Austin’s Favorite Rapper Omenihu Drops Ruminating “Dream Killer”

Nostalgic vibes with a forward-thinking and unifying message, Omenihu is a name to look out for in the years to come. His sophomore single, Dream Killers, highlights the struggles of a young black artist as he faces criticism and discrimination. He’s only been in the game for 9-months, but his vision and talent transcend experience and place him on the top of the leaderboards. He’s a creative mastermind with a hellacious flow; a double threat with a heart.

With a crafty backing track from Rascal that samples TLC’s No Scrubs and a meditative flow, Omenihu debuts an introspective look into his life. He even makes a nod towards TLC’s Left Eye during a verse. The video focuses on Omenihu as he appears to be in a state of distress outside of a corner store. His anticipation swells, leading to the breaking point in his second verse, where he trades his calm-and-collective flow in for an aggressive and uninhibited one. The video takes place in front of the store but the conflict is a worldwide phenomenon, attributing to the empathy that pulls you to the screen. Co-directed by Jessie Rodriguez and Omenihu himself the video’s coloration is vibrant; yellow highlights of the video lure a state of anxiety, but the cool-blue eases. The colors contrast beautifully against the night sky, offering amplification for every movement and emotion.

Omenihu performs for the camera brandishing a shirt from his company, Human Influence, a collaborative creative media agency that was co-founded by Omenihu and fellow UT-grad Henry Smith. The company encourages individuals to connect with their full potential through various mediums. Omenihu took heed of this when he first began his musical career, releasing the catchy and potent, All Vibes Matter ft. Mickey in September of 2016. The track was playful and fun, focusing on empowering individualism through a relaxed vibe. Austin has an up-and-coming soldier that’s gunning for the lead. A breath of fresh air comes with every track, throwing new blood into a genre that’s constantly being reinvented. His charismatic blend of past and future makes him an exception to the rules of the game, and have put him in the position to create his own.

 

http://www.omenihu.com/

 

Written By: Sawyer Click

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Hard Riffs ‘Stand Alone’ With Debut EP

Hard Riffs is the breakout project of the Austin-based Michael Mancuso (Steady Legend), a veteran of the central Texas music scene, featuring keyboardist Sam Powell (Black Joe Lewis) and percussionist Harrell Williams (Resident ZACH Theater drummer). With the release of his first solo EP, respectfully titled Stand Alone, Mancuso lives up to the band name with a collection of guitar heavy roots-rock songs boosted with a modern twist. Just short of 16 mins in length and comprising of a 5 song tracklist, Stand Alone is not the longest studio album to ever be produced but it does tell a story that anyone who has been in a failed relationship can relate to. With upbeat tempos and an uplifting sound it is difficult to believe that many of the songs weave narratives of infidelity, unrequited love, and burned bridges.

Stand Alone is an EP that is not going to reinvent the wheel but rather a modern interpretation on a time when cassette tapes, boomboxes, and 80’s glam bands reigned supreme. It is a twenty-first century journey through blues-rock from the late 70’s to the early 90’s, inspired by the greats of their time. With songs like ‘Dirty Ways’, ‘She’s Running’, and ‘Heart Attack’, Mancuso has created a neoteric collection of 80’s rock classics without the typical overuse of the synthesizer that Generation X and Y seemed to specialize in. Hard Riffs displays soaring guitar solos with solid backing bass lines and easy to understand lyrics sung by an even easier to get behind lead singer; Mancuso himself. It takes me back to the fond days of my childhood sitting in the garage with my father listening to his favorite songs by the bands who dominated the airways of his youth; such as Huey Lewis and the News, Duran Duran, Europe, the Dave Matthews Band, the Animals, and the Cult.

Stand Alone is the perfect album for rock fans tired of being subjected to the wave of today’s ‘indie’ rockers and a homage to some of the greatest music to make an entire generation of uptight, religious fanatics uncomfortable. Hard Riffs is sure to find a home in the hearts of the heavily rock’n’roll influenced Austin, Texas.

Hard Riffs will debut Stand Alone on June 30 at Barracuda along with special guests, Austin-natives Obsolete Machines and Hippo.

Tickets can be purchased here.

https://hardriffs.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/hardriffs/

(Sam Powell and Harrell Williams performed on Stand Alone EP only and are not pictured)

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Photos and article by: Demetrius Judkins

Sydney Wright Celebrates at Cheer Up Charlies Photo Recap

Have you been picking up what Sydney Wright’s been putting down? If not, you’d better get ready to do some heavy lifting. Aside from dropping riotous covers of iconic hits, the multi-instrumental, singer-songwriter also creates heartfelt original materiel that delicately balances between cathartically chill and straight-up lit af. This past Saturday, the live-looping, musical magician hit Cheer Up Charlies to celebrate her beautiful debut single ‘You Can Stay’. Check out the images below captured by Corey Mendez.

