Jack Anderson

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.

Sinkane: “How Sweet Is Your Love” (KUTX Live at Scholz Garten)

We’re still recovering from the flood of foreign artists that turned our fair city (and Scholz Garten) into an international exhibition last week. And if that worldwide melting pot of genres is best embodied by any SXSW 2024 performer, multi-instrumentalist Ahmed Gallab definitely makes the short list.

Born in London, Gallab spent a chunk of his childhood in Sudan and the remaining rearing in Ohio. The Buckeye State’s rich punk culture rubbed off on Gallab, whose multi-faceted talents and one-of-a-kind musical perspective led to session work with the likes of Caribou, of Montreal, and Yeasayer. Through his solo focus Sinkane, Gallab was able to refine his kitchen sink of sounds, but a dozen years down the line from their debut record MARS, we haven’t heard a lot of new studio stuff from them on this side of the pandemic.

Well, with the release of Sinkane’s eighth LP We Belong on April 5th, we know exactly what we’ll be sinkin’ our teeth into next month. And that cross-genre sense of acceptance was strong when Sinkane wrapped up our the morning’s live lineup last Friday at Scholz Garten. A shining specimen of modern gospel soul spiced up with that idiosyncratic Sinkane twist, the new album’s second installment, “How Sweet Is Your Love” was a solid standout of their live set. Oh, how sweet it was…

Kassa Overall: “Make My Way Back Home” (KUTX Live at Scholz Garten)

Shoutout to everyone who caught our Scholz Garten live series last week for SXSW, either in person or over the airwaves! But if you didn’t turn out or tune in, don’t fret; we’re taking the next few days to recap some key performances.

Starting off today with Brooklyn’s Kassa Overall. This Grammy nominee is about as expert as it gets when it comes to drumming, yet by stepping behind the mic or into the producer’s chair, Kassa’s not just sequestered to the rhythm section. After landing a real KO on last May’s ANIMALS LP, Kassa Overall came in hot last Thursday at Scholz with his sonic supercollider of jazz and hip-hop.

Starting off at 11AM, the set’s energy was a real pre-noon pick-me-up. Auxiliary percussion, keys, and pair of saxes rounded out these retro arrangements for some truly magical moments, like the band’s rendition of “Make My Way Back Home”. Let’s just hope that Kassa Overall makes their way back to Austin sooner rather than later.

ttt: “The Line” 

Just in the past year alone, there’s been an impressive (and welcome) rise of AAPI representation in Austin’s music scene, chiefly in the sector of R&B/pop/hip-hop. And we’re not just referring to promqueen, francene rouelle, or anyone else in that mHART roster.

No, we’re talking about ttt, pronounced “Triple-T”. Vocalist-songwriter Trung Tran was born in Vietnam and raised in Houston, where the city’s distinct hip-hop character found its way into Tran’s creative course. After soaking up the narrative strategies and verbal styles of heavyweights like Travis Scott, J. Cole, and Kendrick Lamar, Tran first stepped out as ttt at the turn of the pandemic with a few singles leading up to his debut EP See Me Walk that November. Since then he’s kept a steady pace of releases, including the 2021 mixtape Trungo x Chief Rafif and four standalone single collaborations from last year.

That’s all been building up to ttt’s sophomore EP The Line, dropping April 11th. The first lead, “Runaway” came out at the end of February, flaunting a best-of blend between Toro y Moi and Yung Bae. And today ttt’s given us an exclusive first listen to the record’s title track, “The Line”. A sparse, processed breakbeat sets the tempo and Spanish guitar sets the tone for ttt to sprint all the way to “The Line”‘s finish with melodic raps, sung ad-libs, and overall just a great sense of youthful, modern, and urban energy.

Nick Teale: “Half Genius”

We’re not really squealing on ourselves when admitting that we here at KUTX love yacht rock. And given our ties to the university, it’s also no secret that we like to shine the spotlight on UT alum. So today we’re giving y’all the best of both.

