Li'l Cap'n Travis
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Li'l Cap'n Travis

Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE

Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Americana


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Natural Fool"

Without a doubt, Natural Fool by Li'l Cap'n Travis of Austin, Texas is the most addictive music video I've seen in years, maybe ever. The song's alluring melody is fortified by irresistible vocal harmonies, a swirling organ and the perfect combination of country and psychedelic pop influences. - WMFU's Beware of the Blog

"TX Monthly: Twilight On Sometimes Island"

The members of Austin’s Li’l Cap’n Travis are an unlikely bunch: With multiple writers and singers in place of a front man and a bevy of backing musicians, this is a real band—and they’ve been that way from the beginning. They aren’t conventional (no hitting the road in a van for months at a time), but they’re not overtly self-conscious either. In fact, they’re in love with music much older than they are: sunny, countrified sixties California pop, which is not exactly high on the hip meter these days. And, unlike a lot of their contemporaries, they like the studio. Though LCT’s 2000 debut exposed the band as a ragged-but-right alt-country outfit, Twilight on Sometimes Island (Glurp), their fourth CD, is a sonically sophisticated wonder. The group took three years to finish the album, and it shows: Vocal harmonies glide, guitars and pianos sing out majestically, pedal steels soar. If underneath all this are some pretty goofy song concepts (witness “Sugar Buzz” or the nah-nahs of the album’s instrumental opener), it hardly matters. Few albums have such instant appeal or staying power (just try to forget “My Ship Is Coming In”). Still fewer are this much fun.
--Jeff McCord - Texas Monthly

"Amplifier: Twilight On Sometimes Island"

With echoes of Love, The Beach Boys, Los Lobos, and Gram Parsons in their pleasantly warped Austin melting-pot psyche, Li’l Cap’n Travis’ sophomore effort Twilight… emerges as a timeless musical gem so far ahead of the pack that it could be mistaken for a long lost cosmic cowboy pop classic. Decidedly lo-fi and DIY, Cap’n (six multi-instrumentalist gents) are master craftsmen, transforming simple songs into majestic statements. Employing a myriad of exotic instruments, namely pedal steel guitar, glockenspiel, melodica, mellotron, trombone, autoharp, horns, and keyboards aplenty, they traverse much musical terrain with an orchestral bent. Rambling instrumentals (the title track, “Violeta, Diamond of the Everglades”) sound as if they belong in some forgotten spaghetti western as they sit comfortably alongside psychedelic twang (“Entertained”), lounge lizard pathos (“My Ship Coming In”), weepy torch songs (“The Girls On Peachtree) and cheesy garage rock (“Sugar Buzz”). Highly recommended for followers of Beachwood Sparks, Lambchop, Shelby Lynne, and Bobby Bare Jr. ‘Nuff said.
--Tom Semioli - Amplifier Magazine

"AV Club: Show Preview"

It may be home to punks, indie-poppers, and dance-rockers, but try as it might, Austin has country-and-western roots that bleed through just about everything. Li’l Cap’n Travis is one of the most lasting examples of a local group that knows its way around a steel guitar, and its loping mix of traditional alt-country, Beach Boys harmonies, and Pavement-like aloofness has earned it a loyal following that spent three years eagerly awaiting the follow-up to 2004’s …In All Their Splendor. That patience finally paid off with last year's Twilight On Sometimes Island, a surprisingly mature effort for such a previously slack band. The album borrows its scope from the best works of Wilco or even Radiohead, cramming every cinematic frame with psychedelic sunsets, Latin-tinged rave-ups, and reverb-drenched echoes of the past. - AV Club

"Austinist: Show Preview"

Li'l Cap'n Travis is one of those rare bands whose music transcends the trappings of abstractions such as "alt-country", "indie", or "Austin", eschewing any hint of pretension. We challenge you to bring to mind another band as effortlessly and legitimately rock as LCT, so quietly invincible against the corrosive influence of the scene beneath a down comforter of fundamentally kickass material, singing into the stale-beer smell through a sheepish grin. Pairing these dudes with a venue like The Continental Club is solid gold. The combo of one of Austin's most iconic, just-below-the-radar outfits with a South Congress - nay, Texas - institution is a win-win proposition and it's being proposed tonight. - The Austinist

"Austin Chronicle: Twilight On Sometimes Island"

