The Revival of Austin City Limits

Words by / Jennifer Irving

While growing up, seeing bands I liked once or twice a month and attending festivals seemed like an essential part of life. Sure that was feasible at 16 when I had nothing else to do with babysitting money, but attending that many shows and festivals becomes increasingly hard as I widen and diversify my music taste and take on more financial responsibility. As a college student, it’s often hard to decide if attending festivals is really worth the next month of penny-pinching.

However, I think Austin City Limits this year is totally worth it.

Although I’ve had fun at the festival in the past two years I’ve attended, the festival the few years before that still often felt like it was trying to live up to a reputation it had built for itself in the early years of a festival with a unique lineup and relaxed atmosphere. The lineups usually had one or two headliners with big festival-sized performances, and a few smaller names that really caught the interest of regular festival goers.

This worked well for a few years, but as ACL grew so did the prices, and with lineups consisting of bands who frequently toured Austin, it was often easier to see the smaller bands on their solo tours than to drop the money for a festival ticket. In a staunch contrast to the past few years of lineups that were homogenous with most other major festivals, ACL this year felt fresh, performance-driven, and overall, felt like the revival of an Austin music tradition that had almost diminished.

 Father John Misty, Friday October 5th, 2018.

Father John Misty, Friday October 5th, 2018.

This year's early October festivities held a special place in my heart because the artists on the lineup felt unique, some of them with only a few American tour dates. Some of my favorites included the Talking Heads' David Byrne, who delivered a killer choreographed and politically motivated performance, the always intense Father John Misty, and a riveting, two and a half hour performance by the incredible and unmatched Paul McCartney on Friday. My Saturday favorites were Blood Orange, who swept the crowd with impassioned saxophone solos, and St. Vincent, whose outfits and graphics create a big-show atmosphere, even for people who may not be familiar with her songs. Justice, a phenomenal French electronic band (with only two American tour dates!), closed out the night with their brand of rock-disco and a sensational light show. Sunday rounded off the weekend with stunning performances from Janelle Monáe, Phoenix (who unfortunately only played weekend one), and Arctic Monkeys, always a festival standout.

Other than a few scheduling complaints, (two of my favorites, Father John Misty and Brockhampton, were on at the exact same time), ACL managed to cater to a wide variety of tastes with acts that really created audience-involved performances. The first weekend felt like a return to an appreciation of the power of music on the masses rather than forced performances designed to satisfy a music festival “experience.” Hopefully weekend two will keep with weekend one’s momentum and provide another three days of fresh performances worth the large crowd typical of the festival.

GOATFEST III: Lomelda

Words by Kerry McGillicuddy

 Courtesy of Swell Tone

Courtesy of Swell Tone

Hannah Read, more commonly known as Lomelda, is a soft indie singer/songwriter whose timeless and vulnerable sound could captivate any audience. Lomelda’s music poetically speaks to the beauty of the small things; her mesmerizing voice, effortlessly getting her listeners to view the mundaneness of the world with a more magical approach.

In her most recent project, Thx, Read sings about her experience with traveling, conveying her thoughts about how she has always felt connected to the idea of elsewhere. Most of the songs on her album speak about the issues of distance and heartbreak, delving further into the different ways in which space can divide people both physically and emotionally. Through her music, Lomelda wishes for people to experience a sense of connectedness, finding a home in her enchanting lyrics. One of the most intriguing aspects of Lomelda’s music is the sense of intimacy and the level of power with which she backs every lyric. Her open hearted and raw sound gives you the impression that you are experiencing her music live, and it nearly impossible not to fall in love her unique voice.

Lomelda has been recognized as one of Austin’s 100 artists to watch during SXSW and will be also playing shows at the Mohawk, Barracuda, and Cheer Up Charlies following her appearance at St Edwards. If you love whimsical music, make sure not to miss out on the opportunity to see this up and coming artist, as she will be joining us at Goat Fest III, on Friday, March 9th, performing on Dujaree Lawn at 9:00 pm.

Gambino Announces National Tour

Words by Whit James

Childish Gambino, otherwise known as Donald Glover, announced that tickets would be going on sale for his national tour Friday, March 9th. The acclaimed rapper is bringing Rae Sremmurd along with him for the 13-date tour. Gambino's concerts have a reputation for being wildly creative; the artist announced three days prior that he would be holding another exclusive Pharos concert featuring new music. This show is only being performed in New Zealand, and it will be a very unique experience. The tour stateside might bring some of that new creativity to the fold in concert, but thats pure speculation. Beginning in September in Atlanta, the tour will travel most of the United States and will end in Vancouver, British Columbia.

