Rank #1: Otis Wilkins: “Charlene”
Austinite singer-guitarist Taylor Wilkins may historically be most associated with his pedal board-addicted rock band Otis the Destroyer, but when he sheds that Shiva-esque title, Taylor re-appropriates his father’s college moniker (and first dog’s given name) once again to transform into Otis Wilkins.
Otis only has three singles to his name as of yet, and together they’ve showcased a gargantuan sound, sprawling out across distorted electric guitar, boulder-sized drum beats, and Wilkins’ curt, slacker-inspired vocals. Rest assured, there’ll be more from Otis Wilkins to digest on the horizon, but get a peak of “Charlene” – the newest tune that features production by Walker Lukens and vocal harmonies from Jane Ellen Bryant (and more)! Catch him live tonight at Hotel Vegas for the KUTX-presented single release show!
Feb 27 2020
Rank #2: La Santa Cecilia: “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out” (feat. California Feetwarmers)
In addition to receiving the 2014 Grammy for Best Latin Rock Album, they’ve played the Hollywood Bowl and have worked with Los Lobos, John Paul Jones, and Elvis Costello, and yet L.A.’s La Santa Cecilia is still hungry for more. Every branch of Pan-American and Latin music comes into the mix, not to mention other distinguishable influences from across the globe as well as modern production formulas, impressively covered by La Santa Cecilia’s bare four players.
La Santa Cecilia’s seventh album is appropriately self-titled, and with the help of Shakira/Enrique Iglesias Grammy-winner Sebastian Krys, it’s the best representation of the band yet, for both first-time listeners and longtime fans. La Santa Cecilia came out last Friday and in keeping with today’s all-covers theme, enjoy this quartet’s fresh but faithful rendition of the 1929 Bessie Smith hit, featuring California Feetwarmers, “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out”
Oct 25 2019
Rank #3: Walker Lukens: “We See U” (QT Edition) [PREMIERE]
Even if you only have cursory knowledge of KUTX, the name Walker Lukens should be pretty familiar to you. On top of being our August 2015 Artist of the Month, this seven-time Studio 1A performer and two-time My KUTX guest DJ also co-hosts and produces our very own Song Confessional podcast. Needless to say, Walker’s a bit of a workaholic and we’ve got zero qualms with that.
The latest endeavor from Lukens is the ADULTs ONLY Album of the Month Club, providing members with a new exclusive record every thirty days, and allowing Walker to pay his bills since he’s not able to produce in the studio or play live gigs. This Sunday members will receive Teenager, a sequel of sorts to last April’s ADULT, showing off stripped-down, previously unheard recordings of Walker’s previously existing stuff using sparse equipment and instrumentation, channeling Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska. Sign up for ADULTS ONLY when you can but get a free sample before you do, in case you need some convincing, “We See You” (QT Edition)!
KUTX supports Austin music; your support makes KUTX possible. Donate today.
Apr 24 2020
Rank #4: A. Sinclair “Weeds” [PREMIERE]
For our final Song of the Day of 2019 we’re pulling the cover off a new single from one of our all-time favorite local rockers: Aaron Sinclair. After his tenure with Boston’s The Lot Six, Sinclair backed a bit away from his punk duds, relocated to Austin and doubled down on straight ahead rock n roll under the name A. Sinclair. Sinclair’s brutally honest brand of working class storytelling and knack for pop-leaning phrases have remained a constant in light of many crests and valleys for more than a decade now, and when his band steps on stage, it’s a full throttle experience.
This prolific songwriter has just added another bold track to his already impressive discography, coinciding with a release show tonight at The Mohawk, so get out of the weeds of 2019 with…well…”Weeds”!
Dec 20 2019
Rank #5: Chicano Batman: “Blank Slate”
Laying claim to quite possibly the best band name ever, West Coast four-piece Chicano Batman is fully equipped with a diverse utility belt full of talent. Going back to their 2010 eponymous debut, they’ve tapped into ’60s and ’70s psychedelia and effortlessly fused it with Latin overtones. Chicano Batman’s laid-back, keyboard-driven, and effects-heavy style has since evolved to incorporate more of a “clean” indie psych-pop production method akin to Tame Impala, heard most recently on 2017’s Freedom Is Free.
