with the way the vocals are delivered, but you can hear the slight psychedelic undercurrent as the song evolves. That leads us right to “Om,” which takes on a frolic through the landscape of the previously mentioned psychedelia; it moves slowly, allowing for a more emotional pull. Give a listen and get acquainted, as I’m sure we’re all be hearing more from Robby soon.
On Friday, one-time Austinite Bill Baird will release his latest outing, Straight Time; he says it will be the last self-recorded/produced of his for awhile. On the tune below, he paints an ode to Austin, filled with various local native name drops, but ultimately, it’s the song that takes hold of you. It’s an ambling track, riding this beautiful guitar sound to the promised land; it’s almost as if you’re sitting in the back of a convertible on a warm Texas afternoon, cruising down the interstate as Bill coolly blasts his vocals through your stereo speakers. Somehow he’s captured the essence of Austin in song; I particularly enjoy the slow burn of the chorus before he jumps into the “Wilford Brimley” line. If you want to know what this city’s all about, give this tune a listen…and be sure to grab Straight Time on Friday.
I’m always a sucker for a good pop song, especially when the execution of said song is pulled off to perfection…like this new tune from Hola Beach. This track employs a really bare bones approach for the opening two minutes, with the drum sitting way in the back of the mix in order for the natural melody to unfold in step with the guitar notes. A few of those notes meander out of context, crafting the slightest bit of tension leading to the crashing wave of the song’s last minute. Look for their new EP to drop this weekend!
Austin’s The Sour Notes have been fairly quiet, but all that will change when the band drop their new record, Darkest Sour, this Friday over at Hotel Vegas. They’ve shared this great little album promotional video, which seems to show the band delving into the realms of dreamy pop, fitting for the matching imagery in the video. If you want to preview the band’s live set, they’ll be over at KUTX doing a taping at 8 (Tix HERE). Not sold yet? Just check out the amazing line-up they’ve slung together: A Sinclair, Duncan Fellows and El Lago, who I’ve really been enjoying a lot as of late. A great week for The Sour Notes…let’s all be thankful!
We’re really happy for our friends in Big Bill who have released their debut LP Stand By Your Bill into the world today. Long favored by Austinites in search of something different in their punk rock, the band step up their game with their best collection of songs to date; I’d buy this LP for the opener alone. But, they’re not a one-trick pony, as songs like “Baby Go Wah” illustrate, offering up a slow burning homecoming dance number. If you’ve got a minute, give it a spin or two or three!
Austin’s kicking some ass this week…Marmalakes, Loma, Little Mazarn and now another track from Hovvdy. This one is another slow burner, akin to the early 00s post rock scene…think of a weird meld between American Football and Bedhead. It’s impressive how they take the most relaxed approach; this song burns like a smoldering fire, warm but always seemingly near its end. Each continued play only brings the song nearer to you, giving you a gift you’ll take with you for the foreseeable future. They’ll release Cranberry on February 9th via Double Double Whammy.
Lindsey Verrill, aka Little Mazarn, has been an intricate part of the Austin music community for some time, and today she steps out into the big world with a remarkable number. It’s stark from the offset, the careful work of her banjo, and accompanying saw/strings, leaving space for her celestial vocal performance. Each pluck resonates in your stereo, an echo of beauty that leaves room for Verrill’s voice to do the same. Subtly charming, emotionally powerful, you won’t be able to pull yourself away from the depths of this fine tune. Look for her self-titled album on December 16th via Self Sabotage Records; she’ll have a release show at Central Presbyterian Church with Twain on 12/15!