Three singles into the new Alex Maas record, and this is by far the one that will stand out to me before I go and listen to the Black Angelssinger’s solo record. On first listen, there’s this reverberation through your speakers, almost sort of allowing the notes a bit of levitation just outside your ear. On my end, I’m giving my appreciation to the intimate folky nature of the track; it’s as if the song was meant to serenade the masses before a worker’s march…perhaps tying into Maas reflections on looking inside society for a bit of good. Luca is out on December 4th via Innovative Leisure.
The quarantine has kept songwriter Asa Morris rather busy, having already released 3 EPs this year, so why not drop one last one in there before we wrap up the shiftiness that is 2020. I love the hidden feel of the vocals, as if they’re whispering to me from somewhere down the hallway. Musically, there’s this really subtle melodic fall; it first happens in the song around the 50 second mark, and its admittedly the moment that I found myself swooning over this tune here. Loud & Sad is the name of Asa’s new EP, and if it sounds like this, you’re surely going to be hearing from me again.
Earlier this month Austin’s Jackie Venson dropped Vintage Machine, a follow up to her highly-regarded Joy. Admittedly, Venson’s work hasn’t gotten a ton of coverage on our site, and that’s totally on me spinning things in one direction. But, I’ve really been playing one of the record’s standout tracks a bunch around my house, picking up on the natural bounce and rhythm. Those keyboard stabs and quick vocal delivery in the midst of that spinning groove make it a number you’ll find infectiously entering your musical world…I know it has in mine. Give Vintage Machine, and Jackie, a little bit of your time as we pump up the heat on Monday morning.
Spirit Ghost just recently released Singles Vol I, and today we’ve got the video version of standout track “If Only” to share. To me, this song feels very much like Austin; it’s got that slow meandering honky-tonk vibe, much like the much-missed Strange Boys. Alex Whitelaw’s vocals seem to have that magical knack to capture melancholy and bottle it up and sell it as melody. Every so often, you get a nice little musical uptick, just a heavier hand on the cymbals and a bit of punch in the volume, and the song brims with its own take on Western balladry. The video uses black and white imagery to help affirm the song’s natural timelessness. Hope you’ll dig in deeper here; grab the EP!
Over the last year or so, the Sour Notes have toyed with what I can only describe as genius marketing! They’ve carefully curated an entire album, releasing it a 7″ at a time on limited pressings; we’ve covered many of those singles here on the site. But, but, but! Today you can actually grab all the songs united in their intended format on the brand new More is the Pity LP! I think of my favorite tunes, “Enough” is definitely one of the immediate go-to tracks on the album, though, the Felt fan in me also views “Blank” in a very nice light. There’s a little something for everybody, particularly for those with a penchant for guitar pop, so give a listen below!
Early on in 2020, I had expectations that Half Dream would really take Austin by storm with their Monster of Needing EP. I was fortunate enough to get an early taste of the EP, but like so many folks out there, this pandemic derailed releases plans and created a few barriers the band would have to overcome. Luckily, today is the day you can all hear the EP in its entirety, and if you’ll hang out for a second, I’ll break it down track by track for ya!
Okay, so let’s just put this out there…we’ve actually met the members of Bergman Beach many a time…as the group features members of Templo X and Shivery Shakes (both ATH Record alumnae). But, please don’t let those two bands influence your expectations, as the new project is said to envision “what the Beach Boys would sound like if they were from Nashville.” For me, it kind of recalls some of the latter Conor Oberst records where’s he culling from the rich history of Americana, much like this group does…though they’ve added in a nice backing vocal to give the song a melodic balance we hope you enjoy. Let’s hope we’ve get more from the group going forward!
I’m a sucker for really great pop songwriting, particularly when its crafted inside Travis County lines, which is the case for Duncan Fellows, who release the Sadlands today. The record is filled with these swelling moments that burst into euphoria, like the soft lead on “Like I Used To.” You also just get these little classic pop rock moments where the vocals stretch for these high notes, only to crash down with joyous guitars like we get on “Swallowing Grains.” But, maybe your bag is that slow burning pop vibe, which you’ll find on “Best I Can,” shimmering its dreamy way right into your heart. All in all, if you just want a record that makes you feel good, spend some time with this LP today.
With the release of “Singing” last month, we all knew Sun June had something cooking; today they officially announce the release of their new LP, Somewhere, handled by Run for Cover and Keeled Scales. For me, I’m not sure what’s more striking at this point…the song or its accompanying video. I love the use of light and shadow in the video, directed by the band’s own Laura and Stephen, but damned if the song doesn’t blow the rest of the musical competitors out of the water. The song, trickles in around forlorn notes and Colwell’s solemn delivery; you’re almost oblivious to the subtle tension building, bursting through near the 2:50 mark to deliver an emphatic sonic euphoria that solidifies the song’s greatness. The LP will be out in February of next year!
Mike Lee is just churning out the dreamy pop hits; month after month we get a dreamy pop tune from his new project Family Mart. This reminds me a lot of some of the later work from Pains of Being Pure at Heart; its sort of peeled away that distortion-heavy guitar sound in favor of a lighter swirling sound. Personally, I love the 1 minute mark when the jangling guitar chord pops in to work in contrast with the tracks main sound, leaving you with the slightest hook to reel in the listener. Plus, some Audrey Scott backing vocals add in a nice thick melody to work with Lee’s voice. Tuesday can’t start until you’ve had your pop!