From Our Living Room to Yours 2: The Best of Austin on Bandcamp


Each week, we’re showcasing three mostly unknown Austin acts we’ve discovered on Bandcamp, in the hopes of bringing them From Our Living Room to Yours.

Curbside Jones - "Pink"

Curbside Jones released The Cherry Blossom Effect: Trance(end) Edition at the start of the year, but it’s been unfortunately slept on while the emcee/producer has focused mainly on beat tapes since. Like a more style conscious, less deranged Lupe Fiasco, Curbside has a quick but clear flow and a futurist production style full of perfectly constructed synth hooks. “Pink” would be a breakout underground single for Curbside in a perfect world, with a sweet, dreamy sample and a tricky but well balanced start-stop beat that shows off the best of his daredevil lyricism and delivery. He’s only 23, so Curbside Jones has plenty of time to prove to Austin and the rest of the world that he’s a force to be reckoned with, but everyone knows there’s more fun in having the bragging rights of “I was into him before he played FFF,” right?

Sawa Meron - "Psycho Blues"

Jonathan Richman is a name that pops up a little often as an influence on the one sheets of the jangly indie set, with too many acts reducing Richman and his Modern Lovers to straight minimalism, missing out on the slightly off lyrical bent and dangerous sloppiness that made Richman stand out in the first place. Sawa Meron, future stars of “#1 ALL TIME GREATEST EVER” label Digital Hotdog, seem to truly be coming from the same mental place as Richman, with a whole album devoted to awkward alienation and hazy garage pop. With vocals that bolster the Richmanisms with the kind of bedroom indie delivery seen more frequently on ’80s UK indie, Sawa Meron avoid falling into the trap of being sentimentally derivative by creating music that seems to be made for its own sake rather than as an attempt at fitting in to a set sound. The title track, “Psycho Blues,” is endearingly awkward at its start, complete with a flubbed guitar line, but the entrance of vocals adds a level of tragedy, the lyrics exploring the titular psycho blues and what it’s like to feel so doomed by the seeming normality of everyone around you. It’s alienation set to a jaunty garage pop tune and you don’t have to be a gangly teenager to enjoy it.

ssleeperhold - "beatsslave"

At the peak of his powers, John Carpenter was a true auteur, a director who didn’t just visualize and write isolation but also created soundscapes committed to establishing a hypnotically claustrophobic mood. It’s telling that in some ways, Carpenter’s musical contributions have wound up currently more relevant than his cinematic ones, as legions of synth doomsayers are emerging each year, inspired by Carpenter’s ominous, carefully arranged soundtracks and the pioneering synth punks of the late ’70s and early ’80s in equal measure. Austin’s own ssleeperhold is more notable than most, particularly on tracks like “beatsslave,” an enchanting dark pop gem that hints at a world where the Johns Carpenter and Hughes conspired to make the ultimate nihilistic suburban horror. Constructed around a nagging analog bass synthline and a creeping high end lead, peppered with vintage drum machine beats that trip over themselves, “beatsslave” is the perfect soundtrack to a late night hookup that may or may not result in the sudden intrusion of a knife wielding maniac. The album it calls home, Ruleth, is full of nocturnal emissions, efficient tracks that come out of the darkness, surprisingly pleasant and sparse enough to force endless repeats, but substantial enough to provoke endless questions.

– Nick Hanover