Christian Bland & The Revalators
Photos by: Demetrius Judkins
Christian Bland & The Revalators
Photos by: Demetrius Judkins
The Builders and the Butchers have returned with another captivating round of tales about the wicked west with their latest collection The Spark. Five years of touring have led to not only an incredible reputation for ecstatic live performances but also to the inevitable and careful creation of the eleven marvelous Americana folk tracks that fill the LP. The Portland-based quintet released the era-untethered LP via Badman Recordings Co. on May 19. The eclectic sound of the group combines traditional acoustic folk qualities with a distorted modern rock twist, although there are more than just those two tricks up their more than likely plaid sleeves.
“All Turn to Fire Pt. 1” opens the album with a slow acoustic finger-picking guitar, which gives way to singer Ryan Sollee’s haunting voice. Soon thereafter the song turns inferno and we’re introduced to the full band in all their folk-punk glory, truly marking the introduction of The Spark. The sibling song, “All Turn to Fire Pt. 2,” is an Americana ballad filled with intricate lyrics that complete the tale of the two songs, as well as a lengthy soul-soothing guitar solo. “Never Tell” is a track that shows off the folk capabilities of the group. A sharp banjo twang plays through the entirety of the song, adding a subtle effect that sets the track out from the rest of the album. “Let The Wind Carry Me Home” is the elegant closer of the album and a prime example of the band’s musical range. The organ-propelled, gospel-sounding track is one of those few tracks that gives goosebumps every time it comes on. It’s barebones, but that’s where its beauty and impact derives from. A beautiful mix of fast and slow songs encompass the album, offering a variety of sounds. The band puts a multitude of instruments to use, including a clarinet, organ, and mandolin, and made sure to dip their feet into every genre that they possibly could.
The Spark is an American album for the American people, telling stories that thousands go through on a daily basis. It defies genres and offers insight into crossovers that most wouldn’t have even thought possible. Call it whatever genre you would like to, but there is no denying that this group is truly something special. The band definitely lives up to their name; they build you up with the talent and grit presented through the album, but then quickly butcher you down with the raw emotion and tactically placed stabs in the music.
Written by: Sawyer Click
Magnolia rockers Jamestown Revival kicked-off the new season of KGSR’s Blues on the Green at Zilker Park Wednesday night. The rock duo helped Zilker Park celebrate its 100th birthday by showcasing their latest album, The Education of a Wandering Man, to a packed Austin crowd. Track Rambler photographer Demetrius Judkins made the stroll up Town Lake to catch the show.
Blues on the Green returns June 14th with Grupo Fantasma
Photos by: Demetrius Judkins
Austin Mayor Steve Adler will designate June 8th to be “David Messier Day” in a ceremony at City Hall. On June 9th, Messier’s birthday, The Townsend will welcome the multi-talented artist back to its stage to celebrate with a live performance. Tickets can be purchased for $10 in advance and $15 at the door. For more information please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/o/the-townsend-8471342185.
David Messier is a multi-instrumental musician, songwriter, producer, owner of Austin-based recording studio Same Sky Productions and the President of the Texas Grammy Chapter. After an 8-year recording hiatus, the former Papermoon frontman released his debut solo album, Waiting For Eldridge, in 2016 to wide critical acclaim from KUTX, Austin Chronicle and Bluegrass Situation. Waiting For Eldridge is a culmination of years of playing guitar, drums, piano, songwriting and producing music. For Messier, the album represents the private radio station that constantly plays in his head.
Messier recently released two of three brand new videos from the album with “Everything Breaks My Heart,” “Franklin’s Keys” and “Keeping Up With Fashion” to follow on June 5th. “Everything Breaks My Heart” is a track that pushed Messier into new territory. He recalls, “This is the moment where I broke some new ground…I really heard something new.” The haunting tune swells and wallops with swinging carnival keys and Messier’s gritty distorted vocals turning at the chorus as he asks “Why in the world should I calm down? / I should have learned by now / Everything breaks my heart.”
Sticking with the haunting theme, “Franklin’s Key’ is a joyously spooky party track featuring tip-toe marimba taps and quick horn blasts. “In ‘Franklin’s Key’ everything is speaking — not just the vocals. The saw, the bari sax, the percussion … it’s all ‘talking. When I close my eyes and listen to this track, I’m suddenly in a haunted house circa 1940 — the shutters cracking in the wind, the creaks of wooden floorboards — and when I pinch my eyes even tighter, I see cartoon skeletons playing percussion on rib bones, creepy cats with hollow eyes, and creatures of the night holding seance dance parties that make me want to join the fun and turn that party out,” Messier tells Bluegrass Situation.
North Texas artist-centric record label Hand Drawn Records is proud to announce the signing of alt-rock-indie-pop artist Henry the Archer this spring. In his fourth album “Zero is a Number” out on Friday, May 26, he tackles topics of love, loss, and life, melding the edgy side of post-punk with a refreshing groove-pop melody. The album release party at Fort Worth’s Magnolia Motor Lounge at 3005 Morton St. in Fort Worth features performances by riff-heavy rock band North by North, eclectic indie rock band Kites and Boomerangs and synth-pop shoegaze band VYLIT. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 9:30 p.m. The show is open to ages 21 and over, and tickets cost $10 at the door.
