IPO Austin 2014
Click on artist name to go to their music page
CLICK HERE to see IPO Austin 2014 Artist Yearbook Photos
Artists From Austin
Joshua Aaron (of Stealing Heather) – The main man of Stealing Heather, who’s sincerity and their emerging reputation as “the thinking person’s pop-rock band” stands in stark contrast in an age of thirty-second attention spans and banal pop songs. As opposed to getting by on their “vibe,” Stealing Heather stands for moving lyrics and musical intensity that can actually change the listener. Fans of Snow Patrol, Keane, and Nada Surf should definitely check out their debut disc, Your Mistake, and be sure not to miss this special solo acoustic performance with the lyrics will shine through in a more intimate way!
Phil Ajjarapu – Ajjarapu has played bass and pedal steel for many bands over the years, and was finally prompted to make his solo album after a near fatal accident in March of 2012. Said album, Sing Along Till You Feel Better, is an album made for people who like albums, by a person who adores albums. Fans of The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Big Star, Jellyfish, and The Posies will dig it! Don’t miss his IPO show, where he’ll have Molly in tow!
Nic Armstrong & The Thieves – Authentic Brit pop from Austin, TX? Absolutely! Armstrong comes by his influences quite naturally, having been born and raised in Newcastle-upon-Tyne prior to making his move to the US, and the UK’s loss is definitely Austin’s gain! Armstrong and his band have earned some mighty hefty (and well-deserved) praise – including comparisons to The Who and The Kinks – from the likes of NME, Paste, and Rolling Stone, for their recent Pocketless Shirt EP, and are hard at work on an upcoming full-length which we can hardly wait to hear!
Blue Cartoon – An unusual hybrid of power pop and progressive rock long known for their strong instrumental arrangements and full vocal harmonies. Although their earlier work is most often compared to the psychedelic harmony pop of The Byrds or the orchestrated powerpop of Teenage Fanclub, their most recent album, Are You Getting On?, moves more in the direction of ‘70s British glam crossed with Brill Building production. Definitely a band for pop fans of all shapes and sizes!
Buzzie – Formed by lead singer/songwriter John McElhenney after leaving local Austin pop darlings Blue Cartoon (see above), Buzzie thrives on the 3:30 minute harmonic convergence with lyrics that are not about sex, or drugs, or being a rockstar. Their latest album, Shooting Beer Cans Off The Buddha, has drawn comparisons to Wilco, Radiohead, Old ‘97s and The Beatles, so check it out now!
Carry Illinois – A band who brings their late-night heart-worn folk rock to IPO! Get ready for front-woman Lizzy Lehman’s songwriting to pull at your heartstrings while accompanied by the familiar sounds of fun rock n’ roll drums, poppy yet driving guitar, and beautiful piano/synth sounds guaranteed to make you want to dance along. Their first full-length record, Alabaster, will be released in March 2015, so watch for it!
The Footnotes – Rick Eakens founded The Footnotes way back in the ‘60s in Las Cruces, and over the years has headquartered in Nashville as well as all over the great state of Texas, but their classic American roots rock is just as irresistible now as it was back in the day! If you love hot live rock n’ roll-a-billy with influences and flavorings from the birth of rock right up to today, you will LOVE The Footnotes!
Freddie Steady 5 – As the name would suggest, they’re a quintet who blend British Invasion and ‘60s psychedelic garage influences with country and blues into what can best be described as just feel good rollicking good time music! Their latest CD, Live at the Saxon Pub, is available now in both CD or download formats! They are also led by the inimitable Freddie Krc, main man of Steady Boy records, tireless promoter and musician, and one helluva guy!
Gentlemen Rogues – Drawing inspiration from UK visionaries like The Who, Elvis Costello & The Attractions, and The Jam, while steadfastly blasting their own course through an American indie-rock canon shaped by Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, Jawbreaker, and Superchunk, Gentlemen Rogues crank out catchy, amplified treble kickers, mixing powder keg intensity, classic melodies, and brash theatrics into a 200-proof distillation of brazen rock n’ roll. Their latest single, Mocking Love Out Of Nothing At All, is now available on transparent purple vinyl with download! Check them out now so you can say you saw them before they were superstars!
Tucker Jameson – Determined to use his classic rock appreciation and Berklee-honed skills to write modern songs that speak to his own generation, Jameson spent a year working in the studio, finally emerging with a group of tunes for his recently released Light Up The Night EP that unequivocally achieve his goal. Tunes like “Son of Superbia,” “Technological Warfare” and “Ritalin” couldn’t have been written in the ‘60s or the ‘90s, but they contain the kind of power-pop songcraft that fans of any rock era can identify with!
Just Walden – A marriage of classical orchestration, indie rock intensity, and a touch of soul can be found in the music of this piano pop quartet! Fans of artists from Queen to Johannes Brahms to Prince and Vampire Weekend will all dig their debut full length, High Street Barton Blues, and look forward to their 2nd opus, which they are set to start recording soon!
