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.

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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.

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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.

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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 

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Denizens

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Clever Heads Prevail

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

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Swan Dive Vibes With TOMKAT and Dossey

The I-35 connection was fully heated Friday night as Denton-based, electro-pop outfit, TOMKAT, hooked up with Austin’s synth-pop starlet, Dossey, at Swan Dive. No lie, this pop explosion has been circled on our calendar for a while now and it was every bit worth the wait.

Shortly after 10:00pm, immersive synth blasts engulfed the venue as Dossey, the electro-pop alter ego of Sarah Dossey, assumed control of the stage backed by Shy Beast’s Mariclaire Glaeser on keys and a hard-hitting repertoire of analog and digital electronic timbres. The homegrown artist who’s become a mainstay at Swan Dive made her debut in 2015 with Diamond and recently released the first of a two-part series in Electric, which was played in its entirety Friday…including her sweet cover of Peter Gabriel’s ‘In Your Eyes’. Her straight forward dance beats and intricate pop melodies are infectiously catchy with ambient soundscapes and captivating vocals you can’t help but succumb to. Friday was the last Dossey show of the year. But, pay attention to Swan Dive’s calendar and check her website for upcoming shows.

More and more fans began to pack Swan Dive once TOMKAT took over the venue. Led by vocal enchantress, Katrina Cain, the band trekked 3 hours south to show off their highly acclaimed debut LP, Icarus. Born from rock, jazz, classical, metal, and R&B musicians, TOMKAT consists of Cain (vocals), Andrew McMillan (guitar), Mike Luzecky (bass), Jonny Harmon (drums), and Trenton Hull (synths).

A petite powerhouse, Cain packs a huge punch on stage, especially when layering seductive vocals over the sensual groove of ‘Teardrops‘…a single Huffington Post considers “one of the best songs of the year.” But it’s through ‘Persephone‘ that the tempting siren pulls the crowd deeper into Icarus. The band’s unique electronic groove blends everything from dreamy pop and classy jazz to shimmering rock and rich RnB while covering a realm of lyrical topics stretching from ancient myths to current heartbreaks. Diversely fit for just about any setting, Icarus can soothe a soul, jump-start a jazz bar or heat-up a bedroom…and as witnessed on Friday, damn-sure turnout Swan Dive.

For everyone in Austin hoping to catch TOMKAT again, have no fear. The band was recently accepted to play SXSW 2018. So, be on the lookout. In the meantime, enjoy these fantastic images from Friday’s show captured by Matthew Carlin.

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TOMKAT – ‘Drowning’ (Official Video)

http://tomkatband.com/

Photos by: Matthew Carlin @yo_mtv_matt

Shy Beast Release Debut EP at Swan Dive

Austin’s dreamy, indie-pop outfit Shy Beast celebrated their debut EP Friday night at Swan Dive supported by a powerhouse local lineup. The self-titled debut represents a natural maturation for the spirited pop band who previously rocked Austin under the moniker of MCG and is reflective of their growth towards a sophisticated pop outfit of anthemic proportions.

Produced by Danny Reisch (White Denim, Okkervil River, Bright Light Social Hour), the debut EP features three infectiously uplifting, synth-layered tracks that meaningfully illustrate a common experience about human nature.

The band consists of singer and keyboardist Mariclaire Glaeser, rhythm guitarist and vocalist David Tenczar, lead guitarist, keyboardist and vocalist Andrew Bennett, bassist Jay Cesak (aka Jayzilla) and Drew Silverman on the drums. Gleaser may lead the band…however, each member contributes to the creation process as Glaeser, Tenczar and Bennett each wrote one of the three tracks of Shy Beast.

Last month, leading up to the album’s release, the band premiered the video for lead single “Back With Me”. “The video, uses movement, replacement, color, and light, to explore a woman’s transition from the feeling of being trapped in an apologetic spiral, to a deepening trust and confidence in herself,” states Glaeser.

At the EP Release Party, it became evident why the band chose the new identity. Shy Beast is a particularly fitting name for the outfit’s leading lady, Glaeser. She’s a self-described, “relatively shy and certainly awkward person.” But, on stage, the towering frontwoman comes alive with a commanding presence and seductive confidence that alludes to her internal beastly nature.

The EP Release Party began with a lavish, dance-inducing set of soaring synths and ambient vocals form homegrown electro-pop songstress and resident Swan Dive starlet Dossey. The Austin product’s performance featured the entirety of her latest EP, Electric, along with several favorites from her debut effort, Diamond. Dossey is the electro-pop alter-ego of artist, songwriter, enigma Sarah Dossey, who is also a member of Austin-based folk/bluegrass outfits The Reliques and Indian & The Jones.

