austin

Exhalants Pack A Punk-laden Punch with Release of "Bang"

 

  

Austin’s hardcore music scene is quickly evolving and picking up momentum. The best evidence of that is the punchy and powerful partial debut of Exhalants new album, Atonement. The album is stocked with hard-hitting tracks such as “Bang,” which sends tremors of rage and exultation down listener's spines. Exhalants comprise of a trio of compact heavy guitar riffs, crashing drums and intense vocals that rip through each song, creating a multi-front assault on the senses.

 

Diving into “Bang,” we instantly feel the distorted bassy guitar riffs which resonate power and raw energy, and seemingly imitate the heavy metal version of a Beach Boys phrase. All of a sudden, screamingly loud vocals come into play, and punchy drums follow, which rip through the little bits of background silence left behind from the awesomely intense guitar ostinato. Virtuosos of mastering intensity, Exhalants’ Steve, Tommy, and Bill absolutely shred through the song and leave no doubts left behind about their skill. 

 

    As the song wraps to a close, the crash and deep instrumentals that Steve, Tommy, and Bill create continue to persevere and they even add entirely new vocals and slides into the picture. With twenty seconds left, the drums begin to fall out of the picture, leaving behind a guitar and vocal duo that could make you shout and yell with excitement. Together the duo work together to leave no note left untouched and to fill each and every moment with the punchyness that the Exhalants are renowned for. 

 

On September 11th of 2020, Exhalants’ LP Atonement will be released, and if “Crucifix,” “Blackened” and the rest of Atonement is equally loud, this premier is sure to meet Exhalants mission of being “loud as fuck.” Likewise, with Steve on throat and guitar, Tom on drums and Bill on bass, we are absolutely sure to see one of the craziest, punchiest and most extreme albums that they have ever dropped. Mark your calendars for the 11th Austin, you don’t want to miss this one.

 

-Eric Haney

 


 

   

Mobley's New Single "Nobody's Favourite" Gets Rework by Foster The People

 

Fresh off announcing his multimedia collaboration, A Home Unfamiliar, which also doubles as a COVID-19 relief project, Austin artist Mobley is back with a Foster The People-led rework of his single, “Nobody’s Favourite.” 

 

Originally released as a single in February 2020, the “Nobody’s Favourite” rework is the anchoring single to Mobley’s new EP, Young & Dying in the Occident Supreme. Thought initially as a self-described “dancepunk number,” the Foster The People rework pulls away from the “punk” portion and pushes full-steam ahead towards the “dance” side of the original concept. 

 

Unintentionally or not, the original version of “Nobody’s Favourite” leans awfully heavily on a couple of teeter-totter guitar riffs quite similar to that of Tame Impala’s “The Less I Know The Better” and “Do I Wanna Know?” from The Arctic Monkeys. With the Foster rework, thought the riffs are still present, the track is reimagined in the shape of a punchy, hypnotic synth-pop dance track not out of place among the catalogs of the DFA label releases and Theophilus London.

 

As quickly as anything becomes relevant in 2020, it is buried beneath an unending pile of other; a song from February may as well be from another lifetime. For Mobley, the rework feels like a reminder, perhaps even a pang, of all the late, summery dance nights currently shelved (or relegated to Zoom) until further notice. 

 

-Benjamin Wiese

 

 

Photo credit: Andrew Bennett

 

 

   

The Blowies Release Pandemic-Inspired Single "CDC"

 

The CDC called...and boy, do they have an update for you.

Like many Austin-area musicians, The Blowies were sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic. Simultaneously cut out of a just-canceled South by Southwest festival andreeling from an indefinite delay for the release of an album that’s already finished, the political punk duo parted ways and headed for isolation - but not before hitting up Rock n Roll Rentals to secure enough gear to convert their respective shelters into studio spaces. From there, Sam Thompson and Tucker Jameson set out to see what would become of collaborating from afar.

When another local act began gathering the necessary ingredients for a compilation record that would spotlight Austin artists affected by the SXSW cancelation, to be titled LOST X LOST WEST,ThompsonandJamesonrespondedtothecall.TheBlowiesself-producedsomenew music in isolation with the help of their rented equipment and a ProTools free trial, and “CDC” was born - an irreverent and sassy track with just the right dash of practicality for a mask-or-be-masked world.

The Blowies have a sound one part Ramones, one part Sex Pistols, one part Joan Jett (they recently released a pitch-perfect cover of The Runaways’ “Cherry Bomb”). The energy in their music is partly manic but never unsettling - the two aim to be political when they write and to attack topics with a tepid sense of neutrality, and maybe a tinge of anarchy. The Center for Disease Control was a perfect catalyst for their energy: wildly politicized by leaders and the media alike.

