by Nick Hanover
Each month, we’re showcasing three mostly unknown Austin acts we’ve discovered on Bandcamp or Soundcloud, in the hopes of bringing them From Our Living Room to Yours.
Sometimes you hear a new song and it’s like it’s been in your head for a very long time, a musical specter that has haunted you subtly for years. Meenk’s “19” is one in a long line of personal musical specters for me, a dreamy yet indescribably dark little indie pop number that seems to be entirely removed from time. Maybe that’s because of the subject matter– acting out as a teenager in ways that seem gigantic to you at the time but really aren’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things is a story as old as the concept of the teenager, at least. Or maybe it’s because of the instrumentation, where a morose organ quietly weaves in and out of the mix, the vocals front and center but charmingly lacking confidence. There’s also Meenk’s entire aesthetic, on down from the gibberish name of the band and the Scamu Scau EP “19” comes from to the gutter punk by way of Henry Selick EP art. Meenk, in short, is a band operating in its own little microcosm where twee and Lou Reed street poetry centered around aimless adolescents rather than murderous heroin addicts are able to combine with little concern for how that might be perceived. A lot of you will listen to it and not understand the fuss I’m making, but the rest of you will hear this and it will never leave your head, either.
Meenk are playing Mohawk, tomorrow July 8th. Go check them out.
Soaked “It’s True”
A lot of bratty pop punk bands emerged in the wake of Wavves and most of them are garbage, but the groups that took the right lessons from Wavves’ are worth paying attention to. I’d throw new Austin quartet Soaked into that latter camp, since they’ve got a knack for penning commanding melodies and devising deceptively complicated twists on traditional pop structures. “It’s True” is about three minutes of great guitar pop with a simple but fantastic chorus, full of hidden harmonies and riffs that Johnny Thunders would have made more of if he hadn’t been nodding off all the time. The production is unfortunately flat and the vocals could stand to be a lot higher in the mix but those are small complaints when the songwriting is as sharp as it is here. Still, once the band finds the right studio and producer combination, they’re bound to blow up in a big way.
One-Hitters “Drunk Again”
Even though we live in Austin, Texas and our city has a long history of churning out country legends, I get the feeling most of you wouldn’t know the difference between Hanks 1 through 3. Luckily, a new quintet called One-Hitters just put out an EP that functions as a classic country primer of sorts, with a handful of deep cuts that show off some of the better if lesser known country acts that should be on any Texan’s radar. Of the batch, the best is the cover of Moe Bandy’s “Here I Am, I’m Drunk Again” (the title inexplicably shortened by One-Hitters), which subs out the fiddle for chugging guitar and adds in an incredible backing vocal that instantly recalls the legendary Gram and Emmylou pairing. It’s a bit rowdier than Bandy’s original, more ramshackle and clumsy and to my ears that’s far more fitting for the subject matter. One-Hitters’ original material takes that element of the band’s sound further, and it stands to reason that the group is best experienced in a live setting, but the stellar vocal performance on “Drunk Again” makes it hard not to return to the track over and over. Contemporary Austin could use more twang, especially when it’s of this caliber.