Elevaded Crush Empire for Another Round

I’m not entirely sure what exactly Electronic-Industrial-Pop-Rock is supposed to sound like. But, damned if Elevaded didn’t smash it Friday night at Empire Control Room with the freakiest, most dazzling dance party of Hot Summer Nights. Sandwiched in between Austin heavy-hitters, Megafauna, BLXPLTN and Blastfamous USA, the industrial-pop trio wrecked Friday’s release party for the band’s latest single, ‘Another Round’. The power-pop, Balboa-ballad is the second single from Elevaded and throws some nasty punches with whirling electronics, pounding bass and roaring vocals. It’s a raging, pop-rock anthem with an empowering, ‘take no shit’ attitude and steel determination that serves as a knockout introduction for this promising trio.

You can catch Elevaded next on August 15th at Mohawk and help the band celebrate the launch of their first tour with special guests SIGNY and Black Basements. In the meantime, check out Elevaded’s latest single ‘Another Round’ and some of the luminescent highlights from the single release party.

 

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Photos by: Mark Bowers @markbowersphoto

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Jonathon Zemek Reimagines The Music Industry With His Latest Multimedia Creation — Single Premiere

D’you ever hear an album, and it kind of feels like a story? It leaves a film-tape image in your mind, burnt there to reappear every time you hear it – just for you. That’s the beauty of a well-written album, it takes talent. Now, imagine you take that emotion and you innovate it, you twist it and you turn it and you form a whole new meaning of a song, of an album – the story takes a front seat role.

That’s what Jonathon Zemek has done with his, frankly, revolutionary approach to music and the album to come alongside it – ‘Hillcrest’, to be released on September 21st. A multimedia project, he envelops all levels of artistry with a track, a video, and a comic to boot.

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Hillcrest’s Album and Comic Cover – Art by Chris Rogers

The first to be released of the album is ‘Everything Will Change’. Best explained as a guitar-heavy track with a classic rock feel, it features the vocals of Guy Forsyth, a name recognizable across our city of Austin: his bluesy, rock ‘n’ roll vocals made sure of that.

On top of this almost-nostalgically classic yet fresh track, and the story it tells – no spoilers, you’ll have to listen to it yourself below – the video itself is unique. Cinematically creepy, it deepens the story that the song depicts – masterfully combining the two.

Check out the video and the track below – September can’t come fast enough, in my opinion.

What d’you think?

On the Run With the Highway Sisters

Kindred spirits, Amelia Presley and KK Bodiford, share an unconventional sisterly bond. Their unique personalities couldn’t be any further apart, yet, they’re connected in nearly every manner. When a previous band venture didn’t quite pan out, the Highway Sisters relied on each other…and where they ended up is possibly the happiest place they could’ve imagined.

Now armed with their brand new EP, Smoke & Mirrors, the Highway Sisters are on the run setting the country ablaze and not looking back. Soulful harmonies roaring with passion, heartfelt songwriting and relatable self-awareness are just a few of the wonderful qualities found in Smoke & Mirrors. The five-track album rolls from deep and spiritual at times to inspiring and comical at others, all the while remaining genuinely authentic to its Texas Country roots. However, even through their emotive songwriting, these two ladies still can’t quite explain exactly how they’re so connected to one another. But, thank God the Highway Sisters found each other and can celebrate life’s beauty so eloquently through their music.

We had a chance to speak with the Texas Country outlaws during their Smoke & Mirrors tour. Read what the Highway Sisters had to say about their time on the run below.

 

The story behind the Highway Sisters is “deep, comical and inspiring.” Can you elaborate on how the two of you came together and became known as the modern day Thelma and Louise?

We have a connection both musically and spiritually that is beyond anything that either of us have experienced. We were brought together for a different band and instantly bonded as if we had known each other forever. There was a point when we both knew we wanted to move onto a duo, just the two of us. We experienced a lot of negativity in the former band, and decided to make lemonade out of the lemons we were dealt. Thank goodness we did, because our journey has taken such a positive turn. The name “Highway Sisters” was purposely created based on the fact that we truly are just like sisters. We believe people call us the “Modern day Thelma & Louise” because of our two completely different personalities, yet connected in every way. We love to write and perform together, laugh like crazy, finish each others’ sentences, and truly lift one another up….despite our silly sisterly banter on and off stage!

