Friday, September 23, 2011

Quiet Company - We Are All Where We Belong

Ladies and Gentlemen, a warm round of applause for Lori Hillhouse, a.k.a. Four Leaf Clover, who's done us the kindness of allowing us to repost this piece.

I am happy to say I was lucky enough to be one of the many who received an advanced copy of Quiet Company's new album, We Are All Where We Belong, which will be released on October 4th. Being a Quiet Company patron on has come with many benefits. First, my monthly contribution mostly goes to the guys in Quiet Company so they can continue to do what they do best: make music. Second, I get exclusive blogs, previous concert posters and downloads from previous projects the band has been involved with and now, third, an advance copy of the album.

The guys have been working on this album well before I met them back in December at the KGSR 20th Anniversary party. I have been anxiously awaiting the completion of the album. Prior to receiving the album in the mail, I had already heard 7 of the 15 new songs at live shows or on their DVD that was released in March of this year.

Lead singer, Taylor Muse, says about the album: "It is easily the most personal thing I've ever written. It is essentially a break up record, only the romance that's ending was between myself and religion."

The seven songs that I had heard prior to the release have blown me away. An early favorite is You, Me & The Boatman. The bass line and beautiful harmonies are overwhelming.

After the first listen through, two songs that I had not heard before stood out in an astounding way. "The Easy Confidence" sounds nothing like Quiet Company has ever recorded, but it works. "Everything Louder Than Everything Else" starts out soft, then builds up throughout the song. The melody, vocals, guitars and horns on this song are absolutely phenomenal.

Quiet Company brought on Tim Palmer to mix the album. Palmer has worked with many major names in the music industry such as Pearl Jam, U2 and The Cure. They also teamed up with Grooveshark and Rocket Science for the release of the album which is basically like having a major label back them, without having all the major label headaches.

If you are in the Austin area, you should make plans to attend Quiet Company's CD release party on September 29th and 30th. If you purchase a VIP ticket, it's a 2 day affair. On September 29th at the VIP party, they are going to have several of their local music pals join them; former NBC's "The Voice" contestant Nakia, Stoney, Joe Reyes and many more.

Track Listing:
1 ) The Confessor
2 ) You, Me & The Boatman
3 ) Preaching To The Choir Invisible, Part I
4 ) Set Your Monster Free
5 ) We Went To The Renaissance Faire
6 ) Fear & Fallacy, Sitting In A Tree
7 ) Are You A Mirror?
8 ) Everything Louder Than Everything Else
9 ) The Black Sheep & The Shepherd
10) The Easy Confidence
11) Midnight At The Lazarus Pit
12) Preaching To The Choir Invisible, Part II
13) Never Tell Me The Odds
14) At Last! The Celestial Being Speaks

On September 14th they are hosting a private listening party on for people who pre-order their new album or purchase tickets to the CD Release show in Austin! Get yours at

You should read more of Lori's excellent articles on her blog, I'll Show You My Four Leaf Clover.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


These posts are reserved for proclaiming the wealth of independent talent in the Austin, Texas area. This usually takes the form of a band "review", sometimes with vid, usually there's some music embedded. We focus the spotlight on somebodies, and the music of those somebodies.

Today though, we thought we'd take the zoom off our lens, pull back a bit, and take a more collage approach. Reason being, there's been a bit of loss here, what with the wild fires. If we were too busy jamming to notice, maybe that's OK. But if we DO lift our heads up from our music and notice that someone down the road has lost a lot, if not everything, then that's a little outside the norm of post-modern culture. And we oughta examine it, if just for a bit.
An entire group did that. Yeah. And we're not talking Dellionaires here, no, we're talking about indie musicians. Guys and gals who (in most cases) scratch out slave wages doing work they could care less for, then lose sleep at night pursuing their musical dreams.

So these guys, these not-paid-near-enough musicians, saw the fires. Smelled the smoke. Read the stories. And got in line to do something about it.

But write a big honking check they could not do. So they've ponied up with what they do have - Talent, and plenty of it.

We know of 2 such groups, though there's probably others. Up first, "A Skanky Benefit Show for Families in Bastrop", put together by those Sour Notes that we wrote about not too long ago:

This takes place Thursday, 9/15/2011, at Spiderhouse Ballroom. The bands giving away their best are Leatherbag, Shakey Graves, The Sour Notes, Marmalakes, Mother Falcon, Final Exam, No Mas Bodas, and Milezo.

You should go to this one. Your 5 buck cover goes to the American Red Cross of Central Texas Disaster Relief. They're also collecting non perishable food items, clothing, blankets, diapers, etc., and Conan's Pizza will be providing free pizza the first hour of the event. And the good folks at Cog-Dut will be screenprinting images onsite onto T-shirts, and the proceeds will go towards the Red Cross as well. Free pizza, good music, good cause. What's not to like?

