Recommended Shows Worth Your Musical Bandwidth This Week
Lomelda, Katy Kirby, and Christine Renner lead the live pack
By Raoul Hernandez, Rachel Rascoe, Kevin Curtin, Morgan-Taylor Thomas, Michael Toland, and Doug Freeman, Fri., July 16, 2021
Album Release Signing: May the Circle Remain Unbroken – A Tribute to Roky Erickson (Light in the Attic)
Waterloo Records, Sunday 18, 4-6pm
A free afterparty continues at the Little Darlin' in South Austin, where tribute producer Bill Bentley's Austin institution the Bizarros play 7-8pm alongside Freddie Steady & Friends (8-9) and Coltern Cerny (9-10)
Following up a landmark album remains an existential quandary of the music business since Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877. Modify the predecessor's blueprint or reinvent the Victrola? And what if the work in question is a tribute platter from 1990, Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye, 22 ripe and juicy covers plucked off the Roky Erickson/13th Floor Elevators vine and released on Halloween, including once-in-a-lifetime copyright borrows by ZZ Top, Butthole Surfers, R.E.M., Jesus & Mary Chain, Sister Double Happiness (Gary Floyd), and more?
In the case of May the Circle Remain Unbroken: A Tribute to Roky Erickson, you revisit the source with an LP that spins like a bonus disc to the original.
Last time, women proved scant in the boys club, Austin's Lou Ann Barton standing out for her serrated "Don't Slander Me" more so than her running with the aforementioned faction, and Ann Magnuson casting a deep, deep spell on "You Don't Love Me Yet." Here, she-wolves rule the roost. Neko Case unleashes her clarion cry on a largely a cappella national anthem to heart and hearth ("Be and Bring Me Home"), while country queen Margo Price continues rockin' and rollin' like a one-woman Fleetwood Mac with a nasally, slide-searing hurt on Erickson's own Hound of the Baskervilles, "Red Temple Prayer (Two-Headed Dog)."
Meanwhile, ever since Lucinda Williams donned the doctoratelike gravitas of a Southern Gothic pastor, she can sing no wrong, so her muscled, propulsive statement of universal truth – "you're gonna miss me, baby, when I'm gone" – sounds and resounds with reverberating inevitability on "You're Gonna Miss Me." Not to be outdone, Chelsea Wolfe follows in the ample footsteps of John Wesley Harding's lithe "If You Have Ghosts" on Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye by pivoting from her predecessor's loping pop kernel with a near moan that bristles with sensual tension amidst digital cicadas. When she intones, "I don't want my fangs too long," fan boys and girls will turn bright red.
Men with guitars do their damndest to keep pace.
Returning for another go-round of reinventing his mentor and friend, Billy Gibbons crunches "(I've Got) Levitation" like an ampule of amyl nitrate, complete with ZZ Top's primary throat double-tracked alongside electric jug burbles at an Eliminator, "Got Me Under Pressure" tempo. Under three minutes, the drugs kick in immediately and it's off to la-la land: 13th Floor dimension between precognition and X-ray specs. Ty Segall transforms "Night of the Vampire" into a John Carpenter creature feature, its synth-buzzing Eighties video game alight – Space Invaders meets Genghis Tron. Beatlesque introspection from Jeff Tweedy on "For You (I'd Do Anything)" recalls Wilco backing Daniel Johnston, another sadly deplaned ATX musical savant.
The Black Angels, Gary Clark Jr. & Eve Monsees, Alison Mosshart & Charlie Sexton, and more abound on May the Circle Remain Unbroken. Folk noir jangle by Lynn Castle & Mark Lanegan for "Clear Night for Love," the title track to a 1985 French EP also yielding "You Don't Love Me Yet," "Starry Eyes," and "Don't Slander Me," even echoes producer/conceptualist Bill Bentley's original successor to his passion project Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye, otherworldly 1999 memorial More Oar: A Tribute to the Skip Spence Album. As the duo entwines astride a mandolin porch warbler of organic fiber, they transform the corporeal into the ethereal like Roky Erickson himself. – Raoul Hernandez
Lomelda, Claire Puckett
Captain Quackenbush's, Friday 16
Hannah Read returned to her Texas hometown of Silsbee last fall after a spell in Los Angeles where the cult indie folk figure also known as Lomelda told Texas Monthly she "was an outsider." The homecoming followed transformative 2020 LP Hannah, a master class in Read's simultaneous mesmerizing musical breadth and cozy yet emotionally bristling songcraft. She settles into Austin with a debut performance, joining local artisan Claire Puckett (Mother Falcon, Hikes) for a return to the stage. On the latter's May EP Dust, an intense, classically influenced guitar core plunges delicate folk melodies to ghostly depths. – Rachel Rascoe
Ben Buck Belated Birthday Bash
Empire Control Room, Friday 16
There oughta be a part of this show where Ben Buck blows out 24 candles on a cake while beatboxing. The Austin-born rapper, beatmaker, and human drum machine – known for his rhythmic vocal prosody, clever puns, and rowdy attitude – boasts a typically relentless 2021, issuing mouthwatering instrumental hip-hop LP Whatabanger, a spate of digital singles, and a must-see collaboration with hard-grooving horn section Big Wy's Brass Band filmed in his family business, Antone's Record Shop. Friday's belated soirée doubles as a release show for Aux Cutter, Buck's group with veteran producer Kevin Naquin and in-your-face rapper Nate Thee Great. Joining the ruckus are Chicago duo the Palmer Squares, who go heavy on the crafty wordplay, and insightful Denton rapper/beatmaker Pudge. – Kevin Curtin
