Urban Heat

Urban Heat: “Sanitizer”

After naming them as our July 2022 Artist of the Month, we here at KUTX have gotten an awful lot of opportunities to gush about the Austin synth-goth gargantua that is Urban Heat. With a blacked-out sense of fashion and all the industrial analogue toys a bitter boy could want, Urban Heat instantly evokes an impossibly-slick sense of 1980s nihilism, perfectly primed for our pandemic era and an entire dejected generation. Of course, there’s still a ton of synth-pop beauty in the bass-and-beat-driven bleakness, as heard throughout Urban Heat’s 2022 album Wellness and the handful of singles they’ve shared since.

So, sure, the Wellness stalwart “Have You Ever” has climbed past millions of streams, but that success hasn’t slowed Urban Heat’s ascension to The Tower, out this summer. If we’d just heard this next record’s first lead single, “Like This”, we’d honestly expect much of the same from Wellness. Turns out though, that Wellness was just the foundation for The Tower, as made clear by the full-length’s second preview, “Sanitizer”.

Far from a sterile sound, “Sanitizer” oozes infectious electro elements like drastically-saturated bass tones, scalpel-sharp drums, and pitch wheel synth sirens that’ll elevate your heartbeat with what’s easily Urban Heat’s most aggressive original to date. Clearly, there’s no musical malpractice when it comes to these goth doctors…but the same can’t be said for the trio’s trauma team characters in the music video for “Sanitizer”. It’s gross. It’s hilarious. It’ll tear your heart right out. And you’d better believe Urban Heat turns the O.R. into a dance floor for their lucky pair of patients (dancers Larissa Dali and Quentin Arispe). So between Urban Heat kickoff of a tour in support of Twin Tribes tonight in Pomona and their return to Texas in early February, remember: a play of “Sanitizer” a day keeps bad music away.

Urban Heat: “City Lights” (Live in Studio 1A)

It’s been really cool to see folks we’ve featured as our Artists of the Month advance up into official ACL acts. Yesterday we gave a shoutout to our May 2022 AotM Good Looks and today we move onto Urban Heat. This post-punk three-piece first stopped into Studio 1A back in February to swelter listeners with their latest set of sinister, cinematic, synth-driven originals. And by July, when their EP Wellness began making its rounds, we’d named Urban Heat as our Artist of the Month.

Temps may have cooled off a bit since mid-Summer, but Urban Heat has continued to crank things up as they perfect their live performances. If you want to test your fest thermostat in the early afternoon, Urban Heat’ll be playing ACL 3PM this Sunday on the BMI Stage. If you’d prefer to avoid the “City Limits” for Weekend Two and instead enjoy the “City Lights” from the comfort of your home, heat up your Hump Day with the live rendition listed below.

Urban Heat: “Trust”

For the past four weeks you’ve heard plenty about our July 2022 Artist of the Month, Urban Heat. But in case these record-breaking temperatures are melting your memory, we’ll give you a quick recap. Analog sound designer/multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Jonathan Horstmann founded the three-piece back in 2019 under the name Urban Heat Island Effect. It only took a few mangled marquees for the fellas to drop that second half in favor of the more ambiguous, abbreviated handle we’ve come to love. Yet the Austin trio continues to inspire their initial namesake thanks to high-octane shows with dense crowds. Up until now, Urban Heat’s only had seven singles out (and each one of ’em swelters with mirthless, mechanical, ’80s-meets-modern goth-post-punk) but this weekend they counter our state’s triple digits with their debut six-song EP, Wellness. In the live realm, Urban Heat plays Sunday Weekend 2 at Austin City Limits Music Festival in October and KUTX presents the Wellness EP release show this Saturday at Hotel Vegas with openers Lovelorn and Holy Wire. Going back to these incendiary inner-city temps, it may be best to defy ERCOT and just let Urban Heat pulsate the sun’s rays back into orbit with the album opener off of Wellness. Because between a throbbing bass groove, Horstmann’s husky, vocoder-inclusive vocals, classic MIDI percussion, and an accompanying music video, “Trust” will leave you dripping sweat in the best way possible.

Urban Heat: “Have You Ever”

Upton Sinclair shocked the world with the harsh, humid realities of city life in his 1906 The Jungle. More than a century later, we understand there was a bit of muckraking embellishment in the novel, but you won’t find any unnecessary exaggeration with Urban Heat. Since 2019 this Austin trio’s captivated metropolitan crowds with their energetic-yet-eerie brand of industrial post-punk and synthwave, a timeless sound perfect for a modern-day version of The Jungle.

Urban Heat’s ability to keep things dark without being overly morose is a testament to their artistry, which has landed the three-piece spots at Levitation Fest, SXSW, and perhaps most appropriately, Seattle’s Freakout Fest. But since the ongoing pandemic’s drawn extra attention to self-care, Urban Heat’s had to confront their grim preferences and take on the duty of leaving listeners with an extra sense of comfort. The result is their upcoming EP Wellness, out July 26th. With their pulsating synths, weighty vocals, and retro-soundscapes these six new songs (including “Have You Ever”) will help in that continuous healing process as best they can. So when Urban Heat comes around for their Wellness check in late July (and even earlier on May 18th at Far Out Lounge), make sure you answer the call.