FEBRUARY 2016 – JAM THERAPY
Why do you call yourselves Jam Therapy?
Tell us a little bit about the new EP? What inspired you to write it?
JANUARY 2015 – THE HALFWAYS
Kev Bev and the Woodland Creatures
- If I was a woodland creature, I’d probably want to continue my simple existence under the cover of dense vegetation. But all of you have forsaken Eden for the pleasures of human society. What prompted you to emerge from the actual jungle into the concrete jungle?
Great question! We are wild animals, indeed. But we thrive on creating music that makes other people happy. We don’t think music is as rewarding when you write and play it for yourself. We write songs that resonate with creatures of different natures. We love playing the concrete jungle of Austin, and bringing grooves that make bodies move and lighten moods.
Actually, from what I can tell, Kev Bev is not a woodland creature. Did you proselytize the music that inspired you throughout the forest?
Kev Bev’s music is inspired by the funk of the forest and the psychedelic soul of the creatures who party in it. The sound has grown bigger and bigger every year, as we become inspired by new species, bringing our songs fresh sounds from influences like electronic, afro-beat, and even disco.
- The artwork for your upcoming album, Domesticated, kinda looks like a kickass party version of Where’s Waldo. Did you design it?
Thanks! That was all the brainchild and artwork of our drummer, Adrian Oviedo. He is amazing at what he does. We feel that the cover art is a perfect representation of what it feels like to be at one of our shows. It includes images of friends and fans, as well as some fond memories from our band’s history.
- Speaking of the album, your record release party is January 16 at Independence Brewery. Tell us more about it!
We are super excited to finally be releasing Domesticated to our loving fans! The event is being hosted by the brewery, Austin Music Foundation, and Solstice Live, and will last from 8pm through midnight on Saturday, January 16th. Opening acts have not been confirmed. Tickets will be on pre-sale soon through Solstice. Let’s party!
Brother Wolf & The Carnivores
Frontman Sharrone Sofer began Brother Wolf as a solo project in 2013, but the songs he wrote needed a little more meat on the bones. He enlisted drummer Natalia Perez and lead guitarist Paul Carrubba to help him flesh out the tunes. After a few tweaks, the trio was ready to venture out of Sofer’s sweaty garage. They hit the ground running with a weekly, Wednesday-night residency they shared with a comedy open-mic at an East Side dive. Unfortunately, the dive bar didn’t survive, but Brother Wolf did, and the residency sharpened their rock ‘n’ roll fangs. But something was still missing…. In summer 2014, they found that something in virtuosic bassman Zazmodeex Marshall and ace rhythm guitarist (and multi-instrumentalist and Beatles fanatic) Aaron Willman. They were five, and they were finally Brother Wolf & The Carnivores. Since becoming a quintet, they’ve played at venerable Austin venues like The Mohawk, Hole in the Wall, Cheer Up Charlies, Holy Mountain and The Blackheart. They’ve recorded their first single, a majestic, powerhouse psych-flavored opus called “Fireflies.” The band has also embarked upon an ambitious music video, mini-movie project that will be a companion piece to their forthcoming debut record. So yes, this wolf pack of a band has got their plates full, but they’re hungry for more.
- Who is Brother Wolf? Who are the carnivores? Is anyone in this band a vegetarian?
Funnily enough, “Who is Brother Wolf?” was our first promotion campaign. But for the question itself: Brother Wolf is more an idea than a person. Brother Wolf is the guy pouring poison in the ear of the monster than lingers under your bed, teaching her how to be naughty. Brother Wolf is that whisper in the back of your mind when you’re about to do something stupid that says “why not?” The Carnivores? They’re the ones who clean up afterwards… and they’re definitely not vegetarians.
- You just celebrated the release of your new EP titled “Life is War”. Is this your first EP? If not, what makes this piece of work different from your other releases?
This is our first EP and, frankly, we’ve learned a lot from it. We’ll be re-recording some of these songs. They’re all great – they sound amazing. Somehow, though, amazing isn’t what we’re looking for. Next time, in true Carnivore style, they’ll be a little more raw.
- What themes does this EP contain? Where did you draw your inspiration from? What message are you sending out to listeners?
Sex and Death – the two big ones. Brother Wolf was originally the touring act Brother/Wolf and the tension is still there. Why separate that which hungers from that which feeds? The message, if there is one that can be named explicitly, is about the dangers of temptation – and its rewards.
- Your music is very lyric-oriented with powerful refrains. Is there just one person writing or do several partake in the writing process?
The lead singer is also the primary songwriter. It’s hard to staple down exactly how it changes during rehearsal, though. The songs as they were written originally will often be unrecognizable if your only reference is the songs as they’re played now.
- What have you learned from the writing, recording, and releasing experience? Is there anything you would do different?
Next time we’ll be a lot harder on ourselves. We’ve already got plans, and a space, for a full-length with real studio-quality gear in a low-stress environment. Next time we’ll be spending more on the production, pushing ourselves harder, and really trying to make a set of songs that sound different live than they do in the studio. We’re going to take our time, basically. This last EP was the product of 40+ hours of almost non-stop recording and editing, thanks to producers Chris Gutierrez and Aaron Willman. Next time, though, we’re going to make sure we’re cognizant of when to do five more takes and when to call it a day
Keeper is a synth-soul vocal group formed of three members – Erin Jantzen, Lani Camille Thomison and Yadira Brown. The first seeds of Keeper were planted as friendship between the 3, who found themselves in a closely-knit scene of DJ’s, musicians and music lovers during the summer of 2009 in Austin, TX. Over the next few years, while collaborating in several other bands/projects, the ladies became inspired by their mutual love for harmonizing, and their desire to make music on their own terms inevitably led them into the studio together. As in any other great relationship, they each bring their own magic to the group, strengthening their bond even further. Keeper has opened for such national touring acts as Glass Animals, Machinedrum, Daedalus, Shy Girls and more and has a track featured on the second season of Comedy Central’s hit show Broad City.
- Over the past few years, there has been an R&B resurgence you can find in artists like Jessy Lanza, D’Angelo, and Frank Ocean, among others. Keeper’s sweet harmonies and vocal style takes me back to 90s/00s R&B. Is that era influential to you as artists? What other musicians influence you that we may not have guessed? Are there any collaborations & experiences that have shaped your sound?
YB: I’ve been influenced by Portishead, hip hop from the mid 90s to early 2ks (wordplay, cadences, use of samples), Ella Fitzgerald, Nirvana, Erykah Badu, Bjork (weirdness, dissonance), Mariah Carey.
EJ: The 90’s/00’s are definitely a strong influence for me, as an artist. I have such vivid memories of driving around listening to female groups and to be able to sing in a group with two other talented women is a great feeling. I’m personally inspired by a vast array of music that there are too many artists to list, honestly. That’s part of what I love about Keeper; We are all coming from different places musically, and that has had a great impact on the shaping of our sound, but there are enough common musical threads that it always seems to make sense.
LT: 90’s r&b is hugely influential for me. I grew up listening to every kind of music really, in the middle of nowhere Hutto Texas, and for some reason that genre really resonated with me. I assume it’s because I also grew up singing in choir/church from a very young age, and my mom raised me on motown. My mom is actually a huge musical influence to me, as she was just always singing, she taught me to harmonize, introduced me to piano, woke me up by ‘playing’ on every surface in the kitchen with whatever utensil she was using to make breakfast… Other musicians that made a huge impact on me, and opened me up to feel comfortable with the musician/ performer that I was would be Bjork, Portishead, Thom Yorke, seeing Bjork at ACL back in the day was an experience I’ll never forget. She is kind of everything to me, She let me know it was ok to be weird.
