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The Sour Notes, Major Major Major (Jennifer)

June 3, 2015

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Thursday is the new Friday. Or at least sometimes it seems that way when it comes to local shows worth checking out. You don’t have to wait for Friday or Saturday to get your live music fix! Below are a couple of my Austin faves that I haven’t seen awhile who are both playing this Thursday.

The Sour Notes are heading out on their 10th tour across the Northeast and into Canada. Come out to Cheer Up Charlies for their tour kickoff party; they will joined by LöwinOther LoversDeep Cuts & Dollie Barnes. The Sour Notes are always a good bet – catchy psych pop tunes, an engaging live performance, and a solid work ethic. While this Thursday’s show is FREE – this is a tour kickoff so if you can, show some support and buy band merch to happily send them on their way.

Another fab show is at Lambert’s. Major Major Major will be displaying their brand of raucous garage rock meets indie pop. As a two piece outfit, their sound is unexpectedly full, layered, and energetic. Plenty of infectious hooks that are slightly frayed and rough around the edges. They’ve released an EP and two singles so far, and their debut LP is expected out this year.

You can’t go wrong with either show. Both are excellent choices to support local music.

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2014 Austin Essentials: Volume 1

November 24, 2014

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It’s taken me a couple of weeks, but I’ve finally manged to get my 2014 Austin Essentials list all perfectly hammered out  And by perfectly hammered out, I mean “I’m pretty sure I got 91% of it right.”  Anyways, it’s 60 or so bands long and it’s divided into three volumes (part two is tomorrow, part three is on Wednesday).  In case you’re wondering, my only real “guideline” for the list was that the artist must have put out something new (no re-releases, man) in 2014.  So, get to sampling!  I hope you find some new local stuff to love.  Enjoy.

PS – For the sake of not making the list even longer, I left out super familiar names like Spoon, And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, The Black Angels, Shakey Graves, Balmorhea, Ume, Quiet Company and I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness.

:Major Major Major – God Doesn’t Want Us:  Throughout 2014 Major Major Major have been increasingly impressive.  Their shows are a blast, and then there’s also the way the duo can’t seem to write anything that isn’t infectious.  Look out for their debut full length next year.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Abram Shook – Coastal:  I really love Abram Shook’s Sun Marquee.  The album is one of those pop efforts that’s both wonderfully crafted and super accessible.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Tele Novella – Trouble In Paradise:  Tele Novella spent much of the year further establishing themselves (singles, videos, lots of shows), and I think 2015 is now set to be a big one for them.  Jump on the bandwagon now.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:The Dead Space – Behind The Wall:  The Dead Space’s Faker is probably my favorite Austin album of 2014.  It’s a fantastic collection of post-punk tracks.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Magna Carda – Every Weekend (Featuring Olivia Applegate):  Magna Carda are no longer just one of the best hip hop acts in Austin, they’re one of the city’s best overall acts.  Here soon they’re releasing an album, and I can’t wait to check it out.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Dana Falconberry – Palmless:  Dana Falconberry and Jim Eno (from Spoon) crafted this song together for a Record Store Day release.  I want a lot more of the same.  Please.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Borrisokane – God Doesn’t Want Us (Major Major Major Cover):  Borrisokane’s Versus Project (a box set that features them and a variety of guests doing covers and original tunes) is probably the most ambitious thing that popped out of Austin in 2014.  Check it out if you haven’t.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Letting Up Despite Great Faults – Wrapped:  Neon is the name of Letting Up Despite Great Faults’ latest (and maybe final?) album.  You should pick it up just so that you can own a physical copy of this absolutely stellar song.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Summer Salt – Sweet To Me:  Phil and Eugene (from the now defunct Yum) are two-thirds of Summer Salt, a retro pop act with a knack for providing rather hooky, breezy tracks.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Otis The Destroyer – You’re The Wealth:  The Couch are no more, but that’s OK because some of its former members started the equally loud and glorious Otis The Destroyer.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Equals – Glistener:  If you’re a fan of instrumental rock, then Equals’ Tracts is an album that you need to seek out.  I’ve been jamming it for most of the year.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:BLXPLTN – Start Fires:  With music that’s all at once danceable, mosh-worthy and inspired,  BLXPLTN are an Austin band that has dominated in 2014.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Future Death – Basements:  Future Death play like maybe there really won’t be a tomorrow, and I like that.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Genuine Leather – The Enemy:  For those of you that love clever pop tunes, there’s the Genuine Leather album Losers.  Snatch it up.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Phil Ajjarapu – Sing Along Until You Feel Better:  SOTO’s own Jennifer made sure I included Phil Ajjarapu on the list, and it’s not hard to see why – the guy has some really good pop songs in his repertoire.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Lowin – Heave Ho:  Sara Houser’s soaring voice is now front and center in her own band (and no longer as part of The Couch), and the results so far have been pretty great.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:SHMU – She’s Leaving:  Sam Chown, who is also one half of Zorch, is the man behind SHMU.  Give the guy a listen if you like experimental electronic pop.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Pompeii – Blueprint:  After a solid five years or so, Pompeii finally rallied up a new album.  Loom, if you ask me, is fantastic and totally ended up being worth the wait.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Growl – Jackie:  I don’t remember many local music convos this year where someone didn’t excitedly bring up Growl.  This song is from a compilation, but you should also spend some time with the band’s EP, No Years, that was put out back in January.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Crooked Bangs – Ce Type:  This year Crooked Bangs put out this attitude-laced gem (it’s from a split with Houston’s Secret Prostitutes) and played Fun Fun Fun Fest.  Solid.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

