KGSR Broadcasts Vol. 24
Broadcasts Vol. 24 (93.3 KGSR Radio Austin)
Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., Nov. 25, 2016
Digital diaspora driving consensus into extinction alongside most major record labels, KGSR's once branding "sound of our town" slogan becomes harder and harder to define as the new millennium rockets by. Younger but ancient of soul, folk-based yet beat driven, keening and intimate concurrently, the station's sound of 2016 splays seeds of tomorrow over 33 tracks on two discs clocking more than your average 120 minutes. Andra Day's stilling opener, just voice and piano – most of this nü pop strips down to the bare necessities, which somehow lends Broadcasts Vol. 24 a pleasing non-secularity – would catch even Adele's breath. At ACL Fest last month, that same Cassandra Batie of San Diego evoked Billie, Ella, Nina, but here she's pure "Set Fire to the Rain." Feminine wiles abound (Samantha Gongol of Philly duo Marian Hill, London's Ellie Rowsell in Wolf Alice), but the boys retain a majority as led by City & Colour's Dallas Green demonstrating his own high golden cry as accompanied by guitar and now a Canadian Jeff Buckley signpost on "Lover Come Back." A Southern Dylan-esque lilting Charlie Mars' "Benji" is bested only by the Avett Brothers' still pitch perfect reupholstering of Appalachia. Strumbellas fail at the same, but who needs a Civil Wars when there's the Oh Hellos? Mañana's Guy Clark brigade (Jason Isbell, Robert Ellis, Austin's Hayes Carll) rides shotgun, though it's legitimate vox populi ringing the biggest bells: a violin-aping Wes Miles of Ra Ra Riot vs. the emphatic, slightly unhinged percussive vocal clang of UK sensation Jack Garratt. Shakey Graves' distorted busker walk-off bookends the collection as throaty as Andra Day, and while there's plenty of "who?" moments (Lukas Graham, Vance Joy, Matt Simons, George Ezra), discoveries rack up Declan McKenna, a 17-year-old Brit with a spot of Declan McManus. In other corners, international indie (Frightened Rabbit) meets domestic DIY (Jr. Jr.), and the two sync beautifully. Scandinavians duke it out between the peculiar stiltedness of Norwegians, in this case 20-year-old Aurora, and the crystalline fjord folk of Børns (okay, Michigan's Garrett Borns). The decidedly un-FCC-friendly gospelese of Nathaniel Rateliff's "S.O.B." nails another vocal peak. More kinetic fuzz busters like White Denim's "Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah)" could've been employed, but when that closes the first disc and the second begins with former Denim anchor Josh Block banging Leon Bridges through "Smooth Sailin'," Broadcasts Vol. 24 bottles Austin's freckled urban soul.