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2020 finalist Jose Angel Torres from Roma, Texas

The 14th Annual Big Squeeze Accordion Contest, Friday 1, 3-4pm

"Preserving and presenting the diverse cultures and living heritage of the Lone Star State" since 1984, Austin nonprofit Texas Folklife managed a feat perhaps unique to the live music capital: taking the accordion from polka novelty to the third most important instrument in our republic behind guitar and fiddle. And yes, ATX retains its famed tourism moniker, because homegrown livestreams prove our musical populace continues making in-the-moment sounds despite the absence of a corporeal audience in the same room.

Relocating from the Bullock Texas State History Museum to Facebook, the Big Squeeze Contest now does its part to maintain Austin's sovereign performance designation. Concluding live contests and submissions from youths statewide since February, Friday's virtual event unveils three grand champions from 15 finalists and special online sets from 2019's winners, plus a surprise guest duet. The joy and energy generated by the rousing annual convergence surely translates to any medium musicians of tomorrow can join.

"Though one or two young people did not submit video entries because they really wanted to do the live audition, we had a great reaction to the call for video submissions from areas that had live auditions canceled," writes in BSC Program Director Sarah Rucker. "The gratitude and interest in the program moving to an online format was abundant. The contestants are invested and some are looking to the Big Squeeze to help them in their future career as a musician. And the contestants' families are key due to their unwavering support.

"What is special about the Big Squeeze that can't always be expressed in a concert is the community that has grown around the love of the accordion. Though we can't celebrate in person, people are rooting for their favorite contestant and cheering on the others equally. It's the behind the scenes impromptu jams, friendships, and moments shared that keep these traditions alive and well." – Raoul Hernandez

SXSW Music Films

A grab bag of films meant to air at South by Southwest stream free now through May 6 on Amazon Prime Video, no subscription required. On the music front, documentary My Darling Vivian unearths the largely misunderstood story of Johnny Cash's first wife Vivian Liberto, whom he met at a roller rink in San Antonio. French drama Le Choc du Futur offers "an ode to the female pioneers of electronic music" by following a struggling, late-Seventies producer. Marc Collin of Nouvelle Vague directs. And follow an astounding effort to reassemble hundreds of broken instruments for the Philadelphia public school system via documentary short "Broken Orchestra."  – Rachel Rascoe

My Texas Tailgate

Texas Longhorns Facebook & YouTube channels, Friday 1, 6pm

Forty Acres Fest canceled at the end of March, but Longhorn City Limits now gallops to the rescue. Airing online Friday, 6pm, "At Home" necessarily translates to BYOB, but UT brings the musical talent – 90 minutes worth – as befits the other ruling civic interest in Austin. Artists scheduled to perform include: Alesia Lani, Bidi Bidi Banda, Blackillac, Cory Morrow, Django Walker, Gina Chavez, Hayes Carll, Jack Ingram, Jackie Venson, Jane Ellen Bryant, Jimmie Vaughan, Mobley, Ray Benson, Rob Baird, Tameca Jones, Van Wilks, Willy Braun (Reckless Kelly), and more. The music segment constitutes one facet of My Texas Tailgate, an all-day content outlay featuring "insight into the lives of coaches, current and former student-athletes, Texas traditions and members of Longhorn Nation across the country." Hook 'em, obviously! – Raoul Hernandez

BoomBaptist NBA Jam

Bandcamp, SoundCloud, Spotify

Avid basketball aficionado Andrew Thaggard drops a stimulus package of nostalgia for sports fans. As BoomBaptist of rhythm and funk group Vapor Caves, the Austin producer pays homage to canonized 1993 arcade game NBA Jam on Boom Shakalaka. The former vending business operator revisits his childhood on a debut album 10 years in the works. Soundbites of NBA Jam commentator Tim Kitzrow tie the 11-song, 30-minute instrumental tape together, its array of samples from the revered Midway title and sounds plucked from EDM and hip-hop all laying up. BoomBaptist's newest solo outing creates a winning scheme. – Derek Udensi