We’re talkin’ about singer-songwriter/guitarist Nick Teale, a former longhorn now based out of Louisville. Teale’s proven a steal in terms of widespread appeal, thanks to his zeal for everything from Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson to Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. That said Nick primarily refers to his sound as “indie jazz rock”, further informed and made unique by the sonic treks to Middle Eastern territory Teale began taking in grad school.

This year, Teale’s been putting together a new reel to follow up his 2022 debut Still in LimboGlitterfingers, out this summer. Just like the name suggests, Teale graces every genre on Glitterfingers‘ roster with his Midas touch of talent…and he got really steely for us Dan fans last Friday with the LP’s latest lead single, “Half Genius”. Unconventional Fagen-like vocal intervals, Becker-esque guitar work, unstoppable chord progressions, intricate arrangements and all, “Half Genius” is a no-brainer for any yacht rock playlist.

Polarizado: “Pagan Love Call”

When you operate all the way up until the witching hour, there’s no such thing as bad weather for sunglasses. So if you’re a degenerate lowlight reptile like us, we’ve got the perfect tint for you on the verge of severe thunderstorms this weekend.

We’re talking about Polarizado, the solo songwriting project of Austin producer/multi-instrumentalist Felix Bergman that dates back to 2018. Already a veteran of too many styles to list here, Bergman refers to his style as “Cult Americana”, obscuring all kinds of genre influences behind a thick film of Southern idiosyncrasies. And following a sole studio offering from last year, Bergman’s been busy lately, promising the release of “many singles” over the course of 2024.

Today, ahead of a single release show at Far Out Lounge on March 26th alongside Cobra Cats and The Discount Pills that promise came in like a clarion with “Pagan Love Call”. Like a sonic accompaniment to this Central Texas humidity, there’s no sacrificing the twang in this thang. So embrace the steam and put the remainder of your work week in a death roll, because “Pagan Love Call” is must-play for all kinds of weekend heathens.

Broken Gold: “Bad Days” (feat. Alejandro Escovedo)

Punk is a young person’s game, no doubt. Because while the counterculture spirit, tattoos, and tinnitus stay ’til death, even punk rock pioneers eventually mellow out towards “refined tastes” once they get comfortable on the other side of the hill.

Case in point: Ian MacDougall of The Riverboat Gamblers fame, who first broadened his genre horizons with Broken Gold alongside fellow Gambler Patrick Lillard over a decade and a half back. The offshoot’s initial indie punk prospects shined on their 2011 debut LP Recovery Journal, and have only departed further from the signature RG sound since, most notably on last March’s Live at Paint by Numbers. Well after waiting long enough, Broken Gold’s finally giving us another full-length entry into their studio discography.

Wild Eyes (out May 3rd) strikes gold with mixing from Modest Mouse/White Stripes engineer Stuart Sikes and mastering from twenty-one-time Grammy winner Howie Weinberg, not to mention one hell of a guest appearance. We’re talking about “Bad Days“, a look back to when Riverboat Gamblers were operating full tilt on tour, almost like a generations-later continuation of Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated”. It dropped last Friday and features vocals from KUTX favorite Alejandro Escovedo, who could certainly lean on his formative days with The Nuns for similar inspiration. So as Broken Gold shifts the fuzz pedal into overdrive for SXSW, catch ’em 10:15PM tomorrow night at Valhalla for the Chicken Ranch Records Party and 5:45PM on Sunday at Empire Control Room for Smartpunk House. They’ll both be good nights for sure.

Elle Shimada: “RESOLUTE”

All-day unofficial hangs, boozy activations, and making new friends with your line neighbors are great and all…but for us the biggest joy of SXSW is that fast influx of international acts. Artists who might not ever consider the U.S. Southwest for their previous tours instead flood our city with tons of show options, which always makes staying in Austin this week well worth it.

