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.
It’s that time of year when we all throw arbitrary numbers at you, trying to convince you that our tastes are the best. But, I’m going to try taking a slightly different approach this year, giving you just a list of great Austin records that came out this year, but with no numbers or anything. These are just the LPs that connected with me in some way or another throughout 2015. There’s no particular order, just a bunch of records you should probably own. Also, I added some helpful BUY links for you to take you right to where you can get the goods. Just take my word for it and go buy those things.
Sweet Talk – Double Perfect
Stephen Svacina takes on our mundane world, turns it into catchy pop punk, and leaves it memorable. Recommended for those who like high energy tunes that you’ll remember for the rest of your times. BUY
Reservations – Taking Time
‘To be honest.’ some records hit all the right notes, and hit home. The full length debut by Jana Horn and Reservations is just that. Well-crafted, sincere. A joy of orchestrated indie folk. BUY
Lochness Mobsters – War Tuna
Immediate disclaimer. I helped put this record out. These boys take on the modern Austin cliche of garage-psych and turn it into a sweaty party that’s been proven to rile up audiences, then flip the world upside down by breaking into Beastie Boys. Too good. BUY
Video – The Entertainers
Snarling rock n’ roll, no holds barred. I mean come on, you can’t discard the fact that Third Man Records had a hand in getting these tracks out. People are taking notice. BUY
The Zoltars – s/t
Jared is another of Austin’s artists that probably doesn’t get nearly the amount of credit that he deserves, crafting some of the best guitar pop. Pop songs like the one’s on this album aren’t written every day, and when they are, they last in your memory forever. BUY
Stiletto Feels – The Big Fist
Geoff Earle makes good on his promise to get everyone grooving, while still supplying enough grit to make it important. One of the most diverse in sound to come out of the city; you’re bouncing to electronic elements before guitars jump in to guarantee that this is more than just a programmed, laptop affair. BUY
Grape St. – Wallpaper
Another batch of hooks. Another batch of songs from Curtis O’Mara. If you know me, you know I’ll never get tired of listening to his work. Some guys just get you. BUY
Spray Paint – Dopers
I have to apologize to Spray Paint, as this is the only record of theirs that’s going to make it onto my list this year. Maybe people are tired of these guys, but how can you look away when they’re just continuing to release solid album after solid album. It should say a lot that even when they’re so prolific, they never seem to leave you with a track that you can throwaway. BUY
Single Lash – s/t
Lurking beneath the belly of Austin’s rock n’ roll scene is a slowly blossoming shoegaze/indiepop scene. There’s this dense coat of atmosphere coating the album, making it perfect for those who seek darkness reinforced by standard pop structures. BUY
BOAN – Mentiras
If I were still into making mixed CDs for people, “Babylon” would be one of the opening moments; it’s perfect in both it’s simplicity and its construction. One of the few electronic Austin acts that really matter. BUY
Xetas – The Redeemer
How do you take the tenacity and fuel of a great live band, then capture it on tape? Well, Xetas did it, and you’ll be remiss for skipping over the record. BUY
Institute – Catharsis
A few years ago everyone was raging about The Men. That was fair, but if you’re looking for solid rock n’ roll, I hate to tell you that Institute does it better. Catharsis is one of those albums that seems timeless from the moment you press play; it sounds familiar, yet the songs brim with attitude and execution that you’re not going to find in many scenes. BUY
Good Field – Future Me
Indie rock is only sustainable when it’s executed perfectly. These guys nailed it on this go round, giving us the “Business.” Smells like Spoon, sounds like awesome. BUY
Abram Shook – Landscape Dream
Guys. Abram Shook. How many times do we have to tell you. ABRAM SHOOK! Another perfect collection of songs. BUY
Remember when we put out that first Grape St. LP? Yeah, that was pretty sweet. But, the band have since gone on to release their latest album, this time with Burger Records. The album is titled Wallpaper, and if anything, it’s another assured dosage of garage pop power from Curtis O’ Mara. Listen to this new single they just tossed up to support their mini West Coast tour; it has long been a staple of their live show, and I have a feeling you’ll dig hearing it in the recorded version. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to grab their new LP. You can get their old debut HERE.
