Margaret Moser, Queen Of Austin, Is Dancing In The Light

Austin Music Experience

Margaret Moser, Queen Of Austin, Is Dancing In The Light

Posted by on Aug 25, 2017

It is with extremely heavy hearts that we must announce the passing of Austin music icon Margaret Moser. Moser was instrumental in making the Austin music scene what it is today, and her influence will continue to reverberate throughout the city for generations to come. The following article was originally published by NPR Music on June 22nd, 2017.

** Please find Jody Denberg’s 2014 interview with Margaret Moser in the player at the bottom of this post.

By Joe Nick Patoski, for NPR Music

June 18 was the beginning of a weeklong Open House at Tex Pop, the South Texas Museum of Popular Culture — a storefront wedged between a head shop and convenience store in an aging strip center at the corner of Margaret and Mulberry in San Antonio. Inside, in the largest of three rooms, museum founder and director Margaret Moser is seeing her first visitor of the day, Kathy Valentine. In an adjacent room, Moser’s mother Phyllis Stegall and a niece greet arrivals as they wait their turns. The mood is somber, which on any other day could be attributed to it being a Sunday morning, except that everyone here knows Moser is living on borrowed time. The one exception to the caliginous vibe is the day’s person of interest and honor — she’s smiling, laughing, holding hands, hugging, listening to and telling stories. Having the time of her life.

While Moser was an aspiring, wiseass music writer and budding provocateur in her early twenties, Kathy Valentine — best known as a founding member of The Go-Gos and presently leading The Bluebonnets — remembers herself as a sixteen-year-old guitar-playing wannabe. Moser had recruited Valentine to join the all-female Geranium Cabbages, an offshoot of the satire project Sons of Uranium Savages. Both had been smitten with Suzi Quatro, the assertive female rocker from Detroit who’d become big in England. Valentine says she made it through two practices with the Cabbages before peeling away to start Austin’s first punk band, The Violators. “We wanted a real band,” Valentine says, looking over and smiling affectionately at Moser. “[Geranium Cabbages] wanted to have fun.” Margaret beams, listening.

Next is Chris Gray, culture editor of the Houston Press weekly, who has driven two hundred miles from Houston with his wife Lauren and baby boy Oliver. Moser discovered Gray when he was a nineteen-year-old student writing for the Daily Texan newspaper at the University of Texas. “He had so much attitude, ” Margaret remembers. “I said, ‘If you’re going to write this s*** for free, come work for us at the Chronicle.'” He did.

Valentine and Gray are familiars to Moser, their presence at this living good-bye not all that surprising. The three Mexican-American teenagers joining Moser on the couch, not so much. “These are the Tiarra Girls,” Margaret says, introducing the sisters Tori, Sophia and Tiffany Balitierra.

Debbra Baltierra and her husband Hector Baltierra knew all about Margaret. “She contacted the band from out of the blue,” Debbra Baltierra, their mother and manager, tells me. “She reached out to the girls, liked their Facebook page, and really encouraged them. The girls were like, ‘Tell us about her!’ They were super surprised. She’d contact them regularly to see what they were doing. Last year, she showed up at a gig here in San Antonio at Market Square. She got up on stage and said, ‘This is what you need to be listening to! These girls are going to be the next big thing!’ She wanted to share the band with the rest of the world.”

One of the best parts of this Sunday open house, Moser would later say, was being able to introduce Kathy Valentine to the Tiarra Girls. They’re going to make some music together.

Margaret Moser’s gran adios comes as no surprise to anyone. In 2014, she retired from the Austin Chronicle after thirty-three years of writing about music for the publication, and from her gig founding and running the Austin Music Awards, the Austin-focused event that kicks off the music portion of South By Southwest. She moved back to her hometown of San Antonio. Moser’s diagnosis of stage IV colon cancer in February 2013 had everything to do with it. But she did not go home to die; after marrying longtime companion Steve Chaney, she went home to take what she had learned in Austin and put it to work in San Antonio. She founded the South Texas Museum of Popular Culture, the aforementioned “Tex Pop,” modeled after the South Austin Museum of Popular Culture in Austin, where Moser had first gotten the bug for historic preservation.

