There’s only a few times in the year when I bite off more than I can chew, and this whole SXSW time is one of them…but I’m always happy. Not only have I been helping SXSWfm with a radio podcast, but I also have been working behind the scenes on their preview guide for the festival…along with other notables like OVRLD, Sterogum and Pigeons and Planes. Short version…it’s live. Check it out below.
Austin bands are a dime a dozen, but you’ve got to have something special to break beyond the confines of the city. It appears that Hovvdy have accomplished done that, blasting thing single all over the world rather quickly (15K listens in a matter of days!). You’ve got to be proud, as an Austinite, but you’ve also got to take note if you’re living beyond. The act is working with Merdurhaus and Sports Day Records, both reputable voices in the void, to release their debut, Taster on April 15th. Take a listen to what it’s all about, as these guys won’t be looking back.
While we cover music from all over, we definitely like to give Austin acts a special focus. But, in covering the scene, you come across a lot of the same genres, same sounds; it’s this way in every city, so I’m always looking for that voice to rise above the rest. For me, the last few months it’s been consumed by this Benjamin Cissner LP, Birds in the Night. Lucky for you, you’ll have two chances to catch him tomorrow night to celebrate the release with him. He’ll be playing for free at 6 PM at End of an Ear, then later in the night he’ll be playing with Rattlesnake Milk and Kill County at the Barracuda. Like I said, this is the one artist around, at the moment, that I feel like is unparalleled in the local scene…he’ll be touring with Scott Yoder in May too, so the rest of you folks should keep an eye out!
My first encounter with Rob Crow came in college when someone loaned me a Heavy Vegetable CD; it paved the way for what would be my huge fandom of Rob and Pinback. His voice has forever been an important one in my life, and ever distinctive for listeners. He’s bringing his new project, Rob Crow’s Gloomy Place, to Austin tonight at Sidewinder. I’ve always appreciated his live shows, having seen him at least a dozen times before; he’s entertaining, but the live performance is always executed as well as any band I’ve seen. it’s an early show too, so you can get in, enjoy yourself and then grab some rest. Doors are at 6:30, tickets are HERE, and Ini is opening the evening. Oh…the new album, You’re Doomed. Be Nice. is out this Friday via Temporary Residence.
Regardless of the fact that being a musician, in any city, seems to suck lately, Austin’s music scene is very much alive and kicking. One of the scenes I’ve kept my eye on is the group made up by Merdurhaus acts; today we’ve got a tune from the label’s Loafer. The project will release a brand new EP on April 1st (as long as it’s not a joke), and this single shows a little bit of the noodling twang that definitely pays homage to Mac Demarco…back in the home recording days. Still, I like the playfulness, such as including a soundbite mid track. Give it a twirl, and check out some of the labels other acts; there’s something for every body.
I’ve followed Aaron Sinclair musically for some time. He fronted Frank Smith, played drums in an old line-up of Grape St and now operates under A. Sinclair. I remember talking to Aaron a few years back, and he claimed, in one form or another, that he wanted to just kick out really great rock songs on a larger stage. I think his latest single from the band’s forthcoming effort definitely has a heavier edge than some of Aaron’s earlier work. If you’re looking for no bullshit rock n’ roll, then you better get into some A. Sinclair. Look for the band’s album, Get Out of the City, on May 13th via Dangerbird Records.
There’s been great coverage this week for Austin’s Big Bill…local blog Ovrld and national mag, The Big Takeover added to the band’s recent press run. It’s deserved on so many levels, not only just musically, but in its representation of what truly makes Austin “weird.” Our label is releasing the 7″ today, and it will come with a special prize for those of you that order it HERE (it’s like a musical Cracker Jacks!), but you should also come out to End of an Ear on Sunday evening before the Oscars to enjoy a great set celebrating the band’s release. They’ll go on at 5 PM, and we’ll have the 7″ on hand for you to grab. Trust me, this is going to be a great year for all things Bill…so get a head start with this 7″.
Attention Austin (and beyond)! Benajamin Cissner needs your help. He needs you to listen to his music. Well, he doesn’t need it necessarily, but you do! You really really do. All those of you in love with introspective singer-songwriters will not find anything better this year. Think of artists like sad Beck or Eels, but with a more poetic lyricist (at least in comparison to Beck). This song has a little bit of spirit to it, more upbeat than some of the other tracks you’ll hear on his debut Birds in the Night. This is just one of those albums that I feel comes across once in a lifetime, and it’s been created right here in Austin. Benjamin will be releasing his debut next Friday, March 4th, celebrating the beautiful vinyl release over at Barracuda. Stream the tune below. Press photo by Richard Casteel.
I’ve been following Bloody Knives pretty closely the last several years. The band play an abrasive version of modern dream pop/shoegaze, filling in their tracks with buzzing guitars and a warmth in the vocals that somehow manages to steady the ship for listeners. Their latest effort, I Will Cut Your Heart Out for This, already has an ominous attitude, and the single below fulfills that darkened omen with shrieking walls of guitars. But, perhaps the reason I’ve come to respect the band is that they manage to juxtapose that darkness with a gentle beauty, be it in central melodies or the vocals…it never disappoints. There aren’t too many, if any, acts around pulling this off…this well. Look for the LP on April 15th via Saint Marie Records.
Full disclosure, Roaring Sun is a young new band in Austin, and I actually taught one of these kids long ago…but I didn’t expect his musical tastes to progress (nor his songwriting). Listening to the first single he sent my way, it takes some modern touches a la Cut Copy, but there’s also a feeling that it owes some of the electronic flourishes to Grandaddy. It’s exciting that these guys are so young, and can come out with such polished production. They have a show tonight at Cheer Up Charlies too…with other young acts, The Cuckoos, The Spoils and the Avocados. Enjoy this upbeat number.