Easily one of the waviest local releases of the year (and maybe ever), Thomas Lee Martinez’ (actually named after ’80s rocker Tommy Lee) project Parallelephants is a sexy, psychedelic exploration of electronica that deserves to make sweet, sweet love to your aural orifices.
Born and raised on the north side of San Antonio, the producer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist attended Marshall high school and in 2013 formed Parallelephants – named after a drawing of his from 6th grade.
Martinez’ new album Supply (released back in October) manages to pull iconic tones from the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s and even the early-aughts in a way that’s smart and sophisticated without sounding contrived.
Bass-forward synth-tracks pulse throughout the 12-track loungey, glittery, chill wave tracks that are almost vaporwave (a genre that shares similar musical elements and slower BPM's, but is more sample-based) as Martinez lures listeners with his sultry croons, practically making us beg for another hit of funk when the beat stops.
“With the first album, that I’ve since taken down, I feel like people thought I was representing the ‘70s a bit too much, and that’s because I grew up on Prince ... In a way, I’ve always tried to be Prince,” Martinez told the Current.
“I felt kind of self-conscious about that. I felt like I didn’t have my own voice. So, I tried to grab references from each decade and tried to appropriate them into my own style,” he said. “Obviously, Prince would be one from the ’70s and ’80s decades. As far as, I guess, for the '80s and '90s – I like Cocteau Twins a lot; just a bunch of music that sounds blurry."
The producer described “blurry” music as songwriting that is more focused on texture and uses mood as a direction rather than typical song structures, which after listening through the album, pretty much sums up his style perfect.
“Reason Don’t Define,” one of the first singles from Supply, has more than 148,000 streams on Spotify, with another single “Choqlate Boy” trailing at 96,000 plays.
Next Friday Martinez and his live band will perform for the last time in San Antonio before the producer leaves to Dallas in a few weeks to finish up his degree at the University of Texas-Dallas.
Friday, December 15, Paper Tiger, 2410 N. St. Mary’s St., papertigersatx.com.