A Trio Of Two Brothers And One Longtime Friend Who Personally Produce, Perform, And Passionately Conjure Up Dark Alternative Pop Punctuated By Rock And R&B, Australia’S Chase Atlantic Blur The Lines Between A Nocturnal Aesthetic And Primal Bliss On Their 2017 Self-Titled Debut For Warner Bros. Records.
This Delicate Balance Quietly Transformed The Group—Mitchel Cave, Clinton Cave, And Christian Anthony—Into A Veritable Sensation Down Under While Still In Their Teens. Since Forming In 2011, The Boys Have Packed Multiple Headline Tours Across Australia, Amassed An Impressive Digital Footprint Of Followers, Released Two Successful Independent Eps, Dalliance  And Nostalgia , And Spawned A Viral Single With “Friends,” Which Garnered An Incredibly Large Count Of Spotify Plays.
However, Their Shared Ambition Always Exceeded The Confines Of The Bedroom Studio Where They Initially Recorded. “While All Of Our Friends Were Doing Gap Years And Finding Themselves, We Were Working On Getting The World To Notice Us,” Admits Mitchel. “We Made This Agreement Within The Band That We Weren’T Just Going To Stay In Australia. We Wanted To Sign To An International Label, And We Wouldn’T Stop Until That Happened.”
“What We Were Doing Was Different For Australia,” Adds Christian. “It Felt Like We Were The Only Ones Putting Out Music That We Produced And Made Entirely By Ourselves. That’S The Process. It’S Real.”
That Spirit Caught The Attention Of The Madden Brothers During 2015. Multiple Meetings In Australia Followed, And The Three-Piece Signed With The Industry Icon’S Music Company, Mdn. In 2016, Chase Atlantic Flew To Los Angeles Scoring A Deal With Warner Bros. Records.
“The Maddens Locked Us Away In A Burbank Studio For Three Months And Threw Away The Key. We Really Got To Preserve That Organic Sound,” Says Clinton.
Without Outside Influences, The Three-Piece Produced, Played, And Recorded Every Note, Including Saxophone. Along The Way, They Honed And Fine-Tuned A Definitive Style Equally Reverent Of Tame Impala And Skrillex As It Is Of The Weeknd And Travi$ Scott.
“To Us, Production Is The Most Important Thing,” Mitchel Goes On. “It’S The Most Critical Element Of Creativity. We Push Ourselves To Further What We Can Do Every Day, Whether It’S Producing Or Playing. We Really Found Our Musical Identity This Past Year.”
Now, Chase Atlantic Roars To Life On The First Single “Church.” Glitchy Synths Blip In The Background As Mitchel’S Breathy Voice Haunts And Hypnotizes. Bells Ring While The Hook—“I’M About To Take You Back To Church”—Simply Seduces. “It’S Very Forward, Sexual, And Aggressive,” Explains Mitchel. “The Lyrics Are Sexualizing Religion In A Way, And The Song Ends Up Being The Complete And Total Opposite Of What Church Really Means To Most People.”
Elsewhere On The Record, The Airy “Into It” Tempers A Downtempo Groove With An Unshakable Refrain Before A Jazz-Y Saxophone Solo Takes The Spotlight. “It Represents The Transition Into A New, More Intense Lifestyle,” Says Christian. “You’Re Acknowledging That This Something You’Re Into And Can Roll With. It’S Our Story.”
Meanwhile, “Right Here” Urges For A Carpe Diem Moment Within A Relationship. “It Basically Says, ‘Fuck Everybody Else. It’s Just You And Me’,” Mitchel Reveals. “All That Matters Is The Two Of Us In This Moment.”
Ultimately, Chase Atlantic Forge A Lasting Connection Through That Honesty.
“The One Thing We Want People To Take Away From The Music Is This Element Of Really Feeling Themselves,” Mitchel Leaves Off. “A Song Can Make You Go, ‘Fuck Yeah,’ And You’Re Thinking About It And Singing It All Day. You’Re Not Left Underwhelmed. You’Re Overwhelmed. We Want That.”
