Colder weather will be here eventually, y’all, and frankly, we’re getting excited. As you trade in those bikinis and swim trunks for peacoats and comically large scarves, you might find yourself looking for tunes to listen to on a lazy rainy day inside, a quiet walk through campus, or to help you get through that unexpected break-up you just went through. In this month’s 3 Songs column, our place to showcase great new music, we’ve branched out a little from our normal Denton-centric content and pulled together several tracks that’ll scare the summer right out of Texas, so plug in your headphones and get ready for some alt-country from Space Mountain, Pablo Maeda and Moonbeamer.
This first one’s from the Boston-based band Space Mountain, the brainchild and mostly solo project of 25 year old Cole Kinsler. However, on our featured track “Never Lonely” Kinsler linked up with one of his favorite musicians, Ava Trilling, the singer songwriter of Forth Wanderers, to write the lyrics and perform lead vocals. Opening with deep, fuzzy electric guitar chords which bend, scale, and wrap around a twangy acoustic guitar while subtle bass notes resonate a slow, pulsing warmth throughout the song. When paired with the no-frills garage rock drum patterns, Kinsler creates a chilled out, despondent song perfect for fall. Trilling’s catchy, straightforward chorus, “My man’s so tough, works hard, plays rough and his nights run long, sun comes and he’s gone,” paints a picture of a lonely housewife trying to get through each day as it comes. Half way through the track Trilling says “I saw a friend today, and I feel okay,” cuing Kinsler to join in, mirroring Trillings vocals with his low, bassy voice, despondent in nature, but when juxtaposed with the lyrical content subtly casts a slight glimmer of hope. You can listen to the rest of Space Mountains “Big Sky” LP when it officially releases on August 26th.
The soft vibration of violin strings slowly fade in, held at length with a slight wavering, the consistent sound emitting from a small synthesizer. After a few seconds comes the chattering of a single hi-hat note, followed by a Peruvian cajon drum, some bongos, and the soft strumming of an old spanish acoustic guitar as Pablo Maeda’s gentle vocals enter the track. In almost a whisper, Maeda sings with the emotional depth of a mother lulling her newborn back to sleep, his voice is quiet, delicate, with a slight faltering between the higher notes, like the uneasy professing of love between two young teenagers, making a strong connection with the listener despite the language barrier, a true mark of a great musician. Maeda started playing guitar almost 20 years ago, and began writing songs a few short years later. He comes from a unique background, born in Argentina to two Japanese parents, and after coincidentally meeting Heavy Baby Sea Slugs during a tour through Japan, released the single “Dual” on Denton’s own Heavy Baby Records’ summer sampler.
This last of our three songs is from Moonbeamer, a new collaborative project with members based both out of Austin, and Denton. We’re featuring their demo track written and recorded by Landon McGee and released online just to give fans an idea of the group’s sound until they can get into the studio as a full band. “Field Recording 3: Maybe at Midnight” is about a recent break up and has a stark somberness to it, the production levels are low and the intricately picked acoustic guitar and self deprecating lyrics showcase McGee’s uncanny talent for capturing a fleeting feeling as he sings lines like “I’m the empty at the bottom of the glass, I’m the sound of broken bottles in the night. You’re the sun behind the clouds that never pass, and baby I’m a fool for hoping that they might.” The chorus builds into a small wave of longing for something we’ve all experienced, and McGee know’s probably won’t happen, the false hope of a significant other coming back home, singing “It’s cold inside this empty house, but warm when I pretend, maybe at midnight I’ll see your face again.”
We hope you’ve found a new favorite song or two and we want to thank you for reading our 3 Songs column, a monthly article showcasing a few of the tracks we can’t stop listening to. This month’s content was a little on the sad side, so we’re including a bonus track this month to end this thing on a slightly happier note. “I Think You’re Alright” is a cute little indie ditty from 22 year old Melina Duterte, or Jay Som, a CA based artist on Polyvinyl Records. The track opens with a candid audio clip of some talking that’s hard to make out before bursting into a lo-fi shoegaze paradise. Duterte’s voice is tender and adoring, seeping warmth into your spine while her lyrics conversely pour affection on to what sounds like an undeserving relationship with someone who doesn’t really care about her: “I’ll be your old broken tv, your stuttering baby, your puppy when nobody’s home.” The tracks ends with a flaring guitar solo, embodying the sudden realization of the situation, before slowly distorting and devolving into a short clip of laughter and jovial acceptance.