Lower Dens 2.21.20

Studio 1A Sessions

Lower Dens 2.21.20

Posted by on Feb 26, 2020
Photo by Michael Minasi/KUTX

Lower Dens might allude to the hyper-competitiveness of our society with the title of their latest record, The Competition — but the Baltimore pop trio favors collaboration and self-acceptance. Texas native Jana Hunter, who leads the band, first started releasing solo material in the mid-2000s before forming Lower Dens. The reason for the change? “It’s more fun to play with other people,” he laughed during the band’s Studio 1A interview. Guitarist Peter Tran and drummer Nate Nelson round out the trio and allow for lush intricacies on The Competition.

Following Hunter’s self-discovery in transitioning gender, the record grapples with mental health and acceptance, all cloaked in a shimmering indie pop sound. These ideas have defined much of Lower Den’s discography throughout the group’s existence, but there’s a new urgency behind the music driven by a deep desire to experience genuine connections. The Competition, released last fall, comes after a break of over four years since Lower Dens’ last record. The hiatus came partly out of necessity due to the personal experiences that inform the album’s themes, but also saw the band trying out a new production style with recording in a home studio.

Now on the front end of a one month U.S. tour, Lower Dens performed in Studio 1A ahead of a show at Barracuda that night.

— Annie Lyons, KUTX Intern

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Host: Jody Denberg

Audio Engineers: Aly Carlisle-Steinberg, Jake Perlman

Producer: Deidre Gott

Cameras: Gabriel C. Pérez, Michael Minasi, Faith Castle, Steven Gonzalez

Editor: Gabriel C. Pérez


The Artisan String Quartet 2.20.20

Studio 1A Sessions

The Artisan String Quartet 2.20.20

Posted by on Feb 21, 2020
Photo courtesy of the Artisan String Quartet

For the final show of its 39th season, the Austin-based Artisan String Quartet will present works that seldom fall on modern ears. During the upcoming concert “On Wenlock Edge,” the group will perform the rare Ralph Vaughan Williams song cycle of the same name in its original 1911 version, as well as a lesser-known quartet from Czech composer Antonín Dvořák. The Williams composition draws inspiration from the lyrical poetry of A. E. Houseman, covering themes of bitter disappointments and eventual growth.

The Artisan String Quartet celebrates a storied history. In the past decade alone, the group has contributed to the film score for a documentary about renowned Metropolitan Opera singer Barbara Conrad Smith and made their Carnegie Hall debut. Now the quartet is entering a new stage of existence with the recent addition of violinist Patrice Calixte, following the retirement of previous member Richard Kilmer. Calixte joins violinist Caleb Hans Polashek, violist Bruce Williams and cellist Douglas Harvey.

“On Wenlock Edge” will take place on Friday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, Feb. 29 at First Presbyterian Church. Two fellow Austin Chamber Ensemble musicians, pianist Martha Mortensen Ahern and tenor Jeffery Jones-Ragona, will join the quartet for the performance. In Studio 1A, the Artisan String Quartet previewed the first movement of Dvořák’s Quartet Op. 51 in anticipation of the shows. Find tickets and more information about “On Wenlock Edge” here

— Annie Lyons, KUTX Intern

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Host: John Aielli
Audio Engineer: Jake Perlman
Producer: Deidre Gott

 

Katie Pruitt 2.13.20

Studio 1A Sessions

Katie Pruitt 2.13.20

Posted by on Feb 17, 2020
Photo by Julia Reihs/KUTX

Singer-songwriter Katie Pruitt lets go of others’ expectations on her upcoming debut album, the fittingly named Expectations. Out on Feb. 21, Expectations represents the culmination of years of growth for Pruitt as she details her experiences from growing up gay in Georgia to discovering healthy love to learning how to be unapologetically herself. The Nashville resident’s coming-of-age moment is hard-earned and has a powerful sound to match; Pruitt possesses equal parts grit and tenderness as her voice smoothly goes from hushed yearnings to soaring above the rafters. With a country folk sound built around lustrous guitars, her voice takes center stage as she delivers lyrics that are sometimes bracing in their intimacy.