“And World Domination,” Agrees Clinton.
WHO IS CHARLY BLISS?
If it’s true that listening to just the right record at just the right moment can psychically transport you to some other time and place, then Charly Bliss—an NYC band responsible for having crafted some of the finest guitar-crunched power pop this side of an old Weezer record with a blue cover—can pretty much turn any space into an adult-friendly version of your old teenage bedroom, a candy-scented safe space for extreme fits of happiness and angsty teen-level explosions of romantic ennui.
Though Charly Bliss has been a band for over half a decade, the path that led to their first full-length record, Guppy, has been anything but straightforward. As the story goes, the band officially started when frontwoman Eva Hendricks and guitarist Spencer Fox, both just 15, crossed paths at a Tokyo Police Club show in New York City, but the ties within the band go much deeper than that. “It’s kind of insane and hilarious,” says Eva, “Sam is my older brother, so obviously we’ve known each other our whole lives, but all of us have been connected to each other since we were little kids. Dan Shure and I dated when we were in our early teens and he and Spencer went to summer camp together. Dan and I broke up years ago, but eventually he’ d become our bass player. The reason we all get along so well has to do with the fact we share this ridiculous history. We are all deeply embedded in each other’s lives.”
After spending years playing shows in and around New York City, the band eventually released an EP (2014’s Soft Serve) and scored opening gigs for the likes of Glass Animals, Darwin Deez, Tokyo Police Club, Sleater-Kinney, as well as a touring spot for their own musical forebears, Veruca Salt. Even though the band had amassed a sizable fanbase and a reputation as a truly formidable live act, the goal of making a full-length record proved to be a fraught series of false-starts. Given their propensity for making hooky, ebullient pop songs, the band often felt out of step with what was happening around them in Brooklyn. (“We weren’t weird in the right ways,” says Sam). They eventually set about recording an album on their own—and then recording it twice—before figuring out what had been staring them in the face the entire time. “We basically had to come to terms with the fact that we are, at heart, a pop band,” recalls Spencer. “Before, it was always trying to decide which of the songs would be more ‘rock’ and which would be more poppy, but we eventually realized we needed to meet in the middle, we had to create an ecosystem where our loud, messy rock sounds could co-exist with these super catchy melodies and pop hooks. It was really about realizing what we’re best at as a band.”
The ten tracks that make up Guppy, Charly Bliss’ sparkling full-length debut, show the band embracing all of their strengths—a combination of ripping guitars and irrepressible pop hooks, all delivered with the hyper-enthusiasm of a middle school cafeteria food fight. That every track is loaded front-to-back with sing/shout-worthy lyrics and earworm melodies is a testament to the band’s commitment to the art form of pop songwriting. Opening track “Percolator” sets the tone—all power riffs and yo-yo-ing melodies playing against Hendricks’ acrobatic vocals, which veer from gentle coo to an emphatic squeal:
I’m gonna die in the getaway car! I would try but it sounds too hard! It’s a vibe that carries throughout Guppy, a record that shares an undeniable kinship with 90’s alt-rockers like Letters to Cleo and That Dog—bands that balanced melodicism, sugary vocals, and overdriven guitar turned up to 11. It’s an aesthetic that Charly Bliss both embraces and improves upon in tracks like “Ruby” (“We actually wrote the guitar solo by sitting in a circle and passing the guitar around, each of us adding our own notes,” says Fox) and “Glitter”, the record’s first single. “I wanted to make a song about being romantically involved with someone who makes you kind of hate yourself because they are so much like you,” says Hendricks, “A fun song about complicated self-loathing that you could also dance around your bedroom to—that kind of sums us up as a band, actually.”
