Claire Morales Finds an Amaranthine Perspective

ReservationsThe Historic Scoot Inn played host Friday night to a great selection of bands spanning a north-south channel from Oklahoma through Texas. Celebrating was Claire Morales as she released her debut full-length LP to Austin and the world (her hometown Denton release was last week). Braving the cold, snow, and general hazardous conditions, Morales and band made it to the Scoot Inn, warmed with Skee-Ball and neon lights.

MoongiantMoongiant is a band from Oklahoma City with big plans. The band plays an enchanting style of indie pop, grand in its proportions. Lead guitar rips reverberating chasms into 12-string brilliance from lead singer Erich Massad who coos in a style that delineates away from the folk-inflected appropriations the band may receive from more surface listens. This is big time indie rock a la Grizzly Bear, especially influenced in the rhythm section where clicks and smatterings of swampy toms and rims rise to punctuate the wash. On record these guys sound crisp, clear, and professional; it’ll be a treat to see how they develop their live show. Thanks for driving twelve hours to get here, guys.

ReservationsFor some poor excuse, I hadn’t seen Austin’s Reservations until this past weekend. Like an American Laura Marling, Jana Horn plays downer folk that paradoxically gives each listener a smile, like seeing the beauty in pure emotion. Her smoky vocals and classic tube amps give the sonics an organic crunch like rust, dust, and leaves. Like Waco band Lomelda, Reservations will get comparisons to Mazzy Star and other dreamy female-fronted groups that build sparse arrangements over slinky rhythms. Brushed drums complement the steady heartbeat pulse of Reservations.

Claire MoralesWe wrote a bit about Claire the other day, forecasting this promising show. I can safely say she backs our investment this evening with a rowdy set of gritty alt-country-gaze tunes. Her voice quivers and shakes through a mess of hair that dances through each curl of her lip enunciating each syllable of her set Friday night. Lest we forget, Claire released a record that night, Amaranthine, coming from the color of a particular genus of flowering plant, one that is fantastically believed to never fade. It’s a suitable descriptor, matching the rose-colored view of the world that Claire floats through, never coming down but riding the wave of locally supported, homegrown music in Austin.

The DeerFinishing the night is the Deer, who puts to bed any hesitation at the notion that they mean to grow into the dominant roots-oriented Austin group that can hang with the best and raise the bar to new standards for the singer-songwriter tradition. Original and quirky in classic Austin fashion, lead singer Grace Park’s voice is an indomitable spirit lifted with help from her friends in the band and in the audience. Late on a freezing Friday night in Austin’s East Side and we’re grooving. We’re in this together, Claire, Grace, Jana, and the Moongiants from Oklahoma.

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