My Education (Austin, TX)
Trying to pigeonhole the music of Austin’s My Education is akin to trying to stuff a pigeon in a hole: the sound is calamitous, there’s movement all around, the frenzied beating of wings against wall, and somewhere something is pumping out blood. There is an oddly, compelling tension that rears its head when the night hits its darkest hour and the crescendos hit their highest peaks. This is the feeling you get when My Education’s newest LP, ‘Sunrise’, takes off with soaring, cinematic instrumentals – an amazing concoction of guitar drones, melodic viola, and thundering rhythms.
Sunrise, a new album of pieces from their original score for F.W. Murnau’s 1927 silent masterpiece “Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans”, finds the band in peak form. Having perfected the material with live film performances over the last two years with sold out shows across the USA, My Education has captured 40 plus minutes of a soundtrack to the long dark night of the soul. Sunrise is an aural experience that is original and unique. This soundtrack finds parallels with the soundscapes Popol Vuh created for Werner Herzog’s films. All told, this is their most diverse and mature release to date.
Since forming in 1999, the band’s membership has expanded and contracted while the sonic landscapes have grown with each release. My Education has released 5 full-length albums, several singles, compilation appearances, and a 12″ vinyl collaboration with avant-hip hop duo Dalek. Recordings have been remixed by members of bands Kinski, Pelican, the Red Sparowes and Dalek. Albums include 5 Popes, Italian, Moody Dipper, Bad Vibrations and the latest Sunrise out on Strange Attractors Audio House in the USA & Canada and on Golden Antenna in Europe.
Several tours throughout the country have kept fans abuzz with My Education’s experimental blend of stoned drones and noisy tones. The sonic squalls captivate the listener with intoxicating waves of aural exhilaration. The music of My Education takes you on a journey of mischief & mayhem – from sunset to Sunrise.
In June 2010 the band completed a series of improvisational recordings with Salt Lake City ensemble Theta Naught that were edited and mixed by the Bump Boyz in Headbump Studios and released April 2011 on Differential Records. “Sound Mass” performances at festivals SXSW and Austin Psych Fest were greeted with wild acclaim, and a Daytrotter Sound Mass session was released in July 2011. My Education’s collaboration with the Noble Motion dance company premiered to three sold out shows in June 2011 at the Austin Ballet. More shows are planned under this collaboration in various cities around the nation. Expect to hear a new album of Sunrise remixes in early 2012 as well as an out-of-print album (“5 Popes”) remastered and re-released in 2012 in a nice vinyl package. The band are currently keeping busy in the studio putting the finishing touches on tracks for a forthcoming new album titled “For All of Our Friends”. A SXSW 2012 showcase has been confirmed as well as a European tour in Fall 2012.
Super Robot Party (Pasadena, TX)
A Sundae Drive (Houston, TX)
For most of the band’s debut EP, You’re Gonna Get Me, it feels like A Sundae Drive just rolls hazily along, serene smiles across the band members’ faces as the music unwinds itself to whatever its eventual destination’s going to be. They nod and sway like they’ve done it forever, but they’re not dreampop (or shoegaze, or whatever you want to call it), not exactly, but they’ve taken pieces of that sound and made ‘em their own.
Take the driving bass at the start of “…And See the World,” for one example — it bumps its way speedily through, Britpop-style, but over the top there’re wavery, watery guitars that bring to mind Teenage Fanclub (or maybe Surfer Blood), as well as some sweetly drifting harmony vocals. On the other end of the spectrum, “I’m a Poster” is right-angled and math-y, with defiant, J. Robbins-like vocals, spiraling guitars, and a jagged, almost stop-start structure. And despite the differences, it all sounds like the same band, which is no mean feat in itself.
Then there’s “Buenos Aires, Manny Pacquiao,” a soft-voiced look backwards at childhood that makes me think of Austinites Meryll more than anything else; both bands craft songs that are intensely personal and reference events that happened when the singer was a kid but still feel utterly relevant to the listener, right here in the present. There’s also a resemblance to Copeland’s gently-rocking post-emo pop, both on “Buenos Aires” or on the steadily-building “So Sleep.”
What’s really interesting about the EP, though, is that A Sundae Drive sound like a pop band that doesn’t really realize it is a pop band. They’ve got all the indie-rock influences poking out from beneath their sleeves, sure, and it’s obvious they love a lot of sharper-edged stuff — the Pixies-esque guitar drone in the background on “Alone Bad, Friends Good” gives that away, not to mention that nice “walking” melody — but the actual songs they’re writing are warm and fuzzy ’round the edges, nodding in a friendly way when you walk in the door.
At the EP’s end, when the band turns down for the up-close, slow-stepping rumble of “I’m Gonna Miss You Like Crazy,” with the droney, half-distorted, Seam-like guitar line and frontman Zeek Garcia’s deliberate, quiet vocals whispering in my ear, it hits me: I really, really like this band. A Sundae Drive don’t need to bash you over the head with how good they are; they’d much rather stand in the corner, plug in, and play until your brain catches up to what your ears already know. – Space City Rock