A few years ago I raved about Truck Month, my first introduction to Slugbug. Since that time, things have been quiet on that front, and so quiet that I somehow missed the release of his latest release…Stupid Rock EP. One of my favorite things about the songs Paul writes are that he fully embraces oddity, in every sense. His songs never stay wholly in one place as he looks to fill in various spaces with extra textural layers, usually in the way of blips and bloops. If you ever wonder what keeps Austin “weird,” then this is precisely the place to look. Stream the whole EP below, and grab it!
Last Saturday, I took myself to the Museum of Human Achievement, treating my ears to a unique album release by Austin’s Quin Galavis. Next week the world will get to hear My Life in Steel and Concrete, but those in attendance were treated to part show, part performance art.
The large stage at MoHA was split in two, one for the performance and one for the musical element. Our evening began with our protagonist working on fixing an old radio, seemingly looking to find friends/survivors in the outside world. Her communication revolved around a voice from above named Marshall. As the lights faded on that half of the stage, we were encouraged to look over at Quin, sitting quietly on a pew, ready to share his voice with those in attendance.
Perhaps the best idea for the entire night revolved around the setting. In such a place, the audience wasn’t there to be cool or to hang out, they were there to see what Quin was offering, and in that, they were completely silent from start to finish. He began his portion with a couple of tracks, accompanied by prerecorded samples. Sitting alone, I think it was then that I first noticed how great his voice truly is. There are moments when he pushes himself, pulls from the nether regions of his soul into more of a polished growl, but for these moments, there was a stark beauty in his delivery.
The scene quickly faded back to the performance, where we encountered a continued battle between our protagonist, the radio and Marshall. I liked the brevity of these scenes, as they came forth as refreshing interludes into the overall production Galavis had mapped out for such a release.
Then we were back to Quin, accompanied for the next few songs by Graham Low on cello; you should know Graham for his work in all your favorite bands about town over the last few years…most recently seen with A Giant Dog. At this point, the depth of My Life in Steel and Concrete began to shine through completely. It became clear that this was an album of emotion, completed by complex arrangements that filled in the space behind the vocals. And then quickly back to the closing scene.
Now, I can’t be wholly certain, but the scenes seemed to involve a sense of isolation and loss, which, when put together with this record, are destined to affect every person that listens…though we were fortunate to see it all together in one interesting evening. And as it ended, Quin introduced his full band who joined him on stage to close the night out.
They ran through seven tracks from My Life in Steel and Concrete, and still, no one said a word. By this point, the heat in the room (no AC on the night) had become stifling, but with just a dimly lit stage, it felt like all the elements aligned perfectly to leave me with a lasting impression.
And just what did I walk away with, besides the beautiful brown double LP? Well, for one, Quin Galavis deserves a ton of credit, both for the completion of this great record and the organization of something that stands out amongst the many other release shows I’ve attended. Musically, the whole night was a journey, and that’s much like the record Quin releases unto you all next week. The performances pieces combined with the musical element created something that is rare nowadays; it’s a collection of songs that begs you to sit down and indulge in listening, begs you to immerse yourself in the confines of the whole album. If you don’t, then you’ll miss out on something that deserves more than just a casual passing.
My Life in Steel and Concrete comes out August 26th via Super Secret Records.
As of right now, there’s a very very top secret guest headlining this event at Beerland Saturday night. We’ve been told it’ll either have all of Austin running to the venue…or you’ll just say “I don’t know who that is.” But…guests aside…the line-up of openers is remarkable enough to get you out on Saturday night. Jerry DeCicca(of the Black Swans) will set the mood for you early on, opening the night shortly after doors at 9 PM. Then you’ve got the powerhouse noisemakers from Burnt Skull, who always remind me that I need to go back and revisit Sewer Birth, their album from 12XU. Then of course, you get one of Austin’s most underrated, Knife in the Water…who have great news themselves…with an album on the way, and a reissue on vinyl too. All in all, even if you don’t know the headliner…don’t you wanna end up at Beerland? Stay tuned on twitter and Facebook for news of this very special guest!
Tickets for the show will be a measly $5 at the door!
