The Latest Toughs: Hundred Visions, Annabelle Chairlegs, Tank Washington 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.


Hundred Visions- “I’m Inoculated”

I spent the weekend at a rodeo, admiring dogs and horses in sequined outfits, taking stock of the latest in Western wear street fashion, washing out all the dust in my mouth with Lone Star tallboys and gallons of Dr. Pepper. I eased myself back into Austin’s more booze infused brand of Texas life by keeping Hundred Visions’ new album Spite on a neverending loop, and not just because I’m working on a review of it. For most of its run time, Spite lives up to its namesake, like a kick to the ass from some truly vintage Docs followed up by a whole lot of devilish laughter. But “I’m Inoculated” is the exception that proves the rule, the Hundred Visions equivalent of the bizarro Mclusky near pop hit “She Will Only Bring You Happiness” with its spritely guitar riff and cheery demeanor that forces you to hit pause and make sure you’re still listening to the same group. It’s a terrible introduction to Hundred Visions, but it’s a perfect moment of 21st century audio schizophrenia, a mish mash of Wire-via-Elastica guitars, Art Brut snottiness and Blur’s knack for arrangements, all set up in a way that indicates it might just be a response LCD Soundsystem’s early plea to “Get Innocuous.” Whether it’s ebola or a hangover you’re running from this Monday, Hundred Visions has your tonic. – Nick Hanover

Brown vs. Board- “Afghanistan”

The weird thing everyone forgets about Baths is that he’s on a hip hop label. Not a normal hip hop label, true, but a hip hop label nonetheless. Baths has functioned as the new ambassador of Anticon since he first popped up about half a decade ago, and you’re starting to hear his influence in the work of people you know must have come of artistic age through Anticon’s stealth takeover of indie hip hop’s future. Locally, I’d peg Brown vs. Board as especially indicative of that, with tracks like the new “Afghanistan” showing off a ghostly approach to vocals that would be right at home on a Baths release, even if the beat is more straightforward in its hip hop origins. Halloween is over but this is a track that feels downright haunted, with nu Anticon prettiness sacrificed in favor of this ominous, macabre tone. Or maybe that’s just the ghost of the weekend sneaking up on me. – NH

Fragile Gang- “Just Want to Dance with You”

Though they’re technically from El Paso, Fragile Gang have their hearts in Austin, which should be abundantly clear with their new tribute album (of sorts) For Esme. Dedicated to the sorely missed Austin legend Esme Barrera, the album isn’t just a work of art, it’s also a work with a cause, with proceeds going to benefit the charity set up in Esme’s name at Girls Rock Austin. Even without that extra incentive to celebrate the album, For Esme is a worthwhile endeavor that showcases Fragile Gang’s indie pop talents, situating them somewhere between the Magnetic Fields and Yo La Tengo. “Just Want to Dance with You” is the song that keeps pulling me back in, with its call and response group vocal and its request that you not “think about tomorrow,” and just dance tonight. The band’s sound has a shambling quality to it, making it seem like everything might fall apart at any moment but what matters most is the joy that you get until that happens. It’s the perfect memorial to someone who still continues to be such a positive influence on the scene two years after her passing, reminding us that our loved ones would never want us to forget the joy in life. – NH

Annabelle Chairlegs- “Axe Me If I Care”

It may be nearly winter, but Annabelle Chairlegs’ “Axe Me If I Care” is sunny enough to take you all the way back to mid ’60s California beaches. This brand of sun soaked, Shangri-Las infused girl group pop seems to be on the upswing in Austin at the moment, but Annabelle Chairlegs are veterans of the sound and their recordings are washed through with enough tape hiss and lo-fidelity to make it seem all the more authentic. “Axe Me If I Care” is the best moment on their new All Black in the Sun EP, full of sonic twists and turns, from the downbeat fake out intro to the big group harmony on the bridge and the minimalist bass and drum break down that serves as its opposite. Like the Shangri-Las before them, Annabelle Chairlegs know when to play sweet and when to get snotty, something that is immediately clear right from the title of “Axe Me If I Care,” and that duality elevates them above some of their more kitschy peers. – NH

Tank x DoWrong- “Fast Life”

Local emcee and LNS crew friendly Tank Washington hit us with some seriously heavy artillery with the drop of his newest single “Fast Life.” Produced by another member of the LNS famila, Cory Kendrix, and featuring the superhuman DoWrong hailing from the League of Extraordinary Gz, the single takes us from zero to sixty in one sick ass beat. A young black father just trying to eat right and feed his family at home, Tank combines his copious vocabulary with challenging subject matter to deliver a message about the fast life, with a tad bit of that smooth southern drawl. In the forefront of the track is the raps of DoWrong of LOEGz,  but I must say, he can did us no wrong on this track. A master of all things literary and lyrical, his high speed spitting can only be matched by his clever cadence. Supporting the track at the bass is local turned Denver transplant and LNS family member Cory Kendrix on the beat. I’m not quite sure how to explain it…It’s grimy but cleanly cut. Gritty but without a catch. High hatted but slowed down. Constant but not repetitive. Southern but West coast. It’s the sound of Cory Kendrix. – Jenny Stark