Middle Sattre: “Hate Yourself to the Core”

The 1998 flick SLC Punk! entertained audiences with all kinds of counterculture cliques, and in doing so, they also exposed Utah’s more ingrained sociopolitical climate – that of Reagan-era republicans, yuppies, and the Mormon church. Whether or not the movie feels “authentic” to you, it’s not unreasonable to guess there’ve been plenty more who’ve felt oppressed in the SLC area since the turn of the millennium.

Take for instance singer-songwriter Hunter Prueger, who spent much of his life repressing his intrinsically gay identity under strict Mormon tutelage. Solo home recordings in Salt Lake City, borrowing from the DIY philosophies of noise music, provided Prueger with some much-needed solace. In 2022 Prueger’s project Middle Sattre (pronounced “sat-tree”) relocated to the so-called “blueberry in the tomato soup” here in Austin, Texas, and soon expanded into a six-piece, then eventually the experimental folk octet we know today. Unbound by obsolescent beliefs, this eight-piece continues to defy convention, even when it comes to how their instruments are played.

Middle Sattre embarked on their maiden tour last July, shared their first studio single “Pouring Water” in September, and followed that up with powerful pair of originals in November. All of this sets the stage of Middle Sattre’s debut album, Tendencies, out February 9th. At just shy of an hour long and sporting song titles like “I Once Felt Safe”, “Imperfect Hands”, and “Seven Years Since the Fall”, Tendencies is a deeply confessional saga of queer self-acceptance. That vulnerable, candid character glows throughout the record’s fourth lead single, “Hate Yourself to the Core”, releasing midnight tonight. Its lyrics chronicle Prueger’s deep-seated anguish, ideations of self-harm, and repeated depletions of self-esteem, and its gorgeous string sonics perfectly capture such shared experiences of disquiet. When combined, “Hate Yourself to the Core” sounds like a next generation Elliott Smith song that can comfort anyone who’s ever faced similar desperation.

Texas Extra: Austin’s Oblivion Access fest curates the ‘weird end’ of the underground music spectrum

This Texas Standard podcast bonus features an extended Q&A with Oblivion Access festival co-founders Dusty Brooks and Dorian Domi. Oblivion Access is a four-day music and arts festival taking place June 15-18 in downtown Austin focused on dark, experimental and underground music. This musically-rich interview includes songs from festival headliners TR/ST, Have a Nice Life, Chat Pile, Drab Majesty, Godflesh, RXK Nephew, Earth, and Tim Hecker.

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.