Over the weekend I was looking at what’s been released and what’s still on the way, and I found myself feeling great about music in 2015. Then yesterday the magnificent Mikal Cronin announced his third full length, and I decided that it all has to be too good to be true. There’s just no way we’re going to get to check out everything. The world will probably explode any moment now. Either that, or some weird thing like “Obama bans music” is near. Oh well. I say we at least try to wear out Cronin’s catchy new single before anything happens. Enjoy.
This month’s Guest Mix is from Kam Franklin of The Suffers! The band just played a handful of sold-out shows in support of their new EP, Make Some Room. If you’re not on their bandwagon, you should be. Enjoy.
Hey! Kam here. In celebration of The Suffers’ EP release, I chose to pick a selection of artists that have worked with, supported and/or inspired me.
3d Na’Tee – Do It For The Gram
The Suffers played the ADD52 showcase with 3D Na’tee at SXSW last March. The encounter was brief, but we were incredibly impressed by her flow. She is 100% real, and the world needs more of that. She’s absolutely stunning, but raps like a beast. Prepare yourself.
Equals – Sweat House
This selection makes me particularly happy because there are so many different connections within the band. I went to high school with the guitar player Simon McDonald, and I used to be in a ska band with the (now ex) bass player Alex Guzman. It seems like so long ago, but the time away from them has only led me to admire them and their body of work even more so. This song is gorgeous.
Fat Tony – No More
This song was put together by a collective of men that I consider to be family. It was written by Fat Tony, produced by Jose Gorbea (aka iLL Faded), and features a guest vocal appearance by Buckamore. All three men are just starting to get the real attention they truly deserve, and I’m excited about everything they have ahead of them.
The Very Best – Hear Me
I have a long history with these guys. For those that are unfamiliar with them, The Very Best is a collaboration between London based producer Johan Hugo and Esau Mwamwaya from Malawi. I went on their first American tour with them years back, and have been following their career ever since. Hear Me with Vampire Weekend’s Chris Baio is their first release since their 2012 record MTMTMK.
Lyric Michelle – Weekend (la di da di)
Lyric is one of my favorite lyricists and poets. On this track, I feel like she’s calling out so many people that have been acting up. Anyone that has chosen to drink or smoke their troubles away instead of dealing with the real issues will definitely understand where she’s coming from with this one. The song has so many different levels that may get missed the first time around, but that’s okay. That’s what the internet is for! Repeat this one if you miss the message the first time around.
RX Bandits – Ruby Cumulus
There are few bands I love more than RX Bandits. They main reason I love them is because their music and live show inspired me to step out of my box as a performer. They do what they want to do, how they want to do it, and I respect the hell out of that.
Chllngr – Without Yours (Featuring Josiahwise IS THE SERPENTWITHFEET)
At one point, Steve Borth was in RX Bandits. At the time that he was exiting the band, I was slowly falling in love with them. Since I was so eager to hear everything this camp was putting out, be it together or solo, I kept up with his music. Years later, he created a brand new project that I’m absolutely obsessed with called Chllngr. The harmonies are beautiful, and the soulful but synth-hop production in everything is just ridiculous. He is a truly a creative genius, and this project is wonderful.
BLSHS – Gave It Away
Blshs is a Houston based synth-pop trio that makes the kind music that distracts me from whatever it is I should be doing. Michelle’s voice is gorgeous, and the band is just all around amazing. In my opinion, the best thing about them, aside from their music, is that they support everyone that supports them. In an industry that is known for not being very nice, that kind of behavior goes a long way.
The Tontons – Ruins
This is my favorite song off of the most recent Tontons album. It’s very simple, but the song is incredibly moving. It features Asli Omar on vocals with Adam Martinez on acoustic guitar. I like that they kept the video just as simple as the song. Their music is usually much more aggressive, so it was really nice to see this side of them.
:Toro Y Moi – Empty Nesters: If anything, you have to applaud Chaz Bundick (aka Toro Y Moi) for keeping things fresh. His last album was fairly disco/funky, and now his new one seems to be aiming for more of a blissed-out (but still danceable) indie pop sound. What For? will be released on April 7 via Carpark.
:Big Bill – Sweet Boy: Big Bill are a quirky garage rock act that’s been a real bright spot in Austin for the last year or so. This track is probably my favorite selection off of their recently released Second Bill EP, which you should snatch up now via Bandcamp.
:The Babies – Got Old: “I was 21, I was 33.” I relate to this lyric a whole lot more than I’d like to. Big thanks to The Babies for crushing me. I guess. This is from a two-song single that’s currently available via iTunes.
