Swan Dive on Red River was eerily empty the night I first saw Dream Attics. Reddish purple light glowed against the stage’s curtain backdrop. Dimly lit chandeliers hung from the ceiling. Minutes before their first live show in their new home town, the three-piece milled about, drinking beer and chatting with friends.
By the time Dream Attics had finished their seven-song set, the stagefront was full of head bobbing music fans. Some danced, some grooved, but everyone dug the band’s somberly energetic brand of atmospheric electro-indie. Full of songs reflecting love, loss and long nights sipping drinks while dreaming of tomorrow, Dream Attics is poised to become a serious player in the Austin music scene.
New to Austin, Not to Music
This isn’t Dream Attics’ first musical rodeo. Guitarist/producer Nick Toverek and vocalist Shane English first met five years ago through the Milwaukee music community. After knocking around with different bands, the duo started a recording project in their spare time.
“We started doing it for fun,” shared English. “He [Toverek] came to me with some beats; I threw vocals on them. And then, after a little bit of time, we started crafting more songs together. We then released an EP. Seemed like people enjoyed it, so we decided to keep going.”
Fast forward to 2015, when English and Toverek decided to move to Austin to take Dream Attics to the next level. Here they met bassist Rene Ortiz, solidifying the current lineup. The show I attended at Swan Dive was their first Austin performance.
The bedrock of Dream Attics’ sound is bouncy, breezy electronic rhythms, accented by Toverek’s guitar licks and English’s softly expressive vocals. The pair cites influences that range from 90’s grunge to Elliot Smith, the latter fully evident in English’s lyrics.
The show began with “Still,” the opening song off the group’s latest EP, “Fears.” Backed with a slamming drum track, the tune floats along the rhythm like a bird on the wind. They followed it up with “Arrows,” a hook-heavy tune that effortlessly sways between a deliberate slow burn tempo and double time drum tracks. The entire set was punctuated with percussive ear candy and glistening synth lines.
The standout track of the evening was “Like a Pretty Song” off their first EP, “UNBEND.” Soaked in pure bass line groove and guitar funk, the tune showcases English’s introspective lyrics and Toverek’s layered production. The song tells the story of a reluctant lover stealing glances at a woman he feels hopelessly inferior to, despite the liquid courage of whiskey and wine. I’m a big fan of depressing party songs and “Like a Pretty Song” tows that line beautifully.
Dream Attics finished their Swan Dive set with “Start Again,” an uplifting song full of cautious bravery and optimism in the face of trials and tribulations. With a soaring chorus of, “I’ve been through this before,” it felt like sunshine in the wake of an electronic apocalypse. A soaring end to a short, yet impressive set.
Future of Dream Attics
There’s no end in sight. Now that they’re roommates, Toverek and English are focusing their energy into cranking out new music. According to the band, a new record is about 25 percent complete and they’re filling their calendar with new shows. They’re also looking to fill out their roster with a drummer and other musicians in an attempt to further develop their live sound.
But it’s not like they really need the help. When the set finished up, Dream Attics exited to chants of, “One more song! One more song!” It’s inspiring to watch a band stretch their musical wings and bring their sound to the masses. Blossoming from the controlled confines of a recording studio to an anything-can-happen live setting takes guts. But at their first Austin performance, in front of a modest crowd with immodest enthusiasm, they handled the pressure like seasoned pros. Welcome to Austin, Dream Attics. Hope your stay is a long and successful one.
For music samples, social media and other information, check out Dream Attics’ Bandcamp page.
@BillTuckerTSP wants to know:
What new Austin musical act have you been listening to recently?