austin music

Danilo: “All I Want”

Born in Brazil but transplanted into the Live Music Capital early on, singer Danilo Riggs was stunned and won over by Western music, eating up ’80s pop icons like Prince and Michael Jackson before graduating to Jeff Buckley. Going mononymously by Danilo, Riggs has fused the traditional Latin music of his youth with the modern electricity of genre giants like The Weeknd and Bruno Mars for an intoxicating intercontinental sound.

On July 16th Danilo drops his debut EP All I Want, five falsetto-spiced appetizers that give us a taste of Danilo’s dynamics, structured out shower thoughts, and detailed dreams. Danilo performs Saturday July 17th at Far Out Lounge along with our November 2017 Artist of the Month Kalu and the Electric Joint and August 2015 Artist of the Month David Ramirez, so you’re guaranteed some good company in mid-July. Til then you can tide yourself over with the ’60s-psych-tinged title track, “All I Want”!

Ben Brown: “When Fear Disappears”

Having built up his repertoire with pub rock group No Show Ponies as well as post-punk band The Savage Poor, Austin’s Ben Brown has been around the block once or twice. But as was the case with countless others who’ve thrived on the live music scene, Brown got hit hard by COVID and soon found himself cooped up with a head full of feelings.

Rather than be overwhelmed by emotion, Ben Brown un-bottled it all on his upcoming debut full-length Sayonara Sorrow, digging up and out of the depression of quarantine with an impressive artistic undertaking. Sayonara Sorrow covers a lot of ground lyrically and sonically, but may best be enjoyed by Americana enthusiasts in search of sincere introspection, heard abundantly across “When Fear Disappears”!

Sasha and the Valentines: “Flower” (KUTX Pop-Up)

Deftly blending the conventions of mid-century pop with contemporary elements of indie and more, Austin quintet Sasha and the Valentines has won us over one moody composition at a time. Our May 2021 Artist of the Month might’ve missed out on an all-too-fitting release date mid-February for their debut full-length, but having finally issued So You Think You’ve Found Love? in April, we can’t knock the five-piece for letting the record marinate into perfection.

With song titles like “Tinder”, there’s no denying Sasha and the Valentine’s success in crafting a new batch of ballads made for the modern era with So You Think You’ve Found Love?. And since spring’s been a little late this year, there’s never been a better time to stop by and hear these tracks bloom in person. So check out the full two-song video set below, which includes a hypnotically stripped-down take of “Flower”!

To Play, or Not to Play?

In the latest episode of Pause/Play we tackle the question “To Play, or Play or not Play?” We asked 15 Austin Musicians the same questions — Have you performed during the pandemic?  Are you ready to perform now?  What would it take to make you feel comfortable performing the way we used to pre-pandemic? Their answers provide insight into what it’s been like to be a musician during COVID and what kind of decisions artists are faced with now that more people are getting vaccinated and COVID restrictions are loosening.

AUSTIN, TX. May 7, 2021. Pause/Play. Tameca Jones is pictured in Central Austin. Michael Minasi/KUTX

In this episode you’ll hear from:
Tameca Jones
Chinasa Broxton from Tribe Mafia
Daisy O’connor
Nayome
Topaz McGarrigle from Golden Dawn Arkestra
Yin & Yang
Gina Chavez
Corey Baum from Croy and the Boys
Jaehross
Megz Kelli and Dougie Do from Magna Carda
Sara Houser
Chris Conde
Daniel Fears

Let us know your thoughts! Take the Pause/Play Survey!

AUSTIN, TX. May 4, 2021. Pause/Play. Jaeh Ross is pictured in South Austin. Michael Minasi/KUTX

Listen to the Songs featured in “To Play, or Not To Play?”

