For some 30 years now, California-raised hip-hop crate digger and producer Josh Davis has conducted business as DJ Shadow, perhaps ground zero of mainstream turntable culture. Even so, he remains remarkably unpretentious about what keeps him motivated: “Other people’s music.”
“I became a DJ just to share the music with people, try to get them to redirect their focus and understanding about what rap music was,” explains Davis, 45, about how his hometown’s lack of attention to hip-hop informed his career choice.
Shortly after our interview, Davis surprise released an explosive new four-track EP, The Mountain Has Fallen, which features rap icon Nas, eclectic MC Danny Brown, and Oscar-winning composer Steven Price (Baby Driver, Gravity). The tracks serve as a rejoinder to his 2016 full-length, The Mountain Will Fall, an innovative and adventurous turn sure to test those (still and annoyingly) clamoring for a return to classic 1996 debut Endtroducing. As a maker of hip-hop with his left-field electronics, Davis carries plenty of opinions about the current era.
“One of the things that bothers me as a fan and as a music lover is so many of the beats that I listen to, or try to play in my sets, tend to have a formula where it’s intro, build, drop, build, drop, outro,” says Davis. “It’s almost like they had a minute and 20 seconds of really cool ideas, duplicated it, and then just let it ride out. You can tell that’s very much a product of the era that we’re in – short attention span, bang it out.
“Whether people are listening to my music on cassette, or CD, or streaming, or vinyl, I approach my music the same, which is like that of all of my heroes in music, people I imagined sitting in a studio, not distracted, but fully engaged with the art that they were creating.
“That’s the impression I want people to have when they listen to my music.”– Kahron Spearman
After flirting with mainstream success on 1991’s Girlfriend and 1995’s 100% Fun, Nebraskan Sweet expanded astride latter-day releases that include a series of compelling covers albums with Bangle Susanna Hoffs. Tomorrow Forever, Sweet’s first solo LP since 2011, traffics in metaphysical themes while maintaining big jangle. Tommy Keene’s 1986 brass-ring grab, Songs From the Film, didn’t make him a household name, but the Maryland native has delivered cultish power-pop ever since.– Greg Beets
UT student frequency KVRX 91.7 mish-mashes genre. Live, that commingles Austin trio Honey & Salt’s obsessive math rock and philosophical narratives; Basketball Shorts’ beloved, combustive garage rock and pop hooks; and Denton’s Dome Dwellers skewing avant-garde on off-kilter rock pushed forward by rapid, technical guitars and stop-start melodies.– Libby Webster
Take two parts of country stringers Weary Boys and one part of soul punks Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, and beat at high volume – serve raw and messy. Side effort trio of Lewis and Mario Matteoli returns after last year’s roasting single “It’s a Sin.” Cosmic Americana troubadours the Lonesome Heroes prove they Can’t Stand Still, but roll back home to headline with new tunes and harmony-rich sounds.– Doug Freeman
Flatlander son of the circus.
Fifth annual Barton Creek live series slots in red dirt rocker third out of five in the front of the Texas Hill Country.
New millennial ATX outlaws.
R&B queen Tameca Jones and psych-soul rockers Los Coast on the patio, 6-9pm.