On the DL

On the DL

Texas Platters

Monroe Mustang

The Imaginary Band, Regretfully Declines

Improbably so, Monroe Mustang shuffled ahead of the herd. From early Floyd through Low, sleepy, often methodically precise lo-volume pop fills in the footprints of louder classicism. Central Texas' mid-1990s movement – American Analog Set, Windsor for the Derby, and Austin's imaginary fivepiece, Monroe Mustang – carved out an intimate niche now standardized by digital independence. The return of the Chronicle-funded songwriting cell (three members currently employed by the paper and a fourth off in France) arrives on the download-only just in time to pad around in the early morning without waking the rest of the household. Imaginary Band acts as a decade-in-the-making follow-up to 1998 Trance Syndicate debut LP Plain Sweeping Themes for the Unprepared and joins 2000 EP I Am the Only Running Footman and succeeding live set De Avonden with a carefully chorded jangle, each note just so. Brian Barry's sensitive stir rustles his fellow forest gnomes on starter "The Other Side," organ riding the muted plod of snare. Taylor Holland's note-wringing "Fenced In" opens into the narcotic flutter of "Found Out," while the bang-the-drum (quietly) march of "Calling for Kings" segues into side two's opener, the gorgeous "Marie Antoinette" ("take the lift up to the scaffold"), which crowns the proceedings like Le Roi Soleil. The second half doesn't hold the listener's breath nearly as compelling as the first, but the brooding playhouse "Stars and Flags" and "Waiting" ("hell is waiting for you"), whose steel-string build moves from single-digit ornery to aluminum-sided rattle, demonstrates that even imaginary bands must play on.

The 2021-2022 Austin Music Awards Music Poll is underway. Vote now for your favorite bands, venues, and music until January 31.

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