We also got some metallic-lovin' brethren cooking it up and giving it away at the "METAL & PUNKS UNITE FOR TEXAS WILDFIRE DISASTER BENEFIT SHOW":

This one's on Saturday, September 24, starting at 3 in the afternoon and stopping sometime around 4 the next morning (9/25/11). This is at The Music Ranch, 5220 FM 973, Austin, TX:

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There's lotsa talent showing up for this one: Machine 13, Faceless Preacher, Vile Aura, Anti-climax, Cronis, Gorehound, Blank Generation, Destructive Guerrilla Force, Necrofoxx and the Hounds, StrangeGun, Tank 17, Mistaken For Gentlemen, Vex, Polaris Breach, Anti-Scene, DoneDeal, Black Byrd, This Is A Joke Please Be Offended.... Buncha bands.

It's a 5 buck minimum, and they're taking item donations too - "anything you think a person that has lost everything would need". The proceeds go to the The Bastrop County Donation Distribution Center. If you're bringing a check, make it out to Smithville Ministrial Alliance.

$5 and a good cause and tons of music? Win and win again, say we.

We've posted lotsa Austin independent music gigs, but we've never been prouder to do it than we are right now.

Friday, September 9, 2011


With a name like Monarchs, you might expect something stoically, forbiddenly regal.

Not a chance.
This is the current, Austin version, of Monarchs (photo by Cory Ryan of Eye Candy Photography): On the left is bassist Phil Aijarpu, standing in back is drummer Josh Halpern. On the right is guitarist Van Hollingsworth, who also rates credit "for his central role in the development of Monarchs and its unique sound". Last, but by no means least, is singer/songwriter Celeste Griffin - The founding mother, as it were.
Griffin started the group in her sweet home in Alabama, where their first 2 EPs were birthed in Birmingham. But 2008 came and she moved the act here, eventually picking up Aijarpu and Halpern, then recording their latest, "The Rise and Fall", with producer Mike McCarthy on duty (and Yep, that's the Mike McCarthy who performed the same majick for Patty Griffin, Spoon, and Heartless Bastards).
As you're already guessing, Griffin's vox are front and center in the mix. And this is as it should be - Give a listen to this home-styled number for a good sampling of Monarchs' inclinations:

Hear that amalgamation? The formula runs likeuntoso: Soul + folk + pop + blues + 1 healthy dose of clever lyricism; shaken; then poured out with Griffin's excellent voice. Instantly accessible, easy on the ears, easy to like.

Their latest release, "The Rise and Fall", moves a bit further down the maturity timeline, with the excellent production values adding that final polish on an already-shiny gem:

On hearing Griffin, our knee-jerk comparison was with Elvis Costello - Both cross genre boundaries easily, do pop-structured numbers that feature keyboards, and belt out clever lyrics with unique voices. But the comparison ends there - Monarchs' sentiments put the group squarely into Americana, with their own folklore to tell; with Griffin's wide-ranging vox the crowning jewel (if we may stretch an pun beyond recognition).
They've played all over town, but now, we're sorry to say, they're packing up and moving to New York City, of all places. Before they go, though, you should go catch their Au Revoir show at Mohawk, 9/15/11:
We'll help gear you up for that show by leaving you with the aforementioned "The Rise and Fall". Give it a studied listen; it's well worth your allegiance:

Find out more about The Monarchs on FaceBook, BandCamp, and Home Base.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Sky Jet Black

Ladies and Gentlemen, a warm round of applause for Patrick Marshall of Knifight fame, who's done us the kindness of allowing us to repost this piece.

I caught A Sky Jet Black for the first time at Beauty Bar over a year ago. Following my initial experience, I made a point to see them live as much as possible. Upon first listen, they sound something like female-fronted Joy Division with allusions to The Cure reeling from Disintegration or Siouxsie and the Banshees fresh off The Scream.
The brainchild and creative outlet of Tim Josserand and Kara Weinstein, A Sky Jet Black seldom disappoints wistful and romantic partialities while completely fulfilling any hopes of lo-fi electro pop synth waves and pulsing Madchester club beats.
At any given performance you will find Tim fastidiously brooding over melodic bass lines, rich with chorus and 16th note delay, as he stands sullen toward backstage. He stays nearly hidden in the shadows of front-woman Kara and her construction of tube-driven drum machines, micro-synth, and melodica. Her longing, sometimes stern vocals amalgamate the sorrowful knot in your throat, and the excited movement of your feet, and bobbing head.
Recently, Tim and Kara hit it off with ex-Mass Rituals guitarist and lead vocalist Cody Jackson. Cody is a befitting addition to the former duo, bringing with him a morose style of guitar playing reminiscent of a Fender VI-wielding Robert Smith or a slightly less apprehensive Bernard Sumner.

Tim, Kara, and more recently Cody, have been feverishly working through the summer on a self-produced album in their guesthouse-turned-studio. They hope to have it finished and ready for release this fall. This album, like cooler weather, cannot come soon enough.
A Sky Jet Black recently played Cheer Up Charlie’s, a charming, hip dive bar on East Sixth Street with Bali Yaaah, Cry for Us Black Swans, and Les RAV. You can and should catch their next performance alongside some of the same acts on Sunday, September 18th at Swan Dive.

Find out more about A Sky Jet Black on FaceBook and ReverbNation.

You can find out more about author Patrick Marshall when you find out about his band Knifight on FaceBook and WordPress.