Craig Marshall – Over the past two decades, Marshall has quietly built a remarkably accomplished body of work, drawing upon his wide-ranging musical background to craft engagingly melodic, personally-charged music that’s as emotionally resonant as it is catchy. The title of his newest release, Hiding in the Doorway, underlines the artist’s longstanding status as a well-kept secret, treasured by a devoted cadre of discerning fans and music-biz insiders, and ripe for discovery by a wider audience. Fans of Crowded House, Matthew Sweet, and The Beach Boys should check him out!
Mount Pressmore – Fast becoming a fixture of the Austin club scene, Mount Pressmore is committed to creating great music one song, one performance, and one album at a time. Their first single, “Trampoline,” has invited comparison to the dance-inspired rock of Talking Heads, soaring choruses of Peter Gabriel, raw energy of the Police and sophistication of Steely Dan. Their debut album, aptly titled Enjoy, has had us doing just that since its release late last year; modern prog-pop at its finest!
Radio Fallout – An alt-rock power trio, their music has been described as having an “[u]rgent melodicism, a fondness for heavy, heavy guitars and sharp sense of harmony, all driven home at a maximum volume.” (jamsphere.com) Fans of Bob Dylan, Nirvana, and Billy Joel will want to check out their Vox e Tenebris CD!
Rich Restaino & the Obits – Their sound fuses elements of UK power pop with soul grooves and girl group harmonies, as displayed on the three albums they’d released between 2007 and 2012. After a bit of a hiatus, Restaino reassembled a slightly modified version of the band to play new material. His latest record, which draws from more country, folk, early American pop influences, features some members of the Obits and is due out in late 2014. The band is rehearsing and will be hitting the stage again in late 2014.
Chris Smith – A singer/songwriter/guitarist/producer/engineer whose versatility in modern rock, pop, blues, and country styles keeps him busy in several Austin area projects (Jordann Mitchell and the New Usual, Philip Q. Morrow, Smith and Co.), as well as in writing, recording, and playing his own music. His songwriting builds on the rich texture of the songs of our youth, with a look to the future: melody is king, simple chord progressions are used when appropriate, and complex ones are used when the melody requires complex harmony.
The Soulphonics – The Soulphonics play American garage rock and roll: three to four minute songs full of hooks and mostly about the pain of love, of life, and death…and no guitar noodling! Fans of The Seeds, Flamin’ Groovies, and AM radio circa 1966 will want to check out their new album, Heart Full of Soulphonics! Groovy!
U.S. Artists From Outside Of Austin
Ashbury Keys – A straight-up pop rock band from Houston who have garnered multiple nominations as one of the best bands of the city! Returning in 2012 after a brief hiatus, they’ve not only not missed a beat, but have come back even better, flooring crowds at IPOs both near and far (including several appearances at IPO Liverpool!) with their muscular powerpop and sibling harmonies. Their latest EP, Do You Know Who You Are?, takes their Texas-filtered Brit-Pop sound to a whole ‘nother level!
Walter Clevenger – IPO is proud to host a rare solo performance by the main man of Walter Clevenger & The Dairy Kings, a rockin’ Orange County, CA quintet which has for many years been known for distilling the best of Nick Lowe, Marshall Crenshaw, The Beatles, and Hank Williams to create a fresh, original brew that works well both live and on CD. Clevenger’s newest material has taken on more of a blues-bent without eschewing his pop sensibilities, so this should be a very cool performance!
The Lannie Flowers Band – Although he and the band hail from Kennedale and Ft. Worth, they’ve done what no other artist in the history of the LA Music Awards has done…namely, taking home four awards from last year’s event in November! Flowers’ latest studio CD, New Songs, Old Stories, picks up where his earlier disc, Circles, left off, but rocks even harder, and the band’s latest, Live In NYC, shows why you must see them in person! Badfinger-esque in-your-face guitars and vocal harmonies blend with softer shifting harmonies more reminiscent of XTC, but that fans of artists from The Raspberries to The Velvet Underground will be sure to appreciate! We also appreciate that he and his band have played the IPO festival in many cities throughout the world and continue to do so, with no sign of slowing down!
The Prettiest Girl – The nom-de-plume of singer/songwriter Jasmine Kostraba, who was the main force behind the excellent Los Angeles combos The Otterpops and the Swedes, and currently splits her time between LA and Austin. Her solo work delivers the same power-packed melodic rock n’ roll punch of her previous bands, with a dash of quirky folk-edged indie-rock on the side, so if you like that kind of sound, you’ll surely want to check her out!
The Rosedale Highs – San Antonio’s The Rosedale Highs are self-proclaimed champions of the “New Power Pop” movement, which emphasizes melody, harmony, and the classic Beatle-esque pop sound, updated for the 2010’s. Their music has been described as having the “lyrical complexity of Ben Folds” and the “sunny but melancholy rock of The Replacements” (Adam Coronado, The San Antonio Current). Their latest EP, Let’s Get Wrecked With The Rosedale Highs, is sure to gain new converts to the new power pop cause…check it out and hear what we mean!