What has been the most important thing you have each learned from one another since joining forces?

No matter where you’re from, what your passions are, who you are or what you want out of life, as long as you live with the ultimate goal of lifting others up and inspiring, you will all succeed together!

Smoke and Mirrors presents a beautiful contrast of heartfelt songwriting detailed with sparkling melodies. Was it difficult finding a balance between the deep songwriting and the overall upbeat tone of the album?

We are so proud of our first EP together, because it was truly our heart and soul without overthinking any part of it. It is easy to get lost in the mechanics of writing or recording, but we let our experiences and heart do all of the work. Our producer, Eric McKinney of Wonderland Studios in Austin, Texas, made the experience better than we could ever imagine. He truly gave us the organic canvas to enhance our authenticity through the music we created in the studio together!

Writing the lead single “Papa” from a father/son perspective provides an interesting twist. Can you elaborate on the inspiration behind the song and it’s perspective?

KK was the songwriter on “Papa.” She was inspired by another individual’s story of their Papa/Son relationship and special journey together. We were both equally connected to the song because of our own relationships with our hard-working papas, and felt it was the perfect song to complete our EP.

Congratulations, KK. Will “Mama” possibly be a single on the next project?

(KK): Thank you so much!! My husband, Chris, and I found out that we will be having a son in December! It’s funny that every time Amelia and I perform “Papa” on stage, I always feel him kick right before the finale line. It also makes me choked up a bit thinking about Chris and the future bond with his first boy. I’m getting choked up right now as I’m answering your question, lol! As far as “Mama” being a future song…It wouldn’t surprise me. The most important thing to Amelia and I are our families. She has 2 children as well, and being a mama is what inspires us the most! People used to say that you can’t be a singer/songwriter/artist if you have children and aren’t super young. In our own lives, we couldn’t imagine the opposite. Our children and experiences over the years are the core foundation of our lyrics and melodies!

What have you enjoyed most about being on the road and have there been any interesting stories you’d care to share from the current Smoke and Mirrors tour?

We have enjoyed just about every moment on the road together. The best is that we get to have a sidekick no matter where we go! There are so many interesting stories from our “Smoke & Mirrors” tour, that we don’t even know where to start! One of the most amazing moments was playing the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. It was such an honor to perform on the stage that so many legends have performed. Something hilarious that recently happened was in Pennsylvania. The President of the festival took us hunting at his ranch. Both of us were successful in our ram hunt. But because KK is pregnant, she has to potty often. She decides to ask the guide to walk ahead so she could squat in the woods. Right about then, the President drives down on his 4-wheeler. It may have been horrible timing, but we couldn’t stop laughing! That really is what we love the most about this tour, and just being together, is how much fun we have. You’ll have to check out our “Highway Sisters” YouTube channel, and there are so many documented stories that truly represent what we’re about….And we’re pretty sure you will be laughing with us! 🙂

Be sure to catch the Highway Sisters tonight at Saxon Pub and for additional info and tour dates visit https://www.highwaysisters.com/.

 

Float Fest 2018 Brings The Heat To San Marcos

Once a year the city of San Marcos hosts their annual Float Fest down at Cool River Ranch. The festival showcases some of the best national touring acts in the country while also providing a large platform for up and coming Texas artists as well.

This year’s lineup was one for the books as Bassnectar headlined Saturday and Tame Impala closed out the festival Sunday evening. Another cool factor for Float Fest is obviously the floating…where fans can escape the upwards of 100-degree heat by floating for hours in the San Marcos River, then hit the shores and go see their favorite musical acts.

The central Texas heat was one of the major concerns this year. But, that didn’t seem to stop people from showing out as thousands piled up to the festival’s two stages all day and night. The water stations never had a long wait, and there were plenty of food vendors to accommodate even the most complex dietary restrictions. Unlike other major festivals, the middle tier capacity of Float Fest made for a really enjoyable event without too much chaos. You could make your way up to the front if you wanted or stay in the back and still hear the bands.

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Some of the more notable performances were The Suffers out of Houston, Texas whose soul-infused rock made for a nice change in atmosphere from hip-hop and EDM acts playing throughout the day. A highlight from The Suffers’ performance was a tempo change mid-song into a Tejano rhythmic jam showcasing their influences and undoubtedly their native Texas roots. It’s always pleasing to see a group inspired from other cultures, one of the many reasons why Texas artists are so amazing.

Hip-Hop heavy weights Lil Wayne, Bun B, and Snoop Dogg were crowd favorites as everyone in attendance were rapping along or dancing throughout their entire sets. Lil Wayne, opening his set with his famous Carter III hit ‘Mr. Carter,’ got the entire festival moving followed by a whole hour of classic hits from the New Orleans Nightmare. None of the hip-hop acts had heavy backing tracks making the performances more organic as they rapped every bar of their songs. This showcases the generational gap in modern hip-hop which seems to be only backing tracks versus yesterday’s hit makers.

Even local Austin artists got their time to shine as A Giant Dog played their punk madness with frontwoman Sabrina Ellis serenading the crowd with her chaotic dance moves.

The final performances Sunday night were nothing short of spectacular as Cold War Kids, who filled-in last minute for Glass Animals after a terrible injury, took the stage setting the tone for the night. One thing you don’t realize about Cold War Kids, being industry veterans for over a decade, is just how many hits they have…playing deep cuts ‘Hang Me Out To Dry’ and indie rock anthem ‘First’ to a loving crowd. Their stage presence is unmatched having seen the most crowd involvement from any band leading up to their set. Cold War Kids are made to play festivals with their jam heavy bridges, catchy hooks, and overall charisma.

The final performance and headlining act, Tame Impala, took the stage with the most impressive lightshow I’ve ever seen. How massive this band has become this decade is insane, growing bigger and bigger every year. Thousands of people surrounded me as the psychedelic riffs made for a mind-bending evening. Laser lights, trippy backgrounds, and confetti cannons seem to be the recipe for an incredible visual performance. Tame Impala was the perfect send off to a very well-done festival. If you can take the heat, Float Fest is a worthy festival to attend for years to come. See you next year!

Check out the photo gallery below from Float Fest 2018.

Photos and review by: Matthew Carlin @yo_mtv_matt

Comedians Interviewing Musicians With Ali Holder

Kris Potrafka and the folks at Music Firsthand have curated a really unique and entertaining concept with their Comedians Interviewing Musicians weekly vodcast. The idea is simple. Pair Austin’s favorite musicians with hysterical improv comics at intimate venues and let the laughs and melodies pursue. The Austin-based music publication has comically hosted artists from Ray Prim and Jaimee Harris to Kady Rain and Sydney Wright…each week taking a new angle for discussion.

Tuesday’s vodcast was an extra special episode hosted on the edge of Fiesta Gardens at the Potrafka’s east Austin studio. Celebrity chef Giulia Millanta prepared two delightful pasta dishes for patrons to enjoy while Folk/Americana singer-songwriter Ali Holder opened-up about the inspiration behind her music, her childhood in Wichita Falls and a love lost with “California”. Esther’s Follies alum BeckiJo Neill and local comedian Claude Ramey led an intimate discussion delivering several moments of lol hysteria between the artist’s handpicked set songs. Guest were provided the opportunity to interact directly with Holder and the comedians both in-person and from Music Firsthand’s live Facebook feed. Austin Eastciders provided beverages while Millanta served up tasty bites during the performance. Draped in a floury apron, Millanta joined the Huntress Moon songwriter towards the end of the set with supporting harmonies as Holder finished her performance with a personal touch. Guest were then provided the opportunity to mingle with the artist, cook and hosts all while enjoying a wonderful dinner with friends. Music Firsthand certainly knows how to throw a party and we can’t wait for next week’s episode at Austin Eastciders with Aaron McDonnell.

For additional information on Music Firsthand and Comedians Interviewing Musicians visit https://musicfirsthand.live/. Also, be sure to catch Ali Holder on August 4th at the Cactus Café and for savory, home-cooked recipes follow Giulia Millanta at dinnerwithguilia.com.

In the meantime, enjoy the images below From Music Firsthand’s Comedians Interviewing Musicians with Ali Holder.

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Photos by: Mark Bowers @markbowersphoto

Langhorne Slim Wraps Up Texas Run at Antone’s

A packed house filled up the legendary Antone’s Nightclub Sunday evening for some southern fried country and bayou Cajun tunes in the capital city. The lights dimmed as local country rockers Harvest Thieves took the stage. Built on a sound that’s everything southern, you can find traces of Americana, Red Dirt, and traditional country in their set. Similar to country heavyweights Turnpike Troubadours, Harvest Thieves have a radio ready sound bound for the Texas airwaves that could send them up to Nashville.

