The phrase “Keep Austin Weird” is little more than a clever marketing slogan these days as traffic snarls the city, condos climb sky high, and tech bros fill the local watering holes. Though the weirdness so often alluded to may be in short supply, there are bands in Austin staying true to the far out counter-cultural vibe that put the city on the map in the first place. One of those bands is Churchwood, and on November 18th they will release their new full-length studio album Hex City on Saustex Records.
Like many of the great bands that have come out of Austin over the years, Churchwood succeed with a psychedelic amalgamation of blues, punk rock, rockabilly, and voodoo sounds thrown in for good measure. Hex City finds this band of rock and roll revelers in fine soulful form, honoring their ties to legendary Austin acts like The Meat Purveyors and The Crack Pipes, among many others. The tracks on the album run loose and fast with brassy flourishes and unrelenting boogie. Simply put, Churchwood stay close to Austin’s wild musical legacy at a time when the city is more known for synth players than guitarists.
Today we are excited to present an exclusive first listen of Hex City right here on Glide Magazine. Vocalist and harmonica player Joe Doerr offers up his own thoughts on the album:
The songs on ‘Hex City’ aren’t really “about” anything at all. They are, however, suggestive of a lot of different human experiences, but I’ll let our audience decide exactly what those experiences may be. Meanwhile, enjoy the tapestry of sound. The usual Churchwood signatures are all there – the Bills’ braided guitar conversations, the proggy swagger of Adam’s bass, Julien’s recalcitrant wallop, and of course the mid-song time changes – but this time around we’re joined by our own Money Shot Brass (a four-piece horn section, five if you count “Chickasaw Fire’s” psychedelic flute) and The Nicotine Choir (imagine the Andrews Sisters heard through a mescaline haze). The combined sound should, can, and does stand on its own, but if the words intrude and won’t allow your imagination to get lost in the imagery, you can always use the title track as a guide: ‘Hex City’ is a play on words, it evolved from “haecceity” – the bare “thisness” of things.
Hex City is out November 18th on Saustex. For more music and info visit Churchwood’s Facebook page.
Photo: Leon Alesi