Little Radar
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Little Radar

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Rock Indie

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Oct
24
Little Radar @ Pete's Candy Store

Brooklyn, New York, United States

Brooklyn, New York, United States

Sep
27
Little Radar @ Old Pecan St Market

Austin, Texas, United States

Austin, Texas, United States

Aug
16
Little Radar @ The Spanish Moon

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States

Music

Press


On their first full-length, Little Radar take a quantum leap beyond their previous work. The songs on Souvenirs are full of catchy hooks, but where it shines is in its unique, almost otherwordly presentation. If I could coin a term to describe it I’d call it Dreamgaze: a bizarrely compelling mutation of dream pop and shoe gaze with just a dab of space rock for good measure. There is a subtle complexity to Souvenirs that only reveals itself after repeated listening, as each song’s delicate layers reveal themselves on some kind of musical time release. The more I listen to this musical drug, the less I want to listen to anything else. - OVRLD.com


Rock and roll is alive in Austin, Texas. Mohawk is the place to catch it. The club offered performances on both indoor and outdoor stages with slightly alternating set times between the two. The crowd grew throughout the evening, which ended with local dream pop act Black Books on the outdoor stage. Your correspondents have covered the outdoor portion of the evening. Additional reporting in this post provided by photographer and writer Madeline Harvey while I left for Holy Mountain.

Locals Little Radar opened our evening at the outdoor Mohawk stage with super tight alt-pop rock jams. Two guitars brimming with overdrive, plucky bass and sizable drumming were all matched with catchy melodies from lead singer and guitarist, Sean Hale. They maintained a moderate dose of swagger and balanced their set with slow burners and straight-up rock anthems. They had a few fans in the audience who were visibly excited to be seeing Little Radar on the big outdoor Mohawk stage. The early set time prevented too large of a crowd, but grew towards the end of the set. - Pop Press International


Sitting in a corner booth of Easy Tiger with Little Radar is a great experience. The Austin-based four piece has just returned from their second tour in support of their newly released album, “Souvenirs.” The table talk revolves around working again in local eateries, someone’s grandmother who simply couldn’t figure out how to turn on their MacBook, and the sale of multiple washing machines that had been acquired over the years. The casual eavesdropper would probably never guess that these guys are in one of Austin’s up-and-coming bands.

“We had our intro to the ‘dive bar tour’ that every band has to do,” says Trevor Hale (guitar) with a smile. Grant Himmler shares in the joke and quips, “We followed a couple of Austin band’s stickers in these places. We saw, specifically, Marmalakes and Lord Buffalo stickers.” Trevor adds, “And Eagle Claw. We saw their stickers all over the places we played.”

“Souvenirs,” the follow-up to their EP, “Up In Arms,” is an album of reflections, chance calls on the road, and a goddamn 16-channel Neve recording console (Yes, the same kind that was in Sound City). The album’s production began with a phone call from Mitch Dane of Sputnik Sound.

“He just kind of called us and said he knew the Hale boys from back in the day and he really liked what we’re doing. ‘If you’re ever passing through Nashville, I’d love to work with you,’” says Sean Hale (vocals/guitar). “We just happened to be in New York, so I called him back and said, ‘Hey, we’re actually in Nashville in a few hours, so if you’re not going to be recording…’ and he wasn’t. So we got to record with him.”

What followed was five days of recording on two-inch tape with 16 channels. “At the end of the day, you say, ‘Hey, could we add…’ and Mitch would say, ‘No, we’re out of tracks.’ Something like that really keeps you focused.” Trevor says of the recording. Grant joins in. “‘Up In Arms’ was the first time we had ever gone into the studio, but ‘Souvenirs’ feels like we did it right. Like, really, really right,” he says.

A quick listen to “Souvenirs,” and you have to admit that they did do it right. The quality of the recording is immediately notable. Every guitar riff, every cymbal crash, and every beautifully melancholy vocal is warm and natural sounding. Even with the limitations of 16 recording channels (They get taken up very quickly), the songs are robust soundscapes that land squarely in the Goldilocks zone — not too sparse, not too over indulgent, but just right. “Anything you put into the Neve just comes out more ‘ROCK,’” Trevor says with a boyish grin.

