What We're Listening to Right Now

Medellin Collection, Kady Rain, David Ramirez, Slomo Drags, Whitmore Sisters, and User Unauthorized

Medellin Collection Concocts Pure Deliverance

On the first song of a debut album, the Medellin Collection steadily lays out their cards. Find a deck stacked with modern jazz bedrock, spacey prog, and bassline groove on the lengthy "Seraphim." Five minutes in, enter crunchy heavy metal and ensnared blues rock – raging stylistic winks amid the band's studious references to Brazilian Seventies fusion acts. The elemental lava lamp swirls around drummer/producer Brandon Medellin as the seamless star, whose interstellar percussion antics attracted a following over years of solo releases. With bassist Patrick McNally, guitarist Ezra Rodriguez, and keyboardist David Alvarez, Pure Deliverance's evolving time signatures trip through warbly psychedelic haze and anxious intensity, suited for amorphous fans of Crumb or Khruangbin. An abrupt end to sludgy licks on "Guanabana/Soursop" confirms a playful humor, followed by the instrumental album's only song with lyrics, naturally called "Boofed Out Shawty." Recorded by local Ian Salazar, the Austin act lands support from Pure Deliverance-delivering California jazz label Minaret Records.– Rachel Rascoe

The Many Colors of Kady Rain

Rainbow lollipop candy and NPR's 2018 Song of the Summer, "R.A.D. Moves," showed Rain's knack for playful lyricism and glittered hooks. Now on her self-titled debut, she continues to deliver bubblegum-pop that sticks to the roof of your mouth. "Got Away" flirts riot grrrl punk, electro-synth ballad "Lovestruck" warbles like a Max Martin radio earworm, and the acoustic "Take Me Home" bares lovesick sentiment in a folkie framework. Winning moments come with bisexual bravado "Fruity" and somber acceptance "It's Over." The former teases like risqué banter with pride flag in tow while the latter's slow burn swallows lovelorn feelings like a dry-mouth serum.– Alejandra Ramirez

Slomo Drags Birth Twin Absorber

I'm here for Jackson Albracht calling bullshit on his world: the precarious mental complex of being an artist, the fakeness of self-promotion, and the obvious occupational hazards of the musician lifestyle. All those things are wonderfully maligned on Slomo Drags' sophomore release Twin Absorber. Sublimely double-tracked vocals, with private school enunciation, set the scene by describing the band's potential fan base: "All the kids are talkin' shit, looking pretty in their cars/ Giving blood, turning tricks, shooting dope in the bars/ They want a show ..." but that show turns out to be smirking ruminations on creative self-doubt. With the sharply penned "Professional Music," Albracht casts himself as "a copycat of a hypocrite" before the consolatory "Almost Good Enough" inspirits: "Everyone agrees you're better than you say." The quintet's strain of studio-loving sonic pop, with corkscrewing guitar solos and rhythms reminiscent of Tame Impala's best days, lays a compositionally exciting foundation for a concept EP that's effectively meta: a cheeky critique of modern musical existence.– Kevin Curtin

David Ramirez Lays Out Rules & Regulations

2021's Backslider ruminated seven tracks in a half-hour; now Rules & Regulations rocks six songs in 27 minutes. Cut over two days, the EP prompts Ramirez in its press, "As I've grown older and become more specific, I never thought I'd record [live] again ... Now I'm interested in seeing if I could pull this off on a bigger scale." Recalling live hybrids such as Jackson Browne's Running on Empty and Neil Young's Rust Never Sleeps, "Teach Me Your Language" pings pure Laurel Canyon, while the title tune swaggers Saturday night, "Friends Forever" lilts a Sunday morning outlaw jingle, and closer "I Believe You" ripples melancholic piano uplift à la "Tiny Dancer."– Raoul Hernandez

The Whitmore Sisters Conjure Ghost Stories

In lockdown, Bonnie Whitmore fled Austin for L.A., where she hunkered with sister Eleanor and brother-in-law Chris Masterson, and emerged with an album that wonders only how the siblings hadn't recorded together sooner. Ghost Stories duets through their past with a beautiful reckoning, a touch of Allison Moorer and Shelby Lynne's sisterly collaboration not only in the natural harmonies, but in their deep understanding of each other. Hinged on losses – the highway-tuned "The Ballad of Sissy & Porter" for Chris Porter; the ethereal, torching "Greek Tragedy" for Justin Townes Earle – the LP nonetheless rings with a comforting joy of perspective and moving forward, together.– Doug Freeman

User Unauthorized Lives Their Harsh Truth

Six slices of some of the most brutal bomb-blast hardcore you'll ever hear, from five powerful teenage musicians. Producers Stuart Sikes and Ian MacDougall deserve credit for giving User Unauthorized a perfect sonic environment for their guttural outbursts – clear and clean, with plenty of room for Johnny Cash and Isabella's sawtooth-wave guitars, Rooster's rampaging drums, and Sage's tubercular bass and vocals. The EP is a 10-minute scream, chopped into six segments, with Sage growling monochromatic lyrics devoid of sentiment and subtlety. Starving Wolves/Casualties shrieker David Rodriguez guests on the title track.– Tim Stegall

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More New, Local Music We’re Listening to
What We’re Listening to This Week
What We’re Listening to This Week
New, local platters from Brazos, Fuvk, Discreet, and Eric Hisaw Band

Austin Powell, Dec. 30, 2022

What We're Listening to This Week
What We're Listening to This Week
Christeene, the Bad Lovers, and Churchwood in this week's worthwhile listens

Genevieve Wood, Dec. 16, 2022

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle