Swedish musician/producer Mathias Engwall is set to release his Nevereverie LP under the llawgne moniker. For me, the attraction initially was steeped in the deep construction of the tune, building these extravagant layers of bubblegum pop. But, the trick employed here, is that Engwall disguises those layers in this sort of atmospheric wash that sort of reimagines classic 60s era pop through a more modern lens. At times it feels heavy and psychedelic, yet still pulled in by this gravitational pop pull that builds and swells, sort of like the pop version of Papercuts…which is a great compliment. Be on the lookout for this LP later in the year.
After several moves across the country and back, Aaron Troyer has found a new home here in Austin, and he’s already set to release his first bit of music; Trappings of a Golden Myth is set to be released on the first day of the new year, courtesy of No Coast Recordings. It’s interesting that Troyer should now call Texas home, as his voice sounds built for the landscape, carrying this huge heavy-toned troubadour feel. The music is right at home too, feeling a bit of a Western influence while sprawling across the great expanse of the song (or the Lone Star state). If you dig it, be sure to pre-order the cassette before No Coast runs out!
I think one of the great records of 2019 that was overlooked by most was Hope is for the Hopeless, the debut LP from the Golden Dregs; I know I wrote about several of the singles on these very pages. Well, a few months on, and Benjamin Woods (the artists behind the project) has decided to rework his title track with the help of London bunch Vogues. You still get Woods hearty baritone, but the guitar has been stripped and reworked with electronic production. Subtle beats and robotic backing vocals take the song into the more uplifting territory Woods hoped we’d all noticed on the original version; I don’t think those sweet jazzy horns were present either. If you haven’t heard the original version, you can do listen to the whole LP HERE, and stream the reworked magic below!
We love to work with our friend John over at SideOneTrackOne, who also handles one of Austin’s local radio shows, 101X Homegrown. We’ve teamed up with him this week to bring you a show of great importance over at Cheer Up Charlies; you get four incredible Austin acts for the price of a Bud Light at any of the bars on 6th Street. Zettajoule kicks things off for the evening, followed by Yukon Gold, Star Parks and Lowin. It’s important to note here, of course, that Yukon Gold is the supergroup formerly known as All Eyes, but with a new singer. Doors are at 9 PM, with more info HERE.
We first met Jason Morris back in the early days of The Clouds are Ghosts, but over the past few years he’s really been focused on his Lunar Gold project…today we’ve got a new one from said project. Of late, the project has focused on crafting these thoughtful pop numbers, and this one is much the same. Morris’ voice has this angelic tone, accented by layered vocal accompaniment as it hangs gently in the air. Musically, there’s this understated elegance; it reminds me of the orchestral moves that Other Lives made…like a dreamscape that transports you to some celestial world. The band celebrate the release of their new single on June 21st over at Stay Gold!
We’re midway through our week here, and why not enjoy the spirited pop of The Golden Age of TV. The music’s vibe works in contrast to the song’s message of holding on to what’s passed, but even the happiest songs sometimes have a message we all need to hear. I think Bea Fletcher’s vocal performance is spot-on, especially as she stretches her voice to reach those higher notes. It seems like this Leeds-based project is just getting started, so expect to hear more from them in the near future…I promise I’ll help you out.
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You should probably already know about Golden Dawn Arkestra in some capacity, as they’re one of Austin’s own, but have you heard this new single, “Stargazer,” yet? No? Well, press play below and get ready to take a journey with this group into past, present and future, or perhaps another dimension. This song starts slowly and mysteriously, the female vocals entering the mix like heavy fog, as subtle guitar winds its way through the song, and the elements begin to join in. Then, the band launches in full force into the 70s swirling disco that simultaneously makes you want to dance and watch a crime-fighting action show. They’ve got a new LP coming out next February, and if it’s anything like this first single, we’re in for a real treat. Take a listen.
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Midweek Show? Why not. There’ s a bunch on the bill this week…some local, some travelers. Hotel Vegas has Growl and Que Pasa, but I’d also like to point out that Winter is coming in from Cali…and that band was incredible during SXSW (Show starts at 10). Or, you can head on out over to Spiderhouse for a slew of great acts…Sailor Poon, Lunar Gold, Bloody Knives; it’s a night of great local acts that you should already have on your radar (Show starts at 7). Also, those of you looking for something a little different might want to see Nic Armstrong and the Thieves doing their thing at Hole in the Wall (Show starts at (9:30). I’ll toss out some jams below to give you some insight as to where you might want to go tomorrow night.
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When I first received Dalliance in the mail I had to go back and listen to the debut, Are You Falling in Love. It reminded me of just how great the songwriting was, though I felt the first LP was a bit uneven in spots. On the return for Gold Bears, this is not the case; the songs here are successful in every single way, with not a single throw away of the eleven tracks present.
Dalliance opens where Are You Falling in Love left off, starting things with “Yeah Tonight,” but this round you’ve got an immediate winner. The idea has been shortened, pounding away from the instant you press play. It doesn’t hurt that singer Jeremy Underwood is balanced out here by Emma Kupa (formerly of Standard Fare), as her presence provides a nice sugary dosage to a track noisily rocks from the get-go. Screeching guitars await around the bend with “Chest.” It’s reminiscent of The Thermals at their best, offering up punk intensity with hints of pop sensibility that make the song an undeniable hit; you’ll want to blast this with the windows down.
But, while this new album from Gold Bears kicks you in the face, musically speaking, you’ve got to have a proper amount of balance; they accomplish that perfectly with “I Hope They’re Right.” It’s a ballad with a distorted guitar rocketing through the background, while a female vocal harmonizes perfectly with Underwood. It’s a nice bit of respite, allowing listeners to catch their breath for a short instant. Surely the gentle quality of this tune will illustrate just how far the songwriting has come since the band’s inception. It’s similar in approach to “Hey, Sophie,” at least in so far as both songs are meant, in my eyes, as breathers. They introduce soft moments, though “Hey, Sophie” uses more of a ringing circular guitar approach as opposed to a stretched out ballad with guitar accents. These songs tie the record together; they still hold to thematic points, but they give you a different approach from which to view the band.
Still, Dalliance succeeds the most when it’s loudest, and no song illustrates that point more so than “For You.” As soon as the words “you’re a mistake” are uttered, the song comes crashing in. Drums pound and guitars course through your ears with ferocity, though I think there’s a definite infectious quality in the delivery of the vocal. At the point of writing, it’s probably one of my favorite tracks of the last few months. I especially appreciate how the song’s energy fades away into the back of the track; it’s a touch that I wasn’t expecting, but that caps off the tune in way that’s indescribable.
Gold Bears had the tunes long ago, but I feel that Dalliance is the record where it all seems so right. There’s a vitality in the album that provides a connection with the audience; it refuses to fade. You can turn it up loud when you need to rock out, or you can have it as the perfect background to a backyard gathering, but regardless, you’ll feel this record crawl beneath your skin, inserting itself, permanently, into your consciousness.
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Long have we supported the New York’s Dead Stars, so as they prepare to head into Austin for a few days of rock n’ roll at SXSW, we thought it best to give you a quick introduction to the band before you decide that you’ll be better off including them in your viewing plans. Read on for the band’s answers to our thought-provoking questions.