Enter a drone on delay, drag out the scratches and build, call in a smooth set of chiming guitars and slam with a drum weighted howl. Hollow Thieves opens Bad Llama’s new EP with a clean polished anger and grandeur.
Austin. Achingly hip and alarmingly cool. Coffee bean fetishists, thrift store hi-glam, nu-age craft ales in gleaming clean structures and retro set wide-eyed fresh faces.
Hot dog and burger bars tower their meats with all kinds of sides, only skyscrapers outside match their stature. Weed’s offered out by bar maids and waiters and I don’t feel young, pretty or thin.
Polka dot dresses swirl through the mind in tail finned gas swilling automobiles. Iced beers drip in sunshine, drive in movie screens show black and white flicks over slicked back black hair and blonde lipstick curls. This is cherry coke sweet. Polished like high chrome in saccharine shades.
Nashville has an ego. Lights, signs and neons all big as that ego with history gone to it’s head. It’s been ‘Music City – USA’ since WSM AM radio cast out it’s shout over 38 states with weekly live shows and recordings. Broadcasts began in 1925, name was claimed 1950 set against rock and roll. ‘Birthplace of bluegrass’, ‘home of country music’, ‘songwriting capital of the world’; There’s plenty of others to pick from.
A full blood moon’s hanging thick over Rockies. Earlier on I saw dinosaur steps and bones, pressed into layers of once-flat beach sand that turned into mud that turned into rock that turned to upended slabs that jut out of the sides of sharp mountains. What was flat nearly upright. What was beach now a cliff. And everything round me got here out of chaos.
Now I’m sat between ridges and ranges and chaos is here in the house… It’s been in my ears and it’s been in car stereos and it’s given long journeys brief fever. Slumb Party’s ‘Happy Now’ is breakneck in pace and in place of a thrill is a pupil dilation from trying to make sense of each track; these things pass quicker than oncoming cars at a speed that I don’t want to print.
I was midway through a write up of their 2017 releases when a new track came landed and knocked them away. Last year saw Victories let ‘Wiccan’ and ‘Mandy Machine’ loose on raw ears, now it’s ‘Fork in the Road’s turn to tear up. The first two are singles I dug out of Spotify. The latter a live video so far streaming only. Their catalogue backs up to 2010.
For a fact off the bat; Each release gets tighter, gets more taught and tougher. In scope and conviction, songcraft, execution. It’s a clear pitched trajectory and timeline and motion.