Austin360 On The Record: Amigo the Devil, Sasha & the Valentines, more
Austin360 On The Record is a weekly roundup of new, recent and upcoming releases by local and Austin-associated recording artists.
Amigo the Devil, “Born Against.” Following his attention-grabbing 2018 debut album “Everything Is Fine,” songwriter Danny Kiranos — aka Amigo the Devil — dives deep into darkness and searches for glimmers of light on this 10-song set recorded in Dallas with Beau Bedford of the Texas Gentlemen.
Kiranos’ artistic identity centers on his persona as a singer; he’s relentlessly dramatic, framing his offbeat character sketches with a mix of traditional instrumentation and experimental sounds that always keep his vocals and words front and center. Raised in Miami, Kiranos was exposed to a broad range of worldly musical cultures in his youth, and he draws upon them here, incorporating elements of carnivalesque Eastern European folk music, Latin dance rhythms and even Australian outback balladry into various tracks.
Kiranos’ voice is so distinctive that it’s likely either the biggest draw or the toughest barrier into his music, depending on personal tastes. But he always goes for it, making sure his lyrics are clearly heard and leaving no doubt about his passion for this music. Here’s a lyric video for “Different Anymore”:
Sasha & the Valentines, “So You Think You Found Love?” (Ooof). Following a 2019 debut EP, the band led by Sarah (not Sasha) Addi presents its first full-length release, an 11-song album recorded with well-traveled local producer Erik Wofford. Their music is a mesmerizing, slightly psychedelic twist on synth-pop, with classic song structures built around lyrics that explore aspects of love (as their name suggests).
Joining Addi (lead vocals and keyboards) in the lineup are guitarist Alex Whitlaw, bassist JB Bergin, drummer Billy Hickey and percussionist Tim Zoldis. It’s easy to get pulled into the swirling, richly melodic vibe of this record. Here’s the video for “Witches”:
Shinglers, “Cosmic Range Oven.” If this country outfit had any presence in Austin clubs before the pandemic, they escaped my attention, but upon hearing this nine-song debut record, that’s hard to fathom. They seem to have come out of nowhere as a fully formed honky-tonk force to be reckoned with, delivering nine original songs that hearken back to the glory days of Gram Parsons’ circa-1970 band the Flying Burrito Brothers.
Pedal steel rates heavy in the mix; indeed, the credits on the group’s Bandcamp page indicate three musicians contributed steel parts (guitarist/vocalist Jeremy Brandelik plus Mike Drassler and Zack Wiggs). Guitarist Colton Cerny and Kyle Harris also sing, with keyboardist Andrew Butler and drummer Mississippi Keith Young rounding out the studio lineup. Here’s the opening track, “Far Away and Near”:
Selfless Lovers, “When the Bars Close.” Following three previous EPs, the Selfless Lovers recorded their first full-length record with engineer Nick Joswick, capturing their old-school rock & roll/R&B sound at Austin's 5th Street Studios with 12 original tunes. Leader Nik Parr writes songs based on piano and also plays saxophone; he's joined by guitarist Keegan Flynn, bassist Augie Gmitter and drummer Daniel Warner. Their music is clearly geared for energetic live shows, which gives the anthemic title track additional meaning after a yearlong stretch when the bars were indeed closed. Here's the track "How Far Is Love":
APRIL 20: Croy & the Boys, “Of Course They Do” EP (Spaceflight)
APRIL 23: Lady Dan, “I Am the Prophet” (Earth Libraries)
APRIL 23: Calliope Musicals, “Between Us” EP (Spaceflight)
APRIL 23: Danny Golden, “Changes” EP
MAY 7: Grace Pettis, “Working Woman” (Mpress)
MAY 15: Kate Howard, “The Best Medicine”
MAY 21: Ida Red, “Harmony Grits”
MAY 21: Wayne Sutton, “Blue Worm”
MAY 22: Ray Prim, “When It’s All Said and Done”
JULY 9: Pat Byrne, “Into the Light”
JULY 9: Giovanni Carnuccio III, “A Matter of Time”
JULY 23: Robert Harrison, “Watching the Kid Come Back”
JULY 30: Nobody’s Girl, self-titled (Lucky Hound)
AUG. 27: Shinyribs, “Late Night TV Gold”