Jack Anderson

Felt Out: “Crash Inside It”

When we last geeked out over Austin’s Felt Out, we broke down their foundation as that of auto-tune innovators on the cutting edge of alt-pop. And following the first anniversary of their second full-length Until I’m Light, that’s clearly still the case for these multi-instrumentalist-producers. They still sound like a next generation Imogen Heap. Their style still scratches that itch within the hyper-processed, accessible-yet-oddball alt-pop niche. And they’re still going strong in 2024.

Yep, after a year of silence for studio releases, Felt Out touched down from their natural habitat way up in the electro-aether last week, almost as if ushered in by the solar eclipse. On Friday they fired off “Know You (closer3.0)” – a Frankenstein re-assembly of leftover samples from their current streaming star – and “Crash Inside It” – which came alongside a minimalist music video. Unlike the polished, narrative-driven visual companion to “Closer”, “Crash Inside It”‘s counterpart lets a flickering frame rate and negative polarization do the storytelling, a return to their earlier aesthetic of amateur footage, analog grain, openness to interpretation, and all.

It’s certainly on brand for Felt Out, that’s for sure. And it’s got us eager to see and hear what they’ll come up with next. You feel us?

J. Cole’s Apology /  Kendrick vs. Drake

It’s a two-parter of Kendrick Lamar clashes: J. Cole’s public apology and Drake’s ongoing affronts. Hear how Confucius and Fresh feel about the beef, Hip-Hop Facts, the latest headlines, and an Unpopular Opinion on hip-hop’s “health”.

Tagua Tagua: “4AM (Acústico)”

Feliz sexta! Today we’re talking about Tagua Tagua, the passion project of São Paulo songwriter-producer Felipe Puperi. Now, Brazil is an enormous country, full of fervent creators; it takes a ton of traction to get towards the top. But in the seven years since Puperi launched off, Tagua Tagua’s become one of the nation’s most promising acts – heck I even Shazam’d one of their songs in the wild last September during my two-week stint in Recife.

So if you’re like me and want Brazilian music all the time, be it bossa nova, tropicalia, or samba, Puperi’s got some ótimo news. Following up an appearance here in Austin during SXSW, Tagua Tagua is set to share their next EP Todo Tempo on May 24th. Stepping away from the full-band rock arrangements of 2020’s Inteiro Metade and last year’s Tanto, the standouts of those albums have been translated into stripped down acoustic forms – neo-soul essence still intact.

The effect is reminiscent of classic midcentury icons like Jobim, Gilberto, and Bonfa, albeit with some 21st century polish, as heard on Todo Tempo‘s intimate lead reimagining “4AM (Acústico)”. Now that the weekend’s here, Tagua Tagua’s putting any late night insomnia to bed, and we’ve got todo o tempo do mundo…caipirinhas anyone?

Street Peach: “Heavy”

If we’ve learned one thing from Destiny’s Child, it’s that vocal groups aren’t always limited to one breakout singer. Even if fate favors one over another in the long run. And that’s kind of lining up with how we see some of the expats from former Austin R&B trio Keeper.

See, while Keeper’s Yadira Brown has kept busy with longtime collaborator BoomBaptist through The Vapor Caves, her fellow Keeper co-founder Lani Thomison only started picking up speed with her solo project Street Peach in the past few months. As we already heard in Tomison’s work with Keeper, Street Peach’s techniques blend R&B, soul, and choral, plus (as you might’ve guessed from her handle) some extra urban sex appeal as well. Sure, Street Peach’s introductory standalone, “Qiller”, has kept us as sated as possible since May 2020. But truthfully, we’re already licking our lips over news of a full batch this fall.

That basket arrives this October in the form of Street Peach’s debut EP, Monarch, a seven-song spreading of wings created alongside producer Willie Green. And following Monarch‘s first offering that’s already enjoyed consistent spins on recent episodes of The Breaks (mid-February’s “Caroline”), another nubile installation just landed in our lap. “Heavy” lays the seduction on thick, thanks to delineated drums, drizzling synths, and a Sylvia Striplin-style chord progression channeled through a killer chorus guitar groove – one that makes the bed for Street Peach’s featherlight vocals. And those steamy conditions forecast for next week? They could get you sweatin’ juuust right for when Street Peach heats up the stage 7:15PM next Thursday at Hotel Vegas ahead of Daphne Tunes.

Faaris: “Taken Not Given”

As our ever-evolving hip-hop scene steadily expands, so does the representation of nations, cultures, and identities from its contributors. And for some truly refreshing cross-cultural flavors that have made their way into the ATX hip-hop melting pot, look no further than Faaris.

