austin

Lower Dens Inspires at Barracuda

 The chilled 80s synth rock of Lower Dens and front person Jana Hunter creates a unique sort of rock enigma on stage, as evidenced by the gentle “Will you please have my babies” cried out by an audience member during their show at the Barracuda this past Friday. 

The opening bands perfectly fit the dynamics at play within Lower Den’s aesthetic. Local jangle pop band, Slideshow, maintained a good energy and experimental sitar player and vocalist Ami Dang was transcendent. Both acts worked well with the crowd’s growing anticipation and made the venue their own. 

 When Lower Dens took the stage, they did not disappoint. As great as all of the band’s records are, the songs take on an entirely different form when played live. They become more vibrant, and the energy is amped up about a thousand times. The synth packs a deeper punch underneath the drums and bass when played live. Hunter also has a strong stage presence; he held all the attention in the room without demanding it or taking up too much space. New and old songs were played with the same amount of passion. “Drive” and “Ondine” were both played beautifully and received well. 

The romantic dystopia that Lower Dens creates in their music is wonderfully replicated on stage, as well. Most of Hunter’s music deals with isolation in confrontation with desire and identity, and in doing so he creates a space for his audience to seek comfort they wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere. It was easy to find that comfort on stage, with warmth emanating from each member as they performed. The live performance cuts right through the bones of the loneliness the music speaks of. If this wasn’t obvious alone from their performance, the looks of comfort and quiet rapture on the faces of more committed audience members certainly provides enough evidence for it. 

 

The quieter moments had a very 'last call at the bar' vibe. The band held intimate moments within each beat that gave people space to interpret the song however they wanted. “Suckers Shangi-la” was a perfect moment of catharsis. It was the soft, lonely fantasy world everyone needs to escape to once in awhile.

 

- Avril Carillo


 

   

Silversun Pickups Shine at Stubbs

 A quiet Wednesday night became bustling with hundreds of people at Stubbs. People were willing to bear the cold on this once-in- a-lifetime chance to see a show that could never be forgotten. With about a 20 year build up and opening for many bands such as MetallicaSilversun Pickups left the audience in a buzz with their latest leg of their tour thru Austin. Anticipation was filling the air and everyone knew that what was about to be experienced would be worth the bitter chill of the windy February night. 

Silversun Pickups have seemed to remain under the alternative rock main stream radar since their hits in the mid 2000's, most notably Lazy Eye from the debut LP in 2006 Carnavas, and their second being Panic Room from the second full length LP Swoon in 2009. But don't let that take away from the endless talent possessed by Brian Aubert and Nikki Monninger, with Brian on guitar and vocals and Nikki on bass as well as vocals. They compose such entrancing landscapes of harmonies and progressions that just take you away from the world you exist in and let you wander off into a world they created with much time and work. All of their albums up to their latest release Widow's Weeds in 2019, have had 3-4 years of separation  in between. As writers and musicians they've discovered a perfect formula of touring, recording, and releasing to keep fans coming back for more, but also being strong and staying loyal to always progressing as a band. Still as tight as ever, they're unique structure of sound is still as fresh as the day they started playing small clubs. 
 
Stubb's was radiating energy all over. Each song was so individually strong and hit your heart so hard. It felt as if everyone was just melding together in this shared experience. Silversun Pickups had created a place where everyone seemed to just loose themselves into what was in front of them. Simple lights and giant LED strips was all they needed to help novelize what was satisfyingly piercing into our brains. It doesn't seem like in 20 years they have even missed a beat. Blending all the greatness of Shoe-gaze, Alt Rock, and Post Punk they're able to create a large fan base that stays true to them because of the unique and effect behind their music and lyrics. If there's ever the opportunity to catch them, which surely there will be with their track record, make sure you do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a night that will change your life. 
 
- Dylan Welch
   

Holy Wave shines at Mosaic Sound Collective’s Pop-up Party

 


As the crowd began to fill Mohawk indoors for Texas psych-rock staple Holy Wave, Mosaic Sound Collective founder Dan Redman took the stage. He spoke on the mission of the organization, the growth they’ve seen, and plans for the future. In almost opposite energy, attention was directed to a live mural painting by Kengo Hioki, aka “Yellow” from comic punk act Peelander-Z. Hioki, who performed music later in the night, screamed “I don’t know how to paint!” and began to attack a huge yellow tarp with giant pink brush strokes and blue splatter. The mural quickly became fully realized, colors dripping down and seeping into one another, and as “Yellow” yelled his adieu and focus was shifted back to the stage.

 

Holy Wave took their places behind their instruments and began their first tune. The 5-piece seemed to breathe the same breath, interlocked drums and bass grounded sprawling synths and woven guitars creating a thick aura of tactile motion. Many of the song’s arrangements seamlessly grew from their initial grooves into denser, more intricate resolutions. Each of the band’s singing voices were so distinct, fresh vocals and lush harmonies ebbed and flowed from track to track. A multitude of sounds criss-crossed through the audience’s ears as effects pedals and samplers were utilized to distance the group from more tiresome rock groups. Evoking Pink Floyd and Spaceman 3, these compositional choices make the band truly psychedelic. 

 

Towards the end of the set, center stage guitarist/keyboardist/singer Ryan Fuson told the crowd the set had been entirely new songs. With their last album Adult Fear being released early 2018, a new record seems just on the horizon.


 

   

Indie Rock

Time: 
21:00
Band name: 
DinnerwMattGilchrest
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
https://www.facebook.com/dinnerwithmattgilchrest/?eid=ARAqX6lEvBKk74cf360y0CbRTIPyTRbqPlKY-aHESEkuQxuelMpMg2zGf4T4ajFAG2Q8RYRpXD
Venue name: 
Hole in the Wall
   

Y La Bamba Ignites at the Scoot Inn

 


An eclectic bill featuring Y La Bamba and Durand Jones and the Indications sold out and packed in a crowd of lovers at Scoot Inn on Friday night.

 

Luz Elena Mendoza gracefully leads the indie-encompassing folk group, Y La Bamba. Established in 2008, the band released their latest album, Entre Los Dos, in fall 2019. Menodza dances like a black flame on stage - with each cha cha step she moves with magic and belongs to herself, an embodiment of her music and experience. The musicians surrounding her are just as beautiful, all alive in their eyes. The sound is mystical, and performed with a tacit invitation to engage in the spiritual healing of their music.

 

The indie rock and latin infused sounds of the album are a fertile landscape for Mendoza’s songwriting. The lyrics unwind the way good poetry transcends. There may be added mystery to the bilingual lyricism, especially if the listener doesn’t know Spanish. From the album’s namesake song, “Entre Los Dos,” Mendzoa longs, “y yo me saltaré de mi ventana/y la muerte ahí me espera con otra vida” [“and I will throw myself out my window/and death waits for me there with another life”].  Although the poetic lyrics are somber, the sound is zestful, delivering a juicy juxtaposition of emotions.

 

Paloma Negra,” [“Black Dove”] from the Mujeres single from 2018, had the everyone aye-aye-ing and ooh-oohing. Another song that embodies Mendoza’s divine feminine energy balanced with dark motifs and jovial affirmations: “Voy lentamente pero bien segura” [“I go slowly but very sure”]. Would you like a taste? Y La Bamba’s Tiny Desk Concert features “Paloma Negra” as the first song. Or, just see them when they come back through Austin, destined to play a headlining bill of their own on a larger stage with another enthralled crowd.

 

-Melissa Green