Violet Crown and Standing Waves

Texas Platter

Phases and Stages
Phases and Stages

Violet Crown

These Are the Days (Herkermer)

Standing Waves

A Short History of Standing Waves Part 1 (Classified)

Reviews of Larry Seaman's recordings often reference his Raul's-era endeavor the Standing Waves, so it's serendipitous that his current band Violet Crown released These Are the Days at the same time as new retrospective A Short History of Standing Waves. These Are the Days is an apt title for Violet Crown's debut, as it gives weight to his quiet, lengthy career. Yet what Days most puts into perspective is the way Seaman's songwriting has grown and is so neatly defined by the collaborative efforts of his bandmates in Violet Crown, notably Frank Kammerdiener's melancholic cello and Cindy Toth's bass. It's pop, yes, but it's pop with bite ("Shadow," "Liar," "The Man Who Would be King," "Nothin' to Say"), much like Seaman played in his youth with Standing Waves ("And I Fall"), which makes the timing of Short History all the more relevant. The Waves were one of the most popular and danceable bands of Austin's Seventies punk scene. Seaman shared songwriting and vocal duties with bassist David Cardwell and guitarist Randy Franklin, but it was Shona Lay on keyboards who lent the band its authentic garage rock sound. It's also a sound that's dated today, though that doesn't diminish Short History. The unseasoned, tentative vocals and loose arrangements are part of the sweetness and charm of these nearly 25-year-old recordings. The band had a respectable output for its time (three vinyl EPs), most of which appear on this collection ("No Judy," "Integrating Circuits," "Vertigo"), and are refreshingly pre-techno/pre-synth ("Crash & Burn," "Love Why Not," "Early Warning"). Better yet, just about the time this collection is ready to be filed away, songs like "The One You Love," "Every Step," and "Lifeball" get lodged in your brain and won't leave. (Standing Waves reunite at the Saxon Pub, April 19.)

(Both) ***

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