After releasing their third EP in 2016, Austin based group ‘The Gents’ decided it was time for change, time for a revamp, and time to crank it up a notch. Following months spent away from the stage and tucked away in the studio, with the help of Chris “Frenchie” Smith, the band has truly solidified and sharpened their sound.
Of course, with a new sound comes a new name. Re-branded as Meanswell, after the name of their self-titled single, the guys have truly established themselves as a rock & roll band, counting Weezer and AC/DC as their influencers.
If their self-titled single is anything to go by, then we’ve got a lot to get excited about. The song is brilliantly produced with a classic instrumental arrangement combined with authentic vocals. Subtly sounding like a song you’d hear at a 60’s school dance, with a traditional, slow tempo and romantic sound underneath, it’s rocked and roughed up with blasts of duel electric guitars and gruff authentic vocals.
The rasping vocals make the track doubtlessly compelling. Like a rollercoaster, the huskiness of the genuine vocals takes you on a thrilling and emotive journey, leaving you full of adrenaline and pining to listen all over again. Although the immense vocals are gripping enough, the instrumentals have a voice all of their own, and are left to do ample amounts of talking.
This transpires into their second single, ‘Open Season’. It truly proves their versatility, juxtaposing Meanswell, with much more of an indie rock vibe. It’s bold, fun, and maintaining those gravelly vocals boosts that sense of rebellion. If you thought the instrumentals were good during their first single, then you’ve heard nothing yet. Upping the tempo during this track lets the group show off their incredible skills in generous amounts. Their talent is beyond mesmerizing.
Both tracks are incredible proof of the bands endless hard work and dedication. Meanswell’s bravery to try something new has truly paid off. With a bright future ahead, the guy’s first music video for their self- titled release will be premiered at the Austin Music Video Festival on September 12th.
It’s soulful, gritty, and down-to-Earth. Ray Prim is set to release To Whom It May Concern, his most courageous album to date, on September 15, with an official release party that night at The North Door in Austin with Suzanna Choffel opening the gig at 8p.m. An exclusive premier of the true-to-life title track, “To Whom It May Concern,” is available below for your listening pleasure.
The album is a blend of themes and arrangements that advances Prim’s previous accomplishment. “Thanks to Black Fret, 512 Studios, Omar Vallejo and all the guest musicians….this is probably our best album to date…..I can definitely see this one going double Aluminum,” says the Austin-based soul singer/song-writer. The album was funded by Black Fret, a connected network of art advocates that support Austin musicians.
Confined to no limits, Prim and his team explore what it means to let the art take control. Pop sensibilities intertwine with funk, blues, and contemporary acoustic. Think John Mayer and Marvin Gaye shooting a round of pool in a smoky bar with Earth, Wind and Fire playing in the background, and that is Ray Prim.
Emotion is the force behind every track, whether it be from Prim or any of his talented bandmates. Tracks like “To Whom It May Concern,” “No Need,” and “From the Belly of a Whale” are overflowing with a fiery passion, though each encapsulates varying vibes.
Vocalist Mexican Chocolate often accompanies Prim for stripped-down acoustic shows, demonstrating the depth of what two people and a guitar can accomplish. It’s not fair to describe Mexican Chocolate (real name Mike Robledo) as a backup singer, because what he brings to the table is so much more than an extra voice. It’s another tender heart beating along with the rhythm of the song. “Stormy Haze” is dominated by the pairing of Mexican Chocolate and Prim, as both feed off the charisma and fragility of letting go and living in the moment.
With Prim’s ace up his sleeve, Mexican Chocolate, accenting key parts of tracks or even taking control of certain moments, it’s easy to tell that it’s not just Prim that’s full of talent. “Stormy Haze” was a collaborative effort from the entire group, with everyone offering ideas and suggestions to drive. The connectedness of the group in times like that is a very large part of what makes Prim’s music so special.
The ever-so-talented violinists of the group, April Stephens and Kristen Randolph, are the icing on the cake. Whether it be a smooth honey-like draw or a delicate pluck of the string, they own the note. “No Need,” a touching duet with Suzanna Choffel, features a beautiful string arrangement that was crafted by McCallum High School’s own Wil Brookhart.
The funky twist of “I Promise” is a highlight of the album. The Fresh 2 Def Horns turn the already well-crafted track into a true work of art. Prim and his team of musicians keep a hint of groove in every track. In a similar fashion, “Moving on Up” is a cheery funk-ballad with a wonderland of horns, strings, and gospel singing.
An acoustic guitar is Prim’s weapon of choice throughout the album, though an occasional electric lick is thrown into the mix from a guest artist, notably Andre Moran from Belle Sounds. Tate Farrar from Sunflower and 7 Stones along with Ady Hernandez of 80H Project added extra guitar support to the album while Dave Madden composed the strings on Prim’s emotive ‘Since 88‘. This is an expansion for the group, noting that there is no electric guitarist in the band. Prim reaching out to this is a part of his exploration into varying sounds and noisescapes.
