This week the Monahans released their long-awaited sophomore album and follow-up to 2007’s Low Pining, making a nice match with Misra Records. Much like its predecessor, Dim the Aurora is subtly grandiose offering, richly textured and evocative of the group’s West Texas namesake. We wanted to share the lead off track from the release, “It’s Enough to Leave You…”, and you can catch the Monahans back in town next month on June 26 at Club DeVille.
If you haven’t been following Monahans’ mp3 a month project as they build up to a new album, you’re really missing out. Go here and get all six tracks that they currently have up while you can. Their latest song, “I Break the Silence”, offers up some excellent work from drummer Roberto Sanchez, who is literally a primary driving force behind Monahans’ sound, turning Greg Vanderpool and company’s sound into epic dimensions. The song is purportedly inspired and derived from accounts about “Wounded Knee,” but it’s still pretty impressionistic in usual Monahans’ style. The quartet’s third album, composed of these songs and possibly more, should be out early next year if all goes to schedule, and they will next be playing live in Austin in late September with a show at the Parish, which should be a great room for their encompassing sound. Check out “I Break the Silence” below.
The Monahans have a little project going we’re they are releasing an mp3 a month for the entire year, culminating in a 12 song album that they will then try to sell. This is your new business, folks - give it away until someone pays you for it! Actually, this is pretty sweet, akin to Haunting Oboe Music’s EP a month project, which was supposed to conclude with an album drawn from the tracks, but instead concluded with that band dissolving. Here’s to hoping the stress of the digital era doesn’t disband the Monahans. As evidenced by their second download, “Roam an Empty Space,” the Monahans have turned up their ambient power to give their recent tunes some added edge. The results are particularly good live, and the band will be delivering a set at the awesome sounding Ghost Room with the Low Lows this Saturday. You can download the first track from the series, titled “All In Love”, by signing up for their email list, or friending them on Twitter and Facebook. Basically, they announce when they post a new song, and you can go grab it. They’re free for the time being, so download and then support them by hitting up the show Saturday.
This summer, Standard Recording Company will release a 3-CD set entitled Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs About 43 U.S. Presidencies. Written primarily by Christian Kiefer, Matthew Gerken of Nice Monster, and ex-Above the Orange Trees member Jefferson Pitcher last year, the collection will feature a song inspired by each American president, enlisting help from, among many others, Califone, Alan Sparhawk of Low, Mark Kozelek, and Rosie Thomas. Locals Monahans’ will also be doing one of the songs, apparently the ode to 11th President James K. Polk.
Since about last June, the members of Milton Mapes have been working as new band called Monahans. While where not exactly sure what has prompted the group to christen a new project – which seems to be the same lineup of Greg Vanderpool, Britton Beisenherz, Jim Fredley and Roberto Sanchez – we’ve been eagerly awaiting a listen to the tunes.
The group has finally posted a track on their myspace from the Monahan’s upcoming release Low Pining. The song, called “Undiscovered,” has a bit of a My Morning Jacket meets Centro-matic feel – in fact not that far from Milton Mapes best stuff, though perhaps a bit grander in scope.
Here’s what they have to say about the new project:
The Austin and San Francisco-based band Monahans began in the spring of 2006 as a new project by Milton Mapes collaborators Greg Vanderpool, Roberto Sanchez, Jim Fredley, and Britton Beisenherz. The band’s first release, “Low Pining” (Undertow 6/12/07), weaves anthemic melodies in-and-out of ambient tranquility and rhythmic intensity. The songs have a distinct nautical theme, decisively apolitical, with strands of detachment, nostalgia, and spiritual longing stretched across vast sonic landscapes.
A recent surge of electronic-based independent music has marked an absence of some of the most basic elements of bands. Guitars, drums, bass – once the staples and centerpieces of bands have played second fiddle to the synthesizers and keyboards, which once functioned as little more than the extra bells and whistles to a song. Electro and synth-pop inspired music can be found at every corner, from the underground to the mainstream airwaves. Like all trends, however, the constant barrage of the genre can begin to wear thin. That’s where Monahans step in. Amidst bands with engineered, electric sounds, Monahans’ second album and debut for Misra, Dim the Aurora, takes a back-to-basics sound as simple and secluded as the West Texas sand dunes that the band is named after. Monahans has wholly encompassed the traditional American rock, while simultaneously making it relevant and fresh for a modern music scene.
Although Low Pining is the debut album from the Monahans, and the group only announced itself last year, the band is actually a familiar fixture to Austin music as its alter-ego Milton Mapes. Since transplanting (hopefully temporarily) to California, Greg Vanderpool and gang shifted to a bigger guitar sound, though the elements of cinematic grandiosity that define the new project were always equally at play in Milton Mapes as well. With Low Pining, however, the group is able to let that impulse expand even more, while also maintaining the often haunting and desolate pull of their earlier work.
As we reported along with the demo of the Monahans’ song “Into the Expanse,” a 3 CD box set of tunes about each of the 43 US presidents, written by Christian Kiefer, Matthew Gerken, Jefferson Pitcher, is set for release this September, and joining the Monahans among the many contributors is Bill Callahan. The two Austin acts get back-to-back billing on the first disc, with Callahan taking on “John Tyler: Hindsight Falls On Deaf Ears” and the Monahans doing “James Polk: The Other is Better / The Landscape to Transform.” Other artists on the set include Califone, Mark Kozelek, Alan Sparhawk, Rosie Thomas, and Tom Brousseau, to name but a few.
Pitchfork has an exclusive stream of Bill Callahan’s song that you can check out here. And to see the rest of the tracklist, simply jump…
This summer, the Astronaut Suit returned with their long-awaited sophomore EP, Soul of a Man. The principle project of Jess Farr, the group unloads an impressive, if improbable, combination of country-tinged twang and spacey electronic jams, like Spiritualized cut with an acoustic and southern sensibility. The title track stomps out a bluesy romp offset by the hazy organ and vocal reverb of “40 days” and battered distortion of “Follow You Down,” while “Rolling Thunder” slowly pulses in the vein of Primal Scream. You can check out the Astronaut Suit this Saturday, August 16 at Club DeVille with locals Deadman and the Come Latelys, or the following weekend at the Parish with the fantastic lineup that includes the Monahans and Dallas’ Doug Burr.
A few of our friends from around town are putting on quite the show over at Trophys. Sonic Itch, Cubik Musik and Covert Curiosity are bringing the heat with 12 national and local bands on Thursday, the 13th, from noon to 7pm.
Right this way for more info on Above The Radar.