Austin four-piece the Villas spent the first few years of their existence putting out EPs, each featuring short blasts of spiky power-pop. Now comes their debut album, fittingly called Long Player, and the band doesn’t waste any time. There’s something distinctly British-sounding about the group, hitting a sweet spot somewhere between the Jam and Blur. “Never Had A Morning” even throws a stuttering Heart-esque riff into the mix. Download the song below.
In his new autobiography, Comin’ Right At Ya, Ray Benson charts how exactly he went from point A to point B. Benson grew up as a self-described “Jewish Yankee hippie” in Philadelphia, but over the past four decades, he’s turned into a Texas music legend. That’s thanks to his long-running outfit Asleep At The Wheel, the 9-time Grammy-winning Western swing band which helped revive interest in the late, great Bob Wills.
Benson returns to the Cactus Cafe this Friday, February 12 for a book signing and a special solo set. Today’s song of the day comes from his 2014 solo album, A Little Piece, which veers away from Western swing to focus on country and folk. Longtime friend Willie Nelson joins Benson on “It Ain’t You,” a Waylon Jennings song that connects all their individual histories together. Download the song below.
When our own Laurie Gallardo calls a voice “swoon-worthy,” you take notice. She gives the adjective to Austin’s Paul Banks, who originally sang rootsy, country-adjacent songs as Paul Banks & the Carousels. Now he’s remade as P.T. Banks, and the sound has been reconfigured too. On his new album, Moonlight Is Sunlight, Banks and his band–featuring several members from the Carousels days–tap into a pop sound that’s rhythmically dense and soaring at the same time. Banks’ voice has the range of Rufus Wainwright or the Shins’ James Mercer, and he puts it to good effect on songs like “Resurrection.” The track bounces with bright abandon, just before a pedal steel guitar (and a nice Neil Young quote) tips a hat back towards Banks’ roots. Download “Resurrection” below, and catch P.T. Banks’ album release show at Stubb’s indoors on Saturday, February 6.
Austin’s Carrie Rodriguez has worked with Lucinda Williams, Los Lobos, Chip Taylor, and more, but this week on My KUTX, she’s got the controls all to herself. Rodriguez’s new album, Lola, is out February 19, and it features a blend of Mexican and Texan sounds–she calls it “culturally blended music for a culturally blended world.” She’ll stop by Studio 1A for a live performance on Tuesday, February 9 at 1 p.m., and then she’s at the Texas Union Theatre on Saturday, February 13.
This My KUTX is a re-broadcast of a guest DJ set Rodriguez taped with us a few years ago, and it’s a great, eclectic mix of songs. Listen in the player at the bottom of the page.
Carrie Rodriguez’s playlist:
1. Mavis Staples – “Creep Along Moses”
2. Bill Frisell with Dave Holland and Elvin Jones – “Blues Dream”
3. Bob Dylan – “Everything Is Broken”
4. The Be Good Tanyas – “Waiting Around To Die”
5. Lucinda Williams – “Drunken Angel”
6. Lyle Lovett -“Ballad Of The Snow Leopard And The Tanqueray Cowboy”
7. Eva Garza – “Frio En El Alma”
8. Los Lobos – “Revolution”
9. Caetano Veloso – “Cucurrucucu Paloma”
10. Lila Downs – “La Cumbia Del Mole”
11. Calexico – “Slowness”
12. Emmylou Harris- “All My Tears”
Photo by Masifoto
When last we checked in with Taylor & the Wild Now, the Austin band was offering up the rippling groove of “Salt.” It was a far cry from Taylor Baker’s folk roots, which she showed off to good effect when she won our “Stage To Studio” contest a few years ago.
With a few years as a band under its collective belt, Taylor & the Wild Now returns with a new song. “Seek” continues the groove-centric transformation, centering on an exploding guitar line and a reggae-influenced beat that would make our resident reggae man Jay “Jah” Trachtenberg proud. The band celebrates the new song (and their entrance into NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert contest) with a show tonight at Stubb’s indoors. Follow KUTX on Twitter for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the show, and download “Seek” below.