Randy Reynolds, of Austin’s Leatherbag, isn’t happy with the state of things. He bemoans a world with vapid hipsters everywhere, sincerity and authenticity nowhere. But he believes there is a solution – one forged by “electric guitar wires.” Leatherbag’s latest, “Yellow Television,” is testament to Reynolds’ desire to prove it. When I first mentioned the album, I noted a raw, urgent late 70’s punk/pop feel, and on the opening track, when Reynolds sings “have you heard the bonus material, left off the original album, 1977,” the tracks “Imitation Generation,” “Telephone Wire,” and “Modern World” could easily be those outtakes. Stripped of anything but the essentials, full of tension, pop hooks, angular guitar, and plenty of pumping, squawking, and squealing sax, “Yellow Television” is catchy as hell and just asks for you to keep turning up the volume.
Leatherbag has also simultaneously released an ep – “Patience.” The first three tracks – the ‘I’m lost’ of “Poor Misguided Boy,” the ‘they’re clueless’ of “Teenage Creeps,” and the ‘unless rock n’ roll can save us’ of “No Future” – are as strong as anything on the album. Getting it is a no-brainer since the band is offering it up as a free download.
I’ve seen Leatherbag live twice. Both times at SXSW. The first time a number of years back, Reynolds solo at The Red Scoot Inn, playing the haunting country strains of his early albums, and earlier this year with full band, doing a raucous daytime show at Sam’s Town Point. Both times excellent. Both times very different. Reynolds has continued to venture and explore, consistently releasing compelling music, and “Yellow Television” will hopefully open Leatherbag to a deserved wider audience. And maybe some concert dates in the Northeast. I’m including an older track below – my favorite from “Love Me Like The Devil,” Leatherbag’s first release from 2006. The catalog is well worth digging into. After you get “Yellow Television.”
Telephone Wire (from “Yellow Television”)
Teenage Creeps (from “Patience” ep)
Tennesee (from 2006’s “Love Me Like The Devil”)
Buy “Yellow Television”: Bandcamp
Download “Patience”: Bandcamp
More Leatherbag: CD Baby