Photo by Dylan Nolte
Across four EPs, London’s Doe has slowly refined a sound that’s equal parts Weezer and Sleater-Kinney. On February 24, they’re collecting these EPs and putting them together as First Four, a debut album that shows just how quickly they’ve progressed in a few years. The trio’s roots are in their local DIY punk scene, and it shows in the band’s jagged guitar playing. But there’s a braininess in the ways the guitar parts intersect, not to mention the give-and-take between Nicola and Jake, Doe’s co-vocalists. On album-standout “Julia Survived,” the band offers up a pop-rock ballad about heartbreak–well-traveled territory but given new life by Doe’s youthful exuberance.
Much like her frequent collaborator (and fellow Angeleno) Beck, Jenny Lewis has a chameleon-like quality. Her stint in Rilo Kiley showed off her pop-rock bonafides, but since going solo in 2006, she’s zoomed between country, psychedelia, and pop, holding them all together with her acidic wit and storytelling. Lewis sings about the comic madness bred by L.A. and modern life in general. Last year’ s The Voyager touched on motherhood (or, in Lewis’ case, the lack thereof) and growing old in an industry rigged to be a young person’s game. The irony, of course, is Lewis is writing some of the best material of her career, and it’s resonating on a bigger level with fans of all ages.
Even at a younger age, Lewis’ songwriting was fraught with a tension and wisdom well beyond her years. Back in 2006, she stopped by our Studio 1A with her backing group the Watson Twins. “The Charging Sky” sounds like a sunny, countryfied ditty, but closer listening reveals Lewis’ ambivalence on religion and her parents getting back together. It’s a modern poem set to an old beat, perfectly summing up Lewis’ particular style. Download “The Charging Sky” below and catch Jenny Lewis at KUTX’s 2nd Birthday Party this Saturday night!
Just like the kinds of country roads she often sings about, Lucinda Williams has had a rambling career, full of ups and downs. Her twenties were spent bouncing between Austin and Houston, refining a sound that blended blues and country with a fresh outlook. It took ten years to score a hit with “Changed The Locks”; another decade followed before Car Wheels On A Gravel Road earned her a Grammy and a new generation of fans. Last year’s double album, Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone, could have a long generational tail to it too. Give it time and the record’s slow-burning meditations on life, love, and loss will seep into your own bones. Williams can harness patience like no one else.
In honor of her sixty-second birthday today, we’re dipping back into our own live archives for a song she performed at the Cactus Cafe back in 1986. “Crescent City” is the sound of Williams looking back to her New Orleans childhood with nostalgia, permanently aware of all the miles she’s put between herself and home.
Photo by Lobo Sucio Creative
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. To see the full rundown for the KUTX Artist of the Month, click here.
Judging by his My KUTX song list, Walker Lukens takes a collage-like approach to his music. His 2013 album Devoted earned praise from us here at KUTX as well as national outlets like NPR for its variety. Burt Bacharach-esque piano pop rubbed shoulders with beat-heavy looping experiments, making for an engaging and off-the-wall listening experience. Even when Lukens dipped his toes into the kind of singer-songwriter territory that he often swore off in interviews, personality carried him through–”The Night I Was Kissed By Patti Smith” being a perfect example.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen him grow as a performer, too. His backing band, the Side Arms, are nimble enough to follow Lukens’ every swerve, grounding his genre exercises in a solid rhythmic foundation. Our first taste from the forthcoming Baked Goods–produced by Spoon’s Jim Eno–proves that Lukens is truthful when he asserts that he’s “trying to do something with R&B that won’t sound like a lost Stax track.” “Every Night” makes good on this promise, matching looped vocals to a funky groove. “Doo-wop/punk” might be closest approximation, but then again, it’s always been hard to pin down Walker Lukens. Watch a Studio 1A performance and download “Every Night” in the player below.
Photo by Erika Goldring
If there was any doubt before, Shakey Graves became a household name in 2014. Alejandro Rose-Garcia expanded his sound for his stellar second album, And The War Came, earning a spot on many critics’ best-of lists. He made his national television debut (with a Letterman performance on the way). And he toured across the country, bringing his stellar live show to more and more fans.
Shakey Graves returns to Austin on January 31 to help celebrate KUTX’s second birthday, performing alongside tUnE-yArDs and Jenny Lewis. This week on My KUTX, we’re dialing it back to Shakey’s first guest DJ set, originally recorded in 2013 as a mixtape from an up-and-coming artist. Join us Saturday at 6pm or anytime in the player below.
Shakey Graves set list:
1. Crooked Cowboy and the Freshwater Indians: “Bed Bugs”
2. Tim Fite: “Thought I Was A Gun”
3. Selda: “Yaylalar”
4. Elliott Smith: “Memory Lane”
5. The Seeds: “I Can’t Seem To Make You Mine”
6. Roger Miller: “Reincarnation”
7. Tom Waits: “Going Out West”
8. Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra: “On The Sunny Side Of The Street”
9. Mountain Man: “Animal Tracks”
10. Talking Heads: “I Want To Live”
11. The Country Gentlemen: “The Little Sparrow”
12. Abner Jay: “I’m So Depressed”
13. Townes Van Zandt: “Only Him Or Me”
14. The Ventures: “The Creeper”