Reno music

The Sextones: “Without You”

Whether or not it’s a frequency bias we picked up within the past few weeks, we’ve been loving this recent resurgence of retro soul. And for those who’ve been following that particular trend, you probably already know that Monophonics frontman Kelly Finnigan is a leading voice in this genre renaissance. Today, however, we’re not talking about Kelly’s pipes. Instead we’re letting Finnigan’s production skills shine alongside some fellow vintage soul savants.

Enter Reno four-piece The Sextones. What began as a mutual infatuation over ’60s-’70s soul and a clever fetishization of a family surname has, since the release of The Sextones’ 2017 debut Moonlight Vision, excelled exponentially. And while founding guitarist-vocalist Mark Sexton and bassist Alexander Korostinsky also moonlight an intrinsically-cinematic style through Whatitdo Archive Group, The Sextones instead adhere to a sextant of truly classic R&B-soul songwriting. In doing so The Sextones have earned the professional respect of Finnigan, and subsequently, the caress of his keen ear for their upcoming sophomore full-length.

That LP Love Can’t Be Borrowed drops September 29th, and each lead single (now half the album’s ten tracks) eases us closer to settling the debt and resetting a heritage for the next generations of retro-soul curators. Between the interpersonal simplicity of its title, call-and-response, unison-to-harmony vocal structure, razor sharp rhythm section, vibrant brass and beguiling ivory chords, “Without You” sounds just like an analog-tracked Stax standout or a Motown mainstay remastered for the modern era.

Whatitdo Archive Group: “Astral-Desia”

Us at KUTX have never felt a need to shy away from our unabashed love of multi-national-inspired psych; a typical playlist of ours will usually pepper in some Adrian Quesada, Khruangbin, or Golden Dawn Arkestra, so today we’ve got great news for anyone with similar tastes.

It comes on behalf of Reno three-piece Whatitdo Archive Group, who shared their debut full-length The Black Stone Affair in April 2021. The tracks on The Black Stone Affair (like “Ethiopian Airlines”, “Last Train to Budapest”, and “Italian Love Triangle”) were fairly blunt about their international multiculturalism, almost like a spiritual successor to Duke Ellington’s The Far East Suite. Ultimately it was an outstanding first introduction to the vintage-soundtrack-ready jazz-adjacent instrumentals of this desert-dwelling trio, but with the release of their sophomore follow-up Palace Of A Thousand Sounds this morning, we can assure you that Whatitdo’s ascended into cinĂ©-psych royalty.

Down to its song titles and mystifying artwork, the beautifully-bizarre aesthetic behind Palace Of A Thousand Sounds picks where Martin Denny’s mid-century exotica left off. This thirteen-tune sequence ditches specific locations in favor of abstract, otherworldly scenes, a choice that complements Whatitdo Archive Group’s stronger emphasis on psychedelia this time around. Of course, for the authentic old-school experience, you’d better grab one of the limited-supply vinyls for your collection while they still last. But if you’re stuck in work mode and can’t take the full forty-three-minute tour right now, you can still bask in the psychoactive galactic glory of Palace‘s second lead single, “Astral-Desia”. Like thick incense smoke obscuring a telescope’s lens “Astral-Desia”‘s regal groove offers a Bohemian soundscape that’s ideal for both narrative voiceover and psychotropic meditations, as does its dozen other Palace counterparts.

Surf Curse: “Self Portrait”

Reno, Nevada…not typically a place thought of as a hub for water-sports. And maybe that’s the point; between the desert flora and the arid atmosphere, it’s almost as if someone laid a pox on “The Biggest Little City in the World” for aquatic fanatics. A Surf Curse, if you will. For nearly a full decade, Surf Curse has been tearing up waves of indie rock, pop, punk, and psych. Developmentally, the once-duo has recently doubled into a quartet, expanding their coast of cross-genre grains and performance capabilities. Those new additions have culminated in Surf Curse’s fourth full-length Magic Hour, recorded at the one-and-only Electric Lady Studios. Surf Curse has already caught a steady current of streams for Magic Hour and now, after wrapping up the European leg of their latest tour, they’re bringing the sorcery down to Austin. Surf Curse performs both tonight and tomorrow night (sold out) at The Mohawk, but if it’s just not in the cards for you, fire up the surreal nightmare-fuel within “Self Portrait“‘s music video.