All it took was one listen to NGHT HCKLRS‘ “Not Your City,” and the immediate reaction was visceral. Through the opening with the distant sound of a police siren, onto fearsome funky beats and pulsing synths, there are the cynical rumblings about the changes of one’s hometown. It’s not pretty. The refrain keeps hammering, “This is not your city,” a reflection of Austin’s current social clime with the influx of new residents, construction, corporate ruthlessness and the impact of it all.
NGHT HCKLRS is the brainchild of Kevin Douglas and Dean Mason, formerly of the Austin Music Award-winning avant-garde/experimental outfit S O R N E. (The name NGHT HCKLRS comes from the night air raid squadron that Douglas’ grandfather served in during the Korean War, the Night Hecklers.) After writing some new tracks, Douglas and Mason recruited friend and drummer Phil Hook and vocalist Shala McD into their new project. Their sound totally reflects their collective personality: It may be driven, intense and even furious at times, but it’s not exactly taking everything too seriously.
Pay a visit to their Facebook band page, which gives artists the rather boring option of listing their “genre,” and you’ll find NGHT HCKLRS have put, “HaHaHaHaHaHaHa.” Most apropos, and the name they intend to use for their forthcoming full-length release this year (don’t know how the hell your Austin Music Minute host will read that on air, but there you go). They do, however, offer a musical description from two perspectives: One, you experience a fierce hybrid of disco, punk and hip-hop; two, you take a flying leap into a surreal realm where people from the late ‘70s/early 80’s attempt to imagine what music will sound like around the year 2015.
This is one you need to check out, kids. And you can start with NGHT HCKLRS’ (and their brazen lack of vowels) Wednesday night residency at Spider House Ballroom, 2906 Fruth St., throughout April. Tonight, they share the bill with And The Rumors and Francine Thirteen. Doors open at 8 p.m.
Release the kraken. This one’s so recommended.
– Photo courtesy of the artist.