austin music

Slomo Drags: “Pepsi Cola Addict”

Big news from Austin’s Slomo Drags this morning; the indie-glam-pop-rock group just announced their new EP, Twin Absorber. The record is co-produced by Danny Reisch (whose work has helped elevate the likes of fellow Studio 1A veterans Shearwater, Bright Light Social Hour, Tele Novella, and Erika Wennerstrom) and Quiet Company contributor Matt Parmenter, so you know Twin Absorber‘s gonna come out of its womb in optimal shape.

Twin Absorber drops next Spring, and today you can indulge in life’s more saccharine, caffeinated substances for an extra sparkly start to your weekend with the album’s bubbly lead single, “Pepsi Cola Addict”!

Nané: “Seventeen”

You may recall Nané from when we named them our Artist of the Month this January, or from their debut single “Always On My Mind”, which dropped late last year but quickly earned a rotation spot on our airwaves. The Austin group’s just hit their half-decade mark, and has markedly stepped up their groove-based rock-R&B style in the process.

Hear for yourself by catching these My KUTX veterans 8PM this Saturday at Scoot Inn or by rocking out to their latest single (and outlandish music video) in your own comfortable space. Whatever the case may be, the visual spectacle and driving arrangement of “Seventeen” make it a track you won’t soon forget.

Nakia: “Dream Big”

If you’re a longtime listener of KUTX, then you probably agree that Austin’s Nakia has historically been a bit of staple on our airwaves. The fourtime Studio 1A veteran and two-time My KUTX host has been shaping his soulful style of blues rock for the past decade, and has recently dug up something from around his Season One appearance on The Voice.

“Dream Big” is a wonderfully inspiring document from the earlier annals of Nakia’s career, fully fleshed out from its demo condition and now sealed with reverb-laden polish for our enjoyment in 2021. “Dream Big” dropped last Friday, so go ahead invite some lofty aspirations into your mindset with Nakia’s new single and music video.

Yes Sir, No Sir: “Bright White Light”

This is far from their crowning achievement but if there’s one band here in Austin that makes you sound like Marcie from Peanuts when saying their name, it’s Yes Sir, No Sir. These four Live Music Capital veterans have been palling around town for a long time but only inaugurated Yes Sir, No Sir within the past year.

Engineered by Spoon collaborator Matt Gerhard, Yes Sir, No Sir’s debut album Bright White Light illuminates a sound somewhere between modern-indie, pre-millennium alt-rock, and mid-century-rock-and-roll, all in an easily digestible package. But the record’s title track is perhaps best experienced through its night drive-friendly music video, “Bright White Light“!

BLK ODYSSY: “Hang Low” (KUTX Live)

The name BLK ODYSSY might seem a bit grandiose on first glance, but a quick listen to their recent material justifies the epic magnificence of their sound. While D’Angelo & The Vanguard maintains a naming convention that touts their frontman’s saga, singer Sam Houston has graciously allowed his own name to go by the wayside as the “feature” of BLK ODYSSY and allowed his breathtaking vocals (almost reminiscent of post-Impressions Curtis Mayfield) to mesh effortlessly within a more traditional “band” framework.

Nonetheless, our August 2021 Artist of the Month‘s new record BLK Vintage could definitely make for a good pairing with Black Messiah, offering up a slick mix of modern jazz-psych-soul and seductive funk-R&B. You can catch BLK ODYSSY’s My KUTX session tomorrow night at 6PM and enjoy the grainy visuals of a three-song set below, taped just for KUTX at 512 Studios. The intimate performance (complete with a scarf-wrapped mic stand and plenty of stank face) opens with a previously unheard demo (“Gangster of Love” – that already packs a ton of potential) and KUTX rotation favorite “Funkentology”, but with Texas summer keeping the sun high and the heat in close company, the belle of the ball may just be “Hang Low”.