- What individual talents and vocal styles do each of you bring to Keeper? What is “synth-soul” and when did you adopt that as Keeper’s style?
LT: Individual talents, Erin is always on top of things on the backend, I don’t know how we’d get anything done without her. Yadira is always arranging incredible a capellas to then marry a beat to. We all contribute to the song writing, and we all have creative successful friends to bring to the table. We like to keep things in the family. That way we all win. Synth Soul was derived by our dear friend, and close collaborator (erin’s boyfriend/ Yadira’s cousin) Orion Garcia. We aren’t necessarily R&B, and we aren’t necessarily electronic, and we don’t want to pigeon hole ourselves into anything that forces us to write and sing a certain way, so Synth-Soul gives us that description without compromising our creative freedom.
EJ: I personally feel that I have more of a pop-sensibility when writing, so I think that’s my contribution/perspective. To me, Synth-Soul speaks to the harmonic element that we bring to electronic based music. We can’t necessarily fit into any specific category or genre, but there’s soul and feeling in everything that we do, so I think it fits.
YB: we each have a unique sound and different ranges that compliment each other’s vocal abilities. I rap as well as sing, and tend to bring some of that style into the harmonies that I write. “synth soul” was coined by DJ Orion, after a conversation about Keeper not fitting into any previously named genres.
- How do you collaborate with producers? Do you participate in the production of the music as well as the writing?
YB: for the most part, we don’t produce. we all dabble but we know so many incredible producers and having the opportunity to work with them relieves us of the task. we write either to beats/ideas from a producer, or we write full arrangements to drum loops/bass lines that we create and then have the song produced around that structure.
EJ: The process of working with producers varies. The first couple of songs we released were written to drum loops and then produced using an a capella. Moonhigh was definitely more of a collaboration in the sense that we were given beats that we wrote to, but MoonDoctoR used our vocal to flip them and make them something new. It’s interesting to see how each producer works and experiencing the collaborations themselves is definitely the best part of the process, for me.
LT: Lyrics are big for me, and I think it’s safe to say for Keeper. Someone either sends us a beat we then write to, which requires listening to what the beat is saying and merge that with what you’re writing. There are also times where we will just construct an a capella or a drum loop to write to because we have written something that doesn’t fit with a beat yet. Then that gets sent to producers who construct the beat around it. Moondoctor, our producer for this album was really great at coming at it from both sides.
- Can you name a few of your favorite local Austin artists right now?
EJ: Tough question! A lot of music that I go out for is electronic based and there are a lot of great producers in town; BoomBaptist, Bames, Bird Peterson, Osiris & Payton Long (the homies). I also love seeing Emily Wolfe, Wild Child & Shakey Graves.
LT: Magna Carda, Emily Wolfe, Letting Up Despite Great Faults.
YB: Jazz Mills, Boombaptist. Wild Child. LOEGz. Eagle Claw.
As a kid growing up in a conservative small-town Oklahoma, Austin singer Autumn started her musical education listening to family-approved favorites such as Amy Grant, Sandi Patty and gospel-gone-secular great Whitney Houston.
Then Autumn discovered Lauryn Hill, and her “miseducation” began. “I could lay there for hours and hours, just by myself, listening and singing along,” she recalls of Hill’s solo debut. “It was the kind of music that really spoke to me. Just a good groove. I like a good groove.”
On her own self-titled solo debut, releasing Sept. 15, Autumn lays down many, many good grooves, crafting a blend of R&B- and pop-infused jazz that might best be described as electro-soul. Loungy and torchy, sultry and sexy, Autumn shimmers with the same elegant splendor as the season that gives its creator her name. (“Think a funky Norah Jones,” she suggests.)
In the winter of 2013, Wonderbitch sprouted from a fertile galaxy of childhood friends and stagnant basement projects in the small, musical town of Bloomington, Indiana. After creating a remarkably lush and groovy bedroom debut album with themes of unconditional love, sex, and healing, the band transplanted to Austin to hone their chops and to always have a stage to play on. Upon arrival, Wonderbitch picked up two Texan boys with a propensity towards “balls-ier shit,” doubling the drive to grow and play on an increasing scale. Their self-titled second release features new members and an energetically brimming new sound.
- We have to ask… What is a Wonderbitch? How is a Wonderbitch born?
Wonderbitch is the practice of love. Wonderbitch doesn’t know why its parents named it as such, but Wonderbitch loves you and Wonderbitch too, so it doesn’t matter so much.
- What is your mission here on Earth?
Wonderbitch intends to take you on a ride through new landscapes (but also make you feel like you remember your entire childhood happening in each one), to touch the soul, to keep you company, to make those songs that sound like the meaning of life when you’re in the right mood, and just to love you however you are. Also if you get turned on physically, we’re for it.
- You guys have a very interesting combination of sounds and the whole mix is all your own. I hear progressive rock, 80’s R&B, psychedelia, and some jazz influence. How did you guys achieve this sound? Does each member contribute to the song writing?
- What is your ideal line-up for a future show?
It would be a festival, we’d play at sunset before Tame Impala and a Mars Volta reunion, but then there would be late night legacy shows by Steely Dan, Yes, The Police, and Pink Floyd who would play all of Animals and then Meddle (and all the legacy bands are magically in their prime. Why not.)
Austin hip hop outfit Magna Carda, fresh off of a whirlwind 2014, are looking to make an early impact in the new year with the release of their mixtape Like It Is. Over the past few months, the group has become a fixture in the Austin music scene and has developed a reputation for their dynamic live-instrumentation approach to classic hip-hop, infused with a neo-soul sensibility. Anchored by vocalist Megz Kelli’s razor-sharp lyricism and producer Dougie Do’s crate-digging prowess, Like It Is finds the group delving deeper into the themes and concepts that have made them one of Austin’s most exciting new groups.
- The dynamics of your lyricism and music production are of equal excellence. As far as your song writing goes, what comes first: the tunes or the rhymes?
Thank you! Each song kind of comes out differently process wise. Sometimes Megz comes with a hook or a verse she’s been wanting to record and myself or the rest of the guys will try to find the right feeling/vibe for the music. The flip side is i’ll send any beats or loops I’ve been keeping in the vault for Megz to write some lyrics to. There’s not a preferred way, it kinda just goes back and forth.
- What are your favorite places to find live hip hop in Austin?
One of my faves is Empire. I’d say Empire usually has something hip hop oriented going on most weekends. Emo’s used to be the spot for me, but you can catch some local hip-hop usually at Holy Mountain or Mohawk.
- This month you have guys have a residency at Holy Mountain, a venue that has been forced to close in October. What are your thoughts about the challenges that local venues and music professionals are now facing as Austin growth causes skyrocketing rents and high costs of living?
Man it’s pretty crazy all the places we usually kick it are closing. It feels like I’m hearing a venue shutdown or about to close every 2 seconds this year. I don’t think anyone really felt anything was happening, but when Holy Mountain announced the final date, I think everyone realized that a lot of these creative environments/venues are becoming nonexistent very quickly. It sucks that the cost of living/rents are increasing drastically, but I think the creatives around town will slowly find another spot. When we played in the bay area a couple months back, it was almost as San Francisco was the final product of the road Austin is coming down, but hopefully Austin can keep most of the creative energy intact but we’ll see.
