Archives for January 2018

This Song: Portugal. The Man

John Gourley and Eric Howk from the band Portugal. The Man explain how “I’m Only Sleeping” by the Beatles along with the Woodstock documentary and soundtrack changed the way they saw music and inspired the making of their latest record Woodstock.

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Check out Portugal the Man’s Tour Dates

Listen to Songs from Episode 117 of This Song


Texas Standard: January 31, 2018

How was President Trump’s first State of the Union? You might not be surprised that it depends on who you ask. We’ll have a Texas perspective. Also the Texas Rangers are getting involved in an investigation into a US Gymnastics team facility outside of Huntsville, we’ll have the latest. And Houston consistently sits towards the top of lists of worst traffic cities in the US. A look at how Space City’s highways came about and how they re-shaped communities. Plus, what happens when local lawmakers disagree with a Texas mandate? We’ll explore. We’ll also head to Waco to visit a new Arts facility, and we’ll take the red pencil to a recent claim by a man hoping to be the state’s next governor. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Nicole Atkins: “Sleepwalking”

Photo by Anna Webber

Nicole Atkins‘s latest album, her fourth, is the personification of transition: a musician moving from Jersey to Nashville and letting the sonic roots and influences of those cities soak up into the porous bones of her music. The product of Atkins’s life and resolve in sobriety after years of feeling numb towards the things that should have filled her with elation and pride, her fourth release Goodnight Rhonda Lee took three years to write, but only five days to record. Cherry on top? She recruited members of the prolific Dap Kings to back her up throughout the record.

Underneath the light-hearted, danceable energy of “Sleepwalking” lies Atkin’s waxing on a strange plane we’ve all had the odd fortune of experiencing, that plane of transition. Surroundings are familiar, but the feelings and energies are different, and you can’t do anything except wait for the next phase to settle in.

“Sleepwalking” appears on Goodnight Rhonda Lee, out now via Single Lock.

-Taylor Wallace// Host, Thursdays 8p-11p & Saturdays 2p-6p; Producer, Eklektikos with John Aielli

Texas Standard: January 30, 2018

He hasn’t said anything yet, but everyone has something to say about President Trump’s first State of the Union. We’ll get some insight. Plus, if dreamers become citizens there will be many fees involved. Could that pay for a border wall? We’ll check the math. Also, unpacking some headlines that caught our attention: are millennials really stowing away as much as $100,000 dollars in savings? And what do we mean when we say a “potentially hazardous asteroid” is headed in the general direction of earth? And what restoration experts have found as they give the cannons from the Alamo a facelift. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Mary Bryce: “flowers”

Following a year-long respite from the now-defunct five-piece Dreamboat, Austin’s Mary Bryce is returning with new vocal compositions – this time in solo form and with a more personal sonic sensibility. Currently showcasing her sheer singing talent with local favorites SMiiLE, Bryce’s first recorded foray into her as-of-yet unfamiliar solo venture is an enthralling vocal performance inspired by the likes of Joni Mitchell and Ella Fitzgerald. Produced by SMiiLE frontman Jake Miles, Bryce’s debut single “flowers” will allure you with a captivating vocal performance complemented by R&B poly rhythms and swelling orchestral strings.

Bryce’s next solo performance is Feb. 21st at Cheer Up Charlie’s but you can download “flowers” right here on KUTX!

Jack Anderson (Host Monday-Wednesday, 8-11pm, Saturday 6-10am)

Texas Standard: January 29, 2018

A vote to censure a prominent Texas lawmaker on his way out of office. What the move says about the state of the state’s GOP. Also, the disaster relief bill that would send tens of billions of dollars to Harvey devastated parts of Texas is still on hold in Washington. Why some of the state’s farmers may be contributing to the delay. And it’s been exactly 100 years since an event in Texas history that you probably don’t remember reading about in school. Why we should remember the Porvenir massacre. Plus, how re-thinking our message about the flu could do more to keep people healthy. All that and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

Daphne Tunes: “All My Life”

Local live music buffs and frequent KUTX listeners are likely to recognize the name Santiago Dietche, who fronts the high-energy four-piece Growl (our April 2017 Artist of the Month). While Growl has been well established in the Austin scene for some time, folks may not be as familiar with Daphne Tunes, Dietche’s newer project that started as a solo endeavor back in 2016. A far cry from Growl’s cacophonic sound, Daphne Tunes swoons listeners with melancholy, atmospheric pop.

Daphne Tunes is set to release the debut EP Volume 1 this Sunday at Barracuda, and joining Dietche on the album is a motley crew of Austin talent – Guitarist Peter Shults (Hello Wheels, Zula Montez), bassist Andrew Stevens (Lomelda, Hovvdy, Alex Napping) and drummer Josh Halpern (Marmalakes, Shearwater, Palo Duro). Daphne Tunes is stopping by KUTX’s Studio 1A this Thursday but you can get an aural advance of Volume 1 before the release show right now with “All My Life.”

Jack Anderson (Host Monday-Wednesday 8-11pm, Saturday 6-10am)

Higher Ed: Civility, Outrage, and Discourse

Those in higher education have a lot on their minds these days: the new tax law; immigration; affordability; the cost of education; and how those impact teaching and learning. Educators are also thinking about how people discuss those topics. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed, KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss how those with different opinions can have fruitful and thoughtful conversations in and out of the classroom. Ed believes there is plenty of room for civil discourse on a wide variety of topics as long as we listen to and respect each other. He and Jennifer discuss how to do that in what some are calling an “age of outrage.” Check out the full episode to hear their civil discussion and to catch the latest on the “random walk” puzzler.

This episode was recorded Jan. 18, 2018.

A Tribute to Alex Haley (Ep. 8, 2018)

In Black America producer and host John L. Hanson, Jr. presents a 1988 interview with the late Alex Haley, who died in 1992. Haley was an acclaimed writer best known for Roots: The Saga of an American Family, and The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

Presenter’s Paradox

When thinking about how we present ourselves, say at a job interview, we might think that the more good stuff we tell our prospective employer the better. However, that’s not really the case. Our best assets can be overshadowed by the average of all we present.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about The Presenter’s Paradox, and how we can put our best foot forward.

The Flu

A poem for everyone who is under blankets on the couch.

KUT Weekend – January 26, 2018

Austin ISD delays decision to rename schools named after Confederate figures. Plus, the Cold War origins of Austin’s emergency alert system. And a new downtown restaurant specializes in high dollar “modern Mexican” cuisine.

Those stories and more in this edition of KUT Weekend!

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Texas Standard: January 26, 2018

The pot is sweetened: a proposed path to citizenship for 1.8 million. But is the overall flavor of the deal too terrible for many lawmakers? We’ll explore. Plus, the hub of Harris County’s criminal justice system has been closed because of Hurricane Harvey flooding, and could be for years to come. And in Marfa a secretive company opens up to school kids. And in Montreal NAFTA negotiations that could have big effects on Texas. All that plus the Typewriter Rodeo and a wrap of the week in Texas politics, today on the Texas Standard:

Dama Nilz: “Ceiling Fan Spins” prod. Craig MLK

The hardest working woman in hip hop is right here in town and all of Austin wins! After years of struggling, Brooklyn-born Anelia Lomsky AKA Dama Nilz began performing in the NYC underground hip hop circuit back in 2007. In the eleven years since, her idiosyncratic hardcore lyrical style has captivated listeners and earned her a spot on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, mentions in Vibe and Hip Hop DX magazine, and tour appearances with the likes of Ghostface Killah. With a few albums and international tours under her belt, Dama Nilz continues to exert her influence in hip hop as a DJ, producer, music video director, and of course lyricist.
Tonight she kicks off the first Belly party – paying tribute to the 1998 Hype Williams film of the same name. Dama Nilz will be DJing and hosting the Belly Party 10pm tonight at Plush, where if hours of dancehall, latin and hip hop isn’t enough for you, you can help yourself to free empanadas and Tekken. For a sneak peak at the sincerity and talent Dama Nilz brings to the table, check out a previously unheard single produced by Belly Party co-host Craig MLK – “Ceiling Fan Spins”.
-Jack Anderson (Host, Monday – Wednesday 8-11pm, Saturday 6-10am)

