rock

Molecular Steve: “Wolfman”

Depending on who you ask – a coworker, a friend, or a family member – they’ll all have slightly different takes on your “character” based on previous interactions and observations. But what about those parts of our identities that never reach the surface? Those personality traits that stay buried deep within us?

Well, we won’t pretend to be experts on your psyche. But we will point to some folks who are fascinated with those covert personas. And that’s Molecular Steve. Don’t be fooled by the name; it’s not a solo act. Instead, what started off as a father-son endeavor has expanded into the Austin nine-piece it is today, full of close knit bonds compounded by a shared creative drive. And while this atomic family affair’s still in a fledgling phase, you wouldn’t be able to tell just from the caliber of their existing material.

Following up last month’s introduction “Heavens to Betsy”, today Molecular Steve takes another small step towards their eponymous fourteen-track full-length, set for release July 19th. All about unearthing those beasts within, Molecular Steve‘s second lead single (and music video) “Wolfman” is a sonic silver bullet that pierces through bluesy layers of cosmic Americana and indie psychedelia.

Howl yeah, Steve. Put us down for a spot in the microscopic pack.

Rival Waves: “Time’s Up”

When you’re in the high seas, you’re at the mercy of rogue waves. When you’re in Texas during the summertime, you’re at the mercy of heatwaves. But if you’d prefer to get thrashed around and work up a sweat without ever facing the sun or leaving port, here in Austin we’ve got Rival Waves.

Starting with their 2018 debut full-length Transducer, this quintet’s ebbed and flowed through all kinds of rocky channels, ranging from alternative and indie to grunge and punk. Sure, the tides of mainstream music have shifted, and we’re at least a couple decades removed from most of those genres’ commercial heydays, but that hasn’t stopped Rival Waves from making a big splash in the local scene and beyond; just check out their respectable streaming numbers between last August’s A Meaningless Chaos and late April’s NAMI EP alone.

Well, ahead of a single release show 8PM next Friday, June 21st at The Courtyard ATX, Rival Waves has a foreboding message to any remaining naysayers: “Time’s Up”. Like the training montage soundtrack that escalates to a final climactic battle, Rival Waves crash against high octane punk and melodic alternative with an almost operatic song structure and chord sequence on “Time’s Up”. But in terms of Rival Waves’ still-cresting career? They’re not stopping the clock any time soon.

Mark Hallman: “Bright Star”

When you’ve spent decades making great records for other people, you’ve got all the tools to do it on your own, right? Yeah, although producers often get relegated to a “man behind the curtain” position for other artists’ critical success, at the end of the day they’re some of the strongest shapers of sound.

Take industry heavyweight producer-engineer-songwriter Mark Hallman, who’s been helping elevate albums for nearly half a century now. Mark’s best known for his work with Ani DiFranco, Eliza Gilkyson, and Carole King, the latter of which moved down here with him to Austin back in 1980. Since then Hallman’s been a standout in Austin’s already rich production roster, but with the exception of 2016’s “The Voyage“, he’s kept his own solo compositions largely cooped up.

At least he did until this past May, when Mark Hallman released his debut full-length Light Trick, seven tracks that capture Mark’s amalgamation of musical talents. The material may be recent, but the sound is exactly what you’d expect from Hallman’s late ’70s upbringing, folk rock formulas and all. So set some time aside to let Light Trick take you on an eclectic trek, starting with the LP opener “Bright Star”. Don’t stop shinin’ anytime soon, Mark.

Holy Roller Baby: “Speaking In Tongues”

Since its advent at the turn of the millennium, the term “swag” has lent itself to plenty of manufactured personalities. We don’t hear “swag” much anymore, which is fine by us, since swagger ought to come naturally; it shouldn’t be too sophisticated.

You take one look at multi-instrumentalist Jared Mullins, who (in the best way possible) looks like a mix between Robert Plant and Big Lebowski‘s “The Dude”, and you know right away he’s a shining specimen of swagger. And appearances aside, Mullins’ project Holy Roller Baby – now half a decade strong – even refers to their spectrum-spelunking style of rock (heavy more often than not) as “primitive swagger”. HRB’s debut LP Frenzy was a ferocious feast that kept us pretty full for the pandemic’s first couple of years, but we sure were pleased to get a second round of standalone singles starting last March.