As for the rhythm section, bassist Alberto Ferrer, drummer John Ray, and keyboardist Marianna Tanguy explode with chemistry and lock down the foundation. Each providing a keen sense of when to step into the spotlight.
Prim has long understood the importance of music. The power behind a single note depends on the willingness of the artist to become vulnerable. An R&B vibrato remains in Prim’s arsenal, and has proven to be his bread and butter. That signature vibrato is the lighthouse amidst the storm of a full arrangement. It leads the audience to shore, and brings us the light.
Prim describes the prowess of his music as simply “Making it do what it does one chord at a time.” He’s in it not only for the love of the music, but for the love of the people. His soulful gravity may be what pulls you into his vision, but at some point, it just becomes too compelling to look away.
Hear Ray Prim make it do what it does on the album’s title track below.
To Whom It May Concern will be released on Friday, Sept. 15. There will be an official release party on Sept. 15 at The North Door, located at 501 Brushy St., Austin, Texas78702. Doors are at 7 p.m. and folk-funk songstress Suzanna Choffel will open the show at 8 p.m., followed by Prim and his band at 9 p.m.
Presale tickets are $25 and include a signed CD. A limited number of VIP packages are also available. Tickets may be purchased here.
Brave, bold, and completely courageous, Damian Wyldes‘ “Dancing With Your Ghost” transports you straight to the heart of a spaghetti western action scene. With the galloping rhythm brought to life through dancing strings and a bellowing brassiness, the track is simply triumphant in its battle. Without a single synthetic sound, the song is doubtlessly authentic, proving the vitality of the rugged folk-country sound, and timeless instruments.
The cantering pace and quirky melody instantly befriends the richness of Wylde’s mighty vocals. Counting Elvis Costello as a comparison, Damian Wyldes’ voice is an instrument of its own. He effortlessly transgresses from velvet smoothness to intense bursts of bristly gruffness surging with intensity.
Despite the nimble sound, the tracks artwork and lyrics illustrate a rather different story. The lyrics are quite reflective of the Tim Burton-esque Corpse’s Bride style cover, painting a picture of remembrance of a loved one. The wise and mindful lyrics could easily appear in a much more downbeat song. However, the quick tempo and colorful instrumentals do the talking, making this track perfectly unparalleled and undoubtedly genuine.
She’s soulful, she’s self-supporting, and she’s doubtlessly stunning. If there’s anyone advocating the perfect amount of female liberation then its Alesia Lani. Her latest album Resilient takes us back to the future, delivering all those sexy 90’s R&B vibes, with a hint of modern day quirk.
Lani’s supple and soulful voice is truly classic R&B at its best. With ‘You Changed’ boasting her talent exceptionally, the chilled-out instrumentals filled with those typical, yet totally effective, R&B twinkles and deep Organ notes help to create a thoroughly sassy 90’s sound. Despite the cool, relaxed melodies Lani’s vocals are always the star attraction. With her music style being comparable to that of Destiny’s Child, and early Alicia Keys there’s no doubt Lani’s music career is gleaming.
With another exceptional vocal lead, Lani uses ‘Fold’ to discuss her confusion between lust and love by wanting to return back to an old lover that she knows isn’t healthy for her. She slows it down and sexes it up during this track creating a mature yet sensual kind of mood.
However, songs like ‘Pay Me No Mind’ are truly representative of her strong, ‘independent woman’ morals. With undoubtedly direct lyrics and clusters of brass instrumentals, the track isn’t shy of confidence. The subtle hint of slaps, claps and finger snaps humanizes the music. The song is stripped right down to the basics of music making, proving that sometimes simplicity is key.
Although her music takes it right back to basics, Lani gives her album a fresh and unique twist with the inclusion of spoken word tracks. Both her ‘Intro‘ and ‘Zai’s Poem‘ provide an emotional insight into Lani’s consciousness. It unites both Lani and listener, creating a mutual understanding. It no longer becomes solely her album, but an album meant to be shared and understood by all.
With Resilient only being her second album since 2015, the tenacity and sharpness suggests she’s way beyond her years. Creating an album for both dedicated R&B fans and those new to the genre alike, Alesia Lani is influential in her own right, and almost definitely here to stay.
Astrotheque, the digital dream-pop stars of Austin, has premiered their latest single, ‘Sweet the Sound’, taken from their forthcoming debut album Return to Form right here on Track Rambler. A headlining show at Barracuda in Austin on September 2nd with Hamerzya and Obsolete Machines will be home to the group’s widespread release of the single, with each attendee receiving a free download of ‘Sweet the Sound’. While we don’t have a definitive release date for Return to Form (Fall 2017), “Sweet the Sound” is enough to keep eardrums occupied in the meantime.