Who said no band is an Island? Brian Wilson's voices are one inside Li'l Cap'n Travis, the Austin institution's progressive roots and pedal-steel-induced psychedelia flying eight miles high as the '68 Byrds. "My Life in Amarillo," from LCT's 1999 debut, set the pace: slack. Lonesome and Losin', 2001, staggering "Pink Elephants" and instrumental NASCAR epic "Peelin' Out in Zeus' Yard," blacked out on the porch of 2004's … In All Their Splendor, whose "3.2 Beer of Love" sloshes Nashville's alternate universe. Now, Twilight on Sometimes Island ferries Thom Yorke & Co. onto the roll call, "Get Wise to Yourself" torn from the Radiohead handbook – banging, acidic. Rousing "Sugar Buzz," candy-store hand claps matching clearinghouse riffs, ricochets off instrumental opener "Violeta, Diamond of the Everglades," all nah-nah-nahs and pre-Calexico mariachi trumpet flourish. LCT's fourth platter sequences its sunspots optimally. Christian Braafladt again emerges as the dominant voice, both singer and songwriter, his twangy languor and rending, mending battle of the sexes yielding more 3.2 love in "Cherry Chapstick." Pedal- and lap-steel master class Gary Newcomb, meanwhile, becomes Capt. Travis himself. His electrolyte mist covers every corner of Sometimes Island, "Regatta" especially, while his own "Entertained" delivers another density-gaining Twilight wallop. Nothing should follow Braafladt's miraculous "Magic of December," minor chords whirling like snowflakes over a white Christmas vocal drift set against some Hawaiian suicide-hotline call before bursting into roaring euphoria. Matt Kinsey's "The Blinding Crash" follows valiantly, and nominal closer cum last prom dance clutcher "My Ship Is Coming In" goes out with the tide. True, no band is an Island, but the best ones strand you on the reefs of their siren sound.
--Raoul Hernandez - Austin Chronicle

"Paste: ...In All Their Splendor"

While so many roots-oriented performers and bands try their darnedest to sound either reverently authentic or zanily irreverent, Austin, Texas’ Lil’ Cap’n Travis opts for the tricky middle road (which in this case, to contradict W.S. Burroughs, is not necessarily the road to moderation.)

The band’s third outing comes on like the smart-ass younger brother of Son Volt. Both bands share a country-rock orientation, a penchant for world-weary vocals (Christian Braafladt’s drawl is a ringer for Jay Farrar’s), and a confident, chunky twang. The good Cap’n diverges from them, however, with a sardonic yet oddly good-natured sense of humor (think Camper Van Beethoven, They Might Be Giants, or the under-appreciated Marlee MacLeod) and giddy bursts of 1970s-rock-out noise.

Though almost every track has glistening, full-bodied pedal-steel guitar, the music leans more toward the country rock of the Flying Burrito Brothers than mainstream or honky-tonk country, which suits the genial, boozy ambience of “Bar Full Of Fans” perfectly. The bracing “The Grizzled Ones” combines Neil Young’s stoned guitar drone and the anthem-like glitter-stomp of Mott The Hoople. Not to imply this is a set of spot-the-influence pastiches or joke songs you’ll tire of after a few listens—Lil’ Cap’n Travis plays with economy, a nice balance of rawness and proficiency. They sing with plenty of heart, and their songs have subtly winning melodies that sink in deeper with each successive spin.
--Mark Keresman - Paste Magazine

"Dallas Observer: Twilight On Sometimes Island"

From the sound of "My Ship Is Coming In," a smooth-as-silt track near the end of Li'l Cap'n Travis' latest platter, you'd assume the Austin sextet is manning the helm of a yacht-rock revival. You wouldn't be quite right, but only because the band refuses to tie up in any particular genre. Twilight on Sometimes Island starts out with the overwhelming "Violeta, Diamond of the Everglades"—a song so buoyantly melodramatic, you can almost imagine Austin's filmmakers clambering over each other for the rights to play it in the background as one of their white, depressed protagonists has some kind of indie epiphany—and travels down LCT's familiar back roads of slacker country ("Cherry Chapstick" ), space country ("Regatta"), space rock ("Get Wise to Yourself") and straight-up psychedelia ("Drop of Golden Sun"). With its mix of good times, old times and high times, Twilight is the perfect hair of the dog after a night of drinking away lost loves and lazily chasing new ones.
--Keith Plocek - Dallas Observer

"13 Great Discoveries of 2007, from KEXP"

This Austin band just keeps getter better. Their 4th album is a beautifully crafted set of summery, country-fried psych-pop. 7/6/2007 -Don Yates


"Pop Matters; ...In All Their Splendor"

Neil Young is often a catch-reference for hundreds, if not thousands, of bands who toe the line between a folk-country-rock milieu and popularity. Yet for said thousands, there are perhaps 50 which can be legitimately compared to the icon and of those, five or six which might be deemed worthy of comparisons an album or two from now. Li'l Cap'n Travis is intent on falling into the latter category. The buzz around this group, based in Austin, has them knee-deep in this format but the proof is always in the musical pudding. And for this six-piece band consisting of Adam Bork, Christian Braafladt, Jeff Johnston, Matt Kinsey, Mandon Maloney, and Gary Newcomb, this little captain is one that certainly could deliver on the high praise.

