I told myself early on, from the beginning of my SXSW 2011 preparations, that I wouldn’t make it so hard on myself to cover every single show of interest and get interviews with every band on the planet that I loved and would have the opportunity of tracking down in Austin. So I sort of stayed true to that. This is the only official interview that I did last week, and even it was short and casual.
An Horse, if you don’t know, are a wonderful two-piece indie pop band from Australia. Their music is hooky and worthy of sing-a-longs. Their debut record, Rearrange Beds, got caught somewhere in the EP/LP estuary. It was straightforward and simple, a verbatim creation of their live shows, and innocently angsty. I loved it 30 seconds in, and have cheered silently watching the strides in touring and recording opps that An Horse has garnered from it. Those kind, savvy blonds deserve it all. In fact, it’s their humble nature (and musical magic, of course) that give them a little residency in my musical heart. So I had to break the SXSW laissez-faire attitude and get them on the damn schedule… even if for just a few minutes.
After fairing the mild security at Mohawk, we met up with the band’s publicist, who found Kate and Damon hiding from the crowd outside in the open.
TST: So, I got a copy of “Trains and Tracks” [the fifth track off the upcoming new LP, Walls] a couple of months ago from [your publicist]. I like that it has the classic An Horse sound, but with much bigger instrumentation.
KATE: Yeah, we really wanted to experiment more this time.
TST: I tend to love everything that Howard [Redekopp, producer] does. How was it working with him?
KATE: It was great.
DAMON: He’s a really good friend.
KATE: And really easy to work with.
TST: So, sound and instrumentation-wise, is “Trains and Tracks” a good indication of the other tunes on the record?
DAMON: Not exactly.
KATE: Well, it’s like a bridge that comes across.
KATE: The rest is like minimalistic experimental.
TST: Is that why you released that song?
KATE: Um, no. [scratching her head] It’s a logical one, too, I guess… maybe.
DAMON: I think so. It’s really just one of those things that you wouldn’t expect that the label decides to do.
TST: Have you implemented anything differently live because of the changes?
DAMON: Not really, no.
KATE: It’s still us.
DAMON: Still guitar and drums and vocals. It’s everything it was before.
KATE: Right now it’s just harder…
DAMON: Because these are the first few shows playing new songs, and this is the beginning of a really long tour so it’s kind of good to get out here and test them.
TST: How long are you guys going to be in the U.S.?
DAMON: Really for a couple of weeks, and then we leave to go to Germany and then come back to the U.S. and then we go all over the place. But we’ll be here on and off for a year. We’re playing here again in May, I think.
TST: Cool. We’re from Atlanta, so we’ll get to catch you again next week.
DAMON: Oh cool, are you going to come?
TST: Oh yeah.
KATE: Oh fun. I love Atlanta; it’s rad.
TST: I first met you guys at a Criminal [Records] sit in last year.
DAMON: Oh yeah, yeah; that was kind of weird though. We’ve had some really good times in Atlanta though.
TST: It’s good to watch bands play stripped down like that.
DAMON: Yeah, I can see that.
TST: So, what is the official release date of Walls?
DAMON: April 26.
TST: Sweet. Well, that’s all I’ve got, since we’re making it short and simple.
KATE: Excellent; that’s how I like it.
TST: Thanks for meeting up.
KATE/DAMON: [in unison] Thank you!
After that, we walked inside Mohawk, where Kate and Damon proceeded to play a prompt 2:15pm showcase inside. The room was full of people who seemed as eager as I to hear the new tunes. “Dressed Sharply” stood out prominently in the set, with some a capella vocal repetition. They squeezed a couple of tunes off the previous record into the short 30-ish minute set, including “Postcards.”
The brief interview allusions rang true right off the bat – the new tunes are definitely more experimental. But, tonally, things are the same. It’s An Horse and it’s hooky… though maybe in a less pop way on the new songs’ choruses, and with less typical structures.
After a stop in Louisiana earlier this week, we’re happy to have An Horse back in Atlanta tonight at Vinyl. Come check it out if you’re in town. If not, peek at the new record track listing below, and note the remaining U.S. dates on this stint of the tour.
Walls track listing:
1. Dressed Sharply
2. Not Mine
3. Airport Death
4. Know This, We’ve Noticed
5. Trains and Tracks
7. Brain on a Table
8. 100 Whales
9. Leave Me
10. Windows in the City
11. Swallow the Sea
12. Tiny Skeletons
3/24 – Atlanta, GA – Vinyl
3/27 – Washington, DC – DC9
3/30 – Cambridge, MA – Middle East upstairs
3/31 – Lancaster, PA – Lizard Lounge
4/1 – Pittsburgh, PA – Smiling Moose upstairs
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