Brought up in a Pakistani household right here in Austin, Faaris brings a perspective not often recognized here in Central Texas. In the short time since he’s been making a name for himself (dating back to just 2021), Faaris has shown a skillful strive for variety, as heard on his 2023 LP Change of Scenery. But his standalone singles are what have propelled Faaris’ collective streaming numbers into the millions.

And this weekend we’re getting what’ll probably turn into another streaming heavyweight. Almost picking up where Britney Spears’ “Toxic” left off (sans mainstream appropriation), “Taken Not Given” puts a more authentic voice over those South Asian strings and Drum and Bass-style beat. Besides being an absolute banger, the lyrical braggadocio of “Taken Not Given” grounds itself in a clarion call for the historically conservative creatives of India and Pakistan to get with a more progressive program. And at just shy of two minutes, “Taken Not Given” begs for several repeat listens, no matter what tribe you call your own.

Adam Sultan: “The Great Divide”

They say, “write what you know”. And in music, if you know something well enough to perfect its performance, that usually means you’ve absorbed the material enough to build upon it and make it your own.

So let’s talk about Austin’s Adam Sultan. Sultan started off a singer-guitarist in the ’90s with Poi Dog Pondering before moving onto Flying Saucers, Hollowbody, and Mistress Stephanie And Her Melodic Cat. Adam’s also collaborated with Graham Reynolds for Richard Linklater scores, not to mention ascended to multi-hyphenate status, splitting time as a podcast host, meditation teacher, theater player, photographer, storyteller, and even a perfumer.

But here’s the kicker. Adam Sultan is a bona fide master when it comes to the art of musical tribute; his ongoing work with Super Creeps and Magnifico has granted Adam an intimate perspective to the discographies of David Bowie and Queen, respectively. And since you don’t just play those golden oldies time and time again without soaking up some of the timbres and songwriting formulas, when Sultan puts his six-string and pen to work, that classic rock royalty oozes right out onto the record. That’s something you can quickly pick up on with Adam Sultan’s two recently released singles. Where last month’s “Hard to Kill” captures Bowie’s earlier baroque folk era, January’s “The Great Divide” dives right into that later, heavier, glam rock period. Crazy to think we’re hearing such retro-sounding stuff like this in 2024, so major kudos to the Sultan himself for keeping those styles alive.

Flicker Vertigo: “Midnight Fantasies Upon Prospect Hill”

As an unabashed Pink Floyd fan, I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to firing up the Atmos mix of Animals on my home theater setup when the BluRay drops next month. Sure, the full record’s been etched in my memory forever now, but through the lens of the latest mix an full surround encoding, it’ll be like hearing it for the first time. And that’s a safe bet for most modern psych fans, right? Far out, effects-dense arrangements with a little bit of digital polish to make the mix pop more?

At least that’s what’s been doing it for us with Flicker Vertigo, the near decade-old project of multi-instrumentalist/producer/engineer Nathan Nicholson. Brought up in Melbourne and now based out of Bournemouth. this walking enpsychlopedia of ’60s sounds and techniques flashes between dream pop, shoegaze, house, and of course psych rock for a feverish experience. Flicker Vertigo’s full discography has been great to dissociate to, so as we approach the post-eclipse era, we’re greeted with the news of more meditations.

On June 14th Flicker Vertigo unfurls their sixth full-length Infinite Verve. And this morning we got the first dose of IV with “Midnight Fantasies Upon Prospect Hill”. Despite its mouthful of a title, there’s a pleasant simplicity to this cosmic cacophony as it strobes through a dizzying drone of delay-drenched vocals, like if Kevin Parker ditched the day disco of The Slow Rush in favor of an all-night lo-fi dance frenzy.

Mountains in Stars: “Hazards of Loving Creatures”

You’ve heard it a million times before: a picture is worth a thousand words. But go ahead and try it out if you dare. Pick a picture and start verbalizing. Yeah…you’ll give up far before you get anywhere close to a four-digit word count. Music on the other hand? Each chord carries various connotations, which become more complex once in the context of a full progression. And for first time listeners, lyrics typically get eclipsed by the overall musical character. So when a picture inspires a piece of music, abstract beats verbose, because that pairing of art forms often has a more profound impact than words alone ever will.

Which brings us to Barry Stone, a real stalwart of Austin’s ’90s scene through his work with noise rockers johnboy and Desafinado. That legacy largely belongs to Stone alone. But the same can’t be said of the upcoming release from Stone’s indie folk trio Mountains in Stars. See, their debut album Watch the Years Gather interpolates century-old heirlooms from Stone’s great grandfather’s personal photography collection, (dating back to the early 1900s) for a new mixed media experience. From what we’ve seen so far, these skillfully-composed snapshots capture a bucolic equine atmosphere – which perfectly match the melancholy acoustic originals on this record.

