Austin experimental synth-pop trio Hey Cowboy! understands what makes a good name. After all, there’s no resisting an album titled Get in My Fanny Pack and Let’s Go, which is speckled with songs of equal curiosity (“Detective Farmer Brown,” “Hello Mr. Nasty,” “Queen Cactus.”) Fortunately, Hey Cowboy’s music more than lives up to the intrigue, and the album’s title serves as a testament to the songs contained inside — dreamy and playful and entirely individual.
Hey Cowboy! is drummer Gaby Rodriguez, Sydney Harding-Sloan on synths and bassist Micah Vargas, with all three contributing vocals. Originally from Denton, the group relocated to Austin in late 2018, where they just celebrated their three-year “bandiversary.” There’s no guitar rounding out the trio, but you don’t miss it. Hey Cowboy! blends psychedelic, punk and ‘70s sci-fi movie soundtrack influences to create otherworldly atmospheres with ethereal harmonies; standout track “Cherry Jerry Citrus” conjures the kind of sunshiny spring haze that Texans can only dream about. Hey Cowboy! embraces their “yeehaw” nature with a coy wink, and true to their name, their starry-eyed dream pop sends you dancing into the moonlight.
– Annie Lyons
Photo by Michael Minasi/KUTX
The Star Parks of today might be larger in scope than the solo project launched by songwriter Andy Bianculli in 2016. But they’re cut from the same cloth. His full-bodied pop examines themes of alienation and disappointment in alternately melancholy or jaunty terms. Now a veritable mini orchestra, the Austin-based band recently released their sophomore album, The New Sounds of Late Capitalism, on Valentine’s Day. The album’s eleven tracks possess a clear disaffection with the expansive arrangements disguising often cynical lyrics. There’s a distinct 1960s inspiration; the production embraces a dated Martin Denny exotica, and the first 15 seconds of opener “Palm Sunday” feature lingering, pensive ahh’s and chimes that immediately call Pet Sounds to mind.
You can hear a lot of influences, from Brian Wilson to Kevin Parker of Tame Impala, but Bianculli has more unique ambitions in mind. Framing their music, with help from producer Danny Reisch, in a lush pop cinemascope, Bianculli’s songs are about capturing rarified moments of inspiration, even if, in his words, they “inevitably lead to disappointment.” The New Sounds of Late Capitalism dives into this concept with substantial lyrics of ennui and heartbreak adding yet another layer to the already textured sound.
Recently back home from a one month tour of the Midwest, Star Parks is celebrating The New Sounds of Late Capitalism with an album release show on Friday, March 6 at Barracuda with The Deer and Berkshire Hounds.
In the meantime, get acquainted with Star Parks by checking out their performance of “Oh Boredom (Shmaltz City, USA)” from their recent Studio 1A Session. You can find the whole session with interview here.
Star Parks’ full lineup consists of Andy Bianculli, Nathaniel Klugman, Sam Pankey, Andy Beaudoin, Sam Howden, Derek Phelps, Wayne Myers and Carolyn Trowbridge.
Host: Taylor Wallace
Audio Engineer: Cliff Hargrove, Oscar Martinez
Producer: Deidre Gott
Cameras: Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, Michael Minasi, José Daniel Moreno, Steven Gonzalez
Editor: Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon
February is Love Austin Music Month–learn more here. Eimaral Sol is the KUTX Artist of the Month for February. Photo by Julia Reihs/KUTX.
Austin’s Eimaral Sol describes her sound as neo-soul, and it’s easy to hear the influence of like-minded icons like Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill. Sol Soliloquies, her 2019 album, modernizes the sound a bit with deep beats and lyrics built around the idea of transcending everyday anxieties. This week on My KUTX, Sol spins an hour of music that helped her find her own sound. Listen to My KUTX on Saturday, February 29 at 6 p.m. or at any time in the player below, and see Eimaral Sol at Empire Control Room on March 5.
–Art Levy // producer, My KUTX
[intro music: Eimaral Sol – “Y”]
1. Erykah Badu – “On & On”
2. Kali Uchis – “Loner”
3. Ari Lennox – “Speak To Me”
4. Lion Babe – “Jungle Lady”
5. FKJ – “Vibin’ Out With (((O)))”
6. Lauryn Hill – “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You”
7. Sango & Xavier Omär – “How Do You Love Me” (2:46
8. Kendrick Lamar – “XXX.” (feat. U2)
9. Dreamville, Ari Lennox & Omen – “Got Me” (feat. Ty Dolla $ign & Dreezy)
10. Missy Elliott & Aaliyah – “Best Friends”
11. Gwen Bunn – “Long Night”
Photo by Julia Reihs/KUTX
Texas-based R&B artist Eimaral Sol commences her debut album, 2019’s Sol Soliloquies, with a powerful self-affirming mantra, singing, “According to the stars, it’s still my time,” on the opening track, “Sunflower.” But even if there’s some act of fate at play, Sol is clearly in charge of her own destiny — and her time has just begun. Eimaral Sol is the work of singer Laramie Pouncy — Eimaral is Laramie spelled backward — who cultivates a unique sound reminiscent of Jhené Aiko and Lauryn Hill. She grounds her music with her values and vulnerability, creating a compelling and authentic narrative. Her brand of neo-soul is optimistic without dipping into the saccharine; she acknowledges her struggles but is more concerned with what growth they provoked.
Sol wrote and composed Sol Soliloquies with production help from Russell Guess, and the album showcases her artistic range as she glides effortlessly from futuristic beats to luminous soul vocals. The result is an eclectic collection of songs that sees Sol wearing her heart on her sleeve as she works through her anxieties and reflects on her journey to catchy doo-wop beats. Above all, Sol emphasizes the power of connectivity, and her voice is a guiding light of encouragement letting her listeners know that she’s got their back.
Eimaral Sol will be performing at the 2nd Annual Love Lockdown concert at Stubb’s Bar-B-Q on February 13 with Jake Lloyd, Jay Wile and arya.
— Annie Lyons, KUTX Intern
Photo by Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon
January 2020’s KUTX artist of the month Dayglow puts positivity center-stage while delivering the feel-good indie pop you love to love. The re-release of the debut album Fuzzybrain brings performer, songwriter, and producer Sloan Struble to Studio 1A for Odell Brewing’s After Hours series with support from Nate Davis on guitar, Norrie Swofford on keys, Reece Myers on bass, and Brady Knippa on drums. Struble began making his own music as a child and went on to write and record Fuzzybrain on his own as a high school student. After 1 year of studies at UT Austin, Dayglow had reached millions of Spotify streams, allowing Struble to leave the university and pursue music full-time. Dayglow will now headline its first tour, which is already sold out in 10 cities all over the nation, starting in March of this year.
Dayglow’s 2020 spring tour will take an extended stop in Austin where they will play two sold-out shows at The Parish on March 27th and 28th.
– Lydia Fortuna, KUTX Intern
Host: Taylor Wallace
Producer: Deidre Gott
Broadcast Engineer: Cliff Hargrove
Front of House Engineer: Jake Perlman
Multimedia crew: Gabriel Pérez, Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, Michael Minasi, Jose Moreno