RF Shannon – Jaguar Palace

Rating: ★★★★ ·

RF Shannon, or the project of Shane Renfro, has always been about expansive desert psych americana. Since the origin of the project back in 2013 with the recording of their first demo, Renfro and company have been doing this quite well. With two EPs under their belt, RF Shannon looks to try their hand here at a full length release. The result is, to put it mildly, epic.Jaguar Palace is a record to put on as a soundtrack for traversing a sun bleached desert. be that literal or figurative.

At six songs in length, you may take a look at the track listing and think that you’ve merely encountered an EP, but each song is meticulous and sprawling– a kite let out on its string to a great height, but still tethered to your hand at the ground. Our journey begins with title track, “Jaguar Palace,” which is a perfect introduction to the album. Delicate flute sounds and graceful piano fill your ears with wistful musings for almost two minutes before the guitar, percussion and vocals burst in. This well orchestrated build-up makes the full entrance of the sound huge when it comes along and lets you know you may want to take this album sitting down. Renfro’s vocals are layered and hazy, like a breeze that is gentle in one moment but almost knocks you down the next. Later on, he is accompanied by some female backing vocals that fully flesh out theforce and provide even more texture to the mix. Even one song in, you already know you’ve merely hit the tip of the iceberg in terms of whats in store.

To pick one track out of this collection feels somewhat wrong, as it truly is an album you’re meant to listen to from start to finish, putting ‘single culture’ to shame. For the sake of the length of this review, I’m going to hone in on the heart of the album, “Tell My Horse” and “Had a Revelation.” These back to back numbers show the band hitting their stride with poise and finesse. “Tell My Horse” is a story of wandering alone, whispering tales of your wearisome travels to your animal companion. This is the sort of solitude that is welcomed on Jaguar Palace, embraced even, as the number picks up a nice bit of jam on its way out that carries into the next song. “Had a Revelation” is the shortest track on the record and it’s the song you should play your friends in order to hook them in. Renfro commands the song with his vocals, asking you probing questions: “Do you change with the seasons? Do you cling to the past?” Acoustic guitar carries the track, while slide guitar sneaks in and out, floating over the bouncy percussion.

What’s superbly impressive about the tracks that RF Shannon have delivered here is that while they’re long and sprawling, you don’t notice. On the contrary, each number is careful and poised, akin to the chapters of an epic novel. They serve as gems of their own, but lace together with their counterparts.Jaguar Palacetakes a bit of time to really sink into, but after a few go-rounds of the steady waves of reverb drenched guitar washing over you, you’re fully immersed. If you let RF Shannon, they will hypnotize you into wading in deep and baptize you with their desert psych masterpiece. Get washed clean.

More Psych Bliss From RF Shannon

Oh man, I am getting too excited for the upcoming full length album from Austin’s RF Shannon. They shared the title track from their upcoming release yesterday, and it beautiful, other-worldly trip into sun bleached psychedelia that the band does so well. It opens slowly with flute sounds and tinkering piano sounds, like a sleepy day begins, but then suddenly it picks up as the sun always seem to arrive and turn the sky rose before you realize it. Hazy vocals and steady percussion move the song along, accompanied by twangy guitars.Just when you think the song can’t get any more devastatingly beautiful, some female vocals join Shane Renfro, and you’re simply smitten in the psych-desert-blues glory of the song. Take a listen below.

Have you preordered Jaguar Palace yet? It’s out March 31st. Get on it.

RF Shannon Sign To Cosmic Dreamers/Share New Single

Austin’s own RF Shannon have announced their debut full-length record at long last! The desert blues outfit have signed to Cosmic Dreamers and released a brand new single for your enjoyment. The single, which you should jam below, is called “Had a Revelation” and it’s every bit as mystical psych rock as you’d expect from the band. The whole thing sounds as though it’s coming to you through a layer of thick smoke; the guitars squall slowly and epically, while the vocals are drenched in reverb. It’s a solid track with a particularly gripping build that will pull you away from whatever other menial task you’re doing and make you focus on the song at hand.

Jaguar Palace will be out March 31st via Cosmic Dreamer. Get stoked!

