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Darkbird Induces Non-Stop Dancing and Grooving with New Single

 

 

I remember seeing Darkbird live for the first time earlier this year at The Far Out Lounge, and their song “Heartbeat” really grabbing my attention. The song has an upbeat, disco-ish vibe that causes involuntary dancing with every listen. Simply put, the track is groovy as hell. Considering that Darkbird is more than capable of channeling a heavy-rock sound also, releasing “Heartbeat” further showcases their versatility and talent in a new light.

Though they can most easily be described as a straightforward rock n’ roll band, the diversity of influences and sounds heard within their music makes them undeniably unique in their own right. The lead singer, Kelly, elaborates on the many inspirations behind them. “The band has a ton of individual influences. Sonic Youth, PJ Harvey, Fleetwood Mac, Roy Orbison, Randy Travis, The Pixies, Dr. Dog, George Jones.... I mean, the list goes on. Depression is probably our actual biggest influence.” Darkbird covers a wide spectrum within the rock genre. I certainly pick up on some of the classic rock influences, contemporary rock, and everything in between. That being said, they have an uncanny ability to make all of their ideas mesh to form their own musical identity.

I think that even the members of the band would admit “Heartbeat” is different from the rest of their previous releases. However, the decision to try something new didn’t seem to be a super thought out decision. For Darkbird, crafting this song was just a spontaneous and spur of the moment thing that just seemed to happen. Kelly explains, “The song had no prior intention. Brian wrote a part, I wrote some parts and it just became a poppy, dance jam. And it's really about just needing to feel alive, whether it's love, a substance or even an actual heart attack that wakes you up and gets you out of the hamster wheel that life can become, something needs to give sometimes.” The fact that this process was so effortless for the band members makes the song even more impressive.

This latest release proves that Darkbird has no barriers or creative limitations. They don’t allow genre or outside expectations to weigh them down. They simply make music that feels right to them and I think it’s safe to say that it’s working out for the five piece band from Austin. Though they already have plenty of great songs for fans to listen to, “Heartbeat” might be their awe-inspiring track to date. 

 

- Quinn Donoghue

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LP Giobbi and Kaleena Zanders' Summery House Masterpiece

 With lyrics about climbing mountains, overcoming obstacles, and coming together, Carry Us is an anthemic celebration of togetherness and pride, dropped during the second week of Pride Month. The song is LP Giobbi’s fourth single of 2021 and her latest push beyond the confines of traditional house music. 

Repetitive house piano chords underscore Carry Us while Giobbi’s multidisciplinary production skills buoy the instrumental and push it toward a revelatory explosion. Giobbi’s background as a trained jazz pianist guides her timing, giving the arrangement a defined structure but not anchoring it in rigidity. Djembe drums scatter around a pulsing house beat to rejoice and convey gratitude, while hi-hats and claps enhance the feeling of comradery that the artists wanted to commit to. 

The true star in the production is Kaleena Zanders, a towering vocalist whose projection carries the song to higher and higher heights. Her intonation when she chants the song title is church-choir-captivating, almost as if her soul escapes her body for a brief moment. She’s also able to hold a note for an eternity, coming off like an intentional callback to Martha Wash’s

house classic, Carry On. But in Carry Us, Giobbi and Zanders find unity in their will to persevere. 

The song was born of a deep respect between the two artists. Giobbi says it took time to come to fruition while she worked more emotion out of the instrumental to match Zanders. “Our bond inspired me to write lyrics about friendship...Ultimately, this song is intended to invoke the feeling of being supported through thick and thin,” Zanders says of her creative process. “We went in with no boundaries and a pure love for soul music.” 

That elemental love for soul music ensures that joy is at the forefront of both artists’ work. LP Giobbi constantly reinforces her preference for showcasing women-identifying artists through her platform, and Zanders is an excellent addition to the fold. The spiritual exhalation that Zanders brings to Giobbi’s production truly sets “Carry Us” apart from run-of-the-mill EDM. 

 

 

Carry Us is out on all platforms now from Thrive Music.

 

-- Mike Floeck

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Anastasia Hera Combines Innovation with Accessibility on her new “Big Tuna”

 If you are new to hip hop artist/R&B vocalist Anastasia Hera’s music, you will certainly be pleasantly surprised by the first 30 seconds of her new single/video Big Tuna. How she manages to open a song that has such a humorous title with art-nouveau soul vibes and a pensively sung “I’ll never comprehend,” followed by the sophisticated piano and then —- “I can never comprehend little ponds that I can swim/I’m infatuated with the lights/I belong in the pond where the whales get it on/Down deep on the floor waiting for my turn.”


A song that I felt certain from its title was going to be a tell-off to a conceited man she’s attracted to with the man in question being the “big tuna” turns out to be sea life as metaphor for her dreams of stardom. The big tuna is petite and sweet Ms. Hera, as she shares her confident pep talk to herself about her singing fame worthiness with the listener.

 

Although she may be a girl on fire, the video which is directed superbly by Ty On Da Track chose to avoid the special effects included in numerous well-known modern videos such as Girl on Fire and Carly Rae Jepson’s Now That I Found You. The Big Tuna video is all the better for this choice. Following Ms. Hera through a typical day pursuing her dreams, from cooking breakfast at home to working out to recording to auditioning, everything is credible and real without fantasy interruptions, underscoring that she is taking real life steps to achieve her musical goal. This realism balances out the humor of the song’s lyrical metaphors very well.

