During Sylvan Esso’s recent Studio 1A performance and interview, singer Amelia Meath outlined some of the difficulties playing alongside Nick Sanborn and his computer. Coming from the mostly a cappella Mountain Man, Meath was used to doing everything herself: supplying melody, rhythm, and changing each on the turn of a dime. With Sylvan Esso, she has to work with the computer, but that’s where the real beauty of the band comes from. The duo melds the organic and synthetic like no other.
In our Studio 1A, Sylvan Esso rebuilt the songs from their fantastic self-titled debut. While Sanborn triggered the loops and beats, he also sampled Meath’s voice to add otherworldly harmonies on top of everything. Meath carried it all with her distinctive voice, alternately acrobatic and measured. On “Wolf,” that vocal subtlety juts up against the song’s pop-ready appeal, making for a fascinating listen.
Watch “Coffee” below, and download “Wolf” in the player below the video.
Philadelphia’s Man Man made their name on their crazy live shows, but focusing solely on their manic energy does a disservice to their songwriting. Frontman Honus Honus may sing like Tom Waits, but his songs betray influences as diverse as John Lennon, Dr. John, and Captain Beefheart. Last year’s On Oni Pond continued Man Man’s subtle pivot away from their experimental early days, but they still love tinkering with sounds. Dub, dance, and ’60s pop all get the Man Man treatment, with Honus Honus’ heartrending singing acting as the conductor. This is most apparent on “Head On,” easily Man Man’s catchiest song in a career of quirkiness. The band takes over the Mohawk tonight, and to get you ready, we’re offering up this spirited live take on “Head On” that Man Man laid down in our Studio 1A last year.
Photo by Biel Gomes
It’s been hard for the Brazilian group Wannabe Jalva to record new music lately, partly due to the fact that they’ve been so busy playing shows with Pearl Jam, Vampire Weekend, and X. It’s a good problem to have. Playing so many high-profile concerts has allowed the band to gel together and come up with something new, “instead of only four guys trying their different experiments and mixing their musical tastes,” as bandmember Rafael Rocha puts it. Wannabe Jalva’s early songs are spiky and punk-influenced, but they have updated that palette in just a few short years. On October 15, the band will release its new EP, Collecture, and we’ve got a track from it as today’s song of the day. “Miracle” has shades of the Black Keys in its smoky sound, but the psychedelic atmosphere is all their own.
The idea behind Austin’s Golden Dawn Arkestra is pretty free-form: bandleader Topaz McGarrigle started it as a way to soundtrack an imaginary movie, inviting a different cast of musicians for each show. Soon, the Arkestra took on dancers and costumes, and the concerts turned into psychedelic spectacles. The visual aspects are perfect accompaniment to the Arkestra’s blend of jazz, Afrobeat, and funk, and they (unsurprisingly) tapped resident genre-hopper Adrian Quesada to producer their self-titled debut EP. It’s getting a vinyl release this week, and to celebrate, Golden Dawn Arkestra are bringing their craziness to the Mohawk tomorrow night. “Masakayli” will give you a taste of the frequency these Austinites are on–cosmic jazz never sounded so fun. And if you can’t make it out to the show, be sure to tune into KUTX tomorrow–Golden Dawn Arkestra are live in Studio 1A at 12 p.m.
The music of Todd Snider can often be two things at the same time: country and rock, funny and sad. He’s got a new book, I’ve Never Met A Story I Didn’t Like, and this week on the Austin Music Experience, we talk with Snider about getting arrested, the influence of Jerry Jeff Walker, and his sometimes-unclassifiable style. Plus, the Alvin Brothers (Dave & Phil Alvin) are in our Studio 1A—the veterans of L.A. roots rockers the Blasters pay tribute to bluesman Big Bill Broonzy with music and conversation. Also, the genre-mashing duo Sylvan Esso, Thao without the Get Down Stay Down, and more. Join us Friday at noon and again at 11 p.m. on KUTX 98.9 or anytime in the player below.