ATX Spotlight: New Music from Julia Lucille

While Julia Lucille may not be an Austin native, her arrival and presence in our city and state has surely inspired her latest musical outing. This sprawling number wears the soul of nights spent cruising down empty highway rods, aided by slide guitar from RF Shannon‘s Luke Dawson. While it opens with the voice and very very light strumming, the song soon takes off to other-worldly heights, soaking it in extra bits of reverb and textural touches that create the song’s depth. Imagine yourself dancing in the arms of your love in some small town tavern, while an unknown chanteuse serenades you; it’s the best bit of music escapism. Look for Julia’s new record, Chthonic, via Keeled Scales on April 7th.

ATX Spotlight: New Music from RF Shannon

I’ve been a fan of RF Shannon since I caught wind of their work via Punctum Records, and now Shane Renfro ismoving forward with thebrand new Other Trails EP. Perhaps one of my favorite things about the project is that it consistently acknowledges the influence of Texas, be it in the sound, or the imagery, like in the video below. You get a bit of both here, which is just another reason to keep an eye on all the work that’s promised to be on its way; not to mention that there’s always this level of thoughtfulness streaming from RF Shannon releases. I don’t really need to say more than that you’ll enjoy this tune, and probably the EP when it’s released on October 21st via Keeled Scales.

ATX Weekend Show Preview: Who Isn’t Playing In Austin?

ATX Popfest 10Nathan and I were commenting on the plethora of shows going down this weekend, so I figured it’d be nice to lay it all out night by night for you so you know where you need to be to hear the best tunes. I’ve got all your options broken up by days and if you play your cards right, it could be a weekend filled to the brim with great local and visiting acts. See for yourself after the jump and prep with some tunes… a few more hours and it’s the weekend!

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ATX Weekend Show Preview

austin_mainAlright, summer’s about to be over for most of the ATH crew as we head back to school, so you can bet we want to enjoy the last weekend of true freedom with some great live music. Lucky for you I’ve got the full rundown of all the shows you’ll want to hit up this weekend and some tracks to get you psyched to go out and support your local scene.

Friday (8.21)

Super Thief, Tunic, Xetas, Back Legs at Beerland // 9 pm

Mother Falcon, RF Shannon, Quintessential Clarinet Quintet at The North Door // 8pm

Saturday (8.22)

Daniel Johnston, Dana Falconberry at the Mohawk // 8pm

Ramesh, Roses, The Sour Notes, Moving Panoramas at Hotel Vegas // 9pm

BLXPLTN at Radio Coffee & Beer // 10pm

 

Top 15 Austin Albums of 2014

Top LocalsIt’s that time of year when we all toss up our arbitrary lists of what we think is best, and seeing as we’re based here in Austin, we opted to go with our Top 15 Austin Albums first.  Why 15? Well, there were a lot of great releases all over the place, covering different styles, and appealing to our different writers. Sure, the list isn’t perfect, and it doesn’t reflect singles and EPs, as that could get entirely too crazy.  I included links to the labels so you can buy these albums from the hard-working folks in our town.  Also…there are two releases on our label, but I have no qualms about that; I didn’t set out to put out a bad LP, so obviously, they’re going to be in here.  And without further meaningless words…here’s the best records from Austin that you should already own!

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Some Local Monday Night Must See Shows

gobAlright folks…I know it’s Halloween week, so everyone is looking for things to do, and shows to attend where costumes are accepted.  Tonight, Monday, you’ve got one option, plus another show that should be on your radar.  Hotel Vegas has a mellow show on the bill, which might be in contrast to what you’ve know from the venue, but don’t miss some of these acts, namely RF Shannon and Plantation; Plantation is the project of Carlton, who is also part of our boys Grape St. But, if you’re inclined to show off that costume you’ve been working on, you should head over to the Goblin-A-Go-Go at Mohawk this evening. That event is free and starts at 8 PM, featuring A Giant Dog, pumpkin carving, and contests and drawing galore.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/ToPutItBluntly.mp3]

Download: A Giant Dog – To Put it Bluntly [MP3]

Austin Spotlight: New Tune from RF Shannon

rfshannonIf you haven’t heard us rave about RF Shannon until now, then perhaps you have some time this morning to let their latest track carry you away.  Earlier this year they released Hunting Songs, which surprised us, not because we expected it to be awful, but because it was such a cohesive collection of beautiful songs that we were taken aback.  They’re back again with a split 7″ with their friend Jess Williamson, which is being released today via our friends at Punctum Records.  The track below is their piece for the split, and it’s quite special.  I’ve grown attached to the piano that works beneath the guitar lines.  Definitely something you should pick up today, if you’re so inclined.

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