DIY/Lo-Fi

Horsegirl "Ballroom Dance Scene"

Three high school friends, Gigi Reece, Nora Cheng, and Penelope Lowenstein, formed Horsegirl last year and this month packaged the three songs they have written, the newest being "Ballroom Dance Scene", into a wonderful new EP. It is that new song that has landed the trio in the spotlight, on NPR and in the Tribune, and when you listen you will hear why.

"Ballroom Dance Scene" is the perfect balance of odd, beautiful, deadpan, and graceful as it builds and swirls like the dance scene it is depicting. It brings to mind the sounds of Nico, Bell & Sebastian, Sebadoh, and Stereolab, and if you check out the girl weekly radio hour you may get a better sense of their vibe. 

Petite League releases "Greyhound"

"I lost my mind on a cross country bus 
King of the Road packing it up "

On their new single called “Greyhound” Petite League take a self-described bus ride to hell but as Bon Scott once put it "Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be" and I can believe it after listening to this rather wistful and lovely song which does still rock don't get me wrong. In contrast to the AC/DC Aussie-rock classic where there's a woman who “pours my beer, licks my ear," on Petite League’s cross-country bus journey things are a bit more circumspect where “we might have kissed like a blurry dream in the backseat” with “the rest stop lit by your cigarette at dusk” and honestly the latter sounds a good deal more romantic and maybe even more sexy as well. Even if the aforementioned only “might have” happened there’s still a compelling Wild At Heart road trip vibe at work minus Sherilyn Finn with her brains spilling out of her head and also there’s nobody putting their tongue in your ear but that’s fine if that’s your thing of course.

"Greyhound" takes the listener on a shambolic-sounding journey which is usually the best kind of journey. Over-planners are such a drag. I mean maybe sitting next to Lou Barlow for 40 hours would be tough because I’m getting hints of Sebadoh or is that Folk Implosion on this song, but “Greyhound” clocks in at under three minutes so you can handle that. Itinerary be damned just pay your $127 and settle in as you travel across this vast nation stopping at every Stuckey’s along the way (wear the damn mask folks!) and falling in love with someone who may or may not be a hallucination because none of this is going to happen in coach on Spirit Airlines. 

Petite League’s last album Rattler was their fourth and their first on their own Zap World Records imprint. According to songwriter Lorenzo Gillis Cook’s very own social media liner notes it was strongly informed by Daniel Johnston, suicidal urban cowboys, and "a quarter-life crisis." Their upcoming album, Joyrider, is due out in early 2021 and looks to be strongly informed by Lee Hazelwood, Roger Miller, and Antifa. Mr. L.G. Cook and drummer Mr. Henry Schoonmaker keep upping their game with every release so it’s probably a safe bet to pre-order the record but don’t ask me for your money back if you’re disappointed come January. 

Finally, see below for a song about New York Girls called “New York Girls” from their last record. This is the one that made them bigger than the Strokes which is pretty good for a band that started in a dorm room in Syracuse. Just so you’re not too confused I should mention that the video features Gaby Giangola aka “Goth Girlfriend” lip synching the vocals and she quite convincingly portrays a cleaned-up Nancy Spungen type or a lo-fi Harley Quinn type, take your pick, and also she has a music thing of her own (talent everywhere you look!) which you should probably check out too. (Jason Lee)


 

Luna Shadows goes retro with new single "The Nineties"

Today it's easy to view the Nineties how people then viewed the Sixties: A magical era of colorful pixels, modern fashions, and hope for a better future. But as Luna Shadows reflects in her new single "The Nineties", the decade had its fair share of insecurity, violence, disease, and despair. Shadows uses that roller coaster of anxiety to explore her past as well as her present fears, balancing her uneasiness against the poppy electronic music that seems ripped straight from the sound banks of a Super Nintendo. The retro game aesthetic makes a big appearance in the music video, which -- in keeping with her DIY brand -- Shadows filmed in her home in front of a green screen. "The Nineties" will appear on Shadows' upcoming debut album "Digital Pacific". Take a look at the music video for "The Nineties" below. - Will Sisskind

Psychedelic Disco Cowgirl Kitty Coen releases "Dark Soul"

 New artist Kitty Coen is keeping Austin Weird with the release of her latest single “Dark Soul”. This "psychedelic disco cowgirl" will captivate you with her haunting voice but hold you with the catchy disco beat. 

Cowboy, psychedelic, alt-rock, disco and high fashion are just a few ways to describe the vibe of local artist Kitty Coen. Sound familiar? Although she is new to the scene, Kitty Coen fits right into the Austin motif. She was set to perform at SXSW 2020 but has gifted us with this single and video to help heal our cancelled and broken hearts. 

 

Fire up the big screen, cuddle up to the new kitten and buy a disco ball because her new song and video for "Dark Soul" will take you on a trip. This video is a journey into the altered mind of the artist. The beginning is reminiscent of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas followed by a western night on 4th street. Truly a video not to be missed. 

 

With the upbeat tone and hallucinogenic visuals, do not overlook the strong feminist lyrics. What feels like a sexy party song is actually about being a desirable independent woman. She knows that men want her, but what she wants is a man who is not so clingy! 

 

Once the world opens up, Coen will be a sight to see live. With this being the second song she has streaming, Austin has a lot to look forward to.  

 

Magz Baillio

 

 

Subcommander Drops New Single “Hacksawteeth”

 Local D.I.Y. songwriter Marcos Rocha [A.K.A. subcommander] dropped a new single earlier this month via their North Loop apartment studio. The barely-there vocal style attests to their environment, being quarantined in a room with parchment paper walls. Though a lot of musicians are adjusting to working remotely, subcommander’s process hasn’t changed much. “All of my work has been made with really limited resources. It just so happens now that the resource I’m lacking is human contact”. Despite the current state of music in Austin, subcommander brings us a mini-symphony in “Hacksawteeth”.


The track starts with a funeral march style piano/string arrangement, then comfortably transitions into a warm, lounge vibe. The light fingerpicking on the nylon strings sound like Rocha’s sitting in the room with you. “Don't take the beaten path if it beats you to death” they whisper in the last line of the verses. Rocha is open about the feelings that went into creating the track, stating “One of my biggest fears is living a life that isn’t worth living, out of fear that I can’t have what I really want.” They added, “Meanwhile life is grinding away at you like a hacksaw & you’re expected to rise to whatever you’re handed using any tools you’ve got.” Rocha is well known in the Austin music community for their unabashed, guerilla marketing and no-frills approach.

 

In “Hacksawteeth”, subcommander took inspiration from fear, anxiety, false promises, Disney movie ‘Tangled’ and their cat Michael Caine. Rocha explains, “There is a horse named Maximus that has a whole personality and story arc. When the hero, Flynn, gets taken to jail near the end of the movie, I thought “Oh, obviously Maximus is just gonna go pay his bail” & that idea was really funny to me. That’s how I got the first line of the song ‘spent the night in jail / my cat paid bail.’ In a broader sense I feel like the song is about feeling helpless.” 

 

The subcommander discography is packed with a healthy dose of lo-fi, trip-pop tunes & more recently, an emotionally charged split album with Lizzie Page entitled ‘The Mud/Goodwill’ via local net-label Digital Hotdogs. Rocha plans on releasing an EP with their power-pop band Luvweb by the end of the year. Until then, you can purchase and stream “Hacksawteeth” on all major music streaming sites. Make sure to follow their Instagram and Facebook accounts to stay tuned in.


-Chris Lopez

 

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