Program Review: Hardly Sound

30 Second Season 1 Promo from Hardly Sound on Vimeo.

Hardly Sound
Airs at 10:30 pm Tuesdays on KLRU starting Jan 1, 2013;
Airs first Monday of the month on KLRU Q music block at 11 pm
or watch online anytime at

Here in Austin, music is everywhere: in our airport, in our restaurants, behind grocery stores, and even on the 6th floor of office buildings. Given the sheer supply of choices, one would imagine it to be a daunting task to really penetrate the local musical territory and make it big. However the thriving bond between creativity and music keeps people going at it here, which in itself is the essence of why Austin continually rules.

When local filmmakers Chris Kim and Randy Reynolds set out to find bands whose passion and creativity distinguish them within the overarching Texas music scene, their task evolved into an all-out adventure revealing some great insights behind this creative community. They’ve condensed their journeys into half-hour long segments for a new documentary series called Hardly Sound.

The show profiles one artist per episode and conveys their respective stories through conversation and performance, detailed in footage spanning the full month they spent with each artist. What I enjoy most about this program is that rather than simply offering a dry profile of the band, the filmmakers establish an emotional connection between the audience and their subject through the intimate dialogue about their creative process. This stands closely to the filmmakers’ mission to create “a creative series about creative people for creative people”.

Topics of past experiences, personal triumphs, emotional hardships and overcoming adversity make you feel what the musicians feel and give a true sense of what shaped their path towards adopting their creative lifestyles. Bands like twang-wave act The Bye and Bye detail important life lessons like “expect the unexpected”, “don’t wear shorts”, and “bask in the unlikelihood of life” while taking the filmmakers on a “birding” trip. Meanwhile, garage rockers The Bad Lovers express their sentiments for the community of outcasts who welcomed their eagerness to play rock n’ roll in sweaty basements and damp clubs. Through their POVs, these musicians come off as hopeful, devoted and relatable, as their rehearsals and reflections become transparent windows into their souls.

For anybody who’d enjoy an intimate look at bands trying to “carve out their own space in the crowded scene” (and we all know, its CROWDED), this is that plus more.

About the Reviewer: Kaitlyn Roche is a fourth-year student at the University of Texas at Austin and currently works in the Marketing department of KLRU. She has contributed to online and print publications such as A.V. Club, San Antonio Express-News and Verbicide Magazine.