Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

Bill Callahan

Knaresborough-raised troubadour Bill Callahan returns with “Gold Record”  – an album made whilst he was preparing to tour his previous album Shepherd In A Sheep’s Vest. A lot of the album is culled from tracks he’d written over the years for other artists to sing  – all recorded on the hoof in an intuitive and creative burst with some good friends helping flesh the sounds around that rich, warm baritone vocal.  Called Gold Record and it’s out September 4th via Drag City Records. The 10-song album features a new version of “Let’s Move to the Country,” from Smog’s 1999 album Knock Knock, and a track named after Ry Cooder.

It’s the Gold Record we always knew Bill Callahan had in him! Last summer, he returned from a silence of years – now, he’s raring to go with another new one already. The abiding humanity of latter-day Callahan is highlighted by dark plumes of caustic wit upending standards of our everyday life and the songs that celebrate it: the job, the wife, the TV, the neighbors. Bill slips easily into his characters, whether they’re easy people or not – and the cross-hatch of their light and shadow is unpredictably entertaining in the manner that belongs only one singer in this whole wide world: we’re still talking about Bill Callahan.
His first record in….uh, well, just over a year, Bill Callahan gives us a Gold Record. They might not all be gold, and fortunately, they’re not all six years apart either. You could probably ALSO call it “Gold Records”: the songs all have a stand-alone feel, the way singles do, for you to have a deep encounter with ’em all of a sudden, a whole relationship, from the start of the song to the finish. And what do you got when you have a record full of singles – and let’s face it, hit singles, at that?.

For Bill, preparing to tour for Shepherd In a Sheepskin Vest meant considering being away from home for long stretches of time – months, seasons, maybe as much as a year, who knew? Feeling his oats, Bill pulled out a few sketches from the notebooks and finished them up some. Before he knew it, he was recording them, and in the shuffle, new songs started popping up too.

It happened fast. Basics were recorded live, with Matt Kinsey playing guitars, guitars, guitars and Jaime Zurverza holding it down (then letting it go) on bass. Drums and horns were brought in for a couple songs. Spirits were high! Six out of the ten tunes were done first take; overdubs, when needed, came equally quickly. Listening, one hears the intuitive cohesion coming together richly, back of Bill’s titanic voice spread across the stereo spectrum: the gentle-yet-spirited conversation of Bill and Matt’s guitars, the subtle percussing of bass and drums and oddments of trumpet, woodwind and synth, striking notes decorous and discordant, sounding for all the world like the naturally occurring sound meant to accompany and express lives lived everywhere.

Releases September 4th, 2020 , Drag City Inc

Gold Record is the follow-up to last year’s Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest, which marked Callahan’s first album in six years. He recorded Gold Record with guitarist Matt Kinsey and bassist Jamie Zurverza.

Bill Callahan will share a new song every week leading up to the full album’s release. The tracks arrive on Mondays, starting on June 29th.

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we’re very excited to share an album of demos today. please consider supporting us or an artist you love on Bandcamp today as they have graciously forfeited their cut of sales.

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demos for Heavy Lifter written & recorded at home by Hovvdy.
mastered by Ben Littlejohn.
art by Ben Johnson (@johnsonstretch).
Band Members
Charlie Martin, Will Taylor
Released March 20th, 2020

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Born out of a union of club bands on the burgeoning Austin, Texas bohemian scene and a pronounced taste for hallucinogens, the 13th Floor Elevators were formed in late 1965 when lyricist Tommy Hall asked a local singer named Roky Erickson to join up with his new rock outfit along with guitarist Stacy Sutherland. Four years, three official albums and countless acid trips later, it was over: the Elevators‘ pioneering first run ended in a dizzying jumble of professional mismanagement, internal arguments, drug busts and forced psychiatric imprisonments. In their short existence, however, the group succeeded in blowing the lid off the budding musical underground, logging early salvos in the countercultural struggle against state authorities, and turning their deeply hallucinogenic take on jug-band garage rock into a new American institution called psychedelic music.

