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Austin360 On The Record: Singles spotlight with Nane, Heartless Bastards, more

Peter Blackstock

Austin360 On The Record is a weekly roundup of new, recent and upcoming releases by local and Austin-associated recording artists.


Typically we include full-length albums and EPs, but because many artists have been releasing individual songs during the pandemic, this week we’re featuring an overview of 20 recent singles.

Nané, “Blue Velvet.” Formed in 2016 by singer Daniel Sahad and guitarist Ian Green when they were students at the University of Texas, Nané woodshedded early on at Stay Gold and eventually added bassist Scott McIntyre while doing live shows with Dayglow drummer Bradley Knippa and Black Pumas keyboardist JaRon Marshall. “Blue Velvet” was released July 31 but first earned attention in April when they submitted a video filmed at a laundromat for NPR’s Tiny Desk contest that drew raves from the contest judges — including Alabama Shakes leader Brittany Howard, who noted: “Their energy is infectious. … I’m inspired by the dude (Sahad), and I want to share that energy with everybody.” The single was produced by John Speice IV, engineered by Adrian Quesada and mixed by Chris “Frenchie” Smith.

Heartless Bastards, “Revolution” (Spaceflight). This sociopolitically oriented track marks the first new music in five years from the indie-rock band fronted by Erika Wennerstrom, who’s focused on solo projects recently. Joining her here are guitarist Lauren Gurgiolo, bassist Jesse Ebaugh, keyboardist Jesse Chandler and percussionist Kevin Ratterman. A portion of Bandcamp proceeds are going to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Mobley with Foster the People, “Nobody’s Favourite.” This reworked version of a song the eclectic Austin artist released earlier this year features a collaboration with the Grammy-nominated L.A. electro-pop trio. “I originally conceived of the song as kind of a dancepunk number,” Mobley said in a press statement accompanying the new track. “They really leaned into the dance aspect and got intricate with the rhythmic interplay.”

Suzanna Choffel, “Good Problems.” The alluring melody and upbeat title belies a deeper message in this song Choffel wrote after encountering “going through ridiculous hoops with health insurance” upon the birth of her second daughter last year. She used a first-rate local backing crew that included pedal steel guitarist Geoff Queen plus Band of Heathens mainstays Gordy Quist and Trevor Nealon. Choffel is donating $1 of every track purchased via Bandcamp to the ACLU.

Los Coast with Gary Clark Jr., “A Change Is Gonna Come” (New West). Los Coast leader Trey Privott kicked off Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion livestream in March with a solo version of this Sam Cooke classic, but he brought Austin multi-Grammy-winner Clark along for this version, which American-Statesman writer Deborah Sengupta Stith wrote about last month. Proceeds benefit the DAWA (Diversity Awareness and Wellness in Action) fund.

Barton Hills Choir with Kathy Valentine, “Vacation.” Riding the wave of Go-Go’s revival sparked by their new single and a documentary film, the celebrated elementary school choir teamed up with Austin’s own Go-Go Kathy Valentine for a track on which she plays both guitar and bass along with drummer Jake Perlman. The Valentine-penned 1982 top-10 hit strikes a sweet summertime chord, with footage of the choir kids beating the pandemic blues by swimming, biking, hula-hooping and more.

Tameca Jones, “IDK.” The renowned local soul singer who’s collaborated with Gary Clark Jr. takes an intriguing turn toward dance-pop on this beat-heavy track. An interesting contrast to the recently released studio version is a live take she posted to YouTube in January that was recorded on New Year’s Eve at Antone’s; it’s a little bittersweet to watch during the pandemic, but also a welcome reminder of the power and beauty of live music with a full band in a packed nightclub.

Nobody’s Girl, “Rescued” (Lucky Hound). The latest from the trio of Betty Soo, Rebeca Loebe and Grace Pettis is a catchy, upbeat folk-rocker that features a top-shelf supporting cast in guitarist David Grissom, bassist Glenn Fukunaga, drummer J.J. Johnson and keyboardist Michael Ramos. It’s from a debut album due out early next year.