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Silver Ships, Vagabond Collective (Jennifer)

August 6, 2014

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Silver Ships, the concept of songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Chazz Bessette, have released the first single from their long awaited debut album Songs From A Room That Never Moves.  With jangly guitars, sweet and uplifting melodies and psychedelic organ swirls in tow, Chazz sings a tale of the summertime blues – “Weather’s growing old and gray/ Summer’s gone away.”  The lyrics reflect bittersweet longing and nostalgia for those warm, carefree days of summer.

Look for the album to be released on September 30.  You can pre-order it (in digital and vinyl formats) on their Bandcamp page.

:Silver Ships – Summer’s Gone:

The Vagabond Collective are an Austin based group that produces events, records and art. To celebrate the summer, they’ve released a collection of songs titled Summer Nights: Volume 1.  This musical collection features a few of my local favorites such as the melodic guitar pop sounds of Growl, the rollicking garage pop of Major Major Major, and chilled out electro-pop Roger Sellers. It’s available now for name your price download and is a great addition to your summer 2014 soundtrack.

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The Versus Project – Borrisokane & Major Major Major (Premiere)

August 5, 2014

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If you like ambitious endeavors, then look no further than The Versus ProjectCurated by locals Borrisokane (and to be released by Oscillation Records), The Versus Project is a six-EP box set that features a whole variety of things.  There’s Borrisokane covering each of the six contributing acts, all of the contributing acts covering Borrisokane, and also six new Borrisokane songs to go with a new track from each of the contributing acts.  Whew.  It’s definitely a lot (12 covers and 12 originals, to be exact), but it’s also one of the more rad things to come out of Austin in 2014, so the extra effort required to get it all straight is worth your time.  We promise.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s get on with the premiere of the Borrisokane VS Major Major Major portion of the box set.  Both songs are completely different than their original takes, but that’s what I love about them.  Why bother with a project like this unless you’re going to shake some stuff up, right?  Enjoy.

:Borrisokane – God Doesn’t Want Us (Major Major Major Cover):
:Major Major Major – Amelia Fucking Earhart (Borrisokane Cover):

For fun, here are the original versions …

:Borrisokane – Amelia Fucking Earhart:
:Major Major Major – God Doesn’t Want Us:

By the way, Borrisokane, the contributing bands and 101X Homegrown are getting together at the Scoot Inn on August 23 to celebrate the release of The Versus Project.  You do not want to miss the show.  Join the event on Facebook and check out the poster below.

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Guest Mix: Major Major Major

June 13, 2014

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The SOTO staff rambles on enough, so every now again we like to bring in a guest.  This month it’s Adrian and Andrew, the duo behind Major Major Major.  Come out on June 27 and see them headline the next SOTO PRESENTS show at the Blackheart.

The morning after a last minute show in Fort Worth, Andrew and I hopped in my beautiful Chrysler Town and Country Touring minivan (best damn car in the world I know) and made our way to Lawrence, Kansas for our next show on tour. We were pretty bummed that our show in Oklahoma City had been canceled but we trekked on with our spirits high, after all, we had just begun our summer tour of the Midwest. Once we had crossed the Kansas border in the middle of the afternoon, the sky turned ominously grey, the land flattened, and the road just kept going on and on like we had died and gone to purgatory. I decided to take a little nap and let Andrew finish the drive. I woke up to the music blaring and Andrew belting to possibly the strangest hit of the 90’s, that Mmm Mmm Mmm song by the Crash Test Dummies (I have video of this if anyone is interested). Whether the long lonesome drive inspired him to play this track or Crash Test Dummies are secretly his favorite band I am still not sure but nonetheless Mmm Mmm Mmm fittingly became one of our tour Anthems.

