The idea behind Austin’s Golden Dawn Arkestra is pretty free-form: bandleader Topaz McGarrigle started it as a way to soundtrack an imaginary movie, inviting a different cast of musicians for each show. Soon, the Arkestra took on dancers and costumes, and the concerts turned into psychedelic spectacles. The visual aspects are perfect accompaniment to the Arkestra’s blend of jazz, Afrobeat, and funk, and they (unsurprisingly) tapped resident genre-hopper Adrian Quesada to producer their self-titled debut EP. It’s getting a vinyl release this week, and to celebrate, Golden Dawn Arkestra are bringing their craziness to the Mohawk tomorrow night. “Masakayli” will give you a taste of the frequency these Austinites are on–cosmic jazz never sounded so fun. And if you can’t make it out to the show, be sure to tune into KUTX tomorrow–Golden Dawn Arkestra are live in Studio 1A at 12 p.m.
Despite his prolific output, each Ty Segall record has focused on one aspect that the young SoCal native does very well. Early albums like Lemons and Melted introduced Segall’s garage-punk shriek to the wider world; 2011′s Goodbye Bread showed off his pop side; last year’s Sleeper even found Segall wringing psychedelic intensity from just an acoustic guitar and a 4-track. You could amass a pretty incredible playlist by picking and choosing from his myriad releases, but Segall has decided to do us one better. Manipulator, out August 26, features the many sounds of Segall, all packed into a cohesive double album.
Segall spent almost a year crafting the record, his longest stretch of time between releases yet. The care shows: whereas past releases jolted under waves of lo-fi distortion, Manipulator burns slowly, capturing Segall’s sound somewhere between the garage and a slick studio. Glam rock, heavy metal, punk, folk, and psychedelia rub shoulders; at times, Manipulator sounds like a survey of the past five decades of rock-and-roll. And at the center of it all is Segall, whose raspy charm is contagious. There’s a lot to like in songs like “Susie Thumb,” where headbangers and pop enthusiasts can join forces hand-in-hand. An audacious artist has made his most audacious statement yet.
Catch Ty Segall at the Mohawk on Friday, September 5.
It’s inevitable that an artist with a long career will want to switch it up a bit. A few years ago, Aimee Mann invited Ted Leo as an opening act on her tour, and the two often sang together each night. After parting ways, Mann and Leo started writing new songs long distance, blending Mann’s pop smarts with Leo’s punk rock pedigree. They called the project the Both and quickly recorded and released a self-titled debut earlier this year.
The record is a fun breather for both Mann and Leo, both of whom have been in the spotlight for decades. Classic rock references abound in the Both’s sound: a little bit of Thin Lizzy, maybe some power pop, and Mann and Leo trade off verses like old friends.”I think we were both ready for some drastic life change,” Mann told KUTX’s Jody Denberg when the Both stopped by recently. The Studio 1A performance found the pair fresh and excited, and today’s song of the day comes from the live session. “The Inevitable Shove” was an exclusive song the Both cut for KUTX, and it finds the band in fine rock-and-roll form.
Photo by Gavin Keen
Canada’s Alvvays had to add the typographical quirk after discovering an English band with the same name, and what a twist of fate. The original Always drew from the same wellspring as the newer one: jangly folk, girl-group pop, and just a hint of punk darkness.
Don’t let this search-engine-confusion dissuade you, though. Alvvays’ self-titled debut is as charming as they come; it’s sweet, but spiked by frontwoman Molly Rankin’s wry observations. She’s frequently in crisis-mode, filtering her where-am-I-going musings through a lens that any twentysomething (or anybody with a beating heart) can understand. Subway rides turn into epic daydreams full of romance and astronauts, only to come crashing back to earth. For such a buttoned-up genre, Alvvays truly let loose on “Archie, Marry Me,” going for broke with a huge hook. It’s the equivalent of a giant billboard, smashing any sort of romantic confusion with its unsubtle message. This is music that’s meant to be sung, preferably at the top of your lungs.
Photo by Melanie Little Gomez
Even in her early lo-fi days, Sarah Jaffe seemed destined for bigger things. With stunning songs like “Clementine” and “Before You Go,” the Denton, TX native dug deep into her psyche, augmented by acoustic guitar and a bare-bones backing band. Her voice could command a room like little else, and she started to wonder what else she could do with it. Enter The Body Wins, her 2012 album and something of a stylistic shift. Jaffe worked with producer John Congleton to create something just as confessional, but more urgent and modern. On songs like “Glorified High,” she lashed out at demons both real and imagined, all while the music buzzed like an electronic orchestra underneath.
Tomorrow sees the release of album number three, Don’t Disconnect, and the title hints at the kind of emotional power the record carries. Last year, Jaffe unexpectedly scored a big profile boost when a backing track she created as part of the Dividends–her hip-hop side project with Dallas’s Grammy-winning producer S1–was used in Eminem’s “Bad Guy.” On Don’t Disconnect, Jaffe has ramped up her pop instinct without sacrificing the razor-sharp attitude of her early years. Album standout “Some People Will Tell You” is a declaration of freedom, but with a dark edge–it’s Sarah Jaffe, perfectly summed up.
Catch Sarah Jaffe tomorrow at Waterloo Records at 5pm for a free in-store performance.