What We’re Listening to Right Now

Detox, Mobley, Dropped Out, Holy Wave, Party Van, and Shane Cooley

What We’re Listening to Right Now

Detox Exposes the Yuppie Orgy

"The poor and the underclass are growing. Racial justice and human rights are nonexistent. They have created a repressive society, and we are their unwitting accomplices … Keep us asleep, keep us selfish, keep us sedated." So proclaims the hacker cutting into a television broadcast in John Carpenter's Reagan-era sci-fi masterpiece They Live, in which a take-no-shit drifter finds sunglasses that expose subliminal consumer propaganda.

Detox, the hardcore punk quartet of skater artists known for their disorderly live sets, opens their new full-length (11 rampaging songs in 20 minutes) with that monologue. Except their rage isn't directed at skeleton-faced aliens exploiting Earth, but capitalistic- minded professionals exploiting their city. Hence the impeccable album title: Yuppie Orgy.

"Live behind your precious walls," barks sinewy singer Weedboner over a heaving bassline on opening salvo "Kondo." "What do you do if your tower falls?"

No recording can compare to the anarchistic generator shows Detox throws in drainage tunnels and on truss bridges, but Yuppie Orgy properly captures their raw punk approach, excelling at both crawling dirges ("Who's Truth") and berserker hardcore ("How Much Shit Can You Take"), while minding the groundwork (a fierce cover of Big Boys' "Fight Back").

Weedboner's trademark squall, "Aghghghghhhhhhh!" conducts the action on live favorite "Detox," and Smokedog shines with squiggles and swoops of guitar on the title track. Sheabuttz, whose impressive pounding anchors the record, detonates a pattern reminiscent of Minor Threat's "In My Eyes" on the best song, which lays out the scope of Detox's grievances with the world: "Everything Is Ass." – Kevin Curtin


Mobley Dances Through Pain in "Stay Volk"

When Austin's Frank Ocean – Mobley – put out "James Crow" in September 2020, it spearheaded a BLM moment, and more so, a waking nation. Equally powerful, Young & Dying in the Occident Supreme five months later expanded its influence. Now, "Stay Volk" anticipates September's Cry Havoc!, "a sci-fi concept record about … a dissident in an alternate past 1980s NYC," writes the singer and multi-instrumentalist on Facebook. Its lead single and unforgettable video blends minimalist electro beats and a hypnotic croon, punctuated by an explosive chorus and a cornucopia of ear-popping sounds: accordion snippet, keyboard squashes, and Kodo-sized percussion, all lined by his dopamine falsetto. – Raoul Hernandez


Get Lost! With Dropped Out

Someone in prime Austin pop punk trio Dropped Out has a heart that's been beaten down badly. There's more regret over love lost infusing these 10 tracks than 20 years of Dear Abby columns. But singer/guitarist Dave, drummer/vocalist Tron, and bassist Ryan (like many Austin punks, these guys aren't big on surnames) convert that ache into exquisitely hummable gems of rare beauty, like the only band on Earth that matters is the Descendents. Lyric of the year: "When did it go so wrong?/ Now I'm writing you this stupid song!" ("The Last Person on Earth"). – Tim Stegall


Shane Cooley's Summertime Single "Stella Ray"

Shane Cooley pivots toward jovial summertime leanings and stares at the sun on "Stella Ray": a pure fun, off-kilter, folk-pop miniature. Like a kid with ABC building blocks, the Virginia/Austin-based artist toys and tinkers with a mixed bag of instruments from buoyant mandolin to pan-puttered percussion and seesaw synths. Cooley's smooth register – childlike and dreamy – strolls unrushed. Diverting from the melancholic and rural pastoral folk on Kings Highway (2015), the Beach Boys-inspired track aligns itself more with the experimental Americana backdrop on April's Forest. – Alejandra Ramirez


Holy Wave Smells the "Chaparral"

"The song title references a sweet-smelling herb from the creosote plant commonly found throughout Texas," writes Holy Wave frontman Kyle Hager on the ATX quintet's Bandcamp, "a fragrance tied to the band's upbringing." Expecting a newborn, the El Paso multi-instrumentalist rummaged through his past while prepping an entry for Seattle indie label Suicide Squeeze's Pinks & Purples singles series. Outgrowth of the group's fourth studio LP of original material, 2020's Interloper, its psilocybin pocket symphony of Mellotron, mellow jangle, and a hypnotic cymbal skip beams aria harmonies and a nebula flutter across the galaxy. Fuzzy blear and stop-time hooks make for lulling warmth. – Raoul Hernandez


Party Van Pours a Large Water

Party Van's debut album Large Water stokes a pure fever pitch. This 29-minute soundtrack to a new generation of Austin alt-rock wails rebellion in devotion to the thrash and sneer hailed in unholy punk scriptures. Menacing guitar riffs and arresting choruses litter the standout tracks "Flipper" and "Purple People" with the same mad vigor as Wavves and Together Pangea. The feral energy of drummer Brandon Astor and guitarist Deven Ivy is pushed to full throttle on zenith composition "Wet Meat," while bassist Gabe Poliakoff and singer/guitarist Eric Limon bring earnest fury to the aptly named "Kahuna." – Mars Salazar

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