dream pop

Tearjerk: “Show You”

As of this publication, there’s a decent chance of severe thunderstorms in today’s forecast. But if you’re the type that doesn’t mind braving the elements (or at least a chance of getting rinsed in a car-to-front-door sprint) to support your local music scene, 1) you’re a trooper that deserves commendation and 2) we’ve got one hell of a recommendation.

It comes on behalf of Austin’s Tearjerk, a passion project of guitarist-vocalist-songwriter Vanessa Jollay rooted in inconsolable indie-folk-rock and distraught dream-pop. That’s not to say that Tearjerk is a practice in sadness just for sad’s sake. Instead it’s an expression of emotional weight and hard conversations alongside the turmoil and transformations that invariably follow.

This morning Tearjerk released their six-song debut EP Face to Face, recorded by David Dalton at Driftwork Sound and featuring Jeremy Brandilek on pedal steel, Carissa Giard on drums, and Jake Stuart on bass. This melancholy collage begs to be heard all the way from top to bottom, in-person, on-streaming, and definitely on-cassette. So while the sky is crying, why not enjoy one of two back-to-back Face to Face album release shows? The first is at 4PM for an in-store at End of an Ear Records, followed by Tearjerk’s final April residency appearance 10PM this evening at Hotel Vegas with openers Specific Thing and Harry & Emmy. So if you could benefit from some solidarity on top of great music in the midst of the rainy day blues, shake off the sulk and let Tearjerk “Show You” a good time.

Damascan Daydreams: “Crown of Gold”

Whatever your NFL affiliations may be, most music lovers would agree who took home the crown last night…Rihanna. But just a couple days before the big Half Time show, us central Texans were treated to our own set of spectacular visuals, courtesy of Damascan Daydreams.

Faithful to her handle, multi-instrumenatlist-songwriter-producer Eman Tiba was born in Syria’s southwestern capital before a creative childhood in central Ohio, a PhD-education at OSU, another batch of songwriting salad days in South Carolina, and eventually residency here in Austin. Like a twisted, feminine Little Nemo for our current generation, Damascan Daydreams transports us across a collective subconscious of exotic, electronic pop-inspired sounds.

Last Friday Damascan Daydreams followed up her noir-y repertoire of singles (“Haunted Home”, “French Film”, and “Lights, Color, Dark”) with her creepiest offering to date. Cloaked in seductive minor-second chord changes, “Crown of Gold” (and its incredible music video) feels almost like an alternate American Horror Story title sequence. But thanks to straight-ahead trap-style drum programming, sinister synth tones, and Tiba’s spectral soprano, “Crown of Gold” will weigh you down from how much head-bobbing it elicits.

Sasha and the Valentines: “Flower” (KUTX Pop-Up)

Deftly blending the conventions of mid-century pop with contemporary elements of indie and more, Austin quintet Sasha and the Valentines has won us over one moody composition at a time. Our May 2021 Artist of the Month might’ve missed out on an all-too-fitting release date mid-February for their debut full-length, but having finally issued So You Think You’ve Found Love? in April, we can’t knock the five-piece for letting the record marinate into perfection.

With song titles like “Tinder”, there’s no denying Sasha and the Valentine’s success in crafting a new batch of ballads made for the modern era with So You Think You’ve Found Love?. And since spring’s been a little late this year, there’s never been a better time to stop by and hear these tracks bloom in person. So check out the full two-song video set below, which includes a hypnotically stripped-down take of “Flower”!

Mr Hymn: “Magnolia”

The name Dominic Sena may not ring any bells right off the bat, but if you’re on the prowl for some tantalizing dream pop, his solo project Mr. Hymn definitely preaches to that choir. Though the multi-instrumentalist has been releasing material under this handle since the mid-2010s, Mr. Hymn’s managed to avoid any sort of litany with his growing artistry, instead challenging the institutions of the dream pop genre itself with each new single.

Mr. Hymn’s latest came today with one of his strongest songs to date, and between the tune, its music video, and a live performance 8PM tonight at Far Out Lounge, “Magnolia” might just be the best thing to prep you for a chill weekend.