Austin’s Daisy O’Connor is ready to share her hard work with everyone this week; she’ll drop her Ether EP this Friday. She’s graced us with one of the standout tracks, set to footage of the Hill Country rolling behind an image of herself. It’s a special number, beginning with Daisy softly draping her voice atop a fairly bare piano line; there’s cascading guitar and soft percussion, adding to the emotional draw. But, just after the 2 minute mark, the song begins to swell. The piano is more emphatic, strings emerge and that guitar dances in with a solo of its own, capping off the tune gorgeously. It’s a powerful tune, but just one of the handful that will appear on Ether; you can catch Daisy at Cosmic Coffee & Beer on Sunday (2/10) if you’re in the Austin area.
I’ve been trying to broaden my listening horizons quite a bit lately, getting into stuff I haven’t really had on my radar (a whole lot of kumbia)…and that’s where I found Body Clocks. It’s a pulsing bit of electronica, which typically would be easy to describe, but there are some special things lurking here. The rhythmic pulse gets offset at times, settling into a groove, then almost pausing in air before bouncing back. There’s these little haunting echoes of strings and even a brief vocal sample. It’s the duo’s debut single, but I hope you’ll dig it.
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Way back in the early 00s, when I was sneaking into SXSW showcases, I caught this really incredible band, Soviet. While everyone was playing guitar-driven dance music, they were using old school synths; they were my favorite act for awhile. Now comes Fountaineer, sounding oddly similar; they employ the same beat structure, as well as some of the same sonic touches I remember. The music is catchy, but a little hint of darkness makes it perfect for snobby music fans. It’s a brand new single from the Aussie band, so sit back and enjoy this delightful tune.
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You may know Kevin Morby better through his other projects such as The Babies, or has bass work in Woods. However, Still Life is his second release for this solo development, a follow up to Harlem River, which came out last year. If you’re still only familiar with this man’s other achievements, it’s time to bust out your headphones or your speakers and have a listen to Still Life, which shows the pure talent that you already knew Morby possessed, but channeled in a raw and real form; the sincerity of this record will have you coming back to it over and over again.
The album comes to you humbly and asks you to “take [it] as you feel—” a line that comes on “Amen,” which you won’t come to until later, but this is an instance of the songwriting aptly describing the listening experience. From the moment you press play on opening “The Jester, The Tramp & The Acrobat,” you get this gentle undercurrent of a rhythm that carries you along while Morby, addressing you as a friend, opens up. The song begins to flesh itself out, transitioning from soft drums and acoustic guitar to some licking electric guitar and a change to a faster pace. Here, we get a bit of a preview as to what this album has in store for us: we get both a subtle and simple side well as the intricately crafted indie-rock-and-roll jam side, all of which is coated in a residual gravity in the songwriting.
While it’s hard to pick a favorite aspect of this record to focus on—both the instrumentation and the lyrics work together in a fantastic combination of mood—the lyrics are constantly are working at your heart, begging for you to let them in. Take any track on this record and you can find a line or two that is stunning in its nature, even removed from context. On a song by song basis, there are numbers like “Drowning” and “All Of My Life” which grip you from start to finish, tying together lines like the threads in a tapestry, leaving you simply stunned at the end product. Here is a man pouring what seems to be the contents of his soul into his craft, laying it all out for you in a sometimes delicate, sometimes rock and roll fueled context.
To put it bluntly and with a cliché, listening to this record feels a bit like falling in love; by the time I reached the ending of Still Life, I was already itching to restart and do it all over again, following Morby through the highs of the jams and especially the lows in his lyrics. It’s all good, and it’s all waiting for you to fall into its depths.
All I need to make the Kevin Morby triumvirate of greatness complete is a new Babies record. He’s already had a good year with a new 7″ this year and an album with his other act Woods; today he announced yet another album under his own name, featuring this great new track. It’s a relaxed tune filled with light touches of piano and horns, again illustrating his growth as an incredible writer. This new collection of songs is titled Still Life, as an homage to a art piece by Maynard Monrow; you can get the new record from Woodsist on October 14th.
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