The Evolution of Sam Houston

Sam Houston has grown – from almost a year since Track Rambler stumbled across his music, he’s gone from strength to strength and shows very little signs of letting up.

A bluesy soul singer that spins a classic R&B beat into his tracks, he’s opening up his world to a whole new prospect. A new band.

“The reason I started this band,” he said when we caught up before the band’s debut on June 15th, “is because I felt that the live show needed to stand out more. It needed to have even more of an identity.

“I wanted to bring something bigger to the shows. Something more consistent, something that could attract a whole different audience & also appeal to the audience I already had.”

Now part of a five-man band – six, if you count tech director Matt Ramos – Sam’s typical sound is amplified by them, complemented and encouraged.

“My fans can expect some change coming.

I’ve been into rock & roll for a while now, but it’s hard to write that sort of music without other instrumentalists around you. So I have the opportunity now to put my foot deeper in that direction.

“For the people who do know me it’s because of a very distinct vibey, calm relaxing sound. That is who I am, so that isn’t going anywhere. We are just going to make it hit you harder sometimes.”

An evolution of Sam’s music, the band’s first headlining gig is July 15th at the Mohawk – this is where we’ll see the band for who they are and experience their world before they set their sights on traveling together to play their music.

It’ll be a journey, and we’re along for the ride over here at Track Rambler HQ – how about you?

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Blitzkrieg in Austin With Rosegarden Funeral Party

Dallas’ own Rosegarden Funeral Party brought their macabre fueled rock to Barracuda Friday Night. Outfitted with leather, chains, and amps cranked to eleven, Rosegarden captures the dark side of the 80’s creating a sound that’s perfect for night drives in your Trans Am or a modern soundtrack for The Lost Boys.

Led by frontwoman Leah Lane whose vocal chords are powerful enough to ignite an arena, their set stayed in maximum overdrive for nearly the entire night but took the time to slow things down with “Eden”, a psychedelic, post-punk jam with scorching guitar chords and entrancing vocals. The band will be debuting their video for the single on July 1st.

Ending the evening with their single “Blitzkrieg in Holland” off of their debut album The Chopping Block was the perfect ending to a sweat fueled set. Rosegarden wears their heart on their sleeve and leaves everything on the stage. Dallas is a very lucky city with some amazing talent.

Check out photos from the evening below and you can see the rest of Rosegarden Funeral Party’s tour dates and future shows here.

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Photos by Matthew Carlin @yo_mtv_matt

The Banisters Are Here To Offer Your Summer A New Sound, With Their Latest Release

If this summer, you want to find something new, something unique and something absolutely mind-blowing then I have the track for you.

Blues, psychedelia and a little bit of punk found themselves in the melting pot when they met the five boys that make up The Banisters. Formed right here in Austin, they have released an EP each year since their conception in 2016 – and 2018 will be no different.

Until that release though, expected in the fall of this year, they’ve graced up with the track ‘Mississippi Queen’ – to keep us going through the summer months, I assume. An almost grungy tune, it juxtaposes the absolute avalanche of summer pop songs that we come to expect this time of year – setting the boys apart.

A relatively slow burner, the track bleeds anticipation with the deep, dark humming of the guitar easing us in for the bluesy vocals that hit. Not something to eat an ice cream to, this song is not seasonal – it’s here to stay, and it’s here to steer you towards their first full-length album once released.

In the meantime, though, check out their Spotify – they’re a force to be reckoned with.

The LONER Caroline Rose at Stubb’s Photo Recap

An obsession with money, an unfaithful lover, a friend’s accidental pregnancy, misogyny, loneliness, death… This is just some of the lighthearted subject matter that make up LONER––the darkly comedic second album from songwriter/producer Caroline Rose. Armed with an arsenal of new instruments and equipment, an ever-growing sense of “ahhh fuck it,” two years of exploration, and a wicked sense of humor, Rose delivers a set of serious songs wrapped in a sprightly, angsty pop burrito. Because, as Rose puts it, “Sometimes sad songs just need a cocktail.”

Last Thursday, Caroline Rose visited Stubb’s. Check out the LONER in action below.

