For the past half-decade, Hidden Ritual has honed their blend of moody paranoia rock and stripped-down post-punk in Austin’s psych- and party-oriented bar scene. Between the droning vocals of frontman-guitarist J. Zuverza, driving rhythms of bassist R. Camarillo and drummer M.Reilly, and dissonant keys of R.Kaye, Hidden Ritual channels a nervous minimalism that is akin to CBGB’s outliers and to what Brooklyn Vegan calls the “gothy” and “gentler” side of punk. After performing on NBC’s Carson Daly Show in 2015, Hidden Ritual released their debut album, Zebra Bottle, on Austin’s Monofonus Press label. The songs reached listeners of WFMU and BBC6, and they also found an audience among followers of 1980s Siberian bands. One Moscow reviewer summed up Zebra Bottle as a “shadow semi-acoustic rock-n-roll, dusty otherworldly groove and delicate percussion arrhythmia — nine troubled ballads to modern hermits . . . ideal for the lunar funeral of his own heart.”
The following year, after a long summer of drinking green tea, Hidden Ritual decided to make a more easy-going record in a non-digital environment. In the fall of 2015, they enlisted Doug Walseth to record and mix their new LP, Always. Recorded on eight-track tape at The Cat’s Eye Studio in Austin, the twelve songs on Always serve up a relaxed and entrancing iteration of Hidden Ritual’s sound.
Check out Hidden Ritual’s exclusive playlist for Ravelin.