Austin label Keeled Scales are clearly some of our favorite people; they’ve pretty much exploded into one of the best labels in the US, so we’re glad they had a few moments to list out their 10 Most Listened to LPs of 2019!
Be sure to visit their SITE and check out all the great releases; I’d start with this year’s Jordan Moser record, then maybe hop back to that Julia Lucille LP (if you were asking me!). They’ve also made us a great playlist of their favorite tunes from this year, as well as some hits from their artists, all after the jump!
Nathan and I were just discussing some of the original bands we first posted about and have steadily shared over our 10+ year run. After a bit of poking around in older, and terribly formatted posts, our very own Austinite Will Johnson was featured quite a bit in the early days and frequently over the years. Bottom line, we love his music and everything he’s been involved in over the years. Currently Will is going under his own name again with a new album called Wire Mountain coming on September 27th via Keeled Scales. Prior to that new release date, we’ve got this new single “Necessitarianism (Fred Merkle’s Blues)” ready for your ever awaiting ears. It’s a familiar Johnson sound with his ever raspy, haunting vocals, but this time with more of dark, edgy sound to his ever evolving Americana style.
RayRay and I are both huge Centromatic fans, and thus, we’ve closely followed the career of Will Johnson through his various twists and turns. Currently, he’s working under his own name, with a new LP scheduled to drop this fall on Keeled Scales. On this new track, there’s a lot of space in the track, allowing for the delicate flourishes Johnson has seen fill his various projects, be it the tinkering piano or distant-sounding strings. It’s perfect when considering Will’s smoky voice, making room for his vocals to softly churn and roll through the song as he sees fit; he also gets some nice vocal accompaniment at points to add depth to his work. Wire Mountain will drop on September 27th.
It’s kinda rainy here in Austin, and been sort of a shit morning, so it was nice to hear a stunning new number from one of our own, Jordan Moser. Jordan’s got a really striking voice, at times has that smokiness of M. Ward, but it has this ability take that then suddenly stretch it to more angelic tones when necessary; it doesn’t help that the wonderful Molly Burch is back there providing backing vocals. Musically, I think there this brilliance in the sort of understated nature of the whole thing; the drums are steady, but never rocking, while the guitar sort of courses in and out on its own journey. It all leaves this empty space that allows Moser and Burch to drop their vocals inside your ear channels. Long Night will be out in July courtesy of Keeled Scales.
Trickster Blues hasn’t even been out a year, and Shane Renfro and RF Shannon are already prepping for another release later this summer. Our first listen to the new stuff below seems to have some slight changes, though revolving around elements that have always been there. For one, the spacier side of folk seems to only bubble up ever so often; this is a much more direct folk number. I think peeling that away, ever so slightly, puts a more distinctive pull on Renfro’s voice, getting the listener to really fall for the track. The new effort is titled Rain on Dust, and should be out in August via local label Keeled Scales.
If you didn’t listen to Years, then I don’t know what rock you were living under, but you missed one of the great albums of 2018. And, Sun June aren’t slowing down, returning today with a new single off their forthcoming digital EP. Just a few seconds in and you’ll hear the organic beauty of the five-piece, texturing the track with just enough rhythm and soul to let the vocals stand out on their own. I love the cascade towards the end around the 2 minute mark. Oh! And did you know the band are playing the ATH vs SOTO show on Sunday, March 10th? Well, they are. This single appears on the digital EP out at the end of March, and accompanied with the 2nd press of Years via Keeled Scales.
Perhaps no one in the indie spectrum has been on a quicker ascendancy than Twain, particularly after all the praise awarded to Rare Feeling. What I love about this new track is that it’s employing piano work as the song’s backbone, along with some minimal percussive elements. There’s something special about the way those ivory notes sparkle in your ear, especially when matched with the deepened voice of Mt. Davidson. They’ve still got guitar skipping through the background in a shimmering fashion, but the patience to pull in the listener with the piano is something to marvel. This track appears on the new effort The Two EPs, which is being released by Keeled Scales on January 25th.
Twain had one hell of a year thus far, and it looks like he aims to take the same approach to world domination in 2019. Today he announces a double-EP for Keeled Scales, schedule to drop in January. I love the way he just casually strolls into this song, carefully picked notes, twinkling piano and a stomping tambourine of sorts. For a minute you’re enraptured, spinning in the melody, until the piano comes in a bit more emphatically, adding just the slightest bit of a gallop to the tune. There’s even some sort of lo-fi vocal yelps jumping in and out in the song’s second half. Pretty sure at this point, he can’t write a bad tune. We’ll know more when the new release drops in January.
If you haven’t been reading the cool sites, then maybe you’ve missed the swirling hype surrounding Austin’s Sun June. Hype or not, we here at ATH can attest to the band’s talents, both live and recorded. Tonight they gather with friends and label mates to celebrate the release of their new album, Years; you can stream that whole LP right HERE. Daphne Tunes will kick things off, followed by the esteemed Julia Lucille. If you’re not fortunate enough to live in Austin, then go head over to our friends at Keeled Scales and grab yourself a copy there before it’s too late! Oh, and here’s the last single from the LP, and one of my fave tracks. Doors at 8!
One band hailing from Austin that’s doing exceptionally well beyond is Sun June, and they released another single from their forthcoming Years LP this week. This number is a delicate piece, with all five members playing an important part in the song’s presentation; the bubbling bass groove and the mingling guitar textures illustrate the attention to detail the quintet have put into this new LP. Laura Colwell’s voice, as ever, has this powerful assuredness that others will struggle to match. Years will be released on June 15th via our good friends over at Keeled Scales (who will be at the Texas Label Bazaar this Saturday).