CD Review and Ticket Giveaway: The Great Nostalgic

Let’s talk about The Great Nostalgic.

On May 1, this band will have a CD release show at Hole in the Wall, and I promise after sampling a couple of their songs, you will want to attend. (Which is fortunate, since I have in my hot little hands 2 tickets and 2 CDs to give away! More on that below).

First, some trivia. The Great Nostalgic contains members of The Laughing, AM Syndicate, Sea Legs, and Southern Drama. Just three months into their young life as “The Great Nostalgic,” they were named among the “Nine Locals to Watch in 2009” by Austin Chronicle. And, in case you’re wondering – because as far as local artists go, this seriously is one of the most important things to me – they are really, really nice. At least drummer Vince Durcan is, and I have no doubt his fellow band members are equally lovely.

Second: have you ever had that experience where you meet this cool person, say at a party, and later re-encounter them in a totally different context, realizing they’re even more impressive than you originally thought? This one girl in my grad school program, let’s call her Kate, was among the blessed few to admit she enjoyed – nay, relished – reality television, and regularly hosted viewings of “Project Runway.” I loved her for that reason alone, and happily blew off Derrida to go watch Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn on Kate’s big TV. But a few weeks after I met her, my roomate came home with a bottle of wine Kate had given her – from the winery where she worked on the weekends. So, to review: Project Runway party hosting + winery moonlighting = Kate, the Grad School Badass.

Anyway. I had that experience with The Great Nostalgic’s new album, S/T. The first few songs I heard from them struck me as very Cars-like. Those were New Wavey, dancey songs, like “House of My Father” and “County Line.” After listening to the rest of the album though, I began to agree with all those comparisons of The Great Nostalgic to David Bowie, owed in no small part to Abram Shook’s vocals. Controlled and fluttering, his voice is complemented by a quietly sinister piano in “Grace;” the band’s radio single “Young Lovers,” however, reveals Shook at his flirtiest, backed by uptempo guitar and pop-happy drums. Along with band members JoBeth Cox, Michal Faircloth, James Lynn Miller, and Vince Durcan, The Great Nostalgic test out a variety of moods in their new LP, ranging from contemplative to dance party. If songs like “Kingdom” are the vegetables,” then “Young Lovers” is the candy.

Now, perhaps it’s the musicality that all Great Nostalgic band members brought to this new endeavor, but I’m most impressed by the fact that this still-young band wrote recorded a whole LP, and a well-produced LP at that, in less than half a year. And tucked just enough musical surprises inside – I can’t even identify some of the instruments being played – to make the finished product sound thoughtful and carefully honed.

SO. We will be at the CD Release show for S/T on May 1. Will you?

I’ll give two readers a ticket to the show each, as well as a CD, if you leave a comment telling me who you’re listening to right now. Doesn’t have to be The Great Nostalgic. Lady Gaga? Black Nasty? Ol’ Brit Brit? Let’s hear about it.