:Turbo Fruits – The Way I Want You: The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney produced this new one from Turbo Fruits. It features lyrics that are a bummer and a sound that’s thoroughly 90s rock, so I like it a lot. No Control is due out April 20 via Melvin/Thirty Tigers Records.
:St. Vincent – Bad Believer: Because you asked for it (that was you, right?), a deluxe edition of St. Vincent’s self titled album is on the way. The bonus material consists of this snazzy new track, a b-side, a remix and a two-song single that was put out on Record Store Day. Should be neat. Look for it on February 9 via Loma Vista.
:The Cribs – An Ivory Hand: Believe it or not, it’s been nearly 10 years since The Cribs put out the very Franz Ferdinand-esque track Hey Scenesters. And to think that way back then I figured they were just cashing in on a popular sound and wouldn’t be around long! Ha. This solid pop rock tune is off of For All My Sisters, which will be released on March 23.
:Walker Lukens – Every Night: The Austin-based Walker Lukens went with Jim Eno (of Spoon) as the producer of his new album, and it would appear as though that was a great move. This first single is infectious as hell. Keep an eye out for Baked Goods later this year.
:Mew – Satellites: While I can’t claim to be the world’s biggest fan of Mew, I’m still fairly excited about/interested in their upcoming LP. Accessible prog rock is good for the world. The band will release Plus Minus on April 27.
:Jose Gonzalez – Leaf Off/The Cave: Singer/songwriter supreme Jose Gonzalez has put together his first solo effort since 2007′s In Our Nature. The guy is an incredible artist, so I’m just going to go ahead and say it’ll be a fantastic album. Vestiges & Claws is due out February 17 via Mute.
True Sincerity made its publishing debut last year. The journal is the brainchild of local music writer and photographer Bryan Parker, who also runs Pop Press International. On Friday, January 30 there will be a party at Cheer Up Charlie’s to celebrate the release of its second issue. The journal includes interviews with local musicians and has other individuals that are involved in the local music scene.
The party will feature music from Marmalakes, Feverbones, Gold Beach, and Linen Closet. This event will also include a screening of a mini-documentary about producer Danny Reisch, owner of Good Danny’s studio. Danny has worked with numerous local and national artists, and is a touring musician.
Danny and Bryan’s enthusiasm, hard work, and love for local music is appreciated. Be sure to show them some support on January 30!
The New Year is here, Free Week is over, and we’re closing in on February. Before you know it, the chaos of SXSW will be upon us. I, for one, can’t wait. I’m already making a mental list of bands I want to see. One act on the “must see” portion of that list (assuming they will be here) is the Pittsburgh quartet The Gotobeds. Their new album, Poor People Are Revolting, was released via 12XU last year, and I’ve steadily become more and more obsessed with it.
I’m a huge fan of both Protomartyr and Parquet Courts so it’s no wonder I love the new Gotobeds album. All three bands play a clever and chaotic style of punk rock. Poor People Are Revolting (brilliant fucking title) is filled with quick-witted lyrics and trashy yet angular riffs. It’s clear the band draws much from predecessors such as Mission of Burma, Sonic Youth. The Fall, and Wire. In fact, the Wire’s drummer, drummer Robert Gotobed inspired the band’s name.
However, I personally hear a lot of early Pavement, especially in the closing track Secs Tape. It’s rambling mess of a track that spans over 10 minutes and is probably my favorite song of the past year. They recorded it in one take and to say they nailed it is an understatement. It’s exactly the frantic, pulsating, and disorderly noise blitz you hope ends every Beerland show.
This year I’ve decided to take the route of nostalgia here at SOTO. Though the term was recently discussed by Jandek on his Hardly Sound episode (watch the whole shabang here) as some kind of neurological disorder that needs to be rectified, there are some surprising records and stories that go along with them that I can no longer overlook. I’ll be discussing 12 records from various points of my listening life, the personal stories that go along with them and how they struck me then and now. So here goes …
When pondering Sonny Sharrock’s 1991 masterpiece Ask The Ages, there’s a few things I associate with my first interaction with it, including possible minor injury.
I used to be in a band (weren’t we all) and was heading to a gig in San Antonio. I recall traveling in the passenger seat of a 1970 Dodge Van when the driver, a jazz head/behemoth, pulled out a CD he had just got and was stoked about. The record he held in his hand was of course, Ask The Ages by big boy Sonny Sharrock.
The record began and before the first passage of Promises Kept was finished, everyone in that damaged bucket of a car was enamored with the leaden sounds flying out the speakers. Then Pharoah Sanders began his skronk and by that point I’m not sure if anyone was aware of anyone else’s existence.
