Austin’s Bryan Mitchell fell into rapping almost by accident, first chaperoning his younger brother as he performed his own shows under the name Logic. But the older Mitchell soon picked up the mic at seventeen, rapping at weekly events and building up his own style. Mitchell crowned himself D.O.S. (Dare Observe The Skills), and across nearly two decades, he’s helped forge an identity for Austin rap as collaborative, dynamic, and stubbornly unique.
D.O.S. might be a rap veteran, but his work has a youthful fire to it. On his new EP, Derringer Arts, he teams up with longtime friend Pale Soul, a producer with Austin roots who’s currently based in Seattle. “Voodoo” sees the two brilliantly bringing the best out of each other. Over a swinging funk beat, D.O.S. bobs and weaves like a boxer, alternately jabbing and dancing around the ring. By the horn-blasted end, he’s celebratory, sounding like he’s just getting started.
“Voodoo” appears on Derringer Arts, out now.
–Art Levy // host, Sundays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., producer, My KUTX
Photo by Gabriel Perez/KUTX
Once in a blue moon there is a union that creates something new, different, and great. When Austin hip-hop duo Riders Against the Storm formed, it was husband-wife duo Chaka and Qi Dada. Fast forward a few years and, thanks to sampling and interpolation, we have a sonic marriage of Riders Against The Storm and Alabama Shakes.
The music of Alabama Shakes seems like a perfect choice for vocalist Qi Dada, who, like Brittany Howard, is an outspoken advocate for empowering women. With the help of producer M Rey De Leon, Riders Against The Storm turn the riff from “Don’t Wanna Fight” into a new song, which the group played live in our Studio 1A. “RE:AL” allows Chaka and Qi Dada to lyrically tag-team over a well-known lick without stealing Howard’s thunder.
Riders Against The Storm presents RAS Day Fest at Kenny Dorham’s Backyard on Saturday, August 27th.
—Jack Anderson // host, Saturdays 6-10 a.m.
The Frightnrs hail from contemporary Queens, but they’re time travelers. They nail a very specific sound: ’60s Jamaican rocksteady. Like a lot of the countries in that era, Jamaica took the sounds of American soul and R&B and refracted them through its own culture. Ska and reggae sandwiched the development of rocksteady, resulting in something that’s simultaneously upbeat and laid-back while still baring wounded souls.
Wounds haunt the Frightnrs. After they recorded their debut album, Nothing More To Say, singer Dan Klein was diagnosed with A.L.S., a terminal disease that left him weak and confined to a wheelchair. Keyboardist Chuck Patel and his brother, guitarist/bassist Preet Patel, lost their father in a traffic accident, and a few months later, Klein died in his sleep.
In retrospect, the album sounds eerie, shrouded in era-specific tape-hiss while the band seemingly grapples with its impending fate. “Nothing more to say / You always get your way,” Klein achingly croons on the title track. It’s directed to a lover; it’s directed to death. The Frightnrs plan to carry on with different guest singers in Klein’s memory–a perfect way to extend the somber beauty they’ve already mastered.
“Nothing More To Say” appears on Nothing More To Say, out September 2 via Daptone.
–Art Levy // host, Sundays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., producer, My KUTX
*Note: post updated to reflect the fact that Dan Klein was diagnosed with A.L.S. after recording, not during the session.
With a wall of horns on the brink of full-blown distortion, Brooklyn’s Breakdown Brass sounds like a force of nature: all bombast, menace, and without mercy. Seven horns augmented by guitar and a rhythm section, these fellas play battle-ready music–the kind you need to charge that hill, take that castle, and capture the enemy’s flag.
Their captain is trombonist Nadav Nirenberg, and his battalion has quite the musical pedigree. Featuring members of Ikebe Shakedown, Antibalas, and Monophonics, his bandmates have also backed up Lee Fields, Sharon Jones, and Charles Bradley, among many others.
“Harrow” lives up to its name, a distress signal featuring apocalyptic trombone solos (two!) and a runaway bari sax that sounds like animals rampaging out of the jungle to wreak havoc on the nearby village. If it lasted longer than 3:12, you’d have time to warn the villagers.
–Rick McNulty // host, Left Of The Dial (Fridays, 7-11 p.m.), Twine Time (Saturdays, 7-11 p.m.)
Austin native Jane Ellen Bryant’s new EP Twenties isn’t much of a departure from the more traditional Americana sound of her debut album, Hourglass. It’s an expansion, turning up her bite without cutting off her roots. Depending on your age, the EP’s title track may send you back in time two decades or two days, listing a series of events and emotions all are privy to in our second decade: grueling first jobs, late-night partying with complete disregard to the day of the week, and that indescribable yet universal feeling of uncertainty and confusion as you enter the first phase of adulthood.
–Taylor Wallace // host, Saturdays 2-6 p.m.