Clever Heads Prevail Bring the Heat to Swan Dive

On a brisk Thursday night Red River’s Swan Dive became the evening’s home to First Time in Color, Denizens, and Clever Heads Prevail. The chilly weather couldn’t keep a warm and welcoming crowd away, however.

The night begins with First Time in Color, a 4-piece outfit from Austin that specializes in indie-rock with dance-pop sensibilities. Holding down the middle set, Denizens take the stage with their aggressive ambiance, tinted with jazz and funk. Finally, San Marcos’ Clever Heads Prevail finish up the night with their southern-blues rock, captivating the crowd with an inclusive reach that spans across many genres.


Boasting a Killers t-shirt, First Time in Color vocalist/bassist E.Z. Maldonado awakens the Swan Dive crowd with a demand for noise. In an excited response, the crowd jumps and dances to the beat of drummer Alex La Fuente. Most songs resemble a heart-on-the-sleeve mentality with a passionate release from Maldonado and his bandmates. Heavy drums, velvet bass lines, thick keys and catchy guitar riffs inject the crowd with pure adrenaline, giving off enough energy to keep the party going all night. Guitarist Rix Landa proves to be the melodic centerpiece, providing a steady flow of fast-paced, groovy riffs. Most characterized by their possessive chords and radio-rock style, the quartet’s dance-ready sound makes for a memorable set. As they finish, Maldonado hints at a new album in the works.


The Denizen’s concept of aggressive percussion striking against an ambient noisescape created a sense of intimacy in the room. Vocalist Chris Michael’s dramatic flair fills the venue and the room bursts alive in response to the group’s dynamic, polyrhythmic and color-filled art-noise. Soaring notes guide a frenzied chorus of melodies and this band is all about intense chordal structures interweaving with trance-inducing rhythms and thought-provoking trends. After bassist Kyle Garcia’s string breaks, a helpful Maldonado loans out his bass in an act of camaraderie. “Life doesn’t prepare you for a broken bass string,” Michael attests. Soon thereafter, the group was back to their craft.


Closing out the night, Clever Heads Prevail took to the stage with friends and fans surrounding them. Vocalist Jose Jimenez is met by cheers as he adorns a cowboy hat and introduces the quartet. It’s as if an angry Mac Demarco began a folk-rock band. Each member bears a grin as they relentlessly rock in perfect tune with each other. The San Martians specialize in a cascading form that guarantees intimacy. As they perform their latest single, “Mumbles,” the group finds a home on the stage. Sprinkles of fans can be seen mouthing along. Ever-so-talented, guitarist Micah Krejcha offers a slew of frenzied solos through the show, wowing even the doorman. From math-rock to heavy blues, Clever Heads Prevail can do it all. Check out the show highlights below.

First Time In Color 




Clever Heads Prevail

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Article by: Sawyer Click
Photos by: Valerie Riels @photo.atx
Photos and Video by: Mark Bowers @markbowersphoto


Clever Heads Prevail Break Through With “Mumbles”

An alt-rock sensation that screams for clarity and truthfulness, Clever Heads Prevail have released their single, “Mumbles.” For fans of the Artic Monkeys, Royal Blood and Bloc Party, the bilingual track explores the realization of deceit on a societal level. The San Marcos quartet are set to release their debut album, Mumbles, in early-February.

Mastered by Ed Brooks of Resonate Mastering, a defining mix of distorted and special effects create an ever-so-smooth release of tension as the song cascades into complex rhythms, culminating around. The track criticizes the ill-intent and mass-delusion of the world, critiquing a never-ending thirst and bottomless lies.

Track Rambler had an opportunity to sit down with Clever Heads Prevail vocalist/guitarist Jose Jimenez to talk about “Mumbles.”

Track Rambler: What does “Mumbles” mean for the band? Is it the next step?
Jose Jimenez: Well, “Mumbles” really took a lot of patience and time. We genuinely really loved the sound that we were creating. We all really appreciate that song and everything that we did with it. A lot of creativity was put in on all four of our fronts. To clarify, the drummer behind “Mumbles” is Eric Puente. Jacob is the current drummer that we have now, but Eric helped us write the entire album, “Mumbles” included. We have an album coming out soon, by the way.

TR: Early February, right?
JJ: Yeah, we’re working for early February. It’s called Mumbles as well.

TR: What does “Mumbles” mean thematically?
JJ: A lot of it, especially lyrically, is about hope. It’s to break through the mumbles of the masses and the lack of concrete words. The lyrics in “Mumbles” specifically speak to that, but the album holds true to that message as well. We were breaking through uncertainty and concepts that aren’t entirely tangible.

TR: What’s your favorite track from the upcoming album?
JJ: My personal favorite would be “What Is Right.” We have a mixtape version of that on Bandcamp.

TR: The track seems to act as a battleground between two different concepts: the good and the bad.
JJ: Lyrically, a lot of what I talk about is polarized. There are two very distinct positions and each one is pitted against the other. Ultimately, through my lyrics, I’ve really tried to push for hope and positivity. I want to say that even though there are these cases in which you have something pushing against you so hard, the power to be positive and to endure is there and that you will emerge better having gone through it. In “Mumbles,” the last “¡Yo prieto, Yo! ¡Lucharé!” translates in English to “I, the dark man, will continue to fight.” That’s the persona of a man fighting against the world and the deceit. The song is very much a detailed depiction of what one man says and what he really means. It is about intentions against the action.

TR: On intentions, what was the driving force behind having the two different languages?
JJ: I guess you could say that it reveals two personas, but the languages came out because it was natural to me. That was where I found strength and where I could hone in on something that I know would be genuine. I was allowed to articulate that emotion and passion through Spanish.

TR: Where did you guys record the album at?
JJ: We recorded at the Texas Recording Conservatory of Austin. Virginia Haladyna was our producer. We’ve worked with her on “That Life You Think You Got Pt. 1.” She tracked, mixed and mastered most of the tracks.

You can catch Clever Head Prevail next at Swan Dive on Jan. 18.


Article by: Sawyer Click