Jean Synodinos, Michelle Anthony, Autumn, Ali, and Karrie Hopper

Girlie Action

Texas Platters

Lucky was Jean Synodinos' aptly named local debut in 2003, and its successor Breathe (Fortunate Records) is an equal sigh of relief. Synodinos hails from the Austin singer-songwriter school of music, her sophomore disc shouldering a flirty sense of humor with substantial songwriting chops. And if Lucky marked her elation as a breast cancer survivor, this release is for the dog lovers, with a portion of proceeds going to the Austin Humane Society. Michelle Anthony's *Frozenstarpalace (Merctwyn Records) grounds up its many recording sites (Chicago, Milwaukee, L.A., Austin) like the opening cut into this seven-song EP, "Lead Glass Tiffany Shades." That gives FSP a kind of untethered sound, even under the tutelage of producer Barry Goldberg, but Anthony's pro enough to let her music stand on its own. She loves her rock & roll ("Ugly Side"), yet doesn't hesitate to wax sentimental with "White Lies." The mono-monikered Autumn cut her Sugarcane (Highway 29 Records) with a wide swath of confident blues-rock and balladry. It's one of the better local debuts of last year, ably pitting her compositions against Patty Griffin's and Bruce Robison's, which comes as no surprise since the CD boasts Lloyd Maines, Dick Gimble, and Walt Wilkins. Ali, another first-name-only singer-songwriter, lets fly Grace of Doves (Blue Eclipse Records), eight often lengthy gems that swing between lush pop and atmospherics airs. Ever so vaguely New Age-y in its Enya-like vocals and ambient arrangements, Doves is as lovely as its moniker. Karrie Hopper made An Unusual Move (Nobody's Favorite Records) for herself. At least that's how her introspective songwriting appears, somewhat hampered by her tentative vocals. That's not to dismiss Hopper, just to suggest that talking the talk is as important as walking the walk when striding into the crowded field of Girls With Guitars.

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: Johanna Heilman, <i>When We Were Electric</i>
Review: Johanna Heilman, When We Were Electric
When We Were Electric (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, June 30, 2023

Review: Large Brush Collection & Creekbed Carter Hogan, <i>Split</i>
Review: Large Brush Collection & Creekbed Carter Hogan, Split
Tape of tender lullabies envisions a warm refuge for queer people

Wayne Lim, May 12, 2023

More by Margaret Moser
Did I Know Bruce Springsteen Was Going to Play 2012?
Did I Know Bruce Springsteen Was Going to Play 2012?

March 3, 2017

Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler
Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler
A look back at illustrated album covers old and new

July 29, 2016

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

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