More than a decade and a half after its initial recording, the full Watch the Years Gather package (40-page photo book and all) is finally being made available next Thursday thanks to a live music grant from the City of Austin Economic Development Department. You can get your hands on these temporally transportive documents straight from the source 4PM that same day at Northern-Southern Gallery as part of Fusebox Festival when Mountains in Stars performs alongside Knife in the Water pedal steel player Bill McCullough. And for early entry into this interpretative exhibit, sink your teeth into the soothing LP opener “Hazards of Loving Creatures”. Eerie, gorgeous, and otherworldly, it’s just the right kind of calm we could all use before a busy celestial weekend.

Nané: “Always On My Mind” (Live in Studio 1A)

As with any active artistic community, the Austin music scene has suffered its share of too-soon tragedies. And the passing of Daniel Sahad – the flamboyant frontman of Austin sextet Nané who left us in April ’22 – still feels especially fresh in our memory.

Thankfully Daniel’s legacy still lives on through his music, Nané’s remaining members, and the pair of recorded performances Nané gifted KUTX (as our January 2021 Artist of the Month who finally slid into Studio 1A later that December) that have since become treasured mementos and unbiased testaments to Sahad’s dearly missed talent. But also, this weekend marks the anniversary of April 7th as Nané Day, which was officially decreed by the city mere weeks before Daniel’s death.

So come help celebrate Sahad’s life on Nané Day 8:30PM this Sunday at Empire Garage featuring Nané with Quentin Arispe guesting on lead vocals, plus opener Jefferson Clay for a tribute concert and closing ceremony whose proceeds benefit the SIMS Foundation. If you can only attend in spirit, at least revisit the video of Nané’s December ’21 Studio 1A session below. Because the whole set captures Sahad’s nimble charisma, immense kindness, and tip-top vocal execution, particularly on the band’s biggest hit “Always On My Mind” – which, down to its title, beautifully embodies the enduring imprint of Daniel on his former bandmates and anyone else who ever felt his touch.

The Watters: “Set to Cruise”

Prayers for rain resonate all throughout the Lone Star State year-round…even in April with a once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse on the horizon. So without wanting to entice a cosmically inconvenient drench, let’s dip our toes into The Watters.

This Americana soul love affair is teeing up to hit the two-decade mark, but the bond between husband and wife Daniel and Jenna Watters goes all the way back to grade school. After soaking up all that Los Angeles, Denver, and Nashville had to offer, the Sedona, Arizona pair eventually planted themselves here in Austin, where they’ve since gone on to play pretty much every venue within the city limits. And despite a rap sheet that includes opening for Michael McDonald and Devon Gilfillian, landing local grants and national songwriting awards, completing two full-lengths and an EP, and a recent leap into parenthood – The Watters aren’t slowing their flow anytime soon.

No, next Thursday The Watters roll out their third LP Duality, with a release show at Sagebrush 8PM that same evening with Tomar and the FCs and Rent Party. They’ll also be doing their thing out at Utopia 3PM this Saturday if you wanna catch the full band against a gorgeous natural backdrop. Either way, the new tunes off Duality are about to drop like April showers for just in time for a summer-ready, lake-lovin’ playlist. And like the rest of Duality, “Set to Cruise” makes for smooth sailing with channel-deep mixing and ocean-spanning arrangements that favor instrumental virtuosity and group momentum. So cop your captain’s hat, climb aboard, and don’t plan on disembarking anytime soon.

Reyna Tropical: “Sauvecito” (KUTX Live at Scholz Garten)

Don’t you love those unexpected brushes with old chums during South By South West? Sure, for us native Austinites they feel less like chance encounters and more like the inevitable kismet of living in a metropolitan area as small and dense as ours. But there’s still nothing quite like finding an old friend return to their old stomping grounds in top form.

So imagine how it felt upon learning that Fabi Reyna – who we remember from our high school and college days playing in Code Rainbow, The Silver Series, and Patches – was going to come down from Portland for KUTX’s latest Scholz Garten live concert broadcast. Yes, the matriarch of She Shreds herself graced us with Reyna Tropical‘s presence right in between SPRINTS and Hinds back in mid-March. Frankly, Fabi was in high spirits, even after the tragic passing of fellow Reyna Tropical co-founder “Sumohair” Diaz in Fall 2022. But this contrast matches that of Malegría – the near-untranslatable emotion of “bad happiness” and twenty-track debut full-length that landed online last Friday, which has already raked in some impressive streaming numbers.