Well it turns out the Austin quartet’s already got another one in the can and ready to let loose in the coming months. They announced their next full-length Smile In Heaven (set for release August 23rd) last Friday with the record’s lead single “Speaking In Tongues”. We won’t recommend making out in the middle of train tracks for obvious safety concerns, but we will urge you to check out the Super 8 music video for “Speaking In Tongues”, since it’s such a powerful emotional accompaniment to what sounds like Holy Roller Baby’s Central Texas twist on Radiohead’s “Creep”, high contrast dynamics, unhurried grunge arrangement, impassioned vocal performance, and all. Rock on, Rollers. Rock on.

Jomo & The Possum Posse: “La Quinta”

Short-term shelter ain’t just part of a discreet routine for affairs and flings. Naw, as an integral piece to any touring musician’s itinerary, lodging has found a cozy place in the songwriter space, ranging from themes of post-breakup lifelessness (“Heartbreak Hotel”), raunchy encounters (“Chelsea Hotel #2”), and tour torpor (“Holiday Inn”) to whatever the hell “Hotel California” is about. That said, the humor intrinsic to a hotel setting (ya know…where depending on your chain preferences you might end up in near-identical rooms no matter your place in the nation) rarely shines through.

But if there’s one person who can appreciate the comic side of musician life (even in motel minutiae), it’s Austin’s Jomo Edwards of Jomo & The Possum Posse. Most folks know Jomo from his virally successful 2011 Guy on a Buffalo YouTube series. But Jomo’s not just a one-trick marsupial. And after three studio full-lengths, a live LP, and an EP of hip-hop covers, him and The Possum Posse certainly aren’t playing dead anytime soon either.

In fact, for their fourth studio offering Yesterday’s Coffee, they may have even stepped their game up by handing production duties over to Shinyribs’ Kevin Russell. So naturally, shortly after the album drops, Jomo & The Possum Posse open for Shinyribs themselves 8PM tomorrow at Radio East. And if you really want to curb that Jomo FOMO, catch The Possum Posse 5PM today for a free in-store performance at Waterloo Records. In the meantime, we’ll get you checked into “La Quinta”, which evokes the bleary-eyed elevator ride up that’s defined so many wind-downs – ideal for a Side A closer. And given its place in the ranks of treasured Texas staples spawned in San Antonio like H-E-B and Academy, it’d be no huge surprise if “La Quinta” scored The Possum Posse an ad placement on behalf of their corporate namesake.

Either way, with pizzicato plucks, six-string stabs, wailing organ, a bridge fit for a continental breakfast, and a chorus so catchy you’ll be singing it all the way to the front desk, “La Quinta”‘s earned Jomo et al. a complimentary stay in the Presidential Suite for sure.

Rett Smith: “Sunsets”

In terms of musical association, at least outside the world of film soundtracks, U.S. southwestern scenery often gets associated with country. But there’s a certain psychedelic quality to our regional deserts that we just love to see artists embrace.

Folks like Rett Smith, based here in Austin, but bred out of West Texas, so you know he appreciates all kinds of sandy, desolate miscellanea. Historically, Rett’s smithing has involved all things Americana blues. And while that’s certainly still his skillset, for his upcoming album A Weighted Remorse (out September 13th), Smith finds himself trudging through the dunes of shoegaze.

And the result is heavy as hell, almost bordering on sludge thanks to its subterranean six-string tone and massive drums. Alongside its music video, “Sunsets” feels less like hiking the Fort Davis trails and more like watching The Holy Mountain if it was shot on Super 8, ’70s abstract psychedelia and all. We’re getting major Black Angels vibes from this one, and we have a feeling that when Rett returns from his Western European tour, he’s gonna translate his travels into something else equally arid-inspired and aurally exciting.

Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors: “Suffering”

The very nature of Americana is rooted in traditional music. But it also lies at the crossroads between folk, country, and rock. So if an Americana act decides to veer into new lanes, the choices are limited and somewhat predictable. And yet it’s still such a joy to hear an artist explore new sonic territory, no matter how established they may be.

Having said that, we’re happy to hear that Nashville’s Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors will be joining us in our neck of the woods later this week. That’s right, on the heels of their ninth full-length Strangers No More, the Americana connoisseurs kick off a month-long national tour right here in town. The Find Your People Tour fires off 7:30PM this Thursday at the Scoot Inn, and our newfound neighbors will be stopping by Central Texas again for the Kerrville Folk Festival late next month.

And since Austin is such a hard left turn from Holcomb et. al’s Nasvhille stomping ground, the band gave us an early listen to their latest shifting of gears. On “Suffering”, the grit is real, and the rock is Southern. It captures the rudest elements of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, and Marshall Tucker band, albeit with that one-of-a-kind Holcomb character. Safe to say that if Southern rock is your bag, “Suffering” is so good it hurts.

Adam Sultan: “The Great Divide”

They say, “write what you know”. And in music, if you know something well enough to perfect its performance, that usually means you’ve absorbed the material enough to build upon it and make it your own.

So let’s talk about Austin’s Adam Sultan. Sultan started off a singer-guitarist in the ’90s with Poi Dog Pondering before moving onto Flying Saucers, Hollowbody, and Mistress Stephanie And Her Melodic Cat. Adam’s also collaborated with Graham Reynolds for Richard Linklater scores, not to mention ascended to multi-hyphenate status, splitting time as a podcast host, meditation teacher, theater player, photographer, storyteller, and even a perfumer.

But here’s the kicker. Adam Sultan is a bona fide master when it comes to the art of musical tribute; his ongoing work with Super Creeps and Magnifico has granted Adam an intimate perspective to the discographies of David Bowie and Queen, respectively. And since you don’t just play those golden oldies time and time again without soaking up some of the timbres and songwriting formulas, when Sultan puts his six-string and pen to work, that classic rock royalty oozes right out onto the record. That’s something you can quickly pick up on with Adam Sultan’s two recently released singles. Where last month’s “Hard to Kill” captures Bowie’s earlier baroque folk era, January’s “The Great Divide” dives right into that later, heavier, glam rock period. Crazy to think we’re hearing such retro-sounding stuff like this in 2024, so major kudos to the Sultan himself for keeping those styles alive.

James Mastro: “The Face of the Sun”

It’s well-known that we here at KUTX have a soft spot for Alejandro Escovedo – a love affair that’s lasted far longer than we’ve even been a station. So it’s our due diligence to let you know that Señor Escovedo does have a new record entitled Echo Dancing dropping this weekend. That said, we’re not just talkin’ up Al today.

No, we gotta jump in and tip our hat to Escovedo’s returning tour mate, Mr. James Mastro. A fellow pioneer in the early days of punk rock, this singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer’s already had the privilege and pleasure to perform across the globe more times than we can count, including in the company of Patti Smith, Ian Hunter, Judy Collins, and Robert Plant. This year, Mastro’s been riding high off his latest LP Dawn of a New Error, which dropped the final week of February.

Over the next month-plus of national touring, Escovedo and Mastro will likely be playing some of these new tunes in front of a live audience for the very first time. So as the pair escape the clouds and thunderstorms dominating Austin’s forecast for the next fortnight, familiarize yourself with “The Face of the Sun” and all the other cuts off Dawn of a New Error and Echo Dancing with the shared tour kickoff 8PM this Friday at Antone’s.

Nakia: “Thrill-O-Matic”

If you’re already planning out your weekend and want to offset the Sunday scaries with some fresh visuals, consider checking out a three-act bill that coincides with a music video premiere.

