austin

Jamila Woods Brings Soulful Healing to Barracuda

 A sold out show: Jamila Woods and her amazing band brought authentic Chicago strength and soul to Barracuda playing her new album LEGACY! LEGACY! The instruments were dressed with bright colored scarves and a black obelisk donning Wood’s lyrics stood tall behind them on stage. 

Sipping warm tea between songs, Woods radiated humility and gratitude. With impeccable composure and insight, she introduced her songs sharing the inspiration and process behind them.

 

Woods dropped some facts about Frida Kahlo’s life and allowed her lyrics to explain the rest in FRIDA, a songstory about a difficult relationship seeking harmony through boundaries; “I like you better when you see me less...We could do it like Frida, we could build a bridge then I could come see ya.” Her thought-provoking lyrics and her melodic vocals cajole the listener to feel between the lines and awe at her command of figurative language.

 

Her positively-charged-proton presence fills the room. Her poetry amplifies the positivity as her lyrics serve to empower herself and the audience. Do not misunderstand this positivism to mean blind idealism or marxism, the positivity instead represents renewed optimism born from adversity. Her song, EARTHA, addresses the battle some may wage with self worth and self love. Before singing this one she asked us, “Has anyone ever been in a relationship that fucked you up?” Imagine how many people confirmed her question with hoots and hollers.

 

This song, EARTHA, became one of the anthems of the evening as Woods paused, demonstrating how to cast a self-love spell and inviting the audience to participate by joining her  to sing the chorus: “Who gonna share my love for me with me?” Everyone’s relationship with Self is unique to their own, but if you were waiting for permission to love yourSelf, here it is from Jamila Woods. Repeat this chorus as many times as necessary. Follow up with HOLY from her HEAVN album. The audience needed no invitation to sing along to this one, the penultimate song of the evening. The hypnotic hymn provides another powerful mantra and declaration: “Woke up this morning with my mind set on loving me.”

The album’s content and scope reaches deeper and farther than just positivity, but it is by this means that she delivers an end (not the end). OCTAVIA is a song of poetic justice and so, so meta. Woods sings, “it used to be a crime to write a line, our great great greats risked their lives to learn by fireside,” as a reverential nod to her ancestral past. She continues, “We are a precious creation, our black has no imitation.” Her lines can resonate with anyone of any background, but her love for her blood is healing and beautiful.

 

Woods’ words are incredible, but her articulation and delivery is what gives them life. ZORA, named after the author Zora Neale Hurston, catches the ear with how she dissects and “discomobs [our] mold” of understanding. With a touch of zen buddhism, the chorus repeats “you will never know everything, everything. I will never know everything, everything;” and with a sprinkle of peaceful protest the second verse is an embedded poem within the song: “My weaponry/ is my energy/ I tenderly/ fill my enemies/ with white light.”

 

Woods brought more than just good energy to the show on Tuesday night, she brought lasting ruminations, free affirmations, and peaceful incantations. The Chicago spirit of the band blessed this Austin crowd.

 

 

 

-Melissa Green

 

   

Welsh Avenue releases electro-pop single "Two-Door Coupe," plays record release show at Butterfly Bar 07.05

Seemingly fitting for a morning drive around Round Rock, TX or a slow Saturday-night cruise down Red River Street in Austin, Welsh Avenue's latest single "Two-Door Coupe" has a universal feel-good vibe. The electro-pop single's synthesized strains create a lush sonic atmosphere which nestles the groovy beat and enthusiastic vocals that give the song its vivid feel. "I wrote this song back when I drove a Mustang. I have since moved onto the SUV life, but I still enjoy open road adventures and the occasional putting the pedal to the metal; that's what this song is about," is what Welsh Avenue project-founder Mark DiLillo had to say about the track. With the single's rich amalgam of synth-pop and new wave, Welsh Avenue provides a sneak peek of the sonic kaleidoscope in store in its upcoming sophomore album New Ways. The record release show will be on July 5th at Butterfly Bar inside the VORTEX in Austin. Welsh Avenue is proving that electro-pop is as lively as ever, one sticky track at a time. We are premiering the Round Rock native's single below. - Rene Cobar

   

Night Drive Illuminates Barracuda with New Wave Synths

  

While dance/electronica music usually isn’t at the top of my list when I’m browsing my next show, Barracuda is always an intimate space where you can have a good time. Across the street was Austin Terror Fest at Empire Control Room where a curious juxtaposition of sound blended when you were outside.

