Austin360 On The Record: Riders Against the Storm, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, 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
Riders Against the Storm, “Flowers for the Living.” Almost a full year after they last moved us with one of their ecstatic Body Rock dance parties, the husband/wife duo frontloads their brilliant new collection with a trio of club bangers that transport you to the next incarnation of the temple of “Booty Sweat.” Sliding in on a sparse Afroclub groove stylishly deconstructed to coax an inescapable head nod, the duo flex their lyrical dexterity and their chemistry on the crown-claiming lead anthem, “The Ones .”
Rolling “in the heart of Texas with a new two step,” they get a steamy assist from Austin’s empress of soul, Tameca Jones, on the urgent and seductive “Red Lights.” Ghislaine “Qi Dada” Jean is pure electric on “Black Girl Payday,” embodying a fierce sensuality with bossy brashness and inhabiting one of the many aspects of her goddess self she visits on the album.
“Flowers for the Living,” the title track and guiding concept for the album, celebrates the idea of paying tribute to your heroes before they die, and, honestly, the city of Austin owes Jonathan “Chaka” Mahone a huge bouquet. Instead of celebrating, the community activist spent his album release week working tirelessly to mobilize aid for suffering Austinites during the winter storm emergency that devastated the Lone Star State. Through his nonprofit DAWA, he provided thousands of dollars of direct cash assistance to our neighbors in need.
This is a group that is driven by a higher calling. In a world that is aching for relief, they unearth divine mysticism with rhythm and rhyme. This release aims to lift spirits and unlock wisdom. It will leave you longing for the day when we can experience this music the way it was intended to be received: in a sweaty mass, rocking together, with our ones in the air.
Here's the video for the title track:
Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, “Hunter & the Dog Star” (Thirty Tigers). The jam-fueled pop band that skyrocketed out of Dallas in the mid-late-1980s had mostly been on hiatus since the early ’90s until 2018’s remarkable “Rocket” began a surprise resurgence that continues with this 11-song set. All band members now live at least part-time in the Austin area, and “Hunter & the Dog Star” was recorded at Arlyn Studios.
Songs range from the quick-hit funk-pop of “Tripwire” to the alternatively rhythmic and spacey groove of “Don’t Get in the Bed Dirty” to the alt-folk balladry of “Rough Beginnings” to an ambitious closing three-song suite in which the instrumental “Evidence” ties together the brooding “Miracles” and the inspirational “My Power.”
Joining the long-standing lineup — Brickell, guitarist Kenny Withrow, bassist Brad Houser, drummer Brandon Aly and percussionist John Bush — are more recent Austin additions Matt Hubbard on keyboards and multi-instrumentalist Kyle Crusham, who produced. Guest appearances come from steel guitarist Burton Lee and the Shinyribs Soul Sisters backing-vocal team of Alice Spencer and Kelley Mickwee. — P.B.
Check out our in-depth interview with the band:
Here’s the track “Horse’s Mouth”:
Mobley, “Young & Dying in the Occident Supreme.” Cloaking profound wordplay in catchy dance jams has always been Mobley’s superpower. “Young and Dying in the Occident Supreme” is anchored by ATX 2020 song of the year “James Crow,” a blistering indictment of America’s racist past disguised as a singalong earworm.
So much of Mobley’s body of work grapples with his relationship to an often hostile home country as a Black man. To that end, this collection also includes the gripping lament “Dreams of Empire” and the haunting closer “Lost Boys/Occidental Death.” But Mobley never lectures. Instead, he makes hard-hitting message music that sounds like soaring arena rock, raising consciousness through poetry, sweat and osmosis.
To celebrate this release, Mobley will embark on his virtual "Devil In A Daydream" tour, featuring nine shows performed in unconventional natural and urban spaces. The shows, which kicked off Feb. 24 and feature an impressive cast of guest performers, will benefit independent venues, their furloughed workers and Jonathan "Chaka" Mahone's DAWA fund. More information and tickets are available at mobleywho.com/tour. — D.S.S.