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Photos by: Matthew Carlin @yo_mtv_matt

Text courtesy of Pitch Perfect PR

Peeling Back The Layers of KIVA With Femina-X

Nearly a decade in the making, Femina-X’s KIVA comes to fruition at the most relevant moment. As heart-rending images of frightened immigrant children torn from their families at the US border fill our conscience, I can’t help but consider “Save Me, Coyote”, a poetic song from the Latin alternative band’s forthcoming album. The emotionally charged piece was written in 2015 in response to the huge influx of child immigrants fleeing poverty and violence. Femina-X often opens their live sets with “Save Me, Coyote” and the single is one of several thought-provoking explorations to be included on KIVA, a conceptual, Latin-folk journey filled with tremendous joy, heartache and optimistic perseverance. The evocative sophomore album will be released on July 6th and is the band’s medicinal response to the increasingly uneasy climate of our national and global society. We were fortunate enough to speak with Femina-X’s passionate frontwoman, Daniela Riojas, and peel back the layers of KIVA. See what the compelling vocalist had to say below.

Femina-X laid it all on the line with your debut, Multiverse. How does KIVA compare or does it not try to and instead go towards a completely new direction?

There are definitely both similarities and differences between Multiverse and KIVA, but despite the difference in sound and instrumentation, the two albums still resonate from the same source. Multiverse was a collection of far-reaching explorations; it was not intended to be a cohesive body of work. Instead, it was trying to stretch genre and convention as far as possible while maintaining somewhat of a pop structure. Each song meant to be its own universe. With KIVA, there is an intention of cohesion. KIVA is our medicine album and our response to the increasingly uneasy climate of our national and global society. We also brought some very old songs back into the fray, including the first song that me and Alex Scheel (guitarist) made together 7 years ago called “Happy Roof Dirt” and a song I started writing 9 years ago called “Tiny Girl” that I finished this past year after my mom past away. “Cura A Mi Madre” is a song I wrote for my mother when she was admitted to the hospital last May, not knowing she’d never leave and it’d be my last ode she’d hear. KIVA is a very emotional album, filled with tremendous joy, with grief, and with a willingness to live through it all hoping for something to give back to the world.

What was different about recording and producing KIVA compared to Multiverse?

Recording the majority of Multiverse actually took much less time. We spent a week at Sonic Ranch and Brainville in El Paso to record all the instruments and half of the vocals. What took the longest was getting a computer and set up that we could mix the album on and also learning ProTools completely from scratch. We worked with several engineers, trying to find the right person to mix Multiverse with, but we eventually realized that we needed to do it ourselves and then set out to learn the program and get the necessary equipment to open up our project files. Needless to say, that process can take some time!! By the time Multiverse was released last year, we already had a new album to record, but we knew we had to release Multiverse first and give it its time to live in the world. After a tour and filming a new music video, in October of 2017 we stepped into a new studio with an engineer and began recording KIVA. From the get-go, we wanted to capture a live band sound with full drums, strings, voice layers, guitar and bass with less emphasis on electronics. (there’s really only one song with definite electronic sounds ‘Las Caderas’)

Will KIVA possess that other-worldy aesthetic that Femina-X has seemed to master so well?

Yes, KIVA will still maintain its other-wordly vibe. I think that will likely be an inherent part of our music, no matter the different ways we choose to explore it. It isn’t something we set out to do, it is something that forms intuitively, which is why I say the ‘source’ remains the same from Multiverse to KIVA. Ceremony, nature, optimism, fantasy, science, and a need to carve out a slice of oasis are all a part of who we are as people. So naturally that all flows into the music.

Will the new album hit hard on Femina-X’s Latin roots?

Yes definitely! I think KIVA will more concretely define Femina-X as a Latin alternative band that is exploring its roots. And the “alternative” aspect of it will find its voice more prominently alongside the “Latin.” The fusion is happening on many levels. There is jazz, Native, African, tropical, folk, desert, and otherworldly coinciding in different ways.

We still get defined or labeled as electronic/rock even though we haven’t played with electronics in a very long time. Though, our live set up will include translating vocal harmonies and string parts to key parts, lending all the songs to an ethereal quality.

Will KIVA touch on some of the social commentary that’s so relevant right now?