The track is a cognitive arrangement of two genres that are ever-so-popularly being seen together; indie rock and digital pop. Each genre retains its own identity when under inspection, but upon a step back, it all melds together quite like a finished puzzle. Piecing it all together are Astrotheque founders JDub and Claudio Ramirez, a duo that has thrived off of experimenting with sounds unexplored in previous endeavors. With John Looke taking responsibility for synth, keyboards and programming, and Dave Terry locking down the trapset, the group’s live performance is promised to be just as stimulating.
JDub, the energetic lead vocalist, guitarist, and multi-instrumentalist, boasts a satin-smooth voice through the song, easily floating through moving melodies while laying down a perplexing melodic-minor progression on guitar. On the other side, Ramirez drops a powerfully enigmatic soundscape as the digital producer, captivating listeners with an array of distorted sounds.
The intense combination is a battle, one from which the audience walks away victorious. It becomes easy to get lost in both spectrums, whether it be the cool, groovy indie half, or the bombastic, head-turning half. Return to Form is promised to be an adventure into the minds of these arranging masterminds. Click below to get lost in the digital dream-pop cosmos of ‘Sweet the Sound’
Soulful, sensual and slinky, Jake Lloyd’s immersive voice and steamy sounds make a song shaped for the sundown.
The R&B inspired ‘Str8nge Frute‘ awakens those evening time vibes through its deep, delayed tempo, bringing relaxation to the forefront. In contrast however, the songs abrupt halts, slaps, and consistent bursts of ‘Wild Thoughts’ style electric guitar riffs lingering hushed in the background, deliver an intense sense of sexiness. It’s the perfect song for your bedroom playlist.
Although the instrumental plays strong alone, Lloyd’s syrupy vocals are what really brings the track to life. Storytelling about a romantic interest and their sexual encounters, confidence oozes from both the cocksure lyrics and his impressively slick pitch transitions.
Lloyd’s ‘Str8nge Frute’ is the first record to be released from his upcoming album, Jake Lloyd LP. After previously performing in numerous bands as the frontman, Lloyd knew he was on the verge of something huge. Despite counting R&B, Soul, and Hip-Hop as some of his influences, Jake Lloyd insists he doesn’t conform to a musical box. With this in mind, and his remarkable first single, Lloyd’s debut LP is set to be unique and completely unmissable.
Who said violins were exclusively for classical music? Certainly not Lexi Cardenas. Lexi and The Bleached Roses have been reinventing the central Texas music scene by proving that classical instruments can do it better.
The Austin-based band started challenging the norms of indie rock music after Lexi, lead vocalist and violinist, decided that forming a band was the perfect idea. Initially starting to record their debut album, Sweet Desire, as a solo artist, Lexi soon realized that creating an entire album by herself was extremely hard work. She enlisted the help of Cello player, Mario Salas, and by the end of the album recording had an entire band to help her out. Lexi admits she’s learned a lot of important lessons during the recording process, saying “I’ve learned I cant do everything myself, and that’s okay”.
After being classically trained in music for 21 years, Frontwoman Lexi sure has a lot to give. Starting her training aged seven, she progressed to play in her first band, The Texas Fiddlers, during high school. This stage during her music career was clearly a defining moment, as she describes, “that’s where I first learned about amplifying my violin and a completely different kind of audience.” After continuing to learn more about pushing the boundaries of music at college, the band is where she really let her creativity shine, saying “This group is a culmination of all the styles I’ve learned.”
The band’s debut album, Sweet Desire, takes a real twist from the classical instrument stereotype. With the music ‘driven more by layers and instrumentation’ the group truly broaden the horizons of indie rock, country, and Americana vibes. The band’s inspirations are plentiful, counting Arcade Fire as one of their top influences. Mo from the band describes, “Bands like that make me want to work harder to be a better musician.”
The album’s title is based around the featuring track, ‘Sweet Desire’. It’s a completely honest track, based around Lexi’s “road to self discovery”. A song about accepting yourself and embracing self confidence, the country twang is pure, her vocals are authentic and the hint of indie gives it that courageous vibe. The song is truly representative of Lexi coming into her own, as she states “This song describes a pivotal point of my life where I decided to stand up and just be myself.” Other tracks on the album include ‘Not Your Girl‘, a stripped back, tough, girl power song. It begins with just Lexi’s strong vocals and her violin, before the songs depth bulks up as it progresses.
Beside the album’s success and popularity, Mo offers his advice to aspiring musicians, encouraging “Don’t let anyone get in your way or tell you, you can’t do something or that your dreams and goals are unrealistic. I’m a true believer that hard work pays off”.