The album is also available in vinyl, which only heightens the experience of listening to an analog recorded album on an analog format. Audiophiles will appreciate the warmness and body of the recording, take my word for it.

“Souvenirs” is a collection of thoughtful reflections with a sound that will appeal to fans of The Shins and Built To Spill. Sean’s vocals are catchy and without pretension as he delivers his lyrics. The guitars, in the hands of the brothers Hale, jump from big, fun, rock riffs to airy and understated chords. Himmler’s bass locks dead-on with Little Radar’s ‘secret spice’ in Derek Woodruff, who is easily one of the Austin scene’s best drummers.

“Wasted Youth,” a bouncing, bass-heavy track, is the first song on the album. It acts as a tepid toe in the water, easing the listener into the album’s tone, both musically and lyrically. Though it is the sparsest sounding track on the album, it also serves as the most representative with thoughtful lyrics and controlled guitars skimming the surface of the solid rhythm section. “Coming Clean” bursts out with a child’s exuberance and is practically begging to be the opening song in a Zach Braff movie. The exuberance is juxtaposed, however, by Sean’s lyrics of lament on misunderstandings when trying to be honest.

Standing out from the rest of the pack, “Haunt Me Down” is a somber profession of guilt and loss. “It’s not about one individual,” Sean says. “I’ve had friends and family over the past year commit suicide. That was just me pulling from talking to my friends about our experiences and writing from there. Writing from the perspective of the person who knew there was trouble, but couldn’t do anything about it. They’re always thinking about what else they could have done.” The song slinks along with purpose down cold, lonely streets. Sean’s vocals are frank and sound like glass on the verge of breaking.

The uncanny balance between Little Radar’s lyrical content and the tone of their music is due mostly to their equally uncommon writing process. The band initially writes free form music before Sean begins picking and pulling from the instrumental version, letting the music influence the tone and content of his lyrics. “I rarely plan to write a certain song lyrically or content wise,” Sean says. “A lot of things are sparked from the emotion that the song is giving. Whereas I used to work in a coffee shop, and had a shitload of down time, and wrote lyrics down on bagel sleeves all the time. Now I write when we listen to the demos.”

Little Radar is no secret to Austin music fans but, with “Souvenirs” under their belts, they’ll be heading out on the road again in October — this time with their eyes set on playing CMJ in New York as part of a route along the eastern seaboard and returning through the Midwest. - Austin Fusion Magazine


There is nothing “little” about Little Radar. Hailing from Austin, Texas, the four-piece group is releasing their first full-length album in August. The 10-track collection, Souvenirs, is a solid set of upbeat, swirling alt rock. The album shows shades of diversity through a variety of influences weaved throughout each song. Testing sub-genres of beach-pop and folk-rock at times, fans of Rogue Wave, Local Natives and Kings of Leon will find Little Radar’s upcoming release comfortable and appealing.

The opening track, “Wasted Youth,” begins with dynamic bass and drums. The song continues, using gentle bells, syncopated beats, and claps to add energy to the otherwise relaxed sound. Lyrically, a blatantly positive outlook on maturing is presented; the lyrics assure listeners, ‘there’s no time to surrender now that we’ve got nothing left to lose.’ In this track and continuing throughout the album, themes of both past-struggles and favorable futures are reflected.

“Siren” begins with a heavy open high-hat beat and is instrumentally one of the denser songs of the album. The psychedelic-sounding chorus features descending chimes and vocals. The track “You On The Run” is one of the pop-heavy songs that falls into a super-catchy hook: ‘It’s not too late to recover from the messes we’ve made and I just want a better life for the ones I love… I just want you on the run.’ Be warned: this track could inspire general “escape-like” antics. Road trip, anyone?

