When the handle “Genuine Leather” first catches your eye, a number of potentials present themselves; like Genuine Leather could easily be the name of a Kiss-era glam metal outfit, a bunch of Ramones-esque punks, a Berghain-inspired Western European dance DJ, or even just a dusty posse of country cowboys. Well, consider those expectations subverted, ’cause Genuine Leather is actually the alias of Austin-based lo-fi synth-pop multi-instrumentalist producer Chris Galis.
Born to a Fort Worth community where commercial rock radio was king, Galis only got into more adventurous acts like The Beatles and Radiohead when he started studying jazz bass and classical music in college. By the time he founded Genuine Leather after graduation in 2011, Galis’ instrumental expertise had broadened out to synth and guitar, and his pop music vocabulary had expanded from Wilco and Prince all the way to Talking Heads and Tears for Fears. Gen Leath’s ability to contextualize those Gen X jukebox hits within a modern lens has allowed Galis to tan adjacent hides (be they indie rock, post-punk, or folk) into well-fitted, genre-defying garments across three EPs and three full-lengths.
Well, hot off being signed to a London label and having already shared two singles in 2023, Genuine Leather is gearing up for the release of their fourth EP, Genuine Pleasure, out later this Fall. As heard on February’s “Promises” and April’s “Even If I Could”, Genuine Pleasure gels effects-filled synth pop together with ’70s yacht rock guitar and some f***ing killer contemporary flavors. Today Genuine Leather lends us the third of Genuine Pleasure‘s six songs, “Tear It Down”, a Tame-Impala-meets-Toro-Y-Moi wrecking ball of psych-pop. Bookended by long-swelling, heavily-modulated synth chords, “Tear It Down” creates a must-hear atmospheric foundation before pulling the rug out and letting loose with some of the slickest pop-rock we’ve heard come out of Austin in a minute.
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