The Latest Toughs: Hex Dispensers, Kay Odyssey, Melat and more

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.

The Hex Dispensers- “Parallel”

Seems fitting to kick Monday off with a morbid little ditty about the nearness of death, what with this being the day after True Detective airs and all. Unlike True Detective Season Two, though, the Hex Dispensers’ third album is the kind of work that builds on and expands what made prior incarnations so intriguing rather than bogging it down in further bad habits. “Parallel” is the album opener and a masterful introduction, showing off the way the band’s doom rock sound hints at some missing link between the Ramones and the Misfits. “I should have died today” is the most repeated line before culminating in a girl group bridge describing some parallel world where that did happen and our boy’s mother cried over this somber fact. Heavy shit but you can still dance to it, which is something I’m hoping True Detective Season Three will stick to like a mantra.


Sweepstakes- “Copper Wire”

On the sunnier end of the spectrum, Sweepstakes‘ “Copper Wire” offers up a dose of California-style pop hardcore, hurtling forward at breakneck speed, threatening to topple over at every turn yet somehow holding itself together. “Copper Wire” is a prime example of how the best hardcore is the kind that keeps you thrilled from wondering if the band will even make it to the finish line or if they’ll crash and burn before reaching crescendo. Sweepstakes have an edge in that they’re a duo, allowing for a more precise kind of sloppiness, less cooks in the kitchen and pieces on the puzzleboard and all that. One of Austin’s most criminally overlooked live acts, Sweepstakes deserve to win some kind of prize for the pace they keep not just on “Copper Wire” but its eponymous EP.


Kay Odyssey- “Oh My Love”

I don’t think I’ve ever wondered what Sleater-Kinney might sound like as a dreamy psych band, yet here I am, doing such a thing, thanks to Kay Odyssey’s “Oh My Love.” Produced with an airy gracefulness by Louie Lino, “Oh My Love” has a different quality from most Austin psych in that Liz Burrito and Kristina Boswell’s guitar interplay is lively and clear, the dance of the notes intertwined with each other and Vajaja Valejo’s unexpectedly shuffling beat. A bit mellower than the bulk of Sleater-Kinney’s catalog, “Oh My Love” nonetheless shares with that canon a propulsiveness, guitars shifting from plucky lead lines to a buzzsaw, power chord chorus. But Boswell’s vocals are the twist in the mix, hazy like classic psych pop, but also tender and disarming, light in texture but strong in tone. “Oh My Love” doesn’t entirely reinvent the psych pop formula but it adds a very welcome spice.


Melat- “DayTrip”

Sly future superstar Mélat subtly released a new EP of material last week, fittingly titled It Happens So Fast. Featuring an impressive array of producers, the EP has a number of great moments, but my hot summer days are currently being soundtracked most frequently by “DayTrip,” a new collaboration between Mélat and her frequent production partner Jansport J. There is a breeziness to “DayTrip” that makes it a particularly refreshing song to play now that we’re in the peak triple digit thermometer point of the season, Mélat’s voice standing out in breathy contrast to the crispness of Jansport’s beat. “DayTrip” might not function as a substitute for AC but it will at least give your mind a break from the fever of an Austin summer.


Kilmatik- “Nooise”

Few things in life bring me as much pleasure as a song with a simple, irresistible beat. So Kilmatik arguably could have rapped about anything from TCBY flavors to his grocery list over that infectious Ruler Why beat on “Nooise” and I would have still kept it on loop for a week. Lucky me, “Nooise” has more depth to it than silly shenanigans over a “Bump” style hip shaker. Calling himself the Rap Game James Joyce, Kilmatik goes stream of consciousness, rattling off a sociology thesis by way of outmoded slang, from tubular on over to getting jiggy with it. The whole thing is in service to that grind worthy beat, making the near orgasmic plea to “move it move it move it/shake it shake it” a demand you want to fulfill.

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