Austin360 On The Record is a weekly roundup of new, recent and upcoming releases by local and Austin-associated recording artists.
OUT THIS WEEK
Little Mazarn, “Io” (Self Sabotage). The second album from the duo of banjo picker Lindsey Verrill and saw player Jeff Johnston can instantly change your mood, transporting you to a world full of (to quote the opening track’s title) “peace like a river.” Minimalism is key here: There’s so much open space in “Marfa Lights” that you can almost feel the West Texas desert-sky panorama unfold as Verrill’s vocals cast their spell. But it’s more than just understanding the power in uncluttered arrangements. Verrill and Johnston have an innate divining rod for musical magic, which is clear in the way they completely reinvent Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 pop smash “Dancing in the Dark.” The crowning jewel is “Vermont,” a shimmering reverie with a beautiful melody carrying the bittersweet realization that “you can’t stay everywhere you leave a piece of your heart.” It’s such a well-constructed song at its core that it’s easy to imagine the reverse-engineering of what they did with the Springsteen cover: A synth-pop band could turn this into an instantly alluring dance track. Release show May 2 at Cactus Cafe. Here’s that cover of “Dancing in the Dark”:
Kim Simpson, “The Comets Swish Their Tails.” Host of KOOP radio’s “International Folk Bazaar” show, Simpson plays everything from mandolin and tin whistle to instruments from Finland (kantele), Bolivia (charango) and Morocco (oud) on this fascinatingly varied 15-song journey. This is a solo album in the truest sense: Simpson recorded all of it himself at his home studio, and that’s no easy feat given the sophistication of the sounds and arrangements. The album’s worldly folk sound is refreshingly original; it wouldn’t fit easily into contemporary formats such as indie, Americana, jazz, country or urban, very much to Simpson’s credit. Release show May 2 at Townsend. Here’s the opening track, “Night Swirls In”:
Goons, “The Year of the Goon.” The debut album from this Austin synth-pop trio that’s been playing local clubs for the past year got a big boost last week when NPR’s Tiny Desk competition singled out the band’s song “Fight the Feeling” as one of its favorite recent submissions. This fall, they’ll back up Austin’s Kady Rain at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Release show May 4 at Empire Control Room. Here’s that Tiny Desk submission, which features impressive DIY video savvy:
MAY 10: American Sharks, “11:11,” release show May 10 at Mohawk.
MAY 10: Mazwah, “Groove Theory” EP, release show May 11 at Empire Control Room.
MAY 10: Arielle, “Suspension/Dimension,” in-store May 7 at Waterloo Records, release show May 10 at One-2-One Bar.
MAY 17: Jimmie Vaughan, “Baby, Please Come Home” (Last).
MAY 17: South Austin Moonlighters, “Travel Light” (Station House).
MAY 24: Megafauna, “Ghost Coast,” release show May 25 at Empire.
MAY 24: Ray Prim, “Unconditional,” release show May 24 at One-2-One Bar.
MAY 24: Texas Horns, “Get Here Quick” (Severn).
MAY 24: Sour Bridges, “Neon Headed Fool,” playing Texas Radio Live May 22 at Guero’s.
MAY 31: Shy Beast, “Shy ’Til You Die,” in-store May 30 at Waterloo Records, release show June 1 at Antone’s.
JUNE 6: Montopolis, “The Legend of Big Bend,” release show June 6 at North Door.
JUNE 14: Jamestown Revival, “San Isabel” (Thirty Tigers).
JUNE 14: Michael Fracasso, “Big Top.”
JUNE 20: Hector Ward & the Big Time, “Smile Into Life” (Blackfinger), release show June 20 at Antone’s.
JUNE 21: Willie Nelson, “Ride Me Back Home” (Legacy).
JUNE 21: Black Pumas, self-titled (ATO).
JUNE 21: Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis, “Beautiful Lie” (Next Waltz), release show June 22 at Continental Club.
JUNE 21: Eric Tessmer, “EP 2,” release show June 21 at Scoot Inn.
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