Honestly, I’m pretty over lists at this point. They’re arbitrary and don’t really reflect anything but someone’s tastes, except here where they reflect the tastes of three individuals…because that’s how we roll. So, take this list with a grain of salt. These are the records we thought were the best, which mostly just means these are the ones we listened to on repeat throughout the year! Feel free to leave a comment on what you think we missed, or why we’re dumb; we love good comment trolls.
Also, because this list is really about crediting the art that made us happy, we wanted it to make you happy too, so we included purchasing links where we could. Read more
Over the last two weekends, I have been out to see a couple of shows, as some of you may have noticed on the instagrams. Two Saturdays ago, I had procured tickets to see Sun June with Buffalo Nichols at 3TEN. This past Saturday, it was a quick trip down to The Far Out Lounge to support SIMS Foundation, see some friends and catch a bit of Moving Panoramas. I have to tell you, it was release of stored anxiety while being a source of stress. I wasn’t sure if it was okay to be out, to feel nearly normal. There were some fist bumps, goose bumps and even a few hugs. Let’s get into the venues, the bands, the CDC, the resulting social politics without being too political and a big batch of photos.
Let’s face it…this is the year that Sun June goes big. We’ve long backed the band for huge things, and with Run for Cover in their corner (along with friends Keeled Scales too!), the expectations for the Austin quintet are super high! Luckily for you, they’ve got the music to back that up, as you can hear in the band’s final single before Somewhere drops in early February. For starters, this is probably my favorite vocal performance from Laura too; her voice has this graceful majesty that rides the crest of the song as the video courses through these nostalgic videos that resonate with the track’s lyrical content. A little over a month and you can grab the LP on February 5th.
The new Sun June is simply indescribable. I’ve attempted to pigeonhole it, make clever comparisons, express my initial thoughts…but for all that effort, I have no words. It’s like this magnificent quicksand; I’m watching myself sinking into an unknown abyss, yet as this song plays in the background, I’m not unhappy. In fact, this song feels like just letting things be. It has movement, thus the choreography, but at times, its so patient and unobtrusive that it just swirls about your head dizzyingly. Some songs are better left without my detailing; they speak for themselves. Look for Somewhere next February via Run For Cover/Keeled Scales.
With the release of “Singing” last month, we all knew Sun June had something cooking; today they officially announce the release of their new LP, Somewhere, handled by Run for Cover and Keeled Scales. For me, I’m not sure what’s more striking at this point…the song or its accompanying video. I love the use of light and shadow in the video, directed by the band’s own Laura and Stephen, but damned if the song doesn’t blow the rest of the musical competitors out of the water. The song, trickles in around forlorn notes and Colwell’s solemn delivery; you’re almost oblivious to the subtle tension building, bursting through near the 2:50 mark to deliver an emphatic sonic euphoria that solidifies the song’s greatness. The LP will be out in February of next year!
Austin’s Sun June probably need no introduction out there, but rest assured, they’re one of the best exports we’ve had in our fair city in a good bit. Today we get news that they’re signing on to work with Run for Cover Records (they’ll still work with Keeled Scales too!) for their next album, slated for release in 2021. They’ve made said announcement with a new single, and a video featuring their local ATX neighborhood. It’s hard not to be mesmerized by Colwell’s voice in this one, with this powerful softness that exudes confidence. Behind her, the band work on creating this delicate space, perfecting notes that hang in a Hill Country landscape. Simply put, this song feels like home. Look for more from the band as we try to escape 2020.
Earlier this Summer, Sun June member Michael Bain released Tidal Ways; it had some slight sonic nods to SJ, but clearly he’s found a sound entirely his own. You’ll find that guitar lines are sharp and crisp, while his vocals have a little studio growl to them; the percussion seems almost entirely played on the rim of the drum. It almost seem to have this nice haze upon it, which at times, seems matched by the imagery of the accompanying video. If you fancy the sound, you can find the whole album available HERE. But, if you’re super lucky and live in Austin, you can catch Michael playing at the Mohawk tomorrow night; he’ll be joined by our dear friend David Israel, as well as Thank Light; more info HERE.
Michael Bain can usually be found playing guitar for local slow-pop outfit Sun June, but this year, he’s got some of his own fully-formed ideas to share with you under his own name. We’ve only got a handful of songs in our ears as of yet, but you’re in for something special indeed. On “Dad Rock” you get a to hear a sort of traditional indie rock vibe filled with more patience and open space; it allows for a sparkling beauty within the song you’ll only find with close ears. “So Far” sounds huge in it’s approach to pop music offering up a huge seductive swell right in the front of the mix, pulling back to tinker in the dreamier side of the pop genre (think Papercuts). In “Earthbound” you get the exact opposite of what one would expect from the title; it’s more of an ethereal track, almost like a lounge act in outer space. That’s just what you’ll get with Tidal Ways, an album filled with varying sounds loosely tied around the pop color-wheel. If you’re in Austin, Michael will bring these songs to the live setting Friday at Hole in the Wall; if you’re not and you love the songs, click on one and they’ll take you to Mr. Bain’s site to grab the LP!
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.
In the year’s end, those who “write” about music claim our superior tastes by spouting off about our favorite releases. I figured I should start off all the shenanigans with a list from our home base, Austin, Texas. Below you’ll find a list of my favorite releases from the confines of our fair city.
Let it be known that we released albums by Marmalakes, Feverbones and David Israel (and an EP by Blushing), but those will not make this list for the sake of favoritism…though they’d all obvious take the top spot…duh. Read more