 Courtesy of Billboard

Courtesy of Billboard

FALL 2018 TOUR DATES

Sept. 6 – Atlanta, Ga. - Infinite Energy Arena

Sept. 8 – Chicago, Ill. - United Center

Sept. 10 – Toronto, O.N. - Air Canada Centre

Sept. 12 – Boston, Mass. - TD Garden

Sept. 14 – New York, N.Y. - Madison Square Garden

Sept. 18 – Philadelphia, Pa. - Wells Fargo Center

Sept. 19 – Washington, D.C. - Capital One Arena

Sept. 22 – Houston, Texas - Toyota Center

Sept. 23 – Dallas, Texas - American Airlines Center

Sept. 26 – Los Angeles, Calif. - The Forum

Sept. 27 – Oakland, Calif. - Oracle Arena

Sept. 29 – Seattle, Wash. - Key Arena

Sept. 30 – Vancouver, B.C, - Rogers Arena

The mysterious persona that is Glover had said earlier last year that he would be retiring the alter-ego of Childish Gambino after the release of his fourth album. For many, this concert could be the first and last time one can see Gambino live. Who's to say whether or not he will commit quitting rap after this next project; many artists come in and out of retirement. Though Glover may break that mold. He's exhibited symptoms of being a true renaissaince artist in his career showbusiness; writing on 30 Rock, performing on Community, and now directing his own show, Atlanta. Could he move on from music forever?

Judging from this portfolio, I believe that Glover will be very busy in the show business world with various projects he's featuring in and working on in the coming years. That workload does not leave much time for Glover to also continue to cultivate his ideas musically. He's stated that he sees himself as an artist, and cannot be confined to just one medium of art. This next tour may be one of the last times one can see the artist Childish Gambino before Glover sheds the name to move on to something more. Right now that seems to be directing and acting, but keep in mind that only the name Childish Gambino is being retired. While Glover seems to be turning his focus to another medium right now, it's unlikely someone as talented as he would turn away from producing music indefinitely.

GOATFEST III: The Zoltars and Glaze

Words by Grayson DeChant

Take a look at two of the bands that will be playing Goat Fest this year, The Zoltars and Glaze!

THE ZOLTARS

 Courtesy of the artist

Courtesy of the artist

The Zoltars are one of Austin's best garage rock bands. Their latest LP the Zoltars (2016), flows with lo-fi and post-punk electric guitar buzz from song to song. Lead singer Jared Leibowich sings surreal lyrics to complement the bands' melodic tunes. In "16-17-18 Living" Leibowich points out the harsh reality that is some teenagers spolied lives and in "High", he discusses being just that. "Bad Man" is one of their more catchy songs and "Out of my Head" talks about how unstable one can feel when life gets too rough. It's hard not to dance along to these songs, alone in your room or seen performed live. The Zoltars will rock Goat Fest on Dujarie Lawn at 7:10pm.

 

GLAZE

 Courtesy of the artist

Courtesy of the artist

Stephen McElwee, Austin Yeates, and Jake Villarreal makeup Glaze- Austin’s best up-and-coming shoegaze band. McElwee’s entrancing vocals are emphasized by the steady drums and distorted guitars throughout their EP Waisted Mind (2017) and Dimensions (2016). Upbeat performances make Glaze fun to experience live, although their lyrics portray a deep introspection. Taken from their song “Mercury”:

Nostalgia / Bleeding from my throat / Take my brain so I can feel like before / I’m ready to be someone new

One of my personal favorite songs, "Chow Mein" of their EP Waisted Mind rocks hard with electric buzz and dreamy vibes. They're definitely a band you don't want to miss this SXSW. Catch Glaze Performing on the Dujarie stage at GOAT Fest at 8pm on March 9th!

 

Memento Mori

Words by Martha Jamail

Memento Mori, or “Remember Death” is a subtle, but deeply significant symbol of the inevitability of death. Examples of this artistic theme can be seen in the over-ripe fruits and insects in a Dutch still life scene, Victorian lockets with miniatures and hair of a deceased loved one, sugar skulls, and bone relics among many other incarnations. Memento Mori interrupts our daily life and sense of personal significance to humble us, and remind us of the promise of death over all. With the changing seasons, and the promise of spring and new life around the corner, I made this short playlist to be a reminder of loss, mourning, funerals, and the worms and bugs that bring with decay and rotting as a musical Memento Mori.

 Rachel Ruysch, Flowers, Fruits, and Insects, (1716): oil on canvas.

Rachel Ruysch, Flowers, Fruits, and Insects, (1716): oil on canvas.