Well, in getting to Scholz by 10AM that SX Wednesday, la raza y la gente scored a sneak peek at Malegría, and not just the LP’s lead singles. No, they got a better-than-coffee, tastier-than-tequlia concierto brimming with Chicana charm, thanks to exhilarating, en-español renditions like that of “Sauvecito”. Heck, we don’t wanna jinx anything, but we do suspect this might go down as one of those “you had to be there before they blew up” pieces of pre-superstardom magic as Fabi makes her way across the nation with Portugal. The Man and Malegría makes its way across the globe.

The Drake-Future Feud / Sex Appeal

Confucius and Fresh cover the latest rap beef before weighing the importance of sex appeal in the modern era. Hear that, Hip-Hop Facts, Confucius Reads the News, and an Unpopular Opinion on industry politics.

The Reverend Shawn Amos: “It’s All Gonna Change (For the Better)”

Search “reverend” on any streaming platform and you’ll see just how many clergy folk make the most out of their musical passion – and not just in the world of gospel. You’ve got Al Green, Gary Davis, hell we’ll even throw Horton Heat in there. Here in Austin? We don’t get on our knees and pray, because The Reverend Shawn Amos makes us want to get on the dance floor and slay.

Born in the Big Apple to a nightclub singer and a talent agent turned cookie mogul, Amos has been releasing records for nearly three decades – and as “The Reverend” for ten years now. Throughout, his sonic proselytizing through blues, soul, and roots has converted casual listeners into hardcore fans, made clear by Amos’ collective millions of streams. And following the release of last October’s “Revelation” and February’s “Back to the Beginning”, the good Reverend is getting settled into his next set of sermons.

That’s right, the anticipation for Soul Brother No. 1 (out May 3rd) has been building up for months now. The album stacks ten tracks – nine originals and a Sly Stone cover – which we only mention because the LP’s latest, “It’s All Gonna Change (For the Better)” boasts major Family Stone energy, wailing organ, wah guitar, brazen vocals, optimistic outlook and all. To best soak up this groove, we recommend checking out its succulent music video, one that captures that earthly essence of fluid transformation in a really fascinating and satisfying way.

Riders Against the Storm: “Black Girl Payday”

As Women’s History Month comes to a close this Sunday, we assure y’all that we’ll keep featuring the countless talented women of our fair city all year ’round. But March 2024 does end with a unique spectacle this weekend, thanks to a fierce feminine force who’s already left her historic mark on Austin’s steadily diversifying music scene.

And that’s Qi Dada, one half of the husband-and-wife hip-hop duo, Riders Against the Storm, one of KUTX’s very first Studio 1A guests and some of Austin’s most influential socially conscious creators. Following a track record of promoting Black and Brown women’s voices through RAS Day Fest (currently on hiatus) and Body Rock ATX (which has found new legs at Sahara Lounge), Qi Dada’s put something together just for the ladies…well…at least lineup-wise.

That’s right, audiences of all kinds are welcome to join Qi Dada and her handpicked crew for a live concert taping and post-show ceremony – Black Divas – 6:30-8:30PM this Saturday at Austin PBS. It’s all in the name of uplifting motherhood and maternal health, aiming to raise awareness around the rise of maternal death rates in Texas and beyond, so you know your cover fee is going towards a great cause and great music. And although we wish we could spin stuff from the whole roster of performers, we also don’t want to spoil the Black girl magic ahead of the actual event. So instead we’re bending the knee to Austin’s certified queen of the hustle with an oldie-but-goodie Qi Dada solo cut from RAS’ 2021 LP Flowers For the Living. Because with empowering triplet-ripplin’ lyrics and a sassy bass-heavy beat to match, “Black Girl Payday” is the alarm you need to keep from sleeping on Black Divas this Saturday.

James Mastro: “The Face of the Sun”

It’s well-known that we here at KUTX have a soft spot for Alejandro Escovedo – a love affair that’s lasted far longer than we’ve even been a station. So it’s our due diligence to let you know that Señor Escovedo does have a new record entitled Echo Dancing dropping this weekend. That said, we’re not just talkin’ up Al today.

No, we gotta jump in and tip our hat to Escovedo’s returning tour mate, Mr. James Mastro. A fellow pioneer in the early days of punk rock, this singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer’s already had the privilege and pleasure to perform across the globe more times than we can count, including in the company of Patti Smith, Ian Hunter, Judy Collins, and Robert Plant. This year, Mastro’s been riding high off his latest LP Dawn of a New Error, which dropped the final week of February.

Over the next month-plus of national touring, Escovedo and Mastro will likely be playing some of these new tunes in front of a live audience for the very first time. So as the pair escape the clouds and thunderstorms dominating Austin’s forecast for the next fortnight, familiarize yourself with “The Face of the Sun” and all the other cuts off Dawn of a New Error and Echo Dancing with the shared tour kickoff 8PM this Friday at Antone’s.

Nakia: “Thrill-O-Matic”

If you’re already planning out your weekend and want to offset the Sunday scaries with some fresh visuals, consider checking out a three-act bill that coincides with a music video premiere.

The ringleader behind the affair is Nakia, the mononymous grifter of Austin’s vibrant blues scene. With only two records to his name at the time, Nakia started off the 2010s strong as a semi-finalist on The Voice‘s inaugural season. That’s absolutely an accolade worth bragging about, but nothing compares with new content, right? Well, keeping pace with his already-robust post-pandemic output, Nakia’s got some new optics he’s about to drop under the spotlight.

This Sunday Nakia commemorates the music video release for last October’s “Thrill-O-Matic”, a tune that was actually penned right after The Voice‘s finale, demo files long lost to the aether before a recent recovery made it a reality. Doors are at 7PM, Junerise kicks it off at 7:15, Nakia does his thing at 8:15 (your only opportunity to see “Thrill-O-Matic” before it hits the internet on Monday morning) and our June 2023 Artist of the Month Pelvis Wrestley wraps it up a quarter past 9. Until then, vanquish any Tuesday blues with the soul-rockin’, Abbey Road-mastered, Dolby Atmos-mixed mechanics of this Nathaniel Rateliff-esque original.

Giulia Millanta: “I Dance My Way”

Few people are as effervescent about their passions than those from Florence. But we’re not talking about the tiny Texas town about half an hour north of here. No, we mean the Tuscan capital that gave us cultural heavyweights like Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Gucci, Cavalli, and more.Well, in a testament to “you can take the woman out of Italy but you can’t take Italy out of the woman”, Austin multi-hyphenate Giulia Millanta‘s pace of polymath output raises her profile towards that of her legendary Florentine predecessors. She’s a professional chef and a published author. Yet Millanta still finds the time and energy to write and record original music – which doesn’t sound quite as impressive as it truly is until you factor in what all she’s working with: guitar, upright bass, ukulele, plus vocals with lyrics in English, Italian, Spanish, and French. Yeah…Giulia’s the real deal.And this year is set to be another fruitful one for Giulia Millanta’s big batch of crafts; she’s soon set to share a new Italian cookbook – Dinner with Giulia – Flavors, Songs and Stories of a Florentine Troubadour, not to mention her ninth solo full-length, Only Luna Knows on April 19th. And while yes, you can hire Millanta to cook, spin yarns, and sing songs right in your own home, you can also familiarize yourself with this indie folk innovator in some more open settings – 8:30PM this Saturday at The Purple Barn in Wimberley, 7PM next Thursday at Pecha Kucha, 6PM at Guero’s on Wednesday the 17th, and the Only Luna Knows LP release party 6PM on Saturday April 20th at Saxon Pub.So there you have it – a full course of Giulia Millanta concerts to choose from. Now treat yourself to one of Giulia’s three pieces of antipasta from the album. We recommend last Friday’s “I Dance My Way”, since it’s got that ristorante-ready arrangement of piano, electric guitar, double bass, percussion, and vocals – all for that extra zest of Texan + Tuscan twang. Mangia bene.

Start Submitting Music / Another Dame Dash?

With another SXSBreaks in the bag, Confucius and Fresh recommend submitting your stuff for next year’s consideration sooner rather than later. Does hip-hop need another Damon Dash and how much does talent account for success in the current generation? See what the fellas have to say in the latest.

SPRINTS: “Literary Mind” (KUTX Live at Scholz Garten)

The taste-ranging genre gastronomy of our latest Scholz Garten lineup alone made it one for the books. And that A.M. affair simply couldn’t have been complete without SPRINTS. Because…yeah, the pairing of a Dublin four-piece – garage grit, post-punk precociousness, and all – against a full KUTX crowd at one of Texas’ oldest venues was exactly what you’d expect: a pre-St. Paddy’s blast.

SPRINTS just made Letter to Self public this January, and the eclectic, confessional record has already reached millions of streams worldwide – no small feat for any up-and-comers’ big debut. But sudden success clearly hasn’t killed frontwoman Karla Chubb’s of-kilter candor, since she expertly steered her quartet through a mad dash of lyrical honesty and aural adrenaline. SPRINTS heads back to the UK next week, so fingers crossed when they’re planning their next tour, our KUTX-clusive live recording of their show closer, “Literary Mind” preserves the memory and inspires another Austin appearance some time in the future.