I wrote “Las Caderas” on an upturn from grieving…wanting to step back into the joy of life after feeling the great loss of my mother. Though, the lyrics are a bit critical of our divided lives and perceptions of each other created by social media. It’s also a critique of the kind of hostility and bullying that happens online, including ordeals that I’ve personally went through. Social media, for all the good that it’s done, has also created a newer kind of pain. Public shaming and unbridled spillage of anger, hate, and vitriol are something that we’re absorbing and having to internalize, deal with, and move through nowadays. I hope we can get to a point of communicating better and using these tools with more compassion and sense.

What do you hope listeners will take away after hearing KIVA?

I hope that they walk away experiencing a cascade of sounds, colors, images, emotions, and thought-provoking ideas. And that they all in some way make them feel more connected, not alone, and reflected. I hope they will feel a stir in their soul and a feeling of being alive.

 

KIVA will be released on July 6th with an official release party that evening at Sam’s Burger Joint in San Antonio. For additional information visit http://www.femina-x.com/.

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The Watters Album Release at Antone’s Photo Recap

Soulful husband and wife duo, The Watters, and their jazzy 6-piece celebrated the release of their self titled album Friday night with a packed house of party-goers at Antone’s. The 10-track LP is a delicious melting pot of Big Easy jazz, Lone Star soul and southern roots rock wrapped in warm harmonies and uplifting melodies guaranteed to fill your soul with sunshine. The schoolmates-turned-soulmates are headed out west in July on a short and sweet album release tour. But, you can catch The Watters before they hit the road at The Saxon Pub on July 7th. In the meantime, enjoy a few highlights below from the album release party at Antone’s.

 

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Photos by Mark Bowers @markbowersphoto

Sheilava: What a Difference a Year Makes

It’s been one helluva year for the Lava Cats…and thankfully, they’re just getting warmed up. Since forming in March of 2017, Sheilava has been bustin’ ass developing into one of the busiest and brightest indie-pop outfits around Austin. In just a little over a year the band has released their DIY, debut full-length along with a Christmas-themed EP. They’ve worked on six music videos, created a flashy car commercial and heard their tunes in three different indie films. Earlier this month, they completed their second ‘song in a day challenge’ by creating a surprise indie-western single that premiered at the Southwest Theatre Screening as part of ATX 48 Hour Film Project. The feverish production experience behind Sheilava’s “Lady Outlaw” single helped introduce the weird and wired, indie swing-pop band to several folks who were instrumental in creating Sheilava’s latest and most challenging project, “Cups4Kings”. The band will premier their brand new video on June 19 at Love Goat in conjunction with a birthday bash for their flute-tootin’ frontlady, Sheila V.A.

We were fortunate enough to speak with Sheilava founding members, Sheila V.A. and Jason Garcia last week. Read what the duo had to say about the band’s growth during the first year and what to expect from the upcoming “Cups4Kings” Premier/Birthday Party.

What are the two of you most proud of from the past year?

Sheila: It’s hard to pick one thing. The past year has been a whirlwind and we’ve done more in this timeframe as a band than I’ve ever done creatively and collectively as an artist throughout my entire career, and that in and of itself makes me beam with pride. We all have day jobs and do things outside of this project, yet we are still going places and making our name. I would say I’m most proud that we were able to accomplish so many “firsts” in our first year as a band…. We released our first LP, made a Christmas EP, booked our first festival, had our music featured in three indie films, made our own car commercial, worked on six music videos, had our band featured in three indie blogs, and we performed live on-air for two different acoustic showcases. I am so proud of the commitment from my bandmates and it’s just not enough to say that we’re thankful for every opportunity we’ve been given.

Jason: There’s a lot of things I’m proud of, but I’m probably most proud of our ability to work quickly and still make great music. Some of our songs take a while to perfect and that’s fine. But when we can work fast as well, it makes us more versatile.

What was your favorite Sheilava experience from the first year?

Jason: When we played Pecan Street Festival last year. Sheila got all these decorations and props and we turned it into an experience. People were coming from the other tents to stop and listen and it was really a triumphant moment for us.

