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Austin360 On The Record: Tomar & the FCs, Raina Rose, Possessed By Paul James, more

Peter Blackstock
Tomar Williams and his band the FCs celebrate the release of their new album “Rise Above” at Antone’s on Feb. 1. [TINA PHAN FOR STATESMAN]

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


Tomar & the FCs, “Rise Above” (Splice). Featured in our Austin360 Artist of the Month series when they released their debut album two years ago, singer Tomar Williams and his high-powered soul/R&B outfit return with a second full-length release that raises the ante. Williams has described the uplifting title track, which sways sweetly to a jazz-inflected melody, as “a call to transcend the current divisiveness in our country around politics, race and so much more.” Elsewhere, Williams and his bandmates — guitarist Andy Tenberg, keyboardist Eric Baker, bassist Mitch Fischels and drummer Paul Kresowik — dig into harder grooves on the urgent “Enough is Enough” and the bittersweet broken-love tale “Innocence.” Sharp-hitting horns and smooth backing vocals bolster the arrangements throughout. Release show Feb. 1 at Antone’s; in-stores Feb. 7 at Waterloo Records and March 8 at Antone’s Record Shop. Here’s the video for the track “Innocence,” filmed at Austin bar the White Horse:

Raina Rose, “Vesta.” For her fifth album but first since 2013, Rose traveled to Nashville to work with JT Nero of fellow indie-folk act Birds of Chicago. The resulting 10 songs are a breath of fresh air, with exquisite acoustic arrangements framing Rose’s highly personable vocals. Rose stretches out into the broad expanse of Americana, drawing upon elements of folk, jazz, pop, country and more to create a sound and style that stands out as something original. Other key contributors are her husband Andrew Pressman on bass, album engineer Steve Dawson on electric guitar, and Levon Henry arranging horn and woodwind parts. Release show Feb. 1 at Cactus Cafe. Here’s a recent live version of the track One One Thousand:

Possessed By Paul James, “As We Go Wandering.” Like Rose, multi-instrumentalist Konrad Wert (aka Possessed By Paul James) last released an album in 2013, spending time between as a special education teacher and undergoing two vocal surgeries. Shakey Graves has cited Wert’s work as an influence, and you can hear that in these tracks: Both artists create music that’s rooted in the folk medium but bristles with a punk energy. Wert gravitates toward personal-as-political subjects, especially on the mid-album linchpin “Be at Rest,” with lyrics including: “There are battles in these classrooms, there are battles in these hearts/ And if we don’t start to work together, this whole damn thing will fall apart.” Possessed by Paul James plays a release show Jan. 31 at Cactus Cafe; there’s also a Jan. 30 screening at Violet Crown Cinema of “When It Breaks,” a documentary film by director Todd Tue that explores Wert’s pursuits in both music and education. Here’s the video for the album track “When It Breaks”:

Don Harvey & A Is Red, “No Place to Fall: Live at the Townsend.” Led by accomplished drummer Harvey, the A Is Red lineup includes several prominent local musicians, including singer Nagavalli Medicharla, percussionist John Bush, bassist Scott Garber and trumpeter Kevin Flatt. Along with instrumental explorations (sometimes including Medicharla’s voice as a mystical instrument of its own), the group covers a handful of songs by artists they hold dear, including instrumental takes on Alejandro Escovedo’s “Bury Me” and the album’s title track, written by Townes Van Zandt. Release show Jan. 31 at the Townsend; proceeds benefit the SIMS Foundation. Here’s a recent live version of Ronnie Lane’s “Spiritual Babe”:

Nick Pagliari, “Midway” EP (Ride the River). First release in more than a decade from a singer-songwriter who came to Austin from Tennessee. His Americana sound mixes horn-spiked soul and R&B with guitar-based folk-country-rock. Release show March 12 at the Townsend. Here’s the track “When I Leave”:


Hovvdy, “Heavy Lifter” (Double Double Whammy). The third album from Charlie Martin and Will Taylor came out last fall and further establishes the duo as one of Austin’s most promising indie-pop acts. In-store Jan. 31 at Waterloo Records. Here’s the track “Cathedral”:

Cuckoos, “I Hate Love” (Jiggy Jig). Full-length debut from the local glam-rockers fronted by singer-keyboardist Kenneth Frost with guitarist Dave North, bassist Eric Ross and drummer Cole Koenning. In-store Jan. 30 at Waterloo Records; playing Feb. 15 at Electric Church. Here’s the video for the track “Lady Boy”:


FEB. 5: Cosmic Chaos, “Eye Can See,” release show Feb. 5 at Cheer Up Charlies.

FEB. 7: Drew Fish Band, “Wishful Drinkin’,” pre-release show Feb. 1 at Stubb’s.

FEB. 7: James Steinle, “What I Came Here For” (Shotgun House), release show Feb. 8 at White Horse.

FEB. 13: Danny Malone, “We the Tigress, They the Wildebeast,” release show Feb. 13 at Mohawk.

FEB. 14: Angelica Rahe, “Reina,” release show Feb. 14 at Mohawk.

FEB. 14: Star Parks, “The New Sounds of Late Capitalism” (Modern Outsider), in-store Feb. 14 at Waterloo Records, playing March 6 at Barracuda.

FEB. 14: Moonray, “Honeymoon” EP (Satellite).

FEB. 28: Eric Johnson, “EJ Vol II,” playing Feb. 1 at Paramount Theatre.

MARCH 6: Tommy Rebel & the Righteous, “Renaissance Dude.”

MARCH 6: Panhandlers, self-titled (Next Waltz).

MARCH 6: Brownout, “Berlin Sessions” (Fat Beats), release shows March 6-7 at 3Ten.

APRIL 3: Pike & Sutton, “Heart Is a Compass.”

APRIL 10: Eliza Gilkyson, “Sooner or Later” (Red House).

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