Photo by Davis Hawk
Tim Regan first gained notice with Oh No Oh My, an Austin indie-pop group that turned heads back in 2006. Since then, he’s veered stylistically, from the more psychedelic Antenna Shoes and Snowglobe to scoring a handful of documentaries. Now he returns with Texas Never Whispers, a band that takes its name from a Pavement song but owes its pop-rock roots to groups like Wilco and the Jayhawks. Their self-titled debut swings between country inflections and piano-led ballads; “Midnight Companion” sits halfway between these poles while still delivering a few wry one-liners. Download the song below and catch Texas Never Whispers’ album release show Saturday night at the Mohawk, starting at 9 p.m. on the inside stage.
Photo by Ted Barron
For album number sixteen, Terraplane, Texas folk legend Steve Earle set out to make a blues record. “It’s an intimidating thing to do if you come from [Texas],” Earle told KUTX’s Jay Trachtenberg recently, alluding to infamous Texas bluesmen like Lightnin’ Hopkins, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and Mance Lipscomb. But Earle is nothing if not reverent towards his forbears. In 2009, he released an album-length ode to his personal mentor, Townes Van Zandt, and he’s quick to tip his hat to his influences when he’s personally lauded for his own songwriting.
As much as the blues are about instrumental virtuosity, Earle explicitly states that he was drawn to the genre for the songs themselves: Robert Johnson’s metaphysical ruminations, or Howlin’ Wolf’s juke-joint explosions. Earle himself is not the best guitar player, but he has a feel for atmosphere that a shredding blues solo can’t touch. In our Studio 1A, Earle stripped down several Terraplane songs to their acoustic core. On “King Of The Blues,” he revels in the dark side inherent in so much of the blues tradition.
T Bird & the Breaks–our artist of the month–spread the gospel of “chunk”: soul, funk, hip-hop, and rock all brewed together. Since 2007, they’ve quickly becoming one of the must-see acts around town, and you can catch them at 2nd Street Soundcheck on Saturday. Harmonizm, the band’s third album, is bigger and brighter, veering between the sounds of New Orleans, Memphis, and Detroit while still adding some local flavor. T Bird himself (a.k.a. Tim Crane) takes over My KUTX this week with the help of sax man Andy Panda McCormick. Catch their guest DJ set Saturday night at 6 p.m. and see their playlist below!
T Bird & The Breaks’ playlist:
1. Pointer Sisters – “Pinball Number Count”
2. Kool & The Gang – “Ancestral Ceremony”
3. Fatima – “The Biggest Joke Of All”
4. Roberta Flack – “Compared To What”
5. Dr. John – “Singalong Song”
6. Greyhounds – “What’s On Your Mind”
7. Drew Smith’s Lonely Choir – “Something So Much”
8. Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band – “Doin’ What Comes Naturally”
9. D’Angelo & The Vanguard – “Til It’s Done (Tutu)”
10. Vulfpeck – “Wait For The Moment”
11. Johnny “Guitar” Watson – “Feel The Spirit (Of My Guitar)”
12. Ernie K. Doe – “Here Come The Girls”
13. Jay Electronica – “Better In Tune With The Infinite”
Sour Bridges describe their sound as “browngrass”: bluegrass but with a dirtier, more raucous edge to it. The Austin band debuted in 2010 with Workin’ On Leavin,’ a charmingly lo-fi take on classic country. 2013′s Catfish Charlie mixed their exuberance with a hard-earned honky-tonk spirit, coming after years of gigging around Texas. Later this year, Sour Bridges are set to release a self-titled album, and all this month they’ve held down a residency at the Cactus Cafe in preparation. Their final Cactus date is tonight, and in the meantime, a song of the day from their recent Studio 1A session will get you ready. “Fine Life” is rough around the edges, but there’s just enough sugar in the band’s multi-part harmonies to keep you coming back for more.
In the music world–indeed, in the culture at large–the focus has always been on a lone genius, an individual that’s held up as the star. It’s a narrative that’s easy to digest, but the reality is more gray than black and white. Great music is created in a collaborative process, and one of the more interesting collaborations is taking place in Seattle. The birthplace of grunge and indie folk has given rise to Black Constellation, a loose hip-hop collective that blurs the lines between music, art, dance, and theater. THEESatisfaction is one of the shining beacons of the scene, drawing liberally from hip-hop, jazz, R&B, electronic, and ambient to create something wholly original.
Cat Harris-White and Stas Irons first debuted with fellow Black Constellation outfit Shabazz Palaces in 2011, then followed up their guest turn with the head-turning awE naturalE. Irons raps while Harris-White sings, but their voices often intertwine, equal parts gritty and cosmic. On their new record EarthEE, the pair are joined by Shabazz Palaces, Meshell Ndegeocello, Porter Ray, and others, all adding their distinct voice to an album that’s all about collective consciousness. The title track carves out its own little world, striving for timelessness while still struggling with the pitfalls of daily life.