The ringleader behind the affair is Nakia, the mononymous grifter of Austin’s vibrant blues scene. With only two records to his name at the time, Nakia started off the 2010s strong as a semi-finalist on The Voice‘s inaugural season. That’s absolutely an accolade worth bragging about, but nothing compares with new content, right? Well, keeping pace with his already-robust post-pandemic output, Nakia’s got some new optics he’s about to drop under the spotlight.

This Sunday Nakia commemorates the music video release for last October’s “Thrill-O-Matic”, a tune that was actually penned right after The Voice‘s finale, demo files long lost to the aether before a recent recovery made it a reality. Doors are at 7PM, Junerise kicks it off at 7:15, Nakia does his thing at 8:15 (your only opportunity to see “Thrill-O-Matic” before it hits the internet on Monday morning) and our June 2023 Artist of the Month Pelvis Wrestley wraps it up a quarter past 9. Until then, vanquish any Tuesday blues with the soul-rockin’, Abbey Road-mastered, Dolby Atmos-mixed mechanics of this Nathaniel Rateliff-esque original.

Broken Gold: “Bad Days” (feat. Alejandro Escovedo)

Punk is a young person’s game, no doubt. Because while the counterculture spirit, tattoos, and tinnitus stay ’til death, even punk rock pioneers eventually mellow out towards “refined tastes” once they get comfortable on the other side of the hill.

Case in point: Ian MacDougall of The Riverboat Gamblers fame, who first broadened his genre horizons with Broken Gold alongside fellow Gambler Patrick Lillard over a decade and a half back. The offshoot’s initial indie punk prospects shined on their 2011 debut LP Recovery Journal, and have only departed further from the signature RG sound since, most notably on last March’s Live at Paint by Numbers. Well after waiting long enough, Broken Gold’s finally giving us another full-length entry into their studio discography.

Wild Eyes (out May 3rd) strikes gold with mixing from Modest Mouse/White Stripes engineer Stuart Sikes and mastering from twenty-one-time Grammy winner Howie Weinberg, not to mention one hell of a guest appearance. We’re talking about “Bad Days“, a look back to when Riverboat Gamblers were operating full tilt on tour, almost like a generations-later continuation of Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated”. It dropped last Friday and features vocals from KUTX favorite Alejandro Escovedo, who could certainly lean on his formative days with The Nuns for similar inspiration. So as Broken Gold shifts the fuzz pedal into overdrive for SXSW, catch ’em 10:15PM tomorrow night at Valhalla for the Chicken Ranch Records Party and 5:45PM on Sunday at Empire Control Room for Smartpunk House. They’ll both be good nights for sure.

Kev Bev: “History Books”

It doesn’t matter whether or not lyrics are written before or after the instrumentation; there’s always room to build contrast between subject matter and sonic character. Like for each individual genuinely troubled by the texts of “Pumped Up Kicks” or “Semi-Charmed Life”, there’s a multitude more who just love what they’re hearing without second guessing the words or inspiration. Which proves you can appeal to the masses based on a great groove alone – without having to sacrifice any lyrical integrity.

That just about tees us up for the new one from Kev Bev. For more than a decade now, multi-instrumentalist/singer-songwriter Kevin Collins has helmed this eponymous Austin thirteen-piece, formerly known as Kev Bev and The Woodland Creatures. This hefty ensemble is about as festive as it gets, thanks to the bevy’s proclivity towards dance, loyalty to the jam (sans genre constraints), and especially their collective grasp of historical musicology.

But Kev Bev’s knowledge of history isn’t limited to sound alone. In fact, they’ve just reflected on the heavy lessons from a poignant chapter in our nation’s past: that of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. And this where the power of positivity comes into play. History Books (the lead single and title track off KB’s next LP) confronts some tough stuff for sure, but balances the abysmal with killer brass, incredible rhythms, slick transitions, and easily accessible choreography, even if you’re in the library. The movement-inducing music video arrived just in time for International Women’s Day, not to mention a pop-up performance 5:45PM this Saturday at Austin City Hall for the Falasteen Street Museum and a record release show 8PM next Friday at ABGB alongside Bali Yaaah. So credit to Kev Bev, ’cause edutainment is rarely this infectious.