Next up was local indie rockers Slomo Drags. This nostalgic, four-piece considers themselves equal parts pop gold and noisy guitar irreverence. The band shimmers and crunches in melodic, transgressive power pop harmony with diverse song structures that are tight and crisp while also colorfully loose and flexible. This is boisterous rock with a surreal pop twist that culminates in damn-fine entertainment.

The evening also featured experimental electronic-pop and folky trip-hop trio Fort Never who took the crowd on a transcendental, digitized fantasy. The trio consists of producer and songwriter, Timothy Ruch, singer Chantell Moody and drummer Deano Cotè. The eclectic, avante-garde band pulls from a huge range of influences and genres to defy categorization with their forward-thinking and innovative approach towards music composition and direction. For a wild trip take a gander at Fort Never’s latest video for “Paradigm”.

In the meantime, check out some of the highlights below from Shy Beast’s EP Release Party captured by Valerie Riels.

Shy Beast

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Fort Never

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Slomo Drags

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Dossey

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Photos by: Valerie Riel @photo.atx

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Henry the Archer Takes Aim at Swan Dive

Forth Worth’s alt-rock-indie-pop group Henry the Archer shot through Austin last Friday landing at Swan Dive in the Red River District. Led by charismatic vocalist/guitarist Richard Hennessy, the three-piece includes Kevin Geist on drums and Charles Marchbanks on bass.

The Hand Drawn Records signees released their debut vinyl, Zero Is A Number, in May with the album’s second single, ‘Wifi-Pets’, making its radio debut last week. The fourth album from frontman Hennessy, Zero Is A Number is the definitive, yet uncategorical sound of Henry the Archer blending every concept imaginable from alt-rock and post-punk to electric-folk and indie-dance-funk to tackle topics of love, loss and life.

Since the album’s release, the band has sky-rocketed through the DFW scene picking up three Dallas Observer 2017 Music Award nominations including ‘Best Group Act’, ‘Best Male Vocalist’ and ‘Best Song’ ‘Wifi-Pets’…thanks in large part to HTA’s management team and ‘Best Record Label’ nominee, Hand Drawn Records. As if rocking the north Texas music scene isn’t enough to keep HTA occupied, the band also produces Henry the Archer Hot Sauce along with a brand new beer from Division Brewing labeled Sunday Samurai. It’s all in a day’s work for this DFW rock outfit.

You can catch Henry the Archer on Saturday, Nov. 18th at the historic Longhorn Ballroom for the 15th annual Cedars Open Studios and official after party with Hand Drawn Records label-mate Silas Nello.

In the meantime, enjoy these awesome set photos from Henry the Archer at Swan Dive captured by Matthew Carlin.

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Photos by: Matthew Carlin @yo_mtv_matt

Nomad City at Swan Dive Recap

Austin is rapidly becoming a town of creative and driven ‘boss babes.’ Nowhere is that more evident than the city’s thriving rock scene. An arena that was once dominated by rockabilly icons and guitar-slinging bluesmen has undergone a revitalizing makeover led by a youthful wave of badass femme fatales. Case and point, Nomad City’s powerhouse leading lady, Britny Lobas.

I got my first live glimpse of the attention grabbing shewolf last Thursday when Nomad City rocked Swan Dive and holy shit, does Lobas radiate rocker attitude. On stage, she’s dangerously seductive unleashing a ferocious vocal range that would make Christina turn her chair.

But, don’t get it wrong though, Nomad City is more than a supporting cast for Lobas. The band of transplants from Cleveland, Chicago, Houston and Phoenix, formed in 2015 after Lobas and guitarist Ray Kainz began writing and performing as a duo. Austin’s nomadic nature brought the duo together with bassist Russell Simonson and drummer Alec Cabrera, hence the name, Nomad City.

They released their self-titled, debut EP in December 2016, a 5-track project loaded with crunchy, freewheeling rock riffs and overpowering vocals. Think pre-mainstream Black Keys meets eclectic south Austin indie on the Dark Side. The month of the release, Nomad City was AMF’s featured Artists of the Month and have since premiered two videos from the album.

Nomad City is currently working on a new single, “You & Me,” due out in December from their upcoming EP (early 2018) and is next scheduled to play The Sahara Lounge on Oct. 18th with Skyline & Clay Melton. You can also catch them on Dec. 1st at Mohawk with another one of Austin’s leading ladies, Emily Bell, The Canvas People and The Diamond Thieves.

For more information and upcoming shows visit http://www.nomadcityband.com.

Nomad City at Swan Dive

 

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Nomad City – ‘Honey’ Official Video

 

Photos by: Demetrius Judkins @wolfspiritofthesun