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Austin360 On The Record: Montopolis brings Big Bend to life in sound

Peter Blackstock
Montopolis celebrates the release of "The Legend of Big Bend" Thursday at North Door, and also performs June 15 at the Townsend. [Contributed]

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


Montopolis, “The Legend of Big Bend.” Following up the recent “Music for Enchanted Rock,” composer Justin Sherburn’s instrumental ensemble draws inspiration from another natural wonder of Texas in this magnificent 11-song suite. Joining Sherburn, who plays keyboards, are cellist Sarah Nelson and violinist Leigh Mahoney, Blake Turner on viola, Michael St. Clair on bass and horns, Gary Newcomb on guitars and drummer Andy Beaudoin. With resumes ranging from the Tosca String Quartet and the Austin Symphony to the Polyphonic Spree and Okkervil River, the ensemble exemplifies the merging of classical and contemporary indie realms at the core of Sherburn’s vision. The results are consistently captivating on passages with evocative titles such as “Terlingua,” “Boquillas Dawn,” “Highway Lights” and the anthemic “Big Bend Overture.” This is exquisitely beautiful and consistently engaging music, made all the more extraordinary by the way Montopolis presents it in live performances: The release show June 6 at North Door (8 p.m., $12) will feature a slideshow backdrop of Big Bend images partly crowd-sourced by fans. The group also will perform June 15 at the Townsend. Here’s a brief video that offers a sense of what to expect at the North Door show:

Belcurve, “These People in My Head, Vol. 2” EP. Frontwoman Sarah Castro’s indie band follows up last year’s first volume with another five songs that range from the propulsive guitar rock of “Alison” to the languid country-folk of “Sweet Heart of the Rodeo” to the gently swinging, R&B-tinged pop of “Who Am I Fooling” and “Boxes.” June residency every Tuesday at Mohawk indoor. Here’s the track “Henry”:

Robin Alice, “Here and There” EP. Debut release from the duo of multi-instrumentalist Jeff Hortillosa, known for his work with local band Whiskey Shivers, and singer Kelley Jakle, a cast member of the “Pitch Perfect” film series. Release show June 8 at Radio Coffee & Beer. Here’s the track “Late Bloomer”:


JUNE 14: Shinyribs, “Fog & Bling,” release show June 14 at Mohawk.

JUNE 14: Los Coast, “Samsara” (New West), in-store June 6 at Waterloo Records, release show June 27 at Antone’s.

JUNE 14: Bill Callahan, “Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest” (Drag City).

JUNE 14: Jamestown Revival, “San Isabel” (Thirty Tigers).

JUNE 14: Michael Fracasso, “Big Top,” release show June 9 at Townsend, in-store June 10 at Waterloo Records.

» READ MORE: Meet Michael Fracasso, our Austin360 Artist of the Month for June

JUNE 14: Oscar Ornelas, “Some Gospel,” release show June 13 at Mohawk.

JUNE 14: Calliope Musicals, “Color/Sweat” (Rhyme & Reason), in-store June 14 at Waterloo Records.

JUNE 20: Hector Ward & the Big Time, “Smile Into Life” (Blackfinger), release show June 20 at Antone’s.

JUNE 21: Willie Nelson, “Ride Me Back Home” (Legacy), playing July 4 at Circuit of the Americas.

JUNE 21: Black Pumas, self-titled (ATO).

JUNE 21: Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis, “Beautiful Lie” (Next Waltz), release show June 22 at Continental Club.

JUNE 21: Eric Tessmer, “EP 2,” release show June 21 at Scoot Inn.

AUG. 9: Jesse Dayton, “Mixtape, Vol. 1.”

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