From Our Living Room to Yours 3 – The Best of Austin Bandcamp


Virgin Shores - "Ghost Town"

A duo that’s unafraid of keeping things simple, Virgin Shores thrive on the hypnotic allure of repetitive riffs and unfussy drumming. “Ghost Town” is the standout of their two currently available tracks, three and a half minutes of afterlife shenanigans with Ira Henderson doing his best to juxtapose his hooky guitar lines with an appropriately haunted vocal. Adrian Croom has a knack for taking unexpected turns with his drums, making him the secret weapon of the duo as he eschews standard garage rock fills in favor of twisty syncopated rolls and start-stop beats, a classic example of making the most out of his playing by knowing when not to play. Like the best of In the Red Records’ roster, Virgin Shores spice up their Nuggets-pillaging with a fun eeriness, mixing in elements of heavies like the Cramps with sprinkling of newer legends Thee Oh Sees, influences that indicate they’re probably even better in a live setting, where that groove works its way through the crowd.

The Great Northern - "Scared Shitless"

Casey Anderson describes his outfit The Great Northern as shitgaze, but that’s only accurate as far as their album art is concerned. “Scared Shitless” proves Anderson has more in common with Pavement than Psychedelic Horseshit or Times New Viking, not just in regards to fidelity but also when it comes to songwriting and lyrical focus. Writing in entire paragraphs, Anderson has Stephen Malkmus’ self-deprecating edge front and center, but he frames it in a less stream-of-consciousness package. Anderson’s claim that he’s “never been this scared” by the claustrophobia of growing up is augmented by the nervous, jittery guitars but he’s as clear as could be when stating “I’m not ready for this thing called adulthood/but it’s not because I’m ill-prepared,” a lyric that probably hits close to home for more than a few Austin music fans. “Scared Shitless” could have easily been a standard whiny white indie track, but Anderson’s legitimate anxiety and willingness to treat an indie pop track like a therapy session makes it a welcome year-end discovery.

StormShadow - "The Battlefield"

Constructed around a slowed down sample of the Shirelles’ “Soldier Boy” and an insistent psych guitar riff, StormShadow’s “The Battlefield” stands out from the pack of Austin hip-hop even before Shadow himself enters the picture. With DJ Hanibal Beretta living up to his name as a dangerous weapon on the production front, StormShadow is free to flex his lyrical muscles, merging Del the Funky Homosapien’s singsong delivery with the smooth aggressiveness of Last Emperor. The hook comes as “Soldier Boy” drops even lower, pitch shifted to a point where it sounds like Nico leading a Gregorian chant as StormShadow asks himself whether it’s necessary to “eradicate, pillage them/smack them off their pedestal,” responding not with an affirmative but an even more declarative turn of the phrase. Too many Austin hip-hop acts try to get by with watered down takes on national sounds, the scene equivalent of showing up late to a party and drinking everybody else’s beer, but StormShadow and Hanibal Beretta go their own way on “The Battlefield” and hint at a psych hip-hop sound that is uniquely ATX.

– Nick Hanover