To that end Moser, who has been memorialized in stone (with the Margaret Moser Plaza on West Third Street in downtown Austin, not too far from South By Southwest headquarters) was going to show San Antonio how to recognize and show off its own musical riches, just as she had done in Austin for more than 40 years. It has not been an easy task, despite San Antonio’s musical history being, arguably, far richer and more diverse than Austin’s. Consider Robert Johnson’s and Lydia Mendoza’s recordings in the ’30s, Sir Douglas Quintet, Big Bill Lister, honky-tonk mainstay Johnny Bush, Adolph Hofner and his Tex-Czech sound, the indelible Selena, Sunny and the Sunliners, Steve Earle, Rudy and The Reno Bops, The Royal Jesters, Girl In A Coma, Piñata Protest scenes like the sixties-era Swing Time teen television show, the Teen Canteen music venue, Chicano soul groups from the ’50s and ’60s, the psychedelic Tex-Mex accordionist Esteban Jordan, the Sex Pistols’ appearance at Randy’s Rodeo, pop hitmaker Christopher Cross.

Austin learned to honor and champion music and music people on Moser’s watch, culminating with the official embrace of the slogan Live Music Capital of the World in 1991. Musicians in San Antonio are still considered blue-collar, just a cut above gang members and ex-cons. The city’s various music tribes are scattered, disorganized and, until Tex Pop came along, long lacked a physical space that recognized their contributions. There was a reason why the local response to that “Keep Austin Weird” slogan was “Keep San Antonio Lame.”

Austin’s music community has been going through a rough patch with singer-songwriter Jimmy LaFave’s very public passing, managing to ward off the ravages of malignant sarcoma to come out and sing “Good Night, Irene” one last time along with the rest of the cast at his tribute show at the Paramount Theater. He died two days later on May 21, the same day producer and all-star sideman George Reiff passed away from complications due to Stage IV lung cancer that had spread to his liver, bone marrow, and brain.

Two weeks after those deaths, Moser ended treatment for her terminal disease and publicly announced she had gone into hospice, letting friends know that now would be a good time to come see her.

And so they did. Close to two hundred friends drove eighty miles from Austin for that Sunday Open House.

Getting laid wasn’t the goal

Margaret Moser was a brash nineteen-year-old when she hit Austin in 1973. She had embraced the groupie life, revealed to her both in a cover story in Rolling Stone magazine she picked up at the North Star Mall and in the subsequent book Groupies and Other Girls: A Rolling Stone Special Report by Jerry Hopkins, John Burks, and Baron Wolman. Her first conquest, as such, had been in 1970 in San Antonio, with one of the members of Blue Cheer, after breaking up with her boyfriend. Moser slept with other rockers in Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Antonio too, learning firsthand that getting backstage, riding in limos and partying in hotel suites was maybe even more rock ‘n’ roll than the bands that played the music. She was good at it. She dressed provocatively and she had good ears.

But getting laid wasn’t the goal. Nor was being a writer or an interpreter. She just wanted to be where the action was. “I wanted to be part of the crowd,” she said near the end of her Open House week. “I wanted to hang out in the Armadillo Beer Garden like everybody else, and sit around and drink beer and talk about Marcia Ball, see Willie Nelson walk through. That was kind of the dream.

“I wanted to be part of that group. I wanted to be in this life. I wanted to see what they were seeing, in the way they were seeing it. It didn’t necessarily mean I wanted to be the singer, the guitarist, or the center of attention. I just wanted to know where that came from, where that power came from, where that passion came from.

“For me, it came from words and the way they blended into music in my head. It’s so powerful. And as a girl, I couldn’t talk about it to anybody. Guys could talk about this stuff.”


Margaret Moser and The Texas Blondes in October, 1980. (Ken Hoge)

Moser fit right in as the hell-raising fan girl, cooling in the clubs until last call, following bands of all persuasions – The Skunks, Standing Waves, and other punk bands at Raul’s, the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Little Stevie Vaughan at Antone’s and the Rome Inn, watching and hearing her close friend Lucinda Williams grow into a serious singer-songwriter at the Austin Outhouse, emmajoe’s, and the Cactus Café.