They’re set to release their album, V, sometime next year, which is their first album with live drums. Last year’s Dark Voices saw them heading in a murkier direction, and while this record is clearer, it ups the darkness in many ways. They’re less focused on pop structures, stretching out so Gable and Marshall’s synths sound more brooding and gorgeous. “A Perfect Day To Die” sounds like it was commissioned for a James Bond film, right down to the title. “Buttons (Slow)” has echo-laden growls from Gable that suggest his metal past isn’t entirely behind him. Knifight haven’t gone completely doom and gloom on us, though. John H dials in some bouncy basslines throughout, especially evident on the brief ray of sunshine in the form of “Broken Feeling.” This still has all the hallmarks to make the goth club go up on a Tuesday; the weekend’s too bright, after all. Dance floors are staging areas for all sorts of desires and danger, and Knifight are reflecting that with this new record.
- Primordial aliens partaking in ritualized sacrifice for their moon god. That was the first image that popped into my head when listening to your new album titled V. The trance-like synths mixed with epic drums and chants create that bigger-than-myself feeling. What were your intentions for this album? What is “wrongwave”? Is there a “rightwave”?
John H. - We wanted it to be more noisy/dirty. We were also interested in learning how to use our studio to record a full album start-to-finish.
Patrick – We wanted to showcase the evolution of our band and our writing process after adding a live drummer, and we also had started to collect synths, studio gear, etc. It was also nice to knock an album out completely on our own, if for no other reason than to just prove to ourselves that we could do it.
John G. – “Wrongwave” is a joke genre that I came up with because I’ve never really felt all that “cool”. We’re all quite awkward and lame. Influence is a tricky thing to pin down. I know that we are always trying to capture what we sound like live when we’re recording. Getting closer each time. I feel this is the closest we’ve gotten so far. It’s hard to capture that energy in most recording scenarios but just like we are growing as live musicians, we are growing as recording artists. We are always trying to push each other forward.
- Love your cover of “Breaking Glass” by David Bowie. Is his music an influence on you guys? I am also reminded of Depeche Mode and Joy Division when listening to your music. What music did you guys grow up listening to? What influences have shaped your sound?
Patrick – David Bowie is definitely an influence on us, especially Low-era Bowie. We like the melding of new wave, a little post rock, and solid late 70s/early 80s rock and roll. Covering “Breaking Glass” lets us really express all those styles. I grew up listening to punk, hardcore, south Texas rap, and then my brother gave me one of my first CDs, which was Depeche Mode’s Violator. It was all downhill from there.
John G. – Isn’t he an influence on everyone? But I also feel like everything is an influence. I grew up listening to The Oak Ridge Boys and Three Dog Night. That’s still in me. I’ll never be able to get rid of it. The same with C & C Music Factory all the way to Man is the Bastard and then back to Enya, maybe some Einstürzende Neubauten and Nasum and a dash of Erasure. It’s all there, in my brain, barfing out uncontrollably.
John H. – Big influence. Listened to a lot of Scary Monsters, Diamond Dogs, Low, Lodger and his newest one while making V. As a kid I only listened to 60’s pop, r&b and psychedelic until introduced to grunge, then ignored grunge and discovered 70s rock and prog. I discovered Joy Division and New Order around high school.
- Your music contains a lot of thematic elements. If you could compose a soundtrack for any movie what would it be?
John G. – My favorite composers are Ennio Morricone, Vangelis, Tangerine Dream, and John Carpenter. But when I was younger I also loved soundtracks like Repo Man, The Crow, Judgment Night (which is still kind of awesome), and Natural Born Killers. My favorite all time score though is probably The Keep by Tangerine Dream, but I’d love to record a tribute to the score of Duck, You Sucker! That’s a hard question.
John H. – (jokingly) Pitch Perfect 3.
Patrick – Total Recall.
29-year old seasoned Texan Benjamin Cina is not your ordinary singer/songwriter. Performing on a weekly basis to triple digit crowds in the ‘Live Music Capital of the World’ has become a welcomed norm, with no one more humble and visibly aware as to the significance of the public’s reception than the charismatic crooner himself.
- Your music is a fresh twist of soul, jazz, and R&B. What led you to this particular style of music?
A deep love and appreciation for classic soul like Marvin Gaye and Al Green mixed with my Jazz background from attending music school at UNT is probably the easiest way to explain how I landed on my particular style. I think that coupled with a fresh influence of modern R&B is what really created the texture for my latest project “Lets Go”. However lyrically and creatively I draw influence from all types of songwriting including folk, rock, blues and funk. These secondary influences might be a little less prevalent than the others I mentioned earlier, but they are still present.
- “Let’s Go” is your highly anticipated 1st full length studio album. Can you hint on what’s in store for your listeners?
When you listen to “Let’s Go” the first thing you will notice different from my previous projects is a switch to a more modern production style both in the instrumentation and sonic composition of the songs. The second thing you will notice is the songwriting and message from song to song. On all of these songs there is a consistent effort to have a clear message and have the song flow from start to finish to tell a complete story or to fully illustrate the concept of the song. The third thing you will notice is that I had A LOT of help on this album. From my own musicians Lance Lane, Ben Aiken, Chesley Roberts, Ben George and Noah Marks to a few local and regional musicians I got to work with, I had a lot of really great players who contributed sonically to the makeup of the album.
- Where did you draw your inspiration for this album?
Leading up to the album I was listening to a lot of Sam Smith, Gary Clark Jr and Alt-J…three totally different artists. I think you can hear some influence from them as well as a lot of older more ingrained influences of mine like curtis mayfield, anthony hamilton, james taylor and John Mayer to name a few.
- What advice do you have for local Austin musicians that are just starting out?
For anyone trying to start out here in Austin I recommend taking advantage of all the available gigs. Find out where you can play and what it takes to book a show (AMF is a great resource for this) and start performing as much as you can. Secondly, take A LOT of time to network and see other bands play. The more people you meet, the more opportunities you will find yourself getting. The more shows you see and the more bands you meet and talk with you will be increasing your chances of being asked to jump on shows you don’t have to set up on your own. Third, take full advantage of all the resources Austin offers its local musicians. Get plugged in with AMF, KUTX and anyone else you can find who supports local music.
Many artists write music based on their life experiences. For Phil Ajjarapu, that includes contracting typhoid while studying in India, getting bit by a shark his first and only time in the ocean, and most recently, miraculously surviving a terrible motorcycle crash. All of these have influenced Ajjarapu to create his debut album Sing Along Until You Feel Better. After long days of teaching choir to local Anderson High School students, Ajjarapu would use his spare time in the studio which was his form of therapy, physically and emotionally.
Do you think you would have made this album if it weren’t for the motorcycle incident? Were these song ideas something you already had been working on or were they all written after the fact?
I don’t think I would have made the album if I hadn’t had the accident. That’s sad to say, but I think it’s true, and that is one of the reasons I wouldn’t trade the accident for anything. Some of the songs I had previously written as catharsis after a relationship and some of them were written for the album. Others came about from homework assignments from my producer where he’d given me some problem to solve like crossing Rundgren’s Dust in the Wind with Big Star’s Holocaust just to see what would come out. That particular assignment birthed a song that feels more like CSNY produced by Brian Wilson. The title track was actually written after the album was tracked and so we booked another couple of days to get it onto the album.
- Would you say making this album was essential to your recovery?
Yeah, the album was essential to my recovery because it seemed so insurmountable that it made physical therapy and going to the gym seem really achievable in comparison. Having a long term goal distracted me from the daily challenges.
- Where do you draw your inspiration from? What musicians have influenced you the most?