 

It is a fine testament to Anastasia Hera’s Hollywood charisma that she will likely keep the rapt attention of anyone who watches Big Tuna go through the grind of her unglamorous day. Think Ciara’s 2019 music video for I’ve Been Thinking About You in which Ciara prepares for a date. Ms. Hera is as beautiful as Ciara and as in possession of a comic streak, whether it’s Ms. Hera’s on-screen antics or her deliberately amusing vocal nuances on the occasional rapped lyrics. 

 

Able to flow from her sweet singing to rap to back again with a natural ease, she also has excellent songwriting chops, an ability to conceptualize harmonies, and the fluency in soul music history.  Big Tuna is one of six tunes on her new debut album, This Is Anastasia. It was recorded in Austin at Trak Majors Studios with Tim “T-Mo' Moore and at Pleasantville with RJ Maine. Throughout the album are unexpected touches such as the creatively employed vocal reference (not a sample)  to Stevie Wonder’s Isn’t She Lovely in the indie pop flavored Clarity which speaks of a girl in the third position in a way that shows a definite Fleetwood Mac Rhiannon  touch. Or the first track, Ceiling with its counterpoint harmonies and confectionary soul which might make “Ceiling” this year’s Boo’d Up.

 

On July 28, Geraldine’s will host the official record release party for the This Is Anastasia EP

(605 Davis St, Austin. Tickets available through OpenTable).


 

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Molly Burch, Austin's Pop Queen, Drops New Music

 Austin-based dreampop siren Molly Burch spins shoegaze-inflected rhythms that call back to her favorite musical influences. She returns with Heart of Gold, a song that uses her skillful deployment of emotion to paint heartache as a silver lining. The song is the third single released from her upcoming record Romantic Images, an album that’s shaping up to be a dance party in the name of crying the pain away.


Heart of Gold employs some of Burch’s most notable strengths to her advantage. She cites Nina Simone and Billie Holiday as vocal inspirations in her career, and flits off vocal inflections derived from an appreciation for jazz and motown sensibilities. Her quick stutters are sneaky, only revealing themselves when you take a moment to listen back. They chip away at the self-serious bubble this kind of heartbreak anthem is familiar with.


Further building the song’s sense of humor, Burch laments her encounters with love beyond her own relationship experiences. “I give you advice for love but I hate it / Never wanna know what comes of it,” sounds like a confession from a burnt-out bar hound. She’s been around the block, but now, she’s tired of traveling in circles.


Burch’s voice lifts to a breathy lilt in the chorus as she pleads with her lover to make things right. “All I ever wanted was your love / I treat it like my job,” escapes her lips in a delicate cry that pleads for more attention. Her heart of gold beams with affection but clearly hasn’t received what it needs in return.


A doe-eyed, gentle demeanor on full display in the song’s music video compounds the dreamlike daze. In the clip, Burch walks aimlessly through the Hill Country with a couple of goat kids as she pines over a man who’s having a blast chopping wood. It’s a fun take on the idea that her romantic interest never notices her affections—the guy is enjoying himself so much that it seems he might never break away from his work. That space is where Burch’s music lives most comfortably: when all that seems lost presents itself as a joke right before your eyes. Her whit and her sharp tongue ensure that coming back for more is worth it, again and again.


Romantic Images is out July 23 via Captured Tracks.

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Dallas Burrow Delivers Blast from the Past with New Single

 Those who love old-school sounding country will be thrilled about its resurgence into the world of contemporary music. Texas native Dallas Burrow proves once again that he belongs on the list of artists who are bringing this kind of music back into the forefront. His latest single, Born Down in Texas, doesn’t shy away at all from the roots and tradition that have helped him obtain the success he’s had thus far. This tune consists of a western, Americana vibe, and Burrow’s superb songwriting is complemented by a team of musicians who unquestionably understand the importance of the tradition that Burrow is grounded in. 

The twangy electric guitar intro immediately paints imagery of being on the open road, driving through barren Texas land. Then Burrow’s smooth vocal delivery contrasts perfectly with the gritty and haunting instrumentation. The first artist that comes to mind when hearing this track is the legendary Townes Van Zandt. Burrow draws similarities to the Texas country icon with his use of rich, poetic lyrics that speak about struggle and life on the road. Additionally, Burrow manages to capture the eerie sort of feeling that Townes displayed on songs like Waiting Around to Die and Lungs. And though Burrow has surrounded himself with excellent musicians who add substantial value to his sound, none of the players interfere with the story being told. In fact, Burrow’s band even further magnifies the poeticism of his lyrics. 

The lyrics seem to be about the unyielding decision to always call Texas home, despite the temptations that come along with constant travel and the inevitably of being pulled into new experiences elsewhere. This is emphasized with the lyrics, “Lobbin down in Louisiana, chasing that voodoo thing/Take me back to Texas, lord so I can hear the angels sing,” as well as “I was born down in Texas, that’s where they’ll bury me/Give my love to that woman up in Memphis, Tennessee.” Throughout his journeys, Burrow has been lured away by love, curiosity, and opportunity. But no matter what, Texas will always be home. 

Many musicians of today often feel pressured to sound modern or “with the times” in order to be associated with the most popular forms of music. Dallas Burrow unrelentingly steers away from the overly polished, pop-country sound coming out of Nashville. Instead, he stays true to the western, outlaw country that contributed mightily to his upbringing. Born Down in Texas is an organic powerhouse and another perfect example of why trusting your intuition as an artist should always come first.

Check out Dallas' new self-titled album, out July 23rd.

 

-- Quinn Donoghue


 

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