In our latest edition of The Good Music Club, we find Austin band Little Radar picking up where White Denim left off, stirring up a huge buzz in just about a year and a half with their slightly fuzzed and layered indie anthems. They recorded (in a living room) and released their EP Kill A Buffalo in January 2011 to much acclaim. Their full length debut Up in Arms, released in April 2012, is a careful mix of light-heartedness and modern songwriting. Definitely a band to watch.
Little Radar's 2011 EP Kill A Buffalo was the opening salvo from a band that quickly gained a reputation as a must-see, must-watch act. Little Radar spent the year cutting their teeth in Austin, TX venues such as The Mohawk, Club Deville, Stubb's, The ND, and Frank. By the end of 2011, Little Radar had been featured on Laurie Gallardo's Austin Music Minute, David Brown's Texas Music Matters, and KUTX Song of the Day.
In 2012, with support from Music Box Media and Transmission Entertainment's From the Mind of Adi, Little Radar released their sophomore effort Up in Arms to a full house at The Mohawk. Up In Arms demonstrated a clear step forward for the band and provided the cadence for their steady march upwards in the ranks of the competitive Austin music scene. In support of the new release Little Radar collaborated with Will Rimmer, the founder of emerging videography company Robot Fondue, to film the high-energy underwater video for their single "Spitfire." Filmed entirely with GoPro HD cameras, the video masterfully captured the essence of a carefree outdoor day party spent with friends, but only after everyone had called out of work.
"I always loved videos that scripted a story around a party, so we thought why not take it a step further and shoot the entire thing under water to separate ourselves from what has already been done," says guitarist and lead vocalist Sean Hale.
GoPro, taking note of the heavy buzz around the video, began promoting "Spitfire" through their official social media outlets.
Perpetuating the energy of their furious start to 2012, Little Radar coordinated their first tour, and in late October began a journey from Austin, TX to Brooklyn, NY. On the eve of their departure for New York, the band heard the first news of a storm that soon became Hurricane Sandy; 48 hours later they arrived in Brooklyn, the day after she slammed into the northeastern seaboard.
"You always hope your first tour will be memorable, but I don't think any of us could have imagined what we would see and the stories we would get to be a part of on that first run," says guitarist Trevor Hale.
Finding themselves surrounded by the disruptive fallout of the storm, Little Radar performed their first ever New York show at a packed-house Red Cross benefit for the urgent Hurricane Sandy disaster relief. After a three night run in the City that included an unforgettable show at esteemed DIY space Dead Herring, they returned to Austin to perform another benefit show for a Brooklyn studio complex that had been flooded during the storm. Despite having their first tour immersed in struggle and harsh reality, Little Radar's efforts were rewarded.
Their tour itinerary included an invitation to survey Sputnik Sound in Nashville, TN, a studio run by Grammy-winning engineers Mitch Dane and Vance Powell; the encounter would provide the foundation for a fruitful, exciting, and collaborative relationship between the band and Mitch.
"Mitch played us samples of the recent work he had doneI remember looking and the guys and we were all smiling; we were sold," says Sean.
In February 2013 Little Radar made their way back to Sputnik Sound, buried the outside world for a week, and used Mitch Dane's invaluable production skill to craft an album that reflects upon universal and personal shortcomings, successes, and the inevitable ghosts that tag along; an album of souvenirs.
"The rapid speed at which we were forced to work was really a blessing. There was hardly time to eat, let alone make a self-indulgent record," says bassist Grant Himmler.
While keeping a frantic pace in the studio, Little Radar was able to explore new sounds and textures in a way they haven't in the past, melding percussion, keys and synthesizers with their guitar-centric style to broaden the auditory landscape on Souvenirs.
"We had the chance to make a record in that classic way that we've all dreamed aboutlive tracking to tape, through a Neve, in a studio where you can't help but be creativefew bands get to do that. That experience is something that I think really shows up on this record. It's something we were all a part of and are all proud of," says Trevor. Drummer Derek Woodruff agrees adding that "Mitch made it clear from the start he was on our side and his goal was to push our limits both creatively and sonically. He wanted nothing more than to preserve the artistic integrity of the band and to magnify our strengths as song writers. We are absolutely stronger as a unit because of our time spent with Mitch."
Little Radar's first full-length album, Souvenirs, is slated for release in August of 2013. Expanding upon their truly unique, layered blend of indie rock, folk, and psych, the new album promises to propel Little Radar to greater heights and give every listener something special to take home.