Are you listening to Corto Maltese yet?

Because if not, you should be.

The first time I saw Austin’s Corto Maltese perform was at the Bleet-Up, and Richard had booked them. I thought, “whatever that’s cool, I trust your taste,” but I had never heard them before.

Oh my God.

They played a 45 minute set at the Bleet-Up, and I would have given anything if it could have been longer. Many, many people compare their sound to the Arcade Fire, which is true some of the time – for energetic, dancy songs like “Providence” and “The Kiss Off,” I suppose. But I dig the ever so slightly dark stuff, like “Answer Answer.” Ben Maddox’s voice reminds me of Jeff Buckley – croony and soft sometimes, desperate and jagged elsewhere – underlining my current preference for bands with good singers. Don’t get me wrong, many bands here in Austin have their drum, guitar, keys and bass chops – but I really respect male frontmen who spend time developing their voices. Bands like Corto and The Temper Trap. Do you ever find that you expect bands here to be generally good at their instruments, but have lower expectations for voices? I don’t know why this is, exactly. Maybe because mastering one’s voice doesn’t deliver quite the thrill of mastering a complex guitar solo or drum fill. (Or, maybe it does?)

At any rate. When a frontman does open his mouth, and something gorgeous comes out, it’s a pleasant surprise. (It’s also a pleasant surprise when the band happens to be hot, but that’s neither here nor there.)

For the music lovers in your life, I highly recommend giving them a Corto Maltese’s EP for Christmas. You can buy it here.

And for daytime diversion, go listen to some Corto Maltese samples here.