Once upon a time in San Antonio, there was a rad indie rock band called Cartographers. They were a bunch of dicks, but the music was so goddamn good that it really didn't matter.
Led by Jackson Albracht — a dude with a manic and wry creativity, a cheeky aplomb and an uncanny knack for writing catchy yet complex songs about trying to exist without dying of laughter/ennui — the band gained a rabid local following, rocked a million shows and dropped a masterfully indulgent, self-titled album in 2009.
Then the band ceased to exist in 2012, when Albracht moved to Austin and multi-instrumentalist (and perhaps spirit animal) Marcus Rubio headed to California.
It didn't take the restlessly creative Albracht long to form a new band in ATX. The resultant Slomo Drags project wasted little time in booking gigs and dropping an excellent self-titled EP in 2014.
Last week, in anticipation of the band's first SA show since July 2013, Albracht updated the San Antonio Current about the outfit's shifting lineup and forthcoming second EP.
The album, which has no release date yet and is in the mastering phase, was recorded over the last year or so under chaotic circumstances. "The drummer left the band right when we were starting to record and had a bunch of good shows booked," Albracht explained.
This departure forced him to do all of the drumming on the EP, save one track and to resort to drummers-for-hire to finish out the shows. Ultimately, current drummer Alex Ogle acquiesced to the charm of Albracht's music and the band "didn't have to pay him anymore."
At this point, Slomo Drags hardly resembles the band Albracht initially put together. "We've got the old front line back together," he said, referring to the additions of Marcus Rubio and Raul Alvarez (both Cartographers alums). And he couldn't be happier with the current lineup.
On the new EP – the Current got an early listen – the band sounds utterly complete, tight and confident. Albracht's delivery and lyrical treatment of subjects, when paired with the expansive and angular, technicolor grunge-pop sound, create surreal half-narratives about contemporary struggles, doused in winking, shrugging and, after all, happy apathy.
Free, 9pm Sat, Sept. 5, The Amp Room, 2407 N. St. Mary's St., (210) 320-2122, theamproom.com
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