PLAYLIST:

I Lost Something in the Hills / Sibylle Baier

Farmer in the City / Scott Walker

Phantasmagoria in Two / Tim Buckley

In Power We Entrust the Love Advocated / Dead Can Dance

Maggot Brain / Funkadelic

Whale and Wasp / Alice in Chains

Song to the Siren / This Mortal Coil

Evening of Light / Nico

Annie’s Box (Alternate Vocal) / The Knife

GOATFEST III: Abhi the Nomad, OKiR, Olasegun

Words by John-Robert Torres and Henry Anthony-Duscheid

ABHI THE NOMAD

 Courtesy of KUTX

Courtesy of KUTX

Don’t underestimate the name, taking on a moniker such as Abhi the Nomad has some serious meaning behind this new Austin based artist who you can catch this 2018 SXSW. Born in Madras, India, the young artist moved eight times before he turned even turned 18, even finding himself in California before he was forced to move back to India. In The time spent moving around the world Abhi took to one past time that helped him with his sense of stability: his music. Abhi the Nomad’s debut album Marbled, which made its way to the masses on February 9, is his compilation of songs that he has created over the course of his nomadic lifetime. With a new take on the Hip-Hop / Rap genre, Marbled will take you through his life of trials, tribulations and warnings to a future Abhi, all done with amazing production, instrumentation and flow. Be sure not to miss out on this new artist, you’d be sorely mistaken if you do.

OKiR

 Courtesy of the artist

Courtesy of the artist

OKiR, or OKiR Tha Moshher, is a Detroit Rapper and Producer that has the depth of a philosopher and song writing abilities that allow him to flow effortlessly about money to physics. One of the first things I noticed about OKiR was his voice, qualities of breathy with playful range into high-pitched affect that makes you bounce. The most recent project OKiR dropped FastForward Rewind, is the washed out almost binge-like syrup rap that is typically heard in the south east US, but he flows with mystic like insight of a dreamy world. A lot of his material has a dark aspect to the way he goes in: describing serious drug use, difficulty maintaining success, and self-doubt. He really is a versatile rapper that can be snapping on song and then hold it down with a lulling drone. Look forward to OKiR at Dujarie Stage.

OLASEGUN
Hip-hop beat maker OLEGASEN utilizes warm synthesis with the traditional sampling chops that define the genre. When you throw on some chill-hop that fits perfectly for study as much as it for grooving. This style was defined by Madlib and his ability to add new sounds on top of record samples that bridge the hip hop world with other genres. On the song “Tjader cheese Fungi,” OLASEGUN brings a tasteful blend of smooth keyboard melody along with bubbling drums and vocal samples interspersed throughout.

A Soundtrack for the Masses: Black Panther the Album

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Words by Nia Delmast

The recently released Black Panther has made $704 million in the box office and is lauded for its all black production and cast providing the kind of representation that the black community has been waiting for. To compliment the brilliant film, some of our favorite hip-hop and R&B artists came together to create its musical companion, Black Panther The Album. The album features music from and inspired by the Black Panther movie performed by artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Future, Khalid and SZA.

The overall vibe of the album is buttery, smooth hip hop and R&B with hints of EDM, reggae and afro-beats which think is completely befitting the feel of the movie. The lyrics are powerful and moving, a side from a questionable verse by Future in the "King's Dead" track.

The album was curated by Kendrick Lamar as the executive producer. It makes sense for Kendrick to be a major voice on this album considering how vocal he has been on the black experience throughout his career, using his music to express his feelings on everything from life in the porjects of Compton, to police brutality, to the election of Donald Trump. He is by far one of my favorite hip-hop artists and does some amazing work on the album.

I see Black Panther as a celebration of progress. Every celebration needs dope a playlist and this is it.

GOATFEST III 2018 Lineup

Words by Grayson DeChant

Come one, come all! GOAT Fest is returning for it's third year to bring you the best bands from near and far! We'll be showcasing musicians, as well as local artists all day Friday, March 9th on St. Edward's campus.

Performing on Ragsdale Lawn:

goat fest iii.jpg

2:00pm-The Gnomads

2:50-El Nuh

3:40-Boyd

4:30-M-Cubed

5:10-Vacations

5:45- Jicky

Performing on Dujaree Lawn:

6:20pm-Abhi the Gnomad

7:10-The Zoltars

8:00-Glaze

9:00-Lomelda

10:00-OLASEGUN

10:30-OKiR

All of the musicians have been selected by our Topper Radio team members as our favorite up-and-coming acts. We have a variety of artists playing, from hip hop artists/rappers, alternative indie groups, and emo/punk bands. Check out each of the musicians below!

OKIR is a hip hop artist and rapper from Detriot, MI.

OLASEGUN is a hip hop artist and rapper.

LOMELDA is an alternative indie rocker from Silsbee, TX.

GLAZE is an alternative rock band from ATX.

THE ZOLTARS are an indie garage rock band from ATX.

ABHI THE NOMAD is a hip hop/indie pop rapper from ATX.

JICKY is a pop punk band from ATX.

VACATIONS is an alternative indie band visiting us all the way from Australia!

M-CUBED is an electronic/experimental hip hop artist from ATX.

BOYD is an emo alternative rock band from ATX.

ELNUH is a alternative band from San Antonio, TX.

THE GNOMADS are a garage punk band from ATX.

