Tag: Austin TX

New Audio: Palo Duro Returns with a Propulsive and Off-Kilter Track

Earlier this month, I wrote about Palo Duro, the solo recording project of  Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Michael J. Winningham, who may be best known for a his time as the frontman of indie rock act Gold Beach; however, from the hook-laden, synth-based single “Darken the Glow,” off the project’s forthcoming album Ryou Cannon, Winningham’s latest project is a decided change in sonic direction, as the track managed to be reminiscent of Big Data and others — while possessing a careful attention to craft. Interestingly, Ryou Cannon’s latest single “True Fade” reveals Winningham to be a musical chameleon, who can adapt to any particular style or genre at will as the track features a looping guitar line, propulsive percussion, an angular yet motorik-like groove, shimmering electronics and dreamy yet off-kilter vocal accents  — and while possessing an art school experimentalist sheen, the song also has an infectious, soaring hook. 

Advertisements

Alice Merton is a Canadian-born, Berlin, Germany-based singer/songwriter and pop artist, who has lived a rather nomadic life, as she was raised in Canada, finished high school in Germany and then with the rest of her family, relocated to England. Of course, music was a major part of her life, no matter where on earth she was — she started taking classical piano lessons when she was five and by the time she was nine, she was introduced to vocal training. As the story goes, after spending the better part of a decade under classical training, Merton discovered songwriting through one of her high school courses while in Germany. And from that point forward, she went on to study songwriting and began pursuing her dream of becoming a professional singer/songwriter.

Naturally, during her studies Merton worked with a number of producers and finding the right producer who both compliments and challenges a singer/songwriter in the way that a true collaborator — and in turn, a great producer — should do, is a rarity, and when she met Berlin-based producer Nicolas Rebscher, Merton quickly recognized that she found her musical match; in fact, the collaborative duo have specialized in pairing vintage, analog synthesizers with organic arrangements based around propulsive drum and bass. Unsurprisingly then, on Merton’s swaggering and (somewhat) bluesy debut single “No Roots,” Merton’s self-assured and soulful pop belter vocals are paired with a Rebscher production that features enormous, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, a sinuous bass line, brief blasts of funk guitar, squiggly blasts of synths and a rousingly anthemic hook. And in some way, the song is a slick meshing of both the familiar and the unfamiliar, as the song sonically nods (a little bit) at Amy Winehouse, Lorde, Taylor Swift and a lengthy list of major pop star contemporaries; however, the song has a visceral ache, as it based on her own personal experiences, recognizing that her life was frequently thrown in disarray, she’s never been able to claim one place as a home.

Already “No Roots” has won the up-and-coming Merton an immense amount of attention both across the European Union and the States and elsewhere, as the song has already seen millions of streams on Spotify and YouTube, and has recently been added to the playlists of several Stateside Adult Alternative Album radio stations, including stations in Los Angeles, Austin, Dallas, San Francisco, Minneapolis, the NYC area, as well as Sirius Alt Nation. And as a result of the action the single has seen, merton recently signed with Mom + Pop Music; but along with that, I suspect that over the next few months that we’ll be hearing this single quite a bit, and more from Merton, who seems destined to be a pop star.

 

 

Merton has a series of live dates across Germany throughout the end of August and the fall, and is planning stops across North America and elsewhere so be on the lookout; in the meantime, European friends, check out the live dates below.
TOUR DATES:

 

08/25 Gamescon – Cologne, Germany

08/26 Laternenfest – Halle, Germany

09/9 Rennbahn Berlin Hoppegarten – Berlin, Germany

09/10 Lollapalooza Berlin – Berlin, Germany

09/14 SWR3 New Pop Festival – Baden Baden, Germany

09/15 NDR 2 Soundcheck Festival – Göttingen, Germany

9/20-23 Reeperbahn Festival – Hamburg, Germany

11/17 New Fall Festival – Düsseldorf, Germany

 

 

New Video: Introducing the Breezy and Funky, Synth Pop of Austin’s Palo Duro

Michael J. Winningham is an Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who may be best known for a stint fronting indie rock act Gold Beach; however, his solo recording project Palo Duro is a radical sonic departure from his previous work with Winningham specializing in breezy, propulsive, funky, hook-laden synth pop reminiscent of Big Data and others, as you’ll hear on “Darken the Glow,” the latest single off his forthcoming album Ryou Cannon. But what sets Winningham apart from a crowded field of competitors is an deliberate and careful attention to craft paired with the swaggering self-assuredness of an old pro, who can make it look way too easy. 