 

[Michael] Parallax went on first. In case you were wondering, Parallax is a scientific term about the displacement of lines. The show had lots of light work, like a miniature rave. On a surface level, Parallax's performance was fun, yet not musically something I’d sit at home and listen to. Several people there looked like they had wandered off 6th street and just wanted a spot to drink, the music being secondary. Many couples were huddled together on a date night. Michael told the audience to do a slow motion mosh pit, and that was amusing to watch. Some parts he unnaturally told the crowd to do things like pull out their phone lights and swing them around, or all do a certain dance. 

 

In contrast, Kae Astra made music that should accompany a night time dream or a guided meditation.The instrumental was similar to Beach House, and the high pitched, ethereal singing reminds me of Grimes. The backdrop changed as the musical atmosphere evolved, that aspect made the show more immersive. Her giant curly hair bobbed as she played her one woman show. Dream pop is a broad term but I would call her dream pop because of the light, airy atmosphere the music created. Overall, it was fun to close my eyes and listen to the music, but it didn’t draw the crowd in for a substantial amount of time. The eager “let’s get this over so I can see who I came for” energy was in the air. People going out to smoke, or having a conversation by the bar.

 

Ever since the show I have had Night Drive’s song “Anyone’s Ghost” stuck in my head. “Anyone’s Ghost” is the song that aired on KUTX and with 4.7k views putting it at their most popular song. If you’re a fan of strobe lights this is the show for you. Tastefully around the mic stand, drums, and synth stand were colored strobes that would periodically flash with the peak of the songs would go faster and faster. The band’s sound was similar to 80s new wave synth pop bands like Eurythmics, A Flock of Seagulls, New Order, or even Depeche Mode. It was the musical and emotional darkness of the songs that drew me to 80s new wave synth pop. So the familiar sound with a futuristic twist kept me and the audience engaged. The band draws inspiration from sci-fi cinematic landscapes and brings the visual of those landscapes into an audio sound. The audience gyrated like one giant mass wrapping around the singer as he stepped onto the ground to sing, immersed in the audience.

 

-Hillary Harris

   

Dilly Dally Blows Out Barracuda with Canadian Grunge

 

Toronto is under the national spotlight with Drake and his beloved Raptors in the NBA finals and consequently all over our television screens - yet some of Toronto’s chosen children slipped into Austin, under the radar, with a show at Barracuda on Saturday. Dilly Dally has a signature serrated grunge sound with idiosyncratic vocal affectations that coalesce into a table saw of vicious melodies and chord progression bliss. 

 

 Lead singer, Katie Monks, has all the attitude and humility that you can handle from a Canadian rocker, and then some, but while the crowd wasn’t the largest i’ve seen them play for - they still went about eviscerating mediocrity with wanton abandon. Hits from their debut album, Sore, are still as magnetizing as they were when they arrived in the national consciousness four years ago. “Desire” and “Candy Mountain”  are anthemic in a way that makes pop and rock  music writers green with envy.

 

The Canadian quartet would cover Drake’s “Know Yourself” in calamitous and thundering fashion, while also making their way through hits from their 2018 album, Heaven.  A gem that fell out of the pocket of 90’s grunge band influences and rolled into the late 2010’s with unrelenting ferocity, Dilly Dally is showing that the fire that burned in rock audiences twenty years ago is roaring back to life with uncompromising sound and authentic attitude.

   

Peanut Butter Wolf Delights Poolside at the Line Hotel

 

A lazy summer heat beat down on the Line Hotel’s outdoor pool as mass of laissez-faire humanity lounged around the oasis like bespectacled sun lizards. Local musicians, instagram-obsessed 20-somethings, and tattooed Californian bros all assembled to absorb the easygoing aesthetic, as well as the brilliantly curated music of music legend, Peanut Butter Wolf.

 

Kicking off a music-focused Summer pool party series, The Line Hotel pulled off a coup in getting Chris Manak aka Peanut Butter Wolf to appear in such a casual and understated setting. PBW is producer/ DJ and founder of Stones Throw Records, one of the most successful and influential indie labels of all time. Yet there he stood, pulling vinyl out of crates behind a poolside DJ setup, largely ignored by the oblivious bathing suit-clad day drinkers. A gaggle of hip-hop heads and inspired bikini girls floated around the DJ booth as PBW dropped audio jewels on his decks.

 

Time evaporated as the sunset of the evening’s pool party began to avail itself.  Peanut Butter Wolf continued to paint the ambience with deep hip-hop cuts and danceable rhythms. A quintessential Austin afternoon that ebbed away beautifully and helped frame what a casual Sunday pool party should look like.