The Frightnrs hail from contemporary Queens, but they’re time travelers. They nail a very specific sound: ’60s Jamaican rocksteady. Like a lot of the countries in that era, Jamaica took the sounds of American soul and R&B and refracted them through its own culture. Ska and reggae sandwiched the development of rocksteady, resulting in something that’s simultaneously upbeat and laid-back while still baring wounded souls.
Wounds haunt the Frightnrs. After they recorded their debut album, Nothing More To Say, singer Dan Klein was diagnosed with A.L.S., a terminal disease that left him weak and confined to a wheelchair. Keyboardist Chuck Patel and his brother, guitarist/bassist Preet Patel, lost their father in a traffic accident, and a few months later, Klein died in his sleep.
In retrospect, the album sounds eerie, shrouded in era-specific tape-hiss while the band seemingly grapples with its impending fate. “Nothing more to say / You always get your way,” Klein achingly croons on the title track. It’s directed to a lover; it’s directed to death. The Frightnrs plan to carry on with different guest singers in Klein’s memory–a perfect way to extend the somber beauty they’ve already mastered.
“Nothing More To Say” appears on Nothing More To Say, out September 2 via Daptone.
–Art Levy // host, Sundays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., producer, My KUTX
*Note: post updated to reflect the fact that Dan Klein was diagnosed with A.L.S. after recording, not during the session.
With a wall of horns on the brink of full-blown distortion, Brooklyn’s Breakdown Brass sounds like a force of nature: all bombast, menace, and without mercy. Seven horns augmented by guitar and a rhythm section, these fellas play battle-ready music–the kind you need to charge that hill, take that castle, and capture the enemy’s flag.
Their captain is trombonist Nadav Nirenberg, and his battalion has quite the musical pedigree. Featuring members of Ikebe Shakedown, Antibalas, and Monophonics, his bandmates have also backed up Lee Fields, Sharon Jones, and Charles Bradley, among many others.
“Harrow” lives up to its name, a distress signal featuring apocalyptic trombone solos (two!) and a runaway bari sax that sounds like animals rampaging out of the jungle to wreak havoc on the nearby village. If it lasted longer than 3:12, you’d have time to warn the villagers.
–Rick McNulty // host, Left Of The Dial (Fridays, 7-11 p.m.), Twine Time (Saturdays, 7-11 p.m.)
El Tule formed in Austin about ten years ago, and across four albums, the band mixes together cumbia, merengue, salsa, reggae, and more. It’s a big band sound but with a modern approach, and this week on My KUTX, we turn over the controls to a few of the members. Singer and guitarist John Dell and conga player Matt “Matteo” Turner are the guest DJs, spinning an hour of their influences and favorite songs. And if you want to hear El Tule live, you’ve got a few chances coming up: they’re live in our Studio 1A on Tuesday, July 26 at 1 p.m., and on Wednesday, July 27 they’re playing the Wine Down, a free show at 3TEN at ACL Live. Tune into El Tule’s My KUTX on Saturday, July 23 at 6 p.m. or listen anytime at the bottom of the page.
1. James Brown – “I Feel Good”
2. Phish – “The Landlady”
3. Ibrahim Ferrer – “Compositor Confundido”
4. Johnny Colon – “Merecumbe”
5. Ray Barretto – “Guarare”
6. Gov’t Mule – “What Is Hip?”
7. Celso Piña y su Ronda Bogota – “Cumbia Poder”
8. B-Side Players – “Taquerito”
9. Los Fabulosos Cadillacs – “El Muerto”
10. Fruko y Sus Tesos – “Soy Como Soy”
Photo by Gabriel Perez/KUTX
Tropicália–Brazil’s addition to the psychedelic movement of the ’60s and ’70s–was particularly potent. It arose out of a big, diverse country that was modernizing rapidly, and consequently, tropicália opted for an anything-goes approach: art, poetry, and music all mashed together with traditional Brazilian and African sounds and rock and roll. The results were sunny but challenging, fun but political, and uniquely Brazilian.
Boogarins grapples with this legacy while putting its own spin on Brazilian psychedelic music. A few teenage friends formed the group in Goiânia in 2013, and from the start, they opted to sing in Portuguese, something of a political statement when a lot of their contemporaries sing in English. Their music is riff-heavy but dreamy; it can be light-as-air one moment before exploding into extended, pulsating jams.
Boogarins is currently recording in Austin for its upcoming third album while simultaneously enjoying a month-long residency at Hotel Vegas, which wraps up on Saturday, July 23. The band also stopped by our Studio 1A for a live set, punctuated by the dynamic “Infinu.” True to its name, the song stretches out, but Boogarins stays playful and forward-thinking throughout.
Photo by Bailey Dale
Denton’s Pageantry makes the kind of homespun, big-tent psychedelia that the Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev first blasted into the cosmos with a few decades ago, and like those bands, Pageantry is very generous. Earlier this year saw the release of the group’s debut album, Influence, and the trio has already followed that up with a new four-song EP, Vicious Wishes.
That much music can be too much of a good thing, but Pageantry works in broad, inviting strokes. “Vicious Wishes” shows a band that’s more intent on songwriting than gnarly soundscapes, and it pays off. The song sways through several movements, blasting off before parachuting back to Earth with some quieter stretches. The swirling synths mirror the title: wishes are idle until they become all-consuming.
“Vicious Wishes” appears on Vicious Wishes, out now.