Edited by Cameron J. Smith, the recently released video for “Darken the Glow,” is a wild melange of Japanese television ads in which the album cover is quickly superimposed, and the result is an aesthetic that possesses the surreal logic of a fever dream while being a wildly mischievous take on commercialism and music as a prepackaged product to be marketed, bought and sold. 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, you’ve likely come across a post featuring the Austin, TX-based punk quartet PLAX. And as you may recall, the band, which is currently comprised of Michael Goodwin, a member of the OBN IIIs and eeetsFEATS; Chris “Anton” Stevenson, a member of Spray PaintDikes of Holland and When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth; Marley Jones, a member of the OBN IIIs and Sweet Talk; and newest recruit Victor Ziolkowski, a member of Skeleton and Nosferatu can trace their origins to when Goodwin approached his longtime friend Stevenston and current OBN IIIs bandmate Jones about the possibility of forming an unconventional, outsider punk band, inspired by  Wire and Dawn of Humans. The band’s founding trio quickly went to work writing songs for a demo — they eventually wrote 9 — but they felt were still in need of a vocalist to complete the project. At the time Marley was collaborating with David and Victor Ziolkowksi, the founding members and frontman of Skeleton, a constantly evolving project featuring the Ziolkowski Brothers and a rotating cast of collaborators and friends. Stevenson and Marley then recruited Victor Ziolkowski, who then finalized the project’s lineup.

 

Last July, the quartet played their first live show with  New Orleans punk act Patsy and they quickly followed that by playing with a number of national touring Texas-based bands including Crooked BangsInstitute and Army and others — and building upon the buzz they were receiving, the band went on a January 2017 attention grabbing tour throughout Texas. And although Stevenson has recently relocated to Melbourne, Australia, the band has continued writing, eventually finishing their full-length debut Clean Feeling, which is slated for an August 11, 2017 release through Super Secret Records.

Wit the album’s first single “Boring Story,” the band revealed that they specialize in a scuzzy and sneering, garage punk that would be be perfectly at home on Goner Records or on Castle Face Records, complete with slashing power chords and punchily delivered vocals — and unsurprisingly, the album’s second single “Night Watch” continued along a similar vein, while nodding at the nightmarishly tense, piss vinegar, and PCP-fueled fury sound reminiscent of Ex-Cult’s Cigarette Machine and Negative Growth.  “What A Waste,” Clean Feeling‘s third and latest single “What A Waste” is a bruising punk track that evokes the bitter frustration of those who lives have stalled — often beyond their control; and sonically, the single much like its immediate predecessor will continue to cement the band’s burgeoning reputation for crafting scuzzy and forceful garage punk.

Earlier this month, I wrote about the Austin, TX-based punk quartet PLAX, and as you may recall, the band comprised of founding members Michael Goodwin, a member of the OBN IIIs and eeetsFEATS; Chris “Anton” Stevenson, a member of Spray PaintDikes of Holland and When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth; Marley Jones, a member of the OBN IIIs and Sweet Talk; and newest recruit Victor Ziolkowski, a member of Skeleton and Nosferatu can trace their origins to when Goodwin approached his longtime friend Stevenston and current OBN IIIs bandmate Jones about the possibility of forming an unconventional, outsider punk band, inspired by  Wire and Dawn of Humans. The band’s founding trio quickly went to work writing songs for a demo — they eventually wrote 9 — but they felt were still in need of a vocalist to complete the project. At the time Marley was collaborating with David and Victor Ziolkowksi, the founding members and frontman of Skeleton, a constantly evolving project featuring the Ziolkowski Brothers and a rotating cast of collaborators and friends. Stevenson and Marley then recruited Victor Ziolkowski, who then finalized the project’s lineup.

Last July, the quartet played their first live show with  New Orleans punk act Patsy and they quickly followed that by playing with a number of national touring Texas-based bands including Crooked BangsInstitute and Army and others — and building upon the buzz they were receiving, the band went on a January 2017 tour throughout Texas. And although Stevenson has recently relocated to Melbourne, Australia, the band has continued writing, eventually finishing their full-length debut Clean Feeling, which is slated for an August 11, 2017 release through Super Secret Records. And from the album’s first single “Boring Story,” the band seems to specialize in the sort of scuzzy, sneering, garage punk that would be be perfectly at home on Goner Records or on Castle Face Records, complete with slashing power chords and punchily delivered vocals.

The album’s second and latest single “Night Watch” will further cement the quartet’s burgeoning reputation for crafting scuzzy and sneering, garage punk; however, the song possesses a nightmarish, tense, piss, vinegar, whiskey and PCP-fueled fury reminiscent of Ex-Cult’s Cigarette Machine and Negative Growth.  And much like its predecessor, it’s a cathartic, mosh pit worthy, barn-burner.

