Austin acts to watch in 2022: Nané, Andrea Magee, Superfónicos, Buffalo Nichols and more
As Austin artists persevere through the pandemic, some seem poised to break out in 2022. Here's a look at 10 locals who have big plans on the horizon.
Deborah Sengupta Stith's picks
Nané. 2022 will be the year the world discovers what Austin already knows: This supersonic five-piece performs minor miracles of funk and soul that lead to glute-shimmying, heart-soaring revelations. Frontman Daniel Sahad exudes charisma and goodwill as he commands tidal waves of emotion that sweep you up and leave you lifted. (Hey, even the “Twentysomethings” on that new Netflix show were feeling it.)
If that’s the kind of live music experience you need in your life, consider dropping by the band’s New Year’s Eve bash at Empire. Sahad says the group will spend most of the year on tour, “making new fans and friends across the U.S.” The band is also “deep into writing our second record, which we feel taps a lot more into our sound and is really really strong,” Sahad says. Nané is hoping to record in April with a projected summer release. Consequently, Austin dates will be few and far between.
Pleasure Venom. With heated debates about social justice, wealth inequality and what women can do with their bodies on the docket for 2022, America is ripe for a riot grrrl resurgence, and Audrey Campbell’s ballistic garage-punk outfit is leading the charge. In April, they dropped the blistering single “We Get What They Deserve,” a furious takedown of white supremacy and late-capitalist greed. It will appear on the band’s first full-length (working title) “Pink Pony,” which should drop in the summer. Can’t wait that long for another shot of necessary truth screamed over raging guitars and pummeling drums? The group hopes to have a new single out in time for their performance at the South by Southwest music festival in March.
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Stephanie Bergara. The Bidi Bidi Banda lead singer flexed her sultry side in the heat of July with her debut solo single, “Rear View.” If the danceable breakup bop whet your appetite for more solo Bergara, you’re in luck. She hopes to have a five-song EP out in June. “Banda has a full plate starting in March, so I’m taking the end of winter/beginning of spring to tie some loose ends on songs I’ve written and to really build out my team,” she says. She’s working to put everything in place “so that we’re set to go in accomplishing some big goals I have for next year.”
Beto Martinez. Over the past few years, Lechehouse Music, the Buda studio and record label run by the Grammy-winning Grupo Fantasma guitarist has become a hotbed of exciting Latinx sounds. In the home base for his bands Money Chicha and Brownout, Martinez has also produced albums for Nemegata and his excellent psych-soul project Los Sundowns. If you’re eagerly awaiting the next Los Sundowns release it might be a minute. While Martinez said he has new material for the group recorded and a new full-length should be coming in 2022, he’s “juggling a few other things” that will drop next year. Consider our curiosity piqued.
Superfónicos. The fan base for this Colombian funk outfit is clearly building. They body rocked a huge crowd during a scorching afternoon set at ACL Fest. Away from the stage, they’ve been grinding hard at Adrian Quesada’s Electric Deluxe Recorders as they finish up their debut full-length, which they call a “statement piece” that will feature a pan-Latin sound with tons of African influences.
Peter Blackstock's picks
Andrea Magee. Since moving here in the mid-2010s as half of the mega-talented duo Beat Root Revival (with Ben Jones), Ireland native Magee has become omnipresent on the local scene, teaming with four other Austin women in the band PAACK and taking a lead role in the trad-Irish outfit Ulla. In 2020, she released “Only Love,” a solo outing that suggests Magee’s brightest future might be under her own name. Her next record, “Belfast Girl,” is due in March. A potential game-changer: Magee took a guest vocal turn with her beau Dave Scher’s trio at a mid-November party in Austin attended by the Rolling Stones and their associates, and the Stones’ management camp took a shine to Magee.
Whitmore Sisters. It was only a matter of time before Austin resident Bonnie Whitmore and her older sister, former Austinite Eleanor Whitmore, made a duo record. After teaming with their parents in a family act during their younger years, both have flourished as musicians as adult. Bonnie played bass for singer-songwriters including Hayes Carll and Sunny Sweeney for several years before releasing records of her own; violinist Eleanor and her husband Chris Masterson play in Steve Earle’s band, as well as making records of their own as the Mastersons. The sisters’ collaborative album “Ghost Stories” comes out Jan. 21 on renowned Americana label Red House Records.
Carson McHone. A promising country-oriented singer-songwriter over the past decade, native Austinite McHone has explored some new territory lately, in terms of both music and geography. She recently married a Canadian and now lives in Ontario, though her ties to her hometown remain strong (her parents are part-owners of the White Horse and Sagebrush). In October, influential indie label Merge Records announced it would be releasing McHone’s new album in early 2022. Recorded in Canada with multi-instrumentalist Daniel Romano, keyboardist Mark Lalama and saxophonist David Nardi, the record retains some of McHone’s Americana groundings but pushes her more toward indie-pop avenues.
Buffalo Nichols. A Houston native who first made waves in Milwaukee with the duo Nickel & Rose, Nichols moved to Austin shortly before noted blues label Fat Possum Records released his self-titled solo debut. Nichols spent much of autumn on the road opening for the Drive-By Truckers and seems poised to become one of Austin’s next breakout acts with his engagingly modern take on old-school acoustic blues music. His next local show is Jan. 22 at Stateside at the Paramount, before he heads out on tours with Houndmouth and Valerie June.
Spoon. Sure, Britt Daniel’s indie band ascended to Austin music royalty many moons ago — but 2022 is shaping up to be a big year for them. “Lucifer on the Sofa,” due in February from Matador Records, has gotten early notice as the band’s most Austin-centric album in quite some time, written in part during the pandemic when almost all band members were woodshedding in Austin. (The title track includes references to Lavaca Street and Dale Watson.) A surprise July show at the Mohawk found the five-piece outfit firing on all cylinders. They’ll ring in the new year in grand style, onstage at ACL Live as 2021 gives way to 2022.