If you live in Austin then you already know there’s too much damn music to keep track of. And sometimes you just want to sift through it in bite-sized chunks. We totally understand. Allow us to introduce you to The Latest Toughs, five tracks from five bands to get you up to date and make each of your workdays a little easier.
Hector’s Pets- “Fast as Fuck”
Local zinesters Rubberneck just released their tenth issue and as always there’s a great punk-oriented compilation involved. The track that’s getting me through this Monday comes from Hector’s Pets, a former Austin band that (I think) has relocated to Brooklyn. Titled “Fast as Fuck,” the sound is a nice modern update on the Hollywood Brats, whose successors The Boys are also on the mix. For those not already hip to them, the Hollywood Brats were a clandestine British answer to the New York Dolls that never went anywhere due to some shady mafia record deal, but I suspect Hector’s Pets managed to snag at least a listen at some point and figured out Brats’ proto-punk glam template was worth pillaging. “Fast as Fuck” has its shit together more than anything the Brats ever did, but it’s got a sleazy gutter charm to it and some guitar licks that sound drenched in crotch sweat and I mean that as a good thing. This is Austin, so I know most of us are still shaking off weekend hangovers and could use a “Fast as Fuck” audio Bloody Mary or two.
Kathryn Legendre- “Have You Forgotten Me?”
We’ve got a treat for your Tuesday listening. Kathryn Legendre sent over an exclusive stream of her new track “Have You Forgotten Me?” (we’ll have the embed up tomorrow for now just click through the link), and it’s a beautiful slice of classic country, with Legendre’s aching voice packing an emotional wallop as she contemplates on lost love and the difficulties of forgetting. Legendre’s voice is a smoother mixture of Elizabeth Cook‘s nasally twang and Emmylou Harris’ soulful wail. When Legendre asks “Are you as tortured as I seem to be?/Or have you forgotten me?” it’s not an empty lyric but a fulfillment of the vulnerable longing expressed throughout the rest of the track, the siren call of the slide guitar and waltzy shuffle of the rhythm section put into simple but frank words. It might be easy to forget that Austin’s ’70s rep was built on this kind of country, but Kathryn Legendre reminds listeners that this music never stops being relevant.
Shakey Graves- “Dearly Departed”
Continuing his swift ascent to the tops of the Austin scene, Shakey Graves has been preparing a new album called And the War Came that’s due out in October, but he’s got a track up on their Bandcamp to whet your appetite in the interim. “Dearly Departed” is an impressively arranged stomper about a haunted house that pulls as much from Big Pink-era The Band as more typical folk influences. Structured as a duet, the vocals rightfully get the spotlight, but the percussion on the track is the secret star, with a full bodied kick filling out the low end while handclaps and snaps add an additional hook to the harmonies on the chorus. If this is any indication of what’s to come with And the War Came, then Shakey Graves might be blowing up far beyond our city’s limits soon.
We’re suckers for Growl’s brand of indie rock over here at Ovrld, so we’re thankful for the Vagabond’s Collective excellent Summer Nights compilation series, which has a new Growl track simply titled “Jackie” for us to keep on loop until a new release emerges. “Jackie” is a full fab tour of Growl’s careful balancing of Vampire Weekend-esque cadences and wordplay and ’90s leaning guitar heroics. There are mini-solos galore and a descending groove and a whole lot of technical mastery on display, but it never courts pretension or stuffiness. It’s a fun romp through the joys of summer lust and all the sweat that entails that shifts gears on each chorus to a more dramatic plea for a lover to come stay home for an evening. Magic, romance, hormones, whatever the source, it’s a thrill.
Corduroi- “It Wasn’t Me (Shaggy Remix)”
Also from that Vagabond compilation are a couple stellar remixes by Corduroi, an electronic musician I suspect is part of every collective in Austin. But for Friday, how could I pick anything other than Corduroi’s remix of the Shaggy “classic” “It Wasn’t Me?” Reconfigured as a Drake-like melodramatic rundown of guilty shenanigans with a sorrowful synth lead and waves upon waves of square filtered pads, Corduroi’s “It Wasn’t Me” is recognizable but only in the sense that a dream version of your house is recognizable. There’s a Major Lazer style breakdown and summer sprinkler hi-hats and then Shaggy disappears into some digital disintegration for a while. Consider this a preemptive jam for a weekend of regrets and apologies.
Nick Hanover got his degree from Disneyland, but he’s the last of the secret agents and he’s your man. Which is to say you can find his particular style of espionage here at Ovrld as well as Loser City, where he mostly writes about comics. You can also flip through his archives at Comics Bulletin, which he is formerly the Co-Managing Editor of, and Spectrum Culture, where he contributed literally hundreds of pieces for a few years. Or if you feel particularly adventurous, you can always witness his odd .gif battles with Dylan Garsee on twitter: @Nick_Hanover