Earlier this year, the Strange Boys released their debut album, …And Girls Club, through In the Red and blew us away with the effort! The album had been anticipated for several years and went through a number of false starts, but for a group known for their slacker sound, …And Girls Club was an infectious and tight riffing shock of skanky R&B and grooving rock & roll howls slinking behind Ryan Sambol’s distinctive bleary-eyed fronting. The group has recently expanded out with a few new players and is currently preparing their sophomore release, called Be Brave for release early next year. We spoke to Sambol, as much as the typically laconic singer would allow, about the band’s recent tours, handling the enthusiastic responses to their debut, and what they have in store for this weekend’s Fun Fun Fun Fest at Waterloo Park. The Strange Boys are scheduled to go on Sunday, November 8, at 5:20pm on the Yellow Stage.
When we launched Austin Sound nearly 3 years ago, two of the earliest bands to capture our attention were Golden Bear and the Channel. The bands are the backbone of C-Side Records’ roster, a label that represents the certain DIY, communal attitude that has always been the heart and soul of Austin music. Managed by Matt Pittman with help from fellow founders Colby Pennington and Andy McAllister, the label was created with the simple goal of helping get their friends’ music released, an ideal that still largely defines the scope of their ambitions and the close relationship between C-Side bands. With two new releases on the horizon, including their first non-local album courtesy of Wichita, Kansas’ folk-pop quartet Ghostbeard, the label continues to impress with its output and laid-back attitude of cooperative support that brings out the best among their artists and their ever-evolving extensions into the local music community. C-Side will be hosting two big shows this week, first with the local release of Ghostbeard’s new album, What’s the Word Bird, on Wednesday, July 22 at the Mohawk with Minorcan and Anchor in the Valley, and then a free show blowout from Golden Bear this Saturday, July 25 outside at Emo’s with a fantastic local lineup of Low Line Caller, the Always Already, New Roman Times, and Wine & Revolution.
Monofonus is more than just one of the most eclectic record labels in Austin; it is an impressive multimedia umbrella that brings together musicians, visual artists, and writers to collaborate on incredibly unique projects that inspire and build upon each other. While musically Monofonus has released great albums from the Golden Boys, Diagonals, the Pillow Queens, and the Roller, to take these albums out of the multimedia context for which they were intended (as we often unfortunately have with our reviews) is to lose much of the point and excitement of Monofonus’ projects. Originally formed by the triumvirate of Will Slack, Morgan Coy, and Becca Cohen, the Press, and especially its IF Series, is perhaps the embodiment of Austin’s rich creative culture, with collaborations that are continually unexpected and push artists in new directions. This week, Monofonus releases IF06, featuring the new album Looking for a Spark from Over the Hill, artwork by Noel Waggoner, and the novella Mile Marker by Brian Hart. Hart will be doing a reading at BookPeople tonight, Monday May 18, and Waggoner will be showing his work at Testsite on Tuesday, while Over the Hill caps the release week with a show this Wednesday, May 20, at the Parish with the Pillow Queens and Precious Blood.
When he moved to Austin last year, Ryan Goeller brought with him a unique label that consisted primarily of Hip-Hop artists from Holland, an unlikely sound finding an even more unlikely home in central Texas. Beats Broke was the first label to release Dutch rap albums in the US, and the music of artists like Kapabel & Inf and Arts the Beatdoctor translates with impressive style despite the language barrier and has already been embraced in Austin and by a growing contingency nationally for adding a new energy to the genre. You can download Beats Broke’s first release (Kapabel & Inf’s De Avonturen van…) for free on the label’s website to get a taste of the Continental flavor, and look out for a number of new albums in the next year as Goeller continues to expand the scope of our small town from the inside out.
Austin’s blues scene is alive and well in no small part to Eddie Stout and Dialtone Records. While our blues patriarchs like Pinetop Perkins continue the tradition, a new crop of young guns has been cultivated around the Dialtone imprint to carry the sound into the twenty-first century. The local label has become an outlet for new material from legends like Joe Ducet, Bells of Joy, and the Texas Southside Kings, as well as up and coming artists like those gathered among the Texas Northside Kings. This Thursday, March 13, Dialtone Records presents it’s official SXSW showcase at Lambert’s, featuring Orange Jefferson and Thierry Cognee, Joe Ducett, Spot Barnett with O.S. Grant, the Westside Horns, Little Joe Washington, Texas Northside Kings, Texas Eastside Kings, Ray Reed, and Joe Jonas. The showcase kicks off at 8:00pm and will be one not to miss. For more information on Dialtone, see their official website.
Perhaps no one has their ear better tuned to Austin’s indie scene than Dániel Perlaky. As head of Indierect Records, Perlaky has been among the first to recognize the talent and help promote such seminal Austin acts The Arm, Ghostland Obervatory, and current label signees Belaire and Lomita. Indierect has established itself as a cornerstone of Austin’s labels and Perlaky has become a force in his own right in helping to direct increasing attention to local artists through projects like his annual SXSW publication The Austin Independent. His answers below are some of the most elucidating we’ve received on the current state of running a small label and Austin’s music scene. For more information on the label and Indierect artists, you can check out their website at www.indierect.com
Although boasting only two bands in its stable, Almost There Records has emerged as a pillar of the local music scene through its annual compilations that gather some of Austin’s best acts onto a single disc. This month, the label celebrates its third year with the release of Almost There Turns 3, which features 21 artists from across the board. The label’s biggest key to success, however, is their dedication to straight-ahead indie rock and pop, championing a classic sound that is as reliably successful as it is continually impressive. Behind the efforts of Ty Chandler and Lance Davis, Almost There continues to grow and hopefully has a number of new comps waiting in the future. You can find out more information about the label and purchase the compilations at www.almostthererecords.com.
Now on its twelfth year since beginning here in Austin, Peek-A-Boo Records has established itself as a cornerstone of local indie labels. Behind the efforts of Travis Hidgon, the label is currently home to Austin standouts like the Octopus Project and Peel, and over the years has helped launch bands such as Knife in the Water and Silver Scooter, as well as a little band called Spoon. With the Octopus Project’s upcoming album slated for release October 9 and already garnering a great deal of attention, Peek-A-Boo’s future looks as bright as ever. You can find out more information on the label from their website or on their Myspace.
Superpop! Records is home to a few young standout artists in Austin. Run by Seth Gibbs and Peter Stafford, the label is an extension of the Superpop! Studios, which allows the label to work closely with its artists from start to finish. Gibbs also produces his own work for the label as Brother Machine, as well as contributing, along with Stafford, to the other bands on the label. Superpop!’s artists are united more by principle and approach than to a distinct genre or sound, which makes the label’s output among the most exciting and eclectic in town. You can find out more about the studio and label on their Myspace or at www.superpoprecords.com
This month we are excited to introduce a new feature to Austin Sound, a monthly profile of local labels that have become so integral to shaping, and supporting, Austin’s music scene. Among the most influential has been our inaugural featured label, Australian Cattle God, who continue to push the boundaries of local music with bands such as Gorch Fock, Cat Scientist, The Snake Trap, and Tia Carrera, while also expanding out to ensure that a number of international acts get a stateside release. ACG tri-headed hydra of Lee Brooks, Bryan Nelson and Win Wallace recently answered some questions for us about the label and trials of succeeding in the indie racket. Find out more on their newly revamped websites www.australiancattlegod.com.