AUSTIN, TX. May 4, 2021. Pause/Play. Topaz McGarrigle, of Golden Dawn Arkestra, is pictured at his home in East Austin. Michael Minasi/KUTX

Big Bill: “Coma”

Following a full decade since their foundation in 2011, Big Bill hasn’t egressed from their early eccentricities at all. The quirky quartet’s deadpan humor and disjointed song structures give even The Minutemen a run for their money, channelling fellow Austinites The Dicks and Big Boys, and everyone from Devo to Talking Heads, The B-52’s and more, guaranteeing Big Bill a path into that pantheon of punk rock.
For a four-piece as loudmouthed (in the best way) as they are, Big Bill‘s been awfully quiet since the release of their 2017 full-length Stand By Your Bill. But according to the band, they’ve been tinkering away on their newest single in that intermittent time, hashing out some of the finer points during live shows, and ultimately cranking out a track about growth, vulnerability, fury and suffering, “Coma”!

Golden Dawn Arkestra: “Phenomenal”

Between their cosmic character, otherworldly outfits, and label-evading sound, Austin’s Golden Dawn Arkestra certifies as a spectacle to say the least. The collective got started around 2013 and since then, under the direction of singer-shaman Topaz McGarrigle, these three-time Studio 1A veterans have invited hundreds, if not thousands, to participate in their intergalactic rituals incorporating elements from afro-beat to disco, electronic to jazz, and psychedelic to funk and beyond.
Teasing their upcoming album that descends from the stratosphere to tackle what challenges our own terrestrial realm, today Golden Dawn Arkestra shares their latest single, produced by KUTX favorite Walker Lukens and paired with a music video in the near future. Golden Dawn Arkestra is best experienced live, so if you’re in Houston on the 22nd or Dallas on June 5th, be sure to make a pilgrimage to their stage and channel what it means to connect with our fellow lifeforms, as heard on “Phenomenal”!

American Dreamer: “Redwood”

If there’s one group who champions the true foundations of folk here in Austin, be it basic concepts like renewing ties to nature and always aiding your fellow human, it’s undeniably American Dreamer. After bonding over their respective graduate degrees at UT’s Butler School of Music, the four began developing their brand of acoustic indie-folk, one that bridges between twentieth-century traditional and modern elements to keep the sound fresh.

As with any real folk act, American Dreamer’s already taken their style across the country and performed throughout their home state, playing everywhere from schools and hospitals to major venues and music festivals. And today American Dreamer was kind enough to let us unfurl their newest single, “Redwood”, whose soothing vocal harmonies and gorgeous guitar/cello/violin/bass arrangement make it as timeless as the eponymous sequoia.

Michael Hays: “Flashback Moonlight”

Having moved from Mississippi to Austin in the ’90s, then to L.A. in 2004, and finally back to our auspicious city limits about halfway through the last decade, singer-guitarist Michael Hays has become a trustworthy transplant in the Austin music experience. By the time Hays released his solo debut in 2014, he’d already worked in a wind chime factory, apprenticed as an accordion technician, professionally taught guitar, and become a must-have session player, not to mention performing with his fair share of rock and fusion bands. Between the birth of his daughter in 2015 and the current year, a little under a dozen song ideas evolved into Michael Hays’ sophomore LP, Red Willow, which drops next month.

Red Willow reintroduces listeners to Hays’ brand of Americana-folk-psych with sounds that bridge David Gilmour to Elliott Smith, waterfowl-centric album artwork that picks up where Christopher Cross’ 1979 debut left off, and surreal cinematic visuals that further enhance already-stimulating sonics, as seen and heard in “Flashback Moonlight”!

Grace Pettis: “I Ain’t Your Mama”

Whether you’ve seen her perform at the front of her eponymous band or as one third of the folk-pop trio Nobody’s Girl, local Americana enthusiasts should be well acquainted with Grace Pettis. Raised both in the ‘burbs of Atlanta and rural Alabama, Pettis has brought a unique, cross-class Southern experience along to her current home base here in Austin. Pettis’ compositions have been picked as prime recording material by fellow Studio 1A veterans Ruthie Foster and Sara Hickman, further lending to Pettis’ songwriting reputation (which also includes Buddy Holly Educational Foundation grants and an NPR Mountain Stage New Song Contest win).

This morning Grace Pettis released her country-leaning LP Working Woman today, tracked in Nashville and culminating in a regional tour that kicks off in Houston this evening. Pettis performs for a livestream 7:30pm next Monday the 10th from Waterloo Records, just after Mother’s Day, so celebrate the working women in your life with the new record, but remember, in Grace’s own words, “I Ain’t Your Mama”!