Today Chicano Batman’s shared a first glimpse of their upcoming fourth full-length, Invisible People, out on May Day and once again produced by Leon Michels, whose track record includes work with A$AP Rocky, Lee Fields & the Expressions and Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. With the additional help of engineer Shawn Everett (Vampire Weekend, Alabama Shakes, Beck, etc.) on the mix, Invisible People maintains all the elements that we’ve loved about Chicano Batman, and goes on to explore touches of hip-hop, krautrock, international synth-funk, R&B, and prog-rock. You’ll be able to experience these dynamically impressive recordings in full on May 1st, but not before self prescribing Invisible People‘s ’80s-inspired lead single, perfect for a pandemic-riddled world trying to relearn the day-to-day life, “Blank Slate”!
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Apr 21 2020
Rank #6: Jackie Venson: “Make Me Feel”
As we’ve all learned from these past couple of weeks, breaking out of time-tested routines and formulas can be sometimes a necessity. Take native Austinite Jackie Venson, who switched from piano to guitar after a dissatisfaction with the overly competitive and formalized environment while receiving her degree at Berklee. Since then she’s taken her composition and studio production skills and re-created herself as one of Austin’s most talented solo acts.
Last year Venson’s sophomore album Joy helped earn her Best Guitarist at Austin Music Awards, proving a milestone as the first African American woman to do so in the program’s multi-decade history. Now Venson’s rolling with the momentum and trying out some new stuff on her next project, Vintage Machine, out in September. You can expect even more explorations into the electronic realm alongside Venson’s signature guitar virtuosity, as heard on Vintage Machine‘s recently released lead single, one that finds Venson in a higher vocal register than we’re accustomed to. And while Jackie Venson might not have been a Prince protégé, we have a feeling she’ll be giving Miss Monae a run for her money in a matter of time. Hear for yourself on “Make Me Feel”!
Mar 23 2020
Rank #7: Yacht Rock Revue: “Step” (Jamie Lidell Remix)
A dozen years back Atlanta indie rockers Y-O-U played a less-than-serious set of ’70s-’80s lite rock. Well, regardless of whether it’s resurgent or undying, turns out that folks have a sincere love of the soft stuff, and Yacht Rock Revue was born.
Flash forward to 2019, where the seven-piece’s reputation has earned them performances alongside yacht legends, like key members of Player, Toto, Wings, Chicago, and more. But as we enter a new decade, YRR themselves enter another phase. Yacht Rock Revue’s just announced their first LP of original compositions, HOT DADS in TIGHT JEANS, out February 21st, and among it’s ten new tracks, HOT DADS will dock comfortably in retro rock harbor before YRR joins us in May at Emo’s. And to break out the tanning lotion early, enjoy a just-released Jamie Lidell remix of one of the album’s lead singles, “Step”!
Nov 15 2019
Rank #8: Ley Line: “Slow Down”
Frequenters of KUTX’s airwaves will recognize the name Ley Line right off the bat. Their multi-lingual, internationally-inspired folk earned the quartet a spot as our KUTX Artist of the Month last October, right around the same time they released heavy rotation pick “Oxum” and subsequently appeared at Austin City Limits music festival.
Ley Line’s legacy of airy vocal harmonies, quaint arrangements, and synergy between the four unique songwriters continues with the upcoming record, We Saw Blue. The release schedule’s hit some obvious hurdles in the past couple months, but Ley Line’s decided that one of We Saw Blue‘s B-side offerings is too fitting for our present scenario not to seize this moment of exigence, “Slow Down”!
May 04 2020
Rank #9: Jordana: “Sway”
When Jordana Nye’s church organist father first encouraged her to pursue music, he had no idea what he was about to unlock. Nye opted to play violin over the suggested piano before swapping out for a six-string, and now at just nineteen, Jordana‘s already built up quite the reputation with her mononymous bedroom pop project.
