Our friend Ram Vela has been banging out tracks in Austin for longer than we’ve been a site; he fronted Whitman and even joined Midgetmen’s entourage for a minute. But, as of late he’s been brandishing his love of pop rock with Ram Vela and the Easy Targets. The band have a new LP dropping late this year, and we’ve got that first rocking single to bring you this morning. The band waste no time in dropping in this heavy riffage, dropping in huge distorted riffs as Ram emphatically punctuates the tune with the chorus, making sure to leave you with the hooks you desire! If you’re punching the air and screaming along, you’re doing it right. We’ll keep you posted as the record draws near!
Yet another SXSW is in the books and it’s time for the ATH crew to reminisce a little and offer some highlight from the week behind us. I think we’ve had enough time now to take a few deep breaths, collect our thoughts, and delve through tons of notes and photos. As we’ve done in the past, we’ll offer up awards to bands, venues and events worthy of such praise. It will be glorious. Hit the jump for a full recap with photos.
It’s been quite a while since locals Whitman put out their debut album, Torch Songs. Since then their style hasn’t really changed too much; they’ve maintained a classic alternative sound while not getting too serious. Weekends is no exception to this style, delivering quality tunes that fall easy on the ears.
The album creeps out slowly, with Ram Vela’s vocals whispering through layers of echoes and atmospheric sounds on “Technicolor Blues.” It’s as though the band is feeling its way into your ears, analyzing the space that they are going to fill before they really kick into things. This kicks comes in the last forty or so seconds before the first song has met its completion. At this point, it’s clear that Whitman has woken up, and continues to pick up the pace on the second song, “NW Thurman.” Jumping right into things, Vela’s Ted Leo-esque raspy chords leads you right along, bounding atop bouncing piano and some “Ooh la la’s” in the background. Immediately on this track, there is that ‘good times’ mentality that this band perfects. It’s the perfect kind of song to bob your head easily along to and perhaps dance a little if you’re feeling up to it—it doesn’t demand anything.
This easy rock-n-roll continues through the duration of the album, exploring highs and lows, crazy times and falling-outs. “Barstools” comes across as a bitter recollection of a friendship gone astray. As Vela sings honestly that he would “rather be falling off barstools than hanging with you,” the electric guitar growls, the cymbals crash violently, and some synth all rage along with him, and it feels as though the song consists entirely for the purpose of driving this hated friend away, making sure he knows he isn’t welcome anymore. Later on, Whitman slows things down a bit on “Manchester-By-The-Sea,” whose soft nature serves as a nice little meander from the consistent full-tilt pace. This song relies on a gentler strumming of acoustic guitar and instrumentals that stray from the buzz of before and we see a more delicate Whitman. The album finishes up with “Day Drink Part 1” and “Day Drink Part 2” which brings things back up before it reaches its conclusion.
Weekends is exactly what its name entails: relaxation. There simply isn’t a song on here that requires more than a good attitude to enjoy. With the weather warming up around here, count on this album to be perfect for blasting out of your open car windows.
Have you seen my face? I think I left it on the floor of Emo’s Lounge on Friday night. Austin darlings Whitman brought the jams out on Friday night at Emo’s Lounge here in Austin. Most would think the band would be a bit sloppy having been absent from the stage for around two months but that wasn’t the case on Friday. Read more