Week in Pop: The Beta Macks, The Lovemakers, Only, The Vignettes

Sjimon Gompers

The most triumphant return of The Beta Macks; press photo courtesy of the band.


Presenting Nashville’s newest act, Only; photographed by Piper Leigh.

As evident from our reporting & coverage over the years; there’s something very unique & special about Nashville, Tennessee. Music City seems to have something for everyone, representing a whole host of styles that seem to only abide by the self-guided/directed visions of aesthetes who build sonic vehicles that spell out ambitions anthems for today’s & tomorrow’s audiences. Introducing the local group Only, who proudly present a premiere listen to their debut Language EP available August 25. The expressive feeling that transcends seasons & time & yet that crystallizing cadence is at work to preserve & hold tightly & strongly to each individual feeling with no signs of letting go.

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According to the group, Only was built around a name devised by guitarist Evan Hickman dream-pop moniker inspirations comprised of terse one word non-sequiturs. Percussionist & previous collaborator Bryan Moore, Bryan’s brother BJay Moore handling keyboard duties with their sister Josephine Moore on lead guitar vocals to complete the group’s DIY-stitched visions. Together the family & friends formulate narratives & odes to minutiae that are exhibited like a patchwork quilt that offers a privy listen into their own private Nashville world. Only makes a sound that is instantly identifiable to feelings like the daydreams that days spent wasting in detention bring & that cool liberated feel of exiting those confining classroom doors.

Language is the surprise hit EP to arrive at the twilight dusk of the sunny season that catches your ear & emotions off guard. “Crosswalk” sets these scenes from the get-go where Only takes you down the sidewalks & busy street scenes amid a sea of both familiar & new faces from the crowds. That freedom flight takes-off directly into “July”, that includes a tip-of-the-hat to The Boss with a “Dancing in the Dark” chord allusion, that offers up introspection glances of emotional heavyweights that are intermixed with spirited rhythms, beats & delicately painted chord assemblages. “Trains at a Distance” lands like an otherworldly flight-craft vessel making touchdown with the ground in a connection between the transit systems of both the sky & ground. The track speeds off on a dreamy locomotive axis in escapist directions that sprint from the learned lessons of life experience for newfound frontiers. Evocative interplays between the synths & chords communicate in a tug-o-war turned harmonic hammer that fires the track ahead at distances beyond measure. The closing “Yellow Lights” indicates further song cycles in the works from the band, where Only’s sound becomes enraptured in asphalt motifs that resemble the ridiculously elaborate thought & emotion streams of experience that occur while traveling across the winding freeway, city & suburban streets. Join us after the following debut listen to Language for an exclusive interview session with Only:

With a love for throwback dream pop acts and more; describe how Only become the title of which the rest of the band was later assembled around.

It’s can be great when a band or artist lets texture take precedence over structure. Much in the way early shoegaze acts were able to abstract elements of popular music into sonic murals, we liked the idea of looking at language as a texture itself and abstracting it into a single ambiguous word, one with few cultural associations.

What is about the exclusivity of the moniker Only that speaks to you all?

We’ve all been in multiple side projects for years, either in various combinations with one another or otherwise. In Only, for the first time for all of us, we’re focused on one project.

Tell us about the methods, narratives & linguistics that went into the making of the Language EP.

Language was recorded in a converted mechanic shop. Thematically, there’s no locus. We live in the songs for weeks and the words come once we’ve found a feeling. Maybe it’s a conversation, maybe it’s a memory, or maybe it’s just the way the instruments feel in a verse. Language, the grand signifier of our uniquely human miscellany, is the inspiration for a de-centralized perspective. It’s really just a collection of mundane internal contradictions.

Catching up with Only; photographed by Piper Leigh.

Interested in hearing about how you all collaborative together creatively and would like to know more about the bridging the gap from Nashville to your fellow spirited west coast daydream believers.

Well to begin with, Nashville has never been our home. We are all from smaller towns and come from a conventionally structured home life. However, our underlying spirit and inspiration has emerged from the unknown, and the extensive nature of the West is a romantic goalpost. Whether through Bryan’s childhood love for bands like Rancid or Green Day, or Evan’s natural tendency toward escape, or BJay’s ambitious mind, or Jo’s sensitive but powerful temperament, the desire for expansion and mystery is our driving force.

What is everyone excited about right now musically? Film/television wise? Literature wise? Etc?

We’ve been really into Culture Abuse, Frank Ocean, and that new War on Drugs of course. TV-wise, we like to watch Twins here and there. The Myth of Sisyphus is a relatable thing.

Latest notes from the Nashville scene?

It’s fucking vibrant. We might have one of the highest rates of cost-of-living growth in the country, but the DIY scene is in full force. There are more great bands to count, the community is flourishing, and people are taking notice. It’s good and bad, and I think everyone who lives here would agree.

Fall/winter hopes & plans?

We’d like to begin working on an LP.

Only’s Language EP will be available August 25 via Bandcamp.

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