Jordana’s debut album Classical Notions of Happiness was first inspired in the wake of a high school friend’s suicide, fueled by the loss of youthful innocence and blind optimism and recorded between her home state Maryland, New York, and Nye’s new headquarters in Wichita, Kansas. With the addition of her three-piece backing band, Jordana opted to re-release Classical Notions of Happiness along with three new community-driven bookends that unwontedly but welcomely go way beyond what you’d expect from traditional bedroom pop. The redux edition of Classical Notions of Happiness came out last Friday so get your quarantined self in motion with one of the new ones, “Sway”!
Apr 02 2020
Rank #10: The Kraken Quartet & Adobo: “Hold My Breath”
There’ve been a lot of collaborative recipes for success in Austin over the years, but by far one of the most intriguing team ups in town is The Kraken Quartet & Adobo. Since forming in 2012 The Kraken Quartet has become an intense percussive and electronic beast and with the added technical expertise of Hikes/kellen/Monté guitarist-vocalist Nay Wilkins (billed in this iteration as “Adobo”), these five have landed themselves in a sea of sounds, somewhere between brooding indie, math rock, and avant garde fusion.
Adobo’s breathy falsetto and electric guitar prowess provide a perfect marinade for The Kraken Quartet’s already masterful sense of dynamic range and breakneck tempo and time signature changes, and you can hear them together across five new tracks on Backdrop out next Friday. But for today, in the midst of everything going on, have Adobo and the KQ put your mind at ease with the gorgeous “Hold My Breath”!
Mar 25 2020
Rank #11: BluMoon: “Melt Away”
How should I begin to describe, BluMoon, a musical trio from San Marcos? For starters, I would say alternative Jazz, but that’s not quite right. Their unique sound is a fusion of funk, jazz, & soul. Kendra Sells gives us chilling vocals with Andrew Harkey on bass and Isaac Pulido on drums. BluMoon’s 2019 release, Slow Burn, is a fluid album where the sound seems to melt into the next track. The group will bring their music to the Austin documentary series Fembeat’s Birthday Fundraiser, supporting Fembeat’s mission to provide a platform to different self-identifying women and non-binary folx. Good music and a good cause…it doesn’t get any better than that. To give you a taste of the good vibes Blumoon is going to provide let’s take a listen to your KUTX song of the day, “Melt Away.”
-Simone Puglia/KUTX Intern
Nov 09 2019
Rank #12: Chill Russell: “Sound The Alarm” [PREMIERE]
They only got started halfway through the last decade, but Austin alternative rock trio Chill Russell still sounds like they’d be perfect on a ’60s bill opening for Paul Revere & The Raiders and The Stooges, just as much as with ’90s-era Weezer and Pavement, and unsurprisingly alongside the contemporary styles of The Black Keys and The Strokes. The timelessness of Chill Russell has made the seasoned three-piece a must-see in their native Austin and beyond, thanks in no small part to their country-spanning tours and consistent official SXSW appearances.
And although Chill Russell’s accessible yet decidedly complex style has historically gone hand in hand with an indie DIY approach, they recently recruited producer Chris “Frenchie” Smith for their upcoming as-of-yet untitled EP. Just today Chill Russell announced that record through the release of its lead single, one that pulls a ’90s grunge sound out of the garage and will make you want to punch your personal klaxon. The single release show is 7PM tomorrow at Hotel Vegas with opener Scott Collins and you can get a sneak preview right now with the still-fresh “Sound The Alarm”!
Dec 05 2019
Rank #13: Pure X: “Free My Heart”
About a decade back, three Austinites unified under a mutual love of Americana, soul, and shoegaze, dubbing the project, “Pure Ecstasy”. Unfazed by name-changing legal ramifications, Pure X hit their stride with 2011’s Pleasure and completed the group as a now-quartet following the release of 2013’s Crawling Up The Stairs. Pure X has maintained their spirit of persistence even though the group split up after the release of Angel six years ago, having emerged once again with their new self-titled album.
Pure X features a dozen new tracks, two for each year they’ve been gone, that revisit the band’s hazy, Americana-leaning, pop-peppered mysticism and poignant emotionality. The record comes out in full tomorrow, and today you can gift yourself a modicum of liberation in quarantine with “Free My Heart”!
