Austin360 On The Record: Gary Clark Jr., Bayonne, more
Austin360 On The Record is a weekly roundup of new, recent and upcoming releases by local and Austin-associated recording artists.
OUT THIS WEEK
Gary Clark Jr., “This Land” (Warner Bros.). A 16-track opus that builds upon his previous work but also rockets toward parts unknown, Clark’s third studio album for Warner Bros. is a grand statement. The classic blues that launched him out of the Antone’s community in his teenage years remains a foundation, but “This Land” is far broader in its ambitions. The title track, sparked by an encounter at his home outside of Austin that led Clark to address racism head-on, has gotten most of the attention early, and for good reason. But it’s just the starting point for an album that consistently pushes Clark’s boundaries outward. The densely packed sonic wall of “What About Us” mixes bits of anthemic rock, hard-hitting hip-hop and frenzied funk into something ultimately uncategorizable. The island groove to “Feeling Like a Million” reveals the clear influence of reggae on Clark’s musical outlook, while the blitzkrieg charge of “Gotta Get Into Something” indicates he’s done time with plenty of punk records, too. “When I’m Gone” mainlines a classic R&B vein, coaxing Clark’s most melodically rich vocal performance on an album where he sounds like several distinctly different singers from track to track. Another intriguing wrinkle is the frequent inclusion of samples and interpolations; Clark taps into artists ranging from Elmore James to Wilson Pickett the 5 Royales to Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. And helping bolster the rhythms of Austin drummers Brannen Temple and JJ Johnson is renowned Prince percussionist Sheila E, who appears on seven cuts. At 66 minutes, “This Land” — recorded at Austin’s Arlyn Studios with Clark and engineer Jacob Sciba co-producing — is a little longer than it needs to be. Several of its best songs are buried on the latter half of the album, including “Pearl Cadillac,” a sweet nod to his parents that he played on “Saturday Night Live” last week, and “The Guitar Man,” which brings to mind the crossover heyday of classic 1970s pop music. Taken as a whole, though, “This Land” affirms that Clark will not be pigeonholed as he follows the music wherever it may take him. Read our full feature story and interview with Clark in Sunday’s American-Statesman and online now at austin360.com. Here’s the video for “What About Us”:
Bayonne, “Drastic Measures” (Mom+Pop). A rising star in electronic music who sometimes jams with acoustic string-band players around town, Roger Sellers is one of Austin’s most fascinating and versatile musicians. The follow-up to 2015's “Primitives,” which was his first album using the name Bayonne, is a shimmering soundscape of synth waves, effervescent beats, keyboard accents and hypnotic loops. Sellers has said that the album’s title “refers to the huge risks and sacrifices involved with pursuing art, particularly music and touring, as a career.” The lyrics ultimately serve the music in Bayonne’s realm; that’s especially clear on “Gift” and “Embers,” which form a seamless mid-album suite of more than 8 minutes as the latter track exquisitely complements the former with an extended instrumental reverie. Sellers produced and performed most of the record himself, with a handful of Austin contributors including Matt Toman on drum and synth programming, and Noah Jefferies and Jesse Dalton of indie-folk ensemble the Deer. Check out photos from Bayonne's recent show at the Mohawk on austin360.com. Here’s the video for the title track:
Moving Panoramas, “In Two” (Modern Outsider). American-Statesman/Austin360 writer Deborah Sengupta Stith observes: “It’s the band’s first release since 2015, and in the interim the group morphed from an all-girl trio to a six-piece, multi-gendered indie pop outfit. The larger cast creates a fuller sound, adding rich sonic textures to the band’s signature dreamy pop.” Read our Sound/Style story and interview with Moving Panoramas’ Leslie Sisson in Thursday’s American-Statesman and online at austin360.com. Release show Feb. 22 at Barracuda, in-store March 3 at Waterloo Records. Here’s the video for the track “ADD Heart”:
Frederico7, “Exotico Americano.” Brazilian-born Frederico Geib and his bandmates deliver “a soulful musical journey through the Americas,” writes American-Statesman/Austin360’s Nancy Flores. “Afro-Brazilian rhythms act as the album’s beating heart and give life to the psychedelic, funk, cumbia, reggae and soul sounds infused throughout the record. The project shares Geib’s observations of living through North and South America — he also spent a stint in Argentina — and tells of a personal yet universal story.” Read our recent Latino Culture column and interview with Geib online at austin360.com. Release show Feb. 23 at Empire. Here’s the video for the track “Nature of Love”:
Kelly Hafner, “If It’s Love.” The ten-song debut from the local R&B-soul-pop singer-songwriter highlights Hafner’s warm vocals that reveal inspiration from classic singers such as Etta James as well as more recent talents like Amy Winehouse. Accompanying musicians include multi-instrumentalist/producer Derek Hames, guitarists Sam Diaz and John Shelton, and keyboardist Jimmy Moreland on Hammond and Wurlitzer. Release show Feb. 22 at Geraldine's. Here’s the title track:
Dave Scher Trio, “Live at Austin City Jams.” Live record from the longtime Austin rock-blues-jazz-and-beyond guitarist, a recipient of a Black Fret grant in 2018. Release show Feb. 22 at 04 Center.
Joey McGee, “El Camino Real.” A New Orleans native who now lives in Bryan, McGee makes music that fits comfortably into the Texas Americana realm. The 10 songs here highlight his appealing vocals and include a cover of Guy Clark’s classic “The Cape.” Release show Feb. 21 at Saxon Pub.
FEB. 26: Lowin, “Heavy As the Sun,” release show March 2 at Cheer Up Charlie’s.
MARCH 1: Croom, “Belladonna.”
MARCH 1: Austin Meade, “Waves,” playing March 6 on Sun Radio's "Texas Radio Live" at Guero's.
MARCH 8: Patty Griffin, self-titled (PGM/Thirty Tigers).
MARCH 8: Danny Schmidt, “Standard Deviation,” release show March 9 at Cactus Cafe.
MARCH 22: Tia Carrera, “Visitors/Early Purple” (Small Stone), playing March 13 at Lamberts during SXSW.
MARCH 29: Grupo Fantasma, “American Music: Vol. VII” (Blue Corn), in-store March 27 at Waterloo Records.
MARCH 29: White Denim, “Side Effects” (City Slang).
APRIL 5: Rod Melancon, “Pinkville.”
APRIL 5: Brandon Wayne DeMaris, “Brave Bones,” release show April 10 at Antone’s.
APRIL 26: Walker Lukens, “Adult.”
APRIL 26: Randy Rogers Band, “Hellbent.”
MAY 17: Jimmie Vaughan, title TBA.