Our friend Ram Vela has been banging out tracks in Austin for longer than we’ve been a site; he fronted Whitman and even joined Midgetmen’s entourage for a minute. But, as of late he’s been brandishing his love of pop rock with Ram Vela and the Easy Targets. The band have a new LP dropping late this year, and we’ve got that first rocking single to bring you this morning. The band waste no time in dropping in this heavy riffage, dropping in huge distorted riffs as Ram emphatically punctuates the tune with the chorus, making sure to leave you with the hooks you desire! If you’re punching the air and screaming along, you’re doing it right. We’ll keep you posted as the record draws near!
Seattle’s Mt Fog is ready to mesmerize you with their latest video for “Behind a Silent Door,” with footage that matches up with the band’s description as forest folktronica; it uses some colorful digital sketching to fill in the background of found nature shots. Musically, you’re going to love what Carolyn B is doing with her craft, structuring electronic layer atop layer so as to build a musical landscape where her vocals can come in and out of focus. Interestingly, those vocal notes match the mystic quality of the music, like a playful forest dweller, running in and out of the trees, calling to you. If you can’t get lost in the natural world, then you can certainly lose yourself in this song.
If you were to recreate a modern version of The Warriors today, only with futuristic gutterpunks, then the soundtrack is going to have to be done by Neocons. The LA outfit are bridging territory between stark synthetic pop and post-hardcore. On “Shoot/Kill” you’ll find these ripping riffs working over shuffling beats, while the vocals feel like they’re stalking prey of some sort, growling akin to what you’d find on any number of LPs out right now. There’s a little soft melody working in “New Boots,” so I’m interested in hearing how that plays out, as it still feels dangerous, particularly in the lyrical setting. Neocons will release their EP on July 1st via Industrial Cowboy, a sister-label of Paisley Shirt Records.
This Ben Woods track has been floating around for a few days in the Aussie circles, but I keep coming back to it, so I wanted to make sure I had it up on our end here. The tune barely moves, almost remaining stationary to allow for the emotive pull to be built on the vocals and the ambient effects. Ben’s voice, forever fragile, sucks you in; then he trades verses with Lucy Hunter of Opposite Sex, giving you this trade-off between narrators, all the while this open expanse of light musical flourishes just seem to hang and vanish in thin air. Special tune from a special songwriter; look for Dispeller on July 15th via Meritorio/Shrimper/Melted Ice Cream.
As previously mentioned on this site, I’ve been taking a deep dive into blues, R&B, gospel and just about all things early Southern soul music over the last few years. This involved a trek to Memphis and the incredible Stax museum paired with hours digging through the blues and soul section of every Record shop and market I frequent during my travels. It has become an obsession to soak up everything I can about the genre, peoples and communities who created this music. After all that time absorbing the music and culture, I was a bit shocked when Elizabeth King came up in a press email and I was unfamiliar with her brand of sacred soul music. Her career is drenched in the very essence of Southern gospel soul music and I am beyond pleased to share my thoughts on her new album I Got a Love today. Hit the jump for my full thoughts and review.
Those of us in Austin, of the old guard I reckon, are super excited about Voxtrot‘s recent activity, from the announcement of shows to the reissuing of some music. Today, they share “Kindergarten,” which is a song they recorded in the mid-00s, but never put out…until it hits on their new Cut from the Stone: Rarities and B-SidesLP. This one has all the makings of classic Voxtrot, from Ramesh’s urgency around the 1:20 mark to the infectious stomp that helps give the song a bit of bounce. Still every bit in love with Ramesh’s voice as I was when I was youngster, but the explosion after the 2 minute mark definitely points to some territory the group were exploring, even when it crashes into this hard-hitting piano burst. Unfortunately, Cut from the Stone is already sold out, but perhaps they’ll have some on hand when they tour in the Fall!
MILLY is a Los Angeles based group who make their very own brand of slacker style, post-emo themed rock music. A lovely example of their style can be found with this brand new single called “Nullify”. It features a sort of early Smashing Pumpkins guitar sound mixed with bits of slower, emo driven bands like say American Football. However you want to label them or brand them, it’s a rocking track for your Thursday morning.
In the Summertime, I am technically on break, so I immerse myself in working out and listening to every song that comes my way, then spinning my brain in circles trying to decide what sort of music I’m into at the moment. As of late, I’ve been into a lot of the early Massive Attack stuff, and some other pioneers of the early collage pop style, which is why I’m digging on this new Bastien Keb. The latest single drags in elements of funk, but it also has this sort of hip-hop meets soul influence…with all of it kind of dragged through the lens of modern indie vibes. Textured with thick beats and layered strings, its easy to just imagine kicking back with Keb in the background, lounging into the late night with your friends as you pass around a bottle of your choosing. His new Organ Recital LP is out on July 22nd via Gearbox Records.
I’ve known Jesse Tabish since he was a teenager. Long before he took the stage opening for the likes of Radiohead with his band Other Lives. But, with the announcement of Cowboy Ballads Pt. 1, you can hear a confident songwriter building the world he’s slowly been building for himself over the last two decades. Everything feels huge and extravagant, like the score to a movie on TMC, though much of this new LP was recorded by Jesse and his wife Kim, as well as various other friends form his musical circle. I love the way the song has this natural swing to it, sort of a bossanova groove that rides on the undercurrent, bringing in the positivity that Jesse hopes to share in this new record. Cowboy Ballads Pt. 1 is out on October 21st via Play It Again Sam.
Pressing play, Shady Cove will embrace you with simplicity, providing powerful vocals over a steadied little beat; it’s enough to capture your attention, putting the duo in like-minded territory with the Angel Olsens. What I loved is how the band slowly, almost slyly, let the song develop into something larger, something wholly more expressive. The guitar entrance is a prime example, sparkling with these little notes at just the right time, letting the song sort of unroll with more power right before your ears, only to return and settle back down while those notes fade into the far off distance. Definitely a solid start here for the new band, so let’s hope we hear more soon.