Before the hippies, before the punks, there were the 13th Floor Elevators: an unlikely crew of outcast weirdo geniuses who changed culture. Paul Drummond has spent years documenting every aspect of the history of this amazing band and amassing an unprecedented archive of primary materials, resulting in this comprehensive visual history. The book recounts the story not just of the Elevators as a band–wild and remarkable though it is–but that of the American counterculture itself: the hallucinogens, the rebellion and the truly profound music that resulted. The 13th Floor Elevators: A Visual History places the band finally and undeniably in the pantheon of innovators of American rock music to which they have always belonged. The band was together from 1965 to 1969, and during that period released four albums and seven singles for the International Artists record label who signed the Elevators to a record contract and released the album The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators in November 1966, which became popular among the burgeoning counterculture Tommy Hall’s sleeve-notes for the album, which advocated chemical agents (such as LSD) as a gateway to a higher, ‘non-Aristotelian’ state of consciousness, has also contributed to the album’s cult status.

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In November 1967, the band released a second album, “Easter Everywhere”. The album featured a cover of Bob Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”. However, shortly before work began on Easter Everywhere, Walton and Leatherman left the band and were replaced by Danny Thomas on drums and Dan Galindo on bass, because of disputes over mismanagement of the band’s career by International Artists and a fundamental disagreement between Walton and Hall over the latter’s advocacy of the use of LSD in the pursuit of achieving a higher state of human consciousness. As a result, they were not credited in the Easter Everywhere sleeve-notes, despite having appeared on “(I’ve Got) Levitation” and “She Lives (In a Time of Her Own)”. Despite the lengthy studio work and resources utilized, Easter Everywhere was not the success the band and International Artists had hoped for. Lacking a hit single and released too late in the year, it sold out its original run, but was never reprinted, suggesting somewhat disappointing sales. Record label paperwork indicate that the band’s debut album sold upwards of 40,000 copies during its original run, while Easter Everywhere may have sold around 10,000 copies. As documented in a lengthy interview and article in the Texas underground music magazine Mother No. 3, the band worked all Spring of 1968 on their new album, which at one point was to be called Beauty and the Beast. However, because of an unstable member line-up and the increasingly erratic behaviour of the psychedelicized Tommy Hall and mentally fragile Roky Erickson, little of value came out of these sessions. The live shows had lost their original energy, and often the band would perform without their lead singer Erickson, due to his recurring hospital treatments at the time. The last concert featuring the “real” Elevators occurred in April 1968.

A special aspect of the Elevators’ sound came from Tommy Hall’s innovative electric jug. The jug, a crock-jug with a microphone held up to it while it was being blown, sounded somewhat like a cross between a minimoog and cuica drum. In contrast to traditional musical jug technique, Hall did not blow into the jug to produce a tuba-like sound. Instead, he vocalized musical runs into the mouth of the jug, using the jug to create echo and distortion of his voice. When playing live, he held the microphone up to the mouth of the jug, but when recording the Easter Everywhere album, the recording engineer placed a microphone inside the jug to enhance the sound.

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At Tommy Hall’s urging, the band often played their live shows and recorded their albums while under the influence of LSD, and built their lifestyle and music around the psychedelic experience. Intellectual and esoteric influences helped shape their work,

Around this time, the original 13th Floor Elevators disbanded, as the nucleus of Erickson-Hall-Sutherland had been reduced to guitarist Stacy Sutherland only. Sutherland brought some of his own songs for a final set of studio sessions, which led to the dark, intense posthumous album Bull of the Woods. Initially disliked by many Elevators fans, it has found a substantial fan-base today, with some even rating it the band’s best LP. These final sessions consisted of Sutherland on guitar, Ronnie Leatherman on bass, and Danny Thomas on drums.

Hall remained the band’s primary lyricist and philosopher, with Sutherland and Erickson both contributing lyrics as well as writing music, and, later, working with Danny Thomas to arrange the group’s more challenging music. In addition to Erickson’s powerful vocals, Hall’s “electric jug” became the band’s signature sound. Later, Ronnie Leatherman returned for the third and final studio album, Bull of the Woods along with Thomas, and Sutherland.

A few live gigs were played around Texas during the second half of 1968, until an article in Rolling Stone magazine in December 1968 declared the band gone. International Artists pulled together the various studio recordings from 1968 and, with the assistance of drummer Danny Thomas, added some horn arrangements, which became the Bull of the Woods album, released in March 1969. Drug overuse and related legal problems left the band in a state of constant turmoil, which took its toll, both physically and mentally, on the members. In 1969, facing a felony marijuana possession charge, Roky Erickson chose to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital rather than serve a prison term, thus signaling the end of the band’s career.

