Thanks for Free Week Partying with Us, Dudes!

Sweet_Spirit_010215-12Pop Press International alongside the Loyalty Firm presented a Free Week showcase at Austin’s own Holy Mountain this past Friday night. “Five of Austin’s raddest bands” performed, showing the packed venue some of the city’s most promising acts, from tight power pop to americana roots and back to gloom pop, all in one night, all united by relentless talent and an unwavering fanbase, the City of Austin, TX. Each year, the city devotes a week to absolutely free shows with as many local bands they can get to fill the bills. Many bands play more than once. A few play more than twice. Some even more than that. The point is this city is full of spectacular talent, demanded by the thousands who come out each weekend to do their part in supporting a city that prides itself in its devotion to individuality, creativity, and community.

Little_Radar_010215-1Our night started with Little Radar, a band we saw play last July. We were hooked. Not to belabor the word, but hooks, man. This band is full of them! Smooth guitar interplay between lead singer Sean Hale and brother/backup singer Trevor blends effortlessly with the aggressive stylings of bassist Grant Himmler whose short-scale bass helps drive the mechanical drumming from Taylor Stolly. The tight punchiness from the rhythm section gives the four-piece elements of some punk influence poking its head through from the past, but the developed melodies, conceptual textural elements, and orchestrated instrumental passages give the group the perspective of pop structures and grants the ability to modulate that into something unique. Oh and that guitar tone? So thick.

Borrisokane_010215-4One of our favorite bands played next, Borrisokane.  We love this band for the way they somehow manage to uplift our spirits through some of the gloomiest, borderline-goth pop music. Triumphant gloom? Is that a thing? Borrisokane prove it’s possible. They’re another band that relies on gorgeous melodies to carry us locals to strange euphoric territory where sunshine and shadow mingle. Lines are painted asymmetrically down the right side of each member’s face, symbolizing tribal inclusion into a cult of spirits who play baritone guitars and analog synths. Where distortion crackles like thunder and reverb jolts like lightning. Asleep in a haze of contradictions, Borrisokane delivers a message of passive rebellion and powerful peace.

Harvest_Thieves_010215-1Mr. James Taylor rocked his house with the rest of the Harvest Thieves, a gang of well-dressed dapper dudes and a lady. This group captures another incredible facet of the live music experience in Austin with its ability to reclaim roots music as a form for merriment and dance. With galloping shuffles and hugely slick lead guitar, the band balances country, folk-rock, and stomp-pop into a high-energy experience that captures the audience’s desire to stay warm, especially Friday night when upper-30s temps and steady rain pushed the crowd closer and closer to the front of stage as more bodies filled the interior to capacity. Holy Mountain was filled Friday night, making it difficult to maneuver, yet relatively easy to grab another cold one in between songs, refueling with a little extra oil to keep the motor running smoothly. It goes so well with three-part harmonies that it makes it difficult to think otherwise…

A_Sinclair_010215-3One of the raddest bands in Austin right now is A. Sinclair. Recently named artist of the month by KUTX, lead singer Aaron Sinclair has distanced himself from his earlier roots flair for an angstier sound that punches rather than shuffles. Sinclair struts a little taller, Chuck Taylor-clad and looking out piercingly into the audience, delivering a highly immediate group of songs, all ready to be taken in and transcended into a highly personal experience, the crux to any successful song or creation, the precise capturing of the human condition. The group shows obvious talent in the chops department, foregoing theatrics for a cohesive sound that hits you with compelling sincerity.

Sweet_Spirit_010215-10If anyone else can touch A. Sinclair right now, it’s Sweet Spirit, a band birthed from the ashes of Bobby Jealousy and taking strong influence from lead singer Sabrina Ellis’ other (other?) group, A Giant Dog. It’s electrified and deep-fried. It’s hot, hotter, and ice-cold. Ellis has an obvious talent in her vocal abilities and holds the stage on her own, dictating the energy and leaving the audience with little choice other than to willfully enjoy the final act to a talent-packed Free Week showcase. We here at PPI strive to bring people and music together, contributing to the cultural niche of Austin, TX, with y’all as our stewards. We love being your ambassadors, so thanks for partying with us, dudes!

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