Definitely The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Elvis Costello, Queen, Big Star, The Raspberries. Those are the big ones. I could dive down the esoteric rabbit hole of power pop bands that no one has heard of. As far as artists who aren’t considered power pop that I feel have an impact on my writing, Elliott Smith looms large.
- If you had to describe your life with one Beatles lyric, what would it be?
“You’ve got to carry that weight a long time”
Technicolor Hearts, the psychedelic, dream pop noir forces to be reckoned with! This unique duo is made up of Austin’s own Naomi Cherie and Joseph Salazar. The two conjoined with the idea of creating interactive expressions of life through visual and performance art. Their new EP, “Now We’re Here”, will release on March 6 which includes 8 tracks that incorporates dreamy, transcendent experiences that produces happy vibes.
Technicolor Hearts displays electrifying synthesizers with a wide variety of instruments to amplify Cherie’s soothing, enigmatic voice. Their raw creativity and vibrant artistry is why Technicolor Hearts is featured as this month’s Artist of the Month.
- Technicolor Hearts has a beautiful way of producing music and visual arts as intertwining elements. How do you go about this? Which element comes first in your creative process?
Oftentimes I’ll have an idea for a melody or song lyrics and Joseph adds basic instrumentation then I’ll add string arrangements or other ideas. Occasionally things have been so synchronistic that Joseph has shown me an instrumental song he’d been working on and I happen to have a vocal melody that matches up to fit it perfectly. We both have a background in visual arts so our band is like an ongoing art project. We are constantly dreaming up visual ideas to accompany the music and I usually start developing ideas for the imagery, videos, etc. as we are recording.
- Technicolor Hearts has been described as “dream pop noir” and “art+crafts pop”. What do these genres mean to you?
I feel like “dream pop noir” describes us perfectly because many of our songs have an ethereal mood or a happy feel sound wise, but then there are a lot of dark undertones that go into the writing and subject matter of the lyrics. “Arts + Crafts Pop” is a term we came up with to describe ourselves when we first started our project because of the art/music duality it encompasses and the collaged and tactile sensations we wanted to portray through orchestral layering, synth scapes and sampling with fragments of lo-fi tinsel strewn about.
- What opportunities have presented themselves to you as musicians in Austin?
We have gotten a chance to share the stage with some national touring artists we really admire like Phantogram, Zola Jesus and Dark Dark Dark. Our favorite show to date was performing before Chelsea Wolfe in the Central Presbyterian Church downtown which is an amazing space to play with its massive ceilings and out of this world acoustics.
- Lastly, what would your dream line-up be for a concert?
Bat for Lashes, The Flaming Lips, St. Vincent, Air, Portishead Flying Lotus and The Knife– some of our favorite musicians!
Hooka Hey is the band created by Hugo de Saint Quentin, a recent addition to Austin, Texas by way of Paris, France, who was raised on American and British rock music. Hooka Hey plays blues-based tribal beats with smoky, sludgy riffs drenched and charged like the air just before a rainstorm. Organic and raw, Hooka Hey’s “Transylvanian Voodoo” sound encompasses a wide variety of grooves and tones evoking artists like Queens of The Stone Age or Jack White.
Read an exclusive interview below with Hooka Hey to find out more about our February Artist of the Month.
- How would Hooka Hey compare the Parisian rock scene to the scene in Austin? Pros & Cons?
They are completely different, probably because there’s no such thing as a Parisian rock scene. The French are more into electronic music these days (I guess you heard of Daft Punk) and rock n’ roll doesn’t really belong there. Of course there are a few rock bands in Paris but it’s hard for them to be heard. It’s like sailing against the wind. So musically speaking I feel much more at home in Austin than in Paris. I guess I have always felt more American than French when it comes to music. Still, it feels really good to be a part of a vivid scene where rock n’ roll is so legitimate and people truly enjoy it. Not to mention a place where there are organizations like you guys at the Austin Music Foundation helping bands and promoting local music.
- Can you describe what a live Hooka Hey show is like?
People who come to our shows can expect not to hear the record. I hate going to a show and hearing bands play their songs just like their record. We like to do it differently and sometimes mess around a little bit with the songs. With some of them, we like to change stuff and incorporate special or extended parts. It’s like reinterpreting a song instead of just playing it. In a way it’s playing the song the way it’s intended to be played but couldn’t be recorded that way because of the recording format. Or it’s just letting it naturally grow. Songs should be living entities and not trapped in any format. It also keeps the audience on a limb not necessarily knowing what’s going to happen. It’s fun. It keeps everything fresh.
- What live acts have influenced you?
Obviously a lot of bands have influenced me over the years but if I had to spot one live experience, I remember seeing Them Crooked Vultures (a super group with Dave Grohl, John Paul Jones and Josh Homme) in Paris a couple years ago and these guys totally blew my mind. It was so big and groovy and at the same time so fresh and live with a tremendous attention to details. You know, those little things that make a big difference. It was a privilege to see this. So this was definitely a great inspiration but also kind of discouraging in a way. How can you be better than these guys? Talk about a challenge.
- What is your current favorite local Austin band?
This is hard to say. I have friends in bands in this town now, I don’t want to upset anyone. But the other day during free week I caught Beat Bodega and I loved it. I had never heard of them before and I totally dug their vibe. These guys can play. I also really like Think No Think. They supported us a few months ago for our single release party and that was awesome to share the stage with them.
To check out Hooka Hey’s music, videos, photos, and more, visit their website hookaheymusic.com
First off, what is a Migrant Kid?
Our (John and Miguel) parents worked as field workers in Texas. They grew up in San Antonio and Eagle Lake Texas. They ended up migrating up to Michigan to pick cherries in Traverse city and we were born up there. It really comes down to our parents working hard to give us choices. The gift of options and choices are probably the best thing they could have ever passed down to us.
Throughout the album the lyrics seem to take you on a roller coaster of inner soliloquy and storytelling. When is the moment you pick up a pen and start writing and what follows in your songwriting process? What influences you? – There really is no set formula we have for this. I think we really try and write about things as they come as to not sound forced. The last record we were all going through a break of some kind with an ex girlfriend so we did not have to look too far for inspiration or influence when creating the vibe and feel for the songs. Migrant Kids is completely collaborative from start to finish, one of us may have an Idea and it snowballs into a song after we all have had our hands on it. As far as our influences, we have many, right now we are all into Paul Simon’s Rhythm of the Saint’s, Michael Jackson and the National, but it really comes down to what we are all feeling at the time we start playing as a group, sometimes the music ends up sounding like nothing we have been listening to or influenced by, but that is a good thing!
Where do you wish to take Migrant Kids and what do you wish people to take from you?
We want to take Migrant Kids as far as our creativity and support will let us go. We have goals for this year, wanting to play ACL, record a new record, and tour more, but we will keep pushing ourselves as hard as we can until we feel like we can’t. We want what most other artists want, and that is to have people be moved by our art. I hope for us, people will feel like they can trust that our intentions are genuine, and want them to feel for the music just as much as we do. We work very hard at being honest. I mean our favorite comedians, favorite directors, artists, authors, musicians and people are all honest to the point of making themselves vulnerable. Iconic doesn’t boast iconic. Wise doesn’t boast being wise. We are what we put into it and as artists this means giving up many creature comforts for the benefit of the art. We are just people hungry to create our art and will make sacrifices in every aspect of our life to do so. Migrant Kids are not waiting for anything to be handed to us. This year will be a huge year for Migrant Kids and we’re very glad all the buzz is happening in Austin and all over Texas.