To hear Jameson put it, “We...set out at the beginning of this project to have a voice that spoke to current events...We have an angle on it. And usually, it’s not your typical angle; it’s not taking...any particular side in the argument but it’s pointing out the absurdity of it all in a palatable way, in a fun way.” “CDC” takes these tropes and props them up with added humor that sears the song into memory by playing on our collective pandemic hysteria (“The CDC’s got an update for me / Cozy on up to Mr. Clean”).

Satirical analysis of current events is critical to this writing duo, so much so that they are fighting to release their delayed album “sometime before the election” so as to capitalize on cresting momentum. For a band christened by an American flag-clad blow-up doll, the high stakes could matter less, though. It’s more about the absurdity of it all.

-Mike Floeck

   

Briscoe Releases New Psych-Folk Single "Sailing Away"

 

They profess inspiration from both modern Americana and Van Morrison, and Briscoe hit the bullseye on their new single, “Sailing Away”. The inspirational muses are wisely chosen, too; much of Van Morrison’s early works morphed from singer/songwriter odes drenched in the warm notes of Irish folk music to psychedelic works more in line with what the Wilson brothers were cooking up - and modern Americana, as broad a genre as it may be, has a whole branch that swings down into Texas Country Rock; the two musical stylings mesh swimmingly because the writing pushes the listener to really feel what the singer is feeling, and in turn focus less on what is being said.

“Sailing Away” beams in like an easy Galveston breeze over some finely-plucked guitar strings. The first chorus lays down the groundwork for a nicely built-up second chorus that beefs up the instrumental, while the narrator’s tone is bright and saccharine. “She told me she was leavin’,” he sings with an aching drone, a wail that tugs at your shirt from behind you as you walk away.

Whether or not he just goes back to sit on that sandy and sunny European beach, our narrator surely is going to lose the girl he wants. She’s leaving, and he’s out on the ocean of his own mind, sailing away. But is shesailing away, too? Is hereally leaving her?The back-and-forth of perspective, especially when it shifts so quickly, is engaging; it lends an endearing quality to the narrator’s story, even if he is too sun-dazed to notice he’s told the same story three times.

Briscoe is the project of Austin-based musicians Philip Lupton and Truett Heintzelman. Lupton wrote “Sailing Away” and first released performance videos on his personal YouTube channel in 2017, before partnering with Heintzelman. “Sailing Away” ups the production quality from their recent releases and points them in a clearer direction going forward for more Americana surprises.

-Mike Floeck

   

The Band of Heathens Release Rousing New Single "Black Cat"

 

Quarantine failed to shoot a dose of productivity into our collective societal vein, but there are some among us who are managing to come out on the other side of the shutdown with something to show for the time spent. This month, The Band of Heathens uncage “Black Cat”, the stirring lead single previewing their seventh studio album, titled Stranger, due to be released this September.

The Heathens know a thing or two about serendipity; the three founding members shared billing at Momo’s as individual singer/songwriters and, according to bandmember Ed Jurdi, “organically” began playing together as The Good Time Supper Club. The band formed in earnest after a misprint in a local paper (and some clever guerilla marketing on behalf of ardent local fans) dubbed the group The Heathens, and the name stuck.

On “Black Cat”, The Heathens tackle serendipity of a more genealogical kind. As bandmember Gordy Quist tells it, “‘Black Cat’ is based on the true-ish legend of Augustinal Fonseca, the great-grandfather of an anonymous concertgoer.” The legend goes that Fonseca came through Ellis Island and discovered an “underground fighting ring in New York City around the turn of the last century” - and that he killed a panther in the ring after rising in the ranks. The Heathens are particularly adept at telling stories, true or otherwise, about strangers; considering the title of their forthcoming record, a special attribute of “Black Cat” is its nature as historical fiction in the very words of a stranger.

“Our friends at Song Confessional sent us the story from a ‘confession’ at the Newport Folk Festival,” Quist tells American Songwriter. The confessor claims to be Fonseca’s grandchild and that Fonseca lived to be 99 years old - and all the details unspool in the song, lovingly embellished by Quist’s pen. To helm production for the epic tale, The Heathens enlisted Portland native Tucker Martine, a former collaborator of The Decemberists and Modest Mouse.

“Black Cat” is fittingly slinky, with Quist’s mangled tenor navigating the sweeping drums in commanding sequences, framed by Jurdi’s falsetto issuing a stark reminder to the listener: “Know where you come from.” When focusing on where someone elsecame from, there is room to step back and breathe. Quist explains that the band is a “microcosm” next to their fans and that Strangeris a vehicle to demonstrate strangerhood within the music industry. If “Black Cat” is a harbinger for more lucid narrative-building from The Heathens, then we all might as well make ourselves comfortable.

-Mike Floeck