Haven’t written about Katie Von Schleicher for a bit, so now that she’s announced a new album, seems like the perfect time to enjoy her work. She’s working her vocal magic over a pretty mellow vibe, which has a few occasions to get a little more emphatic with fuzzy noise and a slight bounce. For me, her voice is always the draw; she has this way to alter tones, even from syllable to syllable…and that’s on display here. I like how she takes deeper tones and stretches them into something more euphoric as the notes are drawn out. She’s just announced Shitty Hits for release on July 28th via Ba Da Bing, so stay tuned for more.
Cross Record consists of Emily Cross and her husband, Dan Duszynski. Put these two absurdly creative individuals out on a ranch in Dripping Springs, TX after living in the buzzing metropolis Chicago for years and what you get is Wabi Sabi; a stirring example of highly contemplative and carefully crafted experimental folk music. The album balances minimalism with explosive bursts of sound for thirty-five minutes that seems to last much longer in its infinite depth.
The Curtains Part is the opening number on the record, and the band slowly eases you into their eclectic folk soundings. A storm of instrumentation wells up around Emily Cross’ central vocals, hollow guitar strumming, orchestral fluttering and cymbal fills encompass this peripheral storm, hinting at whats to come. The band begins to really sink their teeth into you on Two Rings, the instrumentation here playing on the quietness that they established in the first track and building upon this with their layers of both electronic and organic sounds.
Then you get to the gale-force strength trio of tracks that starts with Steady Waves, and Cross Record completely wins you over. While the first two tracks come across as a bit of an awakening for the duo, this middle portion of the album gives you a taste of their utter power and strength once theyve come to that awakening. First off, Steady Waves is an utterly gorgeous song, an example of the precise balance between softness and ferocity that Cross Record do so well on Wabi Sabi. Cross vocals are impossibly tender and lush, contrasted by the growling guitars that buzz in and out of the mix, while winding acoustic guitar simmers underneath. The number is at once serene and unsettling, building its way to a crescendo and then petering out to a quiet ending, akin to wind chimes gently stirred in the breeze.
Next up in the meat of the album is High Rise, which takes Cross vocals to an impossibly translucent level, their whispery quality floating atop the bombastic, exploding drums that give the song its drama and such a drama continues on Something Unseen Touches A Flower To My Forehead, which forsakes the gentleness of the previous two tracks and just hones in on the violence of the folk music.
The rest of the album falls under the quieter side of Cross Records spectrum of sound, though this is by no means boring or too subtle. On the contrary, I found myself constantly enamored with the entrancing simplicity that these two have harnessed into Wabi Sabi. Do yourself a favor and savor this album, as its bound to become one that you revisit over the coming year.
I’ve really been enjoying this new single from Katie Von Schleicher. She’s prepping for the release of her new record, Bleaksploitation, which comes out next week via Ba Da Bing Records, offering up this track as her second single. It’s got a trudging stomp to it, relying upon the soul of her voice to really pull the listener into the song. I like the production on the track; it kind of muddies her voice just a little bit, even though you can still hear its pristine quality. Expect to hear more from Katie, as she’s opening a slew of dates with Eleanor Friedberger, so the stars are lining up for this lady.
I know it’s only Tuesday, but you’ve just found your song of the week right here. Cross Record, if you didn’t know, are husband and wife duo Emily Cross and Dan Duszynski, and they’ve been making waves around the live scene here in Austin, and will blow you away with this track “Steady Waves,” which mixes loud and soft folk rock elements for the perfect balance of gentle sound with a growing rock bite to it. It’s a sprawling number, with tinkling wind-chime-esque guitar plucking alternating with heavy rock builds, showing the influence of the remote recording location out in Dripping Springs. It’s the kind of track that makes you want to close your eyes and simply let the music push and pull you where it pleases, forgetting everything else is around. It comes off of Wabi-Sabi, the band’s upcoming record that is set to be released January 29th on Ba Da Bing Records, which you will most certainly want to pre-order right here.
I hope the world still has love for Galaxie 500; the band seems to only find fandom in small circles these days. Regardless, 2/3 of the act has continued as Damon & Naomi since the group’s split, and they’re readying a new release for next week, February 17th. I’ve fallen in love with the patience of the duo’s songwriting; every harmony and melody seems so natural and honest. On the track below, the two combine their vocals for a sincere performance based on loose guitar and tinkering keys. Your heads not on straight? Let it continue to drift away below. Look for Fortune next week via Ba Da Bing Records.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/11Time-Wont-Own-Me.mp3]
Download: Damon & Naomi – Time Won’t Own Me [MP3]
I spent my weekend going over some singles that I didn’t really feel got the deserved love in my rotation last week, and this tune from Hamish Kilgour was one of those that stuck out the most to me. Sure, he was one of the founding members of the Clean, so I’ve got some nostalgic allegiance, but I think the approach taken on this track really makes it stand out. There’s this stuttering guitar playing with a nice wash of varying instruments playing in the distance…all the while, Kilgour carefully walks you through with his vocals. His first solo album All of It and Nothing will be released by Ba Da Bing Records on September 16th.
It looks like Austin lost another great musician when Emily Cross, the young songstress behind Cross Record moved to Chicago. It’s a shame, as her work, which is being re-released by Ba Da Bing Records is something truly special; I think it would have added an extra dynamic to our current music scene. Be Good surfaced at the end of 2013, but with the backing of her new home, including this brilliant track, I figure her music is about to get a lot more coverage. The darkly emotional instrumentation fits her voice, making it hard to escape the incredible work that fills this album.
I’ve got a slight obsession with Richard Youngs. He’s one of those musicians where you never know exactly what you’ll get from listening to a new LP, especially as he battles Bob Pollard for one of the most prolific people out there. He’s just announced a new album, Summer Through My Mind, which should be out on September 3rd via Ba Da Bing Records. This track’s pretty simple, and if it weren’t for the odd little touches coursing through the track, it might be fairly redundant. But, like Richard always does, his voice warms you over, and you’re drawn in from there. Take a listen to the album’s title track.
Most of my experience with Aly Spaltro, who performs under the moniker Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, has seen her working on the softer side of things, with her voice living it up as the most powerful element. But, on her latest single “Bird Balloons” you’ll find a much more emphatic orchestration surrounding her voice, creating a song that’s both moving and accessible; it also exhibits her playful side, which you’ll definitely appreciate. You can pick up her debut album, Ripley Pine, on Feburary 19th via Ba Da Bing Records. It’s not your typical musical affair, which is all the more reason to enjoy it.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/04-Bird-Balloons.mp3]
It’s that time of year when we start to get a sneak peak at how our 2013 is going to shape up, and it’s looking like a good year already. Aly Spaltro and her project Lady Lamb the Beekeeper are definitely on my list, especially now that Ba Da Bing have announced the release of her album, Ripley Pine, which comes out on February 19th. In a short time she’s garnered a lot of praise for her intimate performances, and her background story of a video store clerk turned songstress is sure to play into the narrative of her record. Enjoy the sample of good things to come.