The Austin Chronicle

New Austin Music You Can Enjoy at Home

What we’re spending our time with

By Raoul Hernandez, Greg Stitt, Tim Stegall, Rachel Rascoe, and Derek Udensi, April 3, 2020, Music

Charley Crockett's Field Recordings, Vol. 1

Country breakout Charley Crockett celebrated his 36th birthday holed up in South Austin alongside his girlfriend and dog – and a new album, Field Recordings, Vol. 1. The digital release offers 30 lo-fi recordings of unreleased originals and deep-cut covers, captured over the past year at the farm of a compatriot in Northern California's idyllic Mendocino County.

"My buddy Kyle Madrigal and I went in on a 4-track recorder with the idea that he would set it up at his farm, and then whenever I came through town I would just go lay down whatever songs I could think of," says Crockett. "[They're] from my street stuff and folk tunes, stuff I wrote that might not necessarily be best for these studio albums. He recorded everything on an old CB radio microphone and old rotary telephone, then took the two of 'em and taped 'em together."

Profoundly prolific, Crockett also remains ever-eclectic. Last year's The Valley delivered desert-swept balladry on the heels of his latest platter covers under the Lil' G.L. persona, Blue Bananza. Now, Field Recordings offers yet another side to the ever-soulful troubadour, road-worn tunes as Dust Bowl as they are honky-tonk.

"I've been wanting to do a Smithsonian Folkways kind of thing, even separate from my little G.L. thing," he allows, noting he's hoping to eventually offer a vinyl release. "The timing right now was perfect, because ain't nobody doing shit, just sitting around. I felt like maybe the mood and the longing in those songs would be good timing for people right now. That informal nature of the songs, that sorta itinerant thing, it just sort of makes more sense than ever right now." – Doug Freeman

Ringo Deathstarr

Half a decade since their acclaimed fourth studio album Pure Mood thrust the effervescent "Guilt" onto alternative airwaves, Austin shoegazers Ringo Deathstarr return with a top-form eponymous platter. Vested at the altar of first-wave reverb vessels 4AD and Creation Records, 21st century collective Club AC30 carried the mantle into modern times with the local trio. Bassist Alex Gehring's vocals remain a crisp point of clarity as Elliott Frazier's weeping riffs tear through hazy rhythms backed by drummer Daniel Coborn. Available on compact disc with bonus material via Japanese imprint Vinyl Junkie since early February, the album now hits stateside on colored vinyl and immediate download. – Greg Stitt

Drakulas: Terminal Amusements

Surely Austin's coolest, most fashionable punk/New Wave vampires can withstand a pandemic? Drakulas drop new disc Terminal Amusements via Dine Alone Records, 12 bangin' examples of techno/pogo synthesis. Formed as a lark five years ago, they've overtaken parent bands Riverboat Gamblers and Rise Against. Conceptualized by lead freak Mike Wiebe, whose fingers tickle more pies than Mrs. Smith, Drakulas' Dolls-meets-Dickies-meets-Devo spazz punk populates a comic book metropolis fueled by porn, drugs, video games, and fictional art movements. Terminal Amusements is their best dispatch from that world yet. – Tim Stegall

Michael C. Sharp: Live Not a Low Life


"Just a handful of songs for going in no direction," says Sharp of his new five-track digital release, a meandering kosmische drone to soundtrack the ease and relaxation we should have in place of pinging off the walls with stress and anxiety. Cresting over the half-hour mark, the Sungod percussionist with a hardcore punk repertoire instills dreamlike New Age techniques throughout. Best approached with headphones and your choice of relaxation paraphernalia, think of it as a pay-what-you-want auditory isolation tank you can revisit at a moment's notice. – Greg Stitt

