by Nick Hanover
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.
Body Pressure “Us Against You”
As stale as much of Austin’s hardcore has become, there are some bright lights, like the increasingly more explosive Body Pressure. Given the events of the past week, Body Pressure is only going to continue to evolve into a more and more vital group, especially if they keep releasing tracks like “Us Against You,” a prophetic blast of sonic venom that promises “This isn’t a game/You haven’t won.” Outside of that ferocious lyrical energy, though, “Us Against You” stands out as some exceptionally arranged and crafted hardcore, with the breakneck speed of the intro giving way to a dirgier main section where a heavily rhythmic twin guitar attack walls in the impressively unhinged rhythm section, with beats chaotically disintegrating as often as they unleash a fill. Every decibel on this recording seeps rage.
Body Pressure play an all ages show tomorrow, November 15th at Shirleys Temple.
Kodachrome continue their RGB EP trilogy with the new release Green, a more somber and reflective outing than its predecessor Red. But Green is also a more groove-oriented release, skewed closer to Stereolab than Broadcast this time. The ethereal vocals and hazy tone that serve as Kodachrome’s signature traits are still out in full effect, but as EP closer “Wanderland” shows, they’re served on top of an undeniably addictive beat. Once the trilogy is completed, Kodachrome will likely have a fully realized mood music triptych on their hands.
Major Major Major “Not a Murderer”
“I never wanted to be nice” is a mantra we might all need to get used to in the new America. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but Major Major Major coat it in ample sweetness on “Not a Murderer,” supported by light and dexterous guitar and drum interplay. The title and lyrical fixation should make it clear that PG-13, the album the song kicks off, is all about juxtaposing playful instrumentation and darkly comedic narrative. But “Not a Murderer” is more than a clever ruse, it has an infectious energy that ensures it has more viability than its cheeky style would otherwise indicate.
Queue Queue “Stan Lee”
I’m not entirely sure why Queue Queue’s “Stan Lee” is named after the infamous Marvel publisher, other than the fact that the opening line of “I’m coming out of my skin/Everywhere I’ve been” could describe any number of early Marvel creations. What I do know is the song is an uncanny display of the trio’s ability, chilling in the mood the guitar and vocal interplay concoct, thrilling in the precise and disciplined feel of the rhythm section. There are elements of Television and The Pretenders in Queue Queue’s sound– the vocals straddle an unanticipated middle ground between Tom Verlaine and Chrissie Hynde— but the group is unique and alien, weird and awkward yet immensely charming and melodic. Once they exit the demo stage and get to work on a full release, Queue Queue have a strong chance of emerging as one of Austin’s most interesting new talents.
Corey Arnell “TV Land”
Local producer Corey Arnell has been getting more and more ambitious, as his new concept beat album Basic Cable shows. The tracklist runs the gamut of late night cable viewing, simulating an insomniac’s channel flipping at “3:30 in the Morning.” The big, bombastic “MTV” is situated by Arnell as the single of sorts, getting people into the idea in an immediately engaging way. But I prefer “TV Land,” which features an earwormy nostalgic sample and some classic breakbeats, but gets adventurous and progressive with its unexpected drops and lo-fi filters.
BLXPLTN “New York Fascist Week”
I’ve already written up BLXPLTN’s phenomenal new album New York Fascist Week, but it’s not like this album is going to get any less vital or topical any time soon. The title track isn’t my favorite moment on the album, but it’s the song that I’ve had on loop today now that my grief cycle has gone back to anger (and will probably continue to do since acceptance will never come). What the track is, though, is the most gleefully anarchic and furious moment on the release, grafting Run-DMC like back and forth on top of a rogue Nirvana sample while klaxon guitars and glitching electronics sputter and spew and screech. Any song that begins by declaring the protagonist is “Standing on the corner with some gas/And some matches” and moves towards a full on promise to reduce a setting to ashes is likely to get you riled up, and I think it’s in our best interest to fully embrace that right now. Start fires, start fighting.
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