New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
What we’re listening to
By Carys Anderson, Derek Udensi, Michael Toland, Raoul Hernandez, Doug Freeman, and Kevin Curtin, Fri., July 2, 2021
Prom Threat: Spit Ball
Anna Sawyer distrusts authority, disrupts class time, and disobeys gender roles as the singer of Prom Threat, a crash course in punk rock disorder. Along with bassist MJ Domingos and drummer Ran Wilson, the local power trio delivers bare-boned riffage and sneering social commentary on debut long-player Spit Ball, out July 3 via Digital Hotdogs. Seven songs resound in and out of 22 minutes, bass strings audibly vibrating and primal drums thumping.
Dancing guitar lines and riot grrrl-inspired lyrics make Sleater-Kinney the obvious inspiration: "I'm not enough of a dutiful daughter/ I'm not enough of a happy shit eater/ I'm not enough of sweet, loving girlfriend/ I'm not enough of a hardworking girl." Yet while the Austin frontwoman evokes a Corin Tucker caterwaul, she also holds her own, dropping from an impassioned warble to a slacker's chuckle at a moment's notice.
Closer "Waco" reflects this taunting immaturity best, as the singer lampoons straight-edge neighbors: "Replace all 'fucks' and 'shits' with/ 'Awww, doggone it,'" she drawls. Later, more advice: "Throw out your Fireballs/ Better bring your Topo Chico!" Fast, funny, and a little mean, Spit Ball sticks good and hard like a punk record should. – Carys Anderson
Lil' Keke, J Soulja, Teddythelegacy
Antone's, Friday 2
Old-school teams with new-school for an explosive Fourth of July weekend at Antone's in celebration of the club's 46th anniversary. Certified trill Houstonian Lil' Keke represents the city responsible for the chopped and screwed paradigm, while indefatigable rapper J Soulja continues to showcase why he remains one of Austin hip-hop's most significant figures. Keke rose to prominence as a member of the DJ Screw-led, Avengers-esque rap collective Screwed Up Click (Lil' Flip, Trae the Truth, UGK). Soulja runs 4Life4Ever Entertainment and hosts two other notable events this week: his biweekly open mic showcase The Pre-Roll on July 6 at Flamingo Cantina and the Teeta's return to live performing on July 8 at Empire Control Room. Teddythelegacy of wavy local rap collective Alumnii (Cedd Boss) rounds out the proceedings. – Derek Udensi
Heavy Can Drive With Sabbath Crow, Amplified Heat, Pleasure Tide, Cunto!
Sagebrush, Sunday 4
Holidays remain good days to think about those less fortunate, as South Congress venue Sagebrush reminds us with the Heavy Can Drive. Five bucks and a can of food for the Central Texas Food Bank get you in the door for a lineup of Austin's best and boisterous, topped off with wild & wooly Southern hillbilly metalheads Sabbath Crow, still riding high on most recent ripper Carrion Highway Weird Sun. ATX's heaviest blues rock trio Amplified Heat makes an increasingly rare but rockin' appearance, as does Black Eyed Vermillion leader Gary Lindsey's other band, Pleasure Tide. Kings of folk punk irreverence Cunto! (featuring the Chron's own Kevin Curtin bangin' the mando); electro-psych duo Glass Shadows; noise punks USS Battleship; and eclectic rockers Still the Bread, fronted by Sagebrush/White Horse co-owner Denis O'Donnell, join the free-for-all. – Michael Toland
Pure Colombian Roots Music
One-2-One Bar, Monday 5
Since bassist César Valencia is out of town next week, folkloric post-punks Nemegata take a Monday off from their ongoing One-2-One residency, but frontman Victor-Andres Cruz subs in with an all-star surprise. The ATX trio's shamanistic singer/guitarist, whose spellbinding stream of consciousness leads the group, instead hosts three newly relocated members of 80-year-old Colombian cumbia traditionalists Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto, plus Edwin "El Indio" Hernandez from the band of South American hero Totó la Momposina, aka Colombian oracle Sonia Bazanta Vides. "We'll be playing pure Colombian roots music," texted Cruz on Monday, "a one-of-a-kind for Austin." Given Nemegata's unequaled ability to conjure the ghosts and gods of an entire people, we take him at his palabra. – Raoul Hernandez
Remembering James Hand
Sagebrush, Wednesday 7
"When I say I sing because I got to, it's not because somebody's got a gun pointed at my head. It's 'cause that's what God put in me, and I think it would be a terrible waste if, even in my death, something didn't happen to some of my songs." So opined James Hand to Chronicle scribe Chris Gray in a devastatingly unvarnished interview in 2000. Hand's brand of evocative honky-tonk never broke beyond the juke hall circuit, but by the time of his death last year, the Waco troubadour's raw ballads and emotional Hank Williams twang had influenced an entire generation of artists across Texas (see Charley Crockett's recent 10 for Slim LP). Hand's regular backing handlers Beth Chrisman, Speedy Sparks, John McGlothlin, and Chris McElrath reunite with various fronting guests to pay tribute to the legend and his uniquely lonesome sound. – Doug Freeman
Austin City Limits Taping: Billy Strings
ACL Live at the Moody Theater, Wednesday 7
Not that rust ever slowed his preternaturally fast fingers, but Billy Strings stayed as active as any artist throughout the pandemic, playing a relentless schedule of livestreams, socially distanced concerts, and television appearances. More than a generational guitar wonder offering a roller coaster of high-velocity flatpicking and jammy sensibilities, the 28-year-old Nashville-based singer/guitarist keeps coming on as a songwriter. That's why his album Home won Best Bluegrass Album at the most recent Grammys. Strings returns to ACL Live, where he cut a specular livestream in March, for a taping of PBS mainstay Austin City Limits. Visit acltv.com for information on ticket giveaways, or stream it live on the show's YouTube channel. – Kevin Curtin