“We’ve had our eyes on Henry the Archer for a while. [We were] very excited to team up as they were nearing completion on this new record. Richard’s voice is so unique and impressive, and Kevin and Charles are amazing musicians and bring a lot to the party,” said John Snodgrass, vice president of business development for Hand Drawn Records/Hand Drawn Pressing. “This band deserves to be heard and seen live.”
After spending some time in South Carolina and back home in New Jersey, singer-songwriter Richard Hennessy experienced a turning point in 2010 while battling depression. He wrote a book based on himself in a fictional Medieval Times setting that acted as a therapeutic biography — and “Henry the Archer” was born. He felt compelled to get back out there and follow his true music calling. Relocating to Fort Worth, he began performing solo acts starting with the Grotto.
Hennessy released his first acoustic album, “Space Suits for the Modern Astronaut,” in 2011, garnering attention from stations like MTV, VICE and The History Channel. His sophomore album “The Castle’s on Fire” continued the buzz in 2012, paving the way for his third album “When Something Means Nothing” in which drummer Kevin Geist (formerly of Bindle) and bassist Matt Hembree (Pablo & the Hemphill 7) in 2014 made their debut. After a short time in Colorado, Hennessy came back to Panther City and hunted for a bassist until the Charles Marchbanks (formerly of Chingalotus) caught his ear. Currently, audiences can listen to the track “Means Nothing” from Henry the Archer’s most recent release and “New Mexico,” a track from the band’s upcoming album on KXT.
“Henry the Archer’s songs are well-written and approachable, with nice hooks and great instrumentals,” said Steve Watkins of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Hennessy is as talented as he is dedicated.”
Out on Friday, May 26, the album incorporates shared influences into a cohesive mix of songs that reflect the artist’s musical background and influences, which include Modest Mouse, The Animals, Fugazi, Pixies and Interpol.
Band members Kevin Geist (drums/percussion) and Charles Marchbanks (bass guitar) complement the eclectic sounds on the album. “Zero is a Number” features eight passionate tracks written and produced by the band, mixed by Danielle Gomez of Good Gravy and mastered by Brian Lucey of Magic Garden in Los Angeles, California (known for his mastering on The Black Keys and Arctic Monkeys albums).
“This new album consumed me, to the extent that a little bit of reality crept into the lyrics. But I’d have to say that musically I really enjoyed putting this record together, and working with great people,” Hennessy said.
Henry the Archer’s “Zero is a Number” vinyl LP will release this summer by Hand Drawn Records. It will be available for purchase on Friday, May 26 via iTunes and the artist’s website http://www.HenrytheArcher.com, or for streaming on Spotify.
Henry the Archer’s “Zero is a Number” Release Party
When: Friday May 26, 2017, Doors 7:00pm, Show 9:30pm
Where: Magnolia Motor Lounge
The show is open to ages 21 and over, and tickets cost $10 at the door.
Photo by: Dustin Schneider
LA psych-jam band Paloma recently shared their new track ‘Fish’ off forthcoming EP, Luna, out soon. Paloma was born of the struggle to navigate the harrowing societal construct typical of suburban Los Angeles. The three-piece of Victor Martinez, Steven Doman, and Nick Mariotti emerged from the atmospheric style of LA’s psych scene to create a funky and intricate ‘escapist’s musical paradise.’ ‘Fish’ is a seductive and groovy trip warped by synthesized vocals and distorted psychedelic chords. Say bon voyage to your inhibitions as this warm and hypnotic tune journeys into a trancing sonic fairytale.
Nina Ferraro taught herself to play guitar at 9, and took on the moniker BONZIE by 17. Now 21, the Chicago-based songwriter has no plans to slow down. After recently emerging with two singles, ‘As The Surface Rose’ and ‘How Do You Find Yourself, Love?’, she’s back with her second album, Zone on Nine released May 19th.
Produced by Ferraro, in collaboration with Jonathan Wilson (Father John Misty, Conor Oberst) and Ali Chant (Perfume Genius, Youth Lagoon), she travelled as far as England to record pieces of Zone on Nine. A songwriter by nature, the young artist focuses on the humble honesty of music, with little attempt to make it about her. Hence, the stage name of BONZIE.
Known for her organic-sounding riffs mixed with otherworldly vocals that debuted in her first album, 2013’s Rift Into The Secret of Things, BONZIE features a similar collision of textures in Zone on Nine. A kaleidoscopic sound with hints of the orchestral transcendence and a synth-pop promise of a violin; the tune leaves you questioning what you’ve heard and where it could possibly have taken place.
‘Combback,’ the third song on the album, features a sad and eerie plucking of guitar merged with a whine of a violin that can only be described as early noughties Charmed – if you know, you know. Dark and mysterious beneath Ferraro’s antithetically soft, folk-esque tones lightening the piece; a celestial melody atop a rainy day. Once luring you into security, a sudden drum beat hits the backtrack of the pastoral song and brightens it dramatically, almost the sun beating down through the rain clouds. Closely following ‘Combback,’ the fourth song on the album, ‘Everybody Wants To’ questions the morality of the everyday man. A slight shadow to her vocals creates a harmonious upbeat tune that juxtaposes the thought-provoking lyrics, preventing comfort as you listen to her warn you. “It’s my way of trying to understand the world,” Ferraro says of her music, which has previously been featured by The New York Times.
