Austin360 On The Record is a weekly roundup of new, recent and upcoming releases by local and Austin-associated recording artists.


OUT THIS WEEK


Wilson Marks, "True Beauty Is in the Random." A fitting entry point into Marks’ creative mindset is this album’s ninth track, which sports the curious title "AOUBEZIM." Sutbitled "Letters to a Dog," it’s a two-minute song sung sweetly to a pooch. Do its letters sound out "Hey-O, you be easy, I am," or are they just nonsensical alphabet soup? Maybe both, but in the end it doesn’t really matter, because Marks draws you in with an angular melody, offbeat rhythms and cleverly shifting time signatures. For all its quirks, though, the song is eminently listenable. That’s true of "True Beauty Is in the Random" as a whole. It’s a good title for a record that swings between jazz, pop and folk styles with lyrics that wander in various directions yet seem divined toward beautiful expression. "Askew, askance, when you’re 6 feet down you can’t learn to dance," he sings on the thumping "Burn It," which promises to "burn it if it doesn’t spark joy." The buoyant "Happy Accident" opens with an illuminating couplet: "Dreaming while awake waking in dreams/ The morse code of the constellation ain’t what it seems." Instrumentally, the focus is on Marks’ inventive and engaging guitar work, which ranges from sublimely ringing tones to more experimental sonic detours. A lone piano track, "Abigail," serves as a sort of mid-album palate cleanser. Throughout, bassist Daniel Durham and drummer Aaron Parks follow Marks’ lead and push him in fresh directions. A line from "Awash and Agog" sums up the effect of the album (Marks’ fourth full-length release in five years) neatly: "There’s a madness in emotion, and it’s all mesmerization." Here’s a lyric video for the track "Only a Train," animated by local artist/musician Seela:


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Giulia Millanta, "Tomorrow Is a Bird" (Ugly Cat). The Italy native’s seventh album is her fourth since relocating to Austin eight years ago. In press materials accompanying "Tomorrow Is a Bird," Millanta says the album "is about re-evaluating life, about endings and beginnings, failures and opportunities, about changing direction, trusting that the wind will support your wings and get you where you need to go." Its 10 songs feature sophisticated folk-rock arrangements with ace musicianship from the likes of co-producer Gabriel Rhodes (who co-wrote three songs with Millanta), guitarist David Pulkingham, Fastball drummer Joey Shuffield, cellist Brian Standefer and bassist Lindsay Greene. Album-release livestream 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, with special guest Suzanna Choffel, via one2onebar.com. Here’s the video for the track "Sugar Home":


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Duncan Fellows, "The Sadlands." The second full-length release from the up-and-coming indie-pop quintet builds on the promise of 2017’s "Both Sides of the Ceiling" and last year’s "Eyelids Shut" EP. There’s admirable concision in these 13 songs, nearly half of which clock in at under three minutes; Duncan Fellows serves up dynamic hooks while resisting drawn-out jams or wasted space. Early singles "Feeling Down" and "Car Song" are good entry points, the former digging into a crunchy guitar riff and catchy chorus while the latter rides rising and falling waves of melodic dissonance. Here’s the track "Swallowing Grains":


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Churchwood, "Plenty Wrong to Go Awry" (Saustex). Self-described as an avant garde blues band, Churchwood twists and turns through junkyard funk and garage grime on these 10 tracks that further define the band’s unique place within the Austin scene. Vague traces of singer-lyricist Joe Doerr and guitarist Bill Anderson’s primal late-20th-century days in Ballad Shambles and Hand of Glory linger, but this is quirkier stuff overall, by now fully fleshed out through five releases across the past decade. New drummer Eric Bohlke (replacing Julien Peterson) joins guitarist Billysteve Korpi and bassist Adam Kahan in beefing up the band’s chunky, often frenetic sound. If you feel a bit disoriented and disturbed by what you hear, that’s by design. Working at Ameripolitan Studios with Cris Burns, Churchwood invited some intriguing guests to the sessions, including organist Matt Kelly on four tracks, horn players Leila Henley and Dillon Buhl on two, and one cut each for Aileen Adler on theremin and Jessica Eley and Henna Chou on cello. Here’s the song "Haint Blue":


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Jerry David DeCicca, "The Unlikely Optimist and His Domestic Adventures." An accomplished producer (Chris Gantry, Will Beeley) and recent touring partner of Austin lo-fi master Bill Callahan, DeCicca has released four solo albums since moving to the Texas Hill Country from Ohio, where he fronted the band Black Swans. DeCicca calls this record "an anti-Hallmark ode to positivity set in the Texas Hill Country," and its many moods range from the desolate opener "I See Horizons" to the road-rambling "West Texas Trilogy" to the playful two-minute ditty "Texas Toad." Key contributors include longtime Doug Sahm collaborators Augie Meyers on organ and accordion and Frank Rodarte on saxophone, as well as guitarist Don Cento, fiddler Ralph White and backing vocalist Eve Searls. Here’s "Texas Toad":


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Sir Woman, "The Bitch" EP (Nine Mile). Wild Child co-leader Kelsey Wilson pivoted during the pandemic from initial plans for a full-length album in favor of this upbeat five-song set featuring soulful, rhythmic folk-pop that she described as "the medicine I want to give to the world right now" in an Austin360 Artist of the Month interview with American-Statesman writer Deborah Sengupta Stith. Supporting Wilson on the record are her Sir Woman bandmates Amber Baker on drums, Taylor Craft on bass and Spice and Roy Jr. on backing vocals, with additional studio contributions from guitarist Nik Lee and multi-instrumentalist Dan Creamer of the Texas Gentlemen plus acclaimed Austin artist Robert Ellis on keyboards. EP-release livestream 7 p.m. Oct. 23 from Studios at Fischer with special guests Belle Sounds via Live at SF YouTube channel and facebook.com/BlackFret. Here’s the video for leadoff track "Highroad":


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RECENTLY RELEASED


Motenko, self-titled EP. Led by keyboardist Micah Motenko, this quartet also features guitarist Cat Clemons III, bassist Josh Flowers and drummer James Gwyn. Their five-song debut release, honed through an extended residency at Stay Gold the past couple of years, feels richly reminiscent of 1970s classic rock and soul recordings. Three of these tracks were released as singles over the past eight months; new to the EP are "Waiting All Day," accented by a smooth horn section, and closing track "The Thief." Record-release livestream 4 p.m. Oct. 16 at facebook.com/budsrecording. Here’s the song "Follow Through":


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COMING SOON


OCT. 22: Larry Seaman, "Death Takes a Holiday"


OCT. 23: Missio, "Can You Feel the Sun" (2B/BMG)


OCT. 30: Jackie Venson, "Vintage Machine"


OCT. 30: Sideshow Tragedy, "After the Fall"


NOV. 6: Honey Made, "Brand New"


NOV. 6: Andrea Magee, "Only Love"


NOV. 6: Alan Moe Monsarrat, "Agriculture"


NOV. 13: Nane, self-titled


NOV. 20: Desure, "Pollen" EP


DEC. 4: Alex Maas, "Luca" (Innovative Leisure)


DEC. 4: Mark Willenborg, "Cold Beer and Country Music"


DECEMBER: James Steinle, "Cold German Mornings"