Mamahawk: “Fighter Jet”

As a war wages in Ukraine, aspects of the military industrial complex are front and center in the news; with each international donation to the effort, headlines interject model names right into casual lexicon, so presumably the layperson now knows the difference between a Leopard 2 and an F-16. And while the four members of Mamahawk haven’t necessarily shown off that knowledge of hardware specifics, when it comes to combatting crappy music, they’re a major aggressor. After a modest immobilization with their 2015 self-titled debut, Mamahawk really brought the offensive to a brink on “Brain Invaderz!” an operation that earned them the rank of KUTX’s August 2018 Artist of the Month. Their sophomore six-track of the same name came in hot the following February, and this past April Mamahawk showed that they’re still on the wing with “Walk in the Fire”. Well the spacey rock squadron might as well’ve teamed up with Skunk Works, because their latest doesn’t just buzz the tower; it throttles up to the stratosphere for aural superiority. On “Fighter Jet”, Mamahawk cuts the afterburners and coasts at a slower tempo than we’ve heard from them recently. That said, “Fighter Jet” delivers an massive payload in just four minutes, thanks to a Tomahawk missile’s-worth of jazz-prog key chords, laser-accurate delayed-out electric guitar slides, long bass tones that capture that high-altitude hum, plus a canopy of crisp drums and clean vocals. Catch the full sortie midnight tomorrow night at Sagebrush along with openers Aubrey Hays at 11PM and Sammy G at 10. Til then, quit the habitual bitchin’, strap in, and set course for a relaxing Labor Day weekend.

Mamahawk: “Walk in the Fire”

About halfway through KUTX’s now-ten-year tenure, we made a real airwave heavyweight out of our August 2018 Artist of the Month Mamahawk. Back in that fledgling phase, the then-three-piece only had a talon-full of tunes to their name, most notably the title track and lead single of their 2019 sophomore LP Brain Invaderz!. However, with all that’s happened between the beginning of the pandemic and now, and with the lack of studio releases post-Brain Invaderz!, some folks honestly may have forgotten all about Mamahawk.

Which is unfair, because if you’ve observed the group’s steady progression from the duo that pre-dated their 2015 eponymous debut to what’s now a four-man V formation, Mamahawk clearly isn’t one to make haste. And unlike fellow local maternal raptors Mother Falcon, Mamahawk is on the wing once again and out of the studio with a whole new set of feathers.

Mamahawk just announced their upcoming as-of-yet-untitled third full-length, with the quartet flocking fans old and new to a single release show this Thursday at Hotel Vegas. Doors open at 9PM, Half Dream starts things off at 10PM, Mamahawk takes the stage at 11PM, and Lady Dan wraps things up at midnight. And as with “Brain Invaderz!”, this lead single channels the cerebral psych-prog-pop-yacht sensuality of the late ’70s with butt-wigglin’ pitch-wheel squiggles, an eclectic synth selection (including both brilliantly high pads and crunchy low swells), vocals that ethereally evolve from unison to harmony over verse and chorus, and a dramatic half-time breakdown in the bridge, complete with a retro-style sax solo. Between all that – and the bookending hawk screeches from lead vocalist James Reed – “Walk in the Fire” will have you saying “here we go again” every time you restart this soulful scorcher.