Barb: “Someone Like June”

Hearing a fresh artist find their footing is a real joy. And with the recent launch of her mononymous project Barb Austin singer-guitarist Barbara Klavin’s been havin’ us gabbin’ over each new single. Sure, there are some obvious sonic similarities between January’s “Liar” and March’s “Don’t Call”, but spinning last September’s “Small Talk” back-to-back with last month’s posse cut “it’s alright” will tip you off to Barb’s palatial range and impressive progression over a pretty short period of time.

Since Barb’s already put the hook in us, we can’t complain about her coasting away from surf-inspired stuff and settling into more of an indie-alt space. Because in just a few weeks, that space finally gains a name – Vintage Love. This maiden EP arrives September 1st, right after SXSW 2024’s early entry deadline and about two months ahead of its final deadline for submissions, plus a release show at the Mohawk on Saturday the 2nd with Retro Cowgirl and Deer Fellow. We’ve got our fingers crossed that Vintage Love earns Barb the hometown recognition she so earnestly deserves, and our hopes high that the release reaps Klavin a whole new class of fans from far beyond the Austin City Limits.

So as we champion for Barb’s art to reach different places, you can get acquainted with Barb’s rad new sounds on Vintage Love‘s latest – “Someone Like June”. On this one, Barb and her backing two-piece stick with the songwriting formula of slick lead guitar licks, buoyant bass, and dexterous drums but amends it with sharp instrumental stabs and a half-time breakdown that gives “Someone Like June” some powerful variety. All that said? The undeniable star of the show is still Klavin’s distinctive dynamo pipes.

Barb: “Liar”

We hint quite a bit about the significance of risky pivots. Of course, as casual listener-observers, we usually only see the success stories, not the hurdles to get there. But when someone does pull it off, it’s incredibly satisfying to see (and hear). Which brings us to Barb.

Born Barbara Klavin, this Austinite spent her first two and a half decades engrossed in athletics, most notably as an active, excelling participant in Texas Rowing. However in the midst of some emotional turmoil, Klavin recently hung up the oars, picked up the pen and six-string, and made way for Barb.

Last year Klavin introduced us to her candidly queer identity and soulful brand of indie-surf-rock with Barb’s debut single, “Small Talk”. And today she’s followed it up with what’s easily my favorite tune of 2023 so far. Encased in coquettish guitar riffs, poignant lyrics, and bittersweet chord changes, (not to mention Barb’s heart-melting vocals and some exceptional percussion fills) “Liar” is a truly beautiful track, (even if you’re kinda f****d up right now). Listen all you like in the player below and catch Barb live at Swan Dive next Friday and on Friday the 20th.