ACL Festival is still in town, still going down. But, we’re letting B. Gray get the glory for our team with his camera work. Still, despite the attraction there, you’ll find tons of really incredible local shows you need to attend, including some great album releases by some of Austin’s best (in my opinion anyways). Here’s a quick rundown of the highlight, and we hope you consider attending at least one of these show. Read more
Really happy for our boys in Grape St.; they’ve moved on from our little label to really bang out their excellent new effort over at Burger Records. Luckily for Austinites, the band’s going to be celebrating their release tomorrow night over at Hotel Vegas. Their shows always get sweaty, and are nothing short of a classic rock n’ roll party, meaning you should schedule it in right now. As for their album, Wallpaper, it’s the best work Curtis has done since Harlem went on Hiatus; it’s gritty when it needs to be and poppy in all the right places. They’ll have CDs on sale for super cheap, with a slight delay in the vinyl, so that’s on its way too. Jam this track, one of my favorite live ones from the band.
You know we love our boys in Grape St, and we’re excited to share a brand new tune from their fresh new album, Wallpaper. This latest single displays Curtis’ further progression in songwriting, moving further away from his old group Harlem and into territory dominated by an incredible knack for pop sensibility. It seems like every song on this new record is built for a huge sing-a-long with your friends…but with a little style and flare. You’ll be able to grab the new record from Burger Records this October; it might just be his best work to date…and be sure to catch the band’s first LP A Date with You, HERE.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/dGYCi4ddN6Vm.128.mp3]
With SXSW this year there was lots of hubbub about fewer bands and less corporate entities flooding the streets, but despite all that, I still managed to have myself a good old time. I’ve got some thoughts and awards to hand out, and these are strictly my experience, as we tried at ATH to split up and cover as much as we possibly could. You can read on, if you’ve got the time, to see what I had to say. Read more
Hotel Vegas has our favorites Grape St, slanging catchy garage rock, joined by their friends Booher and Idle de’Classe as the opening acts. This show is built for rock n’ roll fans.
Cheer Up Charlies has the Taft album release. There’s some heavy-hitters opening, with Sweet Spirit, Lomelda and Isaiah the Mosaic opening the night’s festivities. If you go, pick up Taft’s new album.
Holy Mountain has a show hosted by our archenemies and friends from Side One Track One. John always puts together a good line-up (which is why I hate him); he’s got Ton Tons, Wild Moccasins and Tele Novella, so you get your creative pop mix here.
Sample some songs from Grape St, Taft and Tele Novella.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/T0UUVfFXk27s.128.mp3] [audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/QnR6OFbdjkK2.128.mp3] [audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/CEsGNS2OKR2Q.128.mp3]
I’ve been fortunate with this site, and such fortunes continue with some friends reaching out to have me curate an hour of music featuring SXSW Official Austin acts that I wanted to rest of the world to know about. It also features my horrendous voice, though only for like 30 seconds total. I kind of went all over the map, trying to be as diverse as possible within the realm of my own tastes. The little show will run three times today on SXSWFM (9 AM, 3 PM, 9 PM), which is a great place to get to know some of the artists, not just the Austin ones. Here’s the artists I chose to include: Flesh Lights, Sour Notes, Jess Williamson, Roger Sellers, Mirror Travel, Shivery Shakes, Grape St, Ramesh, A Sinclair, Love Inks, Hundred Visions, Abram Shook, Ssleeperhold, The Zoltars, Warm Soda and The Eastern Sea. Just doing what I can to give a little love to our friends. Special thanks to Brett and Rory for this rad opportunity.
The lineup was all kinds of ATH favorites; Young Girls, Slow, Jonly Bonly, Shivery Shakes and Grape St. As it turned out, Grape’s St‘s Brendan also had a birthday. Isn’t that great. Shout out to Holy Mountain‘s winter diorama.
Pinata. Confetti Eggs. Drink Specials. We were surrounded by friends. Couple comments after the break with a ton of pictures…