Always one of our favorite local Austin labels, Western Vinyl have just added Photo Ops to their roster…and announced the release of Pure at Heart. Terry Price is the songwriter behind the project, originally from Texas, he’s bounced his way through Nashville and now on to LA. “Play On” is an optimistic and energetic tune, an ode to what Price calls “the power pop side of my vision for the record.” It definitely has that natural bounce to it, and the thematic view is that despite the “strange times” we can kind of push forward and hopefully find some positivity on the horizon; its okay to feel shitty, but with music we get a little bit of light…so I hope. Pure at Heart is out on September 18th.
While I admittedly am struggling with a lot of mellow vibes during quarantine, the artistic vision of the lates RG Lowe single allowed me to immerse myself in the thematic elements, allowing the song to be slowly absorbed. While the video continues with Lowe’s themes of sensuality and physicality that run through his newest release Life of the Body, there’s more of a delicate structure to the song itself. It seems fitting that one of the core members of Balmorhea would craft such a tune; part of the song’s majesty revolves around the space in the track, with strummed guitar and voice over a light piano, it truly becomes like this ornate moment. As a connoisseur of ten second pop moments, I think the swell from 2:15 to 2:25 is quite special…as if the song needed anything more. Life of the Body is out May 22nd via Western Vinyl.
As we prepare for the release of Unmask Whoever, it’s time I start really paying attention to the craftsmanship of Activity. The first 30 seconds of their new single felt like a sort of post-rock industrial piece; there was this ominous noise echoing in the distance that build this uneasiness. That was calmed, mildly, by the band’s cool vocals, smoothing out the edges of the song just a smidge. That tension began to build, as did the anxiousness of the track, but the band excel by showing restraint, focusing on their pop sensibility while the world seems to crash around them in this song. Initially, I wanted this to unleash a wall of noise and crash into me, but I’m thinking now they made the right choice holding back. The new LP is out on March 27th via Western Vinyl.
While he rose to popularity as one of the founding members of Balmorhea, Rob Lowe, aka RG Lowe, is no stranger to the solo effort, having released Slow Time in 2017. He’s back now with the announcement of Life of the Body, his follow-up, and once again on Western Vinyl. The angelic tones established in years of choir is omni-present throughout this tune, but the length and accompanying flourishes harken back to his other work. I loved the loud burst at 2:21, even if its merely a second; its about the thoughtfulness in Lowe’s craftsmanship. These are songs that go above and beyond the expectations of your average pop fare; Life of the Body drops May 22nd.
Austin label Keeled Scales are clearly some of our favorite people; they’ve pretty much exploded into one of the best labels in the US, so we’re glad they had a few moments to list out their 10 Most Listened to LPs of 2019!
Be sure to visit their SITE and check out all the great releases; I’d start with this year’s Jordan Moser record, then maybe hop back to that Julia Lucille LP (if you were asking me!). They’ve also made us a great playlist of their favorite tunes from this year, as well as some hits from their artists, all after the jump!
Been a hot minute since we’ve heard from Caroline Sallee and her project, Caroline Says…until today. Today we got news that there’s a new Ohio River EP coming out in the not-to-distant future, courtesy of Western Vinyl. The song is said to be about returning to a quaint Southern town whilst looking through a new lens; finding a fondness in the past, but perhaps a bit of sadness in the realization that nothing stays the same as our memories. Musically, it’s perfectly matched with the river image, as the song sort of moves in that fashion; the musical waters are twisting, snaking, crawling to the mouth of the . It’s there we find Sallee’s vocals, washing over the song, lapping at the melodic edges with this smoky grace. The band will be on tour with Hovvdy throughout the end of October and into November; the EP drops on November 22nd.
Since the inception of this site back in the 00s, Abram Shook has been a constant feature on these Internet pages…either as a solo artists or one of his various projects like Feverbones or Great Nostalgic. Next week, he’ll be releasing his new LP, the Neon Machine, and while it definitely has his imprint, I think a lot of folks will be surprised by the sounds. For me, the synth pulse, albeit in a smooth fashion, was an unexpected twist; it’s interesting how some of those notes match the rhythm of Abram’s vocal delivery. Speaking of his vocals, there’s this velvety soulfulness that it far more pronounced than anything he’s done; I think the “with your time” line is the only time when I was like “yeah, this sounds like Abram, 100%.” It’s a really impressive shift into new territory, and I can see this getting some Neon Indian comparisons for those with careful ears. The new LP is out August 16th via Western Vinyl. He’ll be out on the road through October with White Denim, mostly through East Coast/Midwest; check some of those dates HERE.
As you know, we’re big Abram Shook fans; he even let us put out an LP by his Feverbones project, so when he’s crafting new tunes, our heads turn right away. I think those longtime fans will immediately notice that this record is a bit of a new twist for Abram; it sounds and looks like a pop record, albeit one spun through the lens of Shook. His soft vocal delivery seems to highlight the song’s natural rhythm, while synth stabs build in a toe-tapping groove beneath the whole mix; it’s all crafted under Abram’s typical attention to detail, with every note throughout being purposeful. The Neon Machine will be available on August 16th via Western Vinyl.
We’ve known Abram Shook for a really long time, since the beginning of this little site, actually. We’ve watched him grow, worked with he and his project Feverbones to release their LP, and now we seeing him grow again. The last few months he’s teased us with images that border on space-alien or maybe even disco; we knew something was coming, and now we finally get to hear it! In the first 40 seconds he offers up this sort of tinkering pop ambiance, but just after that, the song really drops in and there’s a funkier element to what Shook is working with in the song. That funk has always existed, especially if you’ve been fortunate enough to watch him play live, but it’s way out in the open here, then smoothed and polished for the chorus. We hear he might have a new album on the horizon, but for now, we just get this single!
This new Stephen Steinbrink number dropped at the end of the day yesterday, so why not start off our Friday by pointing you in the right direction…in case you missed out. While he’s toured in various acts through the years, he also has an extensive discography…but perhaps Utopia Teased will be the pinnacle. This track works around the softness of Steinbjrink’s voice and this rolling guitar line that seems built for ferrying you and your friends down some lone river even gets some aid from Melina from Jay Som to throw in some nice harmonies. Look for the new LP on November 9th via Western Vinyl.