What We're Listening to Right Now
Sir Woman, whookilledkenny, Buffalo Hunt, Aaron McDonnell, Startographers, and more local sounds
By Doug Freeman, Clara Wang, Julian Towers, Michael Toland, Alejandra Ramirez, and Kevin Curtin, Fri., April 29, 2022
Sir Woman's Long-Awaited Debut LP Torches
Sir Woman's debut LP hit delays twice before finally now getting released, but Kelsey Wilson and crew have still proved ubiquitous in unleashing their infectiously danceable dosage locally since capturing the Austin Music Award for Best New Act two years ago. 2020's Bitch EP punched behind the title track and horn-blasted flirt of "Highroad," and the former Wild Child earned three more AMAs this year, having honed the lush and funky backing to match her remarkable vocals, alongside showstopping backup singers Spice and Roy Jr. The eponymous full-length showcases that vocal versatility even more. Wilson's perfectly in control as she folds through the dynamic changes to stutter, pop, and swell into the Seventies-drenched soul sound, even as the nine tracks lean more heavily into a smoldering haze than the absolute groove anthem of "Party City" that sets it up. "All I Need" breezes smooth and easy, matched by the strolling piano plunk of "She Want," while "Get What You Want" lays graceful R&B on a bed of mellow keys and strings and "Good Lady" burns wantingly. Matt Pence's production at Denton's Echo Lab excels in suavely shading Wilson's turns into torching ballads that define the album, even as the standout bangers like "Cape Town Plush" and "Blame It on the Water" call toward the fervent energy of the live shows and how the band may already be bursting well beyond that sound. – Doug Freeman
Whookilledkenny and Memba Cook Up "Masala"
Whookilledkenny branched out from Austin when he moved to L.A. four years ago, and now he's branching out from his heavy hip-hop roots in latest single "Masala," a bass-heavy electronic collab with New York producing duo Memba (Ishaan Chaudhary and Will Curry). It may be cliche to call the high-energy track a "spicy single," but whooo the 25-year-old born hustler declaring his confidence to the world over fun, celebratory, DJ Mustard-esque hi-hats is pretty picante. Like much of whookilledkenny's music, it's a natural strip club anthem, but with more of a pop lean. Not the drank, the angle. We ain't in Texas anymore. – Clara Wang
The Sneaky Melancholy of Buffalo Hunt
Though Stephanie Hunt might be recognizable to some for her recurring role on Friday Night Lights, her true passion is music – quirked-out, country-fried chamber pop far too frisky to have ever blended in with network TV's preference for straitlaced indie rock needle drops. Ambitions of Ambiguity's press release recommends taking a pre-listen puff – and indeed, Bikini Bottom guitar squiggles and ornate, Supertramp-esque keyboard stabs predominate on the Nine Mile Records release. But this accomplished debut's true psychedelic power lies in the gentle drift of Hunt's sneakily melancholy songwriting. True to the quarter-life crises they document, her repetitive lyrical mantras belie shifting compositions that pull the rug out right when you're getting cozy. AoA hits with a Saturday release show at Parish – Julian Towers
The Startographers "Backslide"
Following the release of their glorious first song "Hollow," well- pedigreed Austin ensemble Startographers teases their (eventually) forthcoming debut with second single "Backslide." Perhaps a shade less shoegazey than the prior tune – but just a shade – "Backslide" hits that sweet spot between pop melody, Generation X angst, and psychedelic amp overload with such accuracy music lovers of a certain age may have to check their calendars to make sure it's not 1993. As before, though, these moonlighting members of Magnet School, Honeyrude, and Schatzi aren't just aping their influences – they're matching them note for tune. – Michael Toland
Aaron McDonnell Has Been Having Too Many Days Like Saturday Night
"Wild West, wild nights … send me back home," Aaron McDonnell croons with a butter baritone on "Tell the Devil," hearkening to the plaintive lyricism and wistful delivery of country's classics. Too Many Days Like Saturday Night marks his return since 2017's Lucky Me. While the Oregonian's former catalog clutches to traditional country like a family heirloom, his full-length debut strikes homage with a pop-filtered lens. "All Along" and "Say Goodbye" recall the serpentine steel guitar of honky-tonk legendaries. Robust twofer "Asking a Whole Lot of This Heart" and "Wayward Girl" coalesce moody reverb stylings, tumbleweed acoustics, and bared heartache that supplicate like a weary-eyed prayer. – Alejandra Ramirez
Tuyo at Space ATX
At St. David's Historic Sanctuary for South by Southwest, an emotionally potent performance from Brazilian Tuyo brought tears to the eyes of many attendees, few of whom could even fully comprehend the Portuguese lyrics. While in town, Tuyo linked up with locally based Brazilian videographer Cléver Cardoso for a visually stunning Space ATX Session where the trio, bathed in cool blue lights, delivered a truly enchanting performance with electronic-accentuated indie/Afro-folk/hip-hop and unreal vocal interplay. – Kevin Curtin