Tommy Taylor: “Ghost Town”

Here in Austin, we like to make a big fuss over our Central Texas music icons, erecting statues and renaming streets in their honor. So while the respective likeness and namesake of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Willie Nelson have become local landmarks, in reality, our city limits have several legends just hiding in plain sight.

Like Tommy Taylor, whose deft drumming on Christopher Cross’ ’79 debut undeniably helped make it the timeless classic it is today. But that’s just scratching the surface; on top of a longtime spot in Eric Johnson’s band, Taylor’s played with the likes of SRV, Charlie Sexton, Jerry Jeff Walker, Shawn Colvin, Ray Benson and many more over what must be an incredibly fulfilling career. Turns out though that Tommy Taylor wasn’t too keen on just letting those records speak for themselves, since after several years of encouragement, he recently put his voice front and center of his own tunes.

Created in collaboration with fellow legend and multi-Grammy winner Michael Omartian, Across the Stars came out last September. Between Omartian’s top notch production techniques and Taylor’s well-seasoned sense of songwriting (fleshed out characters and all), Across the Stars is an astronomical entry for this pair of yacht rock royals. So don’t expect any tumbleweeds or crickets when the silence comes at the end of this nine-song journey, because even early pieces like the album opener “Ghost Town” just sound plain great. Since we’re guessing there’s a galaxy’s worth of other material under Taylor’s belt, here’s hoping Across the Stars won’t be a standalone in Tommy’s discography.

Ghost Funk Orchestra: “To The Moon!”

Last Fall when we shared our KUTX staff picks for Levitation Fest, I got a chance to gush about one of all-time favorite contemporary projects, Ghost Funk Orchestra. That slick, spectral sound clearly continues to haunt me, because I’ve got yet another chance to gawk at Ghost Funk Orchestra today.

For those who haven’t already been possessed, Ghost Funk Orchestra is the brainchild of NYC multi-instrumentalist/composer/arranger Seth Applebaum. Alongside Applebaum’s outstanding studio crew, Ghost Funk Orchestra raises a whole array of retro sounds back from their original decades-old resting places – exotica, psychedelia, jazz, surf rock – you name it. Well, just like the Apollo program, not long after the last LP, GFO’s already gearing up for their next mission – their fifth full-length, A Trip to the Moon, out February 23rd.

Inspired by the space age arrangements of Quincy Jones and Eddie Palmieri, this fifteen-stage instrumental, interstellar exploration may just rival George Méliès’ groundbreaking 1902 short of the same name in terms of outlandish style. The record’s lead single and title track of sorts, “To The Moon!” almost puts Tower of Power to shame with stereo-spanning, brilliantly-mixed brass that orbits Applebaum’s mission controlling, garage-style guitar. In other words, it doesn’t sound quite like Ghost Funk Orchestra’s completely ditched their dusty sheets for spiffy new spacesuits – and we love to hear it. Between its opening mosaic of authentic NASA transmissions and its descending reverse guitar solo that cues re-entry to our normal lives, we’re expecting A Trip to the Moon to hail in a new generation of “lost cosmonauts” with a one-of-a-kind astral listening experience.

ISTA: “Do What Feels Right”

Down here in the South we like to brag that “everything’s bigger in Texas”. And while that’s true for a lot of things, up in NYC they consistently keep their collectives nice and large.So it’s worth bringing up Brooklyn’s ISTA, who solidified their lineup as a seven-piece in early 2020 and have since sewn together the threads between psych, rock, funk, and punk. With each new single, ISTA’s world of whimsy Big Apple earworms have only dug deeper, and with the recent release of their eponymous full-length, they’ve been effortlessly amalgamated into an idiosyncratic introduction. This baker’s dozen of driving pedal-heavy, vocal-harmony heaven is an absolute hoot from front to back, but if you want to mainline a hedonistic sense of freedom, mid-workweek, well, just “Do What Feels Right”. Like a just-unearthed lost tape from Laugh-In‘s counterculture vault, the visuals for “Do What Feels Right” perfectly complement the track’s fluid and frenetic dedication to the love of fun. And based on that alone, we’ve got a good feeling that ISTA’s the type to keep any party going and push it right into its prime

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Avara: “BABY BLUE BEAMER”

It’s Native American Heritage month, but hopefully we’re all hip to the fact that an “American Indian” is not the same thing as an Indian-American. That’s important because today we’re shining the spotlight on Avara Ellorie, best known by her mononym Avara.