Texas Standard: January 25, 2018

The mayor of Plano joins a boycott of a meeting with president Trump. The mayor of McKinney says that was a mistake, we’ll have the latest. Also, governor Abbott appeals to the Trump administration to get money to fund the state’s healthy Texas women’s program. But why was it being withheld in the first place? we’ll get the backstory. Plus, hoop dreams: the national basketball association calls on congress to legalize betting on pro basketball nationwide, and the league would like a piece of the action, too. Smart move or could it hurt the game? And the bandaid that kept the government going: are continuing resolutions the solution or the problem? All those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:

Karen O: “YO! MY SAINT” (ft. Michael Kiwanuka)

Fresh from her recent Milano collabs with composer Daniele Lupi and post-punkers Parquet Courts, Karen O is back with a new single (featuring the smooth, rich vocals of Michael Kiwanuka), but it’s not just a single. It’s a single extension of a bigger project: part music, part film, part fashion, and all striking. Made for a short film for French fashion house Kenzo, “Yo! My Saint” is the story of a photographer who is able to catapult the careers of his models by treating and shooting them like works of art. The perspective shifts back and forth between the photographer–torn between his love for two of his muses–and his latest subject in a powerful, dramatic discourse paired with dramatic shots and dramatic, haunting songwriting evoking all the passion and fire of a Korean soap opera. Karen O even makes a cameo in the film as the photographer’s assistant, handing him his tool to transform these young models into icons, setting the song and story in motion.

Watch the full short film here.

-Taylor Wallace// Host, Thursdays 8p-11p & Saturdays 2p-6p; Producer, Eklektikos with John Aielli

Plumbing The Depths of Jacob’s Well

When settlers first came upon Jacob’s Well near Wimberley around 1850, they did not encounter a swimming hole. They discovered a magical fountain of beautifully clear water, 12 feet in diameter, sometimes spouting four or five feet above the surface. They named it Jacob’s Well because of its Biblical magnificence.

Over the next 70 years, thirsty central Texas pulled water from the Trinity aquifer that feeds the artesian fountain. It was slowly tamed but it is still wildly beautiful there. You can jump off outcroppings rising 10 to 15 feet above the well, into eternal 68-degree waters. Quite an arctic blast in the middle of a Texas summer.

My focus here is not, however, on the idyllic surface world of Jacob’s Well. I’m interested in what lies beneath. Far, far beneath. In Stephen Harrigan’s novel “Jacob’s Well,” he says it is “like a portal from another dimension, a world of unnatural vibrance and mystery.” Harrigan logged over 20 dives in the cave more than thirty years ago.

The well takes an initial plunge through 23 feet of well-lit water to an apparent bottom, but then it veers off into a descent of increasing darkness. I visited with Gregg Tatum who has logged over 250 dives there. He says it is no place for a novice. Only cave certified divers with substantial experience in cave diving should go deep into Jacob’s Well. He says, “It gets so dark you can taste it.”

Novelist Harrigan describes his character’s response similarly: “He turned off his light and felt the darkness rush in… exquisite blackness like a weight. If he had been on Mars he couldn’t have felt farther from the familiar world above him.”

Eight or nine divers have lost their lives in Jacob’s Well. It is difficult to get an exact number – could be more. For that reason, Jacob’s Well is known as one of the most dangerous diving spots in the world. Tatum, however, bristles at that description. He says that the Well is only dangerous if you “don’t know what you are doing.”

Still, Tatum says that there is no room for error. He takes at least two, and sometimes three of everything – two knives, two tanks, three lights. Lighting is sometimes more important than air. It is likely that some of the doomed divers ran out of air because they first ran out of light. Another hazard is the silt on the bottom. It is easy for the novice to accidentally stir up the silt so he cannot tell up from down or which way is in or out.