And lastly, what is your spirit animal?
We each have our own as individuals. As a group we are definitely a workhorse stallion. Fierce and hardworking and best left to roam wild.
For More MIGRANTS KIDS check out http://www.migrantkids.com
(Taylor Brandegee / AMF Staff Writer)
CHECK OUT THE AWESOME NEW VIDEO FOR “PRIMORDIAL SOUP”!
Timberos Del Norte
Multiple Grammy and Latin Grammy winning horn arranger and trombonist Raul “Ralo” Vallejo joins composer-producer and award winning salsa pianist Paul Matthews and renowned recording artists Carmelo Torres and Framy Diaz to bring you the debut recording of Timberos Del Norte.
Featuring some of Cuba’s finest vocalists, and recorded entirely in Austin, Texas, Timberos Del Norte’s self-titled first album is a showcase of some of the most energetic musical talent in the world. A Latin orchestra experimenting with the boundaries of Cuban dance music, Los Timberos have added their distinct and uniquely American voice to the rapidly evolving genre of Timba, blending elements of funk, R&B, jazz, and rock into a vivid, groove-oriented album of Cuban inspired dance music.
Energetic, vibrant, and supremely danceable, the debut effort from New York native Paul Matthews and Austin, Texas based Timberos Del Norte is Cuban music for everyone.
Riders Against The Storm
In everything Riders Against The Storm (RAS) touches, ceremony scrapes the floor and atmosphere. As performers and conduits, this boundless husband-wife hip hop duo are called to bring the ceremony back to the party. Hopping through, from seam to seam, cloaked in their own ideas of regalia and change, Chaka and Qi Dada cast out invitations to world – come and party.
(RAS) Riders Against the Storm is truly a musical movement in Austin, TX that can only be described as ‘historic.’ As recent recipients of ‘Band of the Year’ honors at the 2014 Austin Music Awards, RAS represent a significant first in the ‘Live Music Capital.’ Over the past 32 years, hip hop has never received the top honor at the annual SXSW awards show.
Beyond the awards, RAS was featured in the Emmy award-winning PBS series ‘Arts In Context.’ ‘Holy Water,’ a song from their 2013 self-titled EP was chosen as one of 66 songs (from a pool of more than 20,000 submissions) to receive an award from the International Songwriting Contest in 2014. Their growing notoriety recently earned them a spot on Mashable’s ‘Top 11 up-and-coming bands in Austin.’
Aside from headlining many shows throughout the country, RAS has opened for national recording acts, including: K’Naan, KRS-ONE, Wu-Tang Clan, Raekwon, Talib Kweli, Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), Slick Rick, Nas, Rakim, Damian Marley, ?uestlove (of The Roots), Antibalas, Devin the Dude, Dead Prez, Kid Sister, The Coup, The Geto Boys, Jean Grae, Pharoahe Monch, Dam Funk, Michael Franti, and Black Thought.
Squint came to be in the icy tundra of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a product of the childhood friendship of guitarist, Matt Fredrickson, and vocalist, Dane Adrian. In an effort to escape the isolation of the U.P., they relocated squint to Louisiana, and then ultimately to Austin, TX. Squint’s first album, Beeker, opened doors to regional touring.
They acquired a fair amount of recognition in the South, opening for bands such as the Toadies and Goo Goo Dolls. In their sophomore effort, squint managed to attract the attention of the legendary Ed Stasium (Ramones, Soul Asylum, Motörhead); he signed on to take the reins as producer. The resulting album, Tinsel Life, earned them a New Music Award nomination at the American Music Awards. Tinsel Life made CMJ’s Top 20 Adds and charted on the CMJ Top 200. For their 3rd effort, Goodnight, Bad Intentions, squint brought in producer Dave Percefull (Bowling for Soup, David Cook). The album was well received by critics, including M Music & Musicians Magazine, and the resulting videos received national airplay. With an arsenal of new songs ready, squint joined forces with Anberlin guitarist, Joseph Milligan, to produce their 4th album. The Art of Scarring, released just last month, features 12 tour-tested tracks.
Sponsor Jägermeister has featured squint on several Jäger Music Tours, as well as the Rockstar Energy UPROAR Festival with Avenged Sevenfold. Squint’s songs have been featured on NBC, MTV, A&E, Nickelodeon, and Oxygen. Their song “Quite” is the opening theme for the television show “Dark Rising: The Series.” Microphone stand manufacturer, Atlas, joined forces with squint in 2004, possibly making Dane Adrian the first artist in history to have a microphone stand endorsement. Squint is also proudly sponsored by AKG Microphones.
Soul Track Mind
Soul Track Mind has an original sound that blends soul, funk, and rock with elements of R&B, blues, and jazz. Lead singer Donovan Keith moved from South Bend, Indiana to Austin, Texas in 2008, intent on starting a musical act rooted in the sounds he grew up with on oldies radio. He assembled the band’s initial lineup and began a now-legendary weekly residency at East Austin juke joint TC’s Lounge before branching out to venues throughout Central Texas. Over time, the seven-piece band developed the one-of-a-kind, dance-infused stage show loved by fans across the country.
The band released their debut album, Ghost of Soul, in 2010, and have since toured close to 20 states including extensive travel throughout the Southeast, Southwest, Midwest, and West Coast. Their self-titled second album was recorded in 2012 in Austin and New Orleans and released in April 2013. Texas Music Magazine featured the group on the cover of the summer 2013 issue.
STM’s third album, Unbreakable, is set for release September 16, 2014. This LP is an evolution and expansion of their sound far beyond what the band has done in the past. Having grown significantly as musicians and songwriters, and now working with producer C.J. Eiriksson and recording at Austin Signal Studio, with Unbreakable STM demonstrates more emphatically than ever what they’re truly capable of.
The Austin, Texas band, Quiet Company has been making a name for themselves nationally for their energetic live shows and their anthemic, dynamic, indie-rock — which critics have called a mix of The Beatles, Death Cab for Cutie, Arcade Fire & Weezer — with attention from the likes of the NY Times, Paste Magazine, NPR (Top 5 Bands to See at SXSW), Last Call with Carson Daly, Houston Chronicle, Austin Chronicle and more. During SXSW 2014, Quiet Company won Rock Band of the Year to add to their previous 10 Austin Music Awards including Band of the Year,Album of the Year, Rock Band of the Year, Indie Band of the Year and Song of the Year, all won on the strength of their 2011 release, We Are All Where We Belong. After the success of their 2013 album re-release, A Dead Man on My Back: Shine Honesty Revisited, the band was chosen to be a Red Bull Sound Select Artist and featured on a segment on NPR’s All Things Considered which rekindled interest in We Are All Where We Belong and shot the album up to Number Seven on the iTunes Rock charts nearly 2 years after release. After an amazing year on the road with festivals including NXNE, CMJ, ACL Fest and more, the band kicked off 2014 in the studio writing their their highly anticipated new full-length, Transgressor, in Austin, Texas with Matt Noveskey (Blue October) producing & mixed by the legendary Tim Palmer (U2, Pearl Jam, The Cure).