Mike Sailors & the Parker Jazz Hot Five
Parker Jazz Club, Wednesday 7
Ask nearly any jazz musician in town who they're most excited to hear or play with, and the answer is almost always Mike Sailors. The 2010 UT-Austin graduate spent several years in New York, playing with the Mingus Jazz Orchestra, the Christian McBride Big Band, and other large ensembles, as well as dates with everyone from Jon Hendricks and McCoy Tyner to Dale Watson and Willie Nelson. There's also his work on Broadway in shows like Be More Chill and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and featured solo appearances with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra, and more. Since rejoining his alma mater as leader of the Butler School of Music's Jazz Trumpet Studio, he splits his time between Austin and NYC, though considering his busy gig schedule around town, it doesn't seem like he has much time for the latter. One of those gigs is a semiregular Wednesday slot at Parker Jazz Club, where he'll be joined by the house band for a program of Louis Armstrong tunes. Few young trumpeters demonstrate an affinity for pre-hard bop jazz like Sailors, so expect a performance as hot as Satchmo's original Hot Fives and Sevens. – Michael Toland
C-Boys Heart & Soul, Thursday 8
Jim Campo spent the last month of Wednesdays packing the Hole in the Wall's front room with his rowdy outfit, Magic Rockers of Texas. Spencer Garland, meanwhile, continues gigging locally with his delightful ensemble PR Newman, while also playing with Matthew Logan Vasquez. Now the spirits summon the two singers and multi-instrumentalists back together in cult-favorite crew Berkshire Hounds, also including drummer Jordan Cook and bassist Z Lynch. Known in part for their genius work as the backing band at the Austin Music Industry Awards, the Hounds mark their post-pandemic return with a July residency at C-Boy's alongside R&B groovers Motenko. Listen for Campo's sexily crooned 2019 single, "Let Me Be Your Sherpa Tonight." – Kevin Curtin
Thoweda Rosas, "Water" Remix "Agua"
Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube
Southeast Austin rapper Thoweda Rosas returns to his homestate to link up with "El Terror de Tejas," Bo Bundy. Rosas and Bundy combine to update the former's April single "Water." The Mexican American MC employs a Migos-style flow and minimalist chorus over a simple beat capturing the essence of water idly dropping down a window pane. Don't listen to "Agua" when thirsty, since Rosas repeats the word nearly 30 times during a chorus containing ad-libs shouting out various Latin countries. He retains his first verse from the original version of "Water," but bilingual trap artist Bundy, of Houston, drops a nearly all-Spanish verse in the "Agua" remix. No matter the language, the two artists make one sentiment clear: Don't be a drip – splash! – Derek Udensi
Sam Pace & the Gilded Grit
Following three LPs over the past decade, Sam Pace reintroduces himself with an eponymous, seven-song EP that shows the local guitar grinder elevating to the next level. Always impressive, Pace's axe work flexes here with power beyond just his roots rock base, while his low, gravel-crunched moans dig deep into the crevices of the groove. Opener "Gone Gone Gone" sparks Santana licks into low-down blues, and the road-dogging "Made It All the Way to San Francisco" burns slow and dark. The pace picks up through the heart of the EP behind the furious boil of "Show Me the Flame" and immaculately funky warp of "Poblano Gelato" and "What Matters Most." The grit is gilded, but underneath lies a thick gold vein. – Doug Freeman
Jane Leo, "Tell Me (I'm on Your Mind)"
The first single from the powerhouse duo of Jane Ellen Bryant and Daniel Leopold glimpses a remarkable collaboration brewing between the couple. Her suave Americana pop and the Leopold & His Fiction frontman's ripping Detroit rock don't seem an obvious blend, but together the two locals spin a beat-backed, harmony-enriched noir as intoxicating as it is intimidating. The video, directed and edited by Gille Klabin, serves up a moody, twisted lover's drama, suspense and dread dripping through creaking floorboards and Southern swamps. While it bodes ominous for their relationship, the song bursts with promise for the musical partnership, new territory for both artists aided by the production of Danny Reisch. Jane Leo, already a strong contender for this year's best new Austin act. – Doug Freeman
Young Clean: Migo
Apple Music, Spotify
Young Clean aka "YC" rolls through the local's Montopolis neighborhood in a tricked-out slab on May extended play Migo, which follows up his December EP Dat Meskin Down Souf. The Mexican American rapper packages a mixture of hard-hitting, swift flows on this eight-track drop executively produced by exquisite Bastrop MC Deezie Brown. Forthright opener "Lowrider Magazine Bad" manages to squeeze in references to McDonald's perennially faulty ice cream machines, Carole Baskin of oft-memed Netflix crime docuseries Tiger King, and NBA player Lonzo Ball. "Passenger Side," first released in 2019, employs a heavily Auto-Tuned, distorted chorus to pay homage to a special someone sitting alongside him on a vibe-filled ride. For his part, Brown also delivers two distinctly different features. On "Hate," he declares his countywide notoriety while bouncing inside a Lincoln lowrider. EC Mayne completes the Bastrop County get-together with a verse on "Actinbad Hardhittas 2." – Derek Udensi