I’m just about ready to completely enter year-end list mode, but before I do I want to share an awesome new one from Colleen Green. The track is a sugary little number, and I think it might be the most accessible thing she’s ever done. Maybe 2015 will be her year? Guess we’ll see. Enjoy.
You expect a certain sound when you hear of a band called Ice Cream. You expect the sound of summer, or maybe you expect bubbly, refreshing pop ‘n’ roll or maybe you just expect it to be a bunch of teenage girls in sparkly pantsuits dancing to a pre-recorded beat. Ice Cream is just about none of these. Yes, on their debut self-titled album, they jig about on the poppier side of rock ‘n’ roll and there’s a little bit of bubble behind everything they do, but this is messy, gritty rock ‘n’ roll pulled smiling from the back-end of the 60s. Even when the sound feels reminiscent of a garage rock version of David Lee Roth (Wild) there’s a little bit of lip curl and broken glass to drag it back to something with a little more attitude. Even more impressive, Ice Cream manages to ride the wave of fuzzed out guitar and dark sunglasses and still inject it with enough good times to make it entirely approachable. You’d be entirely happy to have this blasting out of your 8-track on a sunny day in the park or just as happy to be in a dark urine-smelling basement with these lads throwing it down for a crowd of tattooed audience members. This is the best kind of fun music, that kind that’ll make you shuffle your feet without the fear of looking like a moron.
The band’s EP is available for free over on their Bandcamp page.
Dallas-based songwriter Salim Nourallah recently finished a new album, Skeleton Closet, and now he’s setup a PledgeMusic campaign in hopes that fans will help him release it. Salim is one of my favorite songwriters and I’ve been a fan of his since a friend tipped me onto his work over a decade ago. He writes intelligent pop songs that range from whimsical and funny to cynical and melancholy, and he draws from both classic (Beatles, Kinks) and contemporary (Jeff Tweedy, Neil Finn, Elliott Smith) influences to portray how many of us feel about life, love, family, relationships, and getting older. He also puts you at ease during his live shows and draws you in for what feels like a chat between friends set to music.
Salim mostly plays close to home in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but he also occasionally tours with other artists such as Rhett Miller and Old 97s (whom he’s also produced). He’ll be returning to Austin on December 17 to play at Strange Brew Lounge Side (a top notch listening room).
Do yourself a favor and check out a few of his previous releases on his Bandcamp page.
While I was really tempted to spend today rambling about the surprisingly rad new song from AC/DC, I figured it would be a better idea to indulge in some Grape St. Why? Well, there are three reasons. 1) They’re one of my favorite Austin bands. 2) I should have shared their super catchy singles when they were released in September. 3) They’re playing the next Side One Track One Presents gig and I want you to be able to sing-a-long throughout their set.
:Twist – Slums And Seaports: Twist is Laura Hermiston (a Toronto-based musician) and Brian Borcherdt (from Holy Fuck). There’s a lot of interesting things going on in this rather lo-fi tune of theirs, and I’m curious to hear whatever else they’ve crafted. Supposedly, an EP is on the way.
:Cotillon – Before: If you’re already compiling possible 2015 breakthrough acts, it might be wise to add Jordan Corso (aka Cotillon) to the list. This is a moody, hazy gem, and I think his upcoming album could be a great one. The self titled effort will be released on January 26 via Burger Records.
:Porcelain Raft – Closed Eye Vision: Porcelain Raft want you to know they’re still out there, so they’ve released this spacious track. It’s a quick one at just a minute and 35 seconds, so you’ll have to make sure you’re paying attention or it’ll pass you by before you know it. This song appears to be a one-off effort.
:Christopher Owens – America: I can’t seem to decide exactly where I stand in regards to Christopher Owens’ solo work, but I can at least for sure say I love this song. I think it’s as intimate and sincere as can be. No word yet on if this track will end up on some sort of official release.
To be honest, I haven’t been particularly fond of the various Yacht songs that have come out over the last couple of months. I wouldn’t say any of the tunes have been legitimately bad, they just haven’t been the kind of stuff to catch and hold my attention. Normally if I don’t care for a release’s singles, I just skip the whole thing and wait for the the band to do something else, but I really like Yacht so I went ahead and gave the latest single from their EP a shot. It’s pretty great (of course). The song is said to be a tribute to science fiction writer J.G. Ballard, which is neat and all, but I mostly dig it for its 80s-stylings. Enjoy.