Distant Lights, the 4-piece classically trained rock powerhouse out of Austin TX, combine equal parts science, artistry, curiosity, and tenacity to convey a truly magnetic passion for songwriting and live performances. For 6 years, DL has been crafting their aggressively beautiful, and hauntingly intense alternative rock. Hues of dark and mysterious blend with a colorful palette of melody and classical exploration, toeing the line between rock and performance art, pop and metal, serenity and a storm. This fall Distant Lights releases “Beneath the Waves”, an Acoustic EP (their 3rd studio album), followed by the feature length documentary Blindfolded on the Horizon. The film explores their path and progression from a cello heavy prog rock band, through the deep chasm they were thrown into after the disappearance of their principle investor/mentor, and the long road of recovery through member changes and individual struggles. Constantly evolving and growing both musically and spiritually, this new album and documentary offer a vulnerable look behind the curtain at their songwriting process, current obstacles, and the purging of their past skins.
The soul and spirit of this wonderfully talented Texas native is an unprecedented development. Inspired by a dash of many genres and all things colorful in life, Caitlin comes to the stage well-versed and ready to capture her audience. Just a few years ago, sitting in her car outside her dorm she began composing music using a simple midi keyboard, a laptop and a wealth of talent. Writing music and composing remixes over her first few semesters kept her afloat spiritually while she worked on her Bachelors of Arts in English, Literature and Rhetoric. Eventually she managed to get her hands on the right gear and the right muse which ushered in her future ambitions to become an accomplished artist. Since then she’s written and composed many original songs, and even lent her classic stylings and rich tone to collaborate with others. She’s a full-scale artist beyond the 88 keys she so graciously plays. She creates art in many forms; she paints, designs, writes, dances, and studies culture and languages as well. Give Caitlin a brush and she’ll paint you something you’ve never seen before; give her a mic and piano, and she’ll captivate you; get to know what she’s about and where she’s going and she’ll inspire you as she has inspired those around her. Caitlin has just released her debut EP “Ocean Eyes”. She brought on producer Josh Woodhouse of Droplink Productions and the very talented composer Andrew Martin of Futurluv (https://soundcloud.com/futurluv) and the end product is a masterful work of electro-pop fused with the raw vocal talents and piano playing of Caitlin Taylor. She is currently in the studio working on her second EP. Expect the first single from her this summer.
The Human Circuit is an independent psychedelic-rock band on the cutting edge of creativity—a catalyst for art and sound. T.H.C. combines multiple layers of melodic lyrics with piano, synthesizer, trumpet, trombone, violin, cello, flute and clarinet harmonies backed by layered drums and percussion. The band was formed by Mat Oldiges and David Bridges in Houston, Texas, and was later reestablished in Austin, Texas with the addition of some incredible new members. The Human Circuit released their first professionally recorded album, “Circuit Tree” in December 2012 with the help of 5th Street Studios in Austin, Texas. They are soon to release their next album, Frequent Seas. Their first professional music video, Electric Cute, was also released June 2013. The Human Circuit has and will always joyously rock weekends at venues like Mohawk, Hole in the Wall, Scoot-Inn, Spider House, The Parish, and more. The Human Circuit has loved performing events and festivals like South By South West, Independence Brewing Company’s First Saturday, FrankenBike, East Austin Studio Tours (E.A.S.T.), and many more. Playing festivals and events will always be a major part of their future. The Human Circuit is one of the most innovative, influential, intuitive, and cutting-edge bands of their time. Their spectrum of sound is not explainable—it must be experienced. The Human Circuit strives to offer art not only through their sound, but deeply desires their sound be a vessel for other creative arts as well.
Raised on a farm on the coast of Washington state, Daisy saved money to buy her first guitar by selling sheep. That’s right — selling sheep. She taught herself how to play in her unheated attic bedroom. “I’ve been writing since I learned how,” she says, “and the written word has always been my most loyal companion.”
As one of Austin’s most beloved world music/indie artists, Chavez is known for her impressive multi-instrumental performances and an inimitable sound inspired by cumbia, bossa nova, vintage pop, reggaeton and other genres. With accolades such as the 2012-13 Austin Music Award for Best Latin Traditional Artist/Band (along with placing in three other categories), two tours in Japan as theOfficial City of Austin Music Ambassador, and praise from National Public Radio‘s All Songs Considered and Alt. Latino as one of eight “New Latin Artists at SXSW,” Chavez has claimed a prominent stake in the Live Music Capital.
Joel Laviolette and Rattletree are at the forefront of a new era of live World/Electronica – modern sounds weave through the roots of ancient and organic African music. Playing GIANT hand-built marimbas, Rattletree incorporates cutting-edge live video projection, DIY synth manipulation and choreographed dance. They create a high-energy stage presence and uplifting high-vibration dance music. WWOZ New Orleans describes them as “Sound, energy, and enormous instruments. Amazing!”. Rattletree’s new EP “Joy” takes us on a journey, getting us out of our heads and into our bodies. Joy pushes the envelope of “traditional” trance-inducing poly-rhythmic music of Zimbabwe by uniting it with powerful electronic beats that make it impossible do anything other than feel the music course through your veins.
Triple threat, John Lockhart, has been well-known throughout Texas and Nashville as a touring/session guitarist and is now making his national debut as a solo recording artist with his latest release, “Guilty Pleasure.”
Lockhart’s notorious expertise in rock and roll combined with his Texas country roots has yielded his own unique brand of modern, electric country. His new E.P., “Guilty Pleasure,” is an energetic mixture of guitar driven talent with true country tones that is proving to appeal to a broad audience of loyal fans
Ben Johnson is an Austin-based composer and musician who writes, records, and produces his own handcrafted piano music. He recorded his debut album, Handcrafted Peace, in early 2013 while completing his final semester at The University of Texas at Austin, where he studied music. His next album, Sounds of Austin, Texas, weaved together more original piano music with field recordings from locations around Austin, and it caught the eye of news station KUT 90.5, which interviewed Johnson about the project. His most recent release is a collection of traditional and original Christmas music entitled Peace and Eggnog. He publishes and performs his works as “Ben Johnson Music Factory.”
KP and the Boom Boom formed in the fall of 2010, with members from across the US and from the UK, and found home in Austin, TX. Their soulful groove foundations are tied together by accents from funk, jazz, world, and disco beats. KP’s lyrics draw from her experiences traveling the world, communicating how we can find the positive within the realities of life.
KP and the Boom Boom’s live performances evoke the spirit of rhythm and move the soul to dance. They deliver an electrifying, meaningful, and memorable experience-connecting with the audience and keeping them on their feet.
This year, KP and the Boom Boom teamed up with power producer, AJ Vallejo, to record 3 new tracks including their single, “Feel It”. Their first official music video, directed and produced by the Avellan sisters, will be released in November 2013.
Their IDR sound and catchy hooks has landed them at Insominiacs 2011 Nocturnal Fest, 2011 Neon Desert Music Fest, 2012 Bacardi+ Fest, and the 2012 Pachanga Music Festival. GOBI has shared the stage and opened for acts ranging from: The Cool Kids and Chiddy Bang, to Dj’s such as MSTRKRFT, Treasure Fingers, Z- Trip, Paper Diamond, and new dance groups Big Gigantic, Future Rock, and Nobody Beats the Drum.
One of her big fans is renowned rocker Willy Nile, who raves, “Vonne, one of the great treasures of I’m not kiddin’ rock till u drop American roots music, lays down some of the most righteous, low-down, sexy, glorious, you’re-not-gettin’-outta-here-alive (and who would want to) rock ‘n’ roll this side of the grave.Rattle My Cage is her best work. Roots rock for those who want it real!”
SaulPaul is a Musician with a Message. He transitioned from prison incarceration to college graduation. From tragedy to triumph. Now he shares his story through his music all across the world.
