New, Local Music We’re Listening To
Patty Griffin, Mugger, Kalu & the Electric Joint, Horti, and more local sounds worth seeking out
By Doug Freeman, Kevin Curtin, Alejandra Ramirez, Gary Lindsey, and Mars Salazar, Fri., July 22, 2022
Sink Into Patty Griffin's Demos …
In an Instagram post about her new LP of home recordings and rarities, Patty Griffin dubbed Tape "a collection of songs that you can only get when you're by yourself at three o'clock in the morning." That description doesn't quite do full justice to the appeal of these lo-fi shards, but it captures the quiet impact of the intimacy of the songs, and even the lonesome wisp that trails in the solitudes of just the songwriter and guitar or piano. "Get Lucky" opens hinging on Griffin's tremulous vocal swell against her slapped guitar, while "One Day We Could" wrings out longing. Former partner Robert Plant surfaces on the bluesy, saucy duet "Don't Mind," a studio outtake from when they first met. Other songs among the 10 tracks feel a bit more fragmented, like the morning musing of "Strip of Light" or brief piano instrumental "Octaves," though no less moving for their brevity. The gorgeously falling "Sundown" and "Night" both stand out stunningly with their sparse piano and evocative imagery, while "Little Yellow House" and "Kiss of a Man" wind with a simple nostalgia. Closing just under 30 minutes with the gentle calling lullaby "Forever Shall Be," the entire album soothes like a balm to darkness and wonder in the light, secret moments confidentially shared in calming hours. – Doug Freeman
… Then Mosh to Mugger's Demo
Fresh on the scene, Mugger's been playing a lot of wild punk shows (and a 107-degree pool party) of late. Their demo's high-contrast razor wire cover and dialogue samples made me feel like I was about to listen to an Aus-Rotten record, but the big drums of Patrick Troxell (Creepoid) and sharp progressions of Lisa Alley (the Well) and Daniel Fried (Radioactivity/Bad Sports/TV's Daniel) amass into a more dynamic and rhythmic hardcore punk sound. Best on the 8-song/14-minute tape, "Dear SCOTUS," in which the flameflower voice of sequined- balaclava-wearing singer Anna Troxell (Creepoid) screams: "No it doesn't belong to you/ My body, and mine alone!" See Mugger at Parish Saturday with Show Me the Body, Soul Glo, WifiGawd, and Blank Hellscape. – Kevin Curtin
The Black Angels, by the Light of a "Firefly"
Winding and zigzagging in serpentine grooves, bass swirls kaleidoscopic in the Black Angels' "Firefly." Set to be featured on their upcoming sixth album, Wilderness of Mirrors (arriving on Partisan September 16), the single follows the release of the shotgun blast "El Jardín." A sprawling maelstrom of reverb-drenched accents, unspooling guitar, and sultry intonation, the French Sixties mood record features vocals from Thievery Corporation's LouLou Ghelichkhani. Hauntingly, Alex Maas hallucinates poetic: "Temptress in the background/ Sipping on her wine," as wafts of Middle Eastern melodies and dissonant convulsions coalesce into a cerebral split fever dream. – Alejandra Ramirez
Kalu & the Electric Joint's "Garden of Eden"
Cole Porter put it best: too MF hawt. Which makes Kalu James' new single and video positively quenching. Nigerian native-turned-Austin bastion, the psychedelic soul giant continues growing tree rings of wait since his 2017 full-length, but the pandemic reverted music to a singles era, so he knocks one out of the "Garden of Eden." Waterfalls, forests, and butterflies cool the tart steel strings of J.T. Holt's guitar, translucent sheets of synthesizer, and a bassy mat of soft, almost muted percussive hooks. That warp raises goose bumps the size of the continent of Africa tattooed on his chest. Paradise. – Raoul Hernandez
Horti Flies Through a "Burning Sky"
The opening groove of former Whiskey Shivers' string-slinger Jeff "Horti" Hortillosa's new single, "Burning Sky," immediately makes you want to light a joint in the driver's seat of a '78 Camaro. Hard-hook-driven with just the right balance of funk and distortion, Horti's guitar solo is so good, it will have Eric Clapton plotting his death quicker than you can say, "Jimi Hendrix" – top-notch shredding without trying too hard. Hortillosa's trio celebrates the release of "Burning Sky" at Long Play East on Friday alongside Hong Kong Wigs and Lola Tried. – Gary Lindsey
A Look Into the Mind of Stunts With Like Instances EP
Stunts' sophomore release is ambient catharsis, revealing a growing artistic vulnerability as Font guitarist Anthony Laurence lays bare the weight of mid-20s introversion in this atmospheric solo project. The EP feels like 22 minutes of voyeurism into an inward-drawn mind through sincere and stylistic digital production – likenable to bedroom- pop with wavy trap vocal effects. The disjointed and syncopated tones in "panoramic (like instances)" examine the relatable experience of directionless rumination with an appreciation for the beauty within the chaos. Lo-fi brain medicine "coinsup" and "neighbor" echo the soulful production of Frank Ocean's Blonde with equally personal overtones and doses of weary anxiety. – Mars Salazar