By Ryan Lacerda
Imagine if you were lucky enough to have been born and lived back in the times of The Beatles and Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, and other massively popular and talented bands. Wouldn’t you have flocked to their intimate shows before they became too big? Met the members, and maybe even crashed a wild after-party with them? You’d always remember that era with heavy nostalgia and you’d treasure that period in your life forever. Guess what? You can do the same thing today even though the bands aren’t likely to beat The Beatles in a popularity contest anytime soon. KTSW 89.9 devotes part of our music staff to the local music scene. Austin is home to Levitation, an annual 3-day festival famous for great bands and especially psychedelic, alternative, surf, and other rock bands. With a large turnout of 10,000 people, it’s logical to infer that there are many people that listen to and create all these beloved styles of rock. A culture is strong when people work with each other for each other. Let’s make our local rock culture strong by listening to our local music stations and having a blast together at shows.
I’d love to grow the talented local music scene by suggesting a listen to three talented local bands aired on our station and giving them a quick review. I’ll link you to their pages, include a list of related artists, and link you to upcoming shows in our area for each of the bands! This will cover mostly bands that play a lot of shows around the Central Austin area. My purpose is to alert you to great acts that could be playing at the bar down your street while you sit bored at home yearning for a purpose greater than cat memes and the “election” of 2016.
Foxmoor Express is a three-piece band from New Braunfels that jams psychedelic blues-rock. I can pick out The Beatles influence, especially later Beatles albums like songs “Helter Skelter” from their 1968 album The Beatles (also known as the White Album.) Singer and guitarist Christian Foxmoor’s garage-grungy tone strikes a great balance between surfer rock and blues-rock. His vocals sound influenced by John Lennon and Kurt Cobain. They have covered “Aneurysm” by Nirvana before and list The Beatles as a key influence in their Facebook bio so that supports my observation. Their lyrics to “Dopeman” are rebellious and assertive, “You better get down on your knees/ Cause that’s where you’re gonna stay/You’re gonna do it my way”. Drummer Camz Foxmoor is unrelentless, unpredictable, and unapologetic. Every show I go to, I ask people how they are liking it and someone never fails to say something along the lines of, “that drummer man, he’s crazy good!” Matt Moreno is the bassist and his beefy bass lines maintain the rhythm harmonically on point while not stealing spotlight from Foxmoor. Foxmoor’s solos are rich in effects like wah-wah and reminds me of Hendrix’s wah-wah but it doesn’t strip his tone of its original and bare rawness.
Recommended if you like: The Velvet Underground, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Queens of the Stone Age, Lou Reed, The Beatles or Kyuss.
Mantra Love blends dream pop, beach-goth and psychedelic rock. Their recently released self debut album Mantra Love embarks listeners on a hypnotic trip through luscious nostalgia and introspection. “Howlin’” is my favorite song on it. A wet guitar riff drenched in shoe-gaze effects starts off this song and then is accompanied by bassist Fabian Silva’s heavy driving lines and drummer Gil Castillo’s distinctive creative entrance. Singer and guitarist Derek Silva sings with a flowing and haunting voice that evokes unsettling feelings of longing for a time you can’t return to. In congruence with its first lines, “Well don’t you know/Time can slow/You don’t need to move so fast/Take the time to make it pass,” Howlin’ reminds you to stop worrying and stop hurrying in order to immerse yourself into the present moment and savor life and the song itself.
RIYL: Tame Impala, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, The Strokes, Mac DeMarco, Mild High Club or Homeshake.
Empire Machines is a five piece indie-rock band based in Austin, Texas. Dark alternative rock riffs fleshed to life with mature lyrics and vocals cut and peel back back the longing layers of our primal natures to shed Animal Skin, which was released in July last year. “Wanted Way” is a heartfelt revelation about moving on from a potential romance that took too long to ripen and was passed on. Vocalist and guitarist Matt Blackwell’s vulnerable lyrics and anxiously delicate voice ask for and invite a lover’s honesty, “Lies what you gonna be/ What you gonna drop and see/ Call cause you don’t mind/ Think you might fall with me/”. Refreshing and realistic, he sings, “Think you might fall ‘WITH’ me” instead of a cheesy line depicting how he fell completely in love with her or she with him. Ex-lead guitarist Ryan Upchurch and Blackwell’s melancholic guitar harmonies sear sharp pained light through the grungy shade as Matt Reynold on drums and Trey McKinley on bass provide a minimal but solid rhythm section. The second half of the chorus reveals their untimely departure, “Hey, but you’re too late/ I’m going on my wanted way/ Doll have some more fun/ Have another drink on me.” Instead of immaturely expelling bad thoughts on her, he humbly suggests for her to take their separation easily and even have another drink on his count. They have a new single coming out in September, so stay tuned.
Upcoming shows: None at the moment, but stay tuned in through their Facebook.
RIYL: Car Seat Headrest, Spoon, Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys