June 12, 2024

The Wild Kindness: “No One Belongs Here More Than You”

Song of the Day

By: Jack Anderson

Random acts of kindness: we can’t recommend ’em enough. Because it’s those little gestures you catch in the wild that help us make new connections (no matter how brief or passing), break past malaise and monotony, and recognize the world as a more compassionate place. And new connections are also a key component to what makes The Wild Kindness one of a kind.

We wouldn’t call The Wild Kindness’ frontman Mike Alexis a wunderkind, but we do give him kudos for evolving his former Bay Area solo act into the five-piece it is today by recruiting some of Austin’s finest, post-relocation. Now, a dozen years down the line from TWK’s debut Coming Down to the Ghost, this quintet’s cemented itself among the city’s chief chamber rock projects. No, it’s not like their compositions are contrapuntal, convoluted, or anything; it’s just the welcome inclusion of orchestral elements like strings, brass, and woodwings that really makes these jangly arrangements stand out in the artist-flooded field of indie rock.

Well, comin’ up in a couple days, The Wild Kindness has one heck of a weekend in store. They’re sharing The Blind Trust this Friday, followed by a free EP cassette release show 8PM this Saturday at Drinks Backyard alongside The Heavenly States and Great Howl. But you don’t have to put your faith in The Blind Trust strictly on our word. Because the album’s lead single that dropped last October, “No One Belongs Here More Than You”, is the coziest piece of melancholy to come out in a while. The two alternating chords and candid lyrics of its verses alone are enough to get us emotional immediately, but its the well rounded instrumentation (slow cello swells, rainy ride cymbals, rippin’ lead guitar, et al.) and uplifting dynamic range make “No One…” a true triumph of human acceptance.

June 11, 2024

Mark Hallman: “Bright Star”

Song of the Day

By: Jack Anderson

When you’ve spent decades making great records for other people, you’ve got all the tools to do it on your own, right? Yeah, although producers often get relegated to a “man behind the curtain” position for other artists’ critical success, at the end of the day they’re some of the strongest shapers of sound.

Take industry heavyweight producer-engineer-songwriter Mark Hallman, who’s been helping elevate albums for nearly half a century now. Mark’s best known for his work with Ani DiFranco, Eliza Gilkyson, and Carole King, the latter of which moved down here with him to Austin back in 1980. Since then Hallman’s been a standout in Austin’s already rich production roster, but with the exception of 2016’s “The Voyage“, he’s kept his own solo compositions largely cooped up.

At least he did until this past May, when Mark Hallman released his debut full-length Light Trick, seven tracks that capture Mark’s amalgamation of musical talents. The material may be recent, but the sound is exactly what you’d expect from Hallman’s late ’70s upbringing, folk rock formulas and all. So set some time aside to let Light Trick take you on an eclectic trek, starting with the LP opener “Bright Star”. Don’t stop shinin’ anytime soon, Mark.

June 10, 2024

Holy Roller Baby: “Speaking In Tongues”

Song of the Day

By: Jack Anderson

Since its advent at the turn of the millennium, the term “swag” has lent itself to plenty of manufactured personalities. We don’t hear “swag” much anymore, which is fine by us, since swagger ought to come naturally; it shouldn’t be too sophisticated.

You take one look at multi-instrumentalist Jared Mullins, who (in the best way possible) looks like a mix between Robert Plant and Big Lebowski‘s “The Dude”, and you know right away he’s a shining specimen of swagger. And appearances aside, Mullins’ project Holy Roller Baby – now half a decade strong – even refers to their spectrum-spelunking style of rock (heavy more often than not) as “primitive swagger”. HRB’s debut LP Frenzy was a ferocious feast that kept us pretty full for the pandemic’s first couple of years, but we sure were pleased to get a second round of standalone singles starting last March.

Well it turns out the Austin quartet’s already got another one in the can and ready to let loose in the coming months. They announced their next full-length Smile In Heaven (set for release August 23rd) last Friday with the record’s lead single “Speaking In Tongues”. We won’t recommend making out in the middle of train tracks for obvious safety concerns, but we will urge you to check out the Super 8 music video for “Speaking In Tongues”, since it’s such a powerful emotional accompaniment to what sounds like Holy Roller Baby’s Central Texas twist on Radiohead’s “Creep”, high contrast dynamics, unhurried grunge arrangement, impassioned vocal performance, and all. Rock on, Rollers. Rock on.

June 7, 2024

Daily Worker: “Street Cred”

Song of the Day

By: Jack Anderson

Ah, Friday afternoon. A beautiful time to be a daily worker, at least in an era where weekends are the norm. And not just because of the standardized two days off. No, there’s also new music from Austin outfit Daily Worker.

The trio typically conjures a non-centrist, counter-capitalist aesthetic, down to their choice of band handle and favorite fonts. Though even if you don’t jive with their specific societal commentaries, the music itself – eclectic by all accounts but most often seeped in the psych-folk-rock made familiar by fronting singer-guitarist Harold Whit Williams other project Cotton Mather – doesn’t require much convincing to enjoy on its own.

It’s been nearly a full year since Daily Worker last recorded with KUTX favorite Chris “Frenchie” Smith at The Bubble, and we’re finally approaching the release of their upcoming EP MF Genius, dropping July 30th. Just from the production value alone, there’s clearly been a ton of loving care and consistent work put into MF Genius, which undeniably elevates Daily Worker’s historically lo-fi sound. And this morning we got the record’s centerpiece and second of five originals, Street Cred. Saturated in that turn-of-the-millennium alternative rock aura that Frenchie’s so efficient at fulfilling, “Street Cred” basks in the accessible simplicity that only a sub-three-minute track (and minimalist music video) can offer, even with a rippin’ Robert Fripp-esque guitar solo fit for The Court prog-ing out its midpoint. You don’t gotta be smart to know this rocks.