Here's the video for "Nobody's Favourite":
Montopolis, “Texas Workforce Commission Hold Music.” Before Austin got taken over by ERCOT and ice storms and snow, the pandemic had dominated our lives for nearly a year. It still will, for a while, so this new release from classical-indie crossover outfit Montopolis remains plenty relevant. “Recorded by pianist Justin Sherburn and cellist Sara Nelson, these short, sweet, and simple ambient meditations are inspired by the existential dread associated with navigating the corridors of government administration,” the band notes in a news release announcing the eight-song album, which they’re selling via their website, montopolismusic.com.
Especially noteworthy is the mechanism they set up to preview the record: Dial 512-559-4739 and you’ll get a phone tree that instructs callers to press 1, 2 or 3 to preview the tracks “Leave a Message,” “Not Busy Signal” and “Exceptionally High Volume.” Check out a free livestream performance by the band as part of the Long Center’s Good Vibes Only series at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24, via the center's website. — P.B.
Deezie Brown & Jake Lloyd, “Geto Gala” EP. “The latest from this pair of rising ATX hip-hop stars is an opulent ode to Southern swag clad in designer duds. It’s an “eyes on the prize” platter of rich lyricism slow-dripped with Texas soul, a 21st-century version of Outkast’s “Playa’s Ball” set in an actual ballroom, a celebration of obstacles overcome and aspirations achieved. Lead track “Blue State” beckons the listener in with jazzy trumpet flourishes, a luxurious groove and an enticing invitation from Brown, a “Central Texas trunk popper: meet me at the opera.”
Recorded between early 2019 and mid-2020, the EP doesn’t shy away from social injustice or the pain and fury that gripped America during a summer marked by so many Black men’s deaths. “Thank god he can run fast and jump high or else he’d be a dead man,” Brown raps on “Sum’n to Say” a Texas pride anthem with a singalong hook.
But it doesn’t linger on the anguish of Black trauma. With grand ambition, Lloyd pauses to “propose a toast as I boast” while surveying a decadent party scene on the title track. By the time, they shut the club down with the trunk-banging closer “Black Delegation” (featuring the Teeta), the case has been made. This generation of ATX rhyme slingers is writing the next chapter of Southern hip-hop, and “Geto Gala” is the hottest ticket in town. — D.S.S.
Here is the track "Black Delegation":
Geoff Bradford, “Texas Psychedelic” EP. A classic late-bloomer musically, New York native Bradford had a tech job in Pennsylvania and raised a family there before relocating to Austin a few years back. Gigs playing bass with a couple of local swing bands drew him back to his love for music, which began in childhood when he learned to play bass and guitar and started writing songs. The five-song “Texas Psychedelic” is his first release; despite its title, it’s not really psychedelic, though its sophisticated blend of jazz and pop is indeed very colorful. — P.B.
Here's the track "This Empty Meaningless Life":
Box Turtle, “The Chocolate Chip Mothership” EP. A former member of local bands Sour Bridges and Fatback Circus, Oklahoma import Dalton Chamblee teams here with his wife, Lindsay Chamblee, to serve up five songs of mostly midtempo folk-pop that harkens back to 1970s top-40 radio fare. — P.B.
Here's the title track:
FEB. 26: Willie Nelson, "That's Life" (Legacy)
FEB. 26: These Fine Moments, “Season 10”
FEB. 26: Deer Fellow, “Words Unsaid” EP
MARCH 5: Graham Wilkinson, “Cuts So Deep”
MARCH 12: Blue Water Highway, “Paper Airplanes”
MARCH 19: Nuevo, self-titled (Nine Mile)
MARCH 24: Leti Garza, “Borderland” EP
APRIL 2: Zach Person, self-titled (Blackdenim)
APRIL 2: Joe Barksdale, “Omari”
APRIL 2: Shakey Graves, “Roll the Bones X” 10th-anniversary reissue edition (Dualtone)
APRIL 9: Balmorhea, “The Wind” (Deutsche Grammophon)