In 1976, she scored a gig as office manager and cleanup woman at the Austin Sun alternative bi-weekly and immediately started feeding gossip she’d overheard to columnist Bill Bentley for his “Backstage” column. Her inside dope was so good that she wound up taking over the column.

She scored her first byline offering to interview Randy California of the band Spirit, which she did while he bathed in his Driskill Hotel room bathtub. “I was naked except for my notebook and pen,” Moser later wrote. She got the story.

This was around the same time Margaret appeared on my radar. We’d both became regulars at Antone’s, the storied blues club on Sixth Street started by Clifford Antone. One afternoon, working her way down the block from Antone’s with Bill Bentley and Sterling Morrison — Bentley’s bandmate and a former member of the Velvet Underground — and their friend Marvin Williams, they walked into Benny’s Tavern, the last “Men’s Only” beer bar on Sixth. Margaret was just as loud and loaded as anyone. They ordered their beers and, after a pregnant pause, Margaret told the silver-haired barkeep she’d have one, too. Her voice wasn’t loud or obnoxious, just confident; she was such an open, unnerving presence that the bartender did not hesitate to serve her. After downing her first glass, she ordered another and was served promptly. It’s unknown whether or not Margaret knew Benny’s was, as the sign outside read, a Men’s Only beer hole at the time. She did know she was thirsty, and saw the cool little scene inside Benny’s through friends she knew from Antone’s and OK Records next door, and invited herself in, and became part of the scene in a matter of minutes. By doing so, she’d broken the gender line of the last “Men’s Only” bar on Sixth.

Meanwhile, the Austin Sun folded and most of the staff headed west to California in 1978. Moser stayed. When the Austin Chronicle stepped into the void and started publishing in 1981, there was no question who the gossip columnist would be.

The Texas Blondes

Moser had her own posse, The Texas Blondes, so-named by John Cale, her paramour whenever he was touring through and maybe even her one true rock ‘n’ roll love. The Texas Blondes showed up at all the happening gigs at the Armadillo, Club Foot, Raul’s, and Liberty Lunch in Austin, and backstage in venues on the West and East coasts, moving as a pack. One Texas Blonde — a perpendicularly red-headed teenaged pixie named Dayna Blackwell, who lived with Moser and her first husband Ken Hoge for a stretch — took James Osterberg, Jr., aka Iggy Pop, home to New Orleans to live with her parents for a couple of months.

Moser learned what the performing end of the business was like as the leader of the Jam and Jelly Girls dancers, who performed lewd and raunchy routines alongside Dino Lee & His White Trash Revue, Austin’s show band of the eighties. But writing was becoming her thing. She took on the subject of groupies seriously, networking and developing personal friendships with Pamela Des Barres of Hollywood’s GTOs and the raunch-blues singer Candye Kane, among others, sitting on panels and discussions, and examining the lifestyle in print. She mused in a Chronicle article that groupies were “the unsung Florence Nightingales of rock & roll, substituting backstage blowjobs and the risk of clap for a gracious bedside manner.” It wasn’t all limos and laminates, she admitted, “But it beat Saturday nights on Sixth Street.”

For all the sexual innuendo — and actual sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll — the hang was, really, all about the hang; being around music people, showing off Austin to out-of-towners on tour, making sure all needs and wants were met and fulfilled. It was a form of hospitality Austin already had a reputation for, going back to the Armadillo World Headquarters in the early ’70s. Margaret just made it more fun.

Beginning in the mid-’90s, Moser started writing Austin’s music history in the Chronicle and in her memoirs. Her scholarship was impressive, especially on Austin’s psychedelic, blues, and punk histories. She uncovered new information about the origin of a thirtieth, unrecorded Robert Johnson song “Fishin.'”

Along the way Moser matured into a mother hen, encouraging and mentoring new musicians and new music people freshly arrived from somewhere else, schooling them in the local ways, making sure they understood Austin was where you came to express yourself and not hold back. As the lunch lady who delivered pizza to the kids enrolled in Michelle Murphy’s Natural Ear music camp, she always offered a few words of wisdom and listened with a sympathetic ear.

