psych pop

Honey Hideouts: “Goodbyes”

By nature, the id of a creative is often occupied by abstract fragments, waiting to be manifested. But sometimes the spark to bring something new to fruition only arrives with a change of scenery. And a recent case of such comes courtesy of Denmark’s Markus Artved.

An accomplished producer who’s lent his ear to Lukas Graham alongside several Scandinavian up-and-comers, Artved’s also been praised for his sound design and music composition in Denmark’s theater and play circuit. Those endeavors already embedded in his aura, last year Markus made what turned into a pilgrimage of sorts to the U.S., a trip that unlocked a previously-oppressed appetite in Artved.

Enter Honey Hideouts. Less a departure from his typical wheelhouse and more an extension of his intrinsic passion, this solo aspiration takes cues from ’60s-’70s psych-pop icons with a twist indie and jazz here and there. The inspiration became a reality after a recent respite from the hustle and bustle of Copenhagen at Artved’s remote family cottage out near the North Sea, and today we received the inaugural dip from Honey Hideouts’ jar.

The first comb from what’s set to be a fuller hive in 2024, “Goodbyes”, despite its farvel-bidding title, is a warm introduction to Honey Hideouts. At a steady tempo that feels like stirring around a gloopy pot, crystallized electric guitar, a viscous rhythm section, and Artved’s unhurried, mellifluous singing, “Goodbyes” is just sticky enough to keep buzzing in your head well after the tune’s deliciously abrupt ending.

The Crayon Set: “Sunlounger”

With excessive heat warnings dominating forecasts here in the American Southwest and little to do about it other than stay inside or lather on sunscreen and bee line towards shade, there’s no harm in reframing our seasonal misery by listening in on lighter summer sounds coming from across the pond. Enter Dublin five-piece The Crayon Set, who, as of now, like KUTX, have officially been around a full decade. While the quintet’s eponymous 2013 inception lies in indie pop, The Crayon Set expanded their genre color palette to include Americana and synth pop with 2017’s Lost Languages and 2021’s Downer Disco, respectively. So even though they categorize themselves as alternative pop, The Crayon Set’s clearly comfortable experimenting with a wide variety of stylistic pigments for their hook-heavy originals. Case in point: The Crayon Set’s first single since last year’s “Love Is a Real Place” and what’s so far their standalone offering of 2023. Although the band’s handle combined with a music box intro might make a for a knee-jerk reaction that this is a children’s tune, the music video for “Sunlounger” (which features clips from 1969’s La Piscine of Alain Delon and Jane Birkin rompin’ around and breakin’ all the pool rules) cue you into a much more mature nature. “Sunlounger”‘s meditative orchestral flourishes, sensuous boy-girl vocal harmonies, and sneaky psych guitar sound almost like a previously unreleased Damon Auburn-produced track from David Gilmour’s On an Island. It’s a sonic equivalent to what summer hedonism should look like as imagined by drizzly Dubliners, not a sweltering hellscape like the one here in Texas, so click “play” and start the siesta whenever you’re ready.

Tele Novella: “Never” [Social Distancing Pop-Up]

The lo-fi psych scene has only been on the up-and-up as time goes by, but when it comes to Austin, nobody does it better than Tele Novella. The retro-Western-pop leather of this duo (and our September 2016 Artist of the Month) has always been a treat, and just last month they shared their first release in six years – the ten-track LP Merlyn Belle.

There’s a trickling of tranquility throughout the record but as is the case with many studio albums, its intimacy pales in comparison to a close-knit live performance. Thankfully for all us Tele Novella mega-fans, Jason and Natalie allowed the KUTX Multimedia Team to stop by their house in Lockhart for a two-song set, including one of Merlyn Belle’s very best, “Never”!

Dorio: “Robot Friends”

For many musicians natural, acoustic, and/or analog is the sole way to go. But Austin songwriter-producer Chad Doriocourt couldn’t feel more at home in a room filled with electronic instruments, all with somewhat pre-programmed minds of their own.

Last year Doriocourt made his studio debut under the abbreviated mononym Dorio with Yesterday The Sky Was Blue, and today, almost exactly one year later, his sophomore installation under the abbreviated mononym is finally out! The four tracks on Dorio’s Robot Friends work together like cogs, giving the EP a nice sense of pacing, but there’s no denying that the standout single is the indie-psych-pop album opener and (near) title track, “Robot Friends”!