With their debut album released and under their belts, the band is already looking well into the future and beginning plans on album number two. Mo says “I’ve really been diving into songwriting right now anticipating our next album” Mo anticipates it’ll be even better as they look to ‘challenge themselves as a band’. After reflecting on her past experiences, Lexi predicts a fruitful future for the band, as she says “I’ve played in so many projects over the years, but this one I feel has the greatest potential.” As well as a new album, the band promises a stage tour too. Mo assures us, “it’s going to be a lot of fun”.
Austin-based hip/hop artist Mike Melinoe reinvents fire in “Phase Face Moonlight.” The single features a flowing beat, a galactic adventure, and an armada of flamethrowers. The Detroit-turned-Austin artist pulls from several sounds, relying on a quirky, one-of-a-kind type delivery to attract listeners. Well, the flamethrowers aren’t hurting either.
“Phase Face Moonlight” originated during a time of duress for Melinoe, and the feverishly stressed syllables capture the essence of struggling. Art is too often thought of to be for others, and Melinoe has shamelessly made it known that this is for him, and those that do understand his abstract art, however, can see the vision in full view. The lyrics can be playfully typical at times, but he strays from the pack when it comes to the overall message and delivery. Niles Mack produced a beat that almost sounds like it could be from Yoshi’s Story. It sounds astronomical, yet still comes across as laid-back once you throw Melinoe’s crazed poetry over it.
The video, released August 16, has a light-hearted sense of fun that derives from Melinoe and his friends being able to goof off together. The clip is homemade in fashion, which only adds to the charismatic feel of the video. Carefree dancing from Melinoe and his posse holds the screen, but is broken up by flashes of Saturn’s moon, a spaceship, and Melinoe doing his thing in front of a moving truck. A distortion wraps the screen at key points to highlight accents and to keep from monotony setting in. Melinoe, who is also a talented painter, likes the independence that comes from producing art. Whether he’s the next Picasso or the next DMX, he’s certainly a treasure to be admired in a world of conformity.
Chilled, smooth yet strong, and deliciously satisfying. Just like a good drink, CAPYAC’sFade Outis a song best served over ice. The low- key track with a lasting impression is the perfect accompaniment to a nonchalant night spent with friends.
Inside an almost too trendy bar where the clientele look almost too cool is exactly where this track belongs. With a range of mingling genres on one track, sounds of Hip Hop, R&B, and electronic music make this track completely unparalleled. Soulful sounding vocals and bursting blows of brass uniting with sci- fi sounding electronica, somehow make the perfect synergy. The slick feature of Austin MC, RuDi Devino drives the music well into both mainstream and hip- hop territory. The sheer variety of cooled down characteristics with vibrant vibes makes this a top chilled track for almost any ears.
Unlike CAPYAC’s Bubblegum and much more like Talk About, it won’t leave you wiping beads of sweat from your forehead on the dancefloor, but it will leave you with a similar radiant glow as the playful tempo and sunshine beat fills you with carefree bliss. The band couldn’t have devised a more fitting title for the tune. From the very first beat the stress and anxiety of modern day reality simply fizzles and fades out, transporting you to a worryless wonderland.
CAPYAC’s sense of fun and imagination that’s pumped endlessly into their music makes their records the perfect form of escapism. With their music already catching the attention of fans in Europe, Korea, and Japan, it’s no doubt that their future in music is anticipated to be fruitful. With the bands notorious sense of quirk, their summer tour is set to be truly unmissable.
You can catch CAPYAC’s tour across the US from August 22nd 2017 at the following venues.
Aug 22 – Nashville, TN – ACME Feed & Seed
Aug 24 – Hot Springs, AR – Maxine’s
Aug 25 – Tulsa, OK – Fassler Hall Sep 7 – Austin, TX – Mohawk
In the wake of last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, VA., Wilco has released a new benefit song called ‘All Lives, You Say?’ via their Bandcamp page. The song title references the “All lives matter” response to the Black Lives Matter movement and was released Monday night. Although no direct reference is made to the tragic events in Virginia, Wilco’s intent with ‘All Lives, You Say’ is clear.
“My dad was named after a Civil War general, and he voted for Barack Obama twice” states songwriter Jeff Tweedy in a post accompanying the song. “He used to say ‘If you know better, you can do better. America – we know better. We can do better.”
The acoustic country track loops along at a surprisingly mellow pace driving attention towards Tweedy’s metaphorical lyrics. “All lives, all lives you say/ I can see you are afraid / Your skin is so thin / Your heart has escaped.”
‘All Lives, You Say?’ is dedicated to Tweedy’s father, Robert L. Tweedy, who died earlier this year. All proceeds from the song will be donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The benefit single can be purchased for $1 from Wilco’s Bandcamp page. Catch Wilco live at Bass Concert Hall in Austin on October 1st.