“Pop music can actually be very subversive,” she continues. “The lyrics that I’m most proud of on the record are me existing both in and out of this overgrown teenybopper feeling—feeling like everything I was going through was the most extreme thing that had ever happened to anyone ever. The songs are often about being totally in the throes of this stuff, but also being able to step out of it and make fun of myself. It’s possible to write songs that really get at all of these dark feelings while also just being really fun to sing and dance to. You can be serious and also sing about peeing while jumping on a trampoline.”
Guppy is a record that doesn’t so much seek to reinvent the pop wheel so much as gleefully refine it. “People forget sometimes that expressing joy is just as important as examining despair,” says Shure. “People need joy, especially right now. We’re all about writing tight pop songs, but also giving people this super enthusiastic release. These songs are kind of the sound of expressing something that you can’t really contain. These are songs you play really loudly when you need to freak out.”
Every so often a miracle comes a roaring out of the Golden Triangle- the soup and the humidity and whatever is in the water down there coagulate and conspire to create a band or an artist that will live forever. Janis Joplin and Edgar and Johnny Winter-they were formed and fashioned from this strange south Texas alchemy. Blues and black gold and heat and humidity and trouble will do that.
That thunder you hear, that rumble in the dark Beaumont sky is what’s next-Peace and the Chaos a three-piece power rock trio with something to say and a thousand ways to say it. Together, they are the next life form in the musical evolution of three strangers who met one night in a dimly lit rehearsal hall and found love and brotherhood and that once-in-a-lifetime feeling in your bones when you know what you’re doing is different and special.
All three-Guitarist and singer Billy Beaumont, Drummer Ken Turner, and Bassist Len Sonnier- are seasoned veterans and songwriters who cut their teeth on a wide variety of the best music ever made. They know exactly what “timeless” means and they have no intention of settling for anything less. Their early recordings together are strong. Each song is undeniable evidence of an old-school love of great songs and great singers and performers, combined with a modern sensibility and crazy musical excellence. Together they are better than any of them can be separate.
They’ll tell you that finding each other was a Godsend. Now, there is important work to do together. Miracles don’t happen that often. You should listen.
Like many singer-songwriters, Lisa Morales started penning tunes as a way to express her emotions addressing the complex landscape of relationships through music and verse. Her perspective now is that of a woman who’s gone through many storms and witnessed their sometimes-beautiful aftermaths as well.
With Luna Negra and the Daughter of the Sun, Morales sought to reach even more deeply into her soul. Drawing from a creative palette informed by the rhythms, colors and flavors of the Southwest — from the painted-desert skies of her native Tucson, Arizona, where she and cousin Linda Ronstadt grew up, to the sea-salted air of Houston, where she moved at 18, and the history-filled city of San Antonio, where she now lives — she’s crafted an album of maturity, sensitivity and strength. On each of its 11 tracks — all but one of which were written or co-written by Morales — she confirms that she is a woman in touch with her emotions and inner power. Lyrics, sung in English, Spanish and Spanglish, also convey the promise of new beginnings.
The album is produced by Michael Ramos (the BoDeans, Patty Griffin, John Mellencamp) who plays accordion and keyboards. The album features guitarists Charlie Sexton (Bob Dylan), Adrian Quesada (Grupo Fantasma, Prince) and David Garza (Juliana Hatfield, Fiona Apple). Los Lonely Boys bassist Jojo Garza and Los Lobos drummer Cougar Estrada round out the core band. Both Garzas also provide backing vocals. On “Avalanche,” a standout duet with the late Jimmy LaFave. and on “Strong Enough,” folk icon Eliza Gilkyson helps lift up the inspiring anthem of female empowerment with backing vocals.
On the album’s sole cover, “Pena, Penita, Pena” Morales taps into the pain of losing her mother, whose poetic influence permeates every song — especially those Morales sings in her mother’s native language. The song features lead guitar by David Pulkingham with Morales on classical guitar and Michael “Cornbread” Traylor on bass. Though Morales, who discovered the song while her mother was dying of cancer, imbues it with sadness, she makes it sound like a gentle sunset serenade — and reports proudly that when she played it for her cousin, Ronstadt responded, “I would have definitely recorded that!”
