Song of the Day

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May 29, 2024

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

By: Jack Anderson

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 are a great opportunity to breath new life into a piece and reach new listeners with just the right amount of crossover appeal…think “Walk this Way” by Run-D.M.C.. Heck, even if it is pretty much the same song, a fresh set of polish, a literal re-mix, can make an old tune sound new.

If you’re already hip to remix culture, you know it started around in the Dance Halls of ’60s-’70s Jamaica, where DJs stripped and rebuilt reggae, rocksteady, and ska to cater to different audience demographics. And reggae – where the riddim reigns supreme and formal covers are often lost in the id of universally accessible dub bass lines, timbale fills, and guitar skanks – is undeniably an extremely underrepresented arena here in Central Texas. But if there’s one act who just keeps on roaring strong, it’s Austin-via-Chicago four-piece Lion Heights. And of course they’ve incorporated a few other Caribbean-inspired cubs into their pride, including fellow Texas-via-Jamaica reggae purveyor Sean Austin, who they teamed up with on last September’s “Jah Love” (off Lion Heights’ Not Done Fighting Riddim album), 2020’s “One Love”, plus Christmas 2021’s “Same Girl” and “Mercy” (both from Austin’s Purple Hearts LP).

“Mercy”‘s an amazing track, but its relatively lo-fidelity mix leaves the rest of the song quality at the mercy of the listener. Thankfully though, Lion Heights bassist/engineer extraordinaire Dane Foltin worked his magic on “Mercy” to bring it up to snuff with a Tuff Gong mix just in time for a steamy summer. You can hear the difference right away; there’s a newfound clarity and the sense of space is now island-wide, like a long overcast sky suddenly becoming sunny and spotless. Not much more to say other than we love this song, and we’re thrilled to hear it finally get the high-fidelity treatment it’s always deserved.


Episodes

June 21, 2024

Fogwood: “The Mystic Valley”

Yesterday was the summer solstice, not that you’d be able to tell with how grey and rainy it was. So to complement this week’s inclement weather, we’re getting a little foggy this Friday. And that’s on behalf of Fogwood. Down to three members from the original four we heard on Fogwood’s eponymous 2022 debut, this […]

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June 20, 2024

Subpar Snatch: “Juicy Booty”

In the casual hookup community, even lovers with the highest body counts (especially those outside cis-hetero norms) might agree; it’s not size, shape, presence, or lack of specific anatomical features that make the biggest impression after the act. No, the quality of your “bits” may actually come second to a sense of enthusiasm when turning […]

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June 19, 2024

Daniel Fears: “Home” (Live from the Draylon Mason Music Studio)

Happy Juneteenth! While it’s now a national holiday, it’s always been a celebration here in Texas, where historically Black hubs like Houston were notified of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil War’s end later than the rest of the states. And it’s Houston that gave us our July 2021 Artist of the Month Daniel Fears. […]

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June 18, 2024

Luke Smith: “Jimmy”

We’re right at Pride Month’s midpoint, so just as a refresher: no matter how you identify, be proud of yourself! At the same time, it’s worth acknowledging our place in a progressive city, a quarter century into the 21st, because not every Queer person’s been blessed with those privileges; more often than not, it’s a […]

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June 17, 2024

Alexi 8bit: “You Don’t Have to Be Alone Anymore”

In the world of singers, acting cutesy doesn’t necessarily negate sophistication. Like, we’ve seen a lot of success in going north of mere infantile novelty and co-opting that puppy love naivety in a way that’s accessible to all age groups. And while we can point to a major movement of such with jazz-pop hits from […]

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June 14, 2024

Molecular Steve: “Wolfman”

Depending on who you ask – a coworker, a friend, or a family member – they’ll all have slightly different takes on your “character” based on previous interactions and observations. But what about those parts of our identities that never reach the surface? Those personality traits that stay buried deep within us? Well, we won’t […]

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June 12, 2024

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

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 […]

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June 11, 2024

Mark Hallman: “Bright Star”

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 […]

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