Born in New York City and raised in Atlanta, Avara’s pilgrimage from one musical metropolis to another has led to her latest home base here in Austin. And it’s here that her journey as a songwriter and producer – one that began with a Taylor Swift record back in grade school – has really begun making impressions on listeners. With her Indian heritage front and center to her lyrical identity, Avara avoids any obvious Eastern instrumental influences in her arrangements, instead absorbing the best of modern Western R&B to create an accessible, lush brand of soundscapes – somewhere between Alina Baraz, Ariana Grande, and The Weeknd.

And 2023’s proven awfully auspicious for Avara, considering she’s dropped a handful of singles (whose aesthetic alternates between all caps and strictly lowercase) ahead of her debut EP – out next February. And today, just in time for the weekend, we received that inaugural EP’s final lead single “BABY BLUE BEAMER” – a rock-oriented R&B banger that lets off the gas pedal to coast through nearly three minutes of breathy falsetto, hypnotic vocal effects, glued-to-the-pavement percussion, and tire-screeching guitar – all for a cinematic getaway chase of pensive sensuality.

Kenton Mackay: “Royalty Free”

You wouldn’t download a car would you? Heck yeah I would! That’s right, at least for my generation, internet piracy was a moral middle ground. Sure Lars Ulrich didn’t get the extra million he was hoping for, but in an era before streaming services became ubiquitous, the high seas were a great place for millennials to develop their musical tastes. And that’s more or less the origin story for Austin’s Kenton Mackay, who despite an upbringing smack dab in the middle of nowhere, was able to grab a guitar, put his ISP to work, and inundate himself in the likes of Nirvana, Radiohead, and Beck.

Once that baseline was under his belt, Mackay moved to our fair city limits and quickly caught onto mainstays like The Black Angels and Broncho, launching his own fuzz rock songwriting career not too long afterwards. Fast forward to this year, when Mackay and his backing band The Sensors have been working on their debut EP In Good Taste, an indie alt-pop-rock endeavor mix and mastered by the legendary Erik Wofford and set for release next Spring.

Mackay and the Sensors find a grunge-pop sweet spot on In Good Taste‘s second lead single “Royalty Free”, which finds Kenton’s robust baritone sarcastically begging for funds and recognition – almost a wink and nod to his early not-so-legal musical exposure. But that doesn’t mean you can’t support Kenton Mackay when he plays midnight next Saturday at Hotel Vegas for a single release show following Born Twins at 10 and Flags at 11. And at just under three minutes, who needs Limewire when you can just cue up “Royalty Free” on your favorite streamer, smash that “repeat” button, and let the numbers speak for themselves?

Walkabouts: “Sinner”

When you’re surrounded by skyscrapers 24/7, it doesn’t take long to forget; here in Texas…we’ve got plenty of dry, cinematic wilderness. But for those of us who simply can’t squeeze in a road trip in every weekend? Our next best bet for a cinematic desert escape is some good ol’ fashioned Central Texas psychedelia.

That said, don’t let the genre label limit what to expect from Walkabouts, because true to their name, this Austin quartet doesn’t stick to just one corner. No, they chart an incredible amount of middle ground between dream pop and desert rock for live sets and albums blessed by psychedelic stream of consciousness. On top of that, this calculated hippie hermitage has already set a purposeful pace instead of ambling around like so many up-and-comer groups; in just over a year Walkabouts have evolved from playing frontman Sam Shaffer’s solo record Valley of the Living Water into the theatric four-man affair who just released their debut LP Bloomin’ Ocotillo last Tuesday.

Like lush lips on an arid shrub, wrapped up in the very fabric of the universe itself but never taking itself too seriously, Bloomin’ Ocotillo is a half-hour sonic journey, no doubt. But if you’re a psychonaut like me who loves the nuances of a live performance, drop out with Walkabouts 8:15PM tonight at Far Out Lounge in between CLTTR at 7 and Audio Sex Drive at 9:30. And especially if Election Day’s got you out of sorts, get in touch with your inner grunge with Western-ready wind gusts and the heavy-as-hell fuzz bluster that is “Sinner”.

Restos: “Time”

If you remember Western Youth, then you’re familiar with Graham Weber. And if you know Graham Weber, you know he lays down great work wherever he may wander. A decade and a half into his solo discography, Weber launched Western Youth right here in Austin in the late twenty-teens and spearheaded their solo eponymous full-length. However, on the other side of the pandemic, that iteration of the Central Texas sextet’s since ridden off into the sunset. But save for one straggler, the cavalcade continues with their spiritual successor Restos in 2023. With Weber overseeing but not monopolizing this well-seasoned five-piece’s style, Restos retain much of the Americana-rock aura that defined their predecessor, albeit with a bit more of a modern kick. This Friday Restos drop their debut LP Ain’t Dead Yet and celebrate with a release show 11PM that same evening at Continental Club alongside opener Jaimee Harris at 10PM and closers The Irons half past midnight. As you’ll soon find out from the live performance, the tunes on Ain’t Dead Yet defy any potential decline in quality from Weber and his posse. Instead Restos channel the energy of an armadillo, bear, bison, gator, rooster all kickin’ in the barn together, pushing their primitive musical instincts to the limit and leaving the rest behind. So before Restos rear into their Thursday night residency at C-Boy’s each week from 6:30-8:30PM, take a little “Time” to appreciate Graham and the boys’ incredible progress over a handful of years in just under five minutes with one of the record’s latest early looks.

Walker Lukens: “Man & Wife”

As a commemoration of factory personnel, harsh conditions, and tumultuous union strikes, Labor Day often loses its meaning for all the folks just enjoying a Monday off. But a century-plus later, we can still take a moment to appreciate some less-industrial aspects of life that often get taken for granted. For example keeping up a clean, appealing appearance usually takes a continued concerted effort, and once those looks help you land a partner for life, the work doesn’t stop; it’s a real labor of love to keep a marriage going strong past the initial honeymoon phase. Keep those in mind as we commend all the hard work Walker Lukens has done over the years. He’s elevated himself from mere multi-instrumentalist/singer-songwriter to a monolithic must-have producer-for-hire here in Austin, not to mention a concept-driven creator who’s helped mastermind the Song Confessional podcast and the vast Texas Wild collaboration. Still, seems like Walker’s got an undying hunger (and somehow enough time) to make great tunes on his own accord. On that note, this Friday Walker Lukens finally unleashes his fourth full-length Accessible Beauty, self-produced and recorded at Lukens’ Paradise Lunch recording studio. He’ll be taking these eight mellow originals on the road for a week-long East Coast tour in October ahead of three Central Texas shows in mid-December, including “The Last Walt” December 15th at The Paramount as part of KUTX’s 10th Birthday Concert Series. But even though the locals will have to wait a while to catch the new Walker live, Lukens was kind enough to toss us some early access to Accessible Beauty with the LP’s latest and final lead single. A spiritual sequel-of-sorts to this April’s “The One Who Loves You”, “Man & Wife” keeps the affection flowing with shimmering synths, vocal harmonies that weep with reverb, and a hard-rocking hook that gives this multi-coupling of sounds some tasteful dynamic range. So consider celebrating Labor Day with a spell of spontaneous romantic gestures that’ll reaffirm the work you’re willing to put into a relationship (be it currently in existence or a dream for the future). And even if you’re single by choice and plan on keeping it that way, the soft, mature sensuality of “Man & Wife” will make your inner beauty feel sexier and more readily available then it’s ever been on a Monday.