Rett Smith: “Pick Up The Pieces”

West Texas native Rett Smith may have spent some time in Nashville and New York, but its only after settling down in our lovely southern metropolis that he’s returned to his full Americana potential. Smith shared his grizzled and grim southern-folk-rock sound last year with the nine-track debut record Giving Up On Quitting, and has recently announced his upcoming sophomore LP, What The Walls Cannot See.

Produced by Jason Burt (who’s worked with Paul Cauthen, Leon Bridges, and Khruangbin) and mixed by Erykah Badu engineer Tom Soares, What The Walls Cannot See is set to be Smith’s most refined offering yet. What The Walls Cannot See drops October 15th and today Rett Smith has shared its latest single and music video (shot in a single take at Arlyn Studios), both of which’ll captivate you right off the bat with its brooding, sweet-but-sinister style, “Pick Up The Pieces”!

Ruel Thomas: “Waited to Say”

Like many who hadn’t quite yet tapped into their full potential, Austin native Ruel Thomas didn’t flesh out his inner musician until he spent some time away from home. While living in Australia, Thomas soaked up the folky formulas of Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, and Paul McCartney while shaping his own indie-adjacent sound on guitar (both electric and acoustic), vocals, and harmonica.

Now that Thomas is back in the Live Music Capital and playing gigs when he can (including one on the 28th at Fitzhugh Brewing), he’s been masterminding his debut album, due out this winter. But you don’t even hold off til the first day of fall to check out Ruel Thomas’ haunting vocals and accessible-yet-unique rock on with his most confident composition (and music video) yet, “Waited to Say”!

Intercom Heights: “Fascinated”

During the heyday of Seattle’s grunge scene singer-guitarist Harris Thurmond was a key player in groups like Hammerbox, Orbiter, and Sanford Arms, and has called Austin his home for the past decade and a half. Following that relocation, Thurmond became a major contributor for Austin outfit New Roman Times, but even though they called it quits after three albums, Thurmond had discovered an indelible chemistry between himself and fellow New Roman Times alum, singer-bassist Josie Fluri.

8Fluri and Thurmond expressed a mutual interest in pursuing a new project, and with the recruitment of Black Books synth-keyboardist Meg Bernhard, Intercom Heights came to fruition. The trio’s psych-pop-meets-shoegaze style bridges the difference between M83 and The National, and their debut album Night Measures was mixed by Spoon’s Jim Eno. You can size up Night Measures in full when it drops on September 10th, but with a full month to go, you’d better keep your interest piqued with the record’s latest single, “Fascinated”!

Half Dream: “I Am My Own God”

Concerning artists who amp up the anticipation with an enticing name, Austin four-piece Half Dream is definitely a group who lives up to the expectations of their handle. The quartet walks a mesmerizing tightrope between ethereal shoegaze arrangements and grounded folk songwriting, spearheaded by fronting vocalist-guitarist Paige Renee Berry.

Half Dream shared their debut album Monster of Needing last October and cast their latest spell this morning. Get lucid with Half Dream when they perform 10pm tonight at Far Out Lounge for the single release show (along with The Hermits and Glasshealer) and even if you you plan on staying inside because of grey skies, you can still bask in the brooding nature of “I Am My Own God”!

Anastasia Hera: “Ceiling”

Regardless of which city you live in, the ubiquity of home studios and social media has made the R&B market incredibly competitive. But Austin native Anastasia Hera seems to thrive off of that energy, growing bonds in her local community while excelling at her half-rapped/half-sung style, and opening for the likes of Dead Prez, GZA and Raekwon of Wu-Tang Clan, Boosie, and Geto Boys’ Scarface. During the mononymous portion of her career, Anastasia dropped by Studio 1A to promote her women-empowering non-profit CAKE, right around the same time she released her remarkable 2016 album of the same name.

Since then, Hera’s brought even harder-hitting performances to the table, heard most recently in May on This Is Anastasia, and EP that showcases both ferocity, tenderness, and everything in between. Last weekend Anastasia Hera got a chance to celebrate that EP release (and her birthday) at Geraldine’s, and we have a feeling she’s on a fast track to become an international superstar, thanks to her charismatic confidence on tracks like “Ceiling”!