We hope you can join us and help make GOAT Fest III the best GOAT Fest yet! Hope to see you there! Keep on rockin'.

St. Vincent's Heartfelt Texas Homecoming

Words by Gabrielle Duhon

When it comes to things I love, I often tend to show my affection in extreme manners. This was certainly the case on Thursday night, as I sat outside the Moody Theater for over four hours in the blistering cold, in hopes that I’d be up front for my one of my favorite musicians, St. Vincent. Thankfully, my hours of suffering paid off because I had a perfect view for what would be an intimate and unforgettable experience.

St. Vincent, born Anne “Annie” Clark, in Dallas, Texas, is known for many things: her flamboyant clothing choices, her bombastic guitar solos, her highly-publicized relationships, and most importantly, her distinctive songwriting which often includes jazz orchestrations, synthesizers, and heavy lyrics about the toils of life.

 Photo by Gabrielle Duhon

Photo by Gabrielle Duhon

Clark, notorious for her theatrics, certainly designed her Fear the Future Tour with entertainment and artistry in mind. The show was divided into three different acts followed by an intermission after the first two acts, as if it were a theatre performance. Act I was performed by jazz duo, Tuck & Patti, who happen to be Clark’s aunt and uncle. The couple graced the stage with such soul and love for each other. Hearing the intricate guitar technique from Clark’s uncle William Tuck felt familiar to me, being a huge St. Vincent fan for years. It was obvious how much of Tuck’s skill had vastly influenced Clark's playing. I couldn't help but smile throughout the entire act, for the duo were just so welcoming.

"We know you guys love Annie, but we love her more", said Clark's aunt, Patti Cathcart.

Act II focused on Clark’s previous work – her most popular hits from each one of her past albums in chronological order. The act itself felt almost like an encore, for she played every fan-favorite right off the back. She began acapella with “Marry Me”, a deep cut from her debut album. Her performance began softly, just like how her early work is, up until the explosive guitar drop of “The Strangers,” which happens to be my favorite song by her. With each album she covered throughout this set, Clark’s performance crescendoed with volume, visuals, and excitement. The further she progressed into the act, the more recognizable songs became to the audience and by the end of Act II, the crowd was on fire along with Clark.

Act III, titled “Masseduction,” was Clark playing all of her latest album in its entirety. As an avid concert-goer, never have I heard an artist play an entire album in order, and I really hope to see it again in the future. After listening to Masseduction from start to finish numerous times, it was an experience seeing it live in its entirety, just how Clark intended for it to be seen and heard. It was also cathartic, for I knew exactly how the show would end, with emotional ballads “Slow Disco” and “Smoking Section.” In between this act, Annie stopped to talk to the audience for a bit, singing a rendition of her single “New York” but saying "Austin" instead. She reminisced about attending keg parties as a teenager at the University of Texas while her sister was a student. It was apparent that Clark felt very at home playing two sold-out shows in her homestate of Texas with her family on tour.

Like mentioned, the setlist ended on a somber note, but that was not the case in the Moody Theater. A large smile beamed across Clark’s face as she said goodbye to her roaring audience. On one of the coldest nights of the year, Clark gave a performance that could warm the hearts for the few lucky Austinities in attendance.

Review: Kelela's "Take Me Apart"

Words by Henry Anthony-Duscheid

kelela-take-me-apart-cover-art.jpg

The power of Kelela’s voice is her ability to do more with less makes her take on club or R&B slow jams provocative and sensual. The album, Take Me Apart is an ode to break up-hook up tropes while allowing for introspective evaluations of the costs. She has definitely invested herself in these relationships so ending them is not taken lightly, which you can clearly hear on the first song Frontline. The song brings up how realizing you are better off moving past someone who can’t make you want to stay. Not a trivial decision in any regard, but if you don’t understand her perception, Kelela doesn’t give a shit, “See you wasn’t lookin’ when I pushed / Hold away, you fucking with my groove.”

When reading up about her, Kelela has carved out a very worthy career. Kelela got her start in 2013 with CUT 4 ME, earning a top ten spot from the guardian’s albums of the year as well as featuring on Scales by Solange and a spot on Gorillaz new project Humanz. The albums production was done primarily by Kingdom a co-creator of LA label Fade to Mind of which Kelela is apart. Additionally, production was done by London’s Night Slugs who helped create CUT 4 ME when they launched as a label in 2013 after years of underground club traction.

This album has a lot of range, but “LMK” holds my attention with warm synths as the landscape for rolling hi-hats and evocative risers and claps. Another favorite of mine that roll under the radar is “Onanon” that takes on a rolling UK minimal beat. Lastly, the two shortest songs, “Bluff” and “Jupiter” have a lot of heart in terms of the explicit messaging that Kelela has throughout the album on autonomy and handling relationships.

The Darkness of Phoebe Bridgers

Word by Corinne Bates

The room was dark. So dark that the only photos I could get showcased the mic-stand wrapped in fairy lights more than any member of the band on stage, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Darkness suits Phoebe Bridgers. She almost exclusively wears black when performing, making her pale complexion and near-white hair stand out. Pulling all of the attention in the room to her as she sings her hauntingly clever sad songs.

 Courtesy of Frank Ockenfels

Courtesy of Frank Ockenfels

She’s hard not to pay attention to as she starts off the set with “Smoke Signals”, the first single from her debut album, Stranger in the Alps. It’s the first time I’ve seen her play with a full band, and the difference really shows in this song. While still beautiful with just her and her guitarist, Harrison Whitford, the ambiance is tenfold with percussion, bass, and keyboard filling the room with a soft intensity. It feels complete. A blanket of sound enveloping Antone’s on a cold Saturday night.

Bridgers isn’t just good at singing sad songs. Her sharp onstage banter pulls the audience in even more. Making the show seem like a gathering of friends more than a performance. Her backing band for this tour includes: Anna Butters on bass, Nick White on keyboard, Harrison Whitford on guitar, and as Bridgers introduced him “my ex boyfriend Marshall Vore on drums”. To which he responds with a sound from his sample pad, which affectionately proclaims “you’re not my fucking mother”.

They launch into the next song and at one point Vore must have accidentally knocked the sample pad. It was masked mostly by the song, but Bridgers berated him after to which he responded “it was a fucking mistake! A giant mistake!” All after a song about singing at a funeral.

Bridgers is very aware of the dark subject matter within her songs. Introducing “Chelsea” by saying, “This is the first song I wrote about death, probably, as far as I can remember, played on a sparkly guitar”. There are at least three songs about death on the album, which is honestly pretty impressive.

This is her first headline tour despite it being named the “Farewell Tour”. So she was able to play longer. Including “Steam Roller” in the set, which was on her 2015 Killer EP put out by Ryan Adam’s Pax-Am Records. This song has one of my favorite brutally relatable lyrics from Bridgers, “I am tired of being sad/ I feel it when I wake up/ and it just stays bad”.

Everyone left the stage while she introduced the song by saying, “I’m gonna play an old one now, but they’re probably all new to you guys. So who cares”. The show was sold out, so it’s likely none of these songs were new to most of the people there. The crowd listened intently to each word and sang softly along to her more popular tracks: “Motion Sickness,” “Funeral,” and “Smoke Signals”. Whenever she is in Texas she covers “Peek A Boo” by Daniel Johnston, which she introduced this time as “the saddest song in the world”.

The band returned after the cover to play crowd favorite “Motion Sickness.” Making the crowd cheer as she holds out a note near the end. Showing off the control she has over her voice, which is easy to look past in softer songs. This song really benefited from the full band and the addition of harmonies though they could have been louder throughout the set, especially during the duet section of “Would You Rather”.

She closed out the set with “Scott Street.” Launching large black balloons that rained down large strips of silver confetti when popped as she repeated “anyway don’t be a stranger” and the music swelled around her.

When she left the stage, the lights stayed down, encouraging the crowd to beg for an encore. She came back out with Whitford and Vore. But before gracing us with her final song, she crouched down to take a picture with two people dressed as ghosts in the front row. It was just one of the many times we got to see how excited Bridgers was to be doing this. Singing her songs to a room full of people who are there for her and all while sharing the stage with some of her best friends.

She composed herself a bit, Vore took his place behind a microphone instead of the drums, and Whitford took his seat. “We have one that we can do, and it’s the saddest” she said. They began to play “You Missed My Heart” by Mark Kozelek, a track included at the end of her album right before the “Smoke Signals (Reprise).”

She pulled the microphone from the stand holding it close to her chest as she sang. Allowing the song to pull her to the floor, finishing the set with her knees to her chest as her voice cut through the air.

Review: Lane 8's "Little by Little"

Words by Henry Anthony-Duscheid

Lane 8 delivers perfect soundtrack for driving alone or celebrating together with new album Little by Little.

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I’ve known Lane 8 from his remixes of Eric Pyrdz, Deadmau5, and RUFUS DU SOL’s Bloom from the original 10 minute ballad into a groovy ting. He consistently sees release on Above and Beyond’s label Anjunabeats. Here’s a link to his mix on the same imprint.

The structure of house music is somewhat of an understood commodity because of the 4/4 time signatures, floor kicks and open hi-hats, and pulsing keyboard notes. The main themes here are dance floors, shifting light beams, and people moving to the beat. Lane 8 is a known product when it comes to his musicality that mixes soft bass lines in with tantalizing synth arpeggios and chord progressions. He uses his full arsenal of concepts to bring his vision to us on Little by Little that is a journey into feel good dance rhythms; its core being a dynamic progressive house album.