Bill Callahan, “Protest Song” (Drag City). The lo-fi indie-folk great has released a few tracks early from his upcoming album “Gold Record,” including this bluesy number that’s not so much a protest song itself as it is ABOUT protest songs.

Robert A. Kraft, “Everybody’s Alright.” The soulful singer who’s been a longtime fixture on weekends at the Continental Gallery calls his latest single, from an album called “Soul 73” that’s due out next year, “an upbeat groove-and-soul infused story about women looking out for each other in a hard world.”

Giulia Millanta, “Sugar Home.” The first single from the Italian-born singer-songwriter’s seventh album, due out in October, is a tender love song with an uplifting chorus.

Kydd Jones, “Rubber Bullets.” A collaboration with Ben Buck and Wiardon, rapper Jones — our February Austin360 Artist of the Month — takes on the police violence that has accompanied recent Black Lives Matter protests across the nation with a quick-hitting two-minute track.

Deer Fellow, “Each Night.” The first track from an upcoming EP by the duo of guitarist Matt Salois and pianist/violinist Alyssa Kelly features engaging indie-folk centered on the duo’s subtly beautiful vocal harmonies.

Russel Taine Jr., “Blue Jean Baby.” The latest from this quartet (it’s not a person, but a band featuring Aaron Winston, Justin Winslow, Cory Fica and Brittany Long) might be a classic song-of-summer in lieu of the pandemic. But its bright melodies and breezy lyrics still serve as a welcome reminder of more carefree times.

Datura, “Hotel Lobby.” A frequent solo piano performer at Scoot Inn and other local venues, Datura (a.k.a. singer-songwriter Jessica Pyrdsa) taps into a dramatic Amy Winehouse vein on this heartbreak single from an upcoming album.

Missio, “Wolves.” The hard-edged rock-electronica duo of Matthew Brew and David Butler returns with an ominous track that plays on the dark side of the human condition in hard times: “This world will eat your heart out, the wolves are watching.”

Greezy Wheels, “Time to Own It” (Mahatma). Cleve Hattersley, leader of this 1970s Armadillo World Headquarters fixture, says this song and video were “recorded remotely, filmed in a dining room, by candle light, on low tech equipment, by ten thousand monkeys.” We believe most of that.

R.O. Shapiro, “Hickory Wind.” Due out Aug. 7 to celebrate the artist’s 30th birthday, this cover of a Gram Parsons country classic showcases Shapiro’s sweet high-lonesome singing. Here’s a recent live version:

Redbud, “To the Moon” (Porch Fire). The first release from a new indie trio featuring Katie Claghorn, Ryan Black and Sam Graf features a dreamy guitar-pop arrangement over lyrics adapted from a Deb Strifley poem.

Latin at Heart, “Where Love Can Stay.” The first-ever released recording from Billy Wilson’s long-running local outfit falls “between progressive rock and power ballad rock,” per the group’s own description.


AUG. 21: Malik, “Spectrum” (Artium)

AUG. 21: Texicana Mamas, self-titled

AUG. 21: Stiletto Feels, “Push Back” (Nine Mile)

AUG. 21: Jonathan Terrell, “Westward”

AUG. 28: Wood & Wire, “No Matter Where It Goes From Here” (Blue Corn)

AUG. 28: Royal Forest, “Waiting Drum” (Nine Mile)

SEPT. 4: Bill Callahan, “Gold Record” (Drag City)

SEPT. 4: Jackie Venson, “Vintage Machine”

SEPT. 22: Merles, “Middle of the Night” EP

SEPT. 25: Band of Heathens, “Stranger”

OCT. 16: Giulia Millanta, “Tomorrow Is a Bird”

NOV. 6: Alan Moe Monsarrat, “Agriculture”