With the new year comes a fresh start. In celebration of the new year, On Vinyl Music is doing another article in its series of annual corollary numbered lists of local bands. (These are probably a limited-time-deal; I’m sure as hell not going to write “The 50 of ’50: an excessively long list of bands, many of which don’t exist because it’s hard to find fifty local bands that haven’t already attained widespread fame in the year 2050.”)
1. Chief Perch (Formerly known as Bare Feat)
Characterized by a big band funk sound with modern accents in the way of electronic elements incorporated into their sound, Chief Perch has a lot of potential, but if you’re looking to listen to them online at their Bandcamp or on Spotify, make sure you look up Bare Feat; the name change is relatively recent. If you like horns, this band is for you. If you’re a person who hates horns and other brass instruments, you’re in the wrong place. If you’re of the former and not the latter, be sure to catch Chief Perch performing with Ghostbunny and Eagle Eye Williamson for free week.
Comforter is pretty cool too. They’re a fun local group with a strong indie-pop sound. Like Fidlar without the distortion pedal and with some Drums thrown in, you wouldn’t be pushing the envelope if you called it surf rock, but the sound also has some classical elements to it, and when I listen to “Whip-it Keg” from their June 26th album To-Go, I definitely feel a little bit of Santo and Jonny. They played their last show of 2015 in October, but keep your peepers peeled for upcoming shows.
3. Interrobang Brass
Interrobang Brass is, as their name would imply, a primarily brass group that honestly kicks ass. Their instrumental-only tracks have a refreshing composition that makes sure you know that you’re not just watching Barney Miller reruns, but their sound is reverent enough that it could be in a Barney Miller remake. The group is about to go on their January tour that will take them through Arizona, California, and New Mexico, but the tour kicks off with a special Austin invite-only show that I’m not going to because they didn’t invite me. Thanks a lot.
Her It Happens So Fast EP is good fun, and while I’m a damn sucker for some 808s, it’s not the only reason I’m jamming when I throw You on. The EP features frequent (but definitely not excessive) usage of classic hip hop and R&B samples, and Mélat’s voice itself is very emulative of early-oughts’ vocalists. This is sunset drive music. Keep an eye out for her performances in 2016, because 2015 was a good year for her.
Even though I’ve already written about Austin’s YUMA, I’m writing about them again because I’m excited as hell to see what they’re planning for the new year. They’ve got shows planned for free week and they’re releasing their new single next month. YUMA is a funky psychedelic prog rock adventure with serious guitar and a great stage presence. Be sure to look at their Facebook page for news about upcoming shows and releases.
6. Cara Bishop
Vocalist Cara bishop of Austin’s The Bishops, a trio comprised of the three Bishop siblings, is a talented vocalist with a beautiful voice expertly laid over very pretty trip hop backing tracks. Jealousy, a yet-to-be-released collaboration between Cara and GRVPHIC, drops January second. Catch it on the GRVPHIC website.
7. The Bishops
Like I mentioned earlier, The Bishops are a sibling trio producing solid music. All three of the siblings feature heavily in the music they produce, and are all talented lyricists in their own right. Their debut track as a family, Blood Ring, dropped about two weeks ago, and is certainly worth a listen. It’s always a lot of fun to hear about music families that aren’t weird and bad. It’s a lot of fun to hear The Bishops.
8. NICK TWI$T
Nick Twi$t is a talented new rapper with novel beats and a verbal delivery that shows his comfort at the mic. Twi$t’s most recent track, “This Life,” is probably his money maker. Accessible but fresh, Twi$t is an artist to watch in the coming year.
MODAL is a neat jazz/spoken-word/rap infusion group that features live music accompaniment, giving them a unique take on a genre that frequently utilizes sampling and prerecorded tracks for backup instrumentals. Their tracks are very lyrically-oriented and fast paced, so each one, featuring quick drums and soft trumpet work, is interesting to the ear.
(01/02/2015 at 9:52 a.m. CST – Editor Note: Modal has stopped playing shows as of the end of last year. As a staff favorite, On Vinyl eagerly hopes for the band’s return!)
10. Alto Pablo
Alto Pablo dropped his debut album less than two hours ago as I write this, 1:53 a.m. on Dec. 30. His work is characterized by a seemingly relaxed delivery with a subversive potency that isn’t immediately apparent. Solid party start up music. Be the first of your friends to catch him on Bandcamp right now!
This local sludge doom metal band just recently dropped their first demo on bandcamp, showing off heavy guitar riffs and heavy drums, punctuated with the excellent shredding that you’d expect. Classic, straightforward heavy metal. No gimmicks, and no whining. Good stuff. Probably great to hear at a show. If you’re a fan of heavy metal, make sure to follow DeathPull in the coming year.
12. THE CUCKOOS
The Cuckoos sound like late 60’s acid rock. There’s not a whole lot else to say about their sound that you probably haven’t already thought of, other than me assuring you that they pull it off really well. More important than what their sound is reminiscient of is their delivery of the homage; while it certainly is emulative of classic psychedelia, it’s not stale, and they’re not a tribute band. If you’re looking to hear sweet organ and harrowed lyricism, this is the band to hear.
13. EMPIRE MACHINES
Psychedelic indie pop gets a breath of fresh air with Empire Machines. Tight musical cohesion helps distorted vocals really get through to you, the listener, and you find yourself nodding your head and humming along to the especially catchy riffs. They’ve released two EPs in 2015, so it’ll be great to see what they do next year. Catch them at Glitter Tribe’s free week at the Empire Control Room & Garage.
14. TAYLOR AND THE WILD NOW
Taylor and her band produces emotionally gripping music with powerful vocalizations and more than technically proficient musical production; all the musicians in this group are very skilled, and some play more than one instrument in the band. Taylor’s product is something similar to the Asteroids Galaxy Tour, but unique in it’s own right. Taylor and the Wild Now released their newest work, Gold Dust, just over a month ago, and they’ve promised that there’s a lot of new stuff coming. They’re about to get real big.
San Marcos’s BrockHampton is about to blow up. Having been recently signed to Fools Gold Records and performing an especially live show at the last Fools Gold Day Off show her in Austin, they’ve successfully set up the groundwork for an effective launchpad. On top of their group work, several members of the group are producing their own work on the side (with the production help of their bandmates), so the material to draw from is varied. This self-described “All-American Boy Band” is one of the freshest rap and hip hop groups to come out of Texas in a long time.
16. Fun Guys From Space
Fun Guys From Space is a small group that started up this year. They’ve got a real interesting sound, and if you check their Bandcamp you’ll find they’ve got a huge list of singles to check out, all unique in their own right and all an interesting listen. I really recommend that you listen with headphones in, because these Fun Guys really make use of stereophonic sound in the studio.