New records from local artists Max Frost and Molly Burch, plus an intriguing new one from former Austinite Michael Martin Murphey.
OUT THIS WEEK
Max Frost, “Gold Rush” (Atlantic). The full-length debut from this Austin native has been a long time coming. He signed with Atlantic five years ago and released two EPs (one featuring his breakthrough hit “White Lies”), but “Gold Rush” is his first album. Produced by Mick Schultz with executive production by Michael “Fitz” Fitzpatrick of Fitz & the Tantrums, the 10 songs here are immaculately presented, with Frost’s engaging vocals clearly up-front, surrounded largely by electronic instrumentation. This is a hi-tech album but that’s what works well for Frost, whose equal-parts rhythmic and melodic pop songs benefit from the style of synths and drum machines. Austin has historically been known more for organic roots styles such as blues, country and rough-edged rock, but Frost could change that, if this record reaches the major-league pop audience he’s clearly shooting for. With “Gold Rush,” he’s hit the target square-on. Playing Nov. 10 at Scoot Inn. Here’s the video for the track “Eleven Days”:
Molly Burch, “First Flower” (Captured Tracks). Following up her acclaimed 2017 debut “Please Be Mine,” the 27-year-old Burch delivers 11 songs recorded with Erik Wofford at Austin studio Cacophony that expand the horizons of her gypsy-jazz-influenced indie pop. Accopmanied by guitarist Dailey Toliver, she moves from the sweetly swaying opener “Candy” to the cinematic string accents on the urgent “Without You” (an original, not the Badfinger classic) to the mournful closing ballad “Every Little Thing.” In-store Oct. 4 at Waterloo Records, playing Oct. 6 at Austin City Limits Music Festival, release show Oct. 20 at Barracuda. Here’s the video for the track “Wild”:
Michael Martin Murphey, “Austinology: Alleys of Austin.” Murphey hasn’t lived here for decades, but the music he made here in his late 20s helped shaped the sound of 1970s Austin. This 16-track collection (if you count Steven Fromholz’s landmark “Texas Trilogy” suite as three separate tracks) revisits high points from that era, not only his own classics such as “Geronimo’s Cadillac” and “Texas Morning” but also gems from his peers including Guy Clark’s “L.A.” Freeway” and Townes Van Zandt’s “Quicksilver Daydreams of Maria.” Lots of special guests sing with him, from Lyle Lovett on “Drunken Lady of the Morning” to Amy Grant on “Wildfire” (which gets a new twist with a key change) to Kelly Willis on Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Little Bird.” A chorus of voices join in on “Alleys of Austin” and “Cosmic Cowboy,” including his 1970s-era Austin peers Willie Nelson, Gary P. Nunn and Bob Livingston. There’s a twinge of melancholy in this long look back on our city’s musical legacy, but it’s nice to hear Murphey take such a deep dive into his past, his warm tenor vocals remarkably as resonant at age 73 as they were back then. Playing Dec. 21 at Paramount Theatre. Here’s the closing track, “Outlaw Medley”:
OCT. 12: Lindsay Beaver, “Tough As Love” (Alligator), playing Oct. 2 at Antone’s.
OCT. 12: Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, “Rocket” (Verve Forecast).
OCT. 15: Kevin Welch, “Dust Devil” (Dead Reckoning), playing Nov. 15 at Susanna’s Kitchen in Wimberley.
OCT. 19: Kendall Beard, “Here Comes Trouble,” playing Nov. 10 at Lamberts.
OCT. 19: Dirty River Boys, “Mesa Starlight.”
OCT. 25: Lesly Reynaga, release show Oct. 25 at One-2-One Bar.
OCT. 26: Carson McHone, “Carousel,” playing Nov. 1 at Cactus Cafe.
OCT. 26: Jamie Lin Wilson, “Jumping Over Rocks,” playing Oct. 20 at Sam’s Town Point.
OCT. 26: Isaac Jacob Band, self-titled (Union 28).
NOV. 7: Kate Howard, release show Nov. 7 at One-2-One Bar.
NOV. 9: Sydney Wright, “Seiche.”
NOV. 9: Frenchie’s Blues Destroyers, “Love Is Blood.”