Thor & Friends, “The Subversive Nature of Kindness” (Living Music). The American-Statesman’s Deborah Sengupta Stith wrote the following in her Austin360 Artist of the Month feature on the band: “The album was created by a loose collective of roughly 20 artists and musical adventurers. Contributors include Aisha Burns from Balmorhea, Michael Gira from Swans and Jeremy Barnes from Neutral Milk Hotel. They move through melodic percussion soundscapes created by core members Harris, Peggy Ghorbani and Sarah “Goat” Gautier. On the first Thor & Friends album, xylophones, marimbas and vibraphones cascaded in burbling streams. This time the waters are troubled. Dizzying rhythmic swirls pulse with anxiety as clarinets, oboes and violins emerge carrying cinematic melodies. There are voices in the mix, but no words, just haunted syllables that float in and out. With song titles like ‘Standing Rock,’ ‘An Escapist Theme’ and ‘Resist,’ the album, written in the shadow of the Trump presidency, unfolds as a spellbinding sonic meditation on the potential for human evolution.” Playing Dec. 1 at Lemon Lounge. Here’s the Austin360 Artist of the Month Facebook Live session that the band recorded in our studios earlier this month:
Parker McCollum, “Probably Wrong.” Following up his 2015 debut “The Limestone Kid,” this 25-year-old country and rock singer-songwriter released most of these songs on two EPs earlier this year before combining them and adding two tracks for the full-length issued in early November. A fast-rising presence on the Texas music circuit, McCollum enlisted renowned musician Lloyd Maines, who played steel guitar on his debut, to produce “Probably Wrong.” “Misunderstood,” which first appeared on the second EP, is the album’s strongest purely melodic moment. Playing Dec. 1 at ACL Live (opening for Turnpike Troubadours). Here’s “Hell of a Year,” one of the two new tracks:
Hot Texas Swing Band, “Off the Beaten Trail.” Western swing rolls on, beyond Bob Wills and through Asleep at the Wheel into this 10-piece local outfit that brings strings and horns together with three singers trading off lead vocals. The group’s fourth album features seven originals, most by bassist Alex Dormont plus one from singer Liz Morphis, plus six covers from the likes of Texas greats Cindy Walker and Johnny Gimble. Playing Dec 2 at Central Market Westgate and Dec 3 at the Domain. Here’s the track “Snow in Amarillo”:
B.R. Lively, “Into the Blue.” A Dallas native who moved to Austin a few years ago before recently packing up all his belongings in a Winnebago and living on the road, singer-songwriter Bryan Blaylock (a.k.a. B.R. Lively) recorded “Into the Blue” here with producer Gordy Quist of local roots-rock group Band of Heathens. Its 11 songs, all originals, are grounded in melancholic country-folk, with exquisite accents of strings and horns on some songs. Playing Nov. 30 at Mohawk. Here’s the opening track “The Blue”:
OUT THIS WEEK
Queue Queue, self-titled. The debut album by the all-female quintet featuring former Sixteen Deluxe guitarist-singer Carrie Clark, bassist Claire Hamilton and bassist Mary Streepy was produced by noted local guitarist Jon Sanchez (who contributes on synth and melodica) and studio ace Louie Lino. Melodic fuzz and noise dominate the record’s eight tracks, though “Look Out” intriguingly borrows a lyric from Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s classic “Dallas.” Release show Dec. 2 at Sidewinder. Here’s the track “Mission”:
Porterdavis, “Extra Electric Infinite.” The deep bluesy grooves of this trio resonate back to the days when singer-guitarist Daniel Barrett and drummer Mike Meadows first began playing together in Boston at Porter Square and Davis Square (thus the band name). They hooked up with harmonica player Simon Wallace in Austin and released a debut album in 2009, then teamed with local musician Bill Davis to write the songs for this second effort that bristles with raw energy and soulful grit. Release show Dec. 2 at Saxon Pub.
Mazel Tov Kocktail Hour, “Shoyn Avek Der Nekhtn.” The debut album from this 11-piece ensemble features 16 tracks of klezmer and Yiddish music, produced by clarinetist Sherry Mayrent and engineered by Brian Beattie. The unusual mix of instruments includes strings, winds, keys and percussion, with songs ranging from instrumentals to vocal numbers sung in several languages. Release show Dec. 2 at Agudas Achim, 7300 Hart Lane.
COMING SOONDEC. 8: Kalu & the Electric Joint, “Time Undone,” release show Dec. 7 at Mohawk, in-store Dec. 11 at Waterloo Records. DEC. 21: Russell Haight, “Destination,” release show Dec. 21 at Elephant Room. JAN. 18: Summer Fires, “Without a Word” EP, release show Jan. 18 at Stubb’s indoor. FEB. 1: Good Field, “Surface Tension.” FEB. 9: Jerry David DeCicca, “Time the Teacher” (Impossible Ark). FEBRUARY: Sharks in the Deep End, EP.