Christine Renner Album Release: Heartbreaker
Empire Control Room, Saturday 17
What Olivia Rodrigo hoped to create with Sour, Christine Renner executed by landing emotional whirlwind Heartbreaker on the best post-breakup albums list. Light and in good spirits, opener "In Love With Love" explores the honeymoon phase of hopeless devotion and charisma written by a cascading upbeat drum and guitar echo. Title track "Heartbreaker" bounces blame between lovers with a heavy bass as Renner states, "Didn't I tell you I'm a heartbreaker/ Don't forget I'm a damn good lover." Blondie-esque riffs take over "Sweet," while "Young Girl" runs on deep chords and jazz. Mental health and self reflection homage "Drown" finishes the retro-vibed montage with pure punch and heartache. – Morgan-Taylor Thomas
Kalu & Electric Joint, Danilo EP Release
Far Out Lounge, Saturday 17
Kalu James approached artistic metamorphosis before the pandemic, but his quintet's late June appearance at a sold-out Continental Club evidenced new performance heights. The Nigerian-rooted singer, who'd already delegated rhythm guitar duties, possesses powerful frontman moves to complement his inspirational presence. Recent singles "Downfall," about love conquering all, and "Mirror," about how we see ourselves in our saviors, hit potently. Meanwhile, Brazilian-born local Danilo, owner of a sweet and soaring voice, christens his All I Want EP with enchanting melodic pop. Fresh off a rambunctious guest spot during Matthew Logan Vasquez's hit parade at Hotel Vegas last Saturday, Austin songwriting sage David Ramirez commands the mic second, after his frequent collaborator and in-demand producer Jason Burt, performing again after the headliner as Electrophunck. – Kevin Curtin
The Dead Space, Borzoi
The Parlor, Saturday 17
Quin Galavis went through some shit even before the pandemic hit, as explored in solo albums including 2019's Victim/Nonvictim. That didn't make the resurrection of his hibernating post-punk trio the Dead Space any less of a surprise. Seven years delayed, second full-length Chlorine Sleep spotlights the local trio's tension-soaked chemistry. Which makes this show with Borzoi at esteemed punk pizza joint the Parlor a smart pairing. The local noise rockers, who share rostership on 12XU with Galavis' crew, have been promising a new EP since 2019, so new songs should be aired alongside the requisite fan faves. Between the Dead Space's brittle clangor and Borzoi's brash crunge, crust may burn and mozzarella curdle. – Michael Toland
Tortuga Shades Album Release: Revolving
Meanwhile Brewing, Sunday 18
Melodically thought out and purposefully hand-crafted, Tortuga Shades' first album Revolving hits heights some don't reach until around LP No. 3. The local quartet produces a seamlessly woven and relevant collection of indie pop/rock forged on the repeating guitar pattern similarly found in a Neon Trees creation. Remembering the trials and tribulations of quarantine, "Comes Around" hypnotizes listeners with a catchy tune and relatable lyrics. "It's easier to sink back into what feels right/ Plenty of times I've been broken down," Nadia Lopez sings followed by an epic guitar break from Gian Diliberto. The leading yet relaxing drum from Wylie Sanchez on "Year of the Dog" pitches bassist Casey Popp a home run for "BMS" (Black Messenger Sparrow) and finishes with another ripper from Diliberto. – Morgan-Taylor Thomas
Mary Gauthier book release & performance
Saxon Pub, Wednesday 21
Mary Gauthier writes songs as a salve, healing even as they dig deep into the wounds of trauma both personal and collective. Her new book, Saved By a Song: The Art and Healing Power of Songwriting, presents as a treatise of her process and belief in the redemptive potential of storytelling – threaded through a memoir of particular clarity and epiphanies. Gauthier, who didn't begin her music career until age 35, finds art in confronting her past and grace in helping others take control of their narratives, an empathy she explores as core to her work with Austinite Darden Smith's Songwriting with Soldiers program and Grammy-nominated 2019 album Rifles and Rosary Beads. Gauthier sees songs as reagents that can change the world, the personal become the universal and vice versa, and nothing articulates that power better than her own music. – Doug Freeman
Damien Jurado, Katy Kirby
Far Out Lounge, Thursday 22
Ever since the February unveiling of Katy Kirby's debut Cool Dry Place, I've kept the Spicewood native at the top of my pandemic-albums-to-see-live list. The frankly affirming LP from local imprint Keeled Scales serves up a raw, refreshing whirlwind of folk and indie rock. Unexpected twists and observational humor fuel the grand catharsis of "Juniper" and delicate communion of "Tap Twice." While Kirby's September opening dates with Waxahatchee already sold out Mohawk, long-haul experimenter Damien Jurado offers prime opportunity to experience the Texan. The regarded Seattle singer-songwriter, known for expeditions across roots and electronic, stripped down on homespun May album The Monster Who Hated Pennsylvania, Jurado's first release on his own Maraqopa Records. – Rachel Rascoe