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.
Party Plants- “Momma’s Little Helper”
Where the fuck did this come from? Party Plants have been puttering around for a while to greater and lesser effect and last week they put out an album called Casual Sects (lol omg), complete with some MS Paint mixed media art for the cover. The first track is a good starter, but not too dissimilar to what you might be used to from the guitar pop pranksters. Then the Tom Verlaine-like opening riff of “Momma’s Little Helper” starts up, your ears begin to tingle and it shifts from a proto-punk number to some mutant disco take on Meat Puppets’ “Up on the Sun,” making everything beautifully disquieting in the world for a little under two minutes. 2015 has been the year of gorgeously bizarre Austin music but here at the tail end of it, Party Plants have quietly unleashed one of the most impressive efforts from the scene.
Kilmatik- “Funktified Clever”
Up and comer Kilmatik just dropped his debut full length Regular and while we talked up the title track earlier this month, I’ve been feeling “Funktified Clever” the most. It features one of Ruler Why’s most adventurous beats, with an 8 bit hook, and Kilmatik comes across as more comfortable and driven, whereas on a lot of Regular he lacks energy. With the video game tones picking up the responsibility for the energy, Kilmatik’s more slack flow stands out better, culminating in a chorus that is effective not for its melodicism but for its stylish distance, the synths dropping out to give more space as Kilmatik sneers “Whatever’s clever/I could do it better.” Kilmatik still isn’t quite on the same level of some of his peers, but “Funktified Clever” is a welcome glimpse at how good he can be when he is sympatico with the beat rather than working against it.
The Ghost Wolves- “Journey On”
Few things are sadder than losing a beloved pet. But it’s difficult to imagine a better send off for a loyal, furry best friend than the one Ghost Wolves have provided their late pal Winter with “Journey On,” a fuzz rock ode to Winter and his ascent to the afterlife. This isn’t a maudlin jam, instead it’s a raucous viking epic carved out in less than three minutes, beginning with some angelic dual vocals before detailing Winter’s transformation into some valhalla hero, “reborn with fangs in distance lands.” Most humans don’t even get a eulogy as perfect as this.
Scuare x no1mportant- “Dream Home”
I normally associate Scuare with speed, since so many of his best tracks have him approaching the mic with the zeal of a Formula 1 driver. But his recently collaboration with no1mportant and Retr05pect is a different beast altogether, finding both emcees dialing it back over Retr05pect’s sublimely hazy beat. Rather than sounding antsy and pent up, Scuare and no1mportant rise to the occasion, displaying aspects of their sound that have always been there but have gotten overlooked, like their propensity for twisty melodies and masterful handle on diverse inflections. It’s apparently part of a larger project called the Real Estate sessions, and I’m eager to invest based on this sample alone.
Party Plants- “Momma’s Little Helper”
Honestly nothing else that came out recently is worth being the Friday track this week, so why don’t you just listen to “Momma’s Little Helper” again? You know you want to.
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