Not done dancing

That Sunday Open House at Tex Pop turned out to be the start of a very busy week. Margaret was doing pretty much what she’s always done, delegating tasks to her sizeable posse, giving three assistants — her husband Steve Chaney, BFF E.A. Srere, and Jennifer Milbauer — plenty of advice how to juggle her schedule, slotting people in, weighing tribes and personal likes and dislikes, making for the perfect eight-day-long going away party.


Moser in 2017. (April Ceja/Courtesy of Margaret Moser)

New wave stalwarts The Standing Waves serenaded her with an acoustic set. So did country music songwriter and performer Monte Warden, who was first championed by Moser when he was fifteen years old. Jon Dee Graham and his son William Harries Graham played some songs, and Jon Dee drew a Bear as Hellcat sketch for her. Susan Antone of Antone’s Nightclub dropped by with singer-pianist Marcia Ball and radio personality Jody Denberg. Punks, new wavers, Texas Blondes and Jam and Jelly Girls, New Sincerity-ites, hard rockers, roots rockers, disc jockeys, writers, publishers, blues hounds, Tex-Mexers, pop stars, people you never heard of, people who’d just met Margaret all came by. Margaret was part of all their worlds.

Music has been on her mind and in her head more than ever. Her computer screensaver displays these lines written by Ray Wylie Hubbard: “The days in which my gratitude exceeds my expectations are really good days.” The first time she saw those words, she wrote a column about it.

“This has been the most ungodly experience,” Moser said as her Open House week wound down. “I’ve been given what is almost like this cruel luxury, this incredible gift to say good-bye, say farewell, to say thank you. Most people will never get the chance to do something like this. It’s not slipping into darkness. This is dancing in the light… at night, especially. People say, ‘It must be so hard at night.’ No!

“Things lighten up, like I’m on a mountaintop. I can see all around. I can see Clifford’s there. I can see Paul Ray’s there. I see our friends. I see our relatives. I see people I know I’m not related to, everybody. It’s out there. There is something out there. And whether it’s just a brief frisson of energy that lasts no more than a second, when we go, I truly believe there’s something that we go through that then allows for continuation of energy in this universe which keeps bringing us all back.”

She’s not done dancing. The exhibit she curated on Robert Johnson in Texas is traveling from San Antonio to Austin, opening at Antone’s Night Club on July 1. “It may go to Mississippi next,” she said. “I’m told it’s far more comprehensive than the exhibit that’s up in Clarksville.” She’s booked a hotel in Austin for more visits with friends before and after the Robert Johnson exhibit opens. Music will be played. Margaret Moser will make damn sure of that.

Copyright 2017 NPR.

Feature photo: Margaret Moser, repping The Talking Heads and Raul’s in Austin, Texas. (Ken Hoge)

Margaret Moser

Our Favorite Songs of 2017 So Far


Our Favorite Songs of 2017 So Far

Posted by on Jun 26, 2017

We’ve just about reached the halfway point on 2017, so it seems like a good time to pause and recognize some of the great tracks that have come out so far this year. We asked KUTX staffers for their five favorite songs of 2017 so far – here’s what they had to say. (Top image: Music Director Jeff McCord’s desk, which is a dream if you love music, but a nightmare if you hate mail.)

Jeff McCord, Music Director and Host

“… five favorites in no particular order.”

The War On Drugs / “Thinking Of A Place” – Wasn’t sure this Philly band was going to make it after defections and a major label deal, but they’re finally back, and in top form with another quiet storm. Meditative, with otherworldly guitar work and a sound that never grows old.

Kendrick Lamar / “FEEL” – I feel like a chip on my shoulders/i feel like I’m losing’ my patience/I feel like my thoughts in the basement/I feel like you’re miseducated/feel like I don’t wanna be bothered/I feel like you may be the problem/I feel like it ain’t no tomorrow.

Courtney Barnett / “How To Boil An Egg” – The master of the mundane returns. Barnett resurrects and modernizes and quickly records an old song for her singles club that sounds as crafted and rocks as hard as any released so far this year.

