Austin360 On The Record: Singles Spotlight with Akina Adderley, Folk Uke, Willie Nelson, more
Austin360 On The Record is a weekly roundup of new, recent and upcoming releases by local and Austin-associated recording artists.
With the Nov. 3 election looming, our monthly singles spotlight not surprisingly includes several sociopolitically oriented songs.
Akina Adderley, “Broke.” Adderley gets lots of work locally as a backing singer — she taped “Austin City Limits” last week as part of Jackie Venson’s band — and has recorded in recent years with the band Nori, but this is the first song she’s released under her own name since 2012. She says it’s “a call to action for people to acknowledge their complicity in systems of oppression and their moral responsibility to actively engage in the process of dismantling injustice.” The single will be released Monday; here’s a live version of the tune from a 2019 Black Fret Concert on the Long Center lawn:
Folk Uke, “Small One.” Amy Nelson and Cathy Guthrie always have been game for double-entendre humor in their lyrics. This new tune is no exception, described in press materials as a “well-aimed stab at toxic masculinity, bullying and male braggadocio that's ideally suited for the current state of the nation and election season.” It’s clear from the context that their primary target is the current occupant of the White House. The animated video was made by Nelson’s younger brother, Micah Nelson, and his wife, Alex Dascalu.
Willie Nelson, “Vote ’Em Out.” Speaking of the Nelson clan: This song isn’t new — Willie first unveiled it shortly before the 2018 midterm elections — but there’s a fresh lyric video for the run-up to this year’s presidential race. Its message is simple and ultimately nonpartisan in its timelessness: “If you don’t like who’s in there, vote ’em out/ That’s what Election Day is all about.”
Leeeann Atherton, “I’m Cleaning House.” Echoing Nelson’s get-out-the-vote message, Atherton made a lyric video for this track from her 2020 album “Fallen Angel,” released earlier this year. “The phrase ‘Cleaning House’ is used in the recovery community to represent digging deep into your heart to let go of stuff that’s holding you down,” Atherton says. “During the pandemic this song started to take on a new life as I began to apply it to the current administration.”
Walter Tragert, “The Wreck of the Maga Armada.” News cycles come and go in a nanosecond these days, but classic songs have long lifespans, so Tragert tapped into Gordon Lightfoot’s classic “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” when he decided to write about the recent Trump boat parade on Lake Travis in which several vessels sank. Careful not to overplay the joke, Tragert cut the epic tune’s original length by more than half, using kazoo along with Morse code and bubble sound effects to emphasize the levity. He pulls no punches with the rewrite, though: “A mindset of cult/ Could only result/ In the wreck of the Maga Armada.” The song is available via Tragert’s Bandcamp page.The Wreck of the MAGA Armada by Walter Tragert
Gina Chavez, “Ella.” Timed to coincide with National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, this new video sets a Spanish-language track from Chavez’s Latin Grammy-nominated EP “La Que Manda” to footage that “honors survivors of domestic abuse by reclaiming domestic spaces through dance,” according to a press release announcing the video. Proceeds will benefit Survive2Thrive, which assists victims of domestic violence and abuse.
Alex Maas, “Been Struggling.” Renowned for his long tenure with Austin psych-rock kingpins Black Angels, Maas offers up this single from a debut solo album due in December. A press release announcing the album describes it as “gentle psychedelia, and a notable sonic departure from the heavy, pulse-raising sound that Maas has become renowned for.”
Grace Pettis, “Drop Another Pin.” A member of the trio Nobody’s Girl (with fellow Austin singer-songwriters Betty Soo and Wendy Colonna), which has an album due out in 2021, Pettis also is continuing to release music under her own name. This radiant folk-pop track features keyboard contributions from Shakey Graves, who co-produced. Of the song’s living-in-the-moment message, Pettis says: “I'm happiest when I'm able to center myself within my own little dot on the map, but I've learned that change is the only constant.”
