Summer Music Sampler: Math Patrol, the Khost, Play By Numbers

Play by Numbers Math Patrol The Khost Spider House

Lucky for us that “squall” we were warned was heading to Austin didn’t exactly do much damage. I don’t know about you, but here at Ovrld HQ all that happened was the front porch got a bit wet and some branches fell in the backyard. That means you won’t be driving through a near apocalyptic scenario on your way to tonight’s Summer Music Sampler with an array of mathematical groups.

Math Patrol make music that could easily soundtrack either the best Sega Genesis game never made or an ’80s Italo-horror flick. Quirky and inventive, they truly sound unlike anything else in Austin right now, combining jazz elements with punky prog for a fun blend of the heady and the cheeky. Though they’re a trio, Math Patrol are a wave of sound. Just don’t ask me if it’s sine, square or sawtooth.

On the dreamier end of the equation, The Khost are an ensemble that pair lush guitars and keyboards with plaintive melodies and group vocals for a sound that is simultaneously epic and comforting. To my ears, their material recalls Low Level Owl-era Appleseed Cast in its frank emotion and scope, albeit more compact. I’ve yet to see The Khost live but I expect that their music becomes more transcendental within the space of a good venue and I think Spider House’s excellent soundsystem and Lynchian aesthetic will be the perfect place to check them out.

Veterans of Austin’s inventive electro-acoustic scene, Play by Numbers round out the bill with some truly theoretical equations. Sounding like what might happen if Battles and Tortoise were genetically fused by some mad sonic scientist, Play by Numbers are a spacier affair than other Austin post-rock acts like Chipper Jones, utilizing elements of free jazz as well as more standard post-rock standbys. Play by Numbers’ music is difficult in theory but disarmingly charming in practice, aided by a keen sense of groove that enables even the freakiest of diversions to remain hypnotically rhythmic.

Suffice to say, this is the kind of bill you’d be hard pressed to find replicated anywhere else in Austin, with every act unified by an embrace of experimentation and love of sound.

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.