Leopold and His Fiction / “If You Gotta Go (Go Now)” – A joyous romp on an obscure Dylan tune that makes me smile every time I hear it.

Gabriel Garzon-Montano / “Crawl”  – Inverted funk a la Shuggie Otis and, for me at least, THE earworm of 2017 so far.


Jody Denberg, Host

5. Gurf Morlix / “Deeper Down” – A noted producer and guitarist, Morlix’s CD The Soul And The Heal takes his songwriting game up another notch, exemplified by this composition and others just as worthy.

4. Prince / “Deliverance” – Even from the great beyond, Prince delivers. Even if legalities removed the song and the EP from the marketplace, it still sounds on target.

3. This Is The Kit / “Moonshine Freeze” – Mysterious and beguiling, mellow but with a groove, I know nothing more about this artist than she is Britain’s Kate Stables. I think I’ll just let the mystery be.

2. Robyn Hitchcock / “I Want To Tell You About What I Want” – 20 or so solo albums in, Robyn delivers an amazing disc with this single as its centerpiece. Sincere and sarcastic simultaneously, it’s quintessential Hitchcock.

1.  Sweet Spirit / “The Power” – An anthem from Austin’s most charismatic band. One that should be bad, nationwide and eternal.


Susan Castle, Host

” … alphabetically.”

Cherry Glazerr / “Told You I’d Be with the Guys”
Grizzly Bear / “Mourning Sound”
This is The Kit / “Moonlight Freeze”
Savoy Motel / “Sorry People”
Thievery Corporation ft. Raquel Jones / “Letter to the Editor”


Jay Trachtenberg, Host

” … in no particular order.”

Mathew Logan Vasquez / “Same” – Who would have expected strings and a vocal chorus from this hard-rocking Austinite who fronts Delta Spirit? Can we expect a new direction?

Little Sims / “Picture Perfect” – This young lady from London throws down a fresh, confident, new sound for the UK hip hop scene.

Sleaford Mods / “BHS” – A pair of working class blokes from Nottingham, England rail against the powers-that-be while riding a stripped-down, incessant electro-beat.

Nikki Lane / “Jackpot” – South Carolina-raised, Nashville-based songstress rolls a seven with this rollicking country rock gem.

Tinariwen / “Sastanaqqam” – Some of us can’t seem to get enough of the hypnotic, entrancing desert groove from these Taureg musicians of northern Mali.


Elizabeth McQueen, Host & Producer of This Song

Sweet Spirit / “The Power” –  This song out-anthem’s “We Will Rock You” and sends me into fits of giddy fist in the air empoweredness at every listen. Long Live Sweet Spirit!

Mobley / “Tell Me” – Mobley is making some of the best music in Austin and this song makes want to cry on the dance floor (always a good sign), while the video for the song just makes me straight-up cry.

Ty Richards / “Going out for a Cigarette” –  I find myself dissecting this pop gem every time I listen to it. The sounds are cool, the lyrics get me, and there’s a special something about it that is super compelling. But what exactly is it?!?  I still haven’t figured it out, which means I get to listen to it on repeat again! YAY!

Benjamin Booker ft. Mavis Staples / “Witness” – I love Benjamin Booker and I love Mavis Staples and I love this song. It makes me want to be more than a witness to events. I makes me want to be an active participant.

Gorillaz / “We Got the Power” – It’s no secret that I’m a fan of all things Damon Albarn, and the new Gorillaz record Humanz is no exception. This track in particular makes me feel hopeful and grateful every time I hear it. I have dreams of arranging it for a choir — I’m hoping that will happen soon.


Art Levy, Host and Producer

5. Jidenna / “Bambi” – Like if Sam Cooke grew up on DJ Screw/Houston rap.

4. Mac DeMarco / “My Old Man” – Indie’s reigning clown prince is a lot deeper than he lets on. The drum-machine-on-downers vibe fits him well.

3. Broken Social Scene / “Hug Of Thunder” – I love that Feist has gotten weirder and weirder across her career. Her heady voice makes this atmospheric, minimalist track soar.

