By: Hunter Funk
Of Austin’s many musical microcosms, the budding dream-pop scene may be the most overlooked for its creativity. In the new decade, Pale Dian, Moving Panoramas and All In The Golden Afternoon have all put out some downright cracking albums alongside the likes of more conventionally gazey outfits like Bloody Knives and Ringo Deathstarr. Two recently-released EPs from fresh-faced locals Blushing and Trés Oui, respectively titled Tether and Singles Going Nowhere, help further the city’s woozy lineage of accessible psychedelia with some delicious results.
Between the two, Trés Oui certainly skew more towards the “accessible” half of the equation – after all, they do here skim through a track named “Prince of Pop” – but their bright, chorused guitars and atmospheric synths add a palpable sense of space to the snappy songwriting. Leadoff cut “Fall Back” rides a groovy Seth Whaland bassline reminiscent of Starfuc – ehm, sorry, STRFKR – before breaking down its molecular makeup into a reverb-drenched mini-bridge. “Everything Discos” simultaneously conveys both forward and upward momentum through the push-pull symbiosis of driving rhythm section and buoyant keys a la Wild Nothing or Pains of Being Pure At Heart. At times, Singles’ overflow of rambunctious energy (see: the punky “Party Planner”) betrays the band as jangle-pop at the core, but it’s consistently tempered by a bag of ethereal production tricks that turn closer “Dead Ringer” into a full-on blissout ballad.
Of Austin’s many musical microcosms, the budding dream-pop scene may be the most overlooked for its creativity.
With their own debut EP, Blushing take us a little bit further down the rabbit hole, stretching out the pace on Tether’s title track to a sundazed stroll and dousing the mix with delayed guitars and female harmonies you’d swear were swiped directly from a Lush album. “Can we escape together? Can’t it just stay forever?” sing co-vocalists Christina Carmona and Michelle Soto, before stomping on the distortion and punching a hole right through the clouds. Philip Odom’s work behind the boards lends great presence and dynamics to the quartet’s halcyon shoegaze sound; the mix here sounds miles wider than its apparent indie budget, and the crystalline guitars on “Why Can’t We?” and “Mess” might have traditionalists scrambling for ‘90s name-drops. Bottom line, though, is that how it sounds should take precedence over who it sounds like, and genre touch points aside, this is simply damn good dream pop you won’t want to turn down. The oceanic waltz of finale “Protect You” ebbs out after a painfully brief 19 minutes, having more than whetted the appetite for a full-length follow-up.
Trés Oui have just embarked on a two-week southwest excursion, slyly labeled “Singles Touring Nowhere,” that features a date at Los Angeles DIY lynchpin The Smell. Blushing have a couple upcoming shows in Austin and San Marcos, including this Thursday at The Sidewinder.