Who Does She Hope To Be? followed with some meditations that were well needed after the thrash of the lead off track. Sharrock’s runs (on this track especially) spoke directly to the core of what we were on our way to do. Playing music is a game of chase. Much like most aspects of life, there are moments that give you enough essence of existence to get through the rest of the performance/day/task and you continually look for that. On Who Does She Hope To Be?, Sharrock bottles that longing and gives it audibility.
I recall the driver getting way into the intro of Little Rock and drumming on the dashboard, doing a sort of Neal Cassady bit when all of the sudden, in the midst of Sonny and Pharoah dueling it out mid song, we took a turn off the highway and my door swung wide open! Pavement was rushing under me and the driver had me by the shirt with me hanging half ass out the car. “Oh yeah, It does that sometimes.” smiled the driver and off we went to eat tacos at a car wash before the gig.
Not much of a story, I know, but the scenario unfailingly plays out every time I listen to this record. It continues to be one of my all time favorite jazz recordings and puts Sharrock in line with the greats. One listen to album closer Once Upon A Time and you get a sense of all the avenues music still has left to explore and conquer. Sonny said it best, “I’m just a horn player with a really fucked up axe.” To my ears ‘taint nothing fucked about it.
:Radical Dads – Don’t Go: “Don’t you touch my dude!” That’s the opening lyric here, and I think it’s hilarious. As for the rest of the song, it’s high quality 90s-enthused indie rock, and I dig it. Universal Coolers is due out February 24 via Old Flame.
:Cheatahs – Sunne: According to the press release for this track, Cheatahs wanted a “bittersweet end-of-day feeling, as if the sun were setting” type of sound here. Nailed it. The Sunne EP is due out February 23 via Wichita Recordings.
:Lowin – Best Laid Plans: Austin’s own Lowin came into existence about a year ago, and they’ve been a favorite of mine ever since. That Sara Houser sure can sing. Look for the band’s Royal Jelly EP on April 7.
Lost hope? Dreams ended? Spilled milk? This is Sad Bastard Music – a monthly column of the best sad songs of all time and this exists solely for your comfort. Come here buddy … bring it in. There you go …. that’s better. Let it all out. Let it all go and have a good cry. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.
The sadder the song, the better the song – that’s the motto! Let’s begin!
:Hank Williams – There’s A Tear In My Beer: I can already tell that you’re not listening to enough Hank Williams today so far so let’s change that right … now. Crying at the honky tonk is my favorite country music trope and it can likely all be traced back to this 1950 megaclassic. If you need a resolution for 2015 it should absolutely be to listen to more Hank Williams and to get his likeness tattooed on your forearm.
:Azure Ray – Raining in Athens: These two girls, man. They can be brutally sad. Wait – not can be … they ARE brutally sad. This poetic song tells tale of a hypothetical universe of what could have been between a failed couple, an alternate universe where things worked out and the couple grow old together. A false reality where the main character has “mastered the art of dealing and slipping away without falling apart.” The realization and confession of this is a hugely complex thing to grapple with and it’s tackled in three short stanzas in about four minutes. For more, I strongly recommend the record Burn And Shiver but really any Azure Ray from our sadsack pals at Saddle Creek will do the trick. Brutally Sad.
:Bruce Springsteen – My Hometown: You can’t escape. Racial tension, shotgun blasts, hotrod races, unemployed factory workers and the Americana cycle that goes on and on and on. This could be viewed as an uplifting something or other about the American dream we’re promised and the glory of being able to make your own way in the land of milk and honey or whatever – but it’s a sad one to me. The glass is half empty in my hometown.
:Mac DeMarco – Brother: Here, DeMarco and his devil may care attitude takes a jab, like a lackadaisical Springsteen, at the modern American dream. With mellow, chorus pedal drenched guitar and almost monotone melody, Mac warns against conformity and the meaningless existence of the rat race in corporate America. There’s more to life than work/work/work/work/die. Right? For instance: there are great music blogs to read and kitty cats to pet!
