From Our Living Room to Yours 7: The Best of Austin Bandcamp


Each week, 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.

Captive - "The Fool"

With a sound that’s equal parts New Order and Pornography-era Cure, Captive’s “The Fool” stands out as nostalgic but fresh, thanks in large part to the smart production and arrangements. Dark wave frequently gets a bad rap because too many of its purveyors attempt to use shoddy production techniques to cover up a lack of songwriting ability, but Captive is unafraid to let every element of “The Fool” come through loud and clear. Featuring a strong electronic beat as its engine, “The Fool” is expertly arranged; the shimmery guitar hook gets stuck in your head immediately before disappearing long enough to keep from outstaying its welcome, while the melancholic vocals sit low enough in the mix to stay on the right side of the mysterious/pretentious divide. Though it’s billed as a demo on Bandcamp, in its current incarnation “The Fool” already sounds like a lost alt-radio hit from decades past.

GalPal - "Melted"

An intriguing new figure in the Austin beat scene, GalPal has less in common with the plethora of H-town obsessives that dominate Austin hip-hop than she does with the Stonesthrow roster, sharing that label’s interest in sample-based instrumentals that aren’t afraid to duck between genres at random. “Melted” is the strongest track on GalPal’s debut EP Elbow Room, a short but sweet mix of dreamy piano and glitched out horn stabs set to a slack boom bap beat. The bulk of Elbow Room is similarly hazy, but the mood of “Melted” is pure bliss, charming in its simplicity, an audio take on a lazy mid-afternoon cocktail. Though it’s just a short tease at slightly over two minutes, “Melted” offers up a promising world of sound ready for further exploration.

Gallows Drifters - "Last Ride, Stranger’s Remorse"

Not too long ago, it seemed like Spaghetti Western-influenced Americana was poised to be a big thing. Groups like Calexico and Murdered by Death merged Ennio Morricone’s Western work with folk and punk sounds and carved out instrumental heavy niches in larger genres, but then Crosby, Stills and Nash harmonies came back in a big, weird way and we all moved on. Except for Gallows Drifters, who have apparently been lurking in the shadows, waiting for the right time to spring their Spaghetti Western instrumentals on the world. “Last Ride, Stranger’s Remorse” seems like a displaced artifact, with its combination of Venture guitars, Wrecking Crew beat and epic horn arrangements, seemingly all scoring a film the band are imagining as they play. Austin has a surprisingly vibrant and eclectic surf scene, and though the Gallows Drifers seem to fit in with it, they also operate in a strange twilight zone where Austin’s alt-country history is equally present. It’s easy to buy into the idea that Austin is dominated by only a few genres, but the Gallows Drifters are a welcome reminder that that isn’t remotely true.

– Nick Hanover