 

 

 

 

Currently comprised of founding members Michael Goodwin, a member of the OBN IIIs and eeetsFEATS; Chris “Anton” Stevenson, a member of Spray Paint, Dikes of Holland and When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth; Marley Jones, a member of the OBN IIIs and Sweet Talk; and Victor Ziolkowski, a member of Skeleton and Nosferatu, the Austin, TX-based punk quartet PLAX can trace its origins to last year, when founding member Goodwin approached his longtime friend Stevenson and current OBN IIIs bandmate Jones about the possibility of forming an outsider punk band that would defy all conventional expectations while being inspired by the likes of Wire and Dawn of Humans. The band’s founding trio quickly went to work writing songs for a demo — they eventually wrote 9 — but they felt were still in need of a vocalist to complete the project. At the time Marley was collaborating with David and Victor Ziolkowksi, the founding members and frontman of Skeleton, a constantly evolving project featuring the Ziolkowski Brothers and a rotating cast of collaborators and friends. And as the story goes, Stevenson and Marley approached Victor Ziolkowski to contribute his vocals, and when he agreed, the project’s lineup was finalized.

By the end of last July, the newly formed quartet had played their first show with New Orleans punk act Patsy and they quickly followed that by playing with a number of national touring Texas-based bands including Crooked Bangs, Institute and Army and others — and building upon the buzz they were receiving, the band went on a January 2017 tour throughout Texas. And although Stevenson has recently relocated to Melbourne, Australia, the band has continued writing and recording; in fact, as you’ll hear on “Boring Story” the first single off the quartet’s forthcoming full-length debut Clean Feeling, the band specializes in the sort of scuzzy, garage punk that would be at home on Goner Records or on Castle Face Records, complete with slashing power chords and punchily delivered vocals. Arguably, “Boring Story” is one of the most mosh pit worthy songs I’ve listened to in several months — and it reminds me of the sort of music I’d hear in countless dive bars and dank DIY spaces.

New Video: The Gorgeous and Highly Symbolic Visuals for Rogue and Jaye’s “Golden Lady”

Comprised of the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Courtney Jaye, who has spent stints in Nashville, Atlanta, Austin and elsewhere; and Bay Area-based singer/songwriter Zach Rogue, the frontman of indie rock act Rogue Wave, the country music duo of Rogue and Jaye can trace their origins back to a December 2013 songwriting session, in which the duo quickly recognized they had an instant and easy-going simpatico — perhaps based in their backgrounds as songwriters influenced by country, whose material frequently possessed a wistful, late night, drinking in the honky tonk vibe and the results the critically applauded debut single together “Til It Fades.” As Zach Rogue explains in press notes “We have this thing, and I don’t really know know why, it’s just a comfort level. We have this easy spirit with each other, where I like hearing here sing and I feel very comfortable proposing ideas.”

The duo’s debut effort together, Pent Up features a backing band consisting of Bands of Horses’Bill Reynolds (bass), Floating Action’s Seth Kauffman (guitar) and Grace Potter and The Nocturnals’ and Natalie Prass’ Michael Libramento (drums) and was recorded and engineered by Logan Matheny at Bill Reynolds’ Nashville-based Fleetwood Shack Studio and mixed and mastered by Mikael “Count” Eldridge in San Francisco. Officially released earlier this month, the album has been released to critically praise from a number of major media outlets including The Associated Press, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, American Songwriter and others, with Rolling Stone Country recently naming the duo one of their “10 New Artists You Need to Know,” and when you hear the album’s latest single “Golden Lady,” you’ll see why as the duo pair an easy-going, 70s AM rock and late night honky tonk twang with Jaye’s gorgeous yet wistful vocals. And while clearly drawing at Americana, 70s Renegade Country, indie rock and pop without being too tethered to them, the song also finds the duo subtly nodding at psychedelia with some pedal effected guitar.

In fact, much like the sources the duo draw from sonically and thematically, “Golden Lady” reveals the duo’s cool self-assuredness as the single is a recording featuring a bunch of old pros, who’ve made it seem way too easy — but at the same time, there’s an understated emotional honesty; the sort that comes from living a full and messy life of mistakes, foibles, joy, heartache, loneliness, being lost and found and lost again, and profoundly life altering experiences and experiencing them as completely and fully as possible — and with an effortless gracefulness.

As the duo’s Courtney Jaye explains, their latest single details an all-too common frustration with the universe and one’s seeming inability to cope with a personally damaging situation and learning how to be patient, how to be alone and how to love yourself before loving another and learning how to trust yourself and letting things go at the time and pace they’re supposed to. And in fact, the recently released video  Ben Bennett and shot and edited by Stefan Colson is shot in hazy, golden light and throughout Jaye is shot hemmed in and trapped in a person-sized tube and cocooned in fabric. And while Jaye is struggling to break free, there’s a sense that some of this is self-inflicted. In fact, as Jaye explains in press notes, “this video symbolizes being trapped by your own fear, self-doubt and lack of trust in universal timing. 