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http://www.sydneywrightmusic.com/
https://soundcloud.com/sydneywrightmusic
https://www.facebook.com/sydneywrightmusic/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNNCeZVK7Ubh4sANJFGchtQ

Photos by: Corey Mendez

http://www.coreys-photos.com/

Who is Drew Davis?

Drew Davis embodies the phrase ‘hunger for the hustle.’ The 27-year-old, singer-songwriter accomplishes more by lunchtime on Monday than most average individuals achieve by clockout time on Friday. Aside from laying down smooth and sensual slow jams, the #riseandgrind Miss Davis daylights as a personal Pilates and cardio training fitness instructor, runs a weekly Instablog @eat_sweat_groove and even does a little acting on the side as the official Charles Maund Toyota mascot spokesperson.

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Davis prior to her June 21st show at east Austin’s Native Hostel and found that beyond being a super talented musician and fashionably photogenic model, she’s one of the kindest and most down-to-earth individuals I have had the pleasure of photographing.

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Having enjoyed a musical career extending back into her early childhood, to say Davis is somewhat a musical savant would not be too far a stretch. Performing original music from the modest age of 11, Davis has had quite the noteworthy, if not enviable, journey of musical success having had many of her music used by influential television shows and films from the United States, Mexico, and France.

Davis’s performance on Wednesday was personally inspiring. Having been warned, a warning I respectfully laughed at, that there would be dancing during the show, I was unprepared for the sheer amount and level of skill these patron dancers would brandish. Not one to boast of my own dancing abilities, or lack thereof, I found myself mesmerized by the artistry of these talented men and women whilst being whisked away by the power and beauty of Davis’ incredible voice. She sang songs of love, loss, and heartache with such soul that I found myself reminiscing upon the failures of my past relationships while still remaining ever hopeful for the chance to love again. Few artists have ever so firmly set me in my emotions like the stories she sang.

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Davis’ latest EP, Lessons, released in early 2016, is a masterful composition of vocal prowess and emotion-invoking lyrics combined with wonderfully executed keystrokes that leave the listener desiring more. I suggest that every Austinite take the opportunity to see Davis perform while she still calls Austin home.

You can see Drew Davis live Wednesday, June 28th at Whisler’s.

 

https://www.drewdavismusic.com/
https://www.facebook.com/drew.miller.davis
Instagram @eat_sweat_groove

 

Photos and article by: Demetrius Judkins

Tje Austin: Right Where He Belongs

Six years ago Tje Austin captivated the nation with a belting rendition of Bruno Mar’s ‘Just The Way You Are’ during season one of The Voice. The soulful R&B singer-songwriter has since shed his trademark afro, kicked cancer’s ass and recently produced the most refined and definitive project of his promising career in I Belong to You. Austin is a part of a unique wave of young and ambitious artists ushering in a new diversity to the traditional blues and rockabilly mindset of the Live Music Capital. Now, just days away from his 33rd birthday, Austin finds himself at the forefront of his city’s omnifarious musical movement and destined towards national prominence; and that’s exactly where he belongs.

Originally from Hawaii, Austin was adopted at four days old by a loving Mormon family that consisted of five brothers and three sisters. He was raised in a supportive multicultural household with parents he humorously considers “very, very white people.” Music was a large part of Austin’s childhood. “My dad was super country,” he laughs. “So, we listened to a lot of country and 70’s rock. Then, with so many brothers and sisters, as everyone got older the music became very different. We started listening to Madonna…then Green Day…then Destiny’s Child and Kanye. Our taste in music was constantly evolving.”

After High School, Austin attempted a political science degree at The University of Texas before a change of heart turned his hobby into a full-blown career path. “I was probably the worst student ever,” he admits. “I was constantly bouncing back and forth.” Coincidentally, Austin happened upon a friend who was starting a band and looking to add talent. “At the time, I needed a place to stay,” he recalls. “So, I told him I’d be in his band if he’d let me be his roommate. It was sort of like a boy band…It was terrible. But, after that I started doing my own thing because I discovered I really liked it.”

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Austin released his solo debut in 2008 with Love Me Knots and followed that with 2010’s Xperience. The attractive R&B charmer gained national attention while competing on NBC’s hit talent show and his third album, Dreamin’ Big, debuted in 2012 to a larger audience but mixed reviews.