:Beck – Cut in Half Blues: This is some of that textbook “anti-folk” stuff that the kids are going wild for these days. It’s certainly not serious but in it’s humor there is sadness. Heck, I don’t envy a protagonist that’s literally been cut in half by his old lady! Hey – she loves power tools! Even in the bedroom! Some may know this song from Stereopathetic Soulmanure but this version here is much more rare – it’s from an unofficial collection of weirdo Beck demos called Don’t Get Bent Out Of Shape from 1992, two years before Loser-mania swept the nation. “Well, the last thing I saw was a big long saw, I got the cut in half blues”
SONG OF THE MONTH
I’ve been wildly into the Everly Bros lately and after absorbing all of the greatest hits CDs that exist commercially – the only other place to go is to the internet to find 50 year old live TV performances from the UK. These bouffant haircuts were captured live on the Alma Cogan Show and the backing band just so happens to be the Crickets just two years after the day the music died and Buddy Holly passed away. There must be something in this fresh 2015 air that is making internet nerds like me revisit their musical luster, because right before posting this I ran across this recent love letter to the Bros from Esquire that has a sweet Spotify playlist and everything! Check it out HERE!
The next No Dancing: Sad Bastard Music night at the Volstead will be in honor of Valentine’s Day and all attendants will receive one of a kind cards from me to you featuring the best gut wrenching pop lyrics of all time! February 10th 2015- mark your calendars!
Last week when SOTO came back online one of the first things I shared for your listening pleasure was the latest Purity Ring track. At that point there wasn’t any word on a new album, but now the band has officially let loose details for their sophomore effort, Another Eternity. Jump below for the duo’s new single. Like the one (Push Pull) that came before it, the song features a much tamer sound than what filled 2012′s Shrines, but it’s definitely still a high quality effort. Enjoy.
Hello! I’m Jennifer Leduc and I’ve been a resident and lover of Austin and its music scene for 17+ years. I’ve also been a contributor here at Side One Track One since October 2011. My actual birthday (January 6th) falls during Austin Free Week, which is a fantastic gift as a local music fan, but circumstances didn’t allow holding an event during that time. So, I’m celebrating a little later than usual.
Please make a note to drop by Studium (on East 5th St, a block from I-35) this Saturday! The show is free and open to the public. Music will kick off with the adventurous indie rock of Royal Forest. They will then be followed by the dynamic duo of Demitasse performing their harmonic brand of downbeat acoustic pop. I couldn’t resist inviting them as members, Erik Sanden and Joe Reyes (who also play together in Buttercup) played at my 40th birthday bash. The party continues with the melodic sounds of Good Field. In spring 2012, I fell under the spell of their mellow, swirling guitar pop. It’s hard to articulate why I love their songs. They just simply make me happy. The final band and musical icing on the cake is Feverbones. When I first heard them, I was an instant fan of their groovy, colorful indie pop and blown away by their top notch musicianship. Whether you can stay for one band or all four, I would love for you to stop by and say hi. Kudos and thanks to all of the bands and the staff at Studium and Punctum Records.
Let’s say you’re a human being who has been, for a variety of reasons, been asked, every few weeks, to write a post about your local music scene. And let’s say that it’s the beginning of a new year (2015 bitches) and you’re sort of recovering from your three-week holiday break (relaxing is tiring) and you realize pretty late in the game that you have to write the post that your big Texan editor has, from afar, demanded of you. And let’s say you’re sort of scrambling around the internet and you stumble across this little Oakland, CA band called Toner and though you think you’re just going to find something that’s pretty good, that you can get behind and hopefully dig into a little deeper later, you find a band that, well, just about perfectly represents all of your sentiments about the end of one year and the beginning of the next.
Toner, to be frank, sounds like some perfect, alternate reality combination of Built to Spill’s neurotic guitar and Weezer’s peppy, smarter older shit. It’s a tight, but fuzzy, upbeat, but dosed with just a lick of melancholy. Like a New Year, you know? It’s like here you are getting older and it’s nice to see 2014 disappear behind you and to like, you know, feel that weight slump off your shoulders to look forward to what the unknown of 2015 might offer. But then on the other side, you’re saying goodbye to another year, taking another step down that coil of mortality and really, who the fuck knows what 2015 is going to offer? What if the robots come and take over and you get assigned to clean the robot-toilets in Unit 4A (’cause those robots are nasty)? Who knows? Well, maybe Toner knows, maybe they’re melancholic pop is a harbinger of the year to come and if you listen to it backwards it says “2015 is going to be a hell of a ride.” Or maybe, yeah, maybe it’s just an exemplary song from a clearly talented musician, and, well, hopefully it’ll help to kick your year off just right.
After seemingly an eternity of nothing but singles, mixtapes and the like, Action Bronson has finally put together an official full length. This is great news. I appreciate his steady craftiness when it comes to releasing as much music as possible, but I think a focused, more “traditional” release will end up being really good for him. Or it may just ruin everything. Either way, his latest single is super slick. Enjoy.