2. Juana Molina / “Cosoco” – Like folk music made by machines, somehow ancient and futuristic at the same time.

1. Big Thief / “Mythological Beauty” – Beautiful, of course, and maybe a little bit mythological. Even though it’s specifically about singer Adrienne Lenker’s life, it feels older, something reverberating through time.


Rick McNulty, Host

Naked Giants / “Ya Ya” – By a landslide, the best rawk song I’ve heard all year. Chunking power chords, screaming guitars, and a chorus that hollers, “Whoaaaaa, ya-ya-ya-ya hey!” What more do you need?

Childish Gambino / “Have Some Love” – I miss the glory days of P-Funk and this tune is a perfect throwback. I don’t care if it’s a pastiche or a rip-off (even down to the cover art); all I know is that this is the best Funkadelic record George Clinton never made.

Matthew Logan Vasquez / “Same” – Goes to show that a little bit of polish can elevate good material to great. Strings, background singers, and a terrific hook turn this into a monster.

Spoon / “Hot Thoughts” – There seems to be a lot of Prince in the DNA of this song. It’s sensual with traces of funk and features addictive descending harmonies throughout. This one’s going on every mixed tape I make this year.

Thundercat / “Show You The Way” – If there’s such a thing as post-yacht rock, this is it. Inviting Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins to lay down smoky ‘70s vocals is a stroke of genius. Put this on repeat for those days at the pool.


Michael Crockett, host of Horizontes, Music of Latin America

Emicida w/Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra (Brazil/Japan) / “Olho Pro Ceu” – Backed by the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, who played SXSW this year, Brazilian rapper Emicida performs his own unique version of “Sukiaki” a song from Japan that was an international hit in the early sixties.  I had a 45 rpm single of this song when I was a kid and I love this new “ska” version.

Campo w/Gustavo Santaolalla (Uruguay/Argentina) / “Tambor del Cosmos” – Campo is a side project of Bajofondo co-founder Juan Campodónico from Uruguay.  The other co-founder,  Guastavo Santaolalla, from Argentina,  joins the band to sing this “cosmic” electro-cumbia called “Universal Drum.”

Gepe (Chile) / “Hablar de Ti” – Chile is a country with a strong folk music tradition but it also has some of the best pop music in Latin America. Daniel Riveros, aka Gepe, always has a bit a of both on his albums, but it’s this sweet romantic pop homage to a woman, “Speaking of You,” that I’m humming this summer.

Residente w/Soko (Puerto Rico/France) / “Desencuentro” – Puerto Rican rapper Residente, formerly the lyricist for the duo, Calle 13, has traveled the world and made a movie for his self-titled debut album. And in a departure from his usual social commentary, he sings a bi-lingual romantic duet on the album with French singer, Soko, about two potential lovers failure to connect. The video is a must-see.

Dayme Arocena (Cuba) / “Mambo Na’ Ma’” – Cuban mambo meets New Orleans brass as young Cuban jazz singer, Dayme Arocena, scats her way through the brass cacophony returning often to the simple refrain, “It’s just Mambo.” Yeah, but it also swings.


Matt Reilly, Program Director

The Black Angels / “Currency”– Just when I think that the Black Angels have made their best album, they put out another one that surpasses previous efforts. This track off of Death Song was the first song I heard from the record. That groove mixed with the basic, timeless message of how what you own ends up owning you, works well in these ultra-capitalist times.

Ty Richards / “Shoulda Coulda Woulda” – The first time I heard this, I thought ‘eh’. But then about an hour later, I was humming the melody. This is a total ear worm. I believe the technical term is “grower.”  This is a great song and it’s my fault that it took me 5 listens to reach that conclusion.

Juana Molina / “Cosoco” – I’ve been a fan for several years of this Argentinian and she continues to impress. This song is modern, layered and rewarding with repeated listens.

Cherry Glazerr / “Told You I’d Be With The Guys” – I’m a riff guy. This is a great riff and the unhinged quality to this song makes it a little dangerous. Which is nice.

