austin music

Zach Person: “Can’t Stop Running”

Just one year after appearing on American Idol (and earning high praise from Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez), Houston-born songwriter Zach Person made the move to Austin, but in those short four years he’s become a must-hear contributor to the Live Music Capital. Person’s chord skills, both on the six-string and with his voice box, are already bold beyond belief, but we have a feeling this is just the beginning for this budding artist, who’s effortlessly able to navigate between all the alcoves of rock, from indie to blues.

Person shared his self-titled EP last year and follows it up with his eponymous full-length in just under a month. Zach Person drops on April 2nd, coinciding with a socially-distanced release show at Empire Control Room so the momentum’s only going to mount until then. Fortunately for us, Person’s got plenty of goodies to tide us over in the meantime, most recently with the BlackDenim Sessions music video for Zach’s latest track, “Can’t Stop Running”!

Dorio: “Robot Friends”

For many musicians natural, acoustic, and/or analog is the sole way to go. But Austin songwriter-producer Chad Doriocourt couldn’t feel more at home in a room filled with electronic instruments, all with somewhat pre-programmed minds of their own.

Last year Doriocourt made his studio debut under the abbreviated mononym Dorio with Yesterday The Sky Was Blue, and today, almost exactly one year later, his sophomore installation under the abbreviated mononym is finally out! The four tracks on Dorio’s Robot Friends work together like cogs, giving the EP a nice sense of pacing, but there’s no denying that the standout single is the indie-psych-pop album opener and (near) title track, “Robot Friends”!

J Halp: “I Can’t Live Without You”

In the “before times” of live music, it was pretty hard to miss common collaborators across various groups. And perhaps the most “traded” player of all (at least in recent years) has been drummer Josh Halpern. Stellar percussion skills aside, this Native Austinite is also quite the competent composer, as evidenced by his solo project J Halp.

J Halp made his debut last June with his first single, revealing more of Halpern’s vocal abilities that’d been historically masked by frontmen, not to mention an impressive sense of compactness, arrangement, and production across July’s Ahlen EP. On Valentine’s Day J Halp continued his saga of solo songwriting with a new standalone single, one that cradles between psychedelia, breakbeats, and lighthearted pop, “I Can’t Live Without You”!

Mobley: “Dreams of Empire”

If you’ve kept KUTX company the past half decade then you’re well acquainted with Mobley. We named Mobley our Artist of the Month back in April 2018 and since then this multi-instrumentalist/producer has only seemed to get better and better at his craft.

Mobley’s outspoken political stances have kept up alongside the evolution of his songwriting, heard most recently on his new EP, Young & Dying in the Occident SupremeYoung & Dying dropped last Friday and Mobley kicks off his Devil in a Daydream virtual tour tomorrow. So enjoy Mobley in the comfort of your home when you can, and sift through the six cylinders on Young & Dying to find some new tunes for your playlists, like my personal favorite, “Dreams of Empire”.

ricface: “Silhouettes” (feat. RuDi Devino)

Born in San Antonio and raised on a mix of ’70s folk and ’80s synth-rock, Austin multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/producer Eric Wendt has kicked off 2021 with the advent of his solo project, ricface. Wendt’s style connects the dots between Phoenix, Toro Y Moi, and Tame Impala, culminating in a driving, psychedelic experience that lasts only as long as it needs to without overstaying its welcome.

ricface just dropped his sophomore single a couple days ago, but we can’t overlook the daring original released last month, featuring rapper RuDi Devino and a music video to top it all off for ricface’s debut, “Silhouettes”!

Sunscreen: “Call Off Your Goons”

The name Miles Kelley might not trigger any memories right away, but if you connect the dots, Miles is at the helm of The Hermits and was, even earlier, the eponymous frontman of Milezo. This kooky character’s kept a consistent creative output over the years, and though you can’t find too much from his alt-psych-rock project, Sunscreen, as of yet, we guarantee it’ll radiate with you.

The already-scruffy Kelley gets extra fuzzy on Sunscreen’s latest single, “Call Off Your Goons”, whose mellow mood gives Mac DeMarco a run for his money.

Music and Activism with Jonathan “Chaka” Mahone

Jonathan “Chaka” Mahone from the Austin hip-hop duo Riders Against the Storm talks about how his experience as a Black musician in the Austin music community led him to create the DAWA Fund and the Black Live Music Fund. He also explains why his music is the reason he is able to continue to serve the community he loves.

Pause/Play: Episode 10

Links:

DAWA

Black Live Music Fund

To Support the Black Live Music Fund

Black Live Music Fund – “Thankful” Live Stream Event February 19th

Riders Against the Storm

Chaka’s Speech — It’s time for a Black Live Music Fund 

Pelvis Wrestley: “Horse Dreams”

When it comes to reshaping myths of the modern South, nobody really does it better than Austin’s Benjamin Violet and his glam-country group Pelvis Wrestley. Pelvis Wrestley released their biggest piece of revisionism to date last September with the sprawling LP Vortexas Vorever, but Violet’s queer reimagining of the Lone Star State is far from over.