While the picture in the liner notes reminds people perhaps of Marcy's Playground (remember them?) or some sort of warped children's pop group, Li'l Cap'n Travis begin this with a Hawaiian-sounding instrumental dubbed "Steady As She Goes". The style sounds as if Don Ho is on Quaaludes or some other pill as it creeps along describing "living life in paradise". The band keep this pace that might be endearing to some but at times quite tedious and uninviting to others. Still, the pedal steel touches and high lonesome harmonies should turn a corner with those despising the arrangement. And then as the band would probably want, you start to uncontrollably sway from side to side. Even the marimbas courtesy of Karl Lundin add a subtle quirky layer. But from there they head straight into the cramped barroom sounding quarters of "3.2 Beer of Love". Here the band is a cross between Young, the Tractor Kings and the Wild Horses -- all strong performers with substance to their craft. The funky little guitar jangle melds with the folksy guitar picking. Here they open themselves up in terms of the guitar and bring to mind My Morning Jacket performing in front of a Sunday church audience.

Most of this album is straightforward and packs little surprise, but the strength in doing these numbers with love and care is what keeps the band and album soaring along. "Natural Fool" is a perfect case in point, a tune that could've been done by Keith Richards and the late Gram Parsons with Jagger eavesdropping through the screen door. It's a great tune with a timeless country rock or roots rock sound that you can innately sense when it's working well. And it is here! The lo-fi basement demo hue oozing from "Gone Fishin'" is a great lead into the honky tonky barroom piano "Bar Full of Fans", which has the band bringing alt. country uber-group Golden Smog to mind. The obligatory Wilco-ish tune comes during the mellower rock country "Swimming Pool", which recalls "Via Chicago" from Summerteeth.

The album takes a couple of twists and turns, but all of these are seen miles ahead so the listener can easily glide into them, much like on a motorcycle cruising into a turn. "Teenage Mustache" is a slower, somber piano tune that will tug at one's heartstrings early on with an almost Tweedy-sweet vocal delivery. Unfortunately, it's just a snippet of an idea that clocks under 90 seconds. Fortunately, they outdo themselves with the gorgeous and reflective "Let Her Dance", a song that could be Ryan Adams, Wilco, or some concoction of the two. The group throw off the reins again for, er, "Throw Off the Reins", another guitar-driven, Southern-fried anthem.

Although there aren't exactly throwaway songs here, there is one which reeks of filler: "The Grizzled Ones". The band let their guard down on this one, opting for an easy power pop-by-number flavor. This is forgiven during the laid back country toe-tapping "With Caroline" that the Cash Brothers could do wonders with. Speaking of Cash Brothers, "Broken Headlight" has that vast, wide-open roots touch that builds slowly but oh so lovingly! Overall, Li'l Cap'n Travis exudes a quiet "aw, shucks" style while offering up an album adhering to their influences but expanding on them to maximum effect. Or, mildly put, a winner!
- Pop Matters


Twilight On Sometimes Island
…In All Their Splendor
To All the Trick-or-Treaters
Lonesome and Losin’
Li’l Cap’n Travis



Old friend, ‘tis been nigh on to ten or eleven years since Austin’s Li’l Cap’n Travis shoved its splintered craft off on a treacherous audio odyssey of country-style portions. 2011 finds LCT once again hunkered down in the ice caves on the outskirts of town conjuring the follow up to 2007’s mystical, masterful “Twilight on Sometimes Island”, the Li’l Cap’n's sound encompassing otherworldly honky-tonk, tear-filled handclaps, strange fuzz-blasted tales and basement epics.
The diabolical roqueros of LCT continue to conduct live concert raids into woolly outposts in the heart of Comancheria—Marfa, TX, Norman, OK and Big D to name a few, not to mention mythical down-home throedowns on the weathered stages of Austin.
Recent times have also found members of LCT lending cold, efficient expertise to the likes of Bill Callahan, Bruce Robison, the Lonesome Heroes, the North American motion picture industry, high-stakes table tennis and the Stone River Boys, only to reconvene invigorated, rowdy and bolstered, yet not unwary of the dangers that lay just beyond the palisaded plains.