KUTX scored an exclusive session with Parquet Courts after their show at Levitation Fest was canceled due to bad weather. The Texas expats got their start in New York City back in 2010 with their first album, American Specialties, released on a limited edition cassette. Like songwriter Andrew Savage’s band back in Denton, Teenage Cool Kids, Parquet Courts have one foot in noisy guitar-driven 90’s indie rock. Unlike Teenage Cool Kids, their other foot, or perhaps their head, is dunked in Frank Zappa-like genre-bending eccentrics. Their more experimental side can be heard clearly in their mostly instrumental EP titled Monastic Living, but that strange and exciting undercurrent can be heard throughout their discography. It’s a little like an alternate reality version of the Minutemen where D. Boon and Mike Watt listened to indie rock instead of hardcore punk, and were signed to Rough Trade instead of SST.
Parquet Courts records may be filled with unexpected turns, but they nonetheless have serious songwriting chops, even charting on the Billboard with their 2014 album, Sunbathing Animals. Their new release Human Performance may be their most well crafted album to date, but don’t worry, it still has all idiosyncratic quirkiness of their previous releases. Check out some of it on the bottom of the page!
After the painfully disappointing cancellation of this years Levitation festival, Austin rallied to give many of the displaced musicians and bands a place to play over the weekend, and just as importantly, a soothing balm of live music for the heartbroken fans strewn across the city.
Sleep, Sunn O))), and Boris played at the Mohawk; Slowdive, Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Twin Peaks at Scoot Inn; and many other incredible shows played around the city. Here at KUTX, we also hosted some amazing performances, including Parquet Courts, Imharan, and Dungen. You can listen to all the live music played in Studio 1A this weekend at the bottom of the page.
Another Levitation castaway, Imarhan brought their distinctively funky take on traditional Tuareg music to Studio 1A after dangerous weather derailed their scheduled gig out at the festival. Music of the nomadic Berber tribes in Northwestern Africa may seem like an unusual fit for an American psychedelic music festival but Levitation has played host to several Tuareg musicians, most recently Bombino in 2014. Dive into any song on their self titled debut album and the decision to bring Imarhan to Levitation seems a no-brainer. Like their musical cousins Tinariwen, Imarhan captures the space and spirituality of Tuareg music but sprinkle in funkier arrangements and pick up the tempo just a bit to make something all its own.
Take a listen to their Studio 1A session at the bottom of this post.
Swedish rock band Dungen found their way to Studio 1A after their gig at Levitation Fest was cancelled due to dangerous weather. Bad news for the band and the festival but a major score for us. Founded during the Swedish psych/prog rock revival of the early 2000s, Dungen continues to pay homage to the genre on their newest album, Allas Sak, with non-stop drum fills and ample flute solos. This might sound like a recipe for dated, cheesy, experimental rock ‘n’ roll, but not in the hands of founder and chief songwriter Gustav Ejstes. Over the course of 8 studio albums, Ejstes and his now core collaborators, guitarist Reine Fiske, drummer Johan Holmegard, and bassist Mattias Gustavsson have perfected a playful mixture of psych, prog, and pop that has become their calling card.
Check out Dungen’s performance from Studio 1A at the bottom of this post.
Their name isn’t just a nod to the quintessential Memphis soul groups The Mar-Keys and The Bar-Kays, members of the Bo-Keys were in those bands. With labels like Truth & Soul and Daptone pumping out incredible recordings by young musicians like The Expressions, Menahan Street Band, and El Michel’s Affair, a new generation has been turned on to the golden age of soul. But no doubt, during some formative moment for many of those New York based musicians, someone in the Bo-Keys was blasting out their speakers.
The Bo-Keys’ original members include the late Ben Cauley, the sole survivor of the tragic plane crash that killed Otis Redding and the Bar-Kays, and the late Charles “Skip” Pitts who was the band leader for Wilson Pickett’s Midnight Movers, wrote the riff for the Isley Brother’s “It’s Your Thing” and played the iconic wah-wah guitar on Isaac Hayes‘ title track from the 1971 film Shaft among many other huge contributions to soul. The list could go on maybe indefinitely, but to say the least, the Bo-Keys don’t have to try very hard to conjure the sound of 60’s Memphis. Nonetheless, the Bo-Keys have plenty of new blood in their lineup as well, like bandleader Scott Bomar. Its a great combination of established masters taking younger musicians under their wing; working together to preserve the sound and knowledge of their legendary city.
The Bo-Keys just released their latest record Heartaches By the Number, check out a live sample of it at the bottom of the page.