Felt Out: “Crash Inside It”

When we last geeked out over Austin’s Felt Out, we broke down their foundation as that of auto-tune innovators on the cutting edge of alt-pop. And following the first anniversary of their second full-length Until I’m Light, that’s clearly still the case for these multi-instrumentalist-producers. They still sound like a next generation Imogen Heap. Their style still scratches that itch within the hyper-processed, accessible-yet-oddball alt-pop niche. And they’re still going strong in 2024.

Yep, after a year of silence for studio releases, Felt Out touched down from their natural habitat way up in the electro-aether last week, almost as if ushered in by the solar eclipse. On Friday they fired off “Know You (closer3.0)” – a Frankenstein re-assembly of leftover samples from their current streaming star – and “Crash Inside It” – which came alongside a minimalist music video. Unlike the polished, narrative-driven visual companion to “Closer”, “Crash Inside It”‘s counterpart lets a flickering frame rate and negative polarization do the storytelling, a return to their earlier aesthetic of amateur footage, analog grain, openness to interpretation, and all.

It’s certainly on brand for Felt Out, that’s for sure. And it’s got us eager to see and hear what they’ll come up with next. You feel us?

Urban Heat: “Sanitizer”

After naming them as our July 2022 Artist of the Month, we here at KUTX have gotten an awful lot of opportunities to gush about the Austin synth-goth gargantua that is Urban Heat. With a blacked-out sense of fashion and all the industrial analogue toys a bitter boy could want, Urban Heat instantly evokes an impossibly-slick sense of 1980s nihilism, perfectly primed for our pandemic era and an entire dejected generation. Of course, there’s still a ton of synth-pop beauty in the bass-and-beat-driven bleakness, as heard throughout Urban Heat’s 2022 album Wellness and the handful of singles they’ve shared since.

So, sure, the Wellness stalwart “Have You Ever” has climbed past millions of streams, but that success hasn’t slowed Urban Heat’s ascension to The Tower, out this summer. If we’d just heard this next record’s first lead single, “Like This”, we’d honestly expect much of the same from Wellness. Turns out though, that Wellness was just the foundation for The Tower, as made clear by the full-length’s second preview, “Sanitizer”.

Far from a sterile sound, “Sanitizer” oozes infectious electro elements like drastically-saturated bass tones, scalpel-sharp drums, and pitch wheel synth sirens that’ll elevate your heartbeat with what’s easily Urban Heat’s most aggressive original to date. Clearly, there’s no musical malpractice when it comes to these goth doctors…but the same can’t be said for the trio’s trauma team characters in the music video for “Sanitizer”. It’s gross. It’s hilarious. It’ll tear your heart right out. And you’d better believe Urban Heat turns the O.R. into a dance floor for their lucky pair of patients (dancers Larissa Dali and Quentin Arispe). So between Urban Heat kickoff of a tour in support of Twin Tribes tonight in Pomona and their return to Texas in early February, remember: a play of “Sanitizer” a day keeps bad music away.

Glasshealer: “Ever Love, Ever Have”

As a genre modifier, the term “experimental” can be pretty controversial. For purists, unless an artist is redefining sound by employing production, recording, and performance techniques typically unfit for “traditional” music, they’re not gonna consider it “experimental”. But when you take a more lenient approach and avoid strict gatekeeping, you’re bound to discover acts that’ll undoubtedly challenge your tastes and pre-conceptions. For an example right here in Central Texas we can point straight to Austin four-piece Glasshealer. Once deemed “Best Experimental Artist” by The Austin Chronicle, this unconventional quartet combines the most out-there elements of punk, electronica, and rock into a beautifully bizarre blend. The Austin Chronicle also gave Glasshealer the recognition they deserved for both their 2020 debut Cranberry Stream and 2021’s But the Weight of Comfort Pulled Me Back Down, merits that’ve helped pack venues once Glasshealer name appears on the marquee. But as with any groundbreaking experiment, you can’t rush the scientific process, which is why we haven’t had any studio releases from Glasshealer since But the Weight… Coming hot off a 2022 East Coast tour, Glasshealer returned to the lab to elevate their sound further by penning some impressively eclectic tunes. So while we patiently wait for a third EP from Glasshealer, the band’s blessed us with a six-and-a-half-minute psychotropic delight. Alongside the mind-melting visuals of its music video “Ever Love, Ever Have” is structured like a cinematic DMT trip, complete with uncanny nuances, expansive dynamic shifts, and revelation-ready hard left turns.