Rank #1: 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 #2: The Harlem Gospel Travelers: “Am I Doing Enough”
When a group of young musicians is knowledgeable and respectful enough of a certain craft, age is no measure of maturity. Take the four gentlemen in The Harlem Gospel Travelers, who despite the fact that the eldest is only twenty two, collectively possess decades worth of soul and gospel know-how. The performance discipline and classic gospel mindset embodied by these native New Yorkers has earned the Travelers some impressive guest appearances on their debut album, including drummer Aaron Frazer of Durand Jones & The Indications and Arctic Monkeys engineer Loren Humphrey.
At ten well-rounded tracks, He’s On Time serves as an exceptional introduction to The Harlem Gospel Travelers, and you can hear the full thing now, starting off with a video recorded in the quartet’s home turf: “Am I Doing Enough”!
Photo: Jacob Blickenstaff
Oct 15 2019
Rank #3: G Flip: “Stupid”
When G Flip, aka Georgia Flipo, put out her self-produced single “About Time”, she couldn’t imagine what would happen next. Overnight, she received recognition from Pitchfork, NPR, and Rolling Stone and had booked eight showcases at SXSW to start. The Melbourne based drummer, producer, and songwriter grew up and playing in the background in bands ranging from reggae to pop-rock but found a chance to create her own music after the bands she was playing with kept fizzling out. About Us, G Flip’s first album out August 30th came after two months spent holed up in her bedroom, chronicling the end of her relationship as it coincided with the rise of her music career.
On “Stupid” G Flip combines woozy indie-pop sensibilities and catchy lyrics to capture the self-sabotage that comes with the inevitable end of a relationship. Backed by her signature drum beats, G Flip is bringing a new, upbeat meaning to bedroom pop.
–Claire Hardwick, KUTX Intern
Aug 03 2019
Rank #4: Black Belt Eagle Scout: “At The Party”
When you combine an indigenous reservation upbringing with the modern tinges of Portland’s alternative grunge scene, you get Black Belt Eagle Scout. The brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Katherine Paul first popped up on our radar with her intimate 2018 debut Mother of My Children and today Black Belt Eagle Scout returns with her highly-anticipated sophomore full-length, At the Party With My Brown Friends.
Where her first record dealt with feelings of loss and connecting to ones ancestors, At the Party With My Brown Friends explores loving relationships of all kinds, almost as a tribute to the most important people in Paul’s life. You can expect less guitar and more keys on this album, but with her delicate vocals and well-constructed lyrics, it’s peak BBES. Black Belt Eagle Scout joins us at the Barracuda this November and you can get your weekend started with the album opener and title track, “At The Party”!
Photo: Sarah Cass
Aug 30 2019
Rank #5: 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 #6: Clarence James: “So Cold”
Although he’s a relatively new name to the Austin music scene, vocalist Clarence James has a lot going for him. James only began playing live sets in 2019 but in that short time he’s already accrued the confidence of a major label icon.
This young up-and-comer will sweep you off your feet with his mature sense of lyricism and stunning vocal techniques, heard most recently on a single released just last Friday, “So Cold”!
Nov 25 2019
Rank #7: 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 #8: Robert Ellis: “Topo Chico” (Live in Studio 1A)
If there’s one man who believes in the musical mythos of the Lone Star State, it’s Robert Ellis.
You can see Ellis coming from a mile away with his idiosyncratic white tux and bouquet of yellow roses but his knack for honky tonk-inspired songwriting and understanding of Texas culture will easily impress natives, transplants and Tex-pats alike. Around the same time he released Texas Piano Man, Robert Ellis joined us in Studio 1A and he plays 7:15pm tomorrow night at The Bluebonnet Stage at Old Settler’s Music Festival. And in case you’re still not convinced of Robert Ellis as a beacon of Texas music, take a sip from his Studio 1A performance, and his love letter to one of our home state’s favorite refreshments, “Topo Chico”!
Apr 11 2019
Rank #9: Madi Meeks: “Cigarette Rain”
As the genre permeates through ever-changing trends, it becomes increasingly difficult to make yourself stand out in the world of pop music. But when you’re born and raised in the Live Music Capital and have been writing since your tweens, the diversity and maturity of folks like Madi Meeks shine through all the other corporate cookie cutter pop formulas. Last summer then-sixteen-year-old songwriter Madi Meeks put out her debut EP, For You, showcasing her deep and delicate, yet vigorous vocal style, eventually earning her a couple Austin Music Awards nominations.