Pelvis Wrestley pitched in a couple new singles for Austin Music Foundation’s ATX Gen Next: Adventures in Lockdown, whose second “side” drops this Friday, and those you’ll have to hitch your anticipation til then, you can get into the equestrian mindset with “Horse Dreams”!

Christine Renner: “Drown”

Enjoying 2021 at the tender age of 21, singer-guitarist Christine Renner has graduated from her teenage diary onto passionate pop-rock lyricism. The native Austinite’s managed to build a bridge between the stimulating instrumental arrangements of classic rock and the romantic-minded content of modern pop, forming Renner’s unique brand of retro-inspired originals.

This year you can expect the release of Renner’s fourth record, Heartbreaker, produced and recorded by Grammy Nominee Chris “Frenchie” Smith at The Bubble Studios. So while Heartbreaker crests over the horizon, submerge yourself into an ’80s aesthetic with the album’s lead single (and music video) that reckons with self-imposed isolation, “Drown”!

The Brain: “So They Say” (prod. Ruler Why) [PREMIERE]

Any hardcore hip-hop expert in Austin ought to remember the name SubKulture Patriots, the fearless five-piece whose ’90s-style beats and rapid-fire lyrical exchanges gave Wu-Tang Clan and Boot Camp Clik a run for their money during their 2010s heyday. SKP’s been laying low recently, but founding mastermind Brian Tanton AKA The Brain isn’t letting a little kenopsia get in the way of his craft.

The native Texan  began experimenting with guitar and piano at a young age before graduating to hip-hop production and writing rhymes, but those early essentials have stayed close to The Brain as he’s continued to develop his unconventional, spasmodic flow. Now at the turn of a decade, The Brain is cued up to release his debut solo album, The Epidemic, on April 20th, produced entirely by longtime SubKult collaborator Ruler Why. The rhymes are remarkable, the references are extraterrestrial, and the beats are so fresh you’ll get stuff like the Gregorian chants on “So They Say” stuck in your head again and again.

TV Temple: “I’m Not Like That”

Developing a new style isn’t as simple as changing the channel, but drummer Emma Berrigan and guitarist Ben Root clearly had something figured out when they repurposed their co-op’s DIY home theater, the TV Temple, into an ad-hoc rehearsal space. The Austin duo’s indie-adjacent sound has only prospered since 2018, evolving from an ambitious eight-track of demos into the polished product that Root and Berrigan (who share both vocal and songwriting duties) have deemed, “beach-alt”.

A heady balance between upbeat and breezy, TV Temple premiered their sandy psychedelia last Sunday with their first fully-fleshed out studio single, “I’m Not Like That”. The tide is high for beach-alt, and today’s newly-released video for “I’m Not Like That” is sure to make some big waves for your Wednesday.

Aubrey Hays: “I Wanna See This Through”

It’s only Day Two of February but we’re already knee deep into our collaboration with Austin Music Foundation for Love Austin Music Month, continuing today with multi-instrumentalist Aubrey Hays. You might not be able to find much from Hays online right now, but you can still gather how gifted this singer-guitarist is just from the skills heard on her sole Spotify single, “Isn’t It Enough”.

Toting a dynamic that’s both delicate and assertive, Aubrey Hays is set to release a new standalone single this Friday but you can hear it a couple days early on the first half of AMF’s ATX Gen Next: Adventures in Lockdown with the incandescent indie rocker, “I Wanna See This Through”!

Deezie Brown: “Billy White Shoes”

It’s officially February, putting us at a lovely junction of both Black History Month and Love Austin Music Month. In celebration of the latter, KUTX has partnered up with the Austin Music Foundation to help shine the spotlight on five rising Austin artists, starting today with Bastrop-born hip-hop heavyweight Deezie Brown.

Filling out the pocket between Southern Hip-Hop and Funk, Brown’s been propelling his standing in the local scene and beyond with each new single and began making some of his biggest impacts after the 2018 album, Judith. Deezie Brown’s got his sophomore record coming set for release this summer, and finds himself in good company on Austin Music Foundation’s new two-part compilation, ATX Gen Next: Adventures in Lockdown, making an unforgettable first impression for listeners (be they new or returning) on Side A with “Billy White Shoes”!

Mr Hymn: “Magnolia”

The name Dominic Sena may not ring any bells right off the bat, but if you’re on the prowl for some tantalizing dream pop, his solo project Mr. Hymn definitely preaches to that choir. Though the multi-instrumentalist has been releasing material under this handle since the mid-2010s, Mr. Hymn’s managed to avoid any sort of litany with his growing artistry, instead challenging the institutions of the dream pop genre itself with each new single.

