by Nick Hanover
If you live in Austin then you already know there’s too much damn music to keep track of. And sometimes you just want to sift through it in bite-sized chunks. We totally understand. Allow us to introduce you to The Latest Toughs, five tracks from five bands to get you up to date and make each of your workdays a little easier.
Rooney Pitchford- “Anyway”
Lew Card- “Paradise”
January has been an unusually good month for twangy Austin releases, with Rooney Pitchford’s Familiar Places flanked by Lew Card’s new album Follow Me Down. Less baroque than Pitchford, Card’s music emphasizes the rootsier end of country and folk, with “Paradise” serving as the sweet centerpiece of the album. Vocally, Card is somewhere between John Prine and Randy Newman, and “Paradise” smartly dresses up his rougher vocal with accompaniment by female backing vocals. The track is smartly arranged, with finger picked guitar serving as the only instrument mixed to the same level as Card’s vocal, while light percussion and spare piano dress up the background. Card’s approach might be more traditionalist than most of the current crop of Austin country devotees, but it’s done so well that it is all the more refreshing for it.
Glosser- “All Over”
You’d think that the Raveonettes would have a few more copycats by now. They kind of snuck into the charts at a time when neither shoegaze nor girl groups were in and bluesy rock duos were conquering the world, but a lot of the individual strands of their influences have since become big again, particularly in Austin. Glosser seem out to rectify that by boiling down the Raveonettes sound to its most Suicide-y, with elements of Nuggets garage rock for extra flavoring. “All Over” is the weirdest track on their new album Acetone, which makes it the best by default. Still recognizably noise pop in the Raveonettes vein, there are also hints of Cheap Trick in the nasally delivery and ever ascending melody. I’m willing to be Glosser really shine in a run down club where the treble shoots through your sinuses like lava.
Tiger Waves- “Salida”
Propelled by a beat and keyboard line that would have fit right in with the garagier end of the California psych scene in ’60s, Tiger Waves’ “Salida” is fleet footed but anxious, ghostly vocals seemingly trying to escape some unspeakable acts. In signature Tiger Waves style, it builds not to a climax but to an atmospheric come down, the mobile rhythm fading into the background as swirling guitars and delay effects consume everything. “Salida” is perhaps more digestible and immediately engaging than most of the material on its parent album Tippy Beach but the work on the whole is a remarkable blend of psych, country and indie rock that should not be missed.
Tank Washington “No Hook ft. Cory Kendrix”
LNS Crew MVP Tank Washington dropped a new album called Pain this month, and it’s a solid if especially commercially minded release. But where Tank and crew really shine is in the intersection of that commercialism and their more abstract tendencies. “No Hook” exemplifies this, with its dark club beat by rising LNS star Anna Love and Tank and Cory Kendrix’s svelte verses, which juxtapose the chill energy of the production by being two of the more dynamic vocal performances on the album. Most of Pain operates at a lower energy, Tank aiming not for the hyped up early parts of an evening out but the regretful final moments. But “No Hook” is somewhere in the middle, when the night holds just enough promise to keep you going but you still can’t shake the feeling it will end poorly.
Nick Hanover got his degree from Disneyland, but he’s the last of the secret agents and he’s your man. Which is to say you can find his particular style of espionage here at Ovrld as well as Loser City, where he mostly writes about comics. You can also flip through his archives at Comics Bulletin, which he is formerly the Co-Managing Editor of, and Spectrum Culture, where he contributed literally hundreds of pieces for a few years. Or if you feel particularly adventurous, you can always witness his odd .gif battles with his friends and enemies on twitter: @Nick_Hanover