Hundred Visions’ 2012 debut Permanent Basement was the perfect descriptor for the Austin band. Their scuzzy garage rock sounds like it was conceived in a basement, but there’s a freedom and looseness that many similar-minded acts sorely lack. In 2011, Hundred Visions introduced itself with “Last Cab From Tunis,” a song that has more in common with LCD Soundsystem than the Velvet Underground. Even their full-on rockers are unhinged in a danceable way. “You’re Gonna Cut Me Loose” cuts loose with distortion and a driving beat, sounding like a Texas cousin to Ty Segall. And just like the first time, Hundred Visions accurately sum up the style with a simple album title: SPITE. Catch its release tomorrow night at Hotel Vegas.
We get almost 300 artists in our Studio 1A every year, but that’s just a small part of the Austin music experience. On the next edition of the Austin Music Experience (the program) we’re going outside to bring you an around-town-sound: exclusive live recordings from big music festivals like ACL and SXSW, plus our own MapJam and the best listening room in Austin, the Cactus Café. Over the years, we’ve captured a variety of artists: national headliners like My Morning Jacket. Local legends like Townes Van Zandt. And the next generation, from White Denim to Alabama Shakes.
These are some one-of-a-kind moments, and if you enjoy live music as much as we do, please consider donating during our fall membership drive, either here at KUTX.org or at 512-471-6291. And join us Sunday at 6pm for an hour of great live music!
Photo by Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon
Every month we turn the spotlight on a new release from a Texas artist with a series of weekly features that give you a sneak peek at the new music and some insight into the artist behind it. Find the full Artist of the Month feature rundown here.
From Bandcamp self-releases to a major label and a late-night TV performance: Austin’s Shakey Graves won’t be just a local concern for much longer. Alejandro Rose-Garcia grew up in Austin and started playing as Shakey Graves about four years ago, first gaining exposure as a one-man-band. But the suitcase-drum and percussive guitar playing style didn’t disguise the fact that Rose-Garcia could write songs as well as he could perform them. He slowly built up his reputation as a dynamic live artist, playing what feels like every club around town, big or small.
With a steady buzz growing, Rose-Garcia thought bigger for his second album–more instruments, more influences, even a record label. And The War Came delivers on the promise, but that DIY intimacy remains. Rose-Garcia largely recorded the album in his Austin home, matching his lo-fi roots with a more atmospheric sound. Denver’s Esme Patterson fleshes out the harmonies on many of the songs, and in the live setting, Shakey Graves has grown into a full-blown country-rock band. On “House Of Winston,” Rose-Garcia brings his past and future together, blending his blues and folk influences with an ear for a pop melody.
A veteran band’s “back to basics” record is often more a miss than a hit. But the Old 97’s tenth album, Most Messed Up, manages to recapture the electric energy of the Dallas band’s early days. The 97’s built their reputation on their live shows, which shift from twangy punk rock to revved-up country with ease. These sets always seem to have one foot off the rails, earning the 97’s comparisons to the Replacements.
It’s fitting, then, that the Mats’ bassist Tommy Stinson shows up on Most Messed Up, but it’s the rest of the band that truly dials into the songs. Frontman Rhett Miller is ornery and often hilarious (sample track titles include “This Is The Ballad” and “Longer Than You’ve Been Alive”), and the 97’s don’t sound so much refreshed as confident again. The band stopped by our Studio 1A for a fiery live performance and got straight to the point–download “Let’ Get Drunk And Get It On” below!
“Painful” and “brutal” aren’t necessarily your typical adjectives when describing one of the year’s most revered albums. But Sharon Van Etten always seems to find a way to turn the most personal of moments into beautiful, cathartic music. The singer quietly broke onto the scene in 2009 with an album of acoustically-rendered ballads, but since that debut, Van Etten has expanded her palette tremendously. She’s just as adept as a full-on rock singer as she is behind a piano. This year’s Are We There shifts between these two poles with ease, all rendered with Van Etten’s sense for subtlety and shadow.
Are We There partially chronicles Van Etten’s own struggles as a touring musician, balancing relationships with the need to be away from home for most of the year. “Every Time The Sun Comes Up” explores this duality with remarkable honesty. Van Etten stopped by our Studio 1A recently and told KUTX’s Rick McNulty that these songs–emotional as they may be–are therapeutic for her. Night after night, she finds something new to explore in her songs. Her 1A performance was a perfect example of this–an exceptional set from an exceptional talent.