Emergency Leisure

The Bright Light Social Hour: “Lifers Only”

Since the release of their 2010 eponymous debut, whose tracks have racked up millions of streams, The Bright Light Social Hour has become a big part of Austin’s – and by extension – KUTX’s musical character. Even after all these years (and a lineup change that keeps the core duo of Jackie O’Brien and Curtis Roush intact), this quintet continues to innovate and inspire awe within the indie-psych sphere. To the point that it seems like Bright Light Social Hour’s time to shine could easily span several more decades. That “in for the long haul” momentum’s helped the band out on a far-reaching North American tour lasting through November, one that extends to both Canada and Mexico, and includes a stopĀ at the Mohawk along with Good Looks on September 30th as part of KUTX’s 10th Birthday Concert Series. The occasion? TBLSH’s fifth full-length, Emergency Leisure, out today. Flirting with elements of French disco, experimentalism, and a whole slew of intense emotions, Emergency Leisure marks the start of an auspicious new era for this five-piece, albeit atop the familiar “Texan trippy” formulas we’ve fallen for with each preceding LP. And just like its title implies, Emergency Leisure is a potent dose of cosmic R&R for your ear drums, so if you’re dire need of a vacation but don’t have the bandwidth, by the time you get to “Lifers Only” you’ll feel like a whole load’s been lifted off. Despite its monotonic robot intro, there’s a ton of human heart in this effects-drenched progressive piece of endurance. And right around the two minute mark, TBLSH pulls the rug out with poignant Pink Floyd vibes – further proof of what the late great John Aielli described as a “sweet but sinister” style, a perfect description of Bright Light’s sibylline vibe.

The Bright Light Social Hour: “Not New”

Typically around the tail end of SXSW music week, there’s a lot of local magic. It could be Bill Murray hopping behind a dive bar and serving up whatever he wants, or a relatively undiscovered up-and-comer getting an unexpected big break. But today we’re talking about the Austin representation, something that can get easily eclipsed by all the international faces at SX.

Now, we here at KUTX have gushed again and again over The Bright Light Social Hour, which makes sense since they’ve been with us even before the start of our call letters. So rather than recap what makes ’em so great (like their continuously progressing sound and willingness to team up with fellow Austinites), let’s just jump right into what Bright Light’s got in their limelight.

This morning The Bright Light Social Hour announced their fifth full-length Emergency Leisure. Down to its Slow Rush-reminiscent title, it seems like TBLSH is taking a sweet-yet-sinister Tame Impala daytime disco/indie-psych approach. But true to the Bright Light’s nature, Emergency Leisure isn’t just a full-band vehicle for one singer-songwriter (looking at you, Kevin Parker); instead its a seamlessly collaborative exchange perfected over nearly two decades of playing together that translates in-studio just as well as it does onstage.

For a taste of the ladder, check out The Bright Light Social Hour 8PM this evening at Parlor & Yard, 1AM late tonight at Parish for the Mint Talent Group official showcase, or 5PM Sunday at Rustic Tap. As of now, Rustic Tap looks like Bright Light’s last local gig until after Emergency Leisure comes out August 2nd, when the group hits the road on a three-plus-month tour. And while all that may sound like short notice, you gotta remember who we’re dealing with here; The Bright Light Social Hour always comes in cool and calculated, even when they drop Emergency Leisure‘s lead single like some high-powered blotter paper as they did this morning. Alongside its music video, “Not New” will knock you back with its driving-but-subdued sonics that are almost too cool to party to. Almost.