June 6, 2024

Atlas Maior: “Jah Ali – Doctor Phono Remix”

Song of the Day

By: Jack Anderson

You might’ve caught wind of our own Michael Crockett’s retirement announcement, which means his Sunday evening program Global Grooves will grinding to a halt in just a few weeks. It’s a bittersweet end to an era, no doubt, but fortunately there are other potent purveyors of world music right here in the city limits.

Folks like Austin four-piece Atlas Maior, whose masterful melding of international influences with experimental jazz have made them one of the most truly unique acts in ATX over the last decade and a half, with a recent itinerary that speaks for itself. Hot off a month-long tour over in Morocco, Atlas Maior’s back in town and about to tear into the Deluxe Edition of last February’s EP Hadal.

Hadal Deluxe Edition marks Atlas Maior’s first physical vinyl release as a culmination of their past four years of flourishing, and they commemorate the moment tomorrow night with a two-performance live taping (8PM and 10PM, respectively) at one of the quartet’s favorite haunts, Monk’s Jazz Club. And it’s not just a matter of finally getting to hear Hadal on wax; Atlas Maior made sure to include a couple eclectic goodies in the package as well. Side B’s latter half pairs two non-Hadal remixes that both dropped in April 2021, the latter of which, “Jah Ali – Doctor Phono Remix”, exudes exactly the right kind of breezy Middle Eastern energy to keep our heads cool through what’s set to be a scorching summer.

June 5, 2024

Bryn Terranova: “Fueled By Fate” (feat. Natalia Nekare)

Song of the Day

By: Jack Anderson

Progressive metal and drum n bass. Two high octane genres that we here at KUTX could be a lot better at curating. Just for today, though, we’re getting some local help from a whole new world of both styles.

We’re talking about Austin’s Bryn Terranova, who on top of her time as a graphic designer and a consistent cat foster parent, has also recently been making a name for herself as a pretty kickass vocalist-producer. Terranova introduced us to her complex, frenetic sound back in April with her debut streaming single “Lost in Echos” – a must-hear for any upbeat electronic enthusiast. In the month-plus since it dropped, “Lost in Echos” has kept our blood pumping and our heart rate at a healthy high, but Bryn Terranova’s newest really ratchets up the aggression by smelting some much appreciated metal into the mix.

With the help of Pulso Critico vocalist Natalia Nekare, Terranova’s sophomore installation “Fueled By Fate” is unfalteringly ferocious from front to back. Down to the choice of kick drum tones and pairing of saturated synths and distorted guitar, “Fueled By Fate” does a great job of blurring the lines between synthetic and organic, DnB and prog metal, and emotional and unhinged. Whether you’re speeding down the highway, flying through the gates of Valhalla, or just getting some work done, “Fueled By Fate” will put your gear into overdrive and keep your motor roaring whenever you need a double dose of sonic adrenaline.

June 4, 2024

Meggan Carney: “Ketchup”

Song of the Day

By: Jack Anderson

Despite the already-blistering temps down here in Texas, Summer doesn’t officially start for another couple weeks. And with exactly one month to go until Independence Day, Hot Dog Season is coming up quick too. But you can’t have hot dogs without ketchup, right?

Well, we’re set to have plenty of ketchup on deck over the summer thanks to our November 2018 Artist of the Month Zettajoule’s frontwoman Meggan Carney. These days Carney’s up north in New Jersey raising a family with her fellow Zettajouler Matt Sheffer. It’s a big life update and a gargantuan undertaking, but that hasn’t made Meggan forget about her musical roots. Nope, a full decade removed from her last EP BOMBZ AWAY, Meggan Carney’s finally back pursuing her passion in solo songwriting.

Perhaps inspired by her now-two-year-old son, and consequently any toddler’s favorite condiment, Meggan Carney will be sharing a sling of singles over the upcoming months that’ll be bottled together as The Ketchup Chronicles. The Ketchup Chronicles‘ first dab – aptly titled Ketchup – came out a month back. “Ketchup” doesn’t attempt to be overly fancy in its phonics; instead it relishes in the lo-fi indie folk psychedelia that’s always made Meggan such a treat to listen to. But with production provided by Sheffer himself, “Ketchup” is a huge step up in sound from Meggan’s pre-existing discography, retro sensibilities aside. Seriously, “Ketchup” sounds like a long lost tape from the ’70s, that, just like ketchup packets, enjoys zero listed expiration date.

So what are you waiting for? Catch up with Carney and The Ketchup Chronicles before your plate gets too full.

June 3, 2024

om la lună: “Pescărușii zboară (Seagulls Fly)”

Song of the Day

By: Jack Anderson

We rarely get to bask in the music of The Balkans, so there’s never a bad opportunity to toss the spotlight over to Romania. There’s a language barrier to the lyrics, no doubt, but the actual sounds are often familiar enough to make them plenty accessible to Westerners.

Case in point: om la lună, which translates to “man over the moon” in English. Over the past half decade this quartet’s proven themselves to be one of Bucharest’s best, thanks to their one-of-a-kind fusion of post-punk, indie rock, and synth pop. Still high off their live album Fazele Lunii from this past February, om la lună kept on the wing with the release of their latest single “Pescărușii zboară” last Friday.

With a title of “Seagulls Fly” for us English speakers, this tune and A Flock of Seagulls’ iconic ’80s style are absolutely birds of a feather. Everything about it, the driving drums, slick synth arpeggios, gargantuan guitar reverb, and impassioned vocals make for an exceptional driving playlist addition – whether you’re just headed to your local grocery store or trekking from the Danube Delta past the Carpathian Mountains.