It’s no surprise that Pruitt’s mesmerizing voice has been earning her accolades, including the 2019 Artist on the Rise award at Luck Reunion, the one-day music festival held at Willie Nelson’s Luck Ranch outside Austin. Pruitt is back this year on the festival’s official bill, joined by familiar names like Lucinda Williams, Orville Peck, Angel Olsen and, of course, Nelson himself. Ahead of playing the Lucky Draw event where this year’s lineup was announced, Pruitt dropped by Studio 1A to deliver some heart-wrangling tunes. For more of Pruitt, be sure to catch her at SXSW 2020 or, if you’re lucky enough to snag tickets, at Luck Reunion on March 6.

Katie Pruitt was joined by Hank Born on guitar, Ross McRenolds on drums, Andrew Brown on bass and Jess Nolan on keys and background vocals.

— Annie Lyons, KUTX Intern

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Host: Matt Reilly
Audio Engineer: Cliff Hargrove
Producer: Deidre Gott
Cameras: Julia Reihs, Michael Minasi, José Daniel Moreno
Star Parks 2.12.20

Studio 1A Sessions

Star Parks 2.12.20

Posted by on Feb 13, 2020
Photo by Michael Minasi/KUTX

Two’s company, three’s a crowd? Austin-based band Star Parks would have to firmly disagree. Originally a solo project, frontrunner Andy Bianculli has grown Star Parks into an elaborate nine-piece mini orchestra. They boast a rich and soulful pop production, with a trombone, trumpet and vibraphone rounding out the usual guitar, bass, drums and keys. Star Parks tends to bleed into the melancholy; their lush and upbeat arrangements disguise often cynical lyrics. Their upcoming sophomore album, The New Sounds of Late Capitalism, out on Feb. 14, further dives into this concept, discussing themes of alienation and disappointment. The substantial lyrics add yet another layer to an already textured and expansive sound that draws from the group’s large pool of talent.

Before embarking on a one month tour of the Midwest, Star Parks dropped by Studio 1A for an after hours session. Star Parks will be back home for SXSW and an album release show on March 6 at Barracuda with The Deer and Berkshire Hounds.

Star Parks performed in Studio 1A with a full lineup made up of Andy Bianculli, Nathaniel Klugman, Sam Pankey, Andy Beaudoin, Sam Howden, Derek Phelps, Wayne Myers and Carolyn Trowbridge. 

— Annie Lyons, KUTX Intern

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Host: Taylor Wallace
Audio Engineer: Cliff Hargrove, Oscar Martinez
Producer: Deidre Gott
Cameras: Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, Michael Minasi, José Daniel Moreno, Steven Gonzalez
North Mississippi Allstars 2.7.20

Studio 1A Sessions

North Mississippi Allstars 2.7.20

Posted by on Feb 10, 2020
Photo by Michael Minasi/KUTX

Blues powerhouse North Mississippi Allstars comes full circle on their latest record, Up and Rolling, released last fall. The album sees brother duo Luther and Cody Dickinson reflect on decades of history — and with 24 years, ten albums and three Grammy nominations under their belt, there’s a lot of history to talk about. In many ways, Up and Rolling marks a homecoming for the brothers; the pair recorded the album back home in Mississippi at The Zebra Ranch, the studio established by their late father, legendary producer Jim Dickinson. Inspired by a re-discovered roll of film taken in 1996 that spotlights the music community of their rural childhood, the record is a love letter written to the landscape of their youth with modern touches. The Allstars blend the hill country blues of the ’90s with their version of current Mississippi music, infused with psychedelic flavor. Up and Rolling also represents a renewal of the community and collaborative spirit of their youth, with features including Mavis Staples and Jason Isbell. Ahead of a two night lineup at Antone’s on Feb. 7 and 8, the Allstars dropped by Studio 1A to perform some new jams. They were joined by Jesse Williams on bass.

— Annie Lyons, KUTX Intern

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER


Host: Jody Denberg
Audio Engineer: Cliff Hargrove, Jake Perlman
Producer: Deidre Gott
Cameras: Julia Reihs, Michael Minasi, Jose Moreno, Patricia Lim, Steven Gonzalez, Faith Castle