Latest Toughs: Meganoke, Anastasia, FOOLS and more

by Nick Hanover

Latest Toughs

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.

Filthy “Evil”

Filthy, as you might have guessed from their name, are not interested in subtlety. The band prefers to make their presence immediately known through barbed wire squalls of guitar and relentless rhythms, audio ecstasy delivered through a thousand tiny cuts, db meter so firmly in the red it may as well be an open vein. But their new EP “Fault in Tolerance” provides a little more melodic nuance than you’d expect, particularly on the exceptional “Evil.” The song begins with an unholy torrent of piercing guitar but that fades away until there is only an insistent electronic beat, rumbling bass and monkish vocals, the guitar returning for the chorus, where it shifts to something borderline catchy yet anguished, mirroring the torment of the vocals and a simple but mesmerizing synth line that arrives at the end. As Filthy prove, sometimes it just feels good to be a little evil.

Filthy play Mohawk on Sunday, June 3rd with Knife in the Water

Meganoke “Obtain In”

Trip-hop pops up as a modern artist’s intended genre far more often than it’s actually achieved. Meganoke deserves praise for not only being one of the few local artists who actually knows how to make trip-hop sounds but also one of the few artists in the genre, period, who makes trip-hop that sounds fresh rather than dated. Producer Blesd Infinite deserves a lot of the credit for that on “Obtain In,” where Meganoke’s alien voice is backed up by a beat that mixes classic boom bap with enchanting plucked strings and an ever-mutating rhythm. Meganoke and Blesd don’t just gel on the production end either, Blesd pops up for a guest verse, where his casual stroll of a flow helps ground Meganoke’s celestial vibes.

BBQT “Golden Twenty”

BBQT’s “Golden Twenty” is a vision of an alternate history where Joan Jett fronted the New York Dolls, and if that doesn’t pique your curiosity you should rethink your life. There’s the requisite glam stomp and snotty riffs but what completes the effect more than anything is the sense that this music is life or death for BBQT herself, something she needed to unleash on the world to prove that she truly is the star she has always believed herself to be. So even amidst declarations like “I’m here to fight/And make love all night,” there’s the feeling of Jett-like feisty vulnerability rather than the cynicism and delinquency of David Johansen. I suspect that BBQT’s inner stardom is going to be unleashed on a larger population sooner than later.

Anastasia “Capitol Bells”

“Capitol Bells” finds two of Austin’s most reliable hip hop talents combining forces, with Anastasia bringing her smooth confidence to an electro-funk tinged Haris Qureshi production. Qureshi is a producer who refuses to stick to one sound but even with that in mind “Capitol Bells” is a surprise with its mix of a bubbly G-funk synth groove and a more East Coast inspired backbeat. That collision of styles works perfectly with Anastasia’s delivery, making her exploration of pointless city violence all the more palatable, particularly since the track is landing in a month where the capitol in question was rocked by a terrorist bomber whose exact motives remain unclear even after his death. Anastasia’s frustrated declaration that there are “A thousand ways to die, lemme tell you/Anyone can get hit within the city limits/If you ain’t used to watching your shit/You better get in the spirit” rings out as disturbingly prophetic now, but the song’s prevailing message that we must stay strong to survive is something that will likely never stop being true.

FOOLS “Rejection”

Long a staple of their live shows, FOOLS’ “Rejection” is the penultimate Austin anthem, a catchy but self-deprecating tour de force that skewers our city’s permanent adolescence while also embracing the thrill of endless bad decisions. Amidst the mob of seemingly infinite guitar riffs and a chest thumping beat Jacob Miguel’s holds everything together, sounding like the long lost progeny of a Jello Biafra/Hutch Harris marriage. Andrew Cashen’s muddy lo-fi production accurately replicates the sound of FOOLS’ natural environment, the dangerously over packed house show, giving the song a sweatily claustrophobic feeling, which serves to make the gloriously open and soaring chorus all the more potent. Wash out that red Solo cup, join the party and forget about whatever rejection bogged down your week.

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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 his friends and enemies on twitter: @Nick_Hanover