Naked Giants / “Ya Ya” – Did I mention I’m a riff guy? This is so loud and brash and dumb; things I want in my face-melting rock songs. And I don’t mean dumb as in stupid, it’s just not deep, but why does it need to be? I’d say roll down the windows and crank it but it’s summer here in Austin and you really shouldn’t do that. You might die.


Jacquie Fuller, Assistant Program Director

Sweet Spirit / “The Power” – Let’s pretend Gary Glitter never existed, and this was the original Jock Jam. If that were true, jocks wouldn’t even exist. School would be ruled by the heavy-eyelinered stoner girls on the fringes of the schoolyard. Also, I’d lose my virginity a lot sooner.

Broken Social Scene / “Hug of Thunder” – Feist returns to her original stomping grounds with the Canadian supergroup and the result is downright atmospheric. This song feels weightless and heavy at the same time. It’s a fluffy cloud that could kick your ass if it wanted to.

Spoon / “Do I Have To Talk You Into It?” – Okay, so yes, this is sort of “The Beast and Dragon Adored” funked-up a bit, and I want you to know that Spoon could just recycle all their old songs from here on out and I’d keep paying my hard-earned money for them. As the title implies, there’s a whole lot of itches in need of scratching on Hot Thoughts, and every time Britt Daniel lets loose one of those frustrated-emu-in-heat moans, I reach for my wallet.

The xx / “On Hold” – If you thought The xx was the sonic equivalent of Lunesta, you should give the band another chance, via this dancey number. Bonus: It’s fortified with Hall & Oates!

Slowdive / “Sugar for the Pill” – SHHHHH. STOP TALKING. DON’T TALK TO ME WHEN THIS SONG IS PLAYING. Oh, forget it – I’ll just start it over.


2017 Lineup Reveal


2017 Lineup Reveal

Posted by on Jun 19, 2017

Risen from the ashes of Fun Fun Fun Fest, Sound on Sound Fest is three days of music, camping and adventure in a rather unlikely setting: Sherwood Forest (yep, where the Texas Renaissance Festival happens.) 2016 was the fest’s inaugural year, where fest-goers were treated to the likes of Courtney Barnett, Car Seat Headrest, Phantogram, Run the Jewels, Explosions in the Sky, and many more. Despite a brief upset from Mother Nature, the setting was downright magical. Wandering a path through lush woods to happen upon a stage with Big Boi? Not your typical music fest experience! (Did we mention the dragon?)

KUTX is once again thrilled to partner with Sound on Sound Fest, and Adi from the Margin Walker team stopped by KUTX this morning at 10 A.M. to chat with Susan Castle about what’s new this year and to unveil the lineup.

Tickets are available now!


Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Grizzly Bear

Iggy Pop

The Shins

Blood Orange

Washed Out


Digable Planets

Dinosaur Jr.

Real Estate

Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires


Hot Chip (DJ Set)

Twin Peaks

Cherry Glazerr


Mild High Club

Sweet Spirit

A Giant Dog

The Midnight Stroll


… and many more!

March 8: No Boys Allowed


March 8: No Boys Allowed

Posted by on Mar 5, 2017

March 8 is International Women’s Day – a worldwide day of recognition and action for women and girls. KUTX will participate the best way we know how: with music! From 6am until 11pm, we’ll shine the spotlight on women – from singer-songwriters, to kick-ass frontwomen, to rappers  – from here in Austin to all around the world. (We can’t promise you won’t hear some men singing – how else do we honor awesome lady drummers and guitarists?)

What’s more – we’re kicking the men out of the studio! The entire day will be hosted by the Women of KUTX:

6-9 A.M.Elizabeth McQueen (Saturday mid-morning and This Song host) gives John Aielli the morning off (which he’ll need, since it’s the day after his 50th Anniversary celebration.)

9 A.M. to 12 P.M.Susan Castle remains the queen of her mid-morning castle.

12-2 P.M. – Live Music Booker/Producer Deidre Gott gives Jay Trachtenberg the boot. (Will she play Dolly Parton? Our sources say yes!)

2-5 P.M. – Laurie Gallardo rocks her usual spot!