KUTX supports Austin music; your support makes KUTX possible. Donate today.
Apr 30 2020
Rank #14: Hamartia: “Stone Cold Stunner”
What happens when you combine the bleak ’90s outlook of Pavement and Jeff Buckley with the proto-punk vigor of Television and…interestingly enough…the care-free candor of Steely Dan’s yacht rock? You end up with a timeless sense of melancholy, embodied by Austin art rock quartet Hamartia (not to be confused with the hardcore outfit of the same name), who walk the tightrope between shoegaze fragility and bold ’70s hedonism.
And while Hamartia’s noticeable influences are inseparable from their sound, the result is something decidedly unique and worth a few listens just to put your finger on it. Hamartia’s just kicked off their character arc earlier this month with a lead single all about finding the one for you as the years go on, “Stone Cold Stunner”!
Mar 26 2020
Rank #15: Julia Jacklin: “Good Guy” (Live in Studio 1A)
If you’re in the mood for some soothing, emotional indie out at ACL, look no further than Julia Jacklin. The Sydney singer put out her highly-acclaimed and deeply personal sophomore album Crushing earlier this year, and brought her narratives of heartbreak to Studio 1A not long after that.
Oct 02 2019
Rank #16: Matthew McNeal: “Levity”
To put it lightly, Forth Worth’s Matthew McNeal found success at a pivotal time in his life…
A month prior to the release of 2018’s Good Luck, the Studio 1A veteran made the heartbreaking decision to pull his father off life support, and although he soon met success on the road and in the media, McNeal would come to face more anguish in the months that followed. McNeal returned from tour with a set of new singles endowed with mourning and appreciation, but just as soon as he’d come back, he lost his house and most of his possessions to an electric fire. The subsequent near-fatal car accident and identity theft episode finally led McNeal to fill his glass again, this time with Good Grief.
Once again recorded and produced with the help of drummer Andre Black and Grammy-recipient Ted Young (whose credits can be found among The Rolling Stones and Kurt Vile), Matthew McNeal’s third album reflects the singer’s painful journey over the past two years across soul, alternative, and indie, disavowing genre constraints in favor of raw emotion. The thirty-five minutes on Good Grief is powerful to say the least, and although McNeal was slated to play at the Cactus Cafe later this month, in these gloomy days, we could all use a healthy serving of “Levity” right about now.
–Photo: Emily McNeal
Apr 03 2020
Rank #17: Golf Lexapro: “Craigslist”
Whether or not you take SSRIs or have an interest in carting around the green, if you like indie rock and guitar pop in the same serving, then you need a prescription for Golf Lexapro. Fronted by James Rainis on vocals, synth, and guitar, this Brooklyn four-piece may have all the standard accoutrements of your run-of-the-mill dive bar band, but Golf Lexapro’s kooky lyrics and erratic arrangements make the group stand out, though they still draw comparisons to indie icons like Pavement and The Strokes and current contemporaries such as Jay Som and DIIV. Golf Lexapro first gave us a dose of the goods with their 2017 eponymous EP, and today they share the four-song Washed, a record that explores the almost-inseparable role corporations has on humanity today.
Go ahead and self-medicate yourself into the weekend with Golf Lexapro and take a quick soak in Washed with “Craigslist”!
Feb 07 2020
Rank #18: Jessie Clement: “Palace of Pride”
There’s one mantra that resonates throughout Jessie Clement‘s songwriting more than any other: Don’t put a lid on your emotions.
After growing up in an adopted household and teaching herself piano, Clement quickly moved up to ukulele, then guitar, mandolin, and a bit of piano. On top of her multi-instrumental and vocal skills, Clement’s adoration of ’70s soft rock and ’50s R&B has played a key role in shaping her sound, one that blends those vintage tones with modern soul, jazz, and country.
Having just celebrated her twenty-first birthday and living on her own in Nashville, Jessie Clement’s is about to share her recent chronicles of maturation across ten new tracks. Clement’s sophomore album Slow Motion Philosophies is out on Valentine’s Day, and you can peep some of her exalted eccentricity with “Palace of Pride”!
Photo: Robby Klein
Feb 05 2020