austin

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The Deli's SXSW Issue 2014 is online!

Read it digitally here.

P.S. 10k free copies of this issue hit the street of Austin during SXSW Music week!

   

Ryan Sambol Releases New Album ‘Gestalt’

Ryan Sambol has a remarkable and mystical sense of humor. Across barely 23 minutes on his new album, Gestalt, he meanders through his own plucked guitar strings and muddled piano keys to highlight strange observations and theories. The name of the record comes from the German word for “shape” and is often associated with the Gestalt school of psychology, in which the whole is perceived to be far more than the sum of its parts.

 

The whole of Sambol’s career is, in fact, far more than the sum of its parts. He’s a well-worn poet and a former garage rocker from the Austin outfits The Strange Boys and Living Grateful and he likes to zig-zag while telling a story. You’d be forgiven for thinking he’s two sheets to the wind, but he’s eerily calm for a storyteller in his element.

 

Gestalt opens with tender chords that unfold like petals to reveal Sambol’s timid vocals on “You’re Still Lovable To Someone” (but it’s your guess who that ‘someone’ could be). “According to this guy / I haven’t seen the greatest movie of all time / I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was blind,” he exhales in his apathetic warble. Aspirational thinking rather than actionable advice drive his motives, if barely—“Let’s raise money for each other sometime / If the need arose it’d be good to know,” is the half-assed yet whole-hearted sentiment of someone trying to be the lovable type.

 

The power of quiet records comes from what’s unsaid more than what’s spoken for all to hear. “We met in the comments / Of one of our favorite singer’s songs,” Sambol sings on “Just Like Golden Hours”—not in the stands, not in the audience, but out in the forum where worlds apart are able to come together. The feeling is immediately resonant like a monostitch from the would-be Twitter account of Joni Mitchell; golden hours are prone to fade, YouTube videos queue to the next one and romances slowly die.

 

If Gestalt is more than the sum of its parts, it surely is a triumph. Its sum is a loosely-hewn batch of emotional country, but what it amounts to is a beautiful and poetic thought catalog of observations too small for the rest of us to catch.

 

- Mike Floeck

   

Powerhouse Singer Cari Hutson Drops New EP "Salvation & Soul Restoration"

As anyone who has ever studied singing can tell you, music fans often define stellar singing according to whether they are partial to singers in the big voice belting camp (Pat Benatar, Brittany Howard) or the sweet, feminine, clear as a bell camp (Diana Ross/Emily Blunt/Katy Perry.) Austin favorite Cari Hutson is however a vocalist bridging both preferences, unexpectedly Carrie Underwood-like for someone who once played Janis Joplin for six months in a very credible off-Broadway production. 

 

On her first EP since winning a coveted Black Fret artist’s monetary grant in late 2019, she sings romantically about domestic bliss, finding me-time as a mom of a four-year-old during a pandemic and the callousness and dishonesty of Donald Trump and Governor Abbott in the funk-blues-dance tune, “Blame”, a throwback to the Stevie Wonder/Sly Stone era where a protest song could be funk and blues to which a person could dance. Hutson’s sweet voice and her rocking gritty voice possess so much impact that her few over-the-top wails seem just sort of there

 

On her video for “My Breath”, the 42-year-old Hutson, backed by her good-natured band (which includes her husband on guitar), takes the stage with the face of a cherub, softly arranged ginger curls, perfect makeup and a tasteful pantsuit that would be so Hillary Clinton if it weren’t for the shawl with  vertical black and white stripes. In true Stevie Nicks fashion, complete with sweet sultry looks, she beckons the audience to come into her spider web. If “My Breath”'s Melissa Etheridge hooks and guitars don’t make it to modern rock radio in 2021, I would be very surprised. 

 

The ironically encouraging thing about the times our society is in is that there is an increased awareness of a seriously flawed America. An EP like Salvation & Soul Restoration, just like a Biden presidency, would be good at any time, but in 2021, the second year of pandemic hell, an artistic AND obviously appealing album release that sounds like the Refinery 29 blog would sound if it was a pop album is going to speak to many, many diverse fans while keeping its integrity and edginess.

 

- Jill Blardinelli

   

Avant

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9:30 am
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Digimarcon Home
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online