May We Suggest Some Music to Chill Out Your Dog During the Fireworks?

New Austin music to drown out the booms


Photo by Kevin Curtin

Darkness has fallen on July Fourth and your neighborhood's about to sound like it's under air strike. So your sweet dog will be trembling petrified, if not jumping on the couch and barking at 120 decibels. You recall that 364 days ago you vowed to buy one of those anxiety-calming ThunderShirts but spaced on it. Now the least you could do (in addition to some preparations) is put on some new, local, vibey chill-out music to drown out the booms. – Kevin Curtin

Caramelo Haze's Noestásaquí

Sun beating mercilessly on a highway causes air closest to the concrete to heat faster than the mass above it, so that the light within that band glints and glimmers. The watery effect from this elemental distortion creates the paradox of moisture where only torridness exists: heat haze.

Caramelo Haze, Austin's Latinx equivalent, converges Grupo Fantasma/Brownout/Money Chicha axis Beto Martinez and John Spiece with Nemegata shaman Victor-Andres Cruz and Latin music folklorist, oracle, and Ph.D. Alex Chávez (Dos Santos). Improvised at Martinez HQ Lechehouse, the foursome's full-length bow Noestásaquí heats up like July 4. Psychedelic roots haze.

"Goza el Calor" ("Enjoy the Heat") skanks Spanish chants and harmonies grooving to metro beats from the urban jungle. "Window Seat" wafts like the Summer of Love – sunny, chill, restorative – but "Un Rezo" plies an out-of-this-world vocal elixir from Cruz, and "Mi Acento" bristles Nemegata's Colombian whammy by tapping deep African accents.

The back nine cooks, too: "Échate Pa'tras" cries Cuban-esque, "Ven a Mí" boils up some Kid A Nemegata, and Amalia Mondragón caresses closer "Something About Goodbye."

"Writing without overthinking and not taking a long time getting everything done," emails Cruz, "was the spark we eventually named Caramelo Haze." – Raoul Hernandez


Annabelle Chairlegs Warms Orbison's "Blue Bayou"

Before her next full-length, Annabelle Chairlegs principal Lindsey Mackin needed to air out some years-lost, Tascam 244 4-track-composed songs of the tender persuasion. Enter The Sad Machine Series, Pt. 1. The hopeful, homespun collection lets Mackin's intuitively charismatic vocal vulnerability shine outside the psych-pop troupe's typical force, keeping the sly sass and smart guitar turns. Punchy center "Sad Machine" ("You're so blue") sets up heartachy strums & voice for "Blue Bayou," Roy Orbison-penned classic of Linda Ronstadt. Mackin cleverly streamlines the croon with droopy Sixties-pulled melodies, a perfectly warm lo-fi modernization. – Rachel Rascoe


Thor Harris and the Second Coming of Doom Dub

An exquisite percussion mix involving stereo panned shakers shoulders an eight-minute pixelated dub where saxophone reeds are pushed to the brink and you can picture VU (volume unit) meters quivering. "Day 447 of Quarantine," Harris' collaboration with eternal Austin art-music fixture Craig Ross, experimental pop deity Zola Jesus, and Dorian Wood – whose lead vocal sounds like Nina Simone from the bowels of a shipwreck – builds anticipation for a second LP of Korg Kaossilator-edifying riddims. – Kevin Curtin


Father Sheed Knows Life Is Just a Game

Ubiyu, Robert Roman's Austin-based house and techno imprint, shows smaller artists holding their own alongside respected internationals. Canadians Jay Tripwire and Pheek and France's Doubtingthomas slot well near Austin favorites Daniel Allen and Chklte (not so local anymore). With five-track EP Life Is Just a Game, Austin musician, producer, and DJ Nick Jamshidi, aka Father Sheed, puts house heads at attention. Ubiyu's favored brand of serious, understated-yet-driving, intricate deep and acid house shines brightest on "Train Leaves in 5," though goofy-flirty vocals on opener "Physical Touch" veer humorous. 
– Christina Garcia


The Deer Look in the Mirror With "I Wouldn't Recognize Me"

As if she's standing in her childhood bedroom dispensing advice to her younger identity, Grace Rowland sings: "Be kind to yourself/ Why be unkind to someone else?" The Deer's latest dose of metaphysical moonlit rock is a comforting paean of resilience with a persistent six-word hook that plays in your head long after its four-minute run time. Riding a riff reminiscent of "Hey Hey, My My," the serene single – preceding September's The Beautiful Undead – continues to eschew the quintet's indie folk origins for a meticulously arranged, soaring sound that here rings of Fleetwood Mac. Constantly escalating musically, the track crescendos emotionally with the Q&A: "Are you ready?/ I'm ready/ … So ready." – Kevin Curtin


Particle Kid and Willie Nelson Content to "Die When I'm High"

If you forgot to send Dad a card, you're about to feel even shittier: Just ahead of Father's Day Micah Nelson, through his project Particle Kid, released a single dedicated to Willie. "Well I figured Trigger would outlive my liver, but I'm still here writing songs," Micah sings in the opening line, lilting toward his father's iconic affect before Dad and the aforementioned Trigger join in. The song was inspired by a comment Willie made between games of pandemic chess: "If I die when I'm high, I'll be halfway to heaven." A poignant, acoustic-driven, father-son duet. – Abby Johnston

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