Doppel: “Silencio”

When two star-crossed collaborators finally get together and start a new project in-person, you can pretty much guarantee how good it’s it’s gonna be. And there’s no exception when it comes to Austin-based duo Doppel, made up of Cologne, Germany multi-instrumentalist Jan Flemming and McAllen, Texas percussionist Michael Longoria, both devoted creators in their own right.

Doppel’s collective confidence and undeniable interpersonal chemistry became publicly known last year with the release of their debut album Ensō, highlighting the group’s defiance of any single genre with their fluid use of live loops and exploratory formulas. Doppel drops their seven-song EP Intermission this Friday, performs next Wednesday at East Austin Piano Shop, and today premieres Intermission‘s lead single that’ll leave you in awe, “Silencio”.

Omarr Awake: “Háblame”

After a solid stint behind the wheel of Slow Car Crash, Chicago-L.A.-Austin transplant Omarr Escoffié shifted gears and took a hard left with his half-eponymous quartet Omarr Awake. Since premiering the project last year, Omarr Awake’s defied any detractors and pushed their genre-fluid sound further and further with each new single.

Last Tuesday Omarr Awake told off anyone who thought this music could be confined to any sole style, relishing in the density of sample-heavy, cumbia-tinged, latin-psych with “Háblame”!

Nick Garza’s Get Along: “Another Bloody Morning”

It’s been a bit since singer-guitarist Nick Garza’s primary focus was at the front of Austin’s premiere stomp-folk project, Hello Wheels. Last year he began charting some new Tex-Mex territory with the launch of his eponymous side project Nick Garza’s Get Along, a sunny, solo-steered endeavor that celebrates Garza’s status as a thirteenth generation Texan with southern flavors best enjoyed in the Lone Star State.

After conquering an impressive string of collaborations, Nick Garza’s corralled the Get Along together for a thoroughly chipper double single, whose B-side “Family” begs for repeat listens, and whose upbeat A-side “Another Bloody Morning” receives a visual counterpart in the coming weeks!

Calliope Musicals: “Can You Tell Me” (Social Distancing Pop-Up)

For the past few weeks (and perhaps beyond), you’ve been hearing a lot about our April 2021 Artist of the MonthCalliope Musicals. This fantastical Austin four-piece has been inching their performative alt-pop eccentricities nearer to insanity with each escalating endeavor, chiefly spearheaded by Calliope’s fearless frontwoman, Carrie Fussell.

Carrie and Calliope recently hosted their My KUTX session in anticipation of their upcoming EP, Between Us, out this Friday. And though the single “Can You Tell Me” already has a great music video, Carrie was kind enough to let the KUTX multimedia team drop by for a two-song socially distanced pop-up set (which also includes Between Us standout “Moonchaser”)!

Dog Beach Rebels: “Numbers”

Whether or not you wonder why reggae fetches more radio time every April 20th, it always seems like a good fit. So what better time to call up Austin four-piece Dog Beach Rebels, who, despite their scruffy handle, has written far from wet fur and has risen up in the ranks of reggae-rock since their debut EP last year.

The quartet’s got a couple new singles and a live album for 2021 (including “Lawman’s Daughter”, slated for late May), but given the numeric fascination behind this particular Tuesday, paired with DBR’s penultimate residency performance tonight at One-2-One Bar (9-11pm), it’s a perfect opportunity to premiere “Numbers”!

Lando the Nomad: “The Healing In You” (feat. Shiela)

If you kept up with Austin soul-funk project Resonant Frequency in their heyday then you’re already somewhat aware of how much talent comes from multi-instrumentalist Landon Reichle. Even then you might’ve missed wind of Reichle’s newfound producer pet project, Lando the Nomad, which finds the genre-traveler exploring those electro-alternative realms made popular in the mid-’90s/early-’00s: trip-hop and R&B.

Lando the Nomad’s set a clear path for 2021, having already released the first half of a two-part collaborative EP, whose latter portion features hip-hop vocalist Roof. The Healing In You, however, features the masterful singing of Shiela, thereby elevating Lando’s already-amazing instrumentals into the echelon of Massive Attack and Portishead, especially on the record’s title track.