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Bull of the Woods, was released in 1969, was the 13th Floor Elevators’ last released album on which they worked as a group, and was largely the work of Stacy Sutherland. Erickson, due to health and legal problems, and Tommy Hall were only involved with a few tracks, including “Livin’ On”, “Never Another”, “Dear Doctor Doom”, and “May the Circle Remain Unbroken”.

Today, the 13th Floor Elevators continue to influence new generations of musicians. In 1990, 21 contemporary bands—including R.E.M., Richard Lloyd, David Leonard, the Jesus and Mary Chain, and Primal Scream who all recorded covers of Elevators songs “Slip Inside This House” was covered by Scottish alternative rock band on their album Screamadelica album. 1980s drone/space-rock band Spacemen 3 were influenced by the 13th Floor Elevators, covering “Roller Coaster” twice, for their debut album, Sound of Confusion, and as a 17-minute version for their debut EP Walkin’ With Jesus. Vocalist/guitarist Pete Kember also covered “Thru the Rhythm” with his post-Spacemen 3 project Spectrum. Radio Birdman, features a song titled “Lunatics at the Edge of the World”, which Tek described as “An ode to Syd Barrett and Roky Erickson.”

Studio albums
The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators, (October 1966)
Easter Everywhere, (November 1967)
Bull of the Woods, (March 1969)

Noted Hollywood actor/Musician Johnny Depp praised the Elevators in a 2005 magazine interview “Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators, a band out of Texas. They were basically the first psychedelic-rock band. 1965. And if you listen to old 13th Floor Elevators stuff—Roky Erickson especially, his voice—and then go back and listen to early Led Zeppelin, you know that Robert Plant absolutely copped everything from Roky Erickson. And it’s amazing. And Roky Erickson is sitting in Austin, Texas; he’s just there. And Robert Plant had a huge hit. It always goes back to those guys, you know? I love those guys.”

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The 13th Floor Elevators burned bright—so boldly that little filmed footage was made of the titanic Texan ensemble. Having created spacey psychedelia from a dusty, Austin garage rock vibe—a prestigious tag in the annals of rock history—Roky Erickson, Tommy Hall, Stacy Sutherland, John Ike Walton, and Benny Thurman would have all but disappeared if not for the late Erickson’s tale of woe (2005’s You’re Gonna Miss Me), their brand of psilocybin-laced influence (best heard on the 1990 tribute LP, Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye, starring R.E.M., Julian Cope, and ZZ Top) and copious records from the Austin Police Department.

Paul Drummond. The author and Elevators historian will make sure you don’t forget what you never realized you’d remembered when it comes to the haunted, hunted-down sound of vocalist-guitarist Erickson and his band. He’s a one-man army, what with having written Eye Mind: The Saga of Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators, The Pioneers of Psychedelic Sound in 2007 and digging deep through Texas archives and Austinians bottom drawers and musty closets for his brand new coffee table book, The 13th Floor Elevators: A Visual History.

Most of the big mythology around who the Elevators were, and what their friends and followers (including Hall’s wife Clementine, who helped the band come up with a name; Mother magazine editor Larry Sepulvado; Texas music figurehead Powell St. John) felt, is given rare visual aids. Sepia-toned studio session and live gig photographs, crinkled ticket stubs and colorful DayGlo poster art all set the stage for the story of how scraggly lyricist Hall invited Erickson to join forces to engulf themselves in the space-time-mantras, inner-outer monologues, and electric wiry wheeze of The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators (1966), Easter Everywhere (1967) and the 1968-recorded, but post-break-up-released, Bull of the Woods (1969).

The only print interview they did as an outfit (so they say) and given to Mother magazine in 1967 is reproduced in full in the coffee table tome for the first time, and the text from Drummond—plus a forward by expert witness/historian Lenny Kaye—says as much as can be said about the Elevators beyond hyperbole and exaggeration. Despite the fascination with all things acidic, beyond, and other-realm oriented, the Elevators come across as no-nonsense and matter-of-fact musicians on a trip to the outer limits.

It is the totems and tokens of The 13th Floor Elevators—the yellowed, blistered family photographs, the childhood etchings, and the adult-age, Aquarian-Aged (by way of the gritty Texas panhandle, and not the fussy, flowery San Francisco scene) poster art and gig announcements—that make this creeping vine of a volume a caffeinated epic. Like imagining Flower Power as a dried weed with a silvery, halcyon cloud above, the images of The 13th Floor Elevators are as grungy and gorgeous as the musky, mystic music itself.

