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Austin Sound - The Independent Music Source for Austin » Sound Off » Sound Off: The Sour Notes

Sound Off: The Sour Notes

By Austin Sound • Dec 8th, 2008 • Category: Sound Off

The Sour Notes burst suddenly onto the local scene this year with the release of their debut EP, The Meat of the Fruit, a beauty of an album with deceptively intricate layers and the juxtaposition of Jared Boulanger’s weighty, reflexive lyrics on a bed of mellow, swaying pop. A touch of Death Cab for Cutie rings throughout the quartet’s work, both in Boulanger’s sentiments and voice. The group is planning the release of their full-length debut this January, and already recording their follow up as well as planning to head out on their first tour. If you’re looking for one of Austin’s best new bands, the Sour Notes have to be near the top of that list, and you can see them this Thursday, December 11, at the Mohawk with One Hundred Flowers, the Great Nostalgic, and Bear Claw.

Profile: The Sour Notes

Year Formed:

I happen to be listening to ‘Examination of What’ at this very moment… So, it’s fitting, I guess, to say…

“One day, uhh, while sippin’ some groove juice
I realized that in the span of time we’re just babies
It’s all relative, time is unreal
We’re just babies
We’re just babies man”

But, technically… We formed this year.

Members/Instruments played:

Chris unplugs cables, tinkers with synth settings and adjusts the volumes of things while Travis beat boxes. Brandi and Jared try and think of the perfect “That’s what she said” joke till they’re finished.

Former Bands/Side Projects:

The Notorious J.A.R.E.D. (released only 1 single titled ‘Streak Freakin’)
Hackett the Racket


Our debut album, The Meat of the Fruit was self-released in May 2008 and our 2nd album, Received in Bitterness will be released New Years Day 2009! You can also expect our 3rd album, It’s Not Gonna Be Pretty (which we are currently recording) soon after!


Go for a run, then select an Ingmar Bergman film to watch while eating the first meal of the day… Consisting usually of a large portion of pasta topped with either alfredo sauce or marinara, lots of parmesan cheese and accompanied by a hefty glass of cheap champagne… Usually Andre’ or Cook’s.

Strangest comment or comparison ever made about your music:

Strangest comment: “You guys are unbelievable!” - by Drunk Concert Goer
Strangest comparison: “It’s like when you’re having sex on a leaky water-bed and your partner says ‘We’re not on a water-bed’… But with drums… Know what I mean?” - Same Drunk Concert Goer

Favorite local bands:

Ume, Yellow Fever, Diagonals, Many Birthdays, Pataphysics, Belaire, David Israel, One Hundred Flowers, The Great Nostalgic, Bear Claw, Octopus Project… Just to name a few… I really don’t wanna take up the whole article with this… But I could… Easily.

Favorite local venue:

Mohawk outside (which we are ‘yet’ to play)… Every time I see a show there on a fair-weather night, it’s just magical!

Upcoming shows scheduled:

Mohawk inside, Dec. 11th w/One Hundred Flowers, The Great Nostalgic, Bear Claw. COME TO THIS SHOW… IT’S A BIRTHDAY PARTY TOO!

Shows over the next month that you’re excited to see:

If we weren’t going to be on tour, I’d be really excited to see The Donkeys @ Mohawk on Jan 13th…

Some of your favorite albums from the past year:

‘In Rainbows’ by Radiohead
‘Does You Inspire You’ by Chairlift
‘Directions to See a Ghost’ by The Black Angels

Ideal band (past or present) to open for on a national tour:

Past: Francoise Hardy
Present: Antony and The Johnsons

Austin Sound questions:
What can you tell us about the upcoming album?

We went for more of a ‘raw’ feel on ‘Received in Bitterness’, mainly because we’d like every record to sound different from one another. It’s not quite as delicate sounding as our previous effort and was recorded very quickly, very much as a group. The songs on this album are unique to me, personally, because they were written in a way I wasn’t accustomed to, just by the way I was living at that moment.. I had a night job, I didn’t brush my teeth or get dressed before 5 in the afternoon, I stayed home all day in my pajamas drinking champagne and playing guitar to subtitled films. I was sort of lost in ‘movie-land’. Another thing that’s unique about this album, is the fact that every song on ‘Received in Bitterness’ was written and recorded during the day, in the actual order they appear on the album. As opposed to ‘The Meat of the Fruit’, which was written and recorded entirely at night.

What’s the best or worst thing any of y’all have ever received in bitterness?

Well… The title comes from being in situations where you might accept or be vulnerable to things happening to you, and letting them happen, even though you might just be tricking yourself knowingly, because you’re tired… Or bored… And you feel guilty about it… A little.

Song Introduction:

In my opinion, this song and video encompass the overall feeling of ‘Received in Bitterness’. It features Vocalist Micaila San Miguel and Brass sections by Matt Holmes and Tina Le.

Video: The Sour Notes - “Is It Happening”

‘Is It Happening?’ from The Sour Notes on Vimeo.

The cover of Jawbreaker’s ‘Accident Prone’ was actually the first thing we recorded before starting on the ‘Received in Bitterness’ album. Jawbreaker is one of my favorite bands and I’ve always wanted to do a really ‘opposite take’ on one of their songs. We even changed the chord progressions and arrangement of the song to sort of make it our own. I hope listeners don’t miss that long instrumental break and drum roll build-up… hehe.

Sound Off:

Willie Hughes was one of those ‘That do not do the thing they most do show, Who, moving others are themselves as stone.

Accident Prone (Jawbreaker Cover)


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5 Responses »

  1. Hey Jared!!! You sound incredible! I love the video! Denis invited us to the show tonight, we’ll try to make it! Keep up the AWESOME work!

  2. [...] Sound Off: The Sour Notes Album Review: The Sour Notes – Received in Bitterness (SR) [...]

  3. [...] quartet The Sour Notes have highlighted pitch-perfect pop tunes across two excellent albums – last year’s The Meat of the Fruit EP and this year’s debut LP, Received in Bitterness. Their new 7” only pushes that credit further, [...]

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