This past January, Austin released his most complete project to date with the passionate and introspective I Belong to You. Inspired by the changes Austin went through after being diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2013, the provocative EP deals with love and loss, grief and promise. “Cancer was a big part of my life for three years. That’s all that I would do: sleep, chemo, eat when I could, and repeat,” he earlier told Austin Monthly. In May of 2016, Austin underwent his last chemotherapy treatment and in August was declared cancer free.

Austin’s outlook on life and understanding of its frail significance helps keep the singer grounded in an industry that often inflates the ego. His huge sense of humor and easy-going personality provide a surprising contrast to the heavy-hearted poetry behind I Belong to You. A dedicated songwriter by nature, Austin’s passion for creating music is nearly overshadowed by his love for pastry baking. “They’re both very similar to me because you’re creating something and testing things out,” he claims. “You want to make the best product possible. Is it going to taste good…or is it going to sound good? And then when you’re all done it’s like, ‘Aww, man. That’s the shit right there!’”

It would be easy to assume Austin fits the typical R&B playboy persona with his magnetic personality, handsome charm and fresh sense of style. But, for anyone hoping to enjoy fresh pastries with one of Austin, TX’s top bachelors, you’d better forget about online dating and get into online gaming. “I don’t do any of those apps,” he confesses. “I know that’s how a lot of people date these days. But, I don’t really understand Tinder and Bumble and all of that. I’d much rather stay home and play Xbox.”

Your best chance to spend time with the home-bodied R&B crooner will be Saturday, June 24th, when he celebrates his birthday at 3TEN Austin City Limits Live with an evening of soulful jams and sweet surprises. “I’ve been trying to come up with something special for my party. I want everyone to have a good time. Of course, I want to look fly as well. It is a birthday after all. I’m not entirely sure yet, but, something’s coming. One thing’s for certain. There’s definitely going to be cake.”

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Austin is also preparing to begin work on his next couple of projects. “I love Christmas. So, I want to do a little Christmas project with a few other cool Austin artists.” He also recently linked up with Milwaukee-born, Austin-based rapping wordsmith, Branden Rex, whose ‘50¢ wings’ video immediately had the R&B singer contemplating a collaboration. “That dude is super dope. I’m really looking forward to working with him.”

The future looks very bright for Austin. He’s at a point in his career where he can take his music in just about any direction he chooses. He possesses the talent and ambition to journey very far in the music industry and with his attractive personality fans shouldn’t be hard to come by. If you don’t believe me, go see for yourself Saturday at 3TEN Austin City Limits.

Tickets can be purchased here.

The evening will also include performances by Mama K & The Shades and ulovei.

For additional information visit: https://www.mynameistjeaustin.com/

Photos by: J. Alan Love

https://www.jalanlovephotography.com/

Article by: Doug Leach

Solstice Festival June 15-17

Have you gotten your tickets to Solstice Festival yet? Better pick them up quick before they’re all snatched up.

Tickets can be purchased here.

Solstice Festival returns for its 4th annual celebration of music, art, technology and life! Come be a part of the Summer Solstice festivities as Austin joins in with hundreds of cities around the world to celebrate Fête de la Musique – aka World Music Day. This summer Solstice Festival will host concerts at multiple venues in and around the Red River Entertainment District, as well as 10hrs of nonstop music at the beautiful east side Pan Am Park. Featuring performances from nationally renowned artists, your favorite local bands, plus yoga workshops, an art village, and more – Solstice Festival is the soundtrack to your summer.

Full Schedule Below:

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For more information visit: http://solsticeatx.com/

David Messier’s Birthday Bash at The Townsend

The massive pride of Harley Davidsons roaring through downtown Austin could be heard for miles when the annual Republic of Texas Biker Rally ascended upon the Capital Friday night. As spectators lined the banks of Congress Ave. to experience the largest turnstile biker rally in the US, a much more intimate evening was unfolding inside The Townsend.

A calm and relaxed David Messier was celebrating his 39th birthday bash with a few of his closest friends at Austin’s premier cocktail bar and performance venue. The musical renaissance man had plenty to celebrate on this particular birthday as just 24 hours earlier, Mayor Steve Adler had declared June 8th David Messier Day. Frosty pint in hand, the singer-songwriter mingled amongst the crowd before his show, half-jokingly admitting, ‘If I had realized it was ROT Rally weekend, I may have charged a little more for these tickets.”

