Second Stage: Little-Known Bands You Should Hear

Second Stage: Andy McWilliams

Download "By Boat" by Andy McWilliams (Right-click or control-click and save to your computer).

I wasn't sure what to think the first time I listened to The Shoegazer EP by Houston-based multi-instrumentalist Andy McWilliams. It's just 16 minutes of mostly instrumental songs (only one of the seven short tracks has vocals), and some of the guitar lines feel an awful lot like smooth jazz (cue death rattle). But there's a playful irony in these songs that kept me listening and wanting more. The Shoegazer EP, a mostly appropriate title, is quirky but wonderfully moody. Delicate, twinkling electronics linger in warm washes of reverb and needle-drop static. Lush string arrangements mingle with retro, analog drum machines and ethereal, digital textures. "Mailbomb," the only cut with vocals, showcases McWilliams' warm, affecting voice. The production holds together nicely, and though it does feel very much like a first release from an artist still finding his voice, it leaves me curious to hear what else he can come up with.

This cut from The Shoegazer EP is called "By Boat."

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