The Belle Sounds: “All About Love”

Austin has its fair share of synth pop acts but arguably the belle of the ball in terms of output is…well…The Belle Sounds. The brainchild of songwriting spouses Noëlle Hampton (vocals) and André Moran (guitar) premiered in 2013 with their eponymous debut LP, and has since grown into a quintet with an impressive work ethic, especially given their 2020 one-single-per-month endeavor Stay Alive.

And though the pandemic situation is once again in flux, these Studio 1A veterans are nevertheless refreshed after some time off but are keeping well within in the retro realm of Stay Alive. Their new EP All About Love dissolves that time capsule into a modern recounting of those bold ’70s/’80s production formulas and you can skate right into it on release day, August 20th. That said, The Belle Sounds just issued the EP’s title track (with a music video on its way), recapturing the passion of golden-era synth-pop on “All About Love”!

Daniel Fears: “Windows” (KUTX Pop-Up)

Though his auspicious solo career’s only just begun, Austin-via-Houston producer/trombonist/vocalist Daniel Fears has already shown a real knack for wedding sound with image. As the only R&B singer we can recall who looks like they designed their wardrobe at a military surplus store, Fears (with his signature drab jumpsuit equipped) released his debut EP/visual album Canopy last October, and better late than never, earned him the distinction of our July 2021 Artist of the Month.

Defying any implications of his surname, Fears’ compositions are courageous to say the least, and yet he’s continued to shed any of the pretentiousness you might expect from an artist of his caliber. Daniel Fear plays tomorrow evening at Malverde, hosts My KUTX this Saturday, and graces us today with glimpse into his intimate performance style with one of Canopy‘s lushest originals, “Windows”!

What’s Changed for Musicians?

We talk to musicians about what’s changed for them at this stage of the pandemic. You’ll learn what they’re doing differently creatively and with their businesses and how they’re feeling overall about the constantly changing Austin music landscape.

In this episode you’ll hear from

Jay Wile
Sara Houser
Jon Fichter from Sweet Spirit and Hong King Wigs
Caleb de Casper
Rene Chavez
Stephanie Bergara from Bidi Bidi Banda
Tee Double

Hip-hop artist Tee-Double is pictured in his home studio on July 15, 2021, in Austin. Michael Minasi/KUTX
Caleb De Casper is pictured at the Steinway Piano Gallery on July 19, 2021, in Austin. Michael Minasi/KUTX

 

 

White Denim: “Crystal Bullets”

Along with Spoon and Shakey Graves, White Denim is arguably one of Austin’s most recognizable offspring. The locally-dyed four-piece has continued to spin their refreshingly unique cuts of rock since their 2008 debut Workout Holiday, taking the finest yarns of blues, jazz, prog, punk, and dub and weaving them into extremely catchy, non-traditional songs. We named White Denim our March 2016 Artist of the Month, right around the same time they released their seventh LP Stiff, and the subsequent use of their single “Ha Ha Ha Ha Yeah” in Nintendo Switch’s reveal trailer invited these Studio 1A veterans into the international zeitgeist.

Last year’s World as a Waiting Room marked album number ten in White Denim‘s discography, and yet, the group had never issued a 12-inch…until now. This Friday White Denim drops Crystal Bullets/King Tears, issued on limited edition red & blue vinyl, something that complements the delightful polarity of White Denim’s genre influences, best heard on the record’s psych-rock-meets-rhythm-and-blues A-side, “Crystal Bullets”!

Black Pistol Fire: “Look Alive”

Though Austin’s never quite been corralled into any singular sound in the past couple decades, you’d probably expect a fair amount of Southern rock from the Lone Star State’s capital. That’s where Black Pistol Fire comes in. Kevin McKeown and Eric Owen’s lifelong friendship began in a North Toronto kindergarten class and graduated into a musical partnership by the time they were in high school. But despite their non-native status to Texas, their name alone seems like a litmus test to detect Southern drawls, (depending on whether or not you pronounce the handle’s final word as “Fah-er” rather than “Figh-er”) and as such, the duo’s felt right at home here in Austin for the band’s now decade-long tenure.