The album is a great listen if you can go all the way through without stopping, a full 55 minutes over 10 songs. The whole album loops as the end of “No End in Sight / Outro” transitions into the first song “Daya.” Each song holds an important role in the album, so I’m going to focus on 3 pillars that I believe hold up the work as a whole. First, “Atlas” is the bubbly and cinematic moment that brings the listener into Lane 8’s world and establishes his ethos with faint flutters adding textures into the background. Each layer feels like it naturally passes into existence that allows the drums to keep the song moving forward effortlessly. The title track “Little by Little” is the anchor, taking its time to reach an ultimate destination, deliberately subtle while holding everything else around it steady.

Best times to listen to this album: Cleaning your room, writing a paper, running, quiet time to reflect on the people in our lives, or just for musical enjoyment. I love to listen in the mornings especially and I hope you dance too!

A Psychedelic Evening with Mild High Club

Words by Gianni Zorrilla

 Courtesy of The Deli Magazine

Courtesy of The Deli Magazine

As I pulled up to Cheer Up Charlie's, I couldn't help but smile. I stared in the direction of the neon glowing entrance sign for a lingering moment. It was my first time at the venue, and more significantly, it would be my first time seeing one of my favorite bands in the entire universe—Mild High Club.

The intimacy of the outdoor space established the perfect setting for the occasion, modestly decked out with low hanging string lights, a delicate, cloud-like canopy overhead, and the friendly company of fellow music lovers. It was nearly impossible to contain my excitement.

Mild High Club is the psychedelic pop project of musician Alex Brettin. Their music is the ultimate trip through a broad range of feelings and emotion, whether nostalgia, elatedness, or pure tranquility. The ways in which their songs have been described often touch upon topics of ethereality and surrealism, or perhaps more mundane descriptions such as “stoner elevator music”, as one attendee of the show phrased it. Nevertheless, Alex Brettin is a technically gifted artist, and incorporates the ideal mix of sentimentality and charm. His music indulges in the strange just enough to provoke a persistent wonderment.

The band kicked off the night with “Club Intro," the legendary start to their debut album, Timeline. The set was pretty fairly divided between their debut album and sophomore album Skiptracing (a perfectly even distribution, in fact). Alex Brettin's melodic complexities were never once compromised, and endured throughout.

The first three songs off of Skiptracing, which have been described as a “psychedelic triptych,” were thankfully included in the set. I cannot think of a better description. The songs—"Skiptracing," “Homage,” and “Carry Me Back”— seamlessly blend into one another, heightening the proposal of appreciating the body of music as coalescing elements of a whole.

Other favorites like “Tesselation" and “Kokopelli” were also played. The man of the hour, Ariel Pink himself, even joined the band onstage to perform “The Chat,” a song that they collaborated on. Brettin made the unfortunate call of not playing one of their gentler tunes, “You and Me,” due to an overbearing sound-storm, courtesy of the band playing next door. Although a personal favorite was skipped, the decision did not at all take away from the overall beauty of the night.

Ethereal sounding synths and dreamy instrumentals fostered a visceral experience. In many instances, I simply felt as if I were elsewhere, a vivid, beautiful place beyond my present surroundings. For a band's music to have that kind of effect is something special.

Hearing these songs live was a surreal experience, to say the least, and I know everyone around me felt it too. The band ended the night with “Chapel Perilous,” a magically smooth departure. It is difficult to think of a more melodically chill way to spend a Sunday evening in downtown Austin. Mild High Club exceeded all possible expectations.

Review: Iglooghost's "Neo Wax Bloom"

Words by Henry Anthony-DuScheid

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My feet are still tapping. Grin on my face. Iglooghost has challenged my feelings about Drum and Bass, or just rave music... in a beautiful way. The way his symmetrical style flows between tones and uplifting samples makes for a technically sound ride through wonderlands of colorful shapes. Honestly made me think of Froopy Land from the new Rick and Morty Episode! Or like Dr. Seuss on acid.

A lot of influences are present throughout the album with auto tuned deep rap chops to chipmunk’d alien voices singing songs of their homelands in an unintelligible language; this blend of genres helps me to create my own narrative to the album. Each song frequently changes within itself, with the common theme being the entropy of virtual textures originating out of thin air.

Igloo provided an instruction manual for how to listen to this album on twitter.

It includes gems like: “Rehearse the spell: White Peach. Hot Gum. Chalk Grid. Mint Sun."

America's #1 Boyband

 Courtesy of Austin360

Courtesy of Austin360

Words by John-Robert Torres

Who is the best boy band in the world? According to a performance that took place at Austin’s Emo’s on January 20th, it would appear that a little group by the name BROCKHAMPTON would fit the description.