Sheila: One of my absolute favorite experiences was seeing so many people come together for our 1-year anniversary show on March 1st. It was eye-opening to see just how much support we had, right there in front of our eyes. I have a love-hate relationship with social media because we wouldn’t be where we are without it, but it doesn’t fulfill you in the same way to see so many fans online as it does to see them in person. The 1 year marker for us was a celebration of everything we’ve worked towards thus far, as well as a stepping stone as to what might be possible in our next year.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned so far?

Sheila: I’m still learning every day to let go of certain things. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in an idea that I want to be perfect, whether it be something as complex as hosting a live show or something as simple as wanting a specific chord progression to accompany a melody. When I create something and hear it and feel it a certain way, I will often get so wrapped up in my mind that I forget it takes a team to make it happen and their creativity is just as necessary to make it whole.

Jason: The most important thing I’ve learned is to maintain a partnership. You’re not going to have it your way all the time, and you don’t want that. Learning when to stand up for what you want and when to back down, I think has been really important.

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Where have you seen the band grow the most since its inception?

Jason: We’ve really grown as performers and with our live performance. Now we’ve got a synchronized light show thanks to the hardworking talent of our drummer Mike Krieger. We played a house showcase recently and it looked like a stage show.

Sheila: More than anything, our sound has grown and changed so much– from our home-studio recording sessions to the style of my vocals and the dynamic contrasts of our writing, and most especially in the added details to our live shows. We’re more confident than ever in trying to deliver both a wiry and electric energy to our audience, and I feel that we’ve really uncovered our sound. I’m proud that it separates us from other indie/pop artists.

Looking back, if you could have done anything differently, what would it have been?

Sheila: At first, part of me wants to say that if I could have done anything differently it would have been to focus solely on this project. Throughout last summer I also performed with a Latin-Jazz ensemble and was also one-half of another acoustic duo. Our drummer played in six other bands at one point and Jason was involved in other music projects as well. But I also realize we wouldn’t be who we are without those other experiences. Every person we work with and everyone we meet as a result of that becomes another opportunity to learn and grow. It affects us individually and therefore influences our sound as an ensemble.

Jason: I would have fought less! We got into a lot of arguments over things that weren’t important, but those were the growing pains of getting to know someone quickly. We’ve settled into more of a rhythm now, and we understand each other a lot better.

Are the band’s goals for year two bigger and bolder?

Sheila: I am thrilled I can say this with utmost confidence. YES! As with all of our goals last year, we have a list of things we want to try and accomplish. One thing I’m dying to check off my bucket list is a tour. There was talk at one point of doing a tour throughout Texas and then we even had someone from Austin Film Society approach us about possibly touring in Japan. Our first goal is to finish our second album “V” which will be our first published work of songs performed live by the full band. It will be a testament to how far our sound has come since Jason and I made our first LP “Nonsense” last year in a bedroom studio with separately recorded tracks. Another huge goal we have alongside the growth of our sound and fanbase is to catch the eye of the Austin 360 Studio Sessions and KUTX. They’ve featured some of the best local music I’ve ever heard and it would be an honor to have that opportunity.

Jason: We’ve shown that we can do a lot of things without much money or time, so definitely I think we can think bigger. We’re expanding our reach and talent pool, so anything’s possible.

Sheilava is premiering “Cups4Kings” on Tuesday. What can you tell us about the video and upcoming Trailer Release Party?

Sheila: “Cups4Kings” is based off a true story of past college days– parties, friendships, love, lust, and ALL of the drama that follows. The name for the song was sparked by the popular game King’s Cup (aka Waterfall, which is also referenced in the song), and inspired by the idea that when people get liquid courage they feel they can do anything, but it doesn’t always lead to the best scenarios. This is the edgiest of our songs and is both witty and catty. We worked on this song more than any other in an effort to create an extreme contrast in sound and style with elements of indie rock, pop, and sultry jazz vocals. Also, I originally wanted to play a show on my birthday because I couldn’t think of a better way to spend it than by doing what I love. Throughout our music video shoot we received unbelievable support and kindness from the cast and crew and I absolutely had to thank them for all of their time and creativity by having Sheilava perform live for everyone. I also wanted to give them a sneak peek of everything they worked towards since they only got to see cuts and takes of a live show here and there during our time filming, so in between sets we are going to show the trailer.

