Photo by Lauren Rodriguez
Rose Windows’ debut The Sun Dogs could have been filed in either the folk or metal category. The Seattle band zeroed in on that late ’60s, early ’70s sweet spot when bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath filtered folk influences through a hard rock lens.
Rose Windows return with their self-titled second album on May 4, but the band is unfortunately calling it quits. At least they’re going out with a bang: Rose Windows tightens up the sound, reigning in some of the psychedelic touches in favor of punchy, interesting songs. “Strip Mall Babylon” starts off as a folky sing-along before exploding in the chorus, perfectly showing off Rabia Shaheen Qazi‘s powerhouse voice. Take a listen and download below.
Photo by Miguel Gutierrez, Jr.
Part of the fun of being a music fan is finding the undiscovered–those diamonds in the rough that for some reason or another got buried years ago. Adam Torres’ music career follows this strange trajectory. As a student at Ohio University, Torres developed a following through his band Southeast Engine and his own solo music. In 2006, he released Nostra Nova, a quietly haunting album punctuated by both orchestral flourishes and distorted guitars.
The record didn’t make much of a dent, and Torres largely stopped releasing music, save for some even starker demos. He traveled away from Ohio, first spending a year in Ecuador before settling in Austin to pursue a graduate degree. All the while, Nostra Nova built a bit of buzz. Almost a decade later, Misra Records is reissuing the album in the hopes it can find a new generation of fans. The songs seem tailor-made for the kind of cult following Torres has; hushed and intimate, they sound like they should be passed from friend to friend. “Nick Drake crossed with Guided By Voices” nails it on the head: there’s a DIY roughness to Torres’ music, but also some real beauty there, like in “Rosemarie.” Take a listen and download the song below, and catch Adam Torres at the Cactus Cafe tonight. Doors at 8 p.m.
Photo by Courtney Chavanell
Each month, KUTX turns the spotlight on a local artist as our artist of the month–learn more here.
During his recent My KUTX stint, Austin’s Abram Shook rattled through a kaleidoscopic array of influences: Swedish psychedelia, Brazilian ballads, David Bowie’s electro experiments, the timeless folk of Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake. It all comes to bear in his own music, but he’s not a dilettante. Shook may have a technician’s ear when constructing his songs, but they all move in organic, unpredictable ways. Landscape Dream–following last year’s solo debut, the stellar Sun Marquee–is a tour de force, bringing tons of ideas into a clear, coherent picture.
Much like White Denim, Shook plays fast and loose with rock and roll. Songs swagger and stomp like Zeppelin one minute before erupting into polyrhythmic passages, only to fade away in a psychedelic haze. He’s a student of the studio, working with a who’s who of Austin producers–including Erik Wofford and Danny Reisch–to bring his unique sound to life. On “Understood,” Shook builds a stuttering funk-rock symphony that’s hard to categorize–just like Abram Shook himself. Take a listen and download below.
Landscape Dream is out May 12 and you can catch Abram Shook at the Mohawk on May 15.
There’s been a resurgence of trip-hop lately, with Phantogram taking up the torch for a new generation while the originators Massive Attack tease a new album in the near future. Haelos don’t jump into this trend so much as quietly tip-toe. There’s little information on the band, but what we do know is that it’s a trio from London with just a few singles to its name. Still, those singles are anything but anonymous. “Earth Not Above” sets multiple drum loops in orbit around multi-part harmonies and a spacey melody–download it below.
Photo by Todd Wolfson
The Ruffian’s Misfortune, Ray Wylie Hubbard’s new album, is the second in a planned trilogy that tackles mortality. But in true RWH fashion, he’s dealing with all the heavy stuff with a wink. “As I’ve gotten older…you start thinking about your mortality,” he told KUTX’s Elizabeth McQueen. “I’m just kinda hoping God grades on a curve.”
Hubbard’s songs are filled with these kinds of dichotomies, born from his own far-reaching career. He’s the guy that wrote “Up Against The Wall, Redneck Mother”; he’s also the guy that seriously cites French poets like Baudelaire and Rimbaud as big influences. On “Hey Mama My Time Ain’t Long,” Hubbard turns his eye to the “back alleys of heaven” where angels would rather sing “Smokestack Lightning” than hymns. In Hubbard’s world, sin and salvation walk merrily hand-in-hand. Download a Studio 1A version of “Hey Mama My Time Ain’t Long” below.