Seeing as we’re based in Austin, born and raise and what not, we feel a special affinity for our music scene, which has been hit really hard this year. But, let’s celebrate the music that came out, despite the difficulties we all faced. So, here’s our Top Releases from the ATX scene. And still staying away from numbering things, as this feels like telling one friend you like them more than your other friend…and I’m just excited all these great artists live nearby and were able to put their art into the world in this shit year.
This is one of those weird weeks in Austin when it seems like everyone we love decided to drop some musical knowledge on us today. We’ve got some standard players like Stiletto Feels and the Zoltars dropping brand new records, plus a return to the fray for JP Pfertner, formerly of Built by Snow, and his new project Velcrowolf. Click on down to hear some fresh new tunes!
If you’ve ever met Jared Leibowich you’d know that he’s devoted to his craft; he’s writing non-stop, whether that’s for Jarebear, the Infinites, his solo stuff, or the Zoltars. We were actually super fortunate to help put out the last Zoltars effort Telling Stories, but the band is ready to return with Mystery Kids. Today we’re more than happy to share the aptly titled “August 24th,” the lead single from the new LP. I think my favorite piece about this tune is the crisp way the guitar notes turn, popping out of the mix perfectly. And that chorus, fuzzier guitars and a swell of Jared’s voice supported by some textured backing notes. In the second go round, the song gets more emphatic, almost in a sort of a fanatic stage diatribe; it’s actually a cool touch that I think gives the song just enough of an edge. Mystery Kids will be out on October 1st via Rock Tumbler Records.
Clearly, based on the name of our site, we’re always down to represent Austin, and while I feel like releases were down in the city this year, there was tons of great stuff to be devoured. Rather than rank and file our friends; we’re just here to uplift the scene, and maybe remind you of some Texas music that might have (it shouldn’t!) slipped under your radar. Black Pumas got the deserved love, but there’s tons bubbling beneath the surface. I mostly broke it into labels, as they’re the heart and soul of this city. Comes with a fancy playlist.
Having followed the Zoltars for some time, I cannot begin to share how excited we are to have the privilege of releasing their next LP this October. In honor of that release, we thought we’d try out another gem for your ears…so lets get to it. For me, there’s two reasons I love this track…especially going into this week (the first week of school). One, there’s this great contrast between dark and light; the riffs are heavy from the get-go, churned and driving, but the chorus changes that into this shimmering light creeping in from the horizon. But, like all great songs, they need great lyrics or themes…as a teacher dealing with kids (though this applies to all humans), thematically its about seeing your own gifts. If you’re interested in buying Telling Stories, you can pre-order the whole LP right HERE.
This weekend is filled with a ridiculous amount of good shows to catch and seems to be slated to remind you why it is you choose to live in The Live Music Capitol of The World. With an extra day to your weekend, there’s really no excuse not to get out and see some quality local and touring acts. Here are my picks for the next three nights for a killer time out for the holiday weekend.
Thursday night is as good a night as any for a rock show, and all of Austin is in for a treat, should they choose to visit Hotel Vegas on said night. You get two great traveling acts in the Molochs and Smokescreens, the latter associated to our site’s highly regarded fave label, Slumberland Records…not to mention a Terry Malts/Business of Dreams connection. If you haven’t, as we suggested, picked up Used to Yesterday, then we suggest you do so now. The Molochs, for their part, will likely play a good deal off their forthcoming LP, Flowers in the Spring, so why not sneak a peak? And, both Tres Oui and the Zoltars will be peforming on the night, both ATH approved! Doors are at 9!
Slack Capital 2 is a compilation of music by 27 of Austin’s most wonderful bands. All proceeds from the comp go to SafePlace, which provides support for victims of domestic and sexual violence. We’re unveiling one song per day, leading up to the comp’s release on April 14.
Song of the day: The Zoltars – “I See You”
Perhaps no artist on this comp is quite as “slack” as Jared Zoltar of the Zoltars. With a super laid-back delivery, ghostly “oohs” floating in the background, an acoustic guitar straight out of Beck’s closet, and drums that sound like someone shutting a cabinet door in the next room, “I See You” feels like a lo-fi lullaby sent via transmission from some rigged-up VHS tape in a basement somewhere. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea, though. Like the best Zoltars songs, this one has an earnest heart at its core, and the refrain — “I see you/ I see you/ I like you/ cuz you’re like me too”– is both addictive and sweetly simple. 10/10 would recommend for a key spot on your next summer love mixtape. –Eric Braden
Pre-Order Slack Capital 2 HERE.
Come to the Release Party on April 14 at Barracuda.
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
It’s a busy week for Austin, with tons of bands and people about to fill the city for ACL, but that being said, I really don’t want you to miss out on seeing Ultimate Painting tonight. They’ve released two incredible albums, both flying under the radar despite receiving great amounts of praise. I, for one, can also vouch for the fact that they’ve got an incredible live show ready for you; it’s one of the most rehearsed, tightest sets I’ve seen from an act in several years. Plus, you’ll get to see The Zoltars open up the night; they’re easily one of my Top Ten Austin acts playing around the city right now. Dryspell will also share the opening slot, so please come early to watch yourself some locals. Tickets are 10 bucks and doors open at 9 PM.
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