5-7 P.M. – For your afternoon drive home, KUTX’s Assistant Program Director Jacquie Fuller will take the wheel from Jody Denberg.

7-9 P.M. – Taylor Wallace (Thursday night and Saturday midday host), makes usual Wednesday night host Jack Anderson sleep on the couch.

9-11 P.M. – Late-night host Audrey Morton makes an earlier appearance.

Follow along on Instagram (@KUTX), too, where we’ll be sharing portraits from some of our favorite women artists who have come through KUTX.

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.


KUTX Live at The Four Seasons 2017

Live Events

KUTX Live at The Four Seasons 2017

Posted by on Mar 5, 2017

KUTX 98.9 and Four Seasons Hotel Austin are partnering again this year to connect you to some of the most anticipated artists at the 2017 SXSW Music Conference, while raising money for the Seton Shivers Cancer Center. This year’s lineup includes heavy-hitters like Spoon, Real Estate, Temples and The Black Angels, plus break-out artists, like Maggie Rogers, Middle Kids, OJR and Little Simz.

Got little ones in tow? Spare the Rock Spoil the Child, our Sunday-evening kids’ show, will offer kid-friendly (but parent-friendly, too) sets between the main-stage acts in the hotel’s Lobby Lounge each day.

We’ll air four early-morning broadcasts live from the Four Seasons ballroom from 7 to 11 a.m., Wednesday, March 15, through Friday, March 17, and from 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday, March 18.

The event is open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. Admission is a $10 per adult and $5 per child (ages 10 and under) per day, with all money benefiting the Seton Shivers Cancer Center (cash only please!) Admission includes a breakfast taco, a granola bar, and coffee. Limited self-parking is available in the hotel garage on a first-come, first served basis at a discounted rate of $5 per car until 1 p.m.

The KUTX Live at the Four Seasons – SXSW edition – has raised nearly $200,000 for Seton over the past six years.

Here’s this year’s lineup:

Wednesday, March 15
Main Stage Lineup:
7 a.m. Austin rockers My Jerusalem
8 a.m. good ole rock ‘n’ roll from Ron Gallo
9 a.m. Central Texas Hip Hop group Third Root
10 a.m. New Jersey’s hazy indie rockers Real Estate

Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child Lineup:
8:30 a.m. Indie rocker, songwriter, playwright and children’s book author Ralph’s World
9:30 a.m. Red Yarn, who weaves folk songs and puppetry into engaging shows for all ages

Thursday, March 16
Main Stage Lineup:
7 a.m. Texan Jonathan Terrell who has written hits for Bart Crow and Mike and the Moonpies
8 a.m. Maggie Rogers, the electro-pop folk singer made famous by Pharrell’s endorsement last year
9 a.m. Three-piece band Middle Kids from Sydney, Australia
10 a.m. English rockers Temples

Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child Lineup:
8:30 a.m. Austin-based “kindie” band The Que Pastas
9:30 a.m. Parents’ Choice Award winning songwriter for children. Joe McDermott

Friday, March 17
Main Stage Lineup:
7 a.m. Asheville, North Carolina Americana quartet River Whyless
8 a.m. Oliver John-Rodgers, aka OJR, who plays a range of styles from indie-folk, blues and Americana to grunge, psychedelia, and rock ‘n’ roll
9 a.m. Texas Troubadour Ray Wylie Hubbard
10 a.m. Austin psychedelic rock band The Black Angels

Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child Lineup:
8:30 a.m.  Latin Grammy winners Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band
9:30 a.m. Educational rockers The Deedle Deedle Dees

Saturday, March 18
Main Stage Lineup:
8 a.m. Austin-based singer and songwriter Molly Burch
9 a.m. Austin blues, funk and soul artist Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears
10 a.m. British rapper, singer (and actress) Little Simz
11 a.m. Spoon drops its ninth album “Hot Thoughts” March 17

Spare the Rock Spoil, the Child Lineup:
9:30 a.m. Chicago’s upbeat, down-to-earth kiddie musician Little Miss Ann
10:30 a.m. Family funk super duo Sugar Free Allstars

KUTX LIVE at the Four Seasons is sponsored by:


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