The youthful Houston power trio Astragal has drawn some well-deserved attention in recent years due to their energetic live performances, defined by a jangly, beachy sound reminiscent of early-era Beach Fossils or DIIV. Their growing local notoriety won the group a spot as one of the few local performers featured on In Bloom’s premier lineup last spring, and they are set to release their follow-up EP, simply entitled “II,” this weekend through local record label Wallflower Records. If their release “Bloomer” is any signifier, the local dream pop darlings are set to impress on this upcoming EP.
The group dropped the single “Moderne Luxury” in anticipation of the new release, and the re-imagined sound is moving into a darker direction more reminiscent of post-punk than the dreamier arrangements they have come to be known for. Rather than the previous vibe of cheery and playful, Astragal veers toward more complicated and conflicted sentiments that may not be so black and white or pop accessible.
While the feeling and atmosphere are different, the band stays true to the droning and more hypnotic nature of their songwriting, complete with kraut rhythms, shimmering, reverb-driven guitar leads, and wispy vocals that elicit longing with the promise of reconcile. It is easy to see a crowd of twenty-somethings shuffling their feet and bobbing their heads at a crowded DIY house venue. The new sound may leave the crowd feeling a bit more introspective, but it still sets the ideal ambience for a night cap at your friendly neighborhood dive bar.
This new single has us all waiting in anticipation for the band’s star-studded release show March 1 at Satellite Bar, accompanied by Austin legends and shoegaze powerhouses Ringo Deathstarr and Glaze. This is going to be a certified rager and definitely a hot event this weekend before ushering in the spillover madness from neighboring SXSW in the coming weeks.