May 13, 2010

Week 36 - The Banner Year - What You Won't Get

(This is week 36 of my 52 Austin CD Reviews in 52 Weeks Project)

“If I go to you by plane / will you be there / to unpack this baggage that I’m bringing. And if I call you on the phone / will you answer / to stop me from this selfish thing I’m thinking.” – The Barrier

The Banner Year
What You Won’t Get
Rock Army Records

“I need a new direction / I need to find which way to go” is how What You Won’t Get, the third offering from Austin’s The Banner Year begins. But I’d have to say, they’ve not gone a new direction on this offering. They’ve stayed the same course they’ve been on since their inception in 2004. It’s just gotten better with time.

These guys have been one of my favorite bands coming out of Austin for the last few years. I even interviewed them for the April issue of INsite Magazine. They’ve got that sound that is kind of a Green Day thing. Brilliant lyrics and music that is too rock to be punk and too punk to be rock. Plus, a vocalist who has a unique and quality voice.

What You Won’t Get offers up Jason Small’s jaded view on life in 14-tracks. Songs about losing love, leaving, about truing to find direction in life, and songs exploring his inability or lack of desire to care.  The clincher is, this isn’t full of simplistic lyrics over predictable music.

“Godsend” is a ballad that turns angry. “Where’s the Donut Palace”  is one of my favorite new tracks to hear live and they capture is well for this album. “Instrumental” has audio from a November 1998 X-Files episode. It leads nicely into the not-ready-to-settle-down track “Misfire.” The epic track “The Barrier” could be a shoe-in for radio play… if radio stations were tipped off to it.

My favorite track on What You Won’t Get is “Phase 3.” I think this could be the calling card of the band as well. It’s kind of a 3-part song that begins slow… speeds up… and then gets heavy. It’s the type of track that gets stuck in your head… in a good way. “Living it up in the same old guise / and we’re letting our lives just pass us by / we’ll have a beer and sleep away the winter.”

“At A Loss” completes the album on a high note with all the screaming and energy that encompasses the band.

The Banner Year released What You Won’t Get in April at an INsite Night at Red Eyed Fly.  You can purchase the album online @ or at a show. They are one of the few local bands that are bent on making sure their performance on stage is as good as the music they produce. I’d highly recommend catching them live. The play in Austin next on June 25 at Red Eyed Fly.  To learn more about them, visit

The Banner Year includes Small (vocals), Josh Smith (Bass), Facundo LaRocca – (Drums), Michael Murray (Guitar), and Charlie Fisher (Guitar).

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