Morales recorded six albums as one-half of the duo Sisters Morales before releasing her solo debut, Beautiful Mistake, in 2012
Lisa has also worn producers hat with highly acclaimed production on Hayes Carlls’ “Flowers & Liquor; co-wrote “Waiting For the Stars to Fall” with Hayes Carll on his CD “Trouble In Mind”.
Joe Mazzari and Dixie Deadwood, a duo based out of the Northeastern USA, draw upon their own personal musical influences, their combined passion and need to create a style of music all their own — one that’s influenced by the urban streets and the restless spirits of the Mississippi Hills. Each had honed their own sound through years on the road: Mazzari with his poignant lyrics, melodies and rock guitar, Dixie with her bare-knuckled approach to drumming. Together, Joe and Dixie mix steamy grooves, razor-sharp dynamics and high energy to create what they refer to as “gritty and primal rock ‘n’ roll.”
Joe brings his gutter-rock guitar, gritty vocals and strong stage presence fostered through his years touring and recording with Johnny Thunders, Walter Lure and Jerry Nolan of Heartbreakers and New York Dolls fame. He fronted a handful of his own original bands: The Daughters, The Two Saints, and The Joe Mazzari Band. Joe also had the privilege of recording with Jimmy Miller, producer of The Rolling Stones, Traffic and Motorhead, and with John Peel of BBC fame. Influenced by John Hiatt, Bob Dylan, Link Wray, Rory Gallagher and various Delta blues musicians, Joe began writing roots-rock music in his 20s. Caught up in the Boston rock scene in the 1980s, he recorded a handful of albums and singles and toured the US and the UK. Joe has performed at The Rat in Boston; CBGB‟S, Irving Plaza, Peppermint Lounge and Maxwell’s in NYC; The Mayfair in Scotland; The Cavern Club in Liverpool; and the Marquee Club in London, among other venues.
Dixie played drums behind famed bluesman Leo “Bud” Welch for years and has performed at more than 20 festivals and venues in the US, Europe, and Africa. She is featured in a documentary on Welch, “Late Blossom Blues: The Leo Bud‟ Welch Story,” released in January 2017, and on Welch’s Mississippi Blues Trail Marker as his drummer. Dixie also played in the All Night Long Blues Band for four years and recorded three albums of Mississippi Hill Country blues. She is sponsored by Peridore Custom Sticks and SoulTone Cymbals and plays TAMA Silverstar drums.
How would you define a sound that’s a cross between Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, REM, and Glenn Frey?
It’s a trick question. A sound like that defies genre.
That’s exactly the goal of Houston’s hottest new band, Londale. Veterans of the Houston music scene, they’ve connected to create unique music that’s heartfelt, edgy, and laid back. The result – an eclectic sound reminiscent of the aforementioned legends. It’s an unexpected combination, but once you hear it, it just feels right.
For group co-founder and lead vocalist Willy Collins, Londale’s creation was a fast metamorphosis. An attorney by day, Collins formed his first group, the Willy Collins Band, in 2012. Known for its indie-Americana sound that incorporated country-inspired twang, the Willy Collins Band released three albums before briefly evolving into the Black Top Junkies. But when BTJ went into the studio to record its first album in 2016, they had a revelation: the name of their group didn’t fit their sound. Something special was happening in that studio. The music they were creating was taking them into new territory. Collins and group co-founder/lead guitarist Joshua Lee Hammond were blown away by this unexpected evolution. They realized their music was a throwback to the scratchy, low-fi sound of the transistor radios popular in the 1960’s, with a rock edge reminiscent of the 1990’s.
“When transistors first appeared, music wasn’t so pigeonholed. You could hear Led Zeppelin and Sinatra on the same station. Our songs are a mix of genres like early radio, and my first transistor, a ‘Londale,’ came to my mind,” Collins says.
