Slowdive Play the Hits @ ACL Live (5.12)

Photos and words by Michael Maly.

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Letting Up Despite Great Faults Share Swirl

Okay, so “Swirl” has been floating around for a few days now, but to be fair, there’s been a lot of really great music, so I’m finally sitting down to enjoy new stuff from Letting Up Despite Great Faults. This new song illustrates some recent moves of the band, allowing songwriter Mike Lee to let go of the vocals, thus giving Annah more of the light. This move, as apparent on the tune below, maintains the band’s dreamy softness, as Fisette’s voice isn’t too far off from the tones Lee offers when he’s on the mic. I love the classic dance of the guitars here, sounding like something you’d find on a Republic B-sides collection…and a bonus for the band as they got Jay Som to lend some mixing help…another sign that these are good things on the rise.

Font Announce Strange Burden

Those within the confines of Austin have been backing Font for several years; they’ve been one of the biggest rising stars from our local scene (they even played out ATH vs SOTO party). Well, the good news is that now those outside of Austin are going to be able to catch on too; the band have just announced their debut album Strange Burden with this pulsating new single. The group are incredible at building a rising tension and twisting it into some fantastical pulsating brand of pop; they often remind me of where Liars ventured when they first started going in an electronic realm. This black-and-white video should provide you with a glimmer of their joyous brand of jittering pop; Strange Burden hits on July 12th via Acrophase.

Urban Heat Share Seven Safe Places

Austin’s Urban Heat have been on the rise the last several years, deservedly so, as Jonathan Horstmann has been furthering his legend as a staple member of the ATX scene since his early work in BLXPLTN. This, however, is something totally bold and anthemic, built from a darker cloth in the cabinet where you might find New Order and Killers fans sharing a drink. Horstmann’s deep tones provide that powerful emotion on their own, bold from the moment it pours through your speakers; it’s paired perfectly with the infectious nature of the rhythm section that’s working behind him. Always great to hear how hard work and hustle pay off.

Don’t Get Lemon Release Have Some Shame

What better way to open up your Tuesday coverage than with a bit of brooding post-punk, such as that offered by Austin’s Don’t Get Lemon. We’re offering up a little glimpse at the band’s work via the single below, hinting at both sides of the coin you’ll find within the confines of their new Have Some Shame LP (it just dropped today!). Musically, they dive head first into the genre, filling space with heavy bass lines and thundering drums as synths and guitars offer up a melodic atmosphere that hides the darkness. Then, as if you can’t immediately tell, you get the deep dark tones of Austin Curtis’ vocals, living in space between Gahan and Sam Herring; it leaves you with a sentiment both haunting and endearing, tumbling you further into the depths of their new LP. You can stream the whole LP HERE.

Variety Offer Valentine Single

Clearly we’re big supporters of Variety, and they quickly threw up a new track the other day, which originated with another Austin act, Exercise. While the song’s technically a cover, the original version has never been released, so all we get to hear is the version below, offering a glimpse at where we might see Variety going as they finish up their debut LP. I love the way the rhythm guitar seems to crawl through the background, walking its way through the crashing of cymbals, whilst matching step for step the vocals from Rhys Woodruff. Ooh…and little string touches at the end? What a rad touch to this jam. Play it please!

Strand of Oaks Shares Party at Monster Lake

Not sure exactly what it was that grabbed me, but there’s something magical about the new single from Strand of Oaks. Part of me wants to pledge allegiance to the father/son panda duo of the video version, but I’m also keenly aware that Tim Showalter’s vocal performance here is what really made this track a marvel. A synthetic backbone sets up a light strum, and though simple, that’s all Showalter needed to roll out his voice; it hits a true high point when he hits the line “there’s something about the rain,” which oddly coincides with what’s going on outside my window at the moment. If you think the vocals are all that matter though, be careful when you open up the music box as the tune is filled to the brim with accents and nuance that create this huge texture that soaks you in emotion. Miracle Focus is out June 7th via Western Vinyl….with an Austin release show on June 21st at the Parish.

Blushing Unleash Slyce Single

As much as it was easy to pigeonhole Blushing for their adherence to a certain genre, their work on Sugarcoat seems them completely branching into other like-minded realms. The verses on this new single feel like they’re channeling late 80s Britain, while the chorus harkens back to 90s anthemic rock for the disaffected youth. They don’t just settle either, flirting with breakdowns in the song’s structure, tossing in explosive solos…they’re tighter than ever, and seem to be relishing every thundering beat and wave of feedback. This ain’t your grandmother’s Blushing, or even the Blushing of an early ATH EP; this is a force to be reckoned with. Sugarcoat is out via Kanine Records on May 3rd.

Eastside Suicides Offer Another Single from their Reissue

There’s a period of Austin’s music scene that seems to have faded. The tenacity, explosiveness and creativity, to a degree have waned a bit…so it’s good to go back in my brain and listen to the good time rock n’ roll of Eastside Suicides. They’re reissuing their debut LP shortly, with all the tracks getting a touch up through remastering, so why not toss out another teaser for folks. While their pop tendencies were all over “Streets Got Your Baby,” this tune below is all New York Dolls; it has the bravado and a more just a punch in the face rock aesthetic. Desolate Sound Records will drop Streets Got Your Baby on May 10th.

Broken Gold Share Fault Single

I’m running a million tracks today so had to make sure I got a touch of Austin in the coverage, and it never hurts to offer up a Broken Gold single. While they’ve traditionally been working on a more punk aesthetic, you’ll find that they’re latest track continues to see their allegiance to Paul Westerberg grow a bit. There’s still an edge with the guitar work in the mix, but the rhythm guitar is out there running with a nice little jangle, which ultimately allows for a soaring pop vocal from singer Ian MacDougall. There’s just enough pop hear to satisfy your cravings, while not straying too far from the rock n’ roll roots of the group. Wild Eyes will be out May 3rd via Chicken Ranch Records.

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