Austin360 On The Record: Balmorhea's Llano River-inspired album and more new local music
Austin360 On The Record is a weekly roundup of new, recent and upcoming releases by local and Austin-associated recording artists.
Balmorhea, “The Wind” (Deutsche Grammophon). Among Austin’s most adventurous bands of the last 15 years, Balmorhea was formed by instrumental composers Rob Lowe and Michael Muller before growing into a broader collective that emphasized a string section. They’ve pared things back down to the original duo on their past two albums, which feature more minimalist arrangements.
“The Wind” marks their first release on storied classical label Deutsche Grammophon. Lowe and Muller wrote the material primarily in a house along the Llano River, drawing inspiration from “the remote area’s vistas, rocky terrain and profound peace,” according to press materials accompanying the album. French spoken-word readings by Lili Cuzor from the 13th-century literary work “Otia Imperialia” serve as bookends to 10 meditative and mesmerizing tracks centered on guitar and piano.
Carefully integrated into the arrangements are contributions from cellist Clarice Jensen, bass clarinetist Jonathan Sielaff, percussionist Jason Treuting, horn player Morris Kliphuis, vocalists Jesy Fortino and Lisa Morgenstern, and bassists Sam Pankey, Alex Browne and James Suter. Grammy-winning engineer Jonathan Low co-produced the album with the duo at Nils Frahm’s Saal 3 studio space in Berlin’s iconic Funkhaus facility. Here’s the track “The Myth”:
Living Pins, “Freaky Little Monster Children” EP. Austin music lifers Pam Peltz and Carrie Clark first collaborated on a single 25 years ago, during the heyday of Clark’s band Sixteen Deluxe. They reconvened last fall, teaming with a drum machine they named Brian to record four songs with Clark’s Sixteen Deluxe bandmate Jeff Copas producing and adding keyboards and percussion. The self-described “glam-psych-guitar explosions” on these four songs manage to feel like old Austin while still sounding in-step with the 21st century. Here’s the track “Fish and Beads”:
Chris Conde, “Engulfed in the Marvelous Decay” (Fake Four). A former journalist for San Antonio weekly the Current, Conde recently moved to Austin and followed up a 2019 EP with this 14-track release on noted East Coast indie label Fake Four. A press statement accompanying the album notes that Conde uses music “to artfully and honestly chronicle battles with homophobia, racism, addiction, a stiflingly strict religious upbringing and the horrors of the Trump administration to tell a story of not just surviving, but thriving.” Working with a production team that included KDeath, Whatever Cecil and Lazerbeak, Conde crafted an intriguingly diverse record that’s centered on hip-hop even as it branches out with accents of jazz, funk, rock and more. Here’s the video for “Everyday”:
APRIL 16: Amigo the Devil, “Born Against”
APRIL 16: Sasha & the Valentines, “So You Think You Found Love?” (Ooof)
APRIL 20: Croy & the Boys, “Of Course They Do” EP (Spaceflight)
APRIL 23: Lady Dan, “I Am the Prophet” (Earth Libraries)
APRIL 23: Calliope Musicals, “Between Us” EP (Spaceflight)
APRIL 23: Danny Golden, “Changes” EP
MAY 7: Grace Pettis, “Working Woman” (Mpress)
MAY 15: Kate Howard, “The Best Medicine”
MAY 22: Ray Prim, “When It’s All Said and Done”
JULY 9: Pat Byrne, “Into the Light”
JULY 23: Robert Harrison, “Watching the Kid Come Back”
JULY 30: Nobody’s Girl, self-titled (Lucky Hound)
AUG. 27: Shinyribs, “Late Night TV Gold”