Tuesday night, the Better Oblivion Community Center graced us with their presence at Stubb’s, alongside the company of Lala Lala and Christian Lee Hutson for the first real Stubb’s Sweat of the season. One of the most buzzed about acts of 2019, BOCC is a cult of sadness, with its two founders, Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers at the helm of the vessel of sadness. What we got was a great night for fans of both artists individually as well as new fans of the project. Read past the jump to get my brief thoughts on the night.
Whether it’s been through her participation in Chastity Belt or Childbirth, I’ve always appreciated the tracks Julia Shapiro has been a part of through the years. Now, she’s taking a side-step out on her own, and this first listen is wonderful. I love how the song has this innate guitar bounce to it, inducing toe-tapping and joyousness. Her vocals are pretty spot on too; they seem to sort of ride the song’s natural groove, fitting in in between bouncing moments and letting notes hang and drift in the air. Seems like Shapiro has been through a lot of personal strife to get here, so let’s hope there’s joy in this wondrous song she’s crafted; Prefect Vision drops June 14th via Hardly Art.
I haven’t gotten chance to really share our love for Lala Lala, but I’ve spent the past week hanging out on the Internet trying to find tracks I can play for my newborn daughter…as background music, and subliminal female empowerment. For starters, this song’s perfect, ambling in with atmospherics before Lillie West even lets her voice enter the picture. When she does, it’s offered with a headstrong solemnity…though she’s able to raise the pitch when needed. I like the slight horse gallop from the drums in the distance, while West continue to drape her perfect voice across the song. The Lamb will be released via Hardly Art on September 28th, and I’m pretty sure my daughter, unbeknownst to her, is going to be way into it. There’s also an Austin tour date on October 4th for our ATX friends.
Chastity Belt is everybody’s favorite, but I’ll be honest, this new single is perhaps my favorite track they’ve recorded to date! From the moment the guitars playfully bounced their way into the speakers I was hooked. Then the group offers up this cool vocal indifference that dominates the front of the mix as you’re tapping your toes and cymbals crash behind you. It’s an energetic pop ditty, and the fact that the band maintains that for over 5 minutes is a feat unto itself. I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone is going to hit stores on June 2nd via Hardly Art.
We’ve been running this little blog here just about ten years, which, no coincidence, is the same age as Hardly Art Records. They’re kicking off things right by bringing out a new compilation, Hardly Released…and in style, they’re opening up the vault with this unreleased Hunx and His Punx tune. I know we’re tired of garage rock, by and large, but no one has ever put it together quite like Hunx; Hairdresser Blues (which came out on Hardly Art) is a must have for anyone that’s a fan of the genre. Looking forward to seeing what else is unearthed in this collection; you’ll find out on June 2nd.
This Saturday is Bill Ball 2…and while that’s important in and of itself, I think it’s high time someone devoted the proper attention to Deep Time‘s 2012 self-titled album on Hardly Art. I mean, the band is playing this weekend, and they’ll likely play a good amount of these songs there…which is all the more reason for you to attend.
I’ll throw in a little bit of my history with the album, as well as a track by track discussion of each tune! I’m making a declarative statement in saying this is the best album to come out of Austin in the last decade. Read more
Jenn Champion, who you may have encountered before with her project called S, is back on Hardly Art with the announcement of a new EP under this new moniker. While we will have to wait until August 5th for the rest of the new EP, you can catch the title track below. It’s an all electronic track, but features the ornate layers of sounds that all combine for a sleek and streamlined tune. The coolness of the vocals bathe the whole track with a wash of hipness that lodge itself into your brain for the rest of the day. Make sure you go pre-order this EP in all formats on Hardly Art’s website.
We get beat to the chase in posting rad tracks sometimes; it happens. So it’s possible that you’ve already come across these tunes in some capacity in internet land, but they’re damn good, so I’m posting them anyways.
The first track that I have for you comes from Bent Shapes, who grace the delightful Slumberland Records label with their well executed jangly rock tunes. “New Starts In Old Dominion” is quick paced and white hot, an explosion of pop-punk goodness. Their new album, Wolves of Want, will be out March 11th.
The second track is from Florist, and it’s quite the change up from the usual, run of the mill, kind of song. “A Hospital + Crucifix Made of Plastic” is a sleepy and simple tune, centered around the vocals, which sound young and unassuming. There’s an earnest and sincere feeling to the sound here that will hold your interest for its duration.
Lastly, I have a bit of punk rock to throw your way with Tacocat’s latest single. Seattle’s Tacocat have announced their latest LP, Lost Time, and with that announcement they’ve got a brand new, catchy as hell, high energy track called “I Hate The Weekend.” I’m digging the sugary vocals’ juxtaposition with the raw guitars. Stay tuned for that LP coming out April 1st via Hardly Art
As I’m writing this, I’m thinking back to a few years back when it felt like Shannon and the Clams were everyone’s little secret love affair. The name had gotten some buzz, but I don’t think I met more than a couple of people that were totally committed to the cause. But, with songs like this, it’s easy to see how the band has woven its way into the hearts of everyone. There’s a certain credibility to Shannon’s work in various garage/indie rock circles, but the band also has a timeless sound that is undeniable. Gone by the Dawn, the band’s new LP will be out via Hardly Art on September 11th.
You ready for the new La Luz to hit? If not, this song should pretty much seal the deal on the fact that the band have solidified their sound, leaving them as one of the bands you’ll fall in love with this year. The latest single opens with this semi-Spaghetti Western psych maneuver, but quickly settles into this dreamy bit of soulful pop. Touches on guitar and keys are really light, creating this effect of that’s almost like floating; it’s very light, accentuated by the vocals being carefully placed atop it all. On August 7th you’ll be able to get your hands on Weirdo Shrine courtesy of Hardly Art.