Indie Incubation

Free Week Live Shots

Marmalakes (Photo by John Anderson)

Indie Incubation

Mohawk, Jan. 5

Judging from the number of underage hand stamps at Mohawk on Wednesday night, the venue may have the Free Week distinction of having made as much money at the door as at the bar. The Red River double-decker has become an incubator for Austin's newest young indie entries, and the headlining Marmalakes justified a packed inside house. Dark Water Hymnal opened behind Jeremy Ballard's plaintive poetry, driven by a percussive broil and Andrea Couch's spectral violin, especially on new tunes "Wind and Waves" and "Center of the Spark" from upcoming sophomore LP Collapse the Structure. Little Lo commenced with a cacophony that aimed for the Arcade Fire in the septet's catharsis, but soon settled into a softer folk-pop swoon that hearkened Anathallo in frontman Ryan James McGill's quaking, stuttering vocals and nasal-pinched croon. The group proved adept at both extremes, from a hushed and surprisingly effective adaptation of William Blake's "A Poison Tree" to the closing surge of "Broken Skin." Sandwiched between Little Lo and Marmalakes, Danny Malone seemed a tried veteran, and his impressive solo set suggested as much, highlighting how far the local songwriter has come in a couple of years. Before a backdrop of Christmas lights and shaded lamps, Malone arrested the audience with acoustic opener "Close Enough" from his most recent Cuddlebug and the upbeat guitar slap of "My Affection." Despite the odd iPod-backed balloon-drop interlude, Malone's showcase beckoned for breakout attention. Keeping the room near capacity till close, Marmalakes bounded with a ruckus as the trio cut through last year's debut EP, Wonder Winds. Their smooth harmonies and pop polish, especially on scene-making jam "Vittoria," establish Marmalakes as Austin's most compelling answer to Local Natives. If Free Week sets the local musical tone for the year, 2011 looks promising.

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 Marmalakes
Texas Platters
Please Don't Stop (Record Review)

Greg Beets, June 1, 2018

The Young and Restless
The Young and Restless
Another magnificent seven local acts heading into South by Southwest and gaining momentum

Raoul Hernandez, March 9, 2012

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 Doug Freeman
Robert Earl Keen Takes a Final <I>ACL</I> Bow
Robert Earl Keen Takes a Final ACL Bow
Texas songwriting staple signs off with seventh taping

April 28, 2022

What We're Listening to Right Now
What We're Listening to Right Now
Sir Woman, whookilledkenny, Buffalo Hunt, Aaron McDonnell, Startographers, and more local sounds

April 29, 2022


Marmalakes, Dark Water Hymnal, Little Lo, Danny Malone

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