Desert Culture: “Elva”

Austin’s Desert Culture makes music that’s, yes, dusty and a little sunburned. Daniel Vega and Brett Thorne formerly crafted dense punk rock as part of Zlam Dunk, but Desert Culture is almost pre-rock, pulling from country, surf, and pop and filtering it through a noirish haze.

For the band’s second album, They’re Not Gone, Vega mined his own family history for inspiration. “Elva” focuses on the singer and guitarist’s grandmother, who lost a son in Lake Medina outside of San Antonio. Ultimately, the death prompted Vega’s father to move to Monterrey, Mexico where he eventually met and married Vega’s mother. These ghosts and happenstances haunt the song, pushing towards Vega’s own haunted chorus: “Where do they go when they’re not gone?”

“Elva” appears on They’re Not Gone, out now. Desert Culture plays Cheer Up Charlie’s on Thursday, April 27.

–Art Levy // host, Sunday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., producer, My KUTX

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