Nobody's Girl shines on full-length debut, plus a new album from DJ Paul Oakenfold
Austin360 On The Record is a weekly roundup of new, recent and upcoming releases by local and Austin-associated recording artists.
Nobody’s Girl, self-titled (Lucky Hound). Our Austin360 Artist of the Month for July, Nobody’s Girl combines the talents of local singer-songwriters Rebecca Loebe, BettySoo and Grace Pettis. Their full-length debut, which follows a 2018 EP, instantly joins the short list of Austin’s best 2021 albums.
It’s hard to imagine a stronger one-two opening punch than “Kansas” and “Rescued,” catchy pop tunes that quickly make it clear the trio is reaching beyond the more acoustic-based common ground they first found with each other at the Kerrville Folk Festival around a decade ago. Even better is “Promised Land,” which sets a profound message about our divided nation to an instantly memorable chorus.
Two carefully chosen covers offer hat tips to songwriting inspirations. “Beauty Way” comes from former Austinite Eliza Gilkyson, while most listeners will recognize “So Far Away” from Carole King’s 1971 classic album “Tapestry.” Two other tracks, “Waterline” and “What’ll I Do,” first appeared on the 2018 EP but get further fleshed out here.
Producer Michael Ramos deserves credit for extraordinarily clear and crisp arrangements that never get in the way of the women’s vocals, which sometimes play tag from verse to verse (or even line to line) and occasionally combine in glorious three-part harmonies. It’s hard to imagine a stronger cast of supporting musicians; they include guitarists David Grissom, Charlie Sexton and David Pulkingham, as well as bassist Glenn Fukunaga and drummer J.J. Johnson.
Lurking at the album’s end is an exquisite acoustic ballad that just might be the record’s most enduring song. “Lark” floats lightly compared to the 10 previous tracks, but its beauty gradually sinks in, feeling like a benediction to everything that came before. Album-release livestream at 9:30 p.m. July 30 via facebook.com/waterloorecords. Here’s the video for the track “Rescued”:
Paul Oakenfold, “Shine On” (Perfecto). From Small Faces bandmates Ronnie Lane and Ian McLagan, to (briefly) Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant to (recently) rising star Jade Bird, we’ve seen some intriguing England-to-Austin musical migrations. Add to that list the major DJ/producer/executive Oakenfold, who moved here a couple of years ago. “I’ve been touring America for many years, and over time Austin just became my favorite city,” he told writer Omar Gallaga in a recent interview for the American-Statesman.
Oakenfold has worked with dozens of artists over the decades, including major acts such as U2, Madonna and Cher, but albums under his own name have been rare. “Shine On” is his fourth, the first since 2014’s “Trance Mission.” (His 2006 album “A Lively Mind” got a Grammy nomination for best electronic/dance album.)
He works with an intriguing variety of guest performers on the album’s 16 songs, including CeeLo Green, Aloe Blacc, Azealia Banks, Baby E & Eve, Luis Fonsi and Rico Love. Though “Shine On” is grounded in electronica, it might best be considered an eclectic pop album, with his collaborators helping to take the record in a broad range of stylistic directions. Here’s the single “I’m in Love,” featuring Aloe Blacc:
Jesse Daniel, “Beyond These Walls.” The Austin country singer-songwriter co-produced his third album with renowned multi-instrumentalist Tommy Detamore. Contributors to the sessions included Willie Nelson bassist Kevin Smith, George Strait bandleader Ronnie Huckaby and Mavericks frontman Raul Malo, who sings a duet vocal in Spanish. Playing Aug. 14 at Coupland Dancehall. Here’s the track “Lookin’ Back”:
Max Rios & the Waysiders, “Shakin’ the Fences.” Originally from Houston and now based in Austin, Rios and his band call their music “a soulful mashup of Tejano and Americana.” Those genres intermingle on this six-song release (one track, “Texas BBQ,” appears in two different versions). Album release shows July 31 at Manchaca Springs Saloon and Aug. 1 at Kreuz Market in Lockhart. Here’s the track “Holdin' the Line,” a salute to frontline medical workers during the pandemic:
AUG. 10: Mike & the Moonpies, “One to Grow On,” playing Oct. 2 at Gruene Hall
AUG. 13: Jade Bird, “Different Kinds of Light” (Glassnote)
AUG. 20: James McMurtry, “The Horses and the Hounds” (New West)
AUG. 20: Belle Sounds, “All About Love” EP
AUG. 20: William Harries Graham, “Plainfield Tapes” EP
AUG. 27: Shinyribs, “Late Night TV Gold,” release show Aug. 27 at Paramount Theatre
AUG. 27: Alejandro Escovedo, “La Cruzada”
AUG. 27: Blk Odyssy, “Blk Vintage,” playing Oct. 10 at ACL Fest
AUG. 27: Bob Schneider, “In a Room Full of Blood With a Sleeping Tiger”
AUG. 27: Altin Sencalar, “Reconnected” (Next Level), release show Aug. 27 at East Austin Piano Shop
AUG. 27: Suzanne Santo, “Yard Sale,” release show Aug. 26 at Antone’s
SEPT. 3: Joe King Carrasco y Colectivo Chihuahua, “Beers, Bars & Guitars”
SEPT. 3: Terri Hendrix, “Pilgrim's Progress Project 5.5”
SEPT. 10: Heartless Bastards, “A Beautiful Life” (Unknown/Thirty Tigers), playing Fridays at C-Boy’s and Saturdays at Continental Club throughout August
SEPT. 17: Rod Gator, “For Louisiana” (Blue Elan), release show Sept. 17 at Far Out Lounge
SEPT. 24: Tony Kamel, “Back Down Home” (Next Waltz)
OCT. 15: Buffalo Nichols, self-titled (Fat Possum)