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White Denim are prolific at the best of times. Put the band – which is driven by frontman James Petralli – in isolation and you’re bound to get results. ‘I Don’t Understand Rock And Roll’ is more of that driving, guitar-heavy, psych rock with delightful pop hooks that the band do so well.  Written and recorded in 30 days under quarantine from March 18th – April 17th, 2020.

World As A Waiting Room’ vinyl update! Thank you for your patience as our manufacturer works through some unavoidable delays with their printing vendor. The current timeline is for records to be assembled the last week of May.

Their isolation album, which they wrote and recorded in just 30 days, is called World As A Waiting Room and it’s available now.

Band Members:
James Petralli,
Steve Terebecki,
Michael Hunter,
Greg Clifford,

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Austin, Texas-based songwriter Christelle Bofale will be the first to tell you the importance of family roots and mental health, considering how much those things aided her own self-discovery. Being the first American born in her family, the rich heritage of the Congo is deeply rooted in her upbringing and relationship with sounds.From singing and dancing with her mother as a child, to praying to Congolese music with her grandmother, to her father, a soukous guitar player and musical director for the Congregation at his church, Bofale’s journey as a musician has been defined in tiny intervals throughout the course of her life. As a songwriter, she infuses hints of the Congo into various aspects of her music, bridging the musical influences of the diaspora with juxtaposed elements of indie rock, soul and jazz respectively.

Christelle Bofale grew up steeped in the music of her Congolese parents — influences that only deepen the languid textures of her lush, jazzy, deliberately paced folk songs. Bofale’s Swim Team EP unfurls gracefully, revealing a thoughtful set of ruminations on addressing mental health, moving past awful moments and clinging to sources of solace in a world that seems to be spinning out of control.

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released February 20th, 2020

Written by Christelle Miller
Guitar + Vocals: Christelle Miller
Bass + Keys: Jake Miles

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Austin, Texas rockers Pure X have announced their first album in six years, a self-titled LP out digitally on May 1st and physically on July 3rd via Fire Talk Records. Today, they’ve also shared its two lead singles “Middle America” and “Fantasy.” “Middle America”  tap into the languid, distorted sounds that fueled their rise, falling somewhere between warbled slowcore and dreamy heartland rock.

Pure X is the last band, has always been the last band. Not that there won’t be future acts, more that Pure X understands that all this pageantry, this civilization is wrapping up. It burned hot and bright like thermite used to bust a safe open, but now is the age of radiating waves, each one buckles the foundation more than the last.

It would be understandable to express such forbidden fatalism in a brittle, harsh nihilism, the stark echo of a stone rattling down an endless well. But on this album, their fourth and first in six years, there is a pre-dawn kindness. It may be funereal, but it is a Viking pyre ablaze in the middle of a river, one of those moments when the water seems to pause and reflect the clouds blooming like smoke from an invisible glass pipe.

Recorded live in the bucolic Texas Hill Country, this is their clearest, most focused work. The rhythm section is locked in–a night train through the desert. There is more singing, the weary wisdom of the lyrics ringing like Tibetan bowls. In 38 minutes, Pure X weave a culmination, all the delays and distortion, the grinding mortar of touring, the low-tide pulling them out from a cult band, to a legacy band, it’s here, understood and forgiven.

Band Members
Nate Grace, Jesse Jenkins, Austin Youngblood, Matty Tommy Davidson

From Pure X’s self titled 4th LP out May 1st 2020

Pure X Announce Self Titled 4th LP, Pleasure & Crawling Up The Stairs Re-Issues

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Gauzy dream pop has made a nice little renaissance for itself over the past few years, to which this reviewer, who wrapped himself in its progenitors’ plush layers during his formative years, offers a hearty “Huzzah!” Of course, the flip side of this is the droves of like-sounding bands proffering this sound that is, admittedly, ripe for accusations of peddling nostalgia. Austin, Texas quartet Why Bonnie started out as one of those bands, offering perfectly fine and wistful shoegazey fare across their first pair of EPs. Their third, Voice Box, however, breaks the band from this mould.