The Jacob’s Well Exploration Project, of which Gregg Tatum is the director, has mapped the cave system. It plunges to 140 feet at its deepest point; 14 stories underground, underwater. There are two tunnels, A and B. A is 4300 feet long (three-quarters of a mile) and B is 1300 feet long. It takes five hours round trip to get to the terminus of tunnel A. Tatum believes that if one had time to work at the terminus, there might be a way to gain access to more of the cave. There is a strong flow, too, which divers must struggle against to get down into the depths.

Authorities once tried to seal off the cave. They welded a steel grate at about 70 feet in. Within months it was removed by rogue divers who left a note saying, “You can’t keep us out.”

A particularly interesting feature of the cave is called the “Birth Canal.” This two-foot square portal is found at the rear of a fairly large underwater room, 75 feet from the surface. The Birth Canal is situated at the top of a long, steep, gravel-floored slope which is notoriously unstable. At the base of this slope, divers encounter a narrow restriction that, depending on conditions, can be as tight as 15 inches in height.

Negotiating this restriction sometimes requires divers to push rocks and gravel out of the way, pull forward a few inches and then repeat the process several times. Once past the restriction, the cave widens considerably, but the ceiling remains only 2 to 3 feet high. Clearly, this is not a place for the claustrophobic.

Gregg notes that divers occasionally find that gravel that was pushed aside to gain entrance has been replaced with more material from higher up the slope, making the opening appear to close shut behind them. Even for an experienced cave diver, this event can give one pause.

Divers now use side-mounted tanks to lower their profiles and make them more streamlined as they slide through narrow passageways with less risk of getting stuck. And it is a sublime underwater world. There are no stalactites and stalagmites, but there are impressive limestone walls of many colors, vibrant and muted. There are no bats, of course, but there are catfish, perch, turtles – at the beginning of the cave – and then deep in, there are blind Texas salamanders to keep you company.

You can’t scuba dive there without a special permit from Hays County, and the only entity that has one is the Jacob’s Well Exploration Project. However, you can go along with them, so to speak, by video, on their website, Jacob’s Well Exploration Projectg. You will be diving deep into the heart of Texas in no time.

As for me, I couldn’t dive there, even with training, and I’ll tell you why.

When I was six years old my mother took us to swim in a pool at her friend’s house. It was unusual for a residential pool. The deep end was exceptionally deep. You couldn’t see the bottom because of the shade that the big trees cast over it. My older brother, Shep, who was a practical joker extraordinaire, told me that it was 100 feet deep there and dared me to swim across it. Though I was a good swimmer already, I would not risk it. The idea that it was possibly bottomless and that strange creatures might be lurking down there, kept me in the shallow end. There is a name for this fear: bathophobia. It is not a fear of being clean: it is a fear of deep water that may hide unknown horrors.

Fast forward 30 years: I went swimming at Jacob’s Well in central Texas. When I learned that eight or nine people had drowned scuba diving in that cave system, my bathophobia was triggered. Just the thought of going down into those depths was to me the stuff Stephen King novels were made of. I stayed on the surface or near it, enjoying the well lit waters.

But that was not so for everyone. Whereas I was disenchanted with the depths, the free divers and scuba divers were seduced, and still are, forever attracted to what lies beneath.


This is just a note to let you know what we’re up to with the podcast.

We have a three-part piece on the herbicide glyphosate coming out soon, and then we’ll be back on track for the bi-monthly shows.

Until then, check out The Secret Ingredient Podcast page at Facebook, and listen back to our archived shows at

Thank you!!!

Happy 2018!!

This Song — Daniele Luppi

Composer, producer and songwriter Daniele Luppi just released his second record Milano.  In it he explores his teenage experiences in 1980’s Milan. Listen as he describes the impact that The Buggles MTV hit “Video Killed the Radio Star” had on him as a kid and explains why Parquet Courts and Karen O were the perfect collaborators for his new project.

Subscribe via the Podcasts App, iTunes or Stitcher to get the new episodes of This Song delivered to you as soon as they come out.


Listen to Milano

Watch the Video for Pretty Prizes

Listen to Karen O’s new song “Yo! My Saint” produced by Daniele Luppi

Watch the Video for “Video Killed the Radio Star”

Listen to Songs from Episode 116 of This Song