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.
Molly Burch “Only One”
Love is kind of an asshole, isn’t it? It comes around like a tornado, creating excitement and chaos and flutters and then sometimes it departs just as abruptly in one of you while the other is still all revved and wondering what the fuck happened. Such is the scenario in Molly Burch’s “Only One,” where she ponders how a lover could go from telling her she was “the only one, the holy one” until, well, she wasn’t. Whether that wound actually is fresh or not in Burch’s case, her emotive and resonant performance makes it feel as though she’s transferring all that pain directly to your heart as it’s happening to her, with the light, melancholy instrumentation sounding like it’s plucked on heartstrings itself. Does that sound too intense? Then just think of it as the romantic equivalent of skydiving, a terrifying leap into some other person’s trauma with their voice serving as your parachute.
Blood “Primitive Priest”
There’s a very different kind of trauma exploration going on in Blood’s “Primitive Priest,” and it’s its own kind of terrifying. A vengeful and explosive post-punk examination of church abuse and hypocrisy, amongst other things, “Primitive Priest” is the sound of an exorcism gone awry, with screeching guitars and yelped vocals in place of demonic caterwauling, and the priest in question not some miraculous healer but a vile creature who deserves to be thrown out a window. Though there are recognizable influences in Blood’s sound, from the Jesus Lizard on down to Wire, on “Primitive Priest” they announce themselves as one of the freshest approaches to punk to emerge from an already adventurous Austin scene, and you’d be wise to start worshipping them sooner rather than later.
Shutterr “Happy Here”
You think “mood music” and you probably imagine ambient airport music and whale sounds and noises to make your plant happy. Lately, though, mood music for me has meant swirling clouds of guitar where lead riffs crackle through like lightning and some disembodied voice coos words that could mean anything. Shutterr’s “Happy Here” is that in a nutshell, a glittering mass of guitar texture in service of a Big Mood, namely the idea that you can go back to happy memories when sadness sets in but you can’t really ever return to those places. It’s paradoxically heavy and fluffy, a rich dessert at the end of a turbulent day.
Click-Clack “Blue Chips”
Abhi the Nomad “Wide Awake (Parquet Courts remix)”
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