A refreshing sound that lets you know there’s still great country music coming out today in a scene that’s often cluttered with overproduction or sugar cookie pop. Texas has always prided itself in its country stars and Harvest Thieves are bound to join that list. Simply put, if you love Texas country music, you will love Harvest Thieves. Their sound is familiar for the genre but they bring their own flare with a hard rocking performance.

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Headlining the evening was Pennsylvania revivalist Langhorne Slim who’s as genuine as his name. Currently residing in Nashville, Langhorne brings Americana-Folk with his own Cajun twist. Often pausing between songs to talk to the crowd, the performance felt intimate as if you were the only person in the room. Having a great voice is one thing but the showmanship is where Langhorne thrives bringing the energy needed to get everyone involved and moving on their feet.

One of few groups I’ve ever seen to not have a set list, the improvisational set creates a more personal approach where some bands can seem too rehearsed. Jumping into the crowd several times to engage with the audience, you weren’t watching a musician but more of an old friend that personally touches your soul with his music.

The highlight of the evening was when the band left the stage and Langhorne told one of the most emotional and intimate stories about how wonderful his Grandfather Sid was and how heartbreaking he took his passing. Getting emotional and choked up while telling the tale, this was one of the rawest engagements I’ve ever witnessed from an artist. Followed by his tune “Song For Sid”, the track moved both Langhorne and the audience creating a connection with everyone in the room. I don’t think there was a single person in the audience that didn’t shed a tear during that performance, myself included.

Langhorne Slim wears his heart on his sleeve and loves what he does for a living. You can feel just how happy he is to be performing for the masses while still giving you a personal experience. This was one of the best performances I’ve seen from any artist in recent memory. If you get the opportunity to see him, please do because you won’t be disappointed.

Langhorne Slim

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Article and Photos by: Matthew Carlin @yo_mtv_matt

BLK ODYSSY Takes Over Mohawk

Nu-soul, R&B crooner Sam Houston and his latest collaboration, BLK ODYSSY, took over Mohawk Sunday night with the band’s official coming out party. Anxious fans crammed into the Red River venue eager to experience Houston’s bold new recipe. And BLK ODDYSSY certainly did not disappoint.

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With the addition of guitarist Alejandro Rios, bassist Phil Abel, keyboardist John Davis, synth-magician Matt Ramos and drummer Josh Cardenas, the Jersey-born, Austin-based vocalist has transformed his distinct, bluesy soul and classic, lo-fi R&B sound into a psychy, rock/soul concoction that burns with fiery emotion and steamy sensuality. The band brings a fresh take on contemporary soul with influences from D’Angelo, Frank Ocean and Miguel all the way to Jimi Hendrix, Parliament Funkadelic and Aerosmith.

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The evening also featured performances by Haulm, a collaboration between vocalist/composer JT Norton and electronic producer, Reed Kackley. Influenced by down-tempo techno, the duo meshes minimal electronic compositions with honest and intimate vocals. Blending modular sounds with analog synthesizers and Foley sound-effects, Norton and Kackley create music that fuses a sense of sincerity with compelling dance grooves.

“Non$top,” new hip-hop artist Zeu$B put in work as well Sunday night setting off Mohawk with blazing versus and banging beats. Keep an eye out for the New Jersey representer. The up-and-coming lyricist is most definitely worth following.

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Photos by: Melodi Ramirez @melraephotos

Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Shamir at Stubb’s Photo Recap

Portland-based via New Zealand psych rockers, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, visited Stubb’s last Friday during the Texas leg of their current tour with special guest, Philly singer, songwriter and actor Shamir. UMO released their fourth studio album, Sex & Food, in April and have been on a global tour ever since. The band will finish out July in the States before jettisoning across the pond with shows in Europe and Australia. You can visit the band’s website for additional info and tour dates. In the meantime, enjoy the shots below from UMO and Shamir at Stubb’s captured by Matthew Carlin.