Jason: “Cups4Kings” has been our most challenging song to date. When Sheila sent me the first outline of the song it took me weeks to figure out how the rest should go. Previously I’d have come up with something in a day or so, but this song had so many different moods and feels that I knew it was going to take a while to get right. The recording also took some time to perfect, but I think we came up with something pretty cool-sounding. We got a fantastic crew of people to come together to shoot the equally complex video, so I’m excited to see the trailer myself. I think it’s going to be a great example of what Sheilava is and will be going forward this year.

 

For additional Sheilava info and updates, give them a follow here and be sure to catch them June 19th at Sheila’s Birthday Bash/”Cups4Kings” Premiere here.

 

Photos courtesy of Capture House Photography

 

 

Mitchell Ferguson Paints a Picture of Change in His Latest Track Cry

Opening this month with the gentle burn that is his new single, Cry, Mitchell Ferguson has explored every inch of his soul and come back up for air with this intricately beautiful track.

A song that intrinsically captures the desperate footing a person feels when faced with change, Ferguson’s virtuous gravel tones send you right there to a long drop and crumbling rock beneath you turning your stomach.

This song is applicable, he isn’t alone in his lyrics – you’ll feel your own pain splayed across the track. Released June 2nd, this song will play in the minds of everybody scared for the future, everybody unsure of their next step and everybody looking for a hand to grab. Ferguson has extended his hand, fingers stretching towards you. This track will relinquish that fear of being alone.

Hitting the stage solo since 2015, the 24-year-old singer is far beyond his years in skill and experience – etching a song so perfectly emotional that you feel his anxiety eating your own heart, while yours slips away. A bittersweet beginning to the several new songs we can look forward to this year, he stayed busy in between tour dates during spring of 2018 by recording.

Recorded, mixed, and engineered by Jason Burt at Modern Electric Sound Recorders, and mastered by Brian Lucey at Magic Garden Mastering, Ferguson is one to keep close to you for this year. He’s ready to hold you up through the turbulence.

Erika Wennerstrom Rules Barracuda – Photo Recap 06/09/18

Erika Wennerstrom delivered a heartwrenching solo-storm this past Saturday. Taking a break from her badass Austin-based rock band, the Ohio-born singer has ventured from the ‘effortlessly successful’ Heartless Bastards.

An incredible performance of her debut solo album, Sweet Unknown, released this past March, Erika is as exciting as ever.

If you missed the show, check out a few photo recaps of the night below!

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Photography: Demestrius Judkins

Sam Pace & The Gilded Grit Deliver a Knockout With Judgement Eve

Make way for the heavy weight champ and get rocked by Sam Pace and The Gilded Grit’s latest album. The Big Dog guitar slinger lands a heavy, soul-rattling knockout with Judgement Eve, a down-and-dirty blues project stuffed with raging rock attitude.

Produced by Chris “Frenchie” Smith, Judgement Eve represents Pace’s third studio album since arriving in Austin via Milwaukee seven years ago. And the Big Dog comes out swinging in Judgement Eve with a furious, psychedelic roundhouse to “Punch ‘Em In The Ear”. Blistering guitar riffs reverberate around Pace’s burly baritone howls and cantorial delivery with this tenacious heavy-hitter. Fretwork creeps towards a more methodical pace during “It All Comes Back To You” before the booming, chorus rapturously calls upon karma’s verdict. Pace’s vocals are immediately distinguishable combining the growling intensity of Neil Fallon with the polished, cantorial assertiveness of Leonard Cohen. Power chords and scorching, arena rock guitar solos intermingle with deep, murky blues themes and soul-packed gospel undertones creating Pace’s most confident and versatile album to date. The Big Dog shows no remorse for getting his hands dirty to knock you on your ass with Judgement Eve.

The album has three years-worth of livin’ crammed in it…a whole lotta love and anger…and the best sounds we’ve ever put out,” claims Pace.” There’s no doubt about that. Judgement Eve struts with soulful swagger and straight-up rock n’ roll bravado.

Sam Pace and The Gilded Grit are currently touring North America. You can find additional information and tour dates on the band’s website.

Sam Pace and The Gilded Grit – Official Video “Undertow”

Judgement Eve Release Party at Swan Dive on June 1st.

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Photos by: Matthew Carlin @yo_mtv_matt