Karla Manzur is one of busiest musicians in Austin. She currently sings and is a multi-instrumentalist with some of the best musicians in town – Dana Falconberry, Alejandro Escovedo, Abram Shook, Nakia, and more. Amidst all of her musical commitments, she’s managed to find the time for her own songs. The result is her solo effort called Nightblooms.
The project’s name is reflected in some of the song titles (Lunar Sortie, Horizon Is A Lie) and in the lush, dreamy atmosphere of the music itself. Also, as she explains on the Nightbloom’s Bandcamp page, “The album title Star-taker is the literal translation of Astrolabe – a medieval astronomical calculator.” Protip: if you pick up the CD, you’ll find that it actually comes with a working letter pressed paper astrolabe!
Last month’s record release show took place in a giant inflatable planetarium and included a 16 piece choir. I missed that performance but I can only imagine that it was an eloquently fitting tribute to the wonders and mysteries of the night sky. There are a few chances to see another Nightblooms performance – Karla will be performing at The North Door on November 16 and 23 as part of the live score performance of the film Yakona by local composer Justin Sherburn, then and on December 12 as part of The Deer’s album release show at Spiderhouse Ballroom.
I love Flesh Lights,. They’re not just one of Austin’s premier bands, but one of the best punk acts in this great nation.
Guitarist Max Vandever and cousin Elissa Ussery (drums) used to play as a duo, but they eventually joined up with bassist Jeremy Steen to form Flesh Lights. The group first appeared on my radar when I bought the Casual Victim Pile: Austin 2010, a brilliantly curated collection highlighting Austin’s burgeoning punk and garage rock scene. It was packed with a lot of great songs, but Crush On You by the Flesh Lights was the standout for me. The band followed up their appearance on the compilation by releasing their debut full length, Pop Muscle, which ended up making my list of top albums in 2012.
The band recently released Free Yourself, their sophomore album, via 12XU. The record packs all of the power chords and hooks of the debut while also showing some new tricks. Flesh Lights are intent on growing as a band and it shows on this record. They are immensely talented songwriters and musicians, so it’s no wonder Free Yourself is stellar from start to finish. I wasn’t sure they could match their debut or the energy of their amazing live shows but they pulled it off – Free Yourself is a true musical achievement and worthy of your immediate attention.
I wasn’t aware that Sarah P had decided to give up her vocal duties in Keep Shelly In Athens. What happened? Which one of you did something to annoy her? What a bummer. On the bright side, RΠЯ is still crafting stellar chillwave sounds for the band, and I can’t deny that the new singer, Myrtha, seems to have the right voice for the gig. Hear what I mean via their slick new single, which I assume is the first of many to come from the retooled act. Enjoy.
:The Dodos – Competition: I’ve always liked The Dodos, but I have to admit that this song is the first must-share thing they’ve put out in a long while. I hope the rest of their upcoming album is similarly accessible. Look for Individ when it’s released on January 27 via Polyvinyl.
:Lemuria – Foggy Smoke: “I hate you as much as I love you.” Well isn’t that just a line we can all relate to? The always steady Lemuria are the subject of Turnstile Comix #3 (it details a tour the band did through Russia), and it’s due out December 9 via Silver Sprocket. See them at Red 7 on November 28.
Last month I wrote about the Housecore Horror Film Festival that took place a couple weeks ago. It was a smash hit, with some excellent acts, and great horror films, but my friend and organizer of the event, Corey Mitchell, died directly after the festival concluded. Shocking to say the least, he was 48 years old, had just finished a great event and while loading out suffered a heart attack and died. Coming to terms with the loss has been difficult the last few weeks, trying to put things in perspective in a scene that deals with death as a focal point should be easy; there has been no shortage of losses through the years in metal.
This month, I wanted to feature music from bands who have lost members and suffered extreme tragedy, some have been able to carry on, others came to an end, but either way as metal fans we help keep their memories alive through stories, albums, photos and paying tribute as often as we can. I have never dealt with death well, I usually just drink and try to forget, so let this serve as a dose of medicine to help me relieve my pain with losing another friend. RIP Corey and to donate to his family go HERE.