Punk rock provocateurs John Doe and Exene Cervenka have been making music together ever since launching L.A. punk rock out from the underground in the late 1970s with their band X. The band has reunited several times since splitting in 1993 including a stop in Austin for the 2008 SXSW Music Festival. In recent years, both John Doe and Exene have been releasing and touring behind solo projects that highlight their backgrounds in folk and roots music. The duo have joined forces again for a 40th reunion tour with stops across the U.S. including at The Mohawk here in Austin. Listen to these American music icons caught live in Studio 1A at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!
5/24 @ Mohawk
Cotton Mather may look like the Rolling Stones and sound like the Beatles but they have a brand of charismatic indie rock that is all their own. Originally formed as an art rock duet, the band spent most of the 90s honing their energetic, guitar driven sound. After going on hiatus in 2003, Cotton Mather reformed in 2012 with perhaps their most ambitious undertaking to date. Drawing from his studies of the I Ching book of ancient Chinese wisdom, Harrison plans on releasing 64 tracks as a sort of spiritual homage. Their latest release Wild Kingdom marks the near half-way point on this project. True to form Wild Kingdom is filled with strong vocal harmonies, bouncing guitar and songs about the human experience. Tracks like “Better than a Hit” compare letting go of a sour relationship with the I Ching practice of removing evil. The result is catchy, heartfelt and downright enchanting. Cotton Mather brought their glorious indie rock to Studio 1A ahead of their release show at 3Ten, check it out below!
– Georgina Cook
5/24 @ 3ten (Album release show)
Listening to Desert Culture is a bit like taking a surf trip to West Texas. That may sound like a recipe for disappointment but in the capable hands of songwriter Daniel Vega, guitarists Brett Thorne and Grant Appleton, and drummer Taylor Thomas, this genre-blurring, border hopping music makes total sense. In fact, it sounds really damn good, and different in a way that makes even the most jaded music critic sit up and take notice. The group just released their new album, They’re Not Here, in April and stopped in to play us a few songs before their show at Hotel Vegas.
5/24 @ Hotel Vegas
It’s no secret that Austin boasts some incredible local talent and at the front of this pack are psychedelic rockers The Black Angels. Named after the Velvet Underground track “The Black Angel’s Death Song”, The Black Angels newest release is both an eponymous nod to their roots, and a musical leap forward. Formed in 2004, The Black Angels cultivated a timeless, neo-psychedelic sound that rarely got too topical. Death Song, written primarily in the lead up to the 2016 Presidential Election, is a departure from this; the album is a hard-edged reflection of the current political climate. Tracks like “Comanche Moon” link colonial genocide with the current social turmoil, and the album’s blistering opener “Currency” is a nihilistic musing on human extinction. The subject matter may be toxic but the music couldn’t be sweeter; the tracks are seething, hypnotic and enchanting; proving themselves a worthy legacy to the psychedelic greats like Lou Reed. The Black Angels have created a sort of audible existential crisis; chaotic and haunting yet somehow cathartic. They brought their sultry sounds to Studio 1A to celebrate the release of this beautifully timed album, check it out below! Or go see them for yourself at ACL Live at the Moody Theater, or for their release show at Waterloo Records later this week.
– Georgina Cook
5/25 @ Waterloo Records
The name Food Group left us scratching our heads the first time we heard it but after listening to their music we think there really is something rather wholesome about these sonic explorers. Good luck trying to nail down exactly what it is though. Their songs share many hallmarks of truly spaced-out psych rock with soaring organs and synths while somehow remaining rooted to something folkier and more traditional. Their take on the spiritual, “Michael Row Your Boat Ashore” is a great example of this expansive new take on more recognizable styles and songs. Take a listen to their recent visit to Studio 1A to play songs of their brand new album, Here Today.