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Austin Avenue Releases Album

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Little Boy’s Cards, the brand-new debut record from Austin Avenue, is a compelling addition to the indie Americana landscape, showcasing the songwriting talents of Seth Sutton and the musical chemistry of the duo. Released on May 1st, this ten-track offering intertwines heartfelt narratives with evocative melodies, solidifying Austin Avenue’s place among the noteworthy acts in the genre.

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From the album opener, “Little Boy,” it’s evident that Sutton possesses a knack for crafting introspective and emotive songs. The track gently unfurls with delicate acoustic guitar strums, accompanied by Sutton’s sincere vocals that resonate with vulnerability. His storytelling prowess shines through, reminiscent of the deeply personal narratives found in the works of Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker. The ability to convey poignant emotions with such rawness is a testament to Sutton’s command over his craft.

Throughout Little Boy’s Cards, Austin Avenue’s influences and contemporaries are discernible. In tracks like “Too Soon” and “The Layover,” the duo echoes the bittersweet sensibilities of Fleet Foxes, melding intricate harmonies with poignant lyricism. The arrangements are rich and textured, providing a sonic backdrop that enhances the emotional weight of the songs. Austin Avenue displays an understanding of dynamics and instrumental interplay akin to the meticulous craftsmanship heard in The War on Drugs’ discography.

“Old Man” stands out as a standout track on the album, highlighting Sutton’s ability to weave personal narratives into a larger tapestry of human experiences. The song’s delicate melodies and poignant lyrics bring to mind the introspective songwriting style of Sufjan Stevens, with its ability to strike a deep emotional chord. About the song, Sutton says “It’s tough to listen to… it’s the story of the failure of my musical theater career. There was an old man who played guitar at the 61st St. Station of the 1-9 line when I lived in New York City. I remember looking down on him, thinking I would never be so broken down and pitiful. However, as the song posits, opportunity, promise and memories fade. During the bridge of the song, I take his place as The Old Man as he passes. The use of the station (David Allan Coe would be proud) is intended to invoke the image of the train, moving fast and unavoidably down the track, much like time.”

While Austin Avenue draws inspiration from various indie Americana acts, they carve out their own unique sonic identity. “Quintessential Woman” and “Our Backyard” showcase the duo’s ability to craft catchy melodies that effortlessly blend with introspective lyrics. These tracks evoke the indie-folk stylings of Iron & Wine, striking a delicate balance between melodic accessibility and introspective depth.

“Naked With You” and “Between You and Me” delve into the complexities of human relationships, displaying Austin Avenue’s lyrical dexterity. The duo’s explorations of vulnerability and intimacy align with the confessional songwriting style of Sharon Van Etten, exhibiting an emotional transparency that resonates with listeners on a personal level.

The album’s penultimate track, “Virginia,” once again showcases Sutton’s penchant for storytelling. Its extremely haunting lyrics of a car crash survivor mesh with the upbeat guitar and drums, crafting an overall great entry to nearly close out the record.

“Underestimate Me” brings the album to a triumphant close, exuding a sense of resilience and determination. This anthemic track carries echoes of the indie rock sensibilities heard in The National’s music, showcasing Austin Avenue’s ability to create powerful and cathartic moments.

With Little Boy’s Cards, Austin Avenue has crafted an album that deftly combines introspection, vulnerability, and melodic sensibilities. Drawing from a range of contemporary indie Americana acts, Seth Sutton and his musical partner Jonathon Zemek create a captivating sonic landscape that explores the depths of human emotion. Their command over storytelling and their ability to craft evocative melodies solidify Austin Avenue as a noteworthy act in the indie Americana scene.

Heather Savage

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