Zykos, Young James Long, No Bridges to Cross, and Ghost of the Russian Empire

deEP end

Texas Platters

With any EP, there's a fine line between too little and too much. Zykos' Keep It Light EP (Cult Hero) is too long overdue for a mere four songs to suffice, however good they may be. "What You Know" balances jumping piano rhythms and fuzz-box guitar like Bowie circa '73; "Keep It Light" capitalizes on the stark contrast between lead singer Michael Booher's forceful sneer and the soft accent of pianist Catherine Davis. Mike McCarthy's stellar production shines during the bleeding melodrama of "October Rain." The Texas debut from P.W. Long of Mule and Wig fame as Young James Long, You Ain't Know the Man (Southern), hits fast and hard, packing five songs into less than eight minutes. Backed by Young Heart Attack's Taylor Young and Tenderloin's Kirkland James, Long transforms his trademark barbed-wire guitar to fit the sound of the dirty South for opener "In the Moanin'," while his hysterical, Pentecostal shouting on "Not Stillwater" sounds like Scott H. Biram backed by Amplified Heat. One second more, and this EP would detonate. The eponymous debut from No Bridges to Cross is an intriguing one-off collaboration between Leatherbag's Randy Reynolds and Driftin' Luke's Colby Pennington, meticulously detailed by artists from their respective labels, Superpop! and C-Side Records. "Jewelry" merges Pennington's off-kilter narratives and the Channel's Californian pop with Reynolds' Crazy Horse-influenced guitar and dry delivery, but it's the Reynolds-led "Picture You Like I Am" and "One Lonely Man" that shine. The self-titled four-song collection from Ghost of the Russian Empire teases an impending LP, but it feels more like a call to action. "A Decade Without a Death" opens with uppers and downers, driving rhythms, and a veil of distortion and reverb, creating a medicated stupor that carries through the acoustic "Hammer Hands," while the glacial contours of "Dresden" recall the dreamy ballads of Hail to the Thief-era Radiohead. Someone please put this album out, and soon.

Texas Platters

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
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Austin Powell
Watch This: Balmorhea’s Gorgeous Concert Film, Free for Three Days Only
Watch This: Balmorhea’s Gorgeous Concert Film, Free for Three Days Only
Live in Marfa breathes new life into The Wind

Dec. 1, 2022

SXSW Music Spotlight: Ural Thomas & the Pain
SXSW Music Spotlight: Ural Thomas & the Pain
Portland soul singer gets his second act

March 11, 2022


Zykos, Young James Long, No Bridges to Cross, Ghost of the Russian Empire

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

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

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