My KUTX: Dehd’s Jason Balla

Dehd's Jason Balla performs during the Austin City Limits Music Festival on Oct. 9, 2022, in Austin. Michael Minasi / KUTX

Dehd’s Jason Balla

My KUTX // May 11, 2024

Any band can write a two chord song. Chicago’s Dehd writes excellent two chord songs. It sounds simple: the three piece has a minimalist garage rock sound, just guitar, bass, and drums. But peek under the hood, and you’ll notice the trio are intuitively great musicians. There’s the way bassist Emily Kempf’s gritty yelp plays off of guitarist Jason Balla’s deeper croon. It even took me a few listens to realize drummer Eric McGrady doesn’t use any cymbals, which frees up tons of space for the band. They fill it with hook after hook from Balla’s chimey guitar or Kempf’s vocal ad libs. “Mood Ring” is my favorite song of the year. It reminds me of a lost ’60s girl group pop classic from the Shangri-Las or the Shirelles, but Dehd add their own punky danger to it.

Dehd was recently in town for Austin Psych Fest, and they’re back in Austin on October 28 for a headlining show at the Scoot Inn. And this week sees the release of the band’s fifth album, Poetry. Jason Balla celebrates with his own guest DJ set on My KUTX. He plays an hour of personal favorites, giving a lot of props to the dynamic Chicago music scene he grew up in. Hear My KUTX on Saturday, May 11 at 6 p.m. or listen anytime right here.


[intro music: Dehd – “Mood Ring”]

  1. Sharp Pins – “Bye Bye Basil”
  2. Dijon – “The Dress”
  3. Mk.gee – “Are You Looking Up”
  4. Twin Peaks – “Wanted You”
  5. Chanel Beads – “Police Scanner”
  6. Sarah Grace White – “Sinkhole”
  7. Yves Jarvis – “For Props”
  8. Bnny – “Good Stuff”
  9. Grapetooth – “Trouble”
  10. Divino Niño – “XO”
  11. Twerps – “Back To You”
  12. Beat Happening – “Cat Walk”
  13. Broncho – “Get In My Car”
  14. Deeper – “Pressure”

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