One of my favorite songs on Souvenirs is “Haunt Me Down.” The melody is slow and sweet, the vocals are slightly distorted, and the lyrics present beautiful sorrow: ‘the air in this room holds a heavy distaste – how long will you linger?’ The track skillfully builds and swells with instrumentals and emotion. The harmonies on the vocals ‘you wanted love, couldn’t get enough’ are perfectly heartbreaking. It should be rather obvious to listeners – Little Radar has recently learned a thing or two and are reflecting, both musically and lyrically.

“Time to Recover” features beach-y guitar riffs (as well as beach-themed lyrics: ‘I will wait in the tide… water starting to rise’). The track embodies a West-coast sound with a dreamy lyrical depiction of what we work for, why we try to be “better” and why all the effort is worth while. The sweetest lyrics of the track say, ‘forever I want to grow old with you, make a wonderful life.’

Little Radar’s Souvenirs is a small dose of young adult reassurance – we’ll all be fine eventually; we’ll fall in love, find a place to call home, and be proud of what we’ve done by the time we grow old.

Listen to the single “Siren” below, and get ready for the entire album on August 6th. - I Heard In - Geneva Trelease


Souvenirs seems like a particularly apt title for the debut album of Little Radar, the talented indie rock quartet hailing from modest music bars in their hometown of Austin, Texas. They cherish every song and every experience as if it could be their last.

These guys have seen their fair share of spectacles in their relatively short time period as a music-making unit. Playing in the middle of the Hurricane Sandy disaster relief to open a tour is no easy gig, especially when it was entirely unexpected. It will therefore come as no surprise that the music on Souvenirs is reflective, introspective and poignant. And that is very much a good thing.

Little Radar are the thinking man’s indie band. At first glance they may sound similar to top of their game Kings of Leon, but the truth is they are so much more developed than this.

The band themselves say their music has a post-apocalyptic feel, and that statement couldn’t be more appropriate. There’s an urgent simplicity to the songs on display that says there is nothing left to lose, to play it like they mean it. If this were the soundtrack to the end of the world, then I for one would die a happy man.

Coming Clean and Cut Loose are probably the album’s two most sustained exhibitions of uplifting bleakness, which carry as much atmosphere as any Sigur Rós song. Vocally comparisons could be made to Switchfoot, and coupled with the hypnotic guitar lines which John Frusciante would be proud of, there is something genuinely unique going on here. The drama of songs like Haunt Me Down which attack one moment before drawing back on a more contemplative cease-fire, into the final charge of a last man’s stand, are nothing short of epic.

Debut albums rarely sound as impressive or accomplished as this, and should see Little Radar positioned on a much wider radar soon. Most refreshingly though, the band have clearly decided to do it their way. Bucking the country and blues trend which normally comes out of Austin, and abandoning all of the trademarks of the indie genre has made for a stunning record. There are no pretences or gimmicks on show with Souvenirs. Perhaps the greatest souvenir is a searingly honest record by a band who can tell it better than anyone else. - CultureFly UK - Jason Noble


Little Radar loved being on that outside stage. #dreamscometrue They should get booked to play opening slots on that stage; musical glue. - Austin Town Hall


Austin-based rockers Little Radar have built a following with their previous EPs Up In Arms and Kill A Buffalo and their performance at SXSW this year. Next week, Trevor Hale (guitar), Grant Himmler (bass), Sean Hale (guitar/vocals) and Derek Woodruff (drums), will release their debut full-length album Souvenirs.

Today, we’re talking to Derek about cooking on a guitar amp, the benefit show they played under a train and why Google Maps is useless in a hurricane.

Is there a story behind the band name?

One of us had a seriously tiny microwave for a while before upgrading to a big boy unit, and while discussing the virtues of that tiny microwave’s technology at an obscenely early/late hour we realized that microwaves could be considered somewhat similar to radar. The natural, totally not under-the-influence conclusion was that we could theoretically cook food with a guitar amp (cranking it up, sending out signals/waves/neutrons and other crazy shit, all of which is of course 100% unrelated to how microwave ovens actually work…. we think). In conversation, a tiny microwave turned into a little radar unit. Thus, Little Radar was born. Plus it rolls off the tongue nicely.

