Over the last several years, Stephen Svacina has dominated Austin’s rock n’ roll scene with his band Sweet Talk. But, he’s taking a little break from that project, and crafting some songs on his own. Our first listen sees him taking on a slightly new vibe, despite having a familiar voice. It’s much more casual, almost in the realm of hook-laden guitar pop (which I adore!). The guitar turn when he says “I’ll leaving with my hands in the air,” crafting this crisp bit of pop brilliance. No word on when and if he’ll put this on a physical release, but enjoy it while it’s out there. He’ll be playing at Beerland on Wednesday night, in case you want to prove that there’s no Austin music crisis.
I’m really excited for you all to hear Baby Lucy; it’s the project of Troy Tabner, who played drums for one of our favorite acts in Austin, Sweet Talk. However, he’s now married and living in Houston, writing songs on his own. Your first listen should have you as excited as we are, filled with a galloping pace wrapped around Tabner’s vocals and strumming. There’s lightly placed backing vocals and a joyous chorus. It’s one of those tracks that immediately makes you feel uplifted, happy to just be walking on this Earth. The Baby Lucy LP is going to be released on October 14th via new label Roofus & Friends Records, so enjoy your listening, and keep an eye out for more from the project.
Feedback. Pounding drums. You’re in danger as soon as you press play on this brand new Empty Markets track. This is the newest project of Drew Schmitz (Gremlins UK/Cruddy), and I can’t wait to get my hands on their new LP, Stainless Steel. I appreciated the fact that the band never slows, bringing that pummeling pace all the way until the end of the track; it’s almost abrupt, forcing you to go back and listen again…which isn’t a bad thing in this case. Need no frills rock n’ roll? This band is doing it right. Look for their new LP on 12XU on April 8th. The band’s current line-up also features members of other rad 12XU act, Sweet Talk.
There’s still some Free Week activities for you over at Barracuda this week, which you should attend, but the main stretch of Free Week is over. I had a pretty solid time, bouncing all down Red River, catching over 60 great Austin bands (and a few from out of town). It’s a really special time for the Austin music community and its fan, so I’m going to leave you with some notes, as well as some highlights and things you should look forward to in 2016. Read more
The weekend is filled with Holiday parties and various shows celebrating such a time, but Saturday night is where you’ll find your money best spent; there are two incredible shows that are must sees in my eyes. On one hand, you’ve got the 12XU XXXMas Revue at Beerland, featuring Sweet Talk, OBN IIIs, Flesh Lights, Xetas and more; it’s important to note that all those bands have at some point been at the top in our year end lists. While that’s a rock laden show, a block away you can indulge your pop fandom by hitting up Moving Panoramas, Ramesh and Young Girls over at Barracuda. A few of these acts are on our label (with a new Young Girls LP on its way), so you know we’ll be there…though considering the line-up, I’m looking to bounce back and forth all night long.
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
The following reasons should encourage you to go to Sidewinder this evening in Austin and catch a great show featuring some of Austin’s best rock n’ roll. Reason One: Flesh Lights are headlining…they put out one of my favorite records of 2014, Free Yourself; it’s punk, it’s power pop and it’s just plain good. Also, Sweet Talk is in the mix, and their album Double Perfect will be in my 2015 year end list for sure…best work of that band to date. Oh, and opening the evening is Slow, who don’t have an official release, but I’m betting they’ve got new songs that will blow you away. And, Endless Youth! It’s going to be cheap and it’s going to be all ATX awesome, so we’ll see you there! Doors are at 10 PM.
We’ve already rocked a few singles for you, but now that Sweet Talk‘s new LP is finally on the streets, it’s time for you to see what a great listen it is. Not that my voice matters too much, but I’d have to say that this is one of the city’s top LPs in 2015. Double Perfect is fueled by high energy rifts, and it holds some interesting musical turns in the album’s continuity, like “Wrong”” moving into “Tightrope” for a change of pace. It’ll also become pretty clear to you that while you can lump the band in with the ATX punk scene, there’s a whole lot of talent behind the guitar work…making the record more than just your average fare. You’d be smart to pick it up immediately via 12XU.
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
I’m not going to lie to you; I think the newest album from Sweet Talk is one of my favorite records coming out of Austin this year. It’s a nice blend of power-pop and punk rock, hitting all the wrong notes while leaving you with memorable lines and singalong choruses. The band just released a video for their newest single, “Borrow Your Stuff,” and we’ve got it showing below in hopes you’ll be convinced, like me, that their new effort Double Perfect is something you need in your record collection this year. The LP will be released on October 16th via the esteemed 12XU.