This Week in Texas Music History, Sincola helps establish the 90’s scene with their first performance.
by Jason Mellard / Center for Texas Music History at Texas State
On January 27, 1993, Sincola played their first show at the Texas Tavern in the student union at the University of Texas. By March that year, the Austin Chronicle would tag them as one of the “most notable Austin underground bands,” a “scrappy quintet that teeters between divine chaos and sublime pop perfection.” One year later, they won the Chronicle’s first best alternative and punk award, and a SXSW appearance earned them a contract with Caroline Records. Sincola, consisting of Rebecca Cannon, Terri Lord, Kris Patterson, Chepo Peña, and Greg Wilson, gave a Texas accent to the genre some took to calling “alternative,” combining pop hooks with experimental aesthetics, and strong influences from the cult favorite Pixies to the chart-topping Go-Gos.
Austin bands drove the city’s creative spirit and rising national profile in the decade of Linklater’s film Slacker, of SXSW taking center stage, and an optimism around Austin’s tech economy. Sincola was one band in a community of artists expanding the scene’s reputation beyond being a blues and Americana mecca. The spotlight was a bit ironic given that the underground, party-fueled avant-garde that had been bubbling up for years in the city’s clubs often expressed ambivalence about such attention. But the scene again has reason to shine, as a new book by Greg Beets and Richard Whymark titled A Curious Mix of People collects the stories of Austin’s 90s scenein participants’ own voices, a project born from the documentary work of Sincola’s own Chepo Peña.
It is a valuable history of the venues (Emo’s, Liberty Lunch), institutions (the record store Sound Exchange, the label Trance Syndicate) and artists (Sincola, Sixteen Deluxe, Spoon) that sustained Austin’s music scene at a crucial moment in its history.
To learn more about A Curious Mix of People and the 90’s Austin underground scene, check out our My KUTX issue with Greg Beets and Richard Whymark!
Greg Beets and Richard Whymark, A Curious Mix of People: The Underground Scene of ‘90s Austin. Austin: University of Texas Press,2023.
Austin Powell and Doug Freeman, eds. The Austin Chronicle Music Anthology. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2011.