Ferraro’s melodic voice is Disney-Princess-perfect, innocent and sweetly deceiving to the tones she chooses to use in her work. Dark lyrics and clandestine hints at the world’s drawbacks fill her songs, whether by lyric or by backtrack. She surpasses this world in a way that feels almost alien, but it’s so much more appealing than Earth; her warble could lure millions to Mars – or to her Zone on Nine.
Written by: Megan Matthews
Packing one hell of a punch, Grim Streaker has crafted a mix of sugar, spice, and everything punk-rock to create a sound that is best characterized by its divine chaos. The Brooklyn-based group has just released “Miami Girl,” an explosive follow-up to their debut 2017 single “Guts.” The five-piece has started gaining traction due to their honed sound and uninhibited live performances that are driven by vocalist Amelia Bushell. The single can be found on Grim Streaker’s upcoming EP Girl Minority, which is to be released later this summer.
Dazing chaos punches you in the face from the beginning as swirling feedback introduces us to the minute-and-a-half long rollercoaster ride. An ebulliently fuzzy riff pushes at the front of the battle lines, allowing for the equally frenetic vocals and drums to unleash hell within the mix. A kick in the guitar and drums frequents the song, and keeps you on your toes. The real magic of the piece comes from Bushell’s vocal stylings, which create an intense back-and-forth between the band’s noise and her yelling. Her bewildering yell mesmerizes with a story of the groups havoc-filled trip to, as you probably guessed, Miami. “Come at me, bro!” she yells, speaking of a fight that erupted when a man randomly walked up and punched guitarist Dan Peskin in the face. Bushell says that this song was inspired by that kind of “random, comically dumb violence.”
Grim Streaker jumped in the DIY scene of Brooklyn with a promising amount of potential. Although still young, they have already proven themselves with two rambunctiously punk tracks in their discography. With talent, momentum, and a lot to say, they are on the right track to punk prominence. Grim Streaker’s unique sound resonates with fans of late-70s/early-80s punk, but still paves the path for the new wave of modern counterculture’s sound.
Written by: Sawyer Click
Your ‘favorite rapper’s favorite rapper’ and Odd Squad oddball, Devin The Dude, hit the stage at Empire Control Room on Sunday evening floating on a purple cloud of velvet laced rhymes. At 46, the middle-aged stoner still possesses an infectious on-stage energy that gets a crowd half his age vibing from the contact-high. The rapper’s calm, easygoing demeanor and laid-back persona provide an enjoyable authenticity to his music and have helped him acquire fans of all demographics. He’s a lovable everyman…a storyteller who fills his rhyming narrative with relatable anecdotes and humorous recollections derived from a life of chasing vices. Devin’s latest album, Acoustic Levitation, is his first full-length since 2013’s Landing Gear and is an ode to the classic themes The Dude loves most…weed, wine and women. After the crowd got lit with openers Pure Pressure, 5-D and King Tez & Sukeyy, it was time for Empire to levitate with The Dude. Photographer J. Alan Love captured the cloudy highlights below.
Venue: Empire Control Room
Photos by: J. Alan Love
DFW electronica artist jACQ has announced her debut solo effort, Cosmic Affair, to be released June 16th, and has given fans a taste with the irresistible “This is The Time.” Having already topped EDM/electronica charts with her features and songwriting abilities, she has proven herself a force to be reckoned with in the music realm. Now with a solo pop-electronica career as her main focus, jACQ will be able to deliver the purest version of her music as possible.
Goosebumps race up your arm at the start of EP opener “This is The Time,” moving slowly as the beat progresses. jACQ’s chilling voice flows through the cosmic background with ease, allowing listeners to connect with the motivating lyrics without having to search too hard. The laid-back track is driven by vocals and an accentuated beat, both of which contribute to the memorable melodies. “Back to Life” is the EP’s bad boy, offering moments with intense blasts in the EDM-heavy background and seconds of uncontrolled chaos that quickly fade to jACQ’s innocently vulnerable voice. The bouncy track moves like electricity, beautiful in both riotus-form and deep-rooted meaning. June Nawakii controls the beat, allowing for mesmerizing layered harmonies from jACQ to slide peacefully into place. The final piece, “Euphoria,” lives up perfectly to the name and bleeds joy and elation. The hyper-positive track floats through the air, following suit with the easy listening of the EP. The track seems almost ephemeral, leaving you pressing the play button over and over to feel the magic again.
The complexities of the EP mesh together to venture into a blend that is mostly uncolonized by modern music. jACQ’s musical expressions reflect her breaking free from artistic restraints and defining herself as a musician, which makes this grouping of tracks truly special and heart-felt. The pop tastes give the EP a sense of connectivity to contemporary music, while the electronica-based backing tracks identify the effort as being independent from modern routines.
Written by: Sawyer Click