Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes: a name whose silliness and faux-profundity does not even begin to reflect the level of aggression and power and vinegar present across the Austin trio’s self-titled debut. Together, guitarist and vocalist Steve Pike, drummer Jacob Cruz, and bassist Rob Glynn channel the exposed-nerve anxiety of Shellac and the incredulous irreverence of Hot Snakes and give it the most minute slant of Texas-blues slide work. The resultant dissonance often seems as though it’s just beyond the trio’s hands, with Cruz’s controlled drumming doing its best to catch up and contain the napalm burning above. The cosmos are on fire.
Pike and Cruz formed the band in 2013, adding Glynn a couple of years later (he was replaced after the recording of the album by Bill Indelicato). Their chemistry is apparent throughout Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes. Cruz and Glynn set “Under the Texas Sun” off at a gentle mosey, allowing Pike to dial in and try out a few different amp tricks before he discards them and moves along. “Smoke,” which follows it, brings us back to tempo as all three engines hum in harmony. “Who do you think you are?” Pike sings in one of the album’s strongest melodies, winding his vocal around the stem of the track like Eric Bachmann on Vee Vee.
Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes drops this Friday on Super Secret Records, but you can hear the entire thing from front to back—assuming you have the endurance for it—right now. Give it a listen below, and check out the band on tour.
Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes tour dates
08/19 – Austin, TX @ Beerland w/ New China, Super Thief, Boss Eye
08/27 – Austin, TX @ Ghostcat Lounge w/ Coma in Algiers, Leche
10/06 – Austin, TX @ Hotel Vegas
10/07 – Denton, TX
10/08 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Blue Note
10/09 – Kansas City, MO @ Chum House
10/10 – Minneapolis, MN
10/11 – Chicago, IL
10/12 – Cleveland, OH @ Now That’s Class
10/13 – Pittsburgh, PA
10/14 – Philadelphia, PA
10/15 – Brooklyn, NY @ Sunnyvale
10/16 – Boston, MA @ Rat’s Nest
10/17 – Brooklyn, NY @ Silent Barn
10/18 – Richmond, VA
10/19 – Johnson City, TN @ The Hideaway
10/20 – New Orleans, LA
Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes is out August 19 via Super Secret. You can preorder it here.