Ley Line: “En Busca Del Agua”

Austin’s world music scene has been slowly growing for decades now, and while it’s nowhere near as robust as in places like Chicago or New York, we’ve still got some seriously impressive artists. Multilingual acoustic quartet Ley Line definitely sits around the top of that list, not only in terms of consistent quality, but frequent output, overall focus, and an innate ability to market themselves beyond the realm of singles and record sales.

Having already launched their eponymous Following Ley Line podcast in March, these Studio 1A alums are set to unveil a new visual album in mid-May, which’ll come off the heels of the group’s latest ode to the nature. Inspired by an ongoing worship of water, its healing and connecting character, and its overall lack of availability in Texas during the February cold snap, Ley Line’s first all-Spanish single, “En Busca Del Agua”, won’t leave you in search of any audio essentials for the weekend.

Lady Dan: “Better Off Alone”

Like countless composers before her, Austin singer-guitarist Tyler Dozier uses her craft to shed light on her true identity. Raised in Alabama amidst parental pressures,  relationship strains, and religious restrictions, Dozier’s move to the Live Music Capital roughly aligned with the release of her 2019 debut EP, Songs for the Soulless, which also introduced us officially to her musical moniker, Lady Dan.

Everything’s coming up purple for Dozier in 2021, who’s set to expand on her indie-crossed country sound next Friday with Lady Dan’s first-ever full-length, I Am the Prophet. We’ve got a feeling that I Am the Prophet‘s gonna presage another chapter of growth for Dozier, at least judging by the record’s latest single, “Better Off Alone”, that despite only sharing surface-level similarities, gives Alice Deejay’s 1999 hit a sincere run for its money.

 

William Maxwell: “Dead Plants”

When it comes to standing out as a solo artist in an oversaturated scene, nobody does quirky quite like Austin’s William Maxwell. Sure the singer-guitarist is pretty reserved in person, but on the record he’s a full blown musical maniac. With his fearless performance methods and candidly off-kilter lyrics, The Oysters‘ co-founder has shown a real knack for songwriting both across his rap sheet of collaborations and with his 2019 baker’s dozen, Calm a Painter and Subject.

Friday after next William Maxwell releases his sophomore LP, It’s Been Here Changing For a Long Time, ten tracks that are perfect for a post-pandemic mindset (whenever that may come) along with a twenty-four-page art booklet. And since we’re officially into spring and past the trauma of the big freeze here in Texas, now seems like a good time to appreciate the newfound greenery with It’s Been Here‘s fifth and final single, “Dead Plants”!

Melissa Carper: “Makin’ Memories”

Although she’s right here in Austin, upright bassist/singer-songwriter Melissa Carper has maintained a wealth of wanderlust across her career. It’s brought Carper some big opportunities, like founding her eponymous trio The Carper Family and subsequently landing a spot on Prairie Home Companion, all the while allowing her to brush up on her own tastes and soak up everything she can from jazz legends to mid-century folk and beyond.

On “Daddy” Carper’s latest endeavor, the boldly-titled Daddy’s Country Gold, Melissa sheds the pressure of bass performance to focus solely on vocals and production, allowing this auteur to blur her already-bucolic pallet of Western Swing and Country from contemporary to classic. The result is a twelve-song, vintage-capturing masterpiece of rustic styles, and you can dive right into the nostalgic sentimentality with the album opener for Daddy’s Country Gold, “Makin’ Memories”!

Scott Ballew: “Talking to Mountains”

As is the case with many creatives, sometimes you just wanna cross the wires and try something out of your comfort zone. That’s how things went for native Austinite Scott Ballew, who, after directing a documentary on Texas legend Terry Allen amidst a lengthy SoCal-based filmmaking stint, hunkered down in a house in Lockhart to record his debut LP of acoustic originals.

Talking to Mountains captures the charm of solitude with its cinematic lo-fi and emphasis on conversation with Texas nature, best seen in the album opener’s music video and heard most-explicitly on the record’s title track, “Talking to Mountains”!