Abram Shook Welcomes Us to his Landscape Dream

Abram Shook; photo by Bryan C. Parker

Abram Shook; photo by Bryan C. Parker

Abram Shook’s last album, Sun Marquee, released last January, succeeded as one of the year’s best, in Austin or otherwise. The record employed bright, major-key guitar noodling, brilliantly syncopated rhythms, and Shook’s smooth croon. His newest effort, Landscape Dream, is no less subtly textured or musically intelligent, but it embraces a darker, murkier tonal palette. The sun has gone down on Shook’s landscape, as he forays into the night, bound for some dreamworld of thick sonic mists and sprawling terrain of gently rolling hills. On this new album, Shook proves his ability to confidently move into new aural territory while creating music every bit as complex and nuanced.

Abram Shook; photo by Bryan C. Parker

Abram Shook; photo by Bryan C. Parker

Last weekend, Shook celebrated the release of this new album at Mohawk, where he received support from Austin bands The Deer and Cross Record. Shook opened the set with a slow-jam version of “Distance,” one of his previous album’s sunniest moments. This reprise indicates the direction Shook has moved–the grooves were deeper and the beats more deliberate as guitarist Chris Cox provided airy background echoes. A chorus into the song, the quintet let loose and fell into the song’s original pacing, inducing some dancing from the attentive crowd. The set included a variety of songs new and old, but Shook’s live show has transformed even the older material to fit this dreamier and darker new aesthetic.

Abram Shook; photo by Bryan C. Parker

Abram Shook; photo by Bryan C. Parker

During a pre-show conversation, I heard Shook and his band unsurprisingly referred to as musicians’ musicians–a characterization I’ve heard many times and have used myself. Make no mistake, these songs are easy enough to appreciate for anyone down for some breezy, smooth indie-pop, but there’s more here. These guys consistently get grouped into the conversation about the city’s best. Currently, Shook is out on tour, bringing his dreamy songs to cities across the American landscape, but when he returns, he’ll play at Waterloo Records on May 28th and again on June 3rd at Red 7. I recommend being there.

Cross Record; photo by Bryan C. Parker

Cross Record; photo by Bryan C. Parker

The Deer provided a set of folky, funky songs driven by singer, guitarist, and keyboardist Grace Park’s plaintive vocals. Cross Record opened the night, and I maintain that seeing the band whenever they play is unquestionably the best decision for your evening’s plans.

All photos © Bryan C. Parker & Pop Press International; all rights reserved. Click any image to open set in slideshow viewer.

 

About author
Bryan Parker is a writer and photographer living and working in Austin, TX. He is the founder of blog Pop Press International and print journal True Sincerity and recently released his first book, a volume on Beat Happening in the 33 1/3 series.

Pop Press International © 2018 All Rights Reserved

All photos licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress