The Latest Toughs: New Tracks from Big Bill, Magna Carda, Bird Peterson 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.

Big Bill- “I Wanna Do Evil”



Over here at the tiny cafe we call Ovrld HQ, we can’t get enough of Big Bill. We managed to fit an interview in with Big Bill frontman Eric Braden just before they left on tour and he spoke a bit about the new record they’re working on, which is mostly comprised of rerecordings of older songs that didn’t make it onto their first EP due to studio mishaps. But luckily for all of us who aren’t following them around the country Grateful Dead-style, they’ve put up a couple of the tracks from that session already. Our personal favorite is “I Wanna Do Evil,” a surf rock number from the band that makes you imagine a world where Mark E. Smith wound up fronting the B-52’s instead of Fred Schneider. Or at least that’s what it does to me.


Magna Carda- “Every Weekend (Ft. Olivia Applegate)”



Summer jams don’t get much better than Magna Carda’s “Every Weekend,” a blast of ’90s-style R&B that’s impeccably arranged and features Megz Kelli in peak lyrical form. If you’ve slept on Magna Carda so far, a group we called “the coolest band in Austin” earlier this year, then you’ve really been missing out. The band is at its best live, but “Every Weekend” shows they’re well on their way to mastering the studio, and Olivia Applegate’s Lauryn Hill-like hook is the perfect seasoning for the band’s tight electro-funk.


Bird Peterson- “Chuck Roast (ft. Space Camp Death Squad)”



Over on the other end of the summer spectrum is Space Camp Death Squad joining forces with hot shit local producer Bird Peterson for a little “Chuck Roast.” With the kind of synth line a melting ice cream cone might play occupying the center of the mix, “Chuck Roast” is a study in contrasts as Space Camp Death Squad attacks the beat, from Secret Levels’ aggro flow opening it up before that irresistible “Fuck the APD” chorus enters the picture. The appeal of every Space Camp track, though, is dissecting the verbal M.C. Escher approach they take to standard hip-hop references and pop culture detritus, from the “photobombs over Baghdad” to a ’90s video vixen “makin’ Pet Sounds on my shoulders” Doc Brown describes in his verse. Bird Peterson’s style is like club music for the blissed out populace of Demolition Man‘s consumer utopia dystopic future and somehow that seems to bring out all the rage in Space Camp, climaxing in an apocalyptic verse from AMX co-founder and Weird City mastermind P-Tek

Space Camp Death Squad is playing the Austin Chronicle’s 2nd Annual Cookout this Saturday, the 19th. It’s free. You have no excuse not to go.


French Inhales- “Never Show My Face”



If you checked out 12XU Record’s Casual Victim Pile II compilation, you may remember the French Inhales, a group that sounded less like an Austin band than a late ’70s Boston band. Their contribution to CVP2, “All Bed and No Breakfast,” was a raw, blistering little number that seemed like a lost artifact from a different era. They quietly put out a 7″ through CQ Records back in 2012, and it was a bit more representative of the evolution the band had taken since CVP, with skeletal guitars and absolutely massive drum and bass, particularly on “Bored and Lonely.” The French Inhales have never gotten their due, in part because they’ve put out so little in comparison to some of their peers, but right now you can stream unmastered tracks from their upcoming EP. Everything they have up so far is extremely promising, but “Never Show My Face” stands out the most to me, with its stop-start rhythm and slyly anthemic guitars and the sneering vocal delivery. Keep this one ready for those moments where the heat has you eager to punch out your windows just to cool down.


Basketball Shorts- “A Lot of Things”


On the cheerier end of the punk spectrum, Basketball Shorts’ “A Lot of Things” is a snotty, lo-fi ode to being absentminded that you’ll be singing along to immediately. It comes from the band’s new split with Surfin’ Mutants Pizza Party for the consistently awesome Fleeting Youth Records, and it’s free for download. The chorus is just “oh oh oh ohs,” the guitar riffs come from the Johnny Thunders school of hooks, and the drums are a glammy stomp. In other words, it’s the exact kind of song you need to start your Friday off right. Face it, Tiger, you just hit the jackpot.

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 Bulletinwhich he is formerly the Co-Managing Editor of, and Spectrum Culturewhere 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 Dylan Garsee on twitter: @Nick_Hanover