Friday Streams with Pure X, Dummy and Devon Williams

Obviously, today is all about giving a dollar or two towards your favorite artists and labels, and trust us, that’s what we should be doing all year long. But, let’s not forget the music world still must go on too…and there’s a few releases today I wanted to turn your direction towards…maybe say a few words with some links for buying and what not. Check the jump and pick up some stuffs.

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Pure X Returns with Album Announcement

Heralded Austin outfit Pure X have been away for awhile now…but no more! Six years on from Angel, the band announce today that they’ll be releasing their self-titled LP. These 12 songs operate much along the lines of where the band left off, somewhere between the dreamy slowcore of the late 90s/early 00s and the ghost of Galaxie 500. You thought the band had reached acclaim before…wait until everyone hear’s these new tunes! Pure X will be out on May 1st via Fire Talk Records.

New Jesse Tune from Hard Sky

Seems like there’s some great Austin-related news floating about today, with that early jam from Sleep Good, and now Jesse of Pure X releases another single. Considering he’s a Texan, its no wonder this song is filled with sliding guitar and a smoke-filled vocal. But, what I think makes Jesse’s work important, at least today, is that he’s wrapping a traditional style with his own tapestry. There’s an audible hiss working behind him throughout, with some other little atmospheric flourishes peeping through…much like you’d expect from a Pure X release. Look for his new album Hard Sky to pop up o June 23rd courtesy of Uniform Group.

Jesse (of Pure X) Shares Mellow Tune

Pure X’s Jesse has made the news today with the sharing of his second single, “De-pression” from his upcoming album release. When you click play below, you’ll be bathed in a melancholy groove of bedroom pop. The vocals are smoky and distant, yet oddly comforting through the funky bass line and the crunchy percussion. There’s a coolness to the track that comes from the synth squalls and backing “oohs” that makes you want to close your eyes and zone out for a few minutes. Take a listen below.

Hard Skywill be out June 23rd via Uniform Group. Go pre-order one of the limited LPs here.

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ATX Spotlight: Jesse Jenkins

jesseYou may know Jesse Jenkins from his bass and vocal work in our very own Pure X, but Jesse decided to step out for some work on his own, self titled, project. This track, “Hotel Rising,” is our first listen from that project, and it has this laid back, almost jazzy vibe to it at its start, with airy percussion and tinkling piano. As it progresses, we get the intermittent introduction of synths that wail in and out of the delicately crafted song. The vocals are gentle yet gripping, and so are the guitar riffs that dominate the track. Get ready for more from Jesse Jenkins coming soon.  

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Thus Far….Albums of 2014.5

docIt’s still rather early in the year to start talking about best records of the year and what not, but as we’re midway through 2014, every one is doing it…so why not join in the fun.  But, with this in mind, remember that these lists are arbitrary, and if anything, pretty meaningless in the long run; you never know if your thoughts will change in six months…and really, they’re just like, our opinions man.  We’ll have two sections…one for national albums and another section of Austin albums released up to this point in 2014.   Read more

Best Austin Bands at Austin Psych Fest

psychAustin Psych Fest is becoming a pretty big deal, bringing in some incredible bands from all over the globe, not to mention some encouraging the reunion of acts long forgotten by fans.  But, let’s not get carried away and forget that the festival is a homegrown fest, born from the ideas of members of The Black Angels and their friends.  And, like many an Austinite, they’re a proud bunch, so they’ve made sure the bill always has great locals that will represent our fair city.  Below you’ll find the Top 5 Austin Bands playing at this year’s festival, at least in my opinion….and they’re in no particular order Read more

Austin Weekend Show Suggestions

AustinMusiFlowsaThis weekend, above most normal weekends, is a pretty good reason to go out.  There’s a benefit being put on by sxswcares, raising money for victims of the SXSW tragedy.  A lot of these venues are saving up for donations, are hosting events, as well as directing folks to various on-line auctions to raise money, so be sure to help support the worty cause; remind people what a great community we are. So, with that in mind, here are my suggestions for great shows to hit up this weekend. Read more

Pure X – Crawling Up the Stairs

Pure-X-Crawling-Up-The-StairsRating: ★★★½☆

When Pure X made waves with Pleasure, you knew that it would be easy for the group to go back into the studio and rehash that same old sound.  But, Crawling Up the Stairs definitely isn’t the same LP; in fact, while still bearing the mark of their early work, you find the group gradually coming out of their haze, creating a dramatic pop record that sees the band foraging into a world all their own.

Opening up with the titular track seems like a nod to the band’s past.  It begins with just light touches of noise, making way for Nate Grace to make his vocal appearance, virtually untouched, yet moments later he sinks back beneath waves of varying atmospheric/musical touches, all as the track gently fades away.  It set’s the stage for Crawling Up the Stairs, but it’s “Someone Else” that really breaks open the door.  Guitar chords trickle, and there’s very light percussion, while Grace operates between operatic crooner and throat-y troubadour.  It’s weird, but even though it plays a small part, the guitar sound on this tune is my favorite thing, once again illustrating how the careful touches of Pure X put a stamp on their sound.

There are definitely some songs throughout this release that I can see as grating, such as the pitch on “I Fear What I Feel,” which is purposefully out-of-key, yet still fits into the song.  But, when the vocals are executed perfectly, the tunes are enchanting.  One listen to “Things in My Head” and you will see precisely what I’m talking about; this track features a warmer tone on Nate’s voice, while the accompanying music wraps the voice in politely trickling guitar work.  Just a note: this is my favorite jam on the LP. Of course, some of the grating moments are pretty special, in so much as they evoke the emotional pull from the audience like the straining vocal on “Shadows and Lies,” which is where I think a lot of people are seeing the Conor Oberst connection.

For my ears, I think one of the remarkable things about this record is that it hold true to the sound Pure X established a few years back, but it’s pulled back the layers to reveal a shimmering pop sound. Those elements always lurked in the shadows on Pleasure, but we were all amazed at the way the atmospheric elements.  Now, the band has scrubbed themselves clean, leaving you with floating gems like “Thousand Year Old Child,” which still has a bit of that noise factor. In making nods to the early days, the band can hold onto old fans, but still push themselves creatively into their own future.  Such things are what makes Crawling Up the Stairs another hit from this Austin trio.


Download: Pure X – Things in my Head [MP3]


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