Your friendly neighborhood ATH staff kicked off our SXSW yesterday with the recently reborn ATH vs. Side One Track One party at Hotel Vegas in East Austin. We had a packed house from the time doors opened until things closed down a little after 1am. Hopefully everyone stayed safe out there and got home without incident to start off the week on a high note.
After the jump you can find a few quick thoughts and photos from our team.
Weirdly, I felt like I didn’t cover too much last week, but apparently we got in at least 15 new songs, plus a few extras. I’m getting pickier in my old age, but mostly just figure you read Stereogum first, so no need to cover what they’re covering in their Premature Ejaculation column. I started out this week’s playlist with a cover from Screaming Females, but bookend it with the OG from The Selecter, cuz why the fuck not. Our friends Humdrum had a new hit, and that glorious Papercuts LP finally dropped in. It’s Monday, and there’s jams…I’m just over here listening to the first wave British ska.
Our old pal A. Sinclair has been on this site more or less since we began over a decade ago, albeit in various different names. Still, I feel like the last few years he’s really hitting his stride with his songwriting, perhaps hitting a huge peak with this new track. Built upon a piano backbone, Aaron stretches his notes perfectly; the production makes it seem like he’s striking a fragile figure out somewhere on some Texas highway. Each chorus gets a little volume push, highlighting the bend of the guitar and the internal melody, meeting up with a nice little stomp from the percussion section. It all crashes in just after the 2 minute mark, before retreating back the verse/chorus. Track out now courtesy of Mr. Pink Records.
It’s weird that the musical year sort of just stops once everyone puts out their year-end lists, but since that’s the case, this week’s playlist is just a mere 13 jams to get you through the week. It might also be the last playlist of jams we put up in 2021; if everyone’s taking off then I am too, dammit! But, there’s a lot of jams to be had in this list, like the opening jam from Artsick. Plus, you get some new Austin love from Blushing and A. Sincliar, then a few hits from Japanese acts like Merry Christmas and Nicfit. Whatevers, indulge yourself.
We’ve been covering Aaron Sinclair’s music since he fronted Frank Smith back in the day, but he’s been knocking around Austin as A. Sinclair for some time, as well as moonlighting as a drummer in various rad acts about town. This last week he released this wonderful new single, and I’ve really just been relishing his vocal performance here; a nice little polished feel, though still every bit as emotive as he’s always been. I’m also fond of the way that guitar line sort of bends around the track too. Feel like this is a great way to kick off a Thursday, so enjoy the latest from Austin.
Our friend Aaron has been writing and playing in bands for as long as he’s been in Austin; we’ve been fortunate to work with him before as the drummer for Grape St, the first LP I put out! But, he’s transitioned from his Frank Smith work to A. Sinclair the last few years, and with that, he’s really found his comfort zone. I love the warmth of his voice on this single, faintly reminding me of that glorious first Pete Yorn album. His guitar work feels super confident too, crisp and bending in all the right spots; this is definitely reaching the apex of his songwriting abilities. Look for his new LP Sunshine Ghost on March 26th.
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.
Technically, our little break’s not quite over, but it’s time to get back into the music game with some things I hope you will dig, like the latest single from our friend A. Sinclair. I’ve always enjoyed the band’s work, but there’s something really special in this song. It’s like the urgency has been sort of pulled back, gradually letting the guitar notes sharply twist and turn their way through your ears; there’s even a slight twang to let the notes sort of hang out on the wind. It’s a rocker, but in the casual sense, letting Aaron’s voice work this calm drawl work beneath the brightness of the guitars. Let’s hope there’s more from A. Sinclair as this new year kicks on.
Free Week is great. The concept of having people fill venues so bartenders and stage crews have a little cash in their pockets is totally a get-behind theme. Now, my epic level of cynicism that creeps in from time to time means that I will give the evil eye to anyone mad about one-in-one-out at a venue. These bands are playing all over town, all year long and sometimes opening for a touring band you would think is too expensive to go see. #value Let’s go, Austin, spend that twelve bucks.
My Free Week rant is over. Let’s get on to some notables and photos. A. Sinclair is a constant fave for rock and or roll. Abram Shook lends credibility to any music catalog. That performance had two-thirds of Feverbones; they are wicked excited for the new record, naturally so are we. Tres Oui‘s invisible bass player had a killer set (#sarcasm). Space-sparse of Soft Healer was a reset. I got to see The Infinites at Beerland as a full band. I do miss a little of the DIY nature of looping to fill sounds, but the layered gazy post punk sounded really rad with guitars filling the room. Fave thing of the time I spent Red Rivering.
Peep the gallery. I spent time taking photos of friends and the people that make Free Week go. I even used a flash. Crazy right?
Austin’s The Sour Notes have been fairly quiet, but all that will change when the band drop their new record, Darkest Sour, this Friday over at Hotel Vegas. They’ve shared this great little album promotional video, which seems to show the band delving into the realms of dreamy pop, fitting for the matching imagery in the video. If you want to preview the band’s live set, they’ll be over at KUTX doing a taping at 8 (Tix HERE). Not sold yet? Just check out the amazing line-up they’ve slung together: A Sinclair, Duncan Fellows and El Lago, who I’ve really been enjoying a lot as of late. A great week for The Sour Notes…let’s all be thankful!