So we gotta give a big shoutout to Elle Shimada, who, on top of juggling vocals, dance routines, turntables, and several instruments, also has her hands full with in-town appearances over the next few days. The Tokyo-born, Melbourne-based multi-hyphenate has been coming up quick in the Australian underground scene thanks to her infectious flirtations with drum n bass, nu jazz, R&B, electronic, and beyond, not to mention a bold Takashi Miike-esque aesthetic to her releases’ artwork and unwavering allegiance to the dancefloor. And since SXSW is so often a catalyst towards superstardom, this week may turn out to be one of those pivotal leg ups in terms of international exposure.

Elle Shimada plays 4:20PM tomorrow at Empire Control Room, Friday afternoon at Lucille (Australia House), 7:50PM Friday evening at Lefty’s Brick Bar, and wraps it up 8:30PM Saturday night at Shiner’s Saloon…plenty of opportunities to tap into Shimada’s unique pulse in-person. So while a proper introduction to Elle is the quick trip through her discography, Shimada does shimmer supremely on her latest single that dropped at the top of the month. Between sweeping synths, soaring guitar, and a rhythm section that cranks the chillwave vibe up a big notch, “RESOLUTE” is the perfect score for a super-stylized sci-fi crime romance epic, like if one of those massive Blade Runner holograms was swapped out with Shimada’s striking visage and shintai-ascending voice.

Kev Bev: “History Books”

It doesn’t matter whether or not lyrics are written before or after the instrumentation; there’s always room to build contrast between subject matter and sonic character. Like for each individual genuinely troubled by the texts of “Pumped Up Kicks” or “Semi-Charmed Life”, there’s a multitude more who just love what they’re hearing without second guessing the words or inspiration. Which proves you can appeal to the masses based on a great groove alone – without having to sacrifice any lyrical integrity.

That just about tees us up for the new one from Kev Bev. For more than a decade now, multi-instrumentalist/singer-songwriter Kevin Collins has helmed this eponymous Austin thirteen-piece, formerly known as Kev Bev and The Woodland Creatures. This hefty ensemble is about as festive as it gets, thanks to the bevy’s proclivity towards dance, loyalty to the jam (sans genre constraints), and especially their collective grasp of historical musicology.

But Kev Bev’s knowledge of history isn’t limited to sound alone. In fact, they’ve just reflected on the heavy lessons from a poignant chapter in our nation’s past: that of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. And this where the power of positivity comes into play. History Books (the lead single and title track off KB’s next LP) confronts some tough stuff for sure, but balances the abysmal with killer brass, incredible rhythms, slick transitions, and easily accessible choreography, even if you’re in the library. The movement-inducing music video arrived just in time for International Women’s Day, not to mention a pop-up performance 5:45PM this Saturday at Austin City Hall for the Falasteen Street Museum and a record release show 8PM next Friday at ABGB alongside Bali Yaaah. So credit to Kev Bev, ’cause edutainment is rarely this infectious.

KONZI: “Red Velvet Room”

Swapping out lead singers can be risky for established listener-ships, but shaking up your sound can also reap some serious rewards and keep fans on their toes in the best way possible. So while not every band can boast a membership as eclectically talented as that of Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, or The Beatles, a little vocal variety does go a long way. And that’s where Austin quintet KONZI finds themselves today.

KONZI’s been kickin’ it since the start of the pandemic – always with the co-lead vocalists in mind – but only implemented that dream on streaming this morning. Rest assured, the ’90s alternative/turn-of-the-millennium indie style that we heard on KONZI’s eponymous debut last year is well preserved. But there’s no denying the newfound fire from singer Carly Jo Jackson on this new one off KONZI’s upcoming sophomore album.

For a truly proper introduction, face the full-band effect with the music video for “Red Velvet Room”. To say “Red Velvet Room” absolutely rips is a criminal understatement, thanks in no small part to Jackson’s firecracker performance. So if you need a quick rock caffeine pick-me-up, step into “Red Velvet Room” with the volume up to eleven.

SXSW Plans / The Hard Early ’00s

Find out what Confucius, Fresh, and KUTX have coming up for SXSW and decide whether or not Nelly’s first three albums came up in the “hardest’ era. And in between Hip-Hop Facts and Confucius Reads the News, feathers get ruffled with Fresh’s Unpopular Opinion around the recent wave of women in rap.

