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.
Typically around the tail end of SXSW music week, there’s a lot of local magic. It could be Bill Murray hopping behind a dive bar and serving up whatever he wants, or a relatively undiscovered up-and-comer getting an unexpected big break. But today we’re talking about the Austin representation, something that can get easily eclipsed by all the international faces at SX.
Now, we here at KUTX have gushed again and again over The Bright Light Social Hour, which makes sense since they’ve been with us even before the start of our call letters. So rather than recap what makes ’em so great (like their continuously progressing sound and willingness to team up with fellow Austinites), let’s just jump right into what Bright Light’s got in their limelight.
This morning The Bright Light Social Hour announced their fifth full-length Emergency Leisure. Down to its Slow Rush-reminiscent title, it seems like TBLSH is taking a sweet-yet-sinister Tame Impala daytime disco/indie-psych approach. But true to the Bright Light’s nature, Emergency Leisure isn’t just a full-band vehicle for one singer-songwriter (looking at you, Kevin Parker); instead its a seamlessly collaborative exchange perfected over nearly two decades of playing together that translates in-studio just as well as it does onstage.
For a taste of the ladder, check out The Bright Light Social Hour 8PM this evening at Parlor & Yard, 1AM late tonight at Parish for the Mint Talent Group official showcase, or 5PM Sunday at Rustic Tap. As of now, Rustic Tap looks like Bright Light’s last local gig until after Emergency Leisure comes out August 2nd, when the group hits the road on a three-plus-month tour. And while all that may sound like short notice, you gotta remember who we’re dealing with here; The Bright Light Social Hour always comes in cool and calculated, even when they drop Emergency Leisure‘s lead single like some high-powered blotter paper as they did this morning. Alongside its music video, “Not New” will knock you back with its driving-but-subdued sonics that are almost too cool to party to. Almost.
Seasons are quickly shifting, and not just with the weather. We’ll be wrapping up the 2022 season of Song of the Day on Friday, December 16th, winding down this year alongside fellow KUTX creation Song Confessional. If you’re not hip to Song Confessional‘s concept, here are the basics. Volunteers come clean about an incident in their past, and an eclectic net of musicians turn those anonymously-recorded anecdotes into original pieces of music.
Back in late May, Song Confessional‘s summer mini-season closed out with some seriously salacious details; that triple-X tryst in turn inspired “Trippy Luv”, an ethereal, effects-drenched psych-pop-rock adaptation from Hot Flash Heat Wave. But with their Song Confessional episode now far off the radar, (and “Trippy Luv” officially out as a standalone single last week) the San Francisco trio is soon set to embark on a month-long national tour, mainly clinging to the West Coast.
Seven sweltering years of DIY chemistry under their belt, Hot Flash Heat Wave is certain to make the absolute most out of their upcoming time on the road. Sadly, though, there aren’t any tour stops here in town. However, as home to mesmerizing icons like Sir Douglas Quintet, Janis Joplin, Explosions in the Sky, and others, Austinites ought to admire how well Hot Flash Heat Wave flips some pseudo-sixties psychedelia into the timeless piece of indie prog-rock ingenuity that is “Trippy Luv”.
Steve Miller Band. Jamiroquai. Kacey Musgraves. They’ve all written songs called “Space Cowboy”. And considering the continued popularity of those tunes, it’s safe to say that “space cowboy” is no longer a derogatory term for a shameless stoner. No, it’s something musicians want to wear on their sleeve. Which brings us to Garrett T. Capps & NASA Country.
Garrett T. Capps has been going strong since 2016 and only recently enlisted NASA Country as his backing band. And although “Houston” might’ve been the historic first word transmitted back to Earth from the moon, NASA Country has no plans of relocating their musical mission control center from San Antonio. These unapologetic psychonauts are set to launch their mind-bending style of cosmic country on October 21st with their group debut, People Are Beautiful. This eight-track constellation bridges the brightest bits of retro-synth, jangly two-step, swamp blues, and NASA Country’s beloved “krautrock fiesta” sound. In true celestial fashion, People Are Beautiful‘s two lead singles are the LP’s bookends, the album opener and closer, like the meeting of Elder Bowman and Starchild at the climax of 2001: A Space Odyssey. No shame in starting at the end, right? So lift off with People Are Beautiful‘s title track in T-minus 5…4…3…2…
The name Miles Kelley might not trigger any memories right away, but if you connect the dots, Miles is at the helm of The Hermits and was, even earlier, the eponymous frontman of Milezo. This kooky character’s kept a consistent creative output over the years, and though you can’t find too much from his alt-psych-rock project, Sunscreen, as of yet, we guarantee it’ll radiate with you.
The already-scruffy Kelley gets extra fuzzy on Sunscreen’s latest single, “Call Off Your Goons”, whose mellow mood gives Mac DeMarco a run for his money.