Part rapper/part singer songwriter, SaulPaul is an entertaining artist who blends his voice, his guitar and his loop pedal to create a live show that is nothing less than an EXPERIENCE.
SaulPaul has performed for, partnered with or provided music for clients such as We Are Social, The National Retail Federation, THE NFL, THE NBA and others. Feel free to contact us to book SaulPaul to come to your city, play a part in your event or produce custom music for you, your company or organization.
COSMIC WOLF was formed in May 2012 by singer/guitarist Yayo Sanchez and guitarist/singer Chris Iorio (Adelita’s Way co-founder). Soon after the band’s formation, bassist Austin Simmons and drummer Chris Copeland came in to complete the band’s dynamic lineup. They have combined signature blazing guitar riffs, thunderous drums, pulsing bass lines, along with massive soaring choruses that already have people around the world saying they can see the Cosmic Wolf playing their local arena! Don’t be fooled!! Cosmic Wolf is not just your typical rock band. Not only is their sound explosive, their songs possesses the ever needed ability to cross-over into other genres and formats. Even though the band was formed just months ago, they have managed to grab the attention of major companies. The band is already endorsed by Fender and American Music Water. In early 2013, the band quietly released the first taste of Cosmic Wolf to their fans by releasing the track “Light It Up”. The song has successfully gotten the industry buzzing and has them lined up for some big opportunity’s coming up in the near future. 2013 has started off well for Cosmic Wolf. They are currently finishing writing material for their first album, and are planning to tour the U.S later this year. It has begun.
A native Texan, Cheryl Murdock has been singing since she was a preschooler, memorizing radio tunes and making up songs, which were proved to be excellent early training for the accomplished vocalist and songwriter. Born and raised in San Marcos, Texas, she started singing in her first band, Permanent Smile, when she was 17. She soon joined the group Second Glance, which played original songs in San Marcos and Austin, including clubs on the famed Sixth Street. Second Glance released two albums and attracted major label attention. After settling in Austin, Cheryl next performed briefly with a local cover band before forming the band Shine. Shine developed a strong following and Cheryl continued to hone the songs that eventually found a permanent home in her first solo CD.
In 2004, Cheryl released her debut solo CD, Starting Fires, which turned the spotlight on her powerful, lush voice and evocative lyrics. Starting Fires showcases her range with edgy pop, rock, and Texas-flavored melodic singles. In addition to the title track on the Starting Fires CD, her signature songs include Big Shoes, I’ve Waited So Long, Breathe Again, and On the Inside. Cheryl’s command of different styles garnered her and fellow Austin songwriter Slade Crabtree five nominations covering four musical genres in the Austin Songwriters Group Songwriting Contest, and Honorary Mentions in the CMT/NSAI contest. Expressed through her stirring vocals, their songs won awards in two categories, including first place in pop for the Austin contest.
Cheryl now performs under her own name with talented band back-up. Winning more recognition than ever for her songs and musical ability, Cheryl is poised for continuing growth and an even higher level of solo achievement. The launch of the new Late Bloomer CD in June 2013 marks Murdock’s second CD, with emotional and fiery tunes, and great melodies that will be popular for a variety of music enthusiasts. Her original songs continue to reflect an emotional honesty appealing to all listeners. Late Bloomer, Sweet Addiction, and Dog House Flowers are all special tunes that she drew from personal experiences. The CD was produced and recorded in collaboration with Texas Hall of Famer and Austin music icon Kevin McKinney.
J Ray is a one-man-band sporting a Lasonic Ghettoblaster boombox, guitar, and a microphone. Oh, and there’s also Boxman 3000, his cardboard robot companion from outer space who travels and dances alongside J Ray. J Ray is releasing his debut album, “Some People”, on May 21, 2013. After many hours sitting behind the console, writing, recording and mixing his own songs, it has finally come to a head. At first it was just for fun to entertain himself after creating Beautiful High for the independent feature film, Chameleon Code. Then an interstellar cardboard robot, Boxman 3000, showed up, dancing to his music and forced him to write more songs. Held at blaster-point, J Ray continued to write more songs which eventually became a full album entitled, “Some People”. Through this process J Ray and Boxman 3000 would often roam the streets of downtown Austin, TX, testing the songs on the public. Some people looked at them in fear and some people embraced the extraterrestrial cardboard robot and demanded photos with Boxman 3000. People often wonder why there is a cardboard robot following J Ray, so, in response, J Ray wrote a comic book, illustrated by James Linares, to give a little insight into why Boxman 3000 is here. The comic book entitled, “J Ray and Boxman 3000: Some People”, will be included in the CD package.
Best known for their face melting, mind-blowing, power/progressive/melodic shred… a genre coined as ‘Super Metal’ amongst fans, Immortal Guardian’s extreme live performances have left countless fans in awe with their astounding musicianship, technicality, and energy. The band has received praise from guitar nerds around world due to guitarist/keyboardist Gabriel Guardian’s ability to shred on both instruments SIMULTANEOUSLY. With the recent addition of Brazilian vocal siren Carlos Zema, the band has evolved into a full frontal metal assault of anthemic melodies, technical rhythms, and powerful highflying vocals. Immortal Guardian made some waves this SXSW as their “Shredding In The Streets” performances, a series of gorilla style non-permitted street shows, made SPIN Magazine’s “50 Best Things We Saw At SXSW2013” and caught the eye of Green Day front man Billy Joe Armstrong while performing on 6th and Red River. The band will be performing at several music festivals, guitar clinics, and one-off shows in Brazil this July in promotion of their new EP as well as laying the groundwork for some big plans related to the 2014 World Cup.
Her life is an artistic stage, dedicating herself to performances steeped in family and tradition. In October 2012, Leticia Rodriguez debuts her first musical album, La Americana, a compilation of award winning tribute music filled with meaning and heart.
Leticia Rodriguez is a charismatic Latina performing award winning Latin covers well known in many countries. Rodriguez’ songs span the decades, starting with music from the 1930s through the 1950s and continuing through today’s music. Many of the tunes on La Americana were sung by Rodriguez’ aunt, internationally renowned Eva Garza, who was one of the first Hispanic recording artists from Decca Records (Columbia). Songs sung by Eva Garza and redone by Rodriguez on La Americana are: Tenías Que Ser Tú, Incertidumbre, Un Rato Nomás, A Los Cuatros Vientos, Celosa and Volver.
Inspired by her musically inclined family, and in particular her by her Tía Eva, as a child, Rodriguez often spent days on end listening to her aunt’s LPs. “Eva was vital to my musical education.” Rodriguez said. “Her voice was unmistakable and rich.”
After twelve years of making music on the road and at home, local darlings Cruiserweight disbanded in 2010. Siblings Stella and Urny Maxwell took a brief pause from the spotlight and international touring and then jumped head first into a new project- Adam and the Bullshark. Half rock band, half original musical stageplay for kids of all ages, the undertaking is ambitious, to say the least. While never dismissing the sincerity or success of their former band, the Maxwells agree: Their new venture has teeth. What started as a silly story about a strawberry jam-loving bullshark years ago (made up in a Pre-K classroom where Stella taught at the time,) has evolved over seven years, where now the goal of producing “Adam and the Bullshark” into a full-scale musical is rapidly coming into focus. Anyone who knows Cruiserweight’s former lead vocalist is well aware of her big ideas’ tendencies to snowball… big time. With bullshark pinatas on display and party favors to boot, Adam and the Bullshark’s shows are punk-rock and grandiose at the same time, but always captivating. Whether appealing to beer-swigging 20-something’s at Emo’s or elementary school-aged kids on the “Kiddie Limits” stage at ACL, Adam and the Bullshark fits right in with an audience looking to be entertained. A tight schedule of shows as well as plans to record the musical score in early 2012 are under way.