Just a little over six months ago BROCKHAMPTON was nowhere to be seen on my music radar, yet over the last few months my appreciation and respect for this new boy band has grown faster than I would ever have expected. To say the least, the idea of another boy band taking America and probably the world by storm again didn’t appeal to me at first. The last time a boy band came about we were graced with a second British invasion by the name of One Direction (and also the wonderful gift of Harry Styles), along with a plethora of adoring and at times frenzied waves of fandom. So hesitantly I decided to avoid the pleas of my good friends to listen to this new group's music. However it wasn’t until I saw the group's creative visuals and heard the smooth verses of group members Matt Champion and Ameer Vann on their music video for GOLD, that I realized this new boy band was no One Direction.

Over the last few months my everyday music playlists slowly became riddled with tracks off of the groups SATURATION trilogy and seeped into my top songs of the year. So when the early bird tickets went on sale for their Love Your Parents Tour, I was sure to buy myself and a friend a pair of tickets to see their performance. Fast forward to the night of the concert and the months of anticipation about to come to fruition, I was ready to see what BROCKHAMPTON had in store for Austin. The concert started off like the firing of starting pistol with the group's Kevin Abstract inciting the crowd to chant “F*** PITCHFORK,” followed by the group launching into the setlist that rattled the walls and the crowd like a college house party. The raw energy that was being showcased on stage was unlike any other performance energy I had felt in some time; the seemingly enthusiastic stage presence; the crowd being invigorated by the groups banging stage antics; and a whole music venue ready to explode to the tracks of BROCKHAMPTON.

The show's 90 minute run time was filled with over twenty songs from all three of their SATURATION albums, which made for a show that was driving at full speed for the majority of its duration. The crowd that had come out that night brought great energy and vibes amongst one another, finding myself in the middle of the crowd and separated from my friends, everywhere I ventured I was found in the company of a crowd as eager as I was to party and jam out to the show. With each song pounding out through the house speakers, an undoubtable resonance filled the crowd that seemed to only trigger more and more dancing and flailing of bodies. It was honestly impressive to see this kind of attitude being displayed at a show for a group that had only recently stepped into the spotlight, and that was the sticking impression that I left with that night. Through the pounding performances of song favorites like GUMMY, JUNKY, and SWEET, and the cascading ballads featuring group member Bearface’s sway-inducing, guitar shredding SUMMER, BROCKHAMPTON put on a performance that made for a truly fun and rowdy concert going experience.

All that being said, it just feels right for me to say that this boy band is unlike any other that has preceded it and with a group consisting of talented vocal leads like Kevin Abstract, Ameer Vann, Matt Champion, Merlyn Wood, Dom McLennon, Joba, and Bearface, it wouldn’t be a surprise to one day see BROCKHAMPTON going down in the books for the reinterpretation and domination of the category of BOY BAND.

 

A Conversation with Oso Oso

Words by Grayson DeChant

 Courtesy of the artist

Courtesy of the artist

Oso Oso is an amazing band from Long Island, New York. With local influences like Tomahawk Chop and the Atlantic Project and big influences like Brand New and Taking Back Sunday, it’s obvious how the band got their combination of indie rock, emo, and pop/punk sounds. I had the pleasure of interviewing frontman Jade Lilitri after Oso Oso’s opening set for Sorority Noise, the Hotelier, and Citizen in Austin, Texas on November 10th, 2017.

There seems to be a developing negative connotation associated with having one's music labeled as ‘pop punk.' I asked Lilitri what he thinks of people placing Oso Oso into this genre:

“It doesn’t bother me if someone listens and is like ‘oh yeah, that’s pop punk’, I just think that there is a connotation with (pop punk bands) that all sound alike and I wouldn’t want someone to be like ‘oh, it’s just a pop punk band so I’m not going listen.”

Oso Oso isn’t just another pop punk band. The rhythms and strummings of the guitars resemble the pop/punk genre, but the indie/emo lyrics that compose the Yunahon Mixtape and Real Stories of True People Who Kind of Looked Like Monsters… really reach listeners personally. The outcome is music that is both fun to dance to as well as easy to connect with on a deeper level.

The first time I saw Oso Oso play was at a house show during SXSW in 2017. The house show was intimate, but I had a fun time dancing to the music and listening to their new songs. At this show and the Empire Control Room, even more people knew Oso Oso’s lyrics and I was surrounded by people all jamming out to their music. While their music expands to reach more people, Oso Oso has been invited on an increasing number of tours. I asked Lilitri to talk about the differences between playing larger venues while touring and playing more intimate house shows:

“I don’t have a preference (between house shows and large venues), but at this point in my life I have played so many house shows so to play something like this is really cool. So right now, it’s like ‘oh yeah, this is so sick’ but if I was getting to do this all of the time I feel like I’d say house shows. As long as people seem like they enjoy (the music)... Any place where people enjoy the music.”

As Oso Oso’s audience continues to grow and the band continues to produce music that people can dance to as well as connect with emotionally, there is no doubt in my mind that this band is going places.

Big thanks to Jade Lilitri for taking the time to sit down and talk with us.