Mr. Hymn’s latest came today with one of his strongest songs to date, and between the tune, its music video, and a live performance 8PM tonight at Far Out Lounge, “Magnolia” might just be the best thing to prep you for a chill weekend.

Nané: “Ladybird” (KUTX Social Distancing Pop-Up)

If you’ve kept up with us in the past month then you’re no stranger to the name Nané. Initially designed as a duo on the UT Campus back in 2016, the group’s since evolved into a quintet, whose R&B-soul-soaked indie rock has earned them the spot as our January 2021 Artist of the Month.

Nané recently released their eponymous debut full-length, thereby starting off 2021 on an extremely positive note. The band seems like they’re just now hitting their stride, be it in-studio or out and about (safely), making it the perfect time in their career to record a Social Distancing Pop-Up video with us. Add this exclusive version of “Ladybird” to your library and enjoy Nané performing as a trio in the song’s visual counterpart on KUTX.org, filmed at The Goose on Lime Creek in Leander!

Beth Lee: “I Won’t Give In” [PREMIERE]

Depending on what kind of person you are, news about breakups can either be tremendous or devastating. And though we were definitely fans of Austin’s Beth Lee & The Breakups going back to their 2013 LP One More Time Again, we’re eager to see how the eponymous frontwoman handles herself in this new chapter as Beth Lee.

Lee’s deeply personal lyricism and powerful vocal presence haven’t diminished one bit since The Breakups last album in 2016, and at just shy of a dozen new tracks, Beth Lee continues to push the envelope of her artistry on the upcoming full-length Waiting On You Tonight. Recorded in California and produced by Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express drummer Vicente Rodriguez, Waiting On You Tonight brings a whole new layer of Lee’s talent to her expansive take on alternative rock, with languid tempos, subtle percussion, melancholy chord progressions, and of course, some stellar vocal performances. True to its title, you’ll still have to do some waiting for Waiting On You Tonight, but today you can get an exclusive first listen to the record’s fourth single, “I Won’t Give In”!

Was Lil Wayne Right?

This week on The Breaks:

  • Hosts Confucius and Fresh discuss former President Trump’s pardon of Lil Wanye, and ask whether the rapper was right to support Trump during the election.
  • Both hosts talk how Lil’ Flip might fare if he did a Verzuz with T.I.
  • Confucius and Fresh interview Austin based producer and DJ Mason Flynt about the closing of Music Lab and his thoughts on how to improve Austin’s hip-hop scene.
  • In this week’s installment of Random Hip-Hop facts the hosts talk about the beef between Cash Money and No Limit, the issue that Nas had with Biggie and more.

You can hear the latest full broadcast of The Breaks Saturday night show.

Sunroom Sounds: “The Drive”

After a long, cloudy weekend, we could all stand to photosynthesize. And who better to help us soak up those rays than Austin multi-instrumentalist Ryan Black and his six-piece Sunroom Sounds?

Between Black’s lyrics that analyze the way people interact with one another and the group’s atmospheric instrumentation, Sunroom Sounds is set to be a luminous staple on the horizon. Keep an ear out for Sunroom Sounds’ first full-length, and let yourself drift in neutral before locking into gear for the work week with the band’s debut single (and music video), “The Drive”!

Indoor Creature: “American Dream” [PREMIERE]

Almost a full year after COVID-19 shut us all into quarantine, we’ve all become somewhat of adjusted to a largely-interior lifestyle. But if there’s one Austin group that’s sure to stave off cabin fever (even in the name alone), it’s Indoor Creature. What started off as a duo in 2015 has evolved into a slick six-piece, whose jazz-inspired indie-pop sound has continued to expand with each passing season.

Indoor Creature is set to share their third full-length, Living in Darkness, in May, and after a long first month of hefty politics, the band’s re-aligning their prospects for 2021 with the album’s infectiously chill lead single, “American Dream”!

The Watters: “Déjà Vu”

Partners in marriage, parenthood, and music, Daniel and Jenna Watters’ shared energy seems to keep pushing the quality of their songwriting higher and higher. With each new release, The Watters submerge themselves deeper into the soul sound, and you can definitely hear that over the two short years between their 2016 debut LP Great Unknown and their 2018 eponymous full-length. But as we all know, good things come in threes…

After adjusting to their newfound life as parents, The Watters recruited some top notch players including a four-piece horn section for their latest album, recorded back in 2019. Intuition drops this weekend and The Watters perform 8:30pm Saturday night at Far Out Lounge along with Curtis Lee. That prospect of leaving your home to go see live music might bring some memories flooding back, which is actually fairly appropriate given the title of today’s feature (on Jenna’s birthday, no less), “Déjà Vu”!