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.
Nathan and I were just discussing some of the original bands we first posted about and have steadily shared over our 10+ year run. After a bit of poking around in older, and terribly formatted posts, our very own Austinite Will Johnson was featured quite a bit in the early days and frequently over the years. Bottom line, we love his music and everything he’s been involved in over the years. Currently Will is going under his own name again with a new album called Wire Mountain coming on September 27th via Keeled Scales. Prior to that new release date, we’ve got this new single “Necessitarianism (Fred Merkle’s Blues)” ready for your ever awaiting ears. It’s a familiar Johnson sound with his ever raspy, haunting vocals, but this time with more of dark, edgy sound to his ever evolving Americana style.
RayRay and I are both huge Centromatic fans, and thus, we’ve closely followed the career of Will Johnson through his various twists and turns. Currently, he’s working under his own name, with a new LP scheduled to drop this fall on Keeled Scales. On this new track, there’s a lot of space in the track, allowing for the delicate flourishes Johnson has seen fill his various projects, be it the tinkering piano or distant-sounding strings. It’s perfect when considering Will’s smoky voice, making room for his vocals to softly churn and roll through the song as he sees fit; he also gets some nice vocal accompaniment at points to add depth to his work. Wire Mountain will drop on September 27th.
Surely you’re aware of my undying love for all things Will Johnson, be it his solo work or Centro-Matic, but now he’s founded Marie/Lepanto with Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster of Water Liars. Johnson’s voice is clearly a standout on the band’s first single, quivering slightly with his distinctive tones. This tune’s also a bit heavier than the work we’ve heard from Johnson of late, which could be due to Kinkel-Schuster, but regardless, the melodic elements unfurl beneath the crunchy guitar work. The duo will release Tenkiller on January 26th via Fat Possum imprint, Big Legal Mess.
While Will Johnson has long been a revered songwriter in Texas, I don’t think he’s ever fully indulged in the state’s penchant for country ballads. He offers us glimpses in various releases, and this new single is one such tune. His voice remains his distinctive trademark, but it’s the sliding guitar, bellowing backing vocals and the light percussive touches that really set up the landscape for his approach here. Hatteras Night, a Good Luck Charm will be released on March 24th, giving us a full album’s worth of what are great tunes, with scattered tour dates across the country through June.
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Looks like I’m just going to listen to Undertow Records for the entirety of the year 2017. They’ve got the new David Bazaan, The New Year and this great new LP from Will Johnson. On his latest single, I can’t help but be nostalgic about being a Texan; it’s a pride that runs deep…and whether Will means it or not, he’s captured that. I can hear myself playing with friends in the yard as music plays in the distance, or studying for school while my dad’s record collection plays through the walls in the other room; there’s bending strings, extra orchestration and of course, Johnson’s croon.Something about this song just feels like home. Hatteras Night, a Good Luck Charm comes out via the label on March 24th.
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I’ve admittedly supported the work of Will Johnson through his various projects, and now that he’s prepping a new LP, I’m here to make sure you know all about it. This particular single has a bit of a crunchy riff that drives it forward, akin to some of Johnson’s work in Centromatic, but there’s a slight brightness in the way he opens the chords up to listeners, matched by the fragility of his distinctive voice. As the song progresses through its five (plus) minutes there’s a lot going on beneath the main mix, but I always come back to just how powerfully emotive Will’s voice is. Can’t wait for you all to hear Hatteras Night, a Good Luck Charm on March 24th when Undertow releases it unto the world.
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Will Johnson means a lot to RayRay and myself. We’re huge Centro-matic fans, and I swear that Vultures Await is one of my favorite records from a Texan in the last decade. It’s been great to watch him continue his growth, his turns and his accolades. He’s currently up for a Grammy for Best American Roots Performance, not to mention that great 7″ he released on Record Store Day of last year. It looks like Will’s proud as well, as he recorded this beautiful bit of guitar and vocals just for you, his fans. How a person can listen to this and not fall in love is beyond me…so fee free to give it a try…you’ll have to play it once or twice just to make sure.
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|Tickets||$15 @ Frontgate|
Indie supergroup Overseas are stopping into town on Saturday at the Parish and we highly recommend you go and check it out. For those not in the know, the band is comprised of ATH favorites David Bazan of Pedro the Lion, Will Johnson of Centro-matic, and Matt and Bubba Kadane of Bedhead. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like something magical. Joining the super group on stage you’ll get great locals Monahans and Chase Weinacht of Marmalakes. See ya there?[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/01-Ghost-To-Be.mp3]
Download: Overseas – Ghost To Be [MP3]
I know Ryan will agree with this, as Overseas are pretty much our favorite super group. As Texas kids of the 90s, we grew into our own listening to the music of Centro-matic, Pedro the Lion and Bedhead, all who have components that are playing key roles here. That’s right, you’ve got the Kadane’s, Will Johnson and Mr. Bazan. I don’t think that anyone who was around that the very thought of that combination alone gets chills going. I don’t need to say much, but I’ll share a few jams with you, just so you can revel in our joy. They’ll release their self-titled LP on June 11th.