Mike Lee (Fanclub, LUDGF) has been taking advantage of quarantine to flesh out some ideas I imagine were brewing long before we even met Family Mart, his latest project. On the latest single, things open up a little subdued, with a muted guitar ringing behind Lee’s softened voice and this elegant piano line…it’s an emotional set up for the listener. Moments later drums drop in a little bit more, adding a textured energy level to the song’s gentle pop approach. There’s even a little vocal support on this one from Lani Thomison, touching up the melodic notes that emanate from the tune. Welcome to the softer side of Family Mart!
Austin’s got tons of really incredible songwriters, and Mike Lee has definitely been one voice we’ve fawned over since his early days on the local scene, first with Letting Up Despite Great Faults and then Fanclub. But, he’s turned his current focus to a new project, Family Mart, and we get our first little taste below. Upon the first few listens, one of the things I adored about this track was the way he employs that dreamy guitar jangle, but instead of rushing it, he gives the song plenty of space, letting the drum beat keep the pace for everyone. It ends up leaving all these space for the soft tones of his voice to fit in between the cracks; it ends up pushing the melodies to sort of rise to the top. Plus, we get a bonus when his voice finds a foil with his friend Ali Wagner (Hex Boyfriend); her addition builds in this delectable contrast…not to mention the tune does get a slight bit fuzzier, which I certainly don’t mind! Without further delay…we present you with Family Mart!
While Mike Lee’s always hard at work in our ATH faves Fanclub, he’s recently gone back to recording tracks where we first fell in love with him, as the songwriter behind Letting Up Despite Great Faults. This song reminds me a lot of Red Sleeping Beauty, driving these hook-laden beats into your skull; they delight upon each rhythmic pulse and each bouncing step. Lee gets help on the vocals here from fellow Austinite Socha, and that textured vocal combination is a sure-fire win in my book. No word on how much new stuff we’ll get from the project, but we’re always grateful to hear Mike working on anything.
Clearly, based on the name of our site, we’re always down to represent Austin, and while I feel like releases were down in the city this year, there was tons of great stuff to be devoured. Rather than rank and file our friends; we’re just here to uplift the scene, and maybe remind you of some Texas music that might have (it shouldn’t!) slipped under your radar. Black Pumas got the deserved love, but there’s tons bubbling beneath the surface. I mostly broke it into labels, as they’re the heart and soul of this city. Comes with a fancy playlist.
As we’re all looking back on the year 2019, I tend to gravitate towards lists with little agenda, other than to shine a light back on the year in the areas I adore. For one, the indiepop scene. Now, there’s always a great big debate about what indie pop is, so for all intents and purposes, I admit that I just don’t care, so the genre’s purists can yell at me later. Now, this may read as a best of, but merely this is the stuff that stuck out in my brain, so if I missed something, I love you and I’m sorry. Honestly, it just gave me a chance to make a fun playlist (2+ hours!) full of hits for all you pop fans.
The indiepop scene in Austin has its ebbs and flows, but over the last few years, Fanclub have been keeping it going, pretty much on their own. Today they share their newest tune, another propulsive guitar pop number with Leslie’s voice offering that textured softness pop fans fawn over. As always, they employ a fair amount of synth samples in their work, which add that energetic pulse, building in layers sound to avoid the banal pitfalls of the genre. As always, they’ve nailed the perfect balance in this tune, and let’s hope that another single and news of an LP follow in the very near future.
While you’ve got your head down over Kip calling PoBPaH quits (which you knew was coming), Belinda May are going to give you the best reason to lift it up. Almost immediately, the heavy jangles start to dance their way right into your ear holes. They craft this insane bounce, perfected by the steady rhythm section. It sets up the scene for these warm vocals that seemed wrapped up in a cocoon of fuzz, only dragging you deeper and deeper into the song’s emotions. Reminds me a lot of Austin’s Fanclub, though maybe a hint heavier. This new 7″ track is available via Fastcut Records.
All year long, the Sour Notes have slowly been releasing 7″ after 7″, and we’re really excited to share with you the B-Side from the latest Shoulda/Enough 7″. This song gives a glimpse into the band’s process, and their desire to do multiple 7″s in a year. it came to be after the band switched gears and changed directions on another B-Side, ultimately sticking with this track as it touches on the concept of pursuing your art despite the uncontrollable factors that sit in your way. Musically, I feel like the band are in a great place, especially when lining things up with my tastes; Jared’s voice sounds really solid hanging in the midst of those huge guitar sounds. This is guitar pop at its finest!
The band celebrate the release of this new 7″ with Thelma & the Sleaze, Royal Forest, The Black Drumsetand Fanclub on Friday over at Cheer Up Charlies. Event info HERE.
While the core of my love for indiepop revolves around the sound of the guitars, the latest single from our local faves Fanclub really has the band pushing the electronic vibe this round. If you’ve caught their live shows, or listened to other singles, those elements have existed, but here they’re more prominent, giving Leslie plenty of room to spin her vocal magic. It’s like a bedroom pop version of what we all fell in love with for that first Postal Service record, with just an added guitar boost hanging in the song’s latter half. Before soon, I reckon the band will have another delight to share with you all.
If you were to look over the last year, you’d realize how much we love Austin outfit Fanclub. They’ve got an energetic take on dream pop, letting jangling guitar lines meet up with samples and precision drum work, all the while Leslie lets her heavenly voice float on top. They just released their All the Same EP, but they’re back already with a brand new tune for your ears, and a video to boot! It’s as catchy as anything they’ve put out, with an old school style wash to the video giving some Flashback Friday vibes. Not sure if this means there’s a new EP on the horizon, but fingers crossed!