Amateur Aztec Hour – ‘Vol. 0’


Vol. 0 is the dreamy debut album from Amateur Aztec Hour, the project of Austin-based artist Daniel Ramirez. Taking inspiration from a myriad of psychedelic-friendly influences, from ’70s dub to early trip-hop, the project combines Ramirez’s enchanting songwriting with funky, bustling rhythms and calming guitar tones.

“Delegation” features a hazy organ and perky vocal infection, the fuzzy bass line and syncopated guitar exuding a reggae-like hypnosis. The main vocal refrain interplays with the organ and playful bass line with serious replay-inducing effect. “The story is told from the perspective of a boy who needs a favor from a radio tune in just the right key in order to express his admiration in hopes to earn the hand of his future ex-wife,” Ramirez says.

The subsequent track, “Clandestination,” pursues a funkier, laid-back direction — reminding fondly of Neon Indian in its fun contrast between dreamy vocals, bustling rhythms, and versatile guitar tones. Per Ramirez, the track is influenced by the late ’80s film, Mannequin, representing a “”carpe diem” fascination with mannequins that questions the perpetual use of these strange shells of humans that are forever upright and frozen in time.”

Also standing out with a flourishing, woodwind-friendly quality amidst suave guitars, “Another Distraction” resonates with its all-out smoothness. The chirpy tones and sensual vocal pushes interact enjoyably. A similarly smooth character is accomplished on “Comets and Locusts,” reminiscent of James Ferraro. The island-friendly escapism of “Don’t Stop ’till It’s Over” closes the album on a fitting, tropical note. Vol. 0 is a delightful, hook-friendly getaway into calm waters.

Stream Vol. 0, below:

“Delegation” other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of June 2022’ Spotify playlist.

“Delegation” is also featured in the genre-based, best-of Spotify compilation Emerging Indie Pop.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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