I wish I could say I’m surprised when I discover new Austin artists since we think we know everything, but let’s get real, this town is full of up and coming artists waiting to be discovered. Take local songwriter Calvin Locklear for example. Prior to only a few days ago, I honestly had never heard his name mentioned despite my keen ear to the local scene. Well he’s recently released an EPs worth of material entitled No One is Listening and suggested we check out this track “Wet Cement” from the 6 song extended player. Immediately the voice of Locklear reminds me quite a bit of Damon Albarn (Blur/Gorillaz) which, paired with his folk rock/R&B blend, creates something really in a genre all its own. It’s refreshing to hear something new is happening in Austin.
We’ve always got to rep Austin, particularly for our artists that have had huge successes. So, today we’re revisiting Please Be Mine, the excellent debut from Molly Burch that dropped earlier this year. Today she just released a video for “Wrong for You,” one of the standout tunes on said album, with the focus of the video revolving around the relationship of a couple (starring Molly). If you haven’t listened to this record, well shame on you. But, if you have, this is the perfect place to revisit the whole thing. It’s available now from Captured Tracks.
In a city where it feels like there’s a festival or party for everything, we’ve come to appreciate the diversity represented in the Sonic Transmissions Festival (Year 3). Rarely will you find a festival that operates within the confines of our fair city that puts experimental jazz next to cumbia and punk rock…yet here they are! They’ll kick off things Thursday evening over at Barracuda, then moving to Kick Butt Coffee on Friday and ending at Victory Grill/Kenny Dorham’s Backyard on Saturday. It truly is a festival that encapsulates everything that Austin’s music scene has to offer.
You can get your hands on tickets HERE, or try your luck at the door. Stream a curated playlist by the festival below.
What do you get when you take former and current members of Octopus Project, The Sword, Ume, Skate or Die, Midnight Masses and Stiletto Feels all into one? You get a supergroup, of sorts; you get All Eyes crafting a brand of music you’re not likely to hear anywhere else in the Austin landscape. This tune opens with a bit of doom and gloom (perhaps the Sword influence), but the string samples hint at pop sensationalism. You don’t have to wait long to hear Jordan from MM spin her vocals atop the chorus. It circles back for the crashing rock moment, surrounded by swirling bits of noise, and then back again. You’ll never be able to pigeonhole these guys, and thank goodness for that. The band will have their live debut over at The Electric Church this Saturday night, with Teevee, Fire Walk with Me and This Cold Night. Go meet this great new Austin act!
Another act that’s coming back to us after a long time away is Austin’s Damn Hands. They just dropped the More Songs EP…their first taste of new music since 2013. You get two completed songs, as well as two instrumentals…which may or may not be revisited at a future point. I love the fuzzy lo-fi pop on opener “Shithead March,’ juxtaposed with the more garage-y “Open Range.” I’ll admit, love to see some lyrics added to the EP ender, “Sansui.” Hopefully we hear more from these guys before they go back into hiding, as I’m definitely digging these new tunes.
Recently, rising Austin band Roaring Sun changed their name to the Timothy Leary themed The Millbrook Estates…and now they have their first single under said name. It’s precisely the sort of tune we’ve come to expect from these youngsters, delving into the pure psychedelia via washes of keys atop intricate little guitar bits. I love the understated drumming too, serving as the central nervous system for the track. Despite their age, these guys are really starting to find their groove, and hopefully that brings incredible things from them in the near future. Get lost in this tune.
If you happened to hit up our SXSW show with our friends at Side One Track One, then perhaps you’re in on this, but Darkbird were one of the band’s that stole the show that night. Their set was energetic and forceful, and lets face it, pop music just doesn’t get much better. The group just dropped two powerhouse new tunes, leaving me with the same dropped jam I got from their live performance. Just press play and fall in love with these Austin folks.
You’ve all heard that Harlem is returning, at least in temporary form. The band is reuniting, and doing a bit of touring…starting with a show this Saturday at Hotel Vegas…then they go off to Australia. So, in effort to be their best, the band have been practicing non-stop, trying to guarantee good times and good vibes. Luckily, they managed to lay down a new track too…so give it a go right here! Hope you realize it’s a cover of Lana Del Rey’s “Cola.”
Austin’s Brendan Bond is a jack of all musical bands; he’s played with Matthew Logan Vasquez, Grape Street, A. Sinclair, Golden Dawn Arkestra…but now he’s teamed up with his brother, Andrew, to release their own Just Kids EP. I love how you can hear the various influences in the sound the duo have crafted. There’s an innate infectious quality, particularly in the chorus. Speaking of that, I like the little guitar line that sets up the vocals. You’ll also hear a bit of a Texas twang in the guitar work of the song…home grown boys are the best. Enjoy this ode to summer and pools, but be sure to join the Bond Twins for the release of their EP on August 31st over at Mohawk with, Slomo Drags, Magic Rockers of TX and Lola Tried.
Those in and around Austin already know of the many talents of David Petro (Xetas, Gospel Truth, Art Acevedo), but he’s not slowing down, as he is set to drop a new cassette as Cruel Whip. Our first listen to the new music has him crafting this dark tinged industrial collage called “Table of Drops,” which has this sly little pop sensibility lurking beneath the surface. You’re confronted by a wash of white noise, but light little synth bits drop in from the background, carefully build a touch of the uplifting spirit. Cruel Whip will release the Fatal Man Cassette on September 1st via Self Sabotage Records, followed by a release show Beerland on September 13th.