Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week

Black Fund Awards, a Moon Mullican tribute, S.G. Goodman, and more recommended live shows


S.G. Goodman (Courtesy of S.G. Goodman)

S.G. Goodman’s Wry Southern Storytelling

3ten ACL Live, Saturday 25
(w/ Marina Allen)

S.G. Goodman holds tight to her Kentucky roots. Still living in the small town of Murray, even as her profile has risen behind last year's standout sophomore LP, Teeth Marks, the songwriter appreciates the perspective her rural background provides.

"There's a million different ways to do this music stuff, but I feel something pure about having experience coming up as a musician in a very small town," Goodman offers in her hard Kentucky twang. "Someone once said to me, 'You can't look at the person playing next to you at a house show in your small town as your only peer. If you want to try to make music on a larger level, then you need to realize that your peers are actually in L.A. and Nashville and New York.'

"I can become somewhat of an insider to that world, but they can't come and be an insider to mine."

Yet Goodman's also quick to point out the eclectic Kentucky influences – from bell hooks to Bonnie "Prince" Billy to Slint – that impact her writing. Grounded in a defiant working-class Appalachia with tracks like "Work Until I Die" or "The Way I Talk," she pulls equally on the deeply personal, complicated aspects of identifying as queer and progressive in rural America. That tension roars in freight train riffs as much as intimate confessionals, also laced with a wickedly wry humor that emerges onstage.

"I've been making my friends uncomfortable at parties for years," she laughs. "I come from a very long line of Southern storytellers. I have a little bit of my daddy's family's eyes, and you're not probably gonna know if I'm not serious until I either crack a smile or laugh."  – Doug Freeman


Jeff Mills

Concourse Project, Friday 24

A legend of Eighties Detroit, Jeff Mills became "The Wizard" with his exuberant, lighting-speed turntable technique. Eclectic, he mixed electro, industrial, hip-hop, house, and more, eventually needing three tables, not two, to be satisfied. In production, ideas of futurism and interplanetary exploration enthralled him. After forming the mysterious label group Underground Resistance alongside "Mad" Mike Banks, Mills' solo production via Axis drove rhythmic techno and 909 mastery around the world. He's since united to experiment with Afrobeat progenitors and symphonic masters alike. For his Austin debut, Mills plays a TR-909 drum machine and mixes on four CDJs.   Christina Garcia


Redbud, Sleep Well, About You, Font

The Ballroom, Friday 24

POV: You've instructed Supertramp to play the Hair soundtrack from within a jar of molasses. Assuming the Seventies psych faves don't suffocate first, the result might sound a bit like Redbud. Yes, "vibes" can be a musical dirty word, to say nothing of "nostalgic vibes." Though this pandemic-born fourpiece (celebrating the release of debut EP Long Night) may cull their syrup-pop sound from the Bikini Bottom guitar stylings of Mac DeMarco and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, it's with equal songwriting savvy. Secret weapon: Katie Claghorn, whose gently creepy, syllable-stretching vocals recall Cocteau Twins in their "is it English, or an ancient Druid spell?" quality.  – Julian Towers

United, Vol. 7, by DJ Shani

Native Ballroom, Friday 24

DJ Shani Hebert reaches back to the roots of house music's original ethos with United, Vol. 7, her annual celebration of house music, community, and Black History Month, hosted by Queen Deelah. The event welcomes all visitors while making a specific effort for the disabled. Hebert, the host of KUTX's The Groove Temple, and Dallas-based DJ Kahnti aim to educate within the righteous boogie. Asks the Chicago native: "How else are you going to learn and progress and add to [house music] if you don't know the foundation?"  – Kahron Spearman

Moon Mullican Tribute

Sagebrush, Sunday 26

Moon Mullican defined honky-tonk piano. In the Forties and Fifties, the Texas native's country ballads and hillbilly boogies permeated Western swing and laid the groundwork for rockabilly, but Johnny Nicholas' new two-volume tribute LP Moon and the Stars exhumes the broader influence and artistry of Mullican. In celebration of the album's release, a stacked deck of contributors and acolytes gather to honor the piano man, including Marcia Ball, Floyd Domino, Earl Poole Ball, Emily Gimble, Katie Shore, and Scrappy Jud Newcomb. For sure, "Good Times Gonna Roll Again."  – Doug Freeman


Black Fund Awards Show

Paramount Theatre, Monday 27

Awards season – Grammys, Oscars, Super Bowl – alights in Austin too: Texas Film Hall of Fame, the incoming CMT Music Awards, and now the Black Fund Awards. Started last year and funded by $355,000 from the Austin Community Foundation and Black Central Texans, the BFAs announce 21 Black-led nonprofits selected for inaugural grants. Hosted by Houston television reporter Roland Martin and kicked off by Ballet Afrique, its music-charged coming-out unites the crème de la crème of ATX R&B and beyond: Taméca Jones, Alesia Lani, Cha'keeta B, and Tje Austin. "A night of Black Excellence," wrote Lani on social media.  – Raoul Hernandez


China Crisis, San Gabriel

3ten ACL Live, Wednesday 1

Liverpool's China Crisis stood apart from Eighties peers almost like a sore thumb. Neither neo-psychedelic like Echo & the Bunnymen nor electro-pop like OMD, the songwriting duo of Gary Daly and Eddie Lundon instead prefers a sophisticated draw of pop, jazz, country, and other genres – not for nothing, they've been called the British Steely Dan. Having rarely broken out of the cult artist bin, China Crisis still celebrates four decades with the album 40th Anniversary: Live From the Liverpool Philharmonic and a tour, on which this is a rare Texas stop.  – Michael Toland




Music Notes

by Derek Udensi

Banda MS

Moody Center, Friday 24

The nearly 20-member Mexican banda enters year 20 with a trophy case containing several Billboard Latin Music Awards. The MS in the group's name represents hometown Mazatlán, Sinaloa.


Ben Reilly

Antone's, Monday 27

Despite last year's ACL Festival lacking many big-name hip-hop acts, bubbling artists like this MC – named after the Spider-Man comic character – entertained attendees. His cadence and use of jazzy melodies resemble a young Kendrick Lamar, but the native New Yorker responds to those first-impression comparisons on "Charlie Charlie." There, he asserts: "I got no fear of the top/ Don't you compare me to Dot/ Only prepare me for God." Salem rapper Token closes.

Last Tuesdays w/ Talib Kweli

Native Hostel, Tuesday 28

The Chicago artist continues his monthly residency benefiting Jonathan "Chaka" Mahone's DAWA fund. Local support includes Mike Melinoe and Clova.

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