Garrett T. Capps
Y Los Lonely Hipsters // Suburban Haste Recordings // Released April 21
→ Y Los Lonely Hipsters is the first full-length from SA native Garrett T. Capps, who has spent years perfecting his delirious and engaging imperfection — from one-man full throttle punk rock to twangy country rock, singer-songwriter jaunts and bruising hard-country stomp. This album, recorded with a crack band featuring Odie (Buttercup), Phil Luna (The Please Help, Royal Punisher) and Scott Lutz (Snowbyrd), proves an impressive amalgamation and distillation of all that Capps has done, live and in the studio, to date.
Album opener "Bitchin'," a country song that comes off, in part, like a realist's lost response to Johnny Paycheck's hit "Take This Job and Shove it," is one of two sweet proletarian anthems here, the other being the furious rumination on ubiquitous marginalization "Don't Come Around Here." The track is an ode to the kind of steely resignation that attends workaday life for so many who know all too well that "bitchin' and moanin'" won't pay the bills.
Other album standouts include "Road for Days," a searing, stream-of-consciousness southern rock track that feels like Bob Dylan on tequila and shitty cocaine, and the glorious heart of the album "Born in San Antone," a rollicking, talking blues-rock sizzler that name checks SA staples as disparate as USAA, Flaco Jimenez, lengua, Matt Bonner (and several other Spurs) and Hogwild Records.
Y Los Lonely Hipsters is the sound of all those nights (and days) you can't remember, gacho lost on the River Walk, high on mighty talk about how big ol' vatos balk at a fist fight, or just might make good on helping you find out if the river water tastes good. It's more of a stream (of consciousness) than a river, more of a shack than a mansion, but it reaches heaven, ringing hell's bells anyhow. Ain't that just like San Antone? –James Courtney
American Songs From Different Rooms Vol. 1 Self-released // Released April 18
→ The newest Backbones release, with its stellar song selection of six classic country and folk pieces, is an equally lofty and approachable endeavor; people always want to hear stuff with which they're familiar. Bandleader Andrew Suhre, who recorded the tunes over two years, released this statement with the EP via the group's Bandcamp:
"This will be an ongoing album that I'll continue to update with more songs as I record and move room to room over the future months, years, etc. (In the least pretentious-sounding way possible, like Whitman's "Leaves of Grass"). As of now, here's the beginning of Volume I."
A touch of the folk tradition in the 21st century. An ever-expanding album of standards. A great fucking idea. Like Dylan's Bootleg Series, or cover record Self Portrait, for that matter, without all the pesky fame and fortune to get in the way.
The track list is impeccably chosen. Might as well aim high in the high and lonesome catalog of brow and trail-beaten tunes. From the opener "If I Needed You," a Townes Van Zandt cut that hurts in all the best ways; the Ted Daffan number "Born to Lose" that Ray Charles did a number on; the Bacharach-penned, Shirelles-owned heartbreaker "Baby It's You;" a re-working of the Blake Alphonso Higgs-attributed "Delia's Gone," but sang and noted as "Jelia's Gone;" and Warren Zevon's "Rosarita Beach Café" through Johnny Cash's "Cry! Cry! Cry!"
As for the execution, much like Van Zandt, Suhre's main talent lies in his playing. The vocals ... not so much. However, again like Townes, Neil, Leonard, Lou and Bob, if you can get past the lack of "prettiness," past the flats, sharps, warbles and waves, a great offering from a stellar performer awaits; old folk songs, like old friends, waiting to be picked up and sung again. –Travis Buffkin
Cinco // Bonus Cup Music
Released May 5
→ When Stuart Sikes, the producer behind Cat Power's The Greatest and engineer on Loretta Lynn's Van Lear Rose, works on a record, you know it's gonna sound good. However, Sikes doesn't write the songs and anyone that can afford his fee can get the Austin Grammy-winner to run the boards for them, as is the standard operating procedure of most studio aficionados.
That being said, Blackbird Sing has got a great sounding Americana record. It's mixed well, the instruments are all decipherable, the lyrics aren't shallow tripe. Shit just doesn't stick. Recorded in cinco days, the cinco-song EP from the cinco San Antonians, written over a cinco-year span, is just OK. I'm not compelled to toss the EP — a mix between a lukewarm Brad Paisley joint or a handful of Mavericks c-sides with a touch of the radio-friendly rock that San Antonio holds so dear — into the trash. I'm not compelled to press play again once it's over, either. Better to split the difference and give it to your John Michael Montgomery-loving cousin with the bedazzled jeans, tell her to be careful, it's pretty rocking. –TB