'Covid Christmas' and more singles in this week's Austin360 On The Record
Austin360 On The Record is a weekly roundup of new, recent and upcoming releases by local and Austin-associated recording artists. Typically we include only full-length albums and EPs, but because many artists have been releasing individual songs during the pandemic, we’re also occasionally presenting a “Singles Spotlight” overview of selected recent singles.
Dave Madden & the Stocking Stuffers, “Covid Christmas.” “It’s a song that no one asked for, a song that no one needs,” Madden sings with self-deprecating humor in a three-minute ditty that brings a welcome touch of levity to this pandemic-addled yuletide season. Akina Adderley, Betty Soo and Erin Ivey offer doo-wop-styled backing vocals as the Stocking Stuffers. Madden understands his song is the butt of its own joke, describing it as “an attempt to take something truly horrible and try to find some sense of joy and laughter.” Links for donations appear in the video, with Madden promising that “a portion of all offerings will be donated to the World Health Organization COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.”
Black Pumas, “Christmas Will Really Be Christmas.” The Grammy-nominated band recently recorded this holiday tune popularized by pop-soul singer Lou Rawls in the 1960s. It’s available exclusively on Spotify as part of the platform’s Holiday Singles series. Here’s a short video about the making of the single:
Nori, “I See You.” A video popped up earlier this year, but this was issued as a Bandcamp single last week. The jazz-flavored track features alluring lead vocals from Akina Adderley, who’s joined by Erik Telford on trumpet, Nick Litterski on keyboards, Aaron Allen on upright bass and Andy Beaudoin on drums.
Micah Shalom, “Baltimore Ska.” A horn-driven instrumental that Shalom says was titled as such in part because of “the recent disparaging of the city of Baltimore,” this uplifting tune features contributions from tenor saxophonist Mark Wilson (Shinyribs, Mau Mau Chaplains) and bassist Nico Sanchez (Superfonicos), along with Shalom’s regular cohorts including keyboardist Evan Marley and several others.
Mobley, “James Crow” (Live from Cheer Up Charlies). We included the studio version of “James Crow” in our Singles Spotlight upon its release in September, but this live version is worth a return visit. Filmed before the pandemic at one of the Red River Cultural District’s most beloved venues, the video serves as a poignant reminder of live music’s communal energy.
John Baumann, “Texas Dead”/“Tokyo Smile.” The first in an “A/B Sessions” series of two-sided singles wraps a busy year for the country-rock singer-songwriter, who issued his debut album and teamed with some of his peers in the Texas supergroup the Panhandlers. Here’s the A-side track:
Sun June, “Bad Girl.” Singer-songwriter Laura Colwell and Stephen Salisbury met a few years ago while working on Terrence Malick’s film “Song to Song.” They added guitarist Michael Bain, drummer Sarah Schultz and bassist Justin Harris on bass to the lineup before releasing their 2018 debut “Years.” This dream-pop track is the first single from a new album due early next year.
Joe King Carrasco, “Little Lobo.” A collaboration between Carrasco and Patricia Vonne, this dynamic, guitar-driven track initially appeared on Vonne’s 2018 release “Top of the Mountain” but also is featured as the opening track on Carrasco’s just-released “Mariachi Blues.” We’ll have more about that album next week; in the meantime, here’s the collaborative video for the track:
Belle Sounds, “Post-War.” “This year’s trying to kill us slowly,” Belle Sounds singer Noëlle Hampton pointedly observes in the opening line of this dark pop tune, the 11th in a series of 12 singles the band has been releasing throughout 2020. (The last one, a collaboration with Ray Prim, will be out Dec. 22.)
Emily Shirley, “Everyday Heroes.” A member of Belle Sounds, Shirley has also been increasingly active as a solo act lately. She says this track, produced by her Belle Sounds bandmates Noëlle Hampton and Andre Moran, is “a direct message to health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic,” with a video that includes photos she gathered from many of them.
Cari Hutson, “The Rescue.” Written with Hutson’s husband, Hunter St. Marie, this acoustic-based number is the second single from an EP she’s issuing in early 2021.
Kalu & the Electric Joint, “Mirror.” Released in October, this track by Kalu James and his eclectic band was produced by Jason Burt (aka Electrophunck), with JT Holt on sitar, guitar and bass, Robb Kidd on drums and Pearl Kwilosz-Turner on synth.
Buenos Diaz, “Beautiful.” The latest from singer-songwriter Nick Diaz “addresses heroin addiction and sobriety after losing a friend to a lifelong battle with the opiate this past year during quarantine,” he writes in an intro to the track posted on Bandcamp.
William Harries Graham, “Confidant.” Known for a long-running weekly gig at the Continental Club with his father, Jon Dee Graham, the current University of Texas architecture school grad student is releasing this single as an early look at an EP due out next month.
DEC. 19: Buenos Diaz, “Remember” EP
JAN. 8: Various artists, “The Years: A MusicFest Tribute to Cody Canada & The Music of Cross Canadian Ragweed”
JAN. 15: William Harries Graham, “St. Claire” EP
FEB. 5: Curtis McMurtry, “Toothless Messiah”
FEB. 5: Sun June, “Somewhere” (Run for Cover)
FEB. 12: Cari Hutson, “Salvation & Soul Restoration” EP
FEB. 19: Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, “Hunter & the Dog Star” (Thirty Tigers)
FEB. 26: Willie Nelson, "That's Life" (Legacy)
APRIL 2: Zach Person, self-titled