What We're Listening to Right Now
Money Chicha, Rajinee, Carson McHone, Harry Edohoukwa, Larry Seaman, and Jenny Parrott
By Alejandra Ramirez, Rachel Rascoe, Doug Freeman, Kevin Curtin, Tim Stegall, and Morgan-Taylor Thomas, Fri., Oct. 29, 2021
Money Chicha's Chicha Summit
A synth splits open like an all-encompassing maw on "Desesperado," the opener of Money Chicha's Chicha Summit. The follow-up to their debut Echo in Mexico (2016), the 12-track summit merges two convergences: Side A serves a tribute to Chicha music, and side B offers six originals recorded at Sonic Ranch Studios.
Grounding its roots beyond the South American border in Peru, the sophomore album's first half wafts Andean air as it reinterprets the country's psychedelic cumbia, Chicha. Dusted-off classic "Pacífico" sustains the treble sparkle of Los Destellos and "Fatalidad" carbon copies lo-fi buzz from La Mermelada's Jose L. Carballo, whose six-string flourishes appear on the album alongside vocals from Austin's Kiko Villamizar.
Cue side B as "Fuentes" brews an interstellar maelstrom with astral delay, "Anda de los Andes" mutates to a Frankenstein of slinky dissonance and synth circus modulations, and the polyrhythmic percussion of "Rancho del Tambo" cracks tectonic faults recalling Santana's Woodstock performance of "Soul Sacrifice." There's profound musicality as the all-star trio of drummer John Speice, conga player Matthew Holmes, and guest Victor-Andres Cruz (percussionist of Nemegata) anchors the sinewy-limbed instrumentals, allowing bassist Greg Gonzalez, guitarist Beto Martinez, and organist Peter Stopschinski to cut loose with serpentine surf rock or wah-wah, zigzag fugues. Chicha Summit mainlines past to present by not only deep-diving in the rich history of the genre, but envisioning its spectral potential. – Alejandra Ramirez
Rajinee's "Catcall & Response"
In communion with some and confrontation with others, Rajinee asks, "I just wanna know/ Have you ever been catcalled before?" during debut track "Catcall & Response." The 24-year-old Austin artist co-directed the high-quality video, her flick-off fantasy following an instance of street harassment, with filmmakers Huay-Bing Law and Sam Mohney of June Third Films. In a colorful, choreography-packed romp around Downtown Austin, dancer Becky Nam zaps creeps into houseplants in a swirl of cartoon effects. Stick around for an unexpected King of the Hill reference and feature from rapper/director Ryan Darbonne as Ol Black Stooge. – Rachel Rascoe
Carson MCHone Returns With "Hawks Don't Share"
Carson McHone's pen cuts as sharp as her Texas twang and, as she preps LP three, the native Austinite takes another step toward national attention in signing with Merge Records. Debut single "Hawks Don't Share" bursts with grander arrangements, expanding beyond her previously sparse songwriting with the prolific and chameleonic Daniel Romano producing. Horns flare into the swelling chorus and heavy guitar licks, but McHone's poignant, imagistic lyrics still remain central in the more alt. country turn. The song challenges the notion of artistic aloofness and competition, elucidated in the video McHone directs, though speaks to any bad-but-burning relationship. –Doug Freeman
Harry Edohoukwa Fends Off "Zombies"
Glowing bravado and inner torment, two states of mind that hallmark Harry Edohoukwa's emotionally intense lyricism, both manifest on "Zombies." "Everything I touch turns to gold/ Every room I walk in is mine," the vocalist intones, aggrandizing the virtues of the all-powerful artist. Still, paranoia creeps as he assails metaphorical zombies – hungry for a piece of his life. It plays out over a subdued bass groove that explodes into a hard-hitting rock refrain. Those loud-soft dynamics, plus prominent backup vocals, represent new sonic territory for the singer whose sound incorporates alternative R&B, poetic hip-hop, and international flavors – fitting opener for Yves Tumor at Mohawk Saturday. – Kevin Curtin
Larry Seaman's "Tanya Grew Tired of Talking"
Larry Seaman, the main Standing Wave in another lifetime, drops his stab at a "21st century Fifties death ballad" for this Día de los Muertos-timed release. Remember those creepy teen rock-a-ballads of auld – oh-so-earnest weepers like Mark Dinning's "Teen Angel" or "Last Kiss" by J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers? Over throbbing, circular tremolo guitar arpeggios, Seaman plaintively croons a suicide tale that may initially scan parodic. That's only the surface: The song was actually inspired by his mother's 20-year struggle with Alzheimer's. This record's aching beauty and roots-deep lack of irony is quite arresting. – Tim Stegall
Jenny Parrott's "Georgica"
Four years after her When I Come Down solo debut, Jenny Parrott's eight-track quarantine collection, The Fire I Saw, hits ears Nov. 12, teased with new singles "I Thought" and "Georgica." As if the singer-songwriter scribed the lyrics while sitting on a cloud, the feathery and bouncy "Georgica" sounds like floating. Backed by an orchestral arrangement, the former Shotgun Party frontperson's soothing twang cuts through the cascading rhythmic ripple. Song bells and poco forte flute solos trickle through lyrical breaks, solidifying the overall angelic airiness of the ballad, a reminder of Parrott's easygoing verse and strong musical talent. – Morgan-Taylor Thomas