Meeks’ passion has put her in the limelight once again, this time with an electronic-over-acoustic approach on her self-titled full-length, out today. Her gentle, moving pop goes live at the Madi Meeks release show 7PM tonight at Carousel Lounge, and you can take a quick break from the Friday work gauntlet with “Cigarette Rain”.
Sep 20 2019
Rank #10: Berhana: “Lucky Strike”
Born in Atlanta to Ethiopian parents, Amain Berhane grew up on Michael Jackson, Erykah Badu, Sam Cooke, and Stevie Wonder, so it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that his project Berhana is fueled by R&B, funk, and soul. In the time since his eponymous 2016 EP, Berhana’s relocated to NYC, played at a number of high-level festivals, and has had his music featured in the hit show Atlanta.
Now backed by a live four-piece, Berhana shared his intimate debut full-length HAN in mid-October and kicks off a national tour in his hometown just before Thanksgiving. Berhana was set to play The Parish this Friday, but even though he had to cancel the initial Texas leg of the HAN tour, we’re still jazzed about his new stuff in the Lone Star State. Just try and resist from boogieing your way through HAN‘s fourteen funkadelic tunes, especially the album’s hard-hitting midpoint, “Lucky Strike”!
Nov 19 2019
Rank #11: Black Mountain: “Pretty Little Lazies”
Though he was just a newborn during Woodstock and only got his driver’s license two years ago, the spirit of psychedelia, independence, and youthful rebellion has always been front and center for Stephen McBean and his rock outfit Black Mountain. The Vancouver quintet has been going hard since 2004 but in light of his newfound horsepower (in the form of a 1985 Dodge Destroyer fixer-upper), singer and guitarist McBean needed to push the group’s musical tachometer to its redline.
This fifty-going-on-sixteen scenario paved the way for Black Mountain’s fifth full-length, Destroyer, an album that puts you in McBean’s shotgun seat while he pops the clutch with heavy riffs and scratches paint off the labels “stoner rock” or “space rock” like the bumper stickers they are. Destroyer is out now and Black Mountain joins us at the Mohawk this Fall, so let’s ascend the peak with “Pretty Little Lazies”!
Photo: Olivia Jaffe
Jun 05 2019
Rank #12: Buffalo Hunt: “Apple Tree”
The name “Stephanie Hunt” might not warrant an immediate reaction for some folks, but a cursory review over a couple of her associations lets you know right off the bat that she’s nobody to overlook. Screen junkies will certainly recognize Hunt from her time on NBC’s Friday Night Lights, Fox’s Glee, and her many appearances on several major network sitcoms and in indie films, but these impressive credits are continually eclipsed by Hunt’s longer-standing musical talents. After a violin-laden childhood and an adolescent interest in original songwriting, Hunt teamed up with Alex Maas and Christian Bland of Black Angels to form experimental psych-rock’s The Ghost Songs before moving on as one half of punk duo Nancy And Beth, alongside Megan Mullally.
Now engaged to Shakey Graves, Hunt has taken a respite from her busy L.A. production schedule to ease into her new solo psych project, Buffalo Hunt. Buffalo Hunt’s debut offering, Play the Fool, comes out next Summer, featuring collaborations with Shakey Graves and The Texas Gentleman and this Doug Sahm-inspired introductory single, “Apple Tree”!
Dec 18 2019
Rank #13: 5-D: “Burger Cheese”
When you’ve got an intense craving for creative writing, sometimes you have to take your lyrics to another dimension. Portland’s Russell Dizer Jr. (RuDi Devino) and Austin’s own Halston Brown (HBZ) have done just that in recent years with their boldest but far from first-ever collaboration, 5-D. Now both entering their second decade in the rap game, HBZ and RuDi initially crossed paths in 2010 shortly before co-founding five-piece hip-hop outfit SubKulture Patriots. In addition, RuDi’s lent his vocals to Retr0Grade and CAPYAC, while HBZ’s been heard alongside Sometimes A Legend and Sip Sip. And in light of some major maturation milestones (with HBZ entering fatherhood and RuDi quitting his day job to focus full-time on music) their uncouth camaraderie and aggressor-meets-slacker chemistry as 5-D continues to make for some infectious free-association tag-team rhyming schemes, heard once again on their third studio single.