Review: The Technicolors' "Metaphysical"

Words by Corinne Bates

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I get really excited about new music from my favorite bands. The first listen is very important to me. I want to absorb it all at once. Often I will lock myself in my room and put it on and just listen to it. If it makes me want to dance, I will get up and dance. If it makes me want to cry, I’ll do that too. I just want to hear the entire album from start to finish without distraction.

I first became a fan of The Technicolors when they ended up going on tour with another of my favorite bands, The Maine, on tour. The first album I listened to was Ultraviolet Disguise and I was hooked. I loved the guitar parts, the lyrics, and of course Brennan’s voice. I’ve been waiting for another album since 2015 and here it is.

Metaphysical came out July 7th and I had been counting down to this for weeks. So I did what I often do. I went in my room, closed the door, put on the album, and just listened. I heard the first few notes and smiled. "Neon Roses" begins with a fuzzy guitar riff and just goes up from there. Soaring as the bass, drums, and vocals join in that catchy riff. It builds perfectly, and sets a great tone for the rest of the record. It’s rare that I listen to an album and genuinely enjoy all of the songs. There are usually fillers somewhere in the middle that are easily skipped, but Metaphysical doesn’t have these. All twelve songs have their own unique feeling that make it into the balanced compilation it came out to be.

The record slides from one track to the next. Not quite picking up where the last song left off, but definitely building on it. The synths in songs like Fall Off the Moon add depth to the otherwise guitar-heavy sound.

I knew I loved the album the first time I heard it, but this was cemented when I listened to it on a long drive to Austin. I planned on only listening to it once, but as it came to an end I couldn’t help but go back to the beginning and listen to it again. Sweat stuck with me even though I’ve heard it before on one of their EPs. It was just at the right point in the album. The song just feels like the dog days of summer when everything is harder to do and the air is thick. It’s slow and rhythmic at the beginning and grows with a soaring chorus, but the vocals keep a thick smooth tone throughout. The final song on the record, which also happens to be the title track, _Metaphysical_ ties it up perfectly. It has the roughness from "Congratulations, You’re a Doll", and the smoothness of "Sweat" wrapped up into one song.

It’s not just the vocals, or the lyrics, or the guitar, or any one thing that makes me want to listen to this album over and over again. It’s the perfect combination of every aspect. The production with the synth and the effects push it to another level. It is a fully thought out and planned piece of work. From the first song to the last, no song feels like it is missing anything. It is the kind of sound that you can feel when you listen to it. It surrounds you like a thick fog.

I want to be able to tell you the technical reasons I love this album. To be able to explain the musicality, to put it into a description everyone can understand. But that’s not how music works. The reason I love this may be the same reason someone else doesn’t. This goes for any band and any album. You will always be able to find someone who loves it and someone who hates it, and both of them may even have perfectly sound arguments. My only request it that you take time to listen to records all the way through, and maybe you could start with this one.

Manchester Orchestra & Foxing at Stubb's

Words by Grayson DeChant

I called into The Morning X with Jason and Deb a few weeks ago hoping to win tickets to see Manchester Orchestra and Foxing at Stubb’s on September 9th. I never actually expected someone to pick up the phone, let alone to win the tickets, but my lifetime of bad luck changed that day. I scored myself two free tickets to the show and I was pumped. After spending the next 3 weeks prepping for the show, the night finally came and I walked into Stubb’s to a packed house.

Due to my friend’s inability to be on time to anything, we ended up missing the opener, All Get Out. We made it just in time to see Foxing take the stage. Foxing is an emo indie/math rock band from St. Louis, Missouri. Their debut album under Triple Crown Records The Albatross reaks of the emo revival, and I love it.

 Courtesy of Jenna Millon

Courtesy of Jenna Millon

The lead singer (and trumpet player!), Connor Murphy, sings about ex-lovers in a way that instills nostalgia and longing to be loved. Murphy’s strained voice gives off the impression of instability, but his vocal performance was impressive from the beginning of the first song to the end of the last. Hearing “The Medic” live was healing for me in a totally personal way.

“She says 'You don't love me you just love sex / But I can't wait around for something better than this / Because you're the best that I can do / And I wish I could leave you.'"

These lyrics still haunt me in a totally normal emo kid way.

Manchester Orchestra played a long headliner, filled mostly with songs from their newest album, A Black Mile to the Surface. Manchester Orchestra is an indie/alt. rock band from Atlanta, Georgia. Formed in 2004, Manchester Orchestra has emo roots, which are evident in their albums Cope and Simple Math. The rest of their albums, especially A Black Mile to the Surface, is influenced by their emo sound, but relies mostly on indie/alt. rock to appeal to a wider range of people. I guess it proves that no one can truly stay emo forever.

Manchester Orchestra is one of those bands that sounds exactly the same recorded and live. They have evolved to be one of the best rock bands of our generation by consistently producing music that not only reaches their listeners but stays relevant.