Margin Walker Show Bonds

Municipal bonds, corporate bonds, war bonds – choose your instrument of indebtedness. Rather than government-issued paper to finance military operations, one of Austin's leading concert promoters issued its own war on COVID-19's decimation of the arts and its homegrown infrastructure. "Word is bond" proclaims their ingenious campaign, "a new spin on the boring old gift card." As they explain: "Show Bonds work on any show, any time. When you see a show you wanna go to, simply shoot us an email with your bond number, and we'll get you all set up. Easy peasy. Buy now, go later!" – Raoul Hernandez

Kathy Valentine: All I Ever Wanted


Full disclosure: Originally, editing Go-Go's bassist, "Vacation" planner, and native Austinite Kathy Valentine's rock & roll memoir fell to yours truly. Then, UT Press dream-teamed the guitar-shredding bandleader of local pistons the Bluebonnets with Gianna LaMorte and the publisher's music overseer, Casey Kittrell. All I Ever Wanted thus reads like the audio book to the Go-Go's 1981 game changer, Beauty & the Beat, which spent six full weeks at No. 1 and remains the only chart-topper entirely written and recorded by a group made up entirely of women. Documenting not only the decade leading up to the music's DIY revolution locally, the ripping read blooms into full technicolor once Valentine moves to L.A. and replaces the GG's departing bassist. Sex, drugs, and you-know-what ensues. She got the beat.  – Raoul Hernandez

Austin Opera's "Live from Indy Terrace" Series

Facebook, YouTube

Add some opera to your long, stay-at-home afternoons. Every Friday at 3pm, Austin's headquarters for the fine artform now offers performances by prime talent, live-streamed from the group's Northside rehearsal space. According to CEO Annie Burridge, the 30-minute sets provide an opportunity to pay the knockout vocalists and pianists in this uncertain time. Also, following cancellation of their season due to the coronavirus, the organization announced that an upcoming production of Schubert's Winter Journey will be made available as a film in coming months. – Rachel Rascoe

Quin NFN: Quincho

Apple Music, SoundCloud, Spotify, YouTube

Northeast Austin ("Da 4") MC, Quinlan McAfee struts confidently still. Quincho, the recently turned 20-year-old's second project under the 10K Projects label, disseminates an overall sound ripe for positioning into a mainstream rap scene full of spirited younguns. Save for "All Blues," a catchy single that cross-breeds flutey synths and powerful drums, Quin unleashes fiery truths over banging beats for most of the EP's 22-minute run time. Several songs fade out with chuckling and mumbled, freestyled couplets as if to demonstrate how easy it's all becoming for him. Á la video game NBA Jam, he's heating up. So much so, in fact, that on Monday XXL Magazine released "voting" candidates for the 10th spot on this year's Freshman List and Quin's an option. – Derek Udensi

Shinyribs' "Stay Home"

Bandcamp, SoundCloud, YouTube

Cantina bleer horns, spilled-beer bassline, hammock tempo: Shinyribs' new single evokes no less than the sacred Don't Mess With Texas slogan for universal message of the moment. "Do not ramble, do not roam, go nowhere, see no one," grins a solo Kevin Russell with a steely glint in his eye before the chorale command. "I did it during this shutdown and Mayor Adler shared it," emailed the shiny beast himself. "I wrote it as a kind of PSA after seeing clearly that a third of the people didn't seem to be understanding the message to stay the fuck home!" – Raoul Hernandez

Yallsayer, "All Drugged Up & Nowhere to Go"

Bandcamp, Facebook, Instagram (@dirtcurtin), YouTube

Even in the best of circumstances, Kevin Curtin's a bit ... feral, shall we say. Judging from the $3 YouTube video that appears to have taken place in the barn out back of his shack, boy's gone full-on Hunter Thompson out there. Working again with Bastrop genie Jonas Wilson (Midnight Stroll), the Chronicle music muckraker (Cunto!) serves up a quarantine-themed roots bouncer – as in bouncing off the walls: "I just got out of jail and I'm all alone," he grouses as Wilson taps outhouse ivories, "smoking cigarettes and staring at the phone. My blood is pumping and my eyes are blown, I'm all drugged up and all alone." – Raoul Hernandez

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