King Tears

Rope Chair Needle (n / a)

Texas Platters

King Tears

Rope Chair Needle

Some might mistake Austin quartet King Tears for goths: They're named after a local mortuary, and their debut takes its title from three common methods of capital punishment. Yet there's not a single murder ballad here; even "Heaven or Hell" turns out to be about a difficult relationship instead of any afterlife destination. Conveniently positioned between Moonlight Towers' fuzzy pop and Milton Mapes' grizzled Americana – Towers' James Stevens recorded the album; Mapes' Greg Vanderpool did the cover art – Rope's nine songs are cut from the same rustic cloth. Steady, unforced tempos, and well-placed banjo and harmonica, lend an unmistakable air of Big Pink to the proceedings. "Beg Me to Follow" invites the Grooveline horns inside for some shambling fireside Stonesery, and "Comin' Around" choogles along like John Fogerty bumping into the Faces at last call. If some songs (the title track) are a little too soft-focus at times, their unflagging amiability grants them the necessary leeway. This is music meant for relaxing on the porch, with a tall glass of lemonade or something stronger, whiling away the lazy summer hours in the shade. Indeed, Rope Chair Needle offers precious little to cry about at all.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Review: Tearjerk, <i>Face to Face</i>
Review: Tearjerk, Face to Face
Face to Face (Record Review)

Kriss Conklin, May 12, 2023

Album Review: The Stacks
Album Review: The Stacks
Lay Me Down to Rest (Record Review)

Mars Salazar, Feb. 17, 2023

More by Christopher Gray
Margaret Moser Tribute: The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
That Margaret Moser, she’s a rainbow

June 30, 2017

Margaret Moser Tribute: Patricia Vonne
Patricia Vonne
Shine a light

June 30, 2017

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle