This week we'll add the lush sounds of Galveston's El Lago, the three part harmonies of Ancient Cat Society, the dark melody of Black Kite, the jangly indie rock of Astragal and the mike skills of Kyle Hubbard. While we invite you to read about all of the acts and to subscribe to the playlist, we also ask that you support these bands by purchasing their materials through their web stores or at their live performances.
Mixing shoe gaze and indie rock like they were meant to go together, Galveston's El Lago released one of the prettiest albums of the year with Colors. While all the songs are worth repeating, the last song of the album "Dinner Guests" offers up a nice upbeat and catchy song that's hard not to adore. With the dual guitars and snappy drums that dance alongside the vocals and the thuddy bass, the song should make anyone a fan. You can purchase Colors from Miss Champagne Records, from local record stores, or directly from the El Lago Bandcamp.
If you long for the type of music that stirs your soul and could play in any setting, then you don't have to look much further than Houston trio Ancient Cat Society. Made up of Haley Lynch of Dollie Barnes, Sergio Trevino of Buxton, and Austin Sepulvado of Buxton, Dollie Barnes, and Vodi; the sounds these three make together are almost angelic. Their full length Ancient Cat Society that came out earlier this year was full of three part harmonies, folky originals, and a subtle beauty that feels almost lost in today's modern music. While most of the songs on that release are hard not to like, it's the track "The Loneliest Pursuit" that's hard not to play again and again. Everything from the acoustic strum that opens the song to the blend of Sepulvado and Lynch's vocals make this one of the best to come out of our city this year. You can purchase music from the band when they perform, from every record store in Houston, or directly from iTunes.
Electronic music can get pretty static pretty fast when it's someone standing in front of a Macbook Pro with a film playing behind them. However, it's when you take electronic music and redefine it like Houston's Black Kite does, where it makes all of it that much more engaging. Though Soft Animus Heart came out last year, the songs still feel fresh and ahead of their time. While all of the songs on the album were hard not to love, it was the third track "Wanting" that was hard to deny. With a myriad of synths playing underneath Vicki Tippit's haunting and tragic vocals, the song adds these little beat clusters that sound like something from another universe without feeling too foreign to the ears. Couple in the catchy pace of the track and the changing tempos and you're left with a song that you should find yourself placing on repeat. You can purchase Black Kite's music from Miss Champagne Records, from Deep End Records, or directly from the Black Kite's Bandcamp or at their shows.
Indie rock is full of so many bands that sound like one another, that sometimes differentiating among them can be a daunting task. With Houston's Astragal, that isn't the case. The three piece made up of members on the younger spectrum not only perform like musicians twice their ages, but they write songs in the same manner. On their recent release Split, they dropped three songs worth giving attention to. On the catchy opener "Brightfellow," they mix in elements of new wave and jangle pop to craft an indie rock sound that's hard to hear anywhere else. Pedal soaked guitar, driving drums, and a melodic bass line are all part of what these guys do best, while the stride of the song makes it as upbeat and catchy as you want in a song. You can purchase music from Astragal when they perform, from Miss Champagne Records, or from the Astragal Bandcamp.
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Houston hip hop has definitely come a long way since the days of Geto Boys or even DJ Screw. While we can still hear the influence those acts have on newer acts, a new generation of hip hop artists has sprung up in recent years ready to challenge the throne. For Kyle Hubbard, it seems like he's always just been happy to be considered a part of the scene. However, on his latest release All Good Things Come, he returns to the mike refreshed and full of vigor. While the release is full of bangers, the track "Being John Malkovich" is one you might make your new anthem. Full of a lyrical blast from Fullmetal and plenty of scratch magic from DJ Discipline, it's Hubbard's verses here that really shine. If moving away a couple of years ago is what he needed to drop bars like this, then he was right in doing so while the beat and the music alone would be enough to warrant an instrumental version of the track for the club. You can grab All Good Things Come from Kyle Hubbard's Bandcamp.
That's it for this week. Keep checking back every two weeks to read about those listed and don't forget to subscribe to the playlist to blast these tracks as soon as they're added. This week's songs start with track number twenty six.