Latest Toughs: Shivery Shakes, Whookilledkenny and more

by Nick Hanover
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 artists to get you up to date and make each of your workdays a little easier.

Mean Jolene “Glory Daze”

Situated at the crossroads between boozy ’70s power pop and the bubblegum indie pop of the mid ’90s, Mean Jolene have been one of Austin’s most underappreciated bands for far too long. The group’s new single “Glory Daze” seems well poised to change that, offering up stompy, fuzzed out rock a la A Giant Dog with a particularly sweet Jolie Cota Flink vocal performance over top, cooing about a new boo she’s worried is too good for her after a string of fools. “I get in trouble when I feel I don’t belong/Who knew that you would be the cure all along?” Fink asks rhetorically, while also admitting that her own anxieties about self-worth are the only real obstacle to her accepting happiness. So if you’re similarly on the fence about whatever opportunities are in front of you this week, then let “Glory Daze” be your cure.

Mean Jolene play Hotel Vegas on July 20th with the Millbrook Estates and more.

RF Shannon “Angeline”

Breezy but by no means carefree, RF Shannon’s “Angeline” is a perfect soundtrack for the relaxed contentment that comes when you find yourself drowning in an empty bottle, leaning in to the oblivion that will soon absorb you. Though its lead guitar riffs recall Elvis Costello’s “Alison,” the production has a bossanova quality to it, with woodblock percussion and a gentle, swaying rhythm, making the melancholy vocal go down that much sweeter. In short, it’s not a song for keeping the bad impulses at bay but for recovering from their aftermath.

Shivery Shakes “Nostalgic Loop”

Blissed out and buoyant, Shivery Shakes make true on the promise of the title of “Nostalgic Loop,” delivering an indie rock ode to zoning out to perhaps exaggeratedly cheerful memories of the past. Even with its more than five minute runtime, “Nostalgic Loop” zips by, providing an ever expanding arsenal of riffs, hooks and singalong asides, like a Texas gulf spin on bratty Brits Supergrass. To paraphrase the song’s chorus, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and hit play.

Ethan Lumus “Selfish (feat. Murray WOW)”

It’s difficult to make a straightforwardly anthemic vocal work with glitched out, whimsical production, but that’s the feat Ethan Lumus and producer Murray WOW nonetheless pull off on “Selfish.” As the title might suggest, “Selfish” is an anthem for embracing treating yourself for once, and not letting the guilt of indulgence get in the way. Lumus’ voice is a curious fit for this type of crazed pop production– it’s easier to imagine dreamily strumming an acoustic guitar than cavorting around an array of synths and lasers– but Murray WOW glosses his vocals up with unexpected filters and treatments to make him sound a little more alien. Hopefully the duo have more collaborations planned because thinking of what they can accomplish when they’re more attuned to each other is thrilling.

Whookilledkenny “For Real”

As one of the young, flashy rappers finally getting the Austin hip hop scene some long overdue attention, Whookilledkenny has his share of haters doubting his chops and longevity. But on his new release Pay the Fee, Whookilledkenny seems hellbent on proving anyone who questions his rise dead wrong. Standout track “For Real” is particularly devoted to that both in lyrical scope and production, with a Phase beat full of soulful samples and club synths backing up Whookilledkenny’s chest thumping hook. For the verses, Whookilledkenny pulls from the more technical past of his still masterful LP Hieroglyphics, making it clear he’s not a mumble rapper but a real talent with the ability to turn and twist a flow in any number of directions. Kenny growls on the chorus that he’s got “a hundred million fucking ways” to get paid and anyone thinking he’s a flash in the pan is going to be disappointed, and I don’t see any reason to suspect he’s wrong.

Got a single you’d like to be considered for Latest Toughs? Email us with Latest Toughs in the subject!

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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