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 artists to get you up to date and make each of your workdays a little easier.
Eimaral Sol “Syncs (ft. Jax Yohana & Burniss Earl Travis II)”
Some artists have sunny elements to their music and some have the sun right in their names. Such is the case with Eimaral Sol, a neo-soul singer whose Sol Soliloquies brings some very welcome brightness into our increasingly dark world. On “Syncs,” Eimaral Sol brings the lightness of her being to a future funk beat, mixing slinky seductive coos with subtle burns like “I only think of you on two occasions” while guests Jax Yohana and Burniss Earl Travis II help bring the swagger. “Syncs” stands out on Sol Soliloquies for its bass-heavy, tightly honed production, which gives Sol more room to show off her ability to twist any number of hooks out of a core melody, suggesting she’s another bright Austin star in the making.
Hey, Cowboy! “Feelin’ For”
Less sunny in disposition but nonetheless just as cosmic, Hey, Cowboy!’s “Feelin’ For” sounds like something lovers would sing together as the sun finally burns itself out. Call it doom pop, morbidity laced with the promise of some better spiritual future, manifested in the contrast between the subterranean rumble of the instrumentation and the airy trill of the vocal, hypnotic and lethal in its circularity. It can be hard to provoke perplexed curiosity in the era of more is more, but Hey, Cowboy! have mastered the type of haunting minimalism that made slowcore acts like Galaxie 500 and Low so appealing in their eras, but with the added allure of hidden sweetness.
Wet Dip “Emperor”
“Which crime is more corrupt?” ask Wet Dip on “Emperor,” promptly responding “It’s the cover up!” before you even have time to think about it. But the trio doesn’t make the kind of heavy handed political music you’re used to– this shit is as weird as Philip K. Dick at his most paranoid. There are off-kilter blues guitar licks a la Royal Trux colliding with Cibo Matto vocals and Delta 5 rhythms, all swirling together in a jaw grinding amphetamine haze. That oddball mixing pot aesthetic makes it far more suited for our brainmelting current era than the leftover chugging dur-dur-dur vibes of the W age, and also far more dangerous in its unpredictability.
Sun June “Monster Moon”
Stevie Nicks is unquestionably having a moment, but there’s a distinct lack of potential heirs to her brand of ethereal rock. But Sun June make a strong case for themselves on “Monster Moon,” channeling the spirit of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” while shifting the mood from midnight desert incantation to dewy Green Belt morning ritual. Lyrically, it’s right in line with Nicks’ fixations, romantic but self-destructive, seducing even as it warns of the inevitable demise of whatever relationship ensues, eerily stating “Babe, I got a secret/I’m a monster/Come January/I’ll be your moon.” Even with that dire warning in mind, though, who could resist?
Old God “Looking at Things I Shouldn’t Be”
Confessional hip hop is at a high point at the moment and thus is spinning off in all sorts of directions, but I’ll admit “looking at gore haven Rotten.com as an underage youth” was not one of the directions I anticipated I’d hear. That’s the darkness Old God explores on the self-explanatory “Looking at Things I Shouldn’t Be,” providing an origin story for his morbid interests via a post-hardcore Danny Brown flow and a beat that bridges ho99o9 and Timbaland. This is easily the most fun I’ve had from someone getting in over their heads since I made a group of friends watch Audition with no context.
Got a single you’d like to be considered for Latest Toughs? Email us with Latest Toughs in the subject!
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