What are some of the biggest influences on your sound?

For this record in particular, The Never Ending Story, The Dark Crystal, Legend, Labyrinth, nightmares and daydreams, push pops, and Prince.

I heard your first New York show was a Red Cross benefit. Would you say that was one of your most interesting gigs?

Absolutely. We’d just driven through storms and mountains and battalions of cop cars and Queens, and then we find ourselves playing a last minute show in Bushwick on Halloween under train tracks to benefit the victims of a natural disaster. Not exactly our normal set of concert circumstances!

What’s an underrated album everyone should listen to at least once?

There’s a Dallas band called The Secret Machines that put out a record in 2004 called Now Here Is Nowhere. The record sounds like John Bonham played every instrument. We actually used it as a reference for the mix on Souvenirs. Also, The Dissociatives’ self-titled record made a huge impact on a couple of us. Daniel Johns from Silverchair was a part of it, and it was radical, sunny pop from Australia’s angry voice.

What has been one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned while touring and playing live?

Touring: Google Maps is worthless while driving in the middle of the night through a hurricane. Make sure your wiper blades actually work before driving through a snowstorm at 4 a.m. in the middle of Nowhere Coal Country, PA. Don’t use a paper grocery bag as a suitcase; they tend to rip in day one. Fast food is poison. Grocery stores are your friend.

Playing Live: Stay healthy. Your shows will be WAY better if your skin doesn’t hurt. Fill up on water and EmergenC not bourbon. Also, the sound guy is actually your friend! Meet him before the show, buy him a drink, give him a little squeeze, whatever. He might even flash a few lights for you if you have a good relationship.

Your full-length debut, Souvenirs, will be released this summer. What was the songwriting process like for the album?

We demoed for about six months leading up to our recording session in Nashville. The songs were one or two part instrumental sections, we would then use a stock pile of riffs that would be reworked and moved from song to song to find their home. Kind of a cut and paste approach. It worked out beautifully. There’s also no primary songwriter on this album. Everyone in the band had multiple major songwriting contributions.

I’ve heard your first single, “Sirens,” is based on your less-than-reputable housing location. Is that true?

Yeah, Sean was living in a tiny efficiency with his girlfriend and dog, watching drug deals and fights on a regular basis. It’s written in a way that the lyrical content can apply to a whole host of different situations, though. It can be personal and situational, it can be big picture, it can be hypothetical. The music video is a stop-motion love story between mannequins living in a local vintage shop.

If you had to choose, what would you say is your favorite song on Souvenirs?

Probably “Be My Guest.” It’s really a three chapter song with a definite beginning, middle transition and triumphant end, spanning different feels and volume swells and intensities. We go from dark and creepy to powerful and rocking to My Morning Jacket-esque jamming and soloing, and it is ridiculously fun to play.

What’s next?

We’ll be releasing Souvenirs on vinyl on August 10th, and then we’ll be hitting the road in the southern US. After that we’ve got CMJ plans, more music videos, screenings of those videos at drive-in theaters, all sorts of fun stuff. Can’t wait to see what happens. - Riff Raff


The 3-track EP, Kill A Buffalo, is a a powerful indie folk release that is great all the way up to the last note. Little Radar swiftly whisk the listener through distorted guitar riffs, banjo finger picking and layered vocals throughout the EP until the final crescendo explodes into a frantic pace filled with yelled vocals and bombastic drum fills. Each song on the EP has standout single quality but taken together they make an even greater impact that left us itching for the repeat all button. Little Radar are releasing a full-length soon and we can’t wait. - OVRLD. com


"Little Radar seems to have picked 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." - Austin Monthly Magazine