These fivetime Studio 1A veterans (and three-time My KUTX guest DJs) and their raucous Southern-punk concoction have been a KUTX favorite from the get-go, so much that we named them our May 2016 Artist of the Month. Black Pistol Fire was conspicuously quiet after the release of their 2017 record Deadbeat Graffiti, only returning to stoke their eponymous flames with a string of singles beginning in 2019, ultimately culminating in this year’s Look Alive. You’ll want to Look Alive this evening for Black Pistol Fire’s headliner spot at Emo’s along with Emily Wolfe and Shooks, but even if you can’t make it in person, you can tear into the weekend with the album’s fierce title track!

Nobody’s Girl: “What’ll I Do”

Power trios, or “three-o’s” if your prefer; there just aren’t as many as there used to be. So when a three-piece of self-made songwriters join forces, hit the stage, and achieve a higher creative sum, you’ve gotta take note. And true to their moniker, the talented women of Nobody’s Girl (Rebecca Loebe, BettySoo, and Grace Pettis) have given birth to a collective creature that no single artist could possess on their own.

Specializing in Pop and Americana, these Studio 1A veterans have been around for a few years, but have patiently carved away at their outstanding eponymous debut LP ever since. Now, Nobody’s Girl is finally ready to come out of the oven and you can get it while it’s hot on release day next Friday, but not before an appetizer of the audio with “What’ll I Do”!

TC Superstar: “Nothing to Believe in”

As music technology marches on, the world of synthetic sounds continues to grow. But despite the digital wealth of wacky tones available in this home studio era of ours, for some folks, you just can’t improve on classic hardware. Case in point, Austin synth pop enthusiasts TC Superstar, who first gave us their teleporter to the ’80s with the 2017 LP Masc.

These Studio 1A veterans give the likes of Pet Shop Boys and Depeche Mode a run for their money, and make it look easy too, a legacy that continues with their new album. TC Superstar’s been sifting through the post-pandemic static for their upcoming concept record, As Seen On TV (out September 17th), and its most recent channel came through last Friday, “Nothing to Believe in”!

Angélica Rahe: “tqro”

In this KUTX Producer’s humble opinion, Latin artists hardly get the press they deserve here in Austin. So today we’re shining the spotlight on Austin jet-setter Angélica Rahe, who grew up in Japan and Spain before settling in the States in her teens. After accruing influence from Erykah Badu, John Mayer, and Sade and elevating her own abilities, Rahe found herself on international tour with Kali Uchis as her musical director, guitarist, and backing vocalist in 2018.

Rahe dropped her Solange-reminiscent solo debut REINA last Valentine’s Day but had its promotional tour cancelled in light of COVID. Well, now Angélica Rahe’s back on the road and performing in Austin. She’ll be playing at 9PM this Friday at Mohawk and to get you back into that live music summertime groove, gyrate those hips of yours to Angélica Rahe’s latest single, “tqro”!

What’s Changed for Music Venues?

We talked to three club owners about what’s changed for music venues since things have opened back up, plus we  explore the saga behind the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant.

In this episode you’ll hear from:

Angela Tharp from the Flamingo Cantina
Will Bridges from Antone’s
Independent music business manager  Peter Schwarz
James Moody from Mohawk

AUSTIN, TX. May 27, 2021. Mohawk reopens with a sold out performance of Heartless Bastards with The Tender Things. Michael Minasi/KUTX

Hovvdy: “True Love”

For five years the Austin scene has been treated to an infectious chemistry between Charlie Martin and Will Taylor, better known as Hovvdy. Pronounced like the ubiquitous southern greeting, these Studio 1A and My KUTX veterans continue to cruise in a more mature direction than their super lo-fi salad days, but retain the pop-rock charm that won us over with 2016’s Taster.

Today Hovvdy greets us for the first time out of quarantine with news of a twelve-track LP, True Love, out this Fall. True Love drops October 1st and you can get the first glimpses with the album’s just-released title track and music video!