Bali Yaaah, Equals, Eskimo, Noise Revival Orchestra, and ((Sounder))

deEP end

Texas Platters

"One step forward, two steps backward," intones keyboardist Chris Brown with a terror-alert urgency in "Call It, for Real," the lead track on Bali Yaaah's madcap debut, Never Early Always Fate. That's a fitting summation of the synth-pop trio's retro-futurism, a sci-fi swirl of syncopated drum machines, white-heat guitar, and near-dub bass. This isn't chillwave drivel, either. "The Shakes" channels the confrontational zeal of Suicide in its Krautrock consistency and deep-psych drone, while "Wait for Me" melts slowly with long-form post-punk gloom. Equals juggles far more complex equations on its eponymous debut. The young math-rock quintet works in angles, crafting clean instrumental suites with asymmetrical time signatures that in the processed vox and computer-generated beats of "Salvo" land in Battles territory. The five compositions boast surprising clarity and confidence, maintaining an emotional breadth amid prog-rock complexities ("Electric Blanket"). Conversely, Eskimo, a new assemblage led by Sixteen Deluxe bassist Jeff Copas and Chronicle Sports Editor Mark Fagan, is still in discovery. The band's first showing yields three covers, notably an underwater rendering of Chris Bell's "You & Your Sister," with Carrie Clark. Sedated instrumental "Foxy Misadventure" and effects-laden original "You Know Right Now" show promise. Nathan Felix's the Noise Revival Orchestra, likewise, looks for strength in numbers, swelling on third EP Songs of Forgiveness to shelter the House of Songs project. The collective's twee indie folk compensates size for substance, but endearing closer "Sapphire" strikes the perfect balance between the two. Noted music video director and visual artist Mike Aho returns as ((Sounder)) for his latest EP, If We Don't Get Better (Celebrate Magic Hands), follow-up to 2008's overlooked Good Things Come and Go Like Bad Things. The road-trip-ready "Head East!" and MMJ-haze of "We'll Turn the Coffins Into Gardens" make this five-song outing an ideal summer soundtrack, rich with lo-fi anxiety and punch-drunk charm that's over far too soon.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 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  

READ MORE
More Bali Yaaah
Off the Record
Off the Record
Music News

Austin Powell, Aug. 5, 2011

More Music Reviews
Top 10 Box Sets of 2018
Brian Eno
Music for Installations (Record Review)

Dan Gentile, Dec. 7, 2018

Texas Platters
Samantha Glass
Nine Memories Between Impression & Imprint (Record Review)

Christina Garcia, Nov. 9, 2018

More by Austin Powell
Record Review: The Young
Record Review: The Young

Aug. 22, 2014

Pickathon Polishes Off No. 16
Pickathon Polishes Off No. 16
Oregon fest boasts IPAs, ATXs, camping, and sustainability

Aug. 4, 2014

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Bali Yaaah, Equals, Eskimo, Noise Revival Orchestra, ((Sounder))

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
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

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

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