Seems like a no brainer to me. It’s Wednesday, you’ve been locked in the house hiding from rising water, but the skies look to give us a break tonight, which means, you should grab your friends and go out. So why not enjoy the show over at Hotel Vegas that includes perennial Austin powerhouse, John Wesley Coleman. He’s the songwriter everyone loves, and he’s the one you deserve. Plus, our own Plantation Band will be opening the set, offering up their dark take on country vibes. And, to top it off, you get a nice little bit of non-local music via Vancouver’s Ballantynes. Go out tonight, go to this show.
I’m dreading the arbitrary year end lists already, and particularly when it comes to Austin acts. It seems that every band I enjoy in town has released something…and we can now add The Gospel Truth to that list. They’ve just released this crushing number from their upcoming album, Jealous Fires, which has me excited to hear the entirety of said record. I’m particularly sold on the guitar work here, churning out these unsteadying riffs that are emphatically met during the chorus with smashing cymbal work. And the vocals…at times they have this echoing distance, then they draw you in with what’s almost a close spoken whisper. Just another winner in a town where the music scene is dying. Look for the release via 12XU on September 16th.
The women in this town are just killing it at the moment. There’s a bunch that come to mind, but for now, let’s just focus on this new single from Ali Holder. I really love how strong her vocal performance comes through on this tune; it seems so upfront and bare, in the most complimentary way possible. Strings are added by local instrumentalist Lindsey Verill, fleshing out the song, along with Ali’s guitar…all sitting back while the vocals take center stage. As of now, just a glorious single for your ears, but we look forward to hearing more from her soon.
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There’s a great show every night this week, so you should start your week off right by hitting up Mohawk tonight for everyone’s favorite rockers, Parquet Courts. They’re still riding high on the release of their latest, Human Performance, their first for Rough Trade. Live, the band have always fulfilled, bringing energy galore to the countless fans that line up hours before to catch the band live. Plus, if you get there early, as you should, you’ll get to see one of the hottest tickets in Austin at the moment, US Weekly; the band are on the verge of being huge, by our standards. Doors are at 7 PM.
An added bonus comes if you stick around late to catch Sssleeperhold, who are one of Austin’s best electronic acts from the scene that brought you the soundtrack to Stranger Things.
My Life of Steel and Concrete is set to be released by Super Secret Records, so the only way to guarantee you get your hands on it early is to head out to The Museum of Human Achievement on Saturday night. Let me tell you, not only will you get to participate in being part of the unique atmosphere of MoHA, you’ll also get what we can expect is an incredibly unique performance from Quin Galavis. Lately, he’s played some shows with his band, while other times he’s played whilst having actors play the role of those in his songs. It should also be noted that this is possibly the most unique/diverse listen you’ll hear in Austin this year, or even if you’re outside of Austin. There’s heavier edged stuff, there’s beautiful atmospheric pieces and there’s the shanty-like tune featured below (just to leave a few genre marks). This is going to be something really special, so be sure to make your way out on Saturday night.
Just a few years ago, I raved about Jess Williamson‘s album, Native State, so it’s really exciting to hear that her newest effort, Heart Song, is set for release on November 4th. At play here is the strength of Jess’ voice, which gets some great punctuation by her supporting cast…check the 2 minute mark for a burst of sound that surrounds the calming vocal. I think that’s probably one of the most overlooked pieces about her work; the accents, be they drum rolls or billowing cymbals, are arranged in such a manner that one really does get the sensation that Williamson is truly a Texas artist. Looking forward to the entirety of this new LP.
In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve got our own little label here at ATH, and we’re really stoked to be working with Mean Jolene for their debut album, Salty. Yesterday, Gold Flake Paint, a reputable place for hits, ran the album’s first single, “Bump the Rump.” It’s perfect timing, as this is a glorified summer hit; you’ll want to turn it up loud, whether you’re at your next pool party or speeding down the highway. If you want to sample the band’s sound live, they’ll be playing at the Flavorsound Class of 2016 Party at Barracuda on Friday…and also appearing at our ATH Records/101X Back to School Bash on August 27th. Stream the song, and preorder the LP from us HERE.