Smallhounds is the music project of Austin Heller, a songwriter and producer living in Chicago. Drawing inspiration from many indie rock wellsprings, Smallhounds music is underscored by a fondness for big guitars and big feelings.

Austin talks about some of their favorite songs in this weeks edition of “Five For Friday” but first listen to their song “Ninetofives” from the new Smallhounds album “Triangles”.


La Luz – Call Me in the Day

Last year I did this weekly feature on my Instagram called “Pipeline Monday” where I played a surf song on guitar (or transposed a song into something surfy). I hadn’t heard of La Luz before I started, but I quickly fell for this track and its parent record. The song is everything you want in the genre, dark and whirling — and even has some wondrous harmonies.


Hüsker Dü – Something I Learned Today

I completely missed Hüsker Dü in my Alternative 101 education, to my detriment. But I’m making up for it gradually. I love how huge this song sounds with so few elements, which is true of all of Zen Arcade. And the ending is perfect: a sleight-of-hand that pulls the wall of noise down, inviting you in further.


Color for Colors – Missed Calls

I got to know songwriter Ollie Hobson last year, shortly before he released this record. The album is a moving tribute to his sister, but this song especially stands out for me. Certain lines ripple through my heart every time I hear them, and his voice and guitar work meet the words where they’re at.


Lucy Dacus – Hot and Heavy

This song came out right around the time the first Covid vaccines were coming out, and the world was slowly beginning to emerge. I don’t think the song is about the pandemic, but some of the the lyrics — “Being back here makes me hot in the face” — are inseparable from that time for me. Even now it takes me back to those weeks of post-vaccination transition. Excitement, anxiousness, a pang of loss: “It’s bittersweet to see you again.”


Alvvays – Belinda Says

I really enjoyed last year’s Blue Rev — in no small part because of the shoegaze paint the record is lathered in — but this song is my favorite. I don’t have much to add that wasn’t already covered in the heaps of praise it received last year: it’s poignant but bright, quiet but loud, and Molly Rankin’s lyric is beautiful.