With nods from Daytrotter, Pitchfork, Consequence of Sound, Brooklyn Vegan and other music nerd sites, Texas Is Funny has had a bitchin’ summer on the hype circuit. And the online love is not without merit: The SA label’s new releases from Ex-Breathers (out October 7) and Vetter Kids (October 14) are some of the best in TIF’s four-year catalog.
Logan - Vetter Kids
Premiering their first EP III back in May, SA/ATX trio Vetter Kids fell victim to restless finger syndrome, recording and releasing a new EP for October as a punk/post-hardcore prescription. Opening with the overdriven stomp of “Chlorine Dream,” Logan starts on a thrashing cue, maintaining the emotion through five tracks.
Though the EP is deeply rooted in the high-caliber emo trailblazed by Mike Kinsella of Cap’n Jazz and American Football, Logan moves around within the aesthetic with athletic style. From the scuffed half-time phrases of drummer Austin Matherne on “Heavy Costumes” to the light xylophone shading on “Anne Marie,” Vetter Kids are growing gracefully, accenting the tense rock they do best.
But Logan’s pivotal step forward lies in the vocal chords of guitarist and singer Marcos Gossi. On “Vital Kids,” their offering from a split-release early this year, Gossi sings in the standardized nasal pitch of ’90s pop punk. On Logan, that influence is still there—the decade of the ’90s will always be an honorary Vetter Kid—but Gossi has developed his own approach. On “Chlorine Dream,” he throws his voice around like a wounded animal, with intense howls and fading whines.
EX BX – Ex-Breathers
For their Texas Is Funny debut, Tallahassee punk trio Ex-Breathers achieved an impressive feat of design, fitting 12 songs onto a seven-inch disk. Technically an EP, EX BX’s 12 starved tunes come in just shy of 12 minutes, trimming the excess from all possible angles.
On their first full effort, 2012’s Collision, the Florida trio already played a mean and minimal hand, a straight flush of broken guitar tones, flagrant bass, fat snare and the toxic vocal tradeoffs of guitarist David Settle and bassist Jack Vermillion. For EX BX, Ex-Breathers continued in that mold, paring back on each riff so that only two of the songs clock in over one minute. But don’t call EX BX a record with a short-attention span, for the short, merciless songs create an anxious feeling: late, on a crowded bus in traffic, unable to do anything but sit and seethe.