The best that Studio 1A had to offer in March 2017!
We’ve been enamored with Growl ever since they joined us for the 2014 MapJam. Three years later and the raucous garage-pop foursome is ready to release their first full-length album, Won’t You, on April 7th. Thankfully, the new record doesn’t wander far from the Teenage Fanclub, Pavement, Weezer-esque power-pop that defined their early EPs. Like those earlier outings, Growl’s new music displays a seemingly natural instinct for searing guitar hooks and infectious choruses that get you singing along after the first listen. For four dudes just out of college, this commitment to making extremely polished pop music may come as a bit of a surprise, but founding members Santiago Dietche (guitar/vocals) and Kent Hale (drummer) have been serious about playing music together long before the University of Texas introduced them to their Growl bandmates, Jonny and Sam Houdek. Unlike many young groups that struggle to find a cohesive sound, Growl’s North Star has always been late 90s power pop.
The Drive-By Truckers have never shied away from controversy in their songs, but their newest record, American Band, takes the political commentary to the next level. Songs like “Surrender Under Protest” tackle the recent church shooting in South Carolina and subsequent removal of the Confederate flag from their state capitol with all the wry lyricism and churning guitars that the Truckers are known for. That unapologetically confrontational attitude turns seemingly silly songs like “KKK Took My Baby Away” into a searing commentary on institutionalized hatred and twisted Southern pride. Maybe it is the serious subject matter of this new work or just a well-polished band reaching new creative heights, but American Band might be Drive-By Trucker’s best record to date and certainly their most important.
There is probably no better way to test the long-term compatibility of band mates than sticking them on a small sailboat and sending them on a cruise of the Eastern Seaboard. Maybe that is why husband-and-wife duo Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley (a.k.a Tennis) were able to develop such beautifully crafted dream pop straight out of the gate with their first album, Cape Dory, in 2011. Now, a couple albums later and at least one other sailing expedition under their belt, Tennis is back with their newest full-length album, Yours Conditionally, out March 2017. While we’ve never sailed the Carribean, we can’t imagine a much better soundtrack for a slow cruise on a sunny day. Tennis popped into Studio 1A to play a few songs for our studio audience before their show at Mohawk. Take a listen to the session in the player below!
There is something immediately endearing about San Antonio’s Buttercup. Maybe it is the full throttle energy they bring to their live shows or maybe it is the whip-smart lyrics, often delivered with the hint of a smile that keeps fans coming back. Now in their 15th year, guitarist Erik Sanden, bassist Joe Reyes, and drummer Joe Gardner are set to release, Battle of Flowers, their first full-length album in over 8 years. Take a listen to some of their new songs, including an awesome tribute to famed San Antonio politician Henry B. Gonzalez, in the player at the bottom this post.
Spawned from the minds of two high school freshman in a suburb of a suburb of LA 10 years ago, “contemporary classic rock” outfit Foxygen is finally making waves. I call them “contemporary classic rock” because while they have this sort of Rolling Stones meets Jerry Goldsmith vibe, but it also has some of that sardonic wit that’s characteristic of the best indie rock music today. I mean, listening to this stuff is a real trip. They take all of the musical tropes from the golden age of Hollywood and replicate them perfectly; sweeping string parts and punchy horn riffs pervade the record, all recorded directly to tape for an added vintage warmth.
Austin’s Fastball exploded onto the national scene in the late 90s with the smash radio hits “Out of My Head” and “The Way”. Since then, vocalist/guitarist Miles Zuniga, keyboardist Tony Scalzo, and drummer Joey Shuffield have continued to play as Fastball as well as in a slew of other bands including the tongue in cheek lounge act The Small Stars. Now, 8 years since their last full-length, Little White Lies, the band is back on the road in support of their new LP, Step Into Light, out via 33 1/3 Records on Friday, May 19.
With chorused vocals awash in shimmering synths, the new album The Tourist from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah sounds like the most developed and mature model that indie rock has to offer. In todays day and age it’s relatively common to record, promote, press, and release an album without the help of a label. In 2005 when Alec Ounsworth released the first CYHSY album, that was unheard of. In the past 12 years online music has exploded, making a few music blog mentions mean less, but Clap Your Hands Say Yeah has endured, and for good reason. Alec has a gift that only more than a decade of experience can offer: the gift of brevity. Not a single song on his new album sounds too long, they’re all perfectly crafted to be interesting and inviting throughout the duration of the track.
It takes something special for a band to exist for 5 years. It takes something VERY special to be around for 15 years. Dengue Fever (the band, not the disease) is something very special. The band was formed in 2001 after Zac (vocals, guitar) and Ethan Holtzman (organ), took a trip to Cambodia and were blown away by the music there. Shortly after their return to LA they met Chhom Nimol, a well known Cambodian karaoke singer, and the rest is history. Dengue Fever’s 5th full-length albums combines their roots of psych rock and Cambodian pop music with African and Latin percussion, Khmer rap, and Motown Horns.
They say band names don’t matter, but once in a blue moon we hear a band whose name perfectly matches their sound and style and we love it. The Mavericks is one of those bands. These guys are wild; led by frontman Raul Malo and born out of the alternative/punk scene of Miami in the late 80’s, the Mavericks went on to combine all sorts of American styles into their music, everything from country twang to Cuban grooves. They took most of the 2000s off to pursue their own solo work, but since 2013 they’ve been on the road again. Their 3rd album in this incarnation, Brand New Day, came out last week. It’s the unique blend of Americana licks and Cuban grooves that they’re known for, but with a new sense of maturity.