Bayonne's Cathartic Return and Five More Songs from Austin Artists

New music picks from Superfónicos, Holy Water, and more

Photo by Eric Morales

Bayonne, “Right Thing”

Deceptively uplifting, "Right Thing" conveys a sense of uncertainty – like Bayonne's Roger Sellers is lost, solitary, searching – but knowing clarity and serenity await. The single arrived alongside the announcement of the singer/composer's first album in four years, May's Temporary Time, the creation of which coincided with his father's ultimately fatal cancer diagnosis and a subsequent bout with depression. Standing apart from the loop orchestras of 2016's Primitives and the spirited pop grandeur of 2019's Drastic Measures, "Right Thing" leans to modern, mid-tempo synthesizer psych – willowy vocals hovering over commingling keyboard melodies and a sturdy trip-hop beat. Sellers' music is ever innocent of sweat, but rarely lacking catharsis.  – Kevin Curtin

Superfónicos, “Primera Luz”

Superfónicos doubled in size since adding rooster frontman Jaime Ospina in 2016, the singer/flutist ushering in trombone (Zumbi Richards), congas (Nicholas Tozzo), and keys (Evan Marley Hegarty) to the core Colombian quartet of bassist/bandleader Nicolas Sanchez, guitarists Erick Bohorquez and Andres Villegas, and drummer Daniel Sanchez. Teasing their forthcoming debut LP, "Primera Luz" engages a conga line of horn-driven South American funk and their trademark Caribe soul, proclaiming in Spanish, post-pandemically, "After the storm, out comes the sun/ To shine and give life to love/ It'll warm the heart, mama, and scare off all the cold and pain." ¡ATX Latinx vive!  – Raoul Hernandez

P Killa, “Welcome to Austin Cypher”

What does Austin hip-hop need? Platitudes often follow that years-long, exhausted question. P Killa answers with a refreshing showcase of unity in her cipher showcasing nine more of the city's newest, budding women rappers: Skylar T, Naj!, Kina Love, Top One Varbie, Stasseny, Babyrosae, K Sunny, Miss JayWalk, and Brookie B. The 27-minute accompanying video opens with mini-introductions of each artist and their collective desire to "put on for the city" before transitioning into a classroom setting for the music portion. Naj! and Stasseny in particular stand out, as each rhymes for nearly two minutes. There's a definite star quality about the latter's confidence while brandishing a Mean Girls-style Burn Book.  – Derek Udensi

Holy Water, “Waterest Him With Tears”

Formerly of New Orleans post-punks Heat Dust, composer/guitarist Jasper den Hartigh brought a lot of ghosts with him during his emigration to Austin. His debut single as Holy Water, "Waterest Him With Tears" – title courtesy of poet/engraver William Blake – blends doom riffs, art-funk rhythms, ethereal harmonies, and a gothic monotone to conjure the spirits of Ian Curtis, Coliseum, and Jeffrey Lee Pierce, all bent to Den Hartigh's own enigmatic purpose. The atmosphere of gloom hangs thick, encouraging an epic brood, but with implied catharsis on the way in a February self-titled album.  – Michael Toland

Trouble in the Streets, “Can I Breathe”

From the influence of Black Lives Matter and pandemic-era tumult rises Trouble in the Streets' electronic hip-hop single "Can I Breathe," preceding a March album. Transmuting a heaviness over rampant unrest and global corruption felt by singer Nnedi Agbaroji and bassist Andy Leonard, the synthesizer soundscape sharpens the punch of Kenny Schwartz on drums. Through bold, dubstep-laced conviction, lyricism emphasizes overcoming adversity in a sharp rap verse by Agbaroji: "Your 9 to 5 turned into a daily grind/ Don't get caught by the dungeons and the dragons of your mind."  – Mars Salazar

Sludge, “Greg Abbott’s Maxi Pad”

"Greg, you're looking wrinkly/ Here's some placenta," grins vocalist Molly Masson in Sludge's debut single/brutal takedown of our great state's incompetent governor. These young punks are ready for revenge: Jacob Masson's thick basslines, Jaelyn Valero's vigorous drum beats, and Jude Hill's tight guitar riffs create a high-energy sound for political disquiet. GOP members will recoil in horror at the track's music video, which sees Sludge lure an Abbott deepfake into puffing on a joint, devouring a bowl of fetuses, and finally transforming into a crowd-surfing drag queen.  – Genevieve Wood

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