While lead track, “Bury Me”, fits squarely in the dream pop aesthetic, its production is sweeping and cinematic, country miles beyond the band’s previous work. Furthermore, the title track’s concretizing a woman’s voice as her literal voice box to illustrate frustration with expression lends the proceedings a welcome depth typically absent from a sound known more for its style over substance. While thematically, “Voice Box” is the spoke around which the entire EP revolves, the heady whiplash pairing of “Athlete”s skulking, vampirish dissonance followed by “Jetplane”s diaphanous fingerpicking are the prime exhibits of Why Bonnie’s growth. Pulling elements from their bread and butter and pushing them toward their boundaries elevates Voice Box above merely enjoyable dream pop.

Really, there’s one quibble and one thing left to say – we need more, Why Bonnie, bring on the LP.

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released April 10th, 2020

Written performed by Why Bonnie
Blair Howerton – Vocals/Guitar
Kendall Powell – Keys
Sam Houdek – Guitar
Chance Williams – Bass
Mitchell Lamon – Drums

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While Madeline Dowd’s visual artwork playfully relays adult themes through childlike imagery, her band Crisman swaps the acrylics and spray paint for hazily-filtered vocals gently layered over slow-core arrangements to find yet another medium for masking emotional turmoil with innocence.

In 2011, Dowd left her hometown of Alpharetta, Georgia for Denton, Texas, where she met Boone Patrello, who records under the moniker Dead Sullivan. Their chemistry led to 2018’s Crisman Tape, which Gold Flake Paint called “a hidden and unhurried gem in the current DIY scene.” For the band’s self-titled debut studio album, Dowd and Patrello teamed up with another fellow Denton musician in MAH KEE OH’s Grahm Robinson. Contrasted against the childlike playfulness of Dowd’s paintings, the band’s collective experience is refracted throughout the measured ten-song collection.

The melancholic and sinuous lead single “Surprise” pulls from childhood memories of wanting to be included and feeling misunderstood in order to lend its start-stop riffs an emotional touchstone. On “Cya,” the band employs acerbic distortion and twinkling arpeggios to explore the immaturity and inevitability of trying to forget a person or feeling that lingers far too long, where final single “Icee Blue” is about experiencing the infectiousness of a romance, a thematic reproduction of the song’s infectious composition.

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Released April 3rd, 2020

Crisman is Maddie, Boone, Grahm and Jordan, Based in Denton, TX

Songs written by Madeline Dowd and Boone Patrello,

With influences of bossa nova and oldies, we create the perfect soundtrack for chillaxin’ by the pool, The group was originally formed around the talents of Matthew Terry (vocalist/guitarist) and Eugene Chung (drummer) during their senior year of high school. Before moving to Austin, Matt and Eugene enjoyed playing intimate shows at small coffee shops, friends living rooms, and local venues around the Dallas and Denton area where they began to work on and craft the musical nature of what is now Summer Salt.

Driving to Hawaii (2014), contains the essence of a never-ending vacation and is rich in guitar pop and silky harmonies that is reminiscent of the Beach Boys. The EP features fan favourites such as Sweet to Me, Rockaway, and of course their title track, Driving to Hawaii, which has iconically represented the basis of all Summer Salt lyrics: trying to slow down and enjoy the ride of chasing what appears to be an unattainable pipe dream.

Their next release, Going Native (2015), was inspired by a trip abroad where Terry began diving into artists such as Joao Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Gilberto Gil which lead to a new writing direction using Latin elements. Succeeding the energetic and live sounds of Going Native, So Polite (2017), was the perfect appetizer for the bands’ debut full-length album, the wildly colorful, Happy Camper (2018) which features a more polished production quality from Sub-Pop stalwart Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, The Shins).

The infectiously melodic ensemble has cultivated a loyal following with their endless summer, ocean dream music that can be heard in influences such as the Lovin’ Spoonful, Donovan, Frankie Valli, the lovely Lady Day or other musical genres of 1960’s Rocksteady or African Highlife. Moving forward, with the anticipation of their forthcoming release Honeyweed, Summer Salt maintains phonetic components of Brazilian tropicalia and 60’s folk pop while drawing inspiration from seasoned topics of loss and renewal.

Summer Salt’s building success on the road lead to a 31-date sold out North American tour in the Summer of 2018. Featuring the recent addition of guitarist/vocalist, Anthony Barnett, and bassist, Elliot Edmonds, the group is now preparing to embark on their second headlining US tour. 

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Band Members
Matthew Terry,
Eugene Chung


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