Hargis Hubbard Wolfson

Apple Music, Bandcamp, iHeartRadio

Best Photographer at the Austin Music Awards in March, Todd Wolfson here produces his first honest effort of jazz/ambient meditation with co-conspirators Sarah Jane Hargis (flutes, electronics) and Matt Hubbard (Rhodes/Moog). Unlike much of Brian Eno's pioneering work in the ambient subgenre, Improvisation One isn't necessarily bent on transforming environments. Instead, the album's intent on morphing with the surroundings. "Amaryllis" sets the tone, lush and evocative, and before you know it, you've reached grand penultimate track "Fritillaria," 46 minutes of Wolfson's unexpected alchemy swirling between your ears. – Kahron Spearman

Julian Neel

Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify

This Austin songwriter maintained years of engrossing performances around town with just three recorded songs and widespread contribution to local troupes. Call the Mountain finally wrangles the full breadth of the singer's peaceful, folk-inflected output. Clever turns of composition ground eight warm tracks by an A-team of thoughtful instrumentalists under the Lubbock native's lead, including Dailey Toliver (Molly Burch) on guitar, cellist Nino Soberon (Blood), and Thor Harris on congas. The well-balanced orchestral ambience starts on a high note with "Diverse City." – Rachel Rascoe

Mélat's Happy Hour

Apple Music, iHeartRadio, Spotify

"Happy Hour" finds local songstress Mélat Kassa simultaneously commiserating about distance and love at a distance over jazzy production by gifted co-conspirator Pha. A trumpet out of late-Seventies Herb Alpert accentuates the latter's limber, breezy goings-on. The singer's vocals, meanwhile, sit center stage as sultry as ever and carrying a noticeable weightiness. "I had this thought of happy hour: I miss it, yet it seems like we're doing it online as often as possible to keep ourselves sane," she proffers regarding the song's top-layer influence. "But I found something deeper in those conversations – a connection of love even when we're apart."  – Kahron Spearman

El Tule Cinco de Mayo

Seventies Santana, Eighties Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Nineties Ozomatli, Aughties Brownout: Layer decades of Latin rock and Austin's El Tule stacks up a fierce modern catalog. Dropping on Tuesday, May 5, new 45 "Mil Mascaras" (1,000 Masks) b/w Ray Barretto's "Acid" coincides with a now faceless globe, but its timeless percussive strut and rhythmic slink draws from a happier source. Mexican luchador Rodolfo Guzmán, better known as El Santo (the Santo), fought cinematic horror/injustice in films including greatest hit and El Tule inspiration here The Mummies of Guanajuato, which co-stars Mil Máscaras himself, Aarón Arellano. Growing up in Seventies Monterrey, Mexico, song author and group shredder John Dell writes, "It won't be out in 8-track anytime soon, but look for it on all digital platforms."  – Raoul Hernandez

Jonathan Tyler

JT hasn't released new music since trading in his major label Southern rock outfit the Northern Lights for 2015's solo debut Holy Smokes, but new single "Underground Forever" b/w "Hustlin'" strikes timely. In the A-side's video, directed with Justin Spence and Tyler's partner Nikki Lane, the songwriter wanders Austin's empty streets and boarded-up buildings dressed as Uncle Sam. The larger conceit emphasizes the gritty vox rocker's triumphant return when he bikes into the country to unearth a mysterious box. "Gotta get back to real life/ Gotta get back to where we're feelin' good." It mirrors his own trajectory out of Dallas to homesteading on Sam's Town Point acreage, and maybe rediscovering himself in the process. – Doug Freeman

Art Acevedo


"Wake up to the world you're in," shouts Ismael Archbold through dissonant squeals from saxist Mark Tonucci, kickstarting local no wave post-punk quartet Art Acevedo's long delayed studio debut Flow My Tears. "Good Morning, Austin!" initiates the improvised 10-track session recorded over five years ago with engineer Evan Kleinecke, once planned for a vinyl release through the Super Secret imprint. Flush with the measured riffing of bassist David Petro and Rhett Hubertus' thunderous skin hammering, the band forgoes label backing to self-release a revelatory, if expectedly nihilist platter seething with artful aggression. Comprising four of the best DIY players to hit Red River, the onetime Beerland staple offers this and a selection of older live recordings on a name-your-price basis. – Greg Stitt

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