Fantastic Negrito is the incarnation of a musician who is reborn after going through – well – a lot.
In the beginning, Fantastic Negrito’s urgent, desperate and edgy songs were born from a long hard life channeled through slide guitar, drums and piano of black roots music. Raised in an orthodox Muslim household with a Somali-Caribbean immigrant father who mostly played traditional African music, at age 12, Negrito’s family moved from Massachusetts to Oakland and he he was hit with an intense culture shock. Negrito’s tastes transitioned from Arab chants to Funkadelic in one day and by the time he was 20, Negrito had taught himself to play every instrument he could get his hands on and recorded music until an encounter with a masked gunman led him to relocate to LA with nothing but his spirit and his demo tape.
It wasn’t long before Negrito found himself entrenched in the ‘Hollywood’ lifestyle and signed a million dollar deal at Interscope – which was ultimately a disaster (with Gangsta rap ruling the airwaves, Negrito was in the wrong place at the wrong era). Negrito came out of the deal with a failed album and his confidence gutted. He was infected by the constant emphasis on ‘what would sell’; which looks, hooks and gimmicks would attract an audience. He lost all sense of himself. The songs stopped coming to him, so he sold everything and quit. In 2000, Negrito was in a near fatal car accident that put him in a coma. Though he rehabbed intensely for several years, the damage was permanent. In 2008, he returned home to Oakland. Years later his conservative Muslim values melded with the liberal, multi-cultural world of Oakland and Negrito’s specific POV of the world came into focus – around the same time his son was born. With his son’s entrance into the world, all the creative energy Negrito bottled for years came rushing out. His musical choices were sharp and without doubt, and he’s since been recording without the hindrances that come with chasing trends.
You can check out Fantastic Negrito on Friday, August 28th at Lambert’s and you can stream him right here at KUTX!
What’s that? You say you saw something like twenty dudes all playing instruments and drinking beer onstage? Must be Sip Sip.
What started in 2009 as a relatively small jam band (then-numbering just under a dozen or so members) has since fermented into an eighteen-member genre-spanning collective. Though Sip Sip is notorious for their energetic and interactive live shows, they’ve been steadily chugging away at further refining their sound and writing more complex material. Sip Sip’s music incorporates jazz, rock, hip hop, funk, electronic, and of course – the special testosterone that only accompanies working on high-energy music with good buddies.
The month of September (or as they call it, “Siptember”) is full of opportunities to see Sip Sip live – they’ll be performing at Utopia Fest, Weird City Hip Hop Festival, and Thursdays at Flamingo Cantina. After a rigorous month of live shows, Sip Sip is urging fans to stay tuned for a new single in promotion their upcoming album, due for release in 2016.
You can catch Sip Sip on August, Saturday 29th at Float Fest, Friday, September 4th at Utopia Fest, and at their weekly Siptember residency, starting Thursday, September 3rd at Flamingo Cantina. You can also stream them right here at KUTX!
Feel confined by societal norms? Sounds like you need The Expanders in your life.
What started as guitarists/vocalists Devin Morrison and John Butcher growing up listening to the record collection of famed reggae archivist Roger Steffens, eventually led them to develop an obsession with exploring the deepest reaches of the genre. Over the course of three albums this Los Angeles five-piece, comprised of Butcher, Morrision, John Asher (Drums, Vocals), Roy Fishell (Organ), and Chiquis Lozoya (Bass, Vocals), have been making reggae fans and critics take note with their refreshing sound that references the “golden era” of reggae.
The Expanders consider their music to be a reminder that reggae music wasn’t born in a tropical beach paradise, but in the impoverished and underprivileged areas of Jamaica, resulting in a passionate expression for human rights, social justice and freedom from oppression. The Expanders are now on tour supporting their most recent album, Hustling Culture.
You can stream The Expanders right here at KUTX!
Patty Griffin, stripped-down and still folking around after 23 years of being a professional musician.
Though Griffin bought her first guitar at the age of 16, it wasn’t until she was 28 that she was scouted by A&M Records while playing at Boston coffee houses in 1992. After she was signed to A&M, her demo tape was re-worked and released as her debut album Living With Ghosts in 1996. Griffin has released eight albums since then, including 2010’s Downtown Church which reached #1 on the US Folk Charts and won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Gospel Album.
Her most recent album American Kid (2013) returns to typical Patty Griffin territory in that it features a group of remarkably powerful, personal and unpredictable songs arranged and performed in a style that doesn’t entirely repeat anything she’s done on her previous albums while drawing on all of them. Still, Griffin’s catalog is among the most unified in modern popular music, because her singing is as unmistakable and inimitable as her songwriting.
You can catch Patty Griffin on Wednesday, September 23rd at The Paramount Theatre and you can stream her right here at KUTX!
Are you lost trying to find find some soothing harmonies? Don’t worry – we’ve got The Coordinates!
The Coordinates have been awing crowds with their three-part vocal harmonies in Austin since early 2013. Deeply inspired by music ranging from The Beatles to Harry Nilsson to The Eagles, and the group found themselves writing harmony driven music that bridged the gap between the Classical, Folk, Americana, and Psychedelic genres. Since their formation, the group has supported main acts such as Los Lonely Boys, Junior Brown, and Bob Schneider.
Over the course of their second year, The Coordinates toured around Austin and through the East Coast the band fully realized their sound, their live performance, and honed their songwriting skills. This eventually lead them to sign onto Smilin’ Castle Productions and the band began production on their debut self-titled album, released this past month.
You can catch The Coordinates at their weekly Wednesday residency at Strange Brew and you can stream them right here at KUTX!