Holy Wave, YellowFever, Opposite Day, the Steps, and Quiet Company
Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., Aug. 13, 2010
The eponymous six-song debut from Holy Wave, recorded by Shapes Have Fangs guitarist Skyler McGlothlin, is a great soundtrack to standing in front of an A/C unit and letting your face go numb. The local quartet's got a psych mind, and its wash of reverb and volume creates a dreamlike state, namely within the jangly sweetness of "The T.H. Sea" (get it?) and narcotic neo-drone of follow-up "P.C. Woman." Alternately, YellowFever's Bermuda Triangle tour EP shows the Austin duo refining its sound even more. You can hear the change on the pair's self-titled LP from earlier this year, a 180 from the harmonic popscotch of the Cats and Rats EP. Here, guitarist/bassist Jennifer Moore's slightly cocked vocals and Adam Jones' steady beat represent the basic elements of a good pop song. The minimal edge of the title track is pure joy, but the real meat comes via a cover of Austin comrades Horse + Donkey's "Horse" and an addictive twirl through Culture Club's "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me." Funk-punk trio Opposite Day knows a thing or two about the 1980s; the locals' sound has always felt sprung from the warped mind-meld of Mike Patton and Danny Elfman. Mandukhai continues with that left/right brain theory, both musical and scientific, on the bass heavy "Don't Disintegrate" and "Orderly Universe." Skinny-jeaned ATX quartet the Steps' four-song Flight Path makes the case for polished mop-top pop in a post-Strokes world, "Vitamin C" and "Out Tonight" edging them out of the teen scene and into more accessible songs that will still have girls twirling their hair. Similarly, Capital City foursome Quiet Company's Songs for Staying In examines love and sex in six songs, singer Taylor Muse the maestro behind intricately woven songs such as "Things You Already Know." It makes sense they've already had songs featured on reality shows. Earnest, catchy music makes a perfect bedfellow with our 24-7 times.