5-D’s debut EP will be popping up on your radar in 2020 but you can stack up a combo of vigor, ferocity, seduction and humor right now with “Burger Cheese”!
Nov 14 2019
Rank #14: Cate Le Bon: “The Light”
For the dozen years she’s been on the road and in the studio, Welsh singer-guitarist Cate Le Bon has shared the stage with Velvet Underground’s John Cale, produced for Deerhunter, toured alongside Perfume Genius and St. Vincent, and earned praise from Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. These merits don’t come undeserved either, since Le Bon’s talents on acoustic and electric guitar, piano and vocals make for a captivating concoction of pop, rock and folk.
Le Bon sought a period of solitude for her fifth full-length, Reward, and that extensive, isolated writing process has shed more light on her private thoughts than any record so far. Reward is out on Friday, Le Bon is already up to her ankles in a multi-month international tour, and today you can illuminate what makes this songwriter phenomenal with the album’s third single, “The Light”!
Photo: Ivana Kličković
May 22 2019
Rank #15: Jess Clinton: “The Runaway”
As the daughter of a Hollywood actress and an L.A. film composer, Jess Clinton was exposed to the studio life earlier than most. Clinton’s undying love of creative expression led her to an affection for guitar, voice lessons, an art obsession, and bouts of secret songwriting. When she moved to NYU, Clinton’s fascination for folk, rock, musical narratives, theatrical vocals and Celtic music all collided and she’s set to bear it all on her upcoming album, Real Glass Heart.
This immensely intimate record gives off vibes similar to Lucius or PJ Harvey and while Real Glass Heart isn’t out until July, you can get a clear view of the Brooklyn songwriter’s energy with the LP’s penultimate track, “The Runaway“!
May 20 2019
Rank #16: Pinky Pinky: “Do Me Dirty (Charlie)”
Oddball trio Pinky Pinky first got a grip on the L.A. rock scene with their 2017 self-titled EP, and proved their dexterity once again on 2018’s Hot Tears. Now in year three together, Pinky Pinky has extended their garage rock digits even further on the debut full-length, Turkey Dinner.
At just under a dozen tracks, Turkey Dinner is stuffed with classic-sounding indie garage along with all the modern lyrical trimmings of anxiety, bliss, and passion. Pinky Pinky opens for The Nude Party this Thursday night at Antone’s, and to get a better fingerhold on the three-piece, here’s Turkey Dinner’s lead single, “Do Me Dirty (Charlie)”!
Aug 27 2019
Rank #17: Primo: “Christmastime With You”
As we step into the 2020s you may find yourself getting nostalgic over decades past, and if you’re in the mood to revisit an over-saturated VHS version of the late ’80s right here in Austin, look no further than Laura Lee Bishop, better known as Primo the Alien or simply Primo. Primo’s soaring vocals sound great over a number of styles, ranging from rock to electropop to synthwave, as always, entirely written and produced by Primo herself.
This Saturday at Swan Dive Gay.Do512 present’s Primo the Alien’s Holiday Extravaganza benefitting Out Youth so shake up a retro-futuristic snow globe with “Christmastime With You”!
Dec 19 2019
Rank #18: PJ Morton: “READY”
Through the past decade and a half of his career, New Orleans’ PJ Morton has shown some pretty colossal growth…and that’s putting it lightly. He’s been an ongoing keyboardist for Maroon 5 since 2010, has been taken on by Solange as her music director, and with ten Grammy nominations and a win for Best Traditional R&B Performance, Morton’s even got his own record label. You’ve seen Morton at the Super Bowl Half Time, The Tonight Show, NPR’s Tiny Desk, The Daily Show and sharing the stage with everyone from Stevie Wonder to Lil Wayne.
And while 2017’s Gumbo was originally slated to be PJ Morton’s solo career studio swan song, upon returning to his hometown he gained a fresh perspective on his identity and doubled down on what made him stand out in the first place: himself. With that, today marks the release of PJ Morton’s sixth full-length, Paul, a ten-track recorded in NOLA between sold out tour dates, and as the title suggests, this is one of purest offerings yet from PJ (who was born Paul Morton Jr.). Uplifting sounds of soul, jazz-fusion, R&B, funk, and pop make for a bold contrast against bleak societal observations and themes of struggle, injustice, oppression, and confrontation. Get started on Paul right now with the upbeat retro-inspired album opener, “READY”!
Aug 09 2019