We’ve been talking a lot about our upcoming SXSW Showcase next week at Scholz Garden, with a lineup that’s already got mouths watering. And on top of that, if you’re like me, perusing Scholz’ gasthaus-style menu is guaranteed to put mustard on the mind. But today we’re not talking about Dijon, Bavarian, or the plain yellow kind; instead we’re giving you a scoop of Hot Mustard straight outta Johns Island, South Carolina.
Instrumentalist-producers Jack Powell and Nick Carusos have spent much of their 2020s scraping the must out of their jam sessions and bottling the best remain bits into a satisfying spread of retro funk-soul and golden-era hip-hop. Their crunchy, lyric-less high-contrast soundscapes and cinematic chord choices make for an especially transportive tang in Hot Mustard, who served their first full buffet in 2021 with Mother Sauce.
But just like a variety flight of increasingly spicy flavors, Hot Mustard is only destined to get hotter, right? For their fittingly-titled follow-up Seconds, Hot Mustard have taken the Until the Quiet Comes-era Flying Lotus route. By opening up their minimalist arrangements to new instruments and more collaborators (such as Antibalas trumpeter Jordan McLean and TV on the Radio trombonist “Smoota” Smith), Hot Mustard has incorporated plenty of new, pungent spices into the mix. Sure, there are fewer explicit references to condiment preferences in the song titles, but the trade-off is much more emotional songwriting over more complex structures.
“The End of Time” is a perfect example of that. Inspired by the passing of a beloved canine friend, the addition of singer Alanna Royale, albeit briefly, adds a ton of weight to an already gorgeous track. Bonus points for its music video, which continues Hot Mustard’s brilliantly absurd legacy of collage-based animated visuals. It’s sure to keep you sated ’til Seconds comes out on March 31st.
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