Fronted and founded by its Chicago, IL-born, Austin, TX-based primary songwriter Nathan Dixey, and currently featuring members of RF Shannon‘s backing band, The Dan Ryan’s sophomore album Guidance finds Dixey refining and softening the sound that the project developed on its debut album, reportedly leaning much more towards a trippy and hypnotic psychedelia as you’ll hear on the album’s latest single, album title track “Guidance,” as shimmering guitar chords, a persistent, heartbeat-like drum patter and in the background tribal-like harmonized chants which makes the song nod at both The Grateful Dead, a major influence on Dixey and company and Graceland-era Paul Simon; but with a slow-burning, easygoing, yet expansive feel that belies a careful and deliberation attention to craft.

As Dixey explains in press notes, “Unlike the first LP, I wanted to focus on writing more complete songs instead of grooves. Some of the grooves are still present, but having more of a narrative within the structure was important for me. Like the first record, accepting change is at the core of Guidance, whether that change be within society, oneself, or witnessing a transformation in a loved one or a relationship. I was listening to a lot of Damien Jurado/Richard Swift records while writing and recording this one, so it was especially wonderful to have Swift, a master of sonic texture (and song-craft in general), to add his touch on the songs.”

 

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past three years or so, you’d certainly come across a handful of posts featuring the  Austin TX/Houston, TX-based electro pop act  Night Drive. Comprised of songwriting and production duo Rodney Connell and Bradley Duhon, the Texan electro pop act can trace their origins to some rather unusual, highly soap-opera-like yet very true circumstances: Connell and Duhon had met and bonded after they had discovered the the woman they had both unwittingly had been simultaneously dating tragically died in a car accident. Regardless of the circumstances behind their formation, the duo  has received attention both on this site and elsewhere for a moody, slickly produced New Wave and synth pop sound that draws from Joy DivisionCut CopyBrian EnoThe KnifeThe DrumsLCD SoundsystemDepeche Mode and others. However, the duo’s last single “Rise and Fall” managed to sound as though it were inspired by  A Flock of Seagulls “I Ran (So Far Away)” and Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” — and interestingly enough, the song thematically focused on the slow dissolution of a relationship that according to the song’s narrator seemed to be nearing its inevitable conclusion; but with the recognition that walking away from a relationship is difficult, even when it’s absolutely necessary. And in some way, you can sense the narrator’s unexpressed and deep seated fears about his life, post-relationship.

Last month, the renowned Los Angeles-based production and DJ duo Classixx remixed “Rise and Fall,” turning the moody, synth-based torch song into a breezy, funky, summery, club banger along the lines of Tuxedo, Dam-Funk, 7 Days of Funk and others, as the duo pairs the original vocal track with twinkling electric piano, a sinuous bass line and thumping beats — and as a result, the heartbreak at the core of the song is reduced to the dull throb of having time pass by. As Connell and Duhon explained to the folks at Billboard “Classixx reinterprets the song through the lens of that same person reminiscing about the incident many years later while chilling on a beach and sipping a martini. Sure it was sad and heartbreaking, but it’s hard to stay sad while in the Cayman Islands.”

As Classixx’s Michael David and Tyler Blake explained to Billboard, their remix of Night Drive’s “Rise and Fall” involved them pulling out electric piano and bass and recording one long take jamming over the vocal track. “We were feeling the groove and liked some of the imperfections, so we left them in. Our initial pass was more abstract, but the band [Night Drive] helped us bring it back a little closer to the original material. It was a pretty collaborative effort through email. I like how it still sounds a little rough around the edges though. Sometimes that’s where the charm lies,” the duo’s Tyler Blake added in an emailed statement to Billboard.

The duo’s self-titled debut is slated for a June 16, 2017 release through Roll Call Records and the album’s latest single “Trapeze Artist Regrets,” and the album’s latest single “Trapeze Artist Regrets” will likely remind listeners of Depeche Mode’s “People Are People,” Yaz’s “Situation,” The Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” and others as the song features an effortlessly slick production consisting of layers upon layers of propulsive, undulating synths and tweeter and woofer rocking beats paired with an infectious, dance floor-friendly hook and emotionally direct lyrics. However, interestingly enough, as the duo admits “‘Trapeze Artist Regrets’ was never supposed to happen. We were writing something else for a short film and became bored, so we changed the bpm, started shifting things around and all of the sudden we had this groove we liked.  We just started working backwards from there. The title came first, a sorta metaphor for disaster; it’s about watching someone you care about make the same mistake over and over again and not being able to do anything about it. Just hoping they pull through.” And as a result, the song possesses a bitter sense of reality, along with the recognition that the narrator’s friend will do something incredibly harmful to themselves and others.