Austin Monthly Bands To Watch: Sean Morales

2018 AUSTIN BAND TO WATCH: SEAN MORALES

BY DAY THIS MUSICIAN HELPS VETERANS AS A SOCIAL WORKER

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY JD SWIGER

Thirty years after moving to Austin and playing in various bands while making ends meet at places like Casino El Camino and Waterloo Records, Sean Morales has settled into domestic bliss. By day he helps veterans as a social worker. His evenings are spent writing music on the front porch of the house he shares with his wife and occasional drummer, Erica Barton, 2-year-old son, and brand-new baby daughter. In January, he released his first solo album, Call It In, a mix of stream-of-conscious garage rock and acoustic ballads inspired by the pull of fatherhood.

What are your earliest concert memories?
My mother was a cop in Norfolk, Virginia. When I was 13, she would take me and my buddy to shows. She’d pull up in a cop car, drop us off, and we would go see the Ramones, the Jesus and Mary Chain, the Church. This was like ’88 at the Boathouse. It was right on a dock. I never would see the water though. I’d see all these adults in this beer garden. We couldn’t see over anybody, we were kids. It was a different time. She could leave us there, and we would be all right. And we were all right.

Why did you get into social work?
I love it. I’ve been out of grad school, working with veterans, since January 2012. There are hard days, but it’s great. It’s my form of service. All the males on my mother’s side of the family and my father were in the military. There was no f***ing way I was going to join the military. This is the way I want to serve.

How do you feel about touring?
I want to be a father first and foremost right now. I have what I have, so I’m rich already. I don’t care about waiting in a bar to play at 1 o’clock in the morning, sleeping on somebody’s floor—granted, you meet some cool people sleeping on somebody’s floor—but I don’t care about that. I’m 42 years old. I’d rather have a hotel and my family. That’s my goal.


Post Trash Premiere of Sean Morales’ Video for “Call It In”

Sean Morales – “Call It In” | Post-Trash Exclusive Premiere

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by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)

Sometimes a music video adds a new light to a song. Sometimes the song adds a new light to the video. Other times a video is simply a reminder that a new record came out and there’s still plenty of life left in it. Sean Morales‘ “Call It In” video, directed by Bud Campbell & Morales, is a bit of all three, a dark and blurry visual that follows a shadowy figure through the night streets. “Call It In,” the title track to Morales’ (James Arthur’s Manhunt) solo debut, sets a moody tone and a mysterious atmosphere. It’s dissonant yet casual, keeping its cool amid a sinister groove. As his drive becomes progressively more disorienting, so does the song, building with saxophone noise and melodic feedback. Ultimately it all leads to kids and a technicolor dance floor. Take it as you will, but know that both the song and video are better for one another.

Sean Morales’ Call It In is out now via Super Secret Records.

Sean Morales’ Call It In Reviewed by Austin Chronicle

Sean Morales

Call It In (Super Secret)

Texas Platters

Fresh off the homegrown James Arthur’s Manhunt, Virginia-bred multi-instrumentalist Sean Morales’ solo debut prioritizes the right feel over high definition. The album’s rough veneer is indicative of its single-occupancy origins, but Morales’ rich songcraft and compelling arrangements exude a warm human scale that never veers into obscurity for its own sake. Leading with a cover burns in the less-traveled road at the outset, Chris Spedding’s “Video Life” crackling with heady effervescence. The title track flips the mood to dark noir with growling, flanged vocals and a menacing riff, and multiple songs start with acoustic blues before leaping in different directions. The contemplative country-blues of “Bring Me Home” evokes the troubled soul of Skip Spence. Utility guitarist and saxman Jonathan Horne of Young Mothers makes over Faust instrumental “Party 1” as a slow-building traffic jam to close.

***.5

New Noise Magazine Review of Sean Morales’ ‘Call It In’

Out of Austin, Texas underground by way of Norfolk, Virginia, Sean Morales offers a refreshingly breezy mix of lo-fi rock on Call It In, his newest record.

Morales’ debut began its life as an inauspicious series of bedroom compositions, which only became fully fledged when he brought his wife on board, drummer Erica Barton. Once Morales hit Austin though, momentum took over and he ended up bringing a whole series of musicians to work on his collection of songs, giving the record its present form.

As fully-fledged as the sound on Call It In is, one can almost hear the raw matter, strummed to the night sky through an open window. What strikes me first as most unique here is how Morales utilizes the lo-fi aesthetic without delving into the noise realm, which has for a while felt like the trend. This isn’t a Ty Segall record. Rather it feels like an offshoot of Sonny And The Sunsets, airy and wide open in places. “Slummertime” is a quintessential back porch song, a blast of alt-rock bliss, all ruffled denim cut offs and cold cans of Lone Star Beer. I’m fond of the sparse, creeping guitars featured on “Bring Me Home” which plays well with Morales’ hushed, shamanic vocal style, as does “Been Apart” which is the singer/songwriter stripped almost to the bone. On “Problems” and “Whispertime” Morales tries his blues hat on, traveling the swamp-tromping road with broke down lyrics sung like Velvet-era Lou Reed on the latter track.

While Morales largely eschews noise rock on Call It In, that does not mean all of his songs are soft. “Call It In” is a loosely produced mess of guttural wails, instrumental noise and sludgy guitars. If you’re looking for a new direction song, as in where Morales could expand his sound, this is that track. It is rich in ideas and, at less than three minutes, he leaves the surface barely scratched. Most of the record strikes you like that though, like this is more sketchbook than etching.

For a record as diverse (and as short) as this, Morales does a nice job of keeping his persona out in front. This is his record and his voice the lead character. I would have liked a longer record, maybe more toward the optimism of “Slummertime” but that’s OK. At twenty-seven minutes, it’s a lot to enjoy with little to explore. Still, Call It In begs for the back porch and should be a breath of fresh air to anyone amid winter rest in need of that particular change of scenery.

Purchase the album here.

Stream Debut Album From Sean Morales Now!

Album Premiere: Sean Morales Streams Album ‘Call It In’

Singer/songwriters Sean Morales also plays in the group James Arthur’s Manhunt, but today he premieres his new solo debut, Call It In (Super Secret Records). The album itself is a pepped up session of music that doesn’t stay in one place as Morales opts to move from indie rock to punk, blues, power pop, and even touches on Krautrock. The man from Austin, TX, by way of Norfolk, VA, has coraled an assortment of characters to help assemble this album which included Young Mothers, OBN IIIs, Golden Boys and more. Morales doesn’t choose to stand still or stagnate in simply one genre, which gives Call It In an added charm. While others have attempted it only to suffer from a critic(al) identity crisis, here, it’s just charming.

 

Call It In will be available on LP, CD and download, dropping tomorrow, January 12th, 2018 on Super Secret Records and we’d all be fools if we didn’t pay attention to this album. 

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Sean Morales’ “We’ve Been Apart” Premieres on Austin Town Hall

PREMIERE: SEAN MORALES SHARES WEVE BEEN APART

Sean Morales has been working in the Austin music scene for some time, most notably as a member of James Arthur’s Manhunt. We now find Sean stepping out to craft his own debut, which is a stark contrast to JAM. Guitar notes are picked carefully at the start, so close to the mic that you can hear the strings if you put your ear to the speaker. Morales’ voice comes across like a whisper, barely willing to step over the guitar sound; he’s joined by an accompaniment at one point during the chorus. Then the song fades out with added textural layers and improvisation, rounding out the perfect vision that Sean’s created with this tune. You can expect the rest of his debut Call It In to follow suit; it’s being released by Super Secret Records this Friday.