So here it is, an oh so epic list of our TOUR ANTHEMS. We recommend these for long drives.

:Crash Test Dummies - Mmm Mmm Mmm:  Andrew owns this album and says the other tracks are just as good. I’m not sure I believe him.

:Non Blondes - What’s Up:  This is probably my “Mmm” song. A true sing in the shower kind of diddy.  Just try completely destroying your vocal chords on this gem one day, I promise you’ll feel better. “REVOLUTION!!”

:Titus Andronicus - The Battle Of Hampton Roads:  When Andrew and I first started playing music together, we bonded on our love for Titus. This is probably their most epic tune.

:Can - Yoo Doo Right:  One of my favorite bands to listen to on da road. Apparently this track is a 20 minute excerpt from a six hour jam session which never ceases to blow my freakin’ mind.

:Sleep - Dragonaut:  Another amazing band to listen to on da road. Lots of fierce air drumming and head banging on this one.

:Tenacious D - The Road:  “The road is fucking tough”

:The Magnetic Fields - The Death Of Ferdinand de Saussure:  Stephen Merritt is a heartbreak extraordinaire. It’s like he has been reading our high school self’s livejournal.

:Wipers - Doom Town:  Perfect for desolate terrain.

:Amputated - Menstrual Cunt Fart:  A song that offers scientific knowledge of the menstrual cycle, as well as some seriously unmatched vocal abilities. This was a very very dark part of the road as you can probably assume.

Miley Cyrus - Can’t Stop – It’s our mix, we can play what we want to!

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Quickdraw: Sweet Spirit, Major Major Major, Megafauna, Equals, Slomo Drags

April 8, 2014

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Austin-based music!  Enjoy.

:Sweet Spirit – Let Me Be On Top:  Just after I finally managed to see the newly formed Sweet Spirit (lead by A Giant Dog’s Sabrina Ellis and Andrew Cashen) play live, a demo made its way to the public.  Coincidence?  Probably.  At any rate, I dig the song.  It’s a pretty nifty piece of pop.  No word yet on when an official release is coming.  This Saturday the band will perform at Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co.

:Major Major Major – God Doesn’t Want Us:  While I like the way Major Major Major have been steadily releasing catchy garage rock singles (like this one), I’m pumped that they’re in the midst of working on an actual full length.  I eagerly await its arrival.  The God Doesn’t Want Us single is available at MMM’s Bandcamp.  They will play Red 7 on April 26.

:Megafauna – Time To Go:  Admittedly, I don’t pay enough attention to Megafauna.  They’re a quality rock act with some rad, hooky tracks, and I should definitely be celebrating them more.  Their new album, Maximalist, is due out April 15 via Danimal Kingdom.  The band will play the Mohawk on April 19 for 101X Homegrown.

:Equals – Glistener:  I’ve just about worn out the new Tycho album, so I’m looking to Equals to quench my thirst for instrumental music.  Songs like this superbly crafted gem make me think I made the right choice.  Tracts is due out May 6.  See the band play at Empire Control Room this Friday.

:Slomo Drags – Every Actor:  I’m just getting up to speed on Slomo Drags, but I like what I’ve heard so far.  This track in particular is inspired and catchy.  The band’s self titled EP is available now via Bandcamp.  Catch the band play at Cheer Up Charlie’s tomorrow.

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2013 Austin Essentials: Volume 1

November 25, 2013

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A couple of weeks back I was thinking about my annual Top 50 Songs/Top 25 Albums lists (expect those to start on 12/2), and it dawned on me that I should do something separate specifically for Austin.  So, I did.  There’s no particular ranking to anything in Austin Essentials, I just wanted to share with you some local stuff that I liked a lot this year.  There’s 45 entries (culled from a group of about 70-80) that are spread out over three 15-track volumes, so look for a post tomorrow and then another on Wednesday.  Enjoy.

By the way, if I had one goal for SOTO this year, it was to try and include more mentions for Austin artists.  Overall, I think we did a solid job, but there’s definitely room to improve.  Hit me up if you have any suggestions for us as we head into 2014.

:A Giant Dog – All I Wanted:  Sabrina Ellis is one of Austin’s most dynamic singers, and there isn’t a single song on A Giant Dog’s Bone where her enthusiasm doesn’t shine through.  This pop punk gem is my favorite track on the album.  Find A Giant Dog on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Grape St – A Date With You:  Harlem’s indefinite hiatus has now formed three great bands – Lace Curtains, Daytona, and Grape St.  If you dig this song, then definitely pick up the album A Date With You.  All of the other tracks on it are just as catchy.   Find Grape St on FB here, and buy their music here.