Collins and Hammond renamed the band Londale as an homage to the old-school portable radio. Many of their songs even have a transistor-type quality, as if they’re playing on a Londale radio. The result — a sophisticated listening experience that captures our society’s demand for the modern and simultaneous nostalgia for simpler times.
For the guys in Londale, this retro-fresh album isn’t about the past – it’s a nod toward the future. And just like that first day in the studio, the band will let their songs dictate their sound and see where it takes them.
“Sure, there will be the distinctive ‘Londale’ guitar-centric sound,” Collins says. “But we’re excited to try new things and let the magic of being in the studio dictate what is and what can be.”
Hailing from Austin, TX, The Savage Poor is the band project of brothers Jeff and Ben Brown. Growing up in central PA, Jeff learned to write songs as a teenager by listening to Ramones records, while Ben learned on his own studying David Bowie. In their early 20’s they decided to join forces and began playing and writing together. The Brown brothers have always been infatuated by the excitement of American rock n’ roll and the cinematic soundscapes of British post punk and indie music, with one foot in the world of The Replacements and another in The Smiths, with the literary influence of Lou Reed and the rainy day dreams of The Cure. Being based in Texas, Jeff and Ben feel that the eclecticism of Doug Sahm and the opera of Roy Orbison has also been an influence on their music.
The band is led by Jeff Brown (Shinyribs/ATX top ten bass players of 2017) and Ben Brown who share lead vocals and electric guitar duty, backed by Alex Moralez on drums (Bo Diddley), Roger Wuthrich on bass and newest addition Christine Smith on keyboards and background vocals.
Their current release “The Grown Ups” was recorded at The Shire in ATX. It was produced, engineered and mixed by Christine Smith (Crash Test Dummies, Jesse Malin, Ryan Adams & Marah.) The foundation tracks were recorded completely analog in PA by Smith with David Bielanko of Marah. Special guests on the record include Keith Langford (The Gourds, Shinyribs) on harmonica and Jeff Johnston (Ramsay Midwood) on saw.
“The Grown Ups” is a subversive and eclectic album informed by the passion and possibility of rock n’ roll, that takes a hard look at the here and now of modern life. Songs range from the explosive and humorous “Night of a Thousand Tuesdays,” that ponders the greatest horror movie of all – endless weeks at a meaningless job – to the gentle and haunting title track, which is an explanation from an adult to a child about why adults haven’t left the world a better place for them. The songs delve into both the explicitly political and the extremely personal. “That’s How the West Was Lost” is two and half minutes of exuberant pop, steeped in the soundscapes of a Spaghetti Western, that deals with America’s original sin in the exploitation of Native peoples. The 8 minute sonic death march of “Hand Coming Down” is a gloomy, gothic romance from the point of view of someone coming of age in the modern world.
Jeff believes that “the best records always straddle the line between accessibility and mystery. Thematically I knew that we wanted to make an unsettling record that spoke to the insanity of modern America, but more poetic than topical in its approach. The records that I like all have something to say.”
Dollie Barnes, hailing from Houston, mixes pop sensibilities with dream-like vocals into a pot of 60’s and 70’s inspired writing while still maintaining a sound that is all it’s own, grabbing hold of the listener from the first note.
“The Dollie Barnes sound is hard to describe not unlike her signature voice. Singer-songwriter John Evans said it best when he told me that her voice only works for her, and no one else could have her sound. Because I’ve been lucky enough to be around Barnes, I’ve gotten to see that she’s a savvy, intriguing, and multi-layered individual who just happens to be one of the most engaging artists I’ve seen in a good while.” – David Garrick of Free Press Houston
“Over the past year or so, Dollie Barnes — and frontwoman Haley Barnes in particular — has begun asserting itself as one of the most promising bands in town. Barnes, the woman (Dollie is a family nickname), was already well-known to Houston audiences from her work in Buxton and Ancient Cat Society; a detour to Baylor University gave her the time and space to develop as a songwriter skilled at mingling mystery and melancholy a la Stevie Nicks. Barnes, the local indie-pop band, also includes two members of Buxton and two guys from Robert Ellis’ band, plus Barnes’ fiance Tom Lynch, whom she and several bandmates join in aesthetically similar Houston outfit Vodi. (Must make putting together shows a lot easier.) Earlier this month, the band — Dollie Barnes, just to keep you on track — released the single “Taking All Day,” a wistful and hummable track that prefaces their forthcoming debut album Caught In a Phase.” – Chris Gray of Houston Press
Four piece indie rock / Texas country / Americana band from Houston, Texas. Compose Yourself Magazine called us “a honky tonk’s wet dream”.
