It’s been roughly a month since America went into lockdown, sending businesses throughout Austin into a tailspin and decimating the incomes of thousands of Austin musicians and music industry professionals. At this point, there’s no way to know when we’ll be able to crowd together and scream at the top of our lungs at a live show, so we need to find other ways to support our favorite bands.
Most of us also could use an upgrade in our work-from-home wardrobe.
Each week we’re highlighting favorite finds from a handful of local artists along with one music business spotlight. If you’re an artist or music business owner, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us about your merch. If you’re a music fan, consider spending $20 that you wish you could drop at the bar on your favorite band’s T-shirt or poster. Let’s keep the spirit of Austin’s music scene alive in our homes and our hearts until we can get back to the clubs.
Ghost Wolves. Carley Wolf, vocalist and guitarist for the grimy garage rock duo Ghost Wolves, started making masks when she heard that health care workers were in need of protective equipment because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"When I went online to find pattern ideas, I discovered the Million Mask Challenge where they were asking anyone who sews to join the effort to supply masks to medical professionals," she said. "I already had a bunch of fabric from making Starwolf clothing (her own line), so I was able to get started right away."
With her gigs canceled, she devoted herself to the project full time. She put the masks, which are available in three sizes and feature a pocket to add a filter and a wire that allows you to form fit them to your nose, on the Ghost Wolves site and was soon busy filling orders. The masks are $10 each, and you can order them in three prints: skulls, flames or money. She also included an option to donate $10 to offset the costs of the masks she is making for first responders.
For the band, which also includes Wolf’s husband, Jonny Wolf, on drums, the seriousness of the pandemic hit home early. They filmed the video for their 2019 track "Day Will Follow Dawn," a brooding exploration of grief and resilience that was released on Third Man Records last year, in Italy in late February as the coronavirus began to ravage the country. Under mandated quarantine, the Italian filmmaking duo behind the clip were forced to finish their shots by ordering bags of dirt and creating outdoor scenes on their balcony.
"During a time when it’s easy to feel helpless because of this horrible virus, making masks has allowed me to stay busy and contribute something that really will make a difference to the health of our society," she said.
While you’re on the Wolves’ site, check out the special "Day Will Follow Dawn" T-shirt featuring a friendly skeleton with fancy footwear walking a wolf ($20). If snakes are your preferred poison, the band is selling a sinister coral skeleton queen design, "Red on Yellow Kills a Fellow," that’s available as a unisex T-shirt or tank top ($20). You can also grab a Ghost Wolves branded lapel pin ($10), a cool denim vest ($45) or a sticker and button fan pack ($6). (theghostwolves.com)
Star Parks. In your feelings? The emotional swells and melancholy lyrical musings of "The New Sounds of Late Capitalism" provide a dreamy escape in these endless days of sheltering in place. Once a solo project for Andy Bianculli, the new Star Parks album features lush orchestration from a seven-piece band. The album dropped in February, and the band was poised to have a big showing at South by Southwest 2020 before live music venues around the world went dark. You can scoop the album on 180 gram vinyl for $19. We’re also fans of the clean graphic design on the band’s "Many Faces" T-shirt ($15) and the cool starry night buttons and stickers ($3 each). (starparksmusic.com/merch)
Mobley. Living in isolation with nary a hairdresser in sight, most of us are looking pretty shaggy right now. Drop by the expressive pop singer and one-man band’s site to grab a bold black ball cap with his signature "Who?" logo on it ($25) and no one will be the wiser. While you’re there, you can grab a vinyl copy of his album "Fresh Lies, Volume 1" ($30), a T-shirt ($25) or a button ($2). If you need a virtual hang with the man himself, Mobley has been hosting intimate living room jams on Facebook Live and YouTube at 8 p.m. every Wednesday. (mobleywho.com/merch)
Adrian Quesada’s Electric Deluxe. Ace producer Adrian Quesada’s fascination with jungle cats predates his days in the red-hot rock ‘n’ soul act, Black Pumas. Checking out the pyramids on a 2017 trip to Mexico, he "got obsessed with jaguars," he said in 2018. While the Pumas went on to become an international sensation, the jaguar became the insignia for his home studio, Electric Deluxe, where countless great Austin recordings have been born. Harness your own big cat energy with an Electric Deluxe T-shirt ($30). (electricdeluxerecorders.com)
Venue spotlight: Mohawk + Vans. For years, the Mohawk hosted the House of Vans, a day party blowout during SXSW. With kindred rebellious spirits and a love of all things loud, the vibes of the iconic skatewear brand and the celebrated Red River Cultural District venue meshed well. Now Vans has teamed up with the Mohawk once more, creating a special custom shoe design. Surrounded by flowering vines on a mustard canvas, a phoenix rises under a signature Mohawk "M." The shoes are $90, and 100% of net proceeds will benefit displaced Mohawk staff. (vans.com)