Summer Music Sampler: New China, Uncle Jesus and Critical Dad at Spider House

New China Critical Dad Uncle Jesus

Are the floods over? I sure hope they are. My street was a jumble of broken tree limbs and smashed cars and flooded cafes for too long, my backyard a mosquito pond I had to sequester the dog from. We made it out okay and I hope you and yours did, too, and I hope as well that you might come celebrate with us down at Spider House tonight, as we bring together three excellent punk groups for the start of what we wish to be a flood free Summer Music series.

New China has been a favorite of ours for some time in part because they sound unlike anything else going on in Austin punk. I think you could make the case that if New China fits in with any scene, it’s Chicago in the ’80s, like if David Yow’s older sister displaced him in the Jesus Lizard. Their newest album Bar & Grill is better produced than their debut, more rhythmically heavy and vocally in your face. But it still pales in comparison to their live show, where the physicality of the band is an irresistible force.

The SUPER THIEF/White Bronco spin off project Uncle Jesus combines some of the best elements of both bands, merging SUPER THIEF’s pummeling energy with White Bronco’s aggro-Pixies feel. They’re still working on their debut but the trio of demos they put out earlier this year are solid, showcasing some ’90s punk style but with the drums and bass more at the forefront than the guitar. The lone show I’ve seen them at was a house party, where they killed and somehow managed to sound crystal clear and tight despite the lack of a PA. This time next year, I suspect Uncle Jesus will be breaking through in a big way.

A little more classically punk than the rest of the bill, Critical Dad nonetheless stands out for their fun ’70s punk sound and cheeky lyrics, a breath of fresh air from the increasingly blander Austin garage punk scene. Critical Dad have recently released New Parents, a short album that hits on some major issues, like “Traditional Fish Sex,” scares from “Domestic Ghost” and the toxic masculinity of the “Boy’s Club.” Snotty and brash and utterly lovable for it, Critical Dad are a beacon of fun in a scene that takes itself too seriously most of the time.

Morgan Davis sells bootleg queso on the streets of Austin in order to fund Loser City, the multimedia collective he co-runs. When he isn’t doing that, he plays drums for Denise and gets complimented and/or threatened by Austin’s musical community for stuff he writes at Ovrld, which he is the Managing Editor of.