I’ll be honest, sometimes the Austin scene gets a little stale; it tends to feed off of its own bravado, then implodes to champion what sells…but honestly, its felt mostly safe as of late, until I heard this new track from Neckbolt. The band is comprised of various local figures, and a few out-of-towners, but they’re building this deranged twang-core that feels like an unholy Texan amalgam. Those gritty blues guitar sounds are fuzzed beneath this heavy wash of atmosphere, dripping with tambourine presence. Honestly, it’s like taking acid house vibes from the UK, throwing in sort of the dark experimental side of Liars, then throwing it all on stage in Marfa; it pretty much rules. Midwestern Drawl is out November 5th via Spider Dispatch Unit.
I’ve been posting a whole lot of singles and stuff this week, mostly because I like to over-indulge and see who is listening. No one, apparently. But, why not wrap up this week of working harder than I ever have before by sharing some cool records I liked that drop today? Yeah? Ok.
Smoke Bellow – Open for Business (Trouble in Mind)
If you’re into that new Dry Cleaning album (and you should be), then see how far this Baltimore outfit can take that sound…pushing to a weirder, albeit synthesized, world. Like Kraftwerk covering Dry Cleaning at a Halloween party for art school kids.
Sweet Nobody – We’re Trying Our Best (Daydream Records)
I’ve written about every single on this album, and could easily make comparisons to the likes of the Beths or Alvvays…all good things. If you’ve got a sweet tooth and need something to snack on, press play.
Hits – Cielo Nublado (Paisley Shirt Records)
You ever wonder what Sarah Records would sound like if they got transported to the future about 20 years? Well, pretty sure that Hits have given you the answer to that question, so if you’re looking for ramshackle pop, you’ve come to the right place!
TC Superstar – As Seen on TV
Austin’s dance party drop their latest record today; it’s 9 songs of catchy hooks ready for you to invite your friends over for the night to celebrate the joys of life. Stomp about until the neighbors complain about the noise.
Not sure if you’ve got Semihelix on your radar, but this is one of the recent Austin bands I’m super stoked to jam. I love the way the song rushes in immediately, letting those jangling notes meet up with some fuzzy distortion creeping in from the distance. Geannie Friedman delivers two great performances; she toys with the song’s dreamy nature during the verses, but goes full pop when her voice soars in the chorus. Be sure to stick around too, as the fade into the ending is a real nice touch. It’s pop rock with a real edge, and just enough of that DIY spirit to be sure the band’s Recoil will be on your radar when they drop the full LP on October 1st via Mariel Recording Company.
There’s something really enchanting about Natalie Jane Hill‘s music. Her fingerpicking style creates this delicate intimacy, and for me, brings me back to the days listening to my dad’s old folk records as a kid. The guitar sliding through the background also is the perfect arrangement move, adding depth and forcing the song to overflow with emotion. Then we get Hill’s voice, which to me, feels like she’s lived a thousand years; it has this rich depth that’s pretty striking and unavoidable, particularly when she stretches it to reach higher notes. Plus, I’m just now realizing the amazing recording was done by Jason Chronis (Voxtrot/Tele Novella), so Natalie gets all the Austin love on our end. Her new album Solely is out October 29th via Dear Life Records.
Today let’s celebrate another great release from one of our favorite Austin bands, Lola Tried. The band haven’t released anything new since their eponymous debut in 2018, but they’re coming back with a vengeance, packing some pop rock that’s bold and boisterous. I love how the guitar work on this single seems to be holding back, just teasing us on the cusp of rock, all before letting lose to drop in these crunchy old school emo-style riffs. Lauren’s vocal control is phenomenal, bold and angry where it needs, holding onto melody when called for; the band’s backing vocals also add a nice little textural harmony in there that certainly doesn’t hurt. Stoked for the band, so celebrate with us by streaming the whole Renvers EP today. If you’re in the ATX area, the band celebrate the EP with a show tonight at Native Hostel.
Austin’s American Friend have been around for a few years, though the pedigree of the musicians in the group goes way back in time. Today the trio drops their brand new Sound Under Rock EP, and perhaps you’ll join me in spending a little bit of your time with it today. Initially, Sarah’s bass grooves in the opener “Where I Came From” had me feeling nostalgic, leaning towards Adam’s other project, matched up against muted guitar notes with Jana’s voice toying with tone/inflection. They bring in the slow-core on “Greatest Mountain,” which definitely feels, to me, like a Jana excursion. But, it all seems like a set up, teasing tension before we get to the spirited performance in “Troubles.” That should prepare you for half your listen, but I don’t want to dive to deep and give away all the secrets. Find out for yourself!
It’s still a bit early on Thursday morning here, and if you’re having a bit of a rough week like me, might I suggest checking out this new track from our old ATX friends Explosions in the Sky. At this point in their career, EITS are legends in the local music scene as well as incredibly popular outside of Austin. If they hung it up now, they’d already have an incredible body of work to call their own. But of course the guys will ever press forward and continue to expand their sound with new music via soundtrack or full length album. The latest from Explosions is a beautiful soundtrack to accompany the even more beautiful and breathtaking PBS documentary Big Bend: The Wild Frontier of Texas. The documentary in itself is a lovely piece of film which captures the natural beauty of our greatest state park. Add in the sounds of EITS and you’ll find yourself captivated and drawn in to the sights of nature along with the ever trance inducing musical sounds. Here is one of the singles from the soundtrack for your zen moment this morning, “Flying”.
Harold Whit Williams has made a name for himself as a member of Cotton Mather, but the longtime Austinite is now dedicated to working things out on his own…thus here we are with a brand new single from his Daily Worker project. Listening to this title track from the My Drug EP, I can’t help but think back to the brand of pop popularized by indie nerds who loved bands like Beulah. The way Williams and the backing vocalist have that little joyous rise in the melody just makes this perfect little piece of pop taffy for me to nibble on. There’s never a bad day for some good old fashioned pop rock, and Mr. Wililams is aiming to please right from the start. My Drug EP is out on October 1st.
If you find that you missed Natalie Jane Hill’s debut Azalea, you have the immediate chance to remedy that, and you’ll want to once you hear the powerful opening single from her follow-up, Solely. Whether you’re drawn to her finger-plucking strum style, which adds a layer of intimacy you don’t always get, or you’re pulled in by that tractor-beam of a voice, you can’t deny that her work is pretty enchanting. Personally, I’ve always loved a faint little vocal warble, that slight imperfection, or so it seems; it delivers pure emotion, which is precisely what this genre provides at its finest. That little slide guitar nuance bending on the horizon didn’t hurt me either. Solely is out on October 29th via Dear Life Records.
You thought they were done! But no, one of my favorite Austin bands, Letting Up Despite Great Faults, have found the time to come up with another album, and we’ve got that first single below here. I love the dense nature of this tune; the way the synth work stabs through the walls of guitar noise creates like this extra outer layer you have to swim through just to find Mike Lee’s melodic whispers in the dark. While the guitars have that dreamy front, a careful ear will reveal just the slightest jangling underbelly, which you know gets to the heart of my listening habits. What a stellar way to make a return to the fray. Be on the look out for more news about a forthcoming LP!