Song of the Day

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December 9, 2022

Nina Hagen: “Open My Heart (Dinner Time)”

By: Jack Anderson

Often with this feature we have to spell out the origin story for a young up-and-comer. Today? Not the case. That’s ’cause we’re talking about East Berlin-born New Wave & Punk trendsetter Nina Hagen. Despite bitter Cold War tensions, Hagen, with her operatic pipes and distinctive visual statements, instantly exploded with her backing band’s eponymous 1978 debut. After going solo in ’82, Hagen’s oddball aura, dolled-up wardrobe, and near-cartoonish makeup have helped her to become a powerful counterculture icon worldwide.

Strictly discussing studio output, Hagen’s prolific as hell; before this year she had sixteen LPs, two EPs, two live albums, fourteen compilations, and one original soundtrack album under her snappy elastic belt. But in light of Hagen’s undeniable legacy, we haven’t heard anything new since 2011’s Volksbeat.

That all changed this morning. Breaking a decade of studio silence, Nina Hagen just released her fourteenth solo record Unity. At a dozen tracks, Unity brings together nine new originals (including a duet with Boomtown Rats frontman Bob Geldof as well as a George Clinton feature) plus three inventive covers (of Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan, and Merle Travis). As is tradition in Hagen’s work, Unity does have somewhat of a political agenda. However, there are also several songs that are just plain fun and wacky. Case in point, Unity‘s penultimate offering “Open My Heart (Dinner Time)”. Between a trip-hop-esque breakbeat, chopped and pitch-shifted vocal samples, and elegant harp glissandos, “Open My Heart”, would have 100% blown the minds of ’81-era Tom Tom Club and well beyond…my own rattled noggin included.


Episodes

June 3, 2024

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

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 […]

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May 31, 2024

lluvii: “Up All Night”

As one of the southernmost states to neighbor Latin America, it’s no big surprise that Texas is home to loads of great Latin music. But what really catches us off guard is the abundance of infectious Afrobeat energy right here in Austin. And if we put Latin Psych on the same spectrum as Afrobeat, you […]

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May 29, 2024

Babe & The Crystals: “The Way You Love Me”

Sometimes all you need to reignite a long dormant project is just revamping the name. Well…that and maybe a brush with death for good measure. At least that’s what recently rekindled the creativity for Nashville four-piece Babe & The Crystals, who first started out a decade back under the handle Kid Freud. Kid Freud called […]

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May 29, 2024

Sean Austin: “Mercy” (Remix) (feat. Lion Heights)

The rapid rate of single rollouts in hip-hop have really made us take remixes for granted. Because when it’s as simple as revisiting the beat, rewriting a verse, and inviting in a few new voices, “I like the remix better” becomes a given with pretty much any commercial success. Which is a shame, since remixes […]

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May 28, 2024

Lavender Scare: “I Hate Saturdays”

Pride Month kicks off in just a few days, and to help you celebrate in style, we’re swirling the colors with a rising Queer project. And that’s Lavender Scare, whose midcentury reference of a band handle alone tips you off to their championing of LGBTQ identities. Chief songwriter Ruby Del Mar commands the quartet with […]

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May 27, 2024

Cara Van Thorn: “Rage”

Lookin’ to rage this Memorial Day? Well we’ve got something that you might not’ve expected but’ll definitely do the trick. And that’s in reference to Austin’s Cara Van Thorn, initially born from Donkey Island ex-pats Adam Donovan and Carrie Stephens who continue to spearhead what is now a six-person wagon train. Since Fall 2019, this […]

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May 24, 2024

The Cuckoos: “Dirty Pictures”

If you mainly draw inspiration from older generations, after taking a lengthy break, you may find that the needle on your tastes has moved forward in time too. At least that’s what we’re seeing unfold with Austin project The Cuckoos. Ostensibly the one-man band (who also operates as a four-piece) of flock leader/multi-instrumentalist/songwriter/producer Ken Frost, […]

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May 23, 2024

Grandma Mousey: “When I’m Not There”

Ever since we first caught sight of them in 2022, we’ve continued to make room for Grandma Mousey in our wheelhouse, even after their initial nest expanded from three members to five. Yeah, Granny M’s grown on us so much over the past couple of years, that we don’t mind ratting on their talent again […]

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