It’s a funny thing when a gifted and strong personality leaves a relatively small group like San Antonio’s indie music scene. Amid wishes that we could still catch them some random Friday night at Music Town, or Tuesday night at the Mineshaft, we feel a sense of hope that their new experiences will push them even further in their craft and vision. Such is certainly the case with Marcus Rubio and Jackson Albracht (Cartographers), who both return this week — from Los Angeles and Austin, respectively — with new projects and new music. Here’s a rundown of what you can expect from these two, who will be joined on the evening’s bill by Chris Maddin (of Blowing Trees) performing his electronic solo songs as FILMSTRIPS and Grand Marais, the more folky and harmony-heavy vehicle of Buttercup members Erik Sanden, Joe Reyes, and Odie.
Though he has played at least one other gig in San Antonio since departing for graduate school in California, composer and odd-pop wunderkind Marcus Rubio explained to the Current that this show is special because it will feature almost entirely new material. “It’s the first show that I planned and none of these songs have ever been played in Texas,” he said. Rubio, whose exploits of late were recently documented by Christopher Hinojosa in a Current blog post, has been at work on a new set of songs (which will eventually comprise an album) that run stylistically right between the gorgeous pop experimentalism of Hello Dallas and the “bitter-pop” of None of the Birds — both released in 2012. The songs draw their lyrical content from Rubio’s disillusionment with the glossy and vapid suburban landscape of his current home, Santa Clarita. “It’s really sarcastic, bitter pop music about getting stuck in this rich suburb of Southern California that’s an entire city built like it’s La Cantera,” Rubio said, half-jokingly. Excited to be debuting all new material at this homecoming show, Rubio mused that, now that he’s been out west, what feels different about San Antonio’s music scene is the more easy-going, welcoming attitude. “In L.A., booking [shows] is done more by niche, unlike venues in San Antonio that might book a wider variety of genres,” said Rubio, who will be backed by three-fourths of Slomo Drags.
With their San Antonio debut at hand, Jackson Albracht — formerly the driving creative force behind the dynamic indie-rock group Cartographers — talked to the Current about the music he’s been making in Austin with his new band Slomo Drags. “It’s a pretty similar dynamic to how the old band worked,” said Albracht. “I will bring fragments of a song to band practice and then whatever it ends up sounding like in rehearsal will inform how I write the rest of the song.” Albracht said the group has a whole new set of songs and will play basically zero Cartographers material. Devoid of the dominant keyboard jaunts that lent playfulness to even the most eviscerating of his old band’s songs, Albracht said that the groove-laden and guitar-driven sound of his new quartet is intended to be a part of a simpler songwriting approach. “Shit that’s not too convoluted, that’s the main goal, but obviously all the new songs are still long and have a ton of parts,” he remarked, laughing. “This band is me, just continuing to write songs, and the sound of the band is different because of the different musicians involved.” Catch Slomo Drags live to find out just what “different” sounds like.
Marcus Rubio feat. Slomo Drags, FILMSTRIPS, Grand Marais
8:30pm Wed, July 3
502 Embassy Oaks