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Photos by: Matthew Carlin @yo_mtv_matt

Wild Moccasins Take You For A Trip Out Of This World With Latest Release ‘Look Together’

Houston-based band, Wild Moccasins, may leave you wondering where the hell you are and why every color is a brighter shade than you’ve seen before. I can’t answer the latter of those questions, but what I can tell you is that you’re not in Houston anymore.

A transcendent band with an equally as mythical new release, the foursome revealed their third album ‘Look Together’ at the end of June. The innocence of new wave combined with the dreamy vocals of Zahira Gutierrez leaves you dizzy, but excited.

A 12-track album, it kicks off with a ‘boyish wave’ hello. Extra-terrestrial beginnings, it sets the tone for the entirety of the album – preparing the listener for the journey that they’ll take. Sweet tea infused with chalk, there’s something not quite normal about this album – distinctive, and beautifully memorable.

A personal favorite of mine is ‘Seven to One’, cutting the deck in half at the 6th track. An intriguing invitation with an almost breathy vocal that gains power quickly, rolling down a slope and picking up pace with startling velocity before walking the line between the soft dream once again. All in all a song that sits a world apart from anything I’ve heard before, it also sits on my shoulder playing in my ear constantly since I first heard it.

Currently making their way across the US, I highly recommend that you get out to one of their shows – maybe two, I don’t doubt that the experience will be worth it. After all, I’m already lost within the trance that is Wild Moccasins, and I’m not all that sure I want to be found.

Photographer: Max Fields

Anatomi Prepares For July Residency at Swan Dive

There’s certainly no shortage of exceptional electronic acts in Austin right now. On any given night you could stumble into Swan Dive and get blown away by a strapping vocalist lathering hypnotic lyrics over blazing synths and engulfing productions. The Red River venue has helped many fresh, local artists get their footing in The Live Music Capital and during the month of July will host one of Austin’s most promising electronic duos.

If you’re not yet familiar with Anatomi, it’s time to get yourself acquainted. The pair, consisting of producer, Noah Wittman and vocalist, Michelle Pape, will host their first headlining residency each Thursday this month at Swan Dive. Wittman is the mind behind Anatomi’s design creating a diverse pallet of downbeat electronics and chillwave grooves for Pape’s evocative vocals and emotive songwriting. Their sound is a lush blend of soothing electro-pop and transcendental indie rock with dark, subtle shades of emo. The duo released their self-titled debut in November and already have a few videos loaded up. We had a chance to speak with Anatomi prior to their Swan Dive residency. Check out what the had to say below.

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Can you tell us a little about your individual music background and what brought the two of you together?

Noah: I’ve been playing music since high school and have played in various bands through the years as a guitarist and drummer. This is my first electronic project.
Michelle: Anatomi is my first band, and my musical background is primarily as a passionate music lover, with a little middle school choir and karaoke mixed in.

What drew you towards the electronic/chillwaves sounds?

Noah: I got interested in electronic music around 2012 when bands like Chvrches and Purity Ring showed up.
Michelle: I have always had a love for electronic/synth music. I’m a huge 80’s fan and gravitate towards those sounds often. Chvrches & Purity Ring at the time were also really big influences towards this style of music we’ve made.

You’ve both been around Austin for a while now, is there any particular act locally that has influenced you?

Oh My Love, SINE, Blushing, Curse Mackey, Genuine Leather, DOSSEY, Mamahawk, and Big Coat are all great local bands/artists.

Your debut album was released at the end of ’17, are you currently working on anything major for the second half of ’18?

We will be releasing two music videos this year and are heading back to the studio soon to start working on new songs.

Progressing beyond the debut album, where do you see your music and band evolving the most?

We have been playing live for about a year now and our live show gets better and better with each gig.

What have you enjoyed most about working together?

Noah: We bring different backgrounds and perspectives to the music and it makes us better songwriters. There is a synergy that we have when we write together.
Michelle: For me it’s always about the writing. I enjoy working on new material more than anything and it’s something I think we’ve done really well together.

Anything special planned for your residency at Swan Dive?

Yes! We will be debuting our first music video. We did three full videos in January and we want to release them strategically. We are definitely going to release two and would like to release the first towards the end of the residency.

For additional information and show dates visit https://www.anatomiband.com/

Catch Anatomi at Swan Dive every Thursday during the month of July.

 

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Photos by: Mark Bowers @markbowersphoto