Desure, “On Me.” There’s a mid-1970s country-folk vibe to this song from the new project of Joshua Desure, with enchanting harmony vocals from acclaimed Americana singer-songwriter Nikki Lane. “On Me” follows the singles “Masochist”and “Cocaine Smile” as early releases from Desure’s second EP, due in November. Desure recently moved here from Los Angeles after a stint as tour manager for Grammy-nominated country band Midland.
Mark Willenborg, “Honky Tonk Hallelujah.” Gearing up for the December release of his debut album “Cold Beer and Country Music,” Willenborg offers this classic dance-hall boot-scooter soaked in fiddle and pedal steel, produced by longtime Robert Earl Keen sideman Marty Muse.
Belle Sounds, “Now You See Me.” The melodic indie-pop band has released several singles during the pandemic, the latest being this tune about childhood secrets that stresses the vocal interplay of Noelle Hampton and Emily Shirley set to a rhythmic synth-based arrangement.
Kersty Ryan, “Lose It Like I Lost You.” The latest track from Austin native Ryan is a rhythmic pop tune that follows the summer singles “Cut You Loose” and “Anybody Else,” leading up to a forthcoming debut EP.
Greezy Wheels, “In the Still of the Night.” Cleve Hattersley and his enduring band of Armadillo World Headquarters survivors revisit the Five Satins’ 1950s doo-wop classic with a psychedelic animated video.
Russel Taine Jr., “Bends.” The quartet of Aaron Winston, Justin Winslow, Cory Fica and Brittany Long (there is no member named Russel Taine Jr.) recorded the tracks for this bittersweet pop tune both before and during the coronavirus pandemic. Follows spring and summer releases of the singles “Sister, Sister” and “Blue Jean Baby.”
Jefferson Brown, “After the War.” The Shinyribs bassist co-wrote this midtempo folk-rock tun with the band’s drummer, Keith Langford, who plays on it along with bassist Roger Wuthrich.After the War by Jefferson Brown
OUT THIS WEEK
Matt Giles, “Year of the Dog.” Self-described as “sweet and groovy songs of lost love and found love, Texas butt rockin' dance songs, lowdown bluesy roots music, '80's style pop rock, and anthemic rock and roll,” the debut solo album from this member of local band the Drakes was produced by Eldridge Goins and features contributions from notable locals including New Bohemians members John Bush and Brad Houser and Shinyribs backing singer Kelley Mickwee. Record-release livestream 8 p.m. Oct. 9 from Sam’s Town Point at facebook.com/MattGilesMusic. Here’s the title track:
“Yellow Rose” soundtrack. Released concurrently with the new film that features part-time Austinite Dale Watson, this collection features songs written by Watson and Diane Paragas, with a score by former Alejandro Escovedo keyboardist Chris Knight. Here’s a trailer for the film:
Various artists, “To the People of the Land: Carrizo/Comecrudo Solidarity Compilation” (Keeled Scales). A digital compilation available via Bandcamp, this 31-song set features cuts from notable locals including Molly Burch, Will Johnson, Christelle Bofale and Little Mazarn, along with national acts such as Sharon Van Etten and Big Thief. All proceeds go to the Carrizo/Comecrudo tribe of Texas, whose lands are under threat from pipeline and border wall projects.
OCT. 16: Sir Woman, “The Bitch” EP
OCT. 16: Giulia Millanta, “Tomorrow Is a Bird”
OCT. 16: Wilson Marks, “True Beauty Is in the Random”
OCT. 16: Churchwood, “Plenty Wrong to Go Awry” (Saustex)
OCT. 16: Jerry David DeCicca, “The Unlikely Optimist and His Domestic Adventures”
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: Andrea Magee, “Only Love”
NOV. 6: Alan Moe Monsarrat, “Agriculture”
NOV. 13: Nane, self-titled
NOV. 20: Desure, “Pollen” EP
DEC. 4: Mark Willenborg, “Cold Beer and Country Music”
DECEMBER: James Steinle, “Cold German Mornings”