With a decade of music behind them, and after signing to Texas-based label Lucky Hound Music, Austin-bred sister trio the Tiarras announced their simplified new name last year. Previously making waves as the Tiarra Girls, the Baltierras brought home Austin Music Awards for Best Performing Band Under 18 three years in a row. Of their genre-merging pop-rock singles, a July cover feature in the Chronicle recapped: “Wasting no time, catchy bongo rhythms elevated yet another caterwauling guitar solo on ‘They Don't See Us’ in March 2022. Lamentations of unrealistic beauty standards and feeling invisible on the track echoed the empowerment of 2021's ‘Soy Chingona’ [...] Then, October followed up with syncopated fretwork and choral harmonies in ‘Cumbia en el Cielo.’”
After tearing up the stage at Austin Psych Fest in April, psychedelic cumbia troupe El Combo Oscuro returns to the Far Out stage with prime 2023 tracks “Despegue” and “Sol Y Tierra.” The sixpiece has been nominated twice for Best Latin in the Austin Music Awards. Recommending their 2022 EP Cumbia Capital, the Chronicle wrote: “‘El Camino’ paves a percussive rumpus like cantina utensils come to life, while the title cut pumps another gang vocal led by El Tule capitán John Dell. Centerpiece ‘El Ventarron’ uncoils a rattlesnake tweaker. Keyboard whirlpool Mauro Lopez (Los Sundowns) enacts a psychedelic hypnosis straight out of a Mayan mushroom ritual.”
Inspired by the music of Seventies and Eighties Jamaica, Austin quartet Lion Heights cultivates self-described “conscious roots reggae.” In April, the Austin Reggae Fest regulars released their first full-length LP since 2017, False Reality, followed by 2023 singles “Herbsman” and “Love Marijuana.” After torrential rains canceled plans for a Chronicle 4/20 party, Lion Heights hit the Hot Sauce Fest stage. Later, the group’s September “Coasting Tour” of Florida cities wraps at their Austin home base, Flamingo Cantina.
McPullish, local dub connoisseur, packs collaborations with noted vocalists General Smiley and Tippa Irie alongside production for Texas favorites El Tule and Brownout. He returns to Hot Sauce Fest DJ duties as the co-founder of boutique bottling operation Goodburn Sauce Co. On 2020 Lone Wolf McDub, the Chronicle noted "superior drum sound and enchanting leads like the cinematic melodica on 'High and Lonesome.'" Keep up with the local polymath on his own Charlie's Records.