Between the 30th anniversary of the Waco siege and the tragedy that just occurred on the border, the word “fire” might understandably turn some Texans off right about now. But for those who continue to rock out through the pain of the world’s ongoing, encircling dumpster fire…this one is for you.
It comes courtesy of sanguine sweetheart Ray Garza, whose effortless guitar and calculated vocals have become a staple of Austin outfits like Lola Tried, Space Tan, and his previous passion project, Poly Action. But just as Poly Action was picking up traction at the turn of the decade, the pandemic put an instant damper on PA’s momentum. Like countless others, the isolation and uncertainty of the subsequent lockdown left Garza feeling stuck in a rut. Historically an unapologetic upbeat pop-punk-rock lover, Garza surprised himself when he shed his typical humor-hinged defenses in favor of slower tempos and more fragile subject matters.
Fortunately for us, those tunes haven’t sizzled out into an ash pile. Instead, Garza’s internally-torching originals have rung the bell on his latest endeavor, Small Engine Fire. With Small Engine Fire (which features alum from Space Tan and Bogbody) Garza finds a safe haven to unspool those anxieties and insecurities with quirkily-human indie rock. And following their first-ever live show shortly after Free Week, Small Engine Fire has recently signaled the drop of a debut album sometime this year.
The quartet just lit the wick on that record with a solemn scorcher of a lead single, “Ruin Everything”, a slow-burning indie rock inferno stoked by infectious embers of instrumental interplay and subtle dynamic shifts. So if you’re planning out your weekend, consider showing some support for Small Engine Fire’s single release show 10PM this Sunday at Hotel Vegas followed by A. Sinclair and Rusty Dusty. If not, just toss on some headphones, throw “Ruin Everything” on repeat, and keep watching the world burn, baby.