“..I WANNA BOOK YOU GUYS FOR MY NEXT SOCK HOP..”
– Wide Open Spaces, 90.1 FM KPFT
“..PSYCH INFUSED FOLK..”
– Free Press Houston
SAM TURNER & THE CACTUS CATS are equal parts grit, croon, and home-cooked, comfort-food goodness. Their debut album “WANNA BE YOUR MAN” spotlights songwriter Sam Turner, who belts out carefully crafted lyrics in that indescribably iconic way only soulful men and women of yesteryear are known to do. “It’s neurotic,” Turner laughs while describing his own singing, “A blend of fear and hopefulness.” But that may also be because “Wanna Be Your Man” shares wisdom and confusion found in the wake of a master lyricist’s journey from the first love of his life to the next. The album even starts with an optimistic bravado in the title track “Wanna Be Your Man” while finishing with burning realism in “Thank You, I Love You, Goodbye”. Drawing inspiration from legends like Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Townes Van Zandt, and others who found something new to sing on old matters of the heart, Turner ponders on what he had, has, and wants — and whether there’s ultimately any true difference between the three.
On the road leading up to the release of “Wanna Be Your Man”, Turner joined with musicians who tastefully match and coat his powerful singing: the Cactus Cats, with Michael Trakhtenberg on lead guitar (of Backyard Beehive), W.D. Hesser on bass/vocals (of As Eden Burns), and Troy Tabner on drums/vocals (a.k.a. Baby Lucy). Since 2014, Turner & the Cats have honed their live game at fundraisers, a wedding, a city marathon, a goat roast in the country under a full moon’s sky — as well as many, many bars, lounges, halls, pubs, and watering holes. The casual listener may hear them and think ‘laid-back college rock’ or ‘indie desert folk-pop’, but press from their recent Texas tour aptly described the group as: “a honky tonk’s wet dream.”
Hearkening back to the songwriter’s biggest influences not only in composition but in music production, Sam Turner & the Cactus Cats recorded “Wanna Be Your Man” over the course of 48 hours. All together in the same room. Live. Onto half-inch tape with only eight tracks. The decision to forego the studio magic of recording individual parts on multiple tracks speaks to the unified and present force of this musical collective. “It’s not a polished recording, but what you hear is a direct result of us playing and listening to one another,” comments drummer Troy Tabner, who also co-engineered the album.
In “Wanna Be Your Man”, Sam Turner & the Cactus Cats deliver a powerfully satiating and driven sound to get you out of your mind and up off your seat, all while promising to have you home before midnight.
Vodi is a 6 piece indie rock band based out of Houston, TX featuring ambient keys, driving rhythms, effortless hooks and a nostalgic sound.
“IF FLEETWOOD MAC produced a soundtrack to Stranger Things, it would sound a whole lot like local Houston band Vodi’s debut album, Talk. Released earlier this month, the ’80s-inspired record showcases husband-and-wife duo Tom and Haley Lynch’s undeniable chemistry and swoon-worthy harmonies.
Both seasoned in Texas’ music scene (Haley also moonlights as folk princess Dollie Barnes and Tom has been around the block a time or two), the songs on Talk helped bring the two together romantically and musically, allowing the band to produce the ethereal nine-track album without complaints.” Laura Furr Mericas houstoniamag.com