With one year under our belt and our Googling ability at an all-time high, we started the second year of We’re Trying Records very optimistic and slightly nervous. These nerves were self-inflicted as the pressure of balancing our mission of supporting our artists and the surrounding community of artists, showcasing our growth, and expanding our knowledge was elevated.
While it’s not completely clear if we successfully balanced these pressures, we did release some very good music, began/continued working with great artists, and curated dream-like shows during the second year of our existence. To fully understand what we’re talking about, continue reading this poorly written article:
-Kidlat Punch and The Smile Bunch — “The Bunch Punch” (WTR005)
Our first release of our second year came from Kidlat Punch and – our friends – The Smile Bunch in the form of “The Bunch Punch” EP. This salty split features two brand new tunes from each band, but both approached their songs differently. Kidlat Punch pours out their guts and their struggles with coming of age, while The Smile Bunch offers up complex instrumentals as a heart warming gesture. All proceeds from the split are donated to SAFE Austin – an organization devoted to ending sexual assault and exploitation, child abuse and domestic violence through prevention, intervention and advocacy for change.
-Marrowstone — “10.22” (Single)
Only months after releasing their debut EP Dear Wolf, Marrowstone came back with “10.22.” The single features the band’s signature raw and emotional lyrics, but offers up a different message of grief. “I felt with the EP we were sending a vibe that said it’s ok to be sad, but on the single it feels more like here is my sadness,” said bassist Dylan Thomas. “The single isn’t asking for comfort from anyone,” frontman Zach Baker added. “I’m sad. I’m devastated. There’s nothing I can do except grieve.”
-Kidlat Punch — “Where We End Up” (Single)
Shortly after their split EP release, Kidlat Punch offered listeners their darkest song to date. “Where We End Up” rehashes some of lead singer Alex Villareal’s life events as he thinks of old friends and analyzes his impact on their life. “You look at yourself and question the role you played in their life,” Villareal said. Did you help them? Did you hurt them? You may never really know the answers, and just hope the weight of guilt you carry from it will justify your own self-destructive behavior.”
-I See Land. — “I’ll Probably Die Here.” (WTR006)
Dream-hardcore motifs riddle I See Land.’s EP “I’ Probably Die Here.” – the band’s debut label release. The EP follows in the familiar footsteps of their previous release by continuing the theme of coping with mental illness, and features songs that are centered on trying to deal with one’s depression, anxiety, and feelings of solitude. Despite the heavy themes of the release, the band wants listener to understand that they should not be ashamed of these types of emotions.
-The Way Out — “Cops” (Single)
From speeding and faulty headlights, to getting tickets and even getting their van searched for illicit substances – of which there were none – The Way Out has had their fair share of interactions with the police. With a sense youthful defiance and surfer-punk(ish) guitar riffs, the band takes these instances and produces a catchy single with “Cops.”
-Runt. — “Good and Loud” (WTR007)
With simplistic sounds and emotionally deep lyrics, Runt. made their debut with “Good and Loud” – a three-song recollection about progress and the ability to depend on yourself. The message of self-care comes to light as listeners hear lead singer Jay Pankiewicz repeatedly emotionally invest himself into friends, lovers, and the divine only to be let down. This message is part of the EP long theme of touring, coming of age, and homelessness – experiences which have been felt first hand.
-We’re Trying Records/Tiny Table Talks’ Day Party
Hosting a Day Party during SXSW had always been a goal of ours since we started the label, and this year we did it! With the help of our friends in Tiny Table Talks, we hosted 17 bands – including Ratboys, Slingshot Dakota, and Prince Daddy & the Hyena – who played nearly 14 hours of music to a packed Pearl St. Co-Op.
-We’re Trying Records Presents: House Fest
Within the same week of our Day Party, we threw our inaugural House Fest at Lucy’s Pub in Omaha, Nebraska. This was easily the biggest show we’ve ever put together, but it went off without a hitch. The two(ish) day was created to bring local and regional bands/fans together under one roof (literally) in a celebration of philanthropy, networking, and doing stuff yourself. House Fest incorporated 2 stages, 30 bands, and 21 hours of music, all the while raising $1,275 for Planned Parenthood.
-We’re Trying Records & Tiny Table Talks Present: Summer Slam II
This summer, we teamed up with our friends in Tiny Table Talks to host the second annual Summer Slam series — a four week concert series which incorporated 12 local musicians that focuses on bring together and building up the Austin DIY scene. Listen to all of the bands here.
While we continue to grow and try to figure out what we’re doing exactly, it’s perfectly clear that this whole label would be nothing without your support. So, if you’ve been to a show, listened to one of our artists, or shown an interest in the most minuscule way possible:
Thank you. We love you. None of this would have any meaning without you.
XOXO — We’re Trying Records