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4 Austin bands you need to see from the Vagabond Collective Summer Nights finale

Vagabond Collective Summer Nights Finale poster
Vagabond Collective Summer Nights Finale posterVagabond Collective

On a warm August evening that boasted a bevvy of good shows in Austin, Vagabond Collective hosted their final Summer Nights show at Empire Control Room on Saturday. It was an opportunity to showcase an impressive cross section of local music. A talent heavy, seven acts were booked inside the Control Room and on the back patio. Headliner Marmalakes, along with Shivery Shakes, Chipper Jones and Yum played tantalizingly good sets. It was an evening that highlighted how deep the pool of gifted musicians goes in Central Texas.

Marmalakes

This unconventional trio's sound not only bucks the trend, the group also defied the norm by playing in front of the largest audience of the night despite holding the midnight slot. Frequently fans run out of steam before the late sets begin but Marmalakes commanded a big crowd late into the evening for a good reason, they kick ass.

The band describes their sound as folk-pop. The truth is more nuanced than that. Marmalakes are driven by drummer Josh Halpern who, at times, looks like the kid who took the short bus to school. But do not let the goofy look on his face fool you, Halpern is an exceptional performer. The trio leans on his expressive percussion as much as a band can and still get the right mix of guitar and bass.

It is precisely their unorthodox approach which makes Marmalakes so appealing. They harmonize splendidly. All three members handle vocal duties which fleshes out their sound nicely. The audience at Empire Control Room certainly were not going anywhere until the band finished thier set despite the late hour.

Watch Marmalakes perform "Geneva Hall" at The Mohawk last year. We think you will enjoy the song and may even head out to see the band perform. See you at the show.

Shivery Shakes

The most startling revelation of the evening was the realization that we had not seen Shivery Shakes before. Why the genre-defying four-piece slipped under our radar to this point is a bit of a mystery given how much we enjoyed their performance.

A sunglass-clad William Glosup who fronts the band lead the foursome through a tidy set of songs. The band humorously describes themselves on Facebook as follows, "it's like buddy holly and ronnie spector went at it and popped out four handsome young men." While that may not tell you much about their sound, rest assured Shivery Shakes are worth seeing live.

Fans can sample songs, "Sidewalk Talk" and "So Long" by Shivery Shakes at their bandcamp page and decide which genre the bands falls into. Our take: Shimmery, indie-rock that makes you want to jump up and down.

Video shot during the performance by The Cosmic Clash is still in production. We will update this page as the video becomes available.

Chipper Jones

Atmospheric duo, Chipper Jones kicked off promoter, Vagabond Collective's last summer show with a spellbinding performance. Guitarist, James Lambrecht layered multiple tracks over each other then played yet another guitar part while drummer, Charlie Martin operated a synthesizer and simultaneously produced hypnotic beats on a traditional drum kit draped with a towel to dampen the sound. Coupled with the projections covering the walls of the venue, the music Chippper Jones played bordered on psychedelic while maintaining a certain etheral quality.

Examiner caught the duo just before they headed out on tour a couple months ago at the Red, White and Blue Ball. Saturday night the pair were making their return home. The performance found the duo tour hardened into a formidable machine. The audience stood tranfixed as the show progressed. It was easy to see how the recent spate of shows had sharpened an already fantastic band into something greater.

Local blog, The Cosmic Clash captured over 15 minutes of video of Chipper Jones' set. After you have experienced chasm of sonic delight the duo sweeps listeners over in the video, proceed on to our recap of femme-popsters, Yum who pleased on the patio stage following the opening set.

Yum

Fronted by the angelic Samantha Skinner, Yum play dreamy, post-nuclear pop. The trio performed outside on the Empire Control Room patio after Chipper Jones wowed fans inside the venue. Skinner's breathy vocals fit nicely with the band's sound. Yum bends towards the kind of thoughtful, surf-pop that makes the listener contemplate grandiose themes.

All threee musicians are adept at playing one another's instuments and they all pitch in on vocals although Skinner is the focus of the act. When the set began, Eugene Chung was sitting behind the drum kit and Phil Baier handled guitar duties. By the conclusion, Baier was leading the rythmns on drums while Skinner had shifted over to guitar and Chung played bass.

Yum have a hypnotic effect that catches the listener unaware. On the surface they appear to be just any other Austin band, but Yum go deeper than that. You can check their tracks on Soundcloud or view video shot Saturday night by The Cosmic Clash. Either way, we think you will end up a fan.