Just before the storm, 12XU Records announced the release of The Tower, the brand new Xetas LP, and as our anticipation builds, we get another great single. The band smash through your speakers from the get-go, pulling back just a touch to let Kana steal the show with a calm vocal delivery. Emphatically, they throw out a catchy burst around the 1.20 mark, then settle back into the song’s groove. For me, I think the most impressive bit of this tune is the band’s ability to stretch it over 5 minutes, and still have the energy and excitement the song with which the song began. New album drops on April 14th.
Admittedly, Austin’s music scene has gotten a great deal of ridiculous music out there, but I don’t think it’s prepared the world for Xetas (who should already be a household name). From the moment it kicks in, the band aim to hit you with that animalistic rock n’ roll; they perfectly capture their tenacious live energy…one of the most forceful performers in the ATX scene. But, what I really love comes at the 1.13 and 2.51 marks, as they turn into this powerful chorus that brings about a noisier ode to pop punk. It pretty much seals the deal…this band is ready to take on everyone. Look for The Tower on April 14th via 12XU.
I’d love to go on a diatribe on how Austin music’s scene isn’t dying, but I think all you need to is just listen to the compilations put together this year: Austin Slack Capital, Flavor Sound Class of 2016…and now Dillo Milk 2. That last one will be released soon, and features this brand new Xetas track…which hasn’t been played live…and according to the band, isn’t slated for their next LP. It doesn’t matter, as it’s now out there, and it’s so fucking good. I mean, the chorus has this natural ferocity that can perhaps only best be compared to the band’s live set. And the continuous maneuvering, almost off-kilter swagger kind of makes the rest of rock n’ roll seem boring. Sorry folks…but with songs like this coming out left and right…rock n’ roll’s spirit is very much alive in Austin.
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
Maybe you’re still shaking off the cobwebs of tiredness from your eyes from this weekend, but it’s time for you to muster up the strength to hit up the Mohawk tomorrow night for what will surely be an evening well worth your time. Headlining the inside stage is London’s Shopping, who have been wowing us with their post-punk jangly jams for sometime now, so it’s exciting to see how this sound will translate to the live setting; something tells me these tracks are going to be even more robust and require some dancing shoes. Opening up for them are locals Xetas and Feral Future, so be sure to get there early and support your locals. And if you feel like double-dipping and making the most of your night, get there even earlier to catch Youth Lagoon and Moon King on the outside stage at 6:30. Otherwise, doors for the inside stage are at 9 and tickets are 10$…get them here.
Alright, summer’s about to be over for most of the ATH crew as we head back to school, so you can bet we want to enjoy the last weekend of true freedom with some great live music. Lucky for you I’ve got the full rundown of all the shows you’ll want to hit up this weekend and some tracks to get you psyched to go out and support your local scene.
Super Thief, Tunic, Xetas, Back Legs at Beerland // 9 pm
Mother Falcon, RF Shannon, Quintessential Clarinet Quintet at The North Door // 8pm
Daniel Johnston, Dana Falconberry at the Mohawk // 8pm
Ramesh, Roses, The Sour Notes, Moving Panoramas at Hotel Vegas // 9pm
BLXPLTN at Radio Coffee & Beer // 10pm
There’s not a lot in the way of traveling acts coming through town, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have a chance to get out and support tons of local artists, and even celebrate some venues. No need to wax poetic here, just check out some great gigs. Read more
In a week with several great local releases (Zoltars/Quiet Company included), you’ve got to show up tonight to catch the ballsy rock display that Xetas continuously bring to the stage. The work they’ve put into The Redeemer completely catches their live energy, harnessing it into a ball of fury that’s ready to destroy your Apple headphones; you’ll likely want to hear this record on the best stereo possible. Go out to Hotel Vegas tonight, as they band will be joined by other local heavy-hitters, Spray Paint, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes and New China. And if you can’t make it out to the show, grab the album from 12XU; you won’t be let down, I swear it.
Honestly, there wasn’t an Austin label that kicked as much ass in 2014 as 12XU…they had three of our Top 10 Austin LPs. So, anytime the label offers something you’ve gotta take note, especially when it comes to local act Xetas. If you’ve caught their live set then you’ve probably been warned, but this single from their upcoming The Redeemer LP is one of those tracks that manages to capture the band’s live fury, whilst still boasting of solid production value. It’s a track with a breakneck pace, with slaughtering guitar riffs that cut through your speakers. I figure there’s only a matter of time before a band with such tenacity and killer licks breaks into the consciousness beyond Austin. Look for the LP in stores at the end of February.