With his coated howl and penchant for stretches lyrics over crescendoing hooks, Little Radar singer Sean Hale has found himself in the same vocal camp as Band of Horses' Benjamin Bridwell. Of course, having a beard that'd be perfectly at home in the Pacific Northwest helps, too. Charging forth with the same epic, shimmering pop as Bridwell's troupe, the quartet flexed summer muscle that extended well beyond the promise laid out on their January EP, Kill a Buffalo. - Luke, AustinMusicWeekly.com


One of the cool things about being part of a music blog is that you get free music in your inbox — a big win for us as music devourers. The guys of Little Radar sent us over a track off their recent EP Kill A Buffalo and after the first play, I knew it was something I wanted to feature here.

With their Kill A Buffalo EP, Little Radar spans multiple genres and weaves in garage rock licks, folk rock banjo and math rock complexity. This EP is one of the best I’ve heard all year and I’m very excited to share it with you. I feel a brief review of each song will hopefully cue you guys in to what this band and this EP really have to offer. But to get the full experience, I encourage you to drop a few bucks at Little Radar’s Bandcamp page for the full EP.

“Birds” was my introduction to Little Radar and it’s a song that explodes with energy and demonstrates how easily they can transition between loud and soft dynamics and different time signatures. Throughout the song, the high melodic guitar lines puncture the fuzzed out guitar chord growl. “Birds” ends in a heavily-reverbed melodic exploration that closes out the song quite well. Though this song is great, the songs only get better as you progress through the EP.

For the first full minute of second track “Wake Up,” Little Radar starts the song with a slowed-down and banjo-heavy folk intro. After this, the band picks up the pace and weaves in more distorted guitar riffs and drum swells into the mix before breaking the song down again to a danceable folk jam. Although the band explores a few different sounds in the song it’s not disjointed and maintained my interest.

Each one of the songs on the Kill A Buffalo EP are completely distinct. In my opinion, Little Radar bring the EP to an ultimate crescendo in the last minute of “Lights Out” which provides a fitting close to their breakout EP. Layers of vocals and floating guitar melodies break out into a resounding chorus in which the singer yells “Which way’s up? Which way’s down?” and then the song abruptly ends. Leaving me wanting more.

Little Radar will be playing with Wild Child, and Auroravore at the Beauty Bar tomorrow. Doors at 9pm $5 entry. Come check it out to get a taste of Little Radar’s eclectic sound and to dance along to Wild Child’s folk rock gems. - Daniel, OVRLD.COM


Seeing as we rep Austin, we’re really happy to share this new track from Little Radar, one of the city’s rising stars. The group will be offering up their new album Up In Arms on April 29th, and this is our first taste of the effort. The guitars are a little bit on the traditional rocking indie side, but the softly delivered vocals give a nice contrast to the musical tones, creating a really powerful hook that displays the band’s abilities to rock it out. With a history that includes Berklee School of Music, it’s clear the group has the talent to take us all by storm. - Austin Town Hall


There is nothing “little” about Little Radar. Hailing from Austin, Texas, the four-piece group is releasing their first full-length album in August. The 10-track collection, Souvenirs, is a solid set of upbeat, swirling alt rock. The album shows shades of diversity through a variety of influences weaved throughout each song. Testing sub-genres of beach-pop and folk-rock at times, fans of Rogue Wave, Local Natives and Kings of Leon will find Little Radar’s upcoming release comfortable and appealing.

The opening track, “Wasted Youth,” begins with dynamic bass and drums. The song continues, using gentle bells, syncopated beats, and claps to add energy to the otherwise relaxed sound. Lyrically, a blatantly positive outlook on maturing is presented; the lyrics assure listeners, ‘there’s no time to surrender now that we’ve got nothing left to lose.’ In this track and continuing throughout the album, themes of both past-struggles and favorable futures are reflected.

