Temple of Angels' Joyful Dream-Pop Return and Five More Songs From Austin Artists

New music picks from Sabrina Ellis, DAIISTAR, Wilson Marks, and more

photo by Madeline Northway

Temple of Angels, “Tangled in Joy”

The previous output of Temple of Angels, especially their 2019 double single "Cerise Dream / Breathless," resembled Cocteau Twins in bang-on gothically bright production and beautifully inscrutable lyrics. Simplifying the swirl on their first new music in four years, the band's Run for Cover debut opens with a clear-cut statement from singer Bre Morell: "I found love I cannot hide." Having also launched shoegaze-adjacent L.A. duo crushed in 2022, the talented vocalist can hopefully use TOA for full-throated statements from here on out. The rest of the quartet still stays in Austin, with heavy résumés (Haunter, Ready Armed System) making the unabashed dream-pop exuberance especially delightful.  – Rachel Rascoe

Wilson Marks, “Mother’s Day”

We hope all the moms got cards and calls and carnations last Sunday, though few gifts could rival the sweetness of Wilson Marks' new single "Mother's Day." It's a celebration of life's unpredictability, gift-wrapped with the refrain "Moms would understand." A potent stanza pulls autobiographically: "My mom was my age back in '98 when a bloody vessel burst inside her head/ She forgot all of her nouns and learned to play harp and somehow didn't end up dead." The way the poetry flows, you might think you're listening to Paul Simon or Conor Oberst, but a squirrelly honky-tonk-jazz guitar solo adds an unmistakable stamp from the colorful Austin songman.  – Kevin Curtin

Sabrina Ellis, “Silk”

Sabrina Ellis strips things down for 11 minutes of new solo work, "Silk" and "Evil Side," letting the quieter parts of their songwriting fill spaces where wild licks thrive in A Giant Dog and Sweet Spirit. "Silk" tackles vulnerability in measures, letting simple electric guitar chords ring out over a drum machine. The star, as usual, is Ellis' voice. Their tremolo on the track is more evident, and longing to be heard: "Choking on the fabric/ Of insecure desire." Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!) adds sparse, impactful production to the two songs, excising the stilling revelations of an artist known for beautiful frenzy.  – Abby Johnston

Evan Charles, “Low Road Runnin’”

With his outfit Altamesa, Evan Charles released two LPs that twisted the expansive sound of the American Southwest into an intoxicating combination of Tom Petty and Calexico. Those elements still reign on the songwriter's first solo offering, Between Two Worlds, but Charles leans more heavily into racing country rhythms to accompany his existential musings. "Low Road Runnin'," the second single from the debut LP due out this summer from Mr. Pink Records, tightens focus into a highway burner, Altamesa's spaciousness compacted into Charles' searching, mystical aphorisms as he looks for an anchor for his wanting heart and open-road restlessness.  – Doug Freeman

DAIISTAR, “Tracemaker”

Courtesy of noise-pop quartet DAIISTAR, here's a recipe for a hypnotically raucous debut single that leaves "Your head in the sky": a generous dollop of growling, fuzz-infused riffs, a steady yet subtle rhythm section, and a dash of ricocheting synths. Top it all off with vocals drenched in a bucketload of reverb, before shaking up the spiraling concoction. Released on the back of the band's recent signing to London-based record label Fuzz Club, the accompanying music video serves up a multisensory trip, lensing a live performance at the Electric Church through sped-up fish-eye shots washed in neon lights.  – Wayne Lim

Exercise, “Glue”

Like sands through the hourglass, an improbable pilot episode rises to national syndication and gets poked at by local musicians 49 years later. From the minds of familiar Austin sound engineer Bryan Dalle Molle (frosty palms) and filmmakers Joe Aragon, John Guerry, and Connor Schultze comes the auspiciously titled video series Austin City Limits 2 (IG bio: "Terry's kids"). First up, the latest iteration of post-punk quartet Exercise, including guitar wiz Dan LeVine of the Infinites. Headphoned and backlit, the group endears with blunt shared vocals on a catchy unreleased song called "Glue."  – Rachel Rascoe

Paper Cuts features new songs and music videos from Austin artists. Listen to our playlist on the @austinchronicle Spotify.

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Temple of Angels, Wilson Marks, Sabrina Ellis, Evan Charles, DAIISTAR, Exercise, Laura Jane Grace

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