Pardon me for slow-rolling out of bed today, but this is the first official day of summer for this teacher here, so I figured I’d amble about with a little less speed today. So, here we are friends, the review of last week’s hits. We’ve got new tunes from Always You and Damon & Naomi, as well as a little local love for our friend Abram Shook, plus you get new Massage and Flowertown records offering up some hits in there too! Personally, I’m going to encourage yo to partake in the slow burn of Sungaze and Slow Rosary. If you’re looking to ease into your day, no better way than this bunch of bops!
Going on vacation leaves you in some email pits of despair, but I think I’m officially out, as I’ve reached the end of all the missing emails with this great new Abram Shook tune. As was hinted at his last few singles, he’s crossing into that funky rock category, letting the guitar lines go on a nice little jiggling walk through the tune. Shook, for his part, has these softened vocals, almost like gasps of breath whispering into your ear. Again, we have Abram changing directions, giving us glimpses at his past, while forging new musical direction, which, if you ask me, makes him one of the stronger artists in our ATX hometown. Look for a new album on the horizon my friends.
Nathan and I are constantly coming up with new ideas for the website to better offer you all unique coverage and even easier access to new musical endeavors. Today we thought we’d toss around the idea of offering up a weekly playlist to serve as a recap from the past week. Now these tunes are mostly taken straight from the pages of Austin Town Hall, but others might be things we missed out on or initially passed up for whatever reason. So my peeps, I give you the best of, from last week. Hope it makes your Monday a bit better. Kick out the jams.
A few weeks ago or more, I offered up a track from the forthcoming Abram Shook EP, but, I forgot to actually let you hear the entirety of Satin Thief. The EP serves as a sort of stop gap between albums, on one hand drawing from the funkier 2019 release, and a little bit of hazy soul from the as yet released new LP! I’ve really been digging on “Now and Laters” and its kind of funky groove working with Shook’s smoothed out vocal pop notes, but I reckon “Need” might be giving us a glimpse of what’s to come in the future. It’s Monday, and you need Abram to ease you into the day.
Our good friend Abram Shook reached out recently to hip us to some new work he’s got coming down the pipes; he has a new Satin Thief EP coming down the pipeline some time this month. He says the tunes on this EP are a nice little “gap between the more electro-funk of my last album, and the hazy, laid-back 70’s vibe of my next full-length.” So, while you’re waiting for another Abram release, settle into the undeniable hooks on display here. Part funk grooves, part space R&B, but the little vocal stutter of the chorus definitely has a way of sinking its way deep inside your brain. The Satin Thief EP drops March 12th, and keep an eye out as Abram promises lots more coming down the pipeline!
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.
Since the inception of this site back in the 00s, Abram Shook has been a constant feature on these Internet pages…either as a solo artists or one of his various projects like Feverbones or Great Nostalgic. Next week, he’ll be releasing his new LP, the Neon Machine, and while it definitely has his imprint, I think a lot of folks will be surprised by the sounds. For me, the synth pulse, albeit in a smooth fashion, was an unexpected twist; it’s interesting how some of those notes match the rhythm of Abram’s vocal delivery. Speaking of his vocals, there’s this velvety soulfulness that it far more pronounced than anything he’s done; I think the “with your time” line is the only time when I was like “yeah, this sounds like Abram, 100%.” It’s a really impressive shift into new territory, and I can see this getting some Neon Indian comparisons for those with careful ears. The new LP is out August 16th via Western Vinyl. He’ll be out on the road through October with White Denim, mostly through East Coast/Midwest; check some of those dates HERE.
As you know, we’re big Abram Shook fans; he even let us put out an LP by his Feverbones project, so when he’s crafting new tunes, our heads turn right away. I think those longtime fans will immediately notice that this record is a bit of a new twist for Abram; it sounds and looks like a pop record, albeit one spun through the lens of Shook. His soft vocal delivery seems to highlight the song’s natural rhythm, while synth stabs build in a toe-tapping groove beneath the whole mix; it’s all crafted under Abram’s typical attention to detail, with every note throughout being purposeful. The Neon Machine will be available on August 16th via Western Vinyl.
We’ve known Abram Shook for a really long time, since the beginning of this little site, actually. We’ve watched him grow, worked with he and his project Feverbones to release their LP, and now we seeing him grow again. The last few months he’s teased us with images that border on space-alien or maybe even disco; we knew something was coming, and now we finally get to hear it! In the first 40 seconds he offers up this sort of tinkering pop ambiance, but just after that, the song really drops in and there’s a funkier element to what Shook is working with in the song. That funk has always existed, especially if you’ve been fortunate enough to watch him play live, but it’s way out in the open here, then smoothed and polished for the chorus. We hear he might have a new album on the horizon, but for now, we just get this single!
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?
I love y’all.