Austin, Texas band The Sour Notes are known for their cross-genre, DIY aesthetic, self-releasing five albums, three 7-inch records and a cassette. They have toured nationally over ten times, making appearances at CMJ, SXSW, NXNE, Fun Fun Fun Fest, The UMS, Free Press Summer Fest and have shared stages with such diverse bands as The Dandy Warhols, Of Montreal, Foxygen, Future Islands, We Are Scientists, Marnie Stern and Daniel Johnston.
The Sour Notes began initially as the moniker for singer-songwriter Jared Boulanger’s solo recordings while living in Houston, Texas. The name of the band stems from Boulanger’s collection of Moleskine journals containing drawings, rhyme schemes and notes on self improvement, which he called his “Sour Notes”. Upon finishing work on what would become his 2008 debut EP The Meat of the Fruit, Boulanger asked long-time friend Chris Page to join him in forming a live band in Austin. There, they met drummer Travis Hackett and bassist Brandi Dipietro through mutual friends and started performing as a four-piece with Boulanger & Page using up to five synthesizers on stage between them. After playing only a handful of shows together, the group recorded their first collaborative effort Received in Bitterness in the laundry room of their East Austin home and hit the road on a snowy, 13-date winter tour up the East Coast.
In Fall 2009, the band released 7-inch single “Never Mix, Never Worry”, which presents a more standard-rock format to The Sour Notes’ characteristically evolving sound. Shortly after, bassist Brandi Dipietro left the band, causing The Sour Notes to incorporate live electronics and sequenced bass parts at shows. The Sour Notes added keyboardist Elaine Greer to the band during the recording of their synth-heavy third LP It’s Not Gonna Be Pretty, which was released on January 1, 2010 to much critical acclaim. Following an East Coast tour in support of the album, the band added bassist Amarah Ulghani and The Sour Notes were selected as official showcasing artists at the 2010 SXSW Music Festival, opening for We Are Scientists at the Official SXSWi Closing Party and Daniel Johnston that summer. The Sour Notes spent the remainder of 2010 touring with numerous additions to the band, playing over 60 shows in and around the U.S. that year, including Free Press Summer Fest in Houston and the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City.
At the turn of 2011, The Sour Notes released 7-inch single “Hot Pink Flares” and fourth LP Last Looks featuring orchestral group Mother Falcon, who arranged string sections on the album and backed The Sour Notes at their release show at Mohawk in Austin. The album was recorded almost entirely without synthesizer and contains a dominant use of acoustic instruments and female vocals. The band toured the East Coast in support of the album and were invited to play the 35 Conferette in Denton and the 2011 NXNE Music Festival in Toronto. 2012 brought the release of split 7-inch record Wait//White with fellow Austin band Marmalakes on the No Play Music label. The 7-inch featured the single “Two Hands Wait” from their upcoming album Do What May, which The Sour Notes would spend the next two years recording. Later that year, U.S. television series Shameless featured The Sour Notes songs “Do-ers & Say-ers” and “One Fell Swoop” during it’s season two premiere on Showtime.
In March 2013, The Sour Notes were first-round picks at SXSW before releasing cassette “In The Meanwhile”, which featured the second single from their upcoming album and a cover of the Wire song “Mannequin”. The Sour Notes spent that summer road-testing new songs and were selected based on fan voting, to open for The Dandy Warhols as a part of Red Bull’s Sound Select program in Austin. Upon wrapping up recording on fifth LP Do What May in 2014, the band embarked on a West Coast tour in support of the album that took them to Seattle and back in just 10 days. The album was later released on a rainy September night at Cheer Up Charlies in Austin to glowing reviews and featured many local guest musicians, including Sabrina Ellis (Sweet Spirit, A Giant Dog), who sang on the title track. A couple of months later, The Sour Notes were invited to perform at Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, where they played an exclusive aftershow with Foxygen at Red 7.
The Sour Notes continue to play in and around the U.S. and are scheduled to release a new LP titled Darkest Sour in 2016.