Wild Heaven: “What You’re Looking For”

We haven’t even hit SXSW yet, but we’re already hearing hype for some freshly-minted, must-know Austin acts. And with another new arrival this morning, our ear drums feel especially touched by an angel.

We’re talking about a four-piece whose fast ascent to their current status requires a bit of quick history. It started off a couple years back as Saturnia Pavonia, the solo outlet for Austin guitarist-singer-songwriter Laura Delarosa. Despite three lifelong multi-instrumentalists (Laura’s lead guitarist husband Josh, drummer Eleanor Lindsey, and bassist Aja Pollock) entering the mix last summer and hurling a pumped up post-punk sound into the stratosphere with their first full band foray “Control”, Delarosa and her disciples have held onto the Saturnia Pavonia handle ever since…until today.

Say hello to Wild Heaven: new name, still untamed. This beastly blessing is plain paradise for that lawless, aggressive ’90s-evocative alt-rock – a real godsend in this hyper-polished era of pristine digital production. How do we know? Well, Wild Heaven just opened up the pearly gates on this iteration’s debut single, “What You’re Looking For”, which is exactly that if you’ve been huntin’ for some recent Riot Grrrl material. Power chords straight out the gate, lyrics dishing out ex hate, and feminine adrenaline all on one plate, “What You’re Looking For” is a dish best served loudly. Catch ’em in person 10PM this Saturday at Vaquero Taquero downtown or 1PM this Sunday at Buzz Mill!

Ana Zae: “Lifted”

Over the past two months alone we’ve seen some pretty promising new names emerge from the Austin area, even if the artists behind the project have been in plain sight for some time.

Take for example longtime live scene veteran Ana Zae, whose prior solo iteration Liza Day (Rose) first popped up in August 2020 with six soulful self-recorded originals. Heavy on the multi-tracked vocal harmonies but angled towards acoustic authenticity, those tunes told us everything we needed to know about this mature music-maker; she had the stuff.

Fast forward to this February, when the singer-guitarist rolled out her rebrand as Ana Zae with two stellar singles. Thanks to Black Pumas collaborator Will Grantham engineering and producing the pair, Ana’s sound has undeniably leveled up from the humble, stripped-down home studio aesthetic of her antecedent. Between a previously unheard one (“Set Me Free”) and “Lifted” (lifted from her Liza Day debut Roses and Waves), this two-part reintroduction channels the waltzy rhythms and sultry chord changes of classic Patsy Cline through the lens of golden era grunge electric guitar, both of them teetering with triplets, love-hungry lyrics, and a set of pipes that put more than plenty to shame. And with a full album reportedly on the way from Ana Zae, our fandom stands to stay unfazed.

Scott H. Biram: “No Man’s Land”

Once you hit your third or fourth full-length, you’re established. By album seven or eight you’re a heavyweight. But when your discography reaches its teens, the list of contemporaries to compare to starts running thin…and that’s the position Scott H. Biram is about to enter.

With a catalogue reaching back to the turn of the millennium, this Austin singer-guitarist has officially been in the game for a quarter century, and two decades removed from a pivotal brush with death. Biram’s is the type of music that could really only stem from Texas, with a gratuitous amount of southern grit ingrained in his exploration of blues, punk rock, and beyond. And his streaming numbers are certainly nothing to scoff at.

Recently, rockin’ the Fu Manchu mustache, gold tooth, and all, Scott’s gotten caught up in recapturing the lo-fi charm of his earlier installations, a wager he’ll make good on with his thirteenth full-length The One & Only Scott H. Biram, out March 29th. Based on the record’s first three singles (including this morning’s No Man’s Land) we definitely feel greeted back to that grizzled territory like a musty junkyard mutt crawling back inside a rusty jalopy frame. The shitkickers will love it, but that doesn’t neglect the uncouth sophistication of these new, idiosyncratic compositions. Rock on, Scott. Rock on.