:The Laughing – Disappear:  The Laughing kind of dropped off the planet for a while, but this year they made their return via Oscillation, a 10-track effort that features some really nice pop rock tunes.  Find The Laughing on FB here, and buy their music here.

:The Sour Notes – Do What May:  The Sour Notes may be great friends of mine, but I can honestly say they’re listed here because they earned it.  They’re one of Austin’s hardest working bands and their upcoming album, Do What May, is a really solid prog pop effort.  Find The Sour Notes on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Borrisokane – Amelia Fucking Earhart (A.F.E.):  For those of you who like your pop music to have an experimental side to it, there’s Borrisokane’s Murdering Teeth EP.  I think it’s one of the more quirky (in a good way, of course) listens to come out of Austin in 2013.  Find Borrisokane on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Love Inks – Time:  Love Inks are a quality act, but they don’t seem to have the biggest of followings in Austin.  We should figure out a way to change that.  The band’s album, Generation Club, is a must if you like minimalist pop.  Find Love Inks on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Whiite Walls – Easy Love:  When I wanted something dancey this summer I either tossed on Daft Punk’s Get Lucky or Whiite Walls’ Easy Love.  You can’t listen to it and not want to move.  Here’s hoping the band doesn’t take too long to put out an official effort.  Find Whiite Walls on FB here.

:Knifight – In The Fire:  Their name makes them sound like a punk band, but they’re actually more of a New Order/Future Islands type – dark and synthy.  Their debut, Dark Voices, is an intense but good listen.  Find Knifight on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Zorch – We All Die Young:  I love this track.  It’s wild and raw and should only be listened to at the sort of volume that makes your neighbors angry.  Find Zorch on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Boyfrndz – Water Weight:  Boyfrndz are one of Austin’s better experimental rock acts, and I thought they did a good job of proving that on their Natures EP.  Find Boyfrndz on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Major Major Major – Scream Queen:  I was a late adopter of this track, but once I did I couldn’t seem to get it out of my head.  Talk about infectious.  If we’re lucky, the duo will wrap their EP sooner rather than later.  Find Major Major Major on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Genuine Leather – Head Wound:  Chris Galis (from the Gorgeous Hands) heads up this breezy pop act.  Viper (Found A Good Place For My Love) is the other single that the band put out this year, and it’s also worth your time.  Find Genuine Leather on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Royal Forest – Goldwallpaper:  Over the years Royal Forest have really become a fine pop band.  If for some reason you didn’t check out Spillway, then seek it out.  It’s a nice listen.  Find Royal Forest on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Walker Lukens – Dear Someone:  Walker Lukens somewhat recently made the jump from NYC to Austin, and I’m happy that he did.  The guy knows how to write a good pop song.  Find Walker Lukens on FB here, and buy his music here.

:Yum – Take My Blue:  Yum just sort of popped onto my radar one day over the summer, and ever since then I’ve been a big fan.  Their album, Take My Blue, has a lot on it that plays like a lighter version of Warpaint.  Find Yum on FB here, and buy their music here.

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Stream This

June 7, 2013

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The SOTO inbox is always full of cool stuff that never gets to see the light of day on the actual site, and I’d like to change that.  So, every Friday I’ll be posting the best album streams and videos that were sent my way during the week.  Take a scroll and find something worth remembering.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Deafheaven – Sunbather
Black Sabbath – 13
Surfer Blood – Pythons
Disclosure – Settle
Hyetal – Modern Worship
Close – Getting Closer
Sonny And The Sunsets – Antenna To The Afterworld
CSS – Planta
Rodan – 15 Quiet Years
Gold Panda – Half Of Where You Live
Airhead – For Years

VIDEOS

Vampire Weekend recently released Modern Vampires Of The City.

Sigur Ros will put out Kveikur on June 18 via XL Recordings.

Gauntlet Hair will set free Stills on July 16 via Dead Oceans.

The Gorgeous Hands released their debut, Tender, last month.

Royal Forest will release Spillway on July 9 via

Cold War Kids’ Dear Miss Lonelyhearts is out now.  They play Stubb’s on August 22.

The XX’s Coexist is out now.

Rathborne will release Soft on July 15 via Dilettante Records.

The Purrs will put out The Boy With Astronaut Eyes on June 18 via Fin Records.

The Boy Least Likely To released The Great Perhaps earlier this year.

Small Multiples released a self titled album last month.

Major Major Major are expected to put out a new EP (with this song on it) sometime later this year.

Morningbell put out Boa Noite last month.

Matthew Squires And The Learning Disorders’ How to Combust Your Life is available now.

Typhoon will put out White Lighter on August 20 via Roll Call Records.

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