“Siren” begins with a heavy open high-hat beat and is instrumentally one of the denser songs of the album. The psychedelic-sounding chorus features descending chimes and vocals. The track “You On The Run” is one of the pop-heavy songs that falls into a super-catchy hook: ‘It’s not too late to recover from the messes we’ve made and I just want a better life for the ones I love… I just want you on the run.’ Be warned: this track could inspire general “escape-like” antics. Road trip, anyone?

One of my favorite songs on Souvenirs is “Haunt Me Down.” The melody is slow and sweet, the vocals are slightly distorted, and the lyrics present beautiful sorrow: ‘the air in this room holds a heavy distaste – how long will you linger?’ The track skillfully builds and swells with instrumentals and emotion. The harmonies on the vocals ‘you wanted love, couldn’t get enough’ are perfectly heartbreaking. It should be rather obvious to listeners – Little Radar has recently learned a thing or two and are reflecting, both musically and lyrically.

“Time to Recover” features beach-y guitar riffs (as well as beach-themed lyrics: ‘I will wait in the tide… water starting to rise’). The track embodies a West-coast sound with a dreamy lyrical depiction of what we work for, why we try to be “better” and why all the effort is worth while. The sweetest lyrics of the track say, ‘forever I want to grow old with you, make a wonderful life.’

Little Radar’s Souvenirs is a small dose of young adult reassurance – we’ll all be fine eventually; we’ll fall in love, find a place to call home, and be proud of what we’ve done by the time we grow old. - i heard in


Our May 17th event at the Kendrick household was a great testament to Austin’s incredible music scene. When Lincoln Durham wasn’t able to perform due to a family emergency, Little Radar stepped up to fill the bill. Our members got to hear not only the content from their first two EPs but also a preview of their new album “Souvenirs” (which is freaking awesome.) And we had some great surprise acoustic guests post show. Erin Ivey and Amy Bobruk joined the acoustic fun at the end of the night with Erin and Grant of Little Radar performing a very cool Omnichord/guitar duet. Rumor has it Matt Parmenter of Quiet Company ate the last of the Kendrick’s kid’s mac and cheese around 2 AM. In other words, another successful Black Fret event. - Black Fret


Discography

Souvenirs - debut full length, released August 6, 2013

Coming Clean - UtneReader.com sampler single

Up In Arms - April 2012

Kill A Buffalo EP - January 2011

"Spitfire" - KUT airplay and music video

"Birds" - Online single for Breakthru Radio

"Wake Up" - Radio airplay from KUT's Laurie Gallardo (Austin Music Minute)

Photos

Bio

"There is nothing 'little' about Little Radar."

Little Radar carves their sound from a smart blend of modern indie rock and pop best described by Austin radio station KUTX’s Laurie Gallardo as “massive, hook and riff-heavy indie rock with bits of folk and roots.” Think Built To Spill riffage & early Modest Mouse energy merged with vocals from the Band of Horses camp.  They formed in 2011 out of the ashes of the Dallas/San Marcos based Colour Wheel, and almost immediately put out an EP called KILL A BUFFALO.  Originally intended to be a demo for show booking, KILL A BUFFALO quickly received a positive, encouraging and unsolicited review, and within the next year Little Radar had recorded a second EP, UP IN ARMS.

The band booked their first tour to support UP IN ARMS, traveling to New York and back in 9 days and playing 3 shows in Brooklyn in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy (including a Halloween night Red Cross benefit).  Work soon began on what would become the first full length LP of their career, SOUVENIRS.

SOUVENIRS was recorded in Nashville with Grammy-winning producer/engineer Mitch Dane.  It has received positive reviews from local, national, and international blogs, and stands as the grand culmination of three years of hard work for Little Radar.  The record has helped Little Radar land support slots for bands such as Surfer Blood, Broncho, and Sol Cat, put them on the road through the South, Midwest, and Texas, precipitated an immensely successful showing at the Center of the Universe Fest in Tulsa, OK, a session at the original Daytrotter studios in Rock Island, IL, and a slot at the 2014 X Games.

An untitled 7”  is slated for release in mid-October, just before the Little Radar's first performance as a CMJ showcase group.

Band Members