Phillip Thomas was 17 years old when he walked out on stage for the first time in his hometown of Harlingen, Texas; however, the doorway that led him there opened up nearly a decade before at the very susceptible age of 9. It was the guitar that first laid its hooks deep into his young music psyche followed quickly by the drums, and from the 6th grade on, the impact of his new found talents bound and pulled him through seemingly endless years in search of his very own band. This exploration of greatness proved to be a rather daunting task as only two styles of music were appealing to the local boys his age: heavy metal and, being of Spanish descent, Tejano. Similar to his peers, Phillip loved both genres of music; though, it was country music that grasped him the tightest. “Once I got old enough to listen to my own music, country is what I loved. I marveled at the story telling.” By his high school senior year, Phillip found and enlisted his first two band mates and would spend the next couple of years solidly building a regular touring path throughout the Valley, which led to an opening performance for the legendary Willie Nelson on South Padre Island in November 2008. After receiving accolades on his show from the master storyteller himself, any doubt he may have entertained quickly diminished, leaving a now 20 year old Phillip Thomas feeling blessed by the sage’s hand. Other performance opportunities quickly followed including opening for acts such as Mark Chestnut, Johnny Lee, Tracy Lawrence, Kevin Fowler, Johnny Cooper, and the prominent alt-country heavy-hitters, Reckless Kelly, just to name a few. Now at only 22 years of age, Phillip has finished his 2nd recording session along with the assistance of the fiery Texas rock band, Vallejo. Phillip’s first single to be released off the new LP is titled “Weatherman” and is a fun summer song written for all the party going fans throughout Texas and the Southwest.
Born in Laredo, boomeranged between Istanbul, New York City, and Cairo, Aly Tadros found her home as a songwriter in Austin somewhere in between. In five years, Tadros has played nearly 700 shows across North America and Europe. She is a Guild endorsed artist, and also helped to form The Sweetness, an urbanfolk collective of Austin and Toronto-based singer/songwriters. The Sweetness toured last year with a four-person documentary film crew commissioned by the Film Akademi of Stuttgart, Germany. Aly will be playing select shows with her full band across Texas this week in anticipation of her sophomore release, The Fits (January 15, 2013).
A melting pot of infectious swaggering rock laced with Latin percussion and fiery live performances has made VALLEJO one of the most popular bands to hail from Austin, Texas. VALLEJO just released their first new album in four years entitled Brothers Brew (VMG). Featuring the first single & video for the mid-tempo groover “Waiting On You”, bombastic opening track “Free” and album closer “Nothing To Lose” – Vallejo’s new CD Brothers Brew proves that the rhythm is undeniably still in the blood.
One word best describes the music of M Renee Suaste: soulful. Picking up the guitar at age 8, we are the beneficiaries of Renee’s life-long love of the instrument. Her voice carries a depth of experience, communicating a rare directness and beauty. Although recorded in New York City, her debut album is closely aligned with the more natural rhythms of her Texas roots. In this album, we hear the culmination of a lifetime crafted through her expressive lyrics and high attention to detail, resulting in a rich experience for the listener.
Chesterfield is a 7 piece, Modern Funk/Rock group, born and raised in Austin, TX that lives to create music, write songs, and perform live. Their mix of melodic grooves, raw power, and high energy/danceable songs is what makes this band one to watch. Spawned from a mutual love of funk and soul music, these 7 men have formed a special bond and, together, have crafted music that is as deep and emotional as it is sexy and fun. The release of their debut album, in late 2011, has kept Chesterfield busy playing shows all over Central Texas, and introducing their brand of Funk Rock to masses while simultaneously preparing for their second album, set to begin recording in the Fall of 2012.
The Aaron Clift Experiment
Hailing from the live music capital of the world, Austin-based symphonic progressive rock band, The Aaron Clift Experiment, takes the familiar and the unchartered to make music that appeals to the romantic, the brooding, the optimist and the naturalist. With band members coming from diverse musical backgrounds, the band’s unique songs draw from a wide range of influences – from classic progressive rock acts like Genesis, Pink Floyd, and Rush to modern groups like Porcupine Tree and Opeth to classical and jazz composers like Beethoven and John Coltrane. The band’s debut album, “Lonely Hills,” produced by Blue October bassist Matt Noveskey, is available for sale now on the band’s website.
Candiland’s music is a powerhouse mixture of upbeat, funky R&B soul, laced with the feverish kinetic energy of rock ‘n roll. Her debut album, Rumble In The Playground, produced by fellow Texan and collaborator, AJ Vallejo, is a lifetime-in-the-making tribute to her musical idols: Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle, and the great Aretha, to name a few, featuring a who’s who list of Austin’s finest talents such as Guy Forsyth, David Grissom (Dixie Chicks, John Mellencamp), Phil Redmond, Selton Cole, Haydn Vitera (Asleep At The Wheel) and many more.
The Bipolar Bears
With three lead singers, The Bipolar Bears pull their many decades of influence together to make a sound that is both cohesive and ever-changing. One can expect heavy anthem rock and punk ballads with a twist of disco dance beats and electronica, all at peak energy output at every show. It’s a combination that leaves no square foot on the dance floor untouched, and the fans always seem to come back for more. The Bipolar Bears incorporate the work of the 3 songwriting members to create their unique sound. Sharing influences of David Bowie, ELO, The Smiths, and Jeff Buckley to name a few, they have made it their goal to make you move!
Building seamless bridges, Naga Valli’s music is described as East Indian soul infused with delicate touches of pop, rock, trance and pure Eastern tradition. The power and emotion in Valli’s voice, her lyrics that speak of inner struggles and inspiration, combined with the effortlessness with which she blends Eastern overtones with Western melodies make Valli’s music refreshingly unique and yet, familiar at the same time. Naga Valli just released her long-awaited debut CD, Eastern Soul.
Becky Alter is an indie singer and multi-instrumentalist who has gained attention and recognition for her vocals and style. She has been described as having a voice that “rings clarity and perfection.”
2012 saw the release of her self-titled album, BECKY ALTER, and a tour of the western US in support of the album. The album is a collection of indie, blues, rock, and instrumental, and has been regarded as “eloquent in both poetry and playing,” with “catchy melodic hooks” and “hauntingly evocative” vocals.
Since arriving in Austin 4 years ago, Austrian guitarist Ulrich Ellison has garnered an impressive track record. As a jazz major at UT, he won three consecutive Downbeat Awards in a row. Last year, Ellison was featured in the Austin Pink Floyd show “Guess Who’s Pink” at the Seaholm Power Plant. He has appeared on the album Vienna Tuning, featuring Jose Feliciano and the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra. In July of 2011 he held a highly successful Kickstarter campaign raising $7000 – enough to lay the groundwork for the production of his newest album, Lose Yourself. Featured players include drummer Dony Wynn, who currently plays with Robert Plant, and Steve Bernal on cello and bass.
It is a very exciting time for the Austin, Texas band Electric Touch! They just released their newest EP and Single, “Don’t Stop,” on iTunes, announced a tour with AMA’s Best New Artist – Hot Chelle Rae – as well as a handful of dates with Evanescence on the east coast and premiered their first video, filmed in Brooklyn, NY with label Island Def-Jam, on the homepage of VEVO. Whew! The band describes the song best as “a Sunday morning memory of the Saturday night before.”