Way before Elon Musk or Joe Rogan moved here, I remember seeing a ton of bumper stickers and T-shirts with slogans like these: “Don’t L.A. my A.T.X.”, “Don’t Dallas My Austin”, and yes, even “Don’t Put Your Big ‘D’ in My Little ‘A'”. Now, I can’t recall the last time I saw one of those in person, and as a native Austinite, I’m cool with that! Because y’all, we simply wouldn’t have the melting pot that is The Live Music Capital without new locals sharing their art.
And although the thought of another in-law just days after Thanksgiving might make your heart skip a beat, I can assure you that there’ll always be a seat at Austin’s table for Ben Murray and his solo affair Friend In Law. See, Murray’s move down here nearly eight years ago was a critical first step in rekindling his teenage love of penning and performing guitar-driven tunes. Once COVID hit, Murray doubled down on his once-juvenile dreams of becoming a self-produced musician, an auteur in the vein of Kevin Parker or Mac DeMarco.
Rooted in Murray’s ongoing DAW immersion, Friend In Law’s sonics follow a family tree of ’60s/’70s classics with contemporary limbs like pop punk knotted along the way. As of now, Friend In Law’s studio output is still fledgling. But when you hear how calculated each tone, note, and inflection is, you sure as heck won’t want to rush Murray’s progressing greatness. These things take time! And as heard on Friend In Law’s latest single, time can define people and places. As such, “Hold Out” is a triumph of triplet rhythms, a sanguine psych-shoegaze soundscape, and above all, an arresting piece of nostalgia.