Messier allowed the sold-out crowd a few extra minutes to battle the parade outside before he took the stage with his backing five-piece. Shortly after 9:00pm the purring engines on The Townsend’s front porch were replaced by a steady kick drum reverberating throughout the venue. The crowd immediately soaked into the show as Messier kicked-off his bash with Waiting for Eldridge hit carousel ride ‘Everything Breaks My Heart’. Messier’s carnival then voyaged into the subtle psychedelia of ‘Down’ and by the third song it was time for the lively frontman to show off his multi-instrumental repertoire and strap up his acoustic for a sweeping version of ‘Whispering’. The rattling hand percussion and squealing guitar stole the show on ‘Change’ before the crowd threw in a few ‘Happy Birthday’ chants to the man of the hour. The Boston-born Messier strutted a little Opry swagger on ‘Don’t Say Nothing’ and had the crowd swinging in unison with ‘Shoot To Kill’ before officially turning the party out with spooky fan favorite ‘Franklin’s Key’. Messier got nostalgic and channeled his inner-Jim Henson with a funky rendition of Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem’s narrative of heavy-duty proportions ‘Can You Picture That’ and even debuted a chivalrous teaser from his future ‘album with no name’.

Messier put on a helluva show Friday night showcasing his latest album Waiting For Eldridge along with a few old favorites. He’s a musician’s musician with a magnetic stage presence that can captivate a crowd of any size with his personable showmanship and arsenal of rock, jazz, Americana and funk. He’s one cool cat with a huge bag of talent well worth the price of admission. We agree with Messier, he probably should have charged a few extra bucks for the show.

Photographer J. Alan Love helped wish Messier a happy birthday with a few shots from the bash below.

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http://davidmessier.com/

http://thetownsendaustin.com/

 

Photos by: J. Alan Love 

https://www.jalanlovephotography.com/

 

Article by: Doug Leach

Jamestown Revival plays KGSR Blues on the Green

Magnolia rockers Jamestown Revival kicked-off the new season of KGSR’s Blues on the Green at Zilker Park Wednesday night. The rock duo helped Zilker Park celebrate its 100th birthday by showcasing their latest album, The Education of a Wandering Man, to a packed Austin crowd. Track Rambler photographer Demetrius Judkins made the stroll up Town Lake to catch the show.

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Blues on the Green returns June 14th with Grupo Fantasma

http://www.jamestownrevival.com/

http://www.kgsr.com/promotions/blues-on-the-green-home-2017

 

Photos by: Demetrius Judkins

http://www.wolfspiritofthesun.net

 

Austin Mayor Declares June 8th ‘David Messier Day’

Austin Mayor Steve Adler will designate June 8th to be “David Messier Day” in a ceremony at City Hall. On June 9th, Messier’s birthday, The Townsend will welcome the multi-talented artist back to its stage to celebrate with a live performance. Tickets can be purchased for $10 in advance and $15 at the door. For more information please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/o/the-townsend-8471342185.

David Messier is a multi-instrumental musician, songwriter, producer, owner of Austin-based recording studio Same Sky Productions and the President of the Texas Grammy Chapter. After an 8-year recording hiatus, the former Papermoon frontman released his debut solo album, Waiting For Eldridge, in 2016 to wide critical acclaim from KUTX, Austin Chronicle and Bluegrass Situation. Waiting For Eldridge is a culmination of years of playing guitar, drums, piano, songwriting and producing music. For Messier, the album represents the private radio station that constantly plays in his head.

Messier recently released two of three brand new videos from the album with “Everything Breaks My Heart,” “Franklin’s Keys” and “Keeping Up With Fashion” to follow on June 5th. “Everything Breaks My Heart” is a track that pushed Messier into new territory. He recalls, “This is the moment where I broke some new ground…I really heard something new.” The haunting tune swells and wallops with swinging carnival keys and Messier’s gritty distorted vocals turning at the chorus as he asks “Why in the world should I calm down? / I should have learned by now / Everything breaks my heart.

Sticking with the haunting theme, “Franklin’s Key’ is a joyously spooky party track featuring tip-toe marimba taps and quick horn blasts. “In ‘Franklin’s Key’ everything is speaking — not just the vocals. The saw, the bari sax, the percussion … it’s all ‘talking. When I close my eyes and listen to this track, I’m suddenly in a haunted house circa 1940 — the shutters cracking in the wind, the creaks of wooden floorboards — and when I pinch my eyes even tighter, I see cartoon skeletons playing percussion on rib bones, creepy cats with hollow eyes, and creatures of the night holding seance dance parties that make me want to join the fun and turn that party out,” Messier tells Bluegrass Situation.

 

http://davidmessier.com/

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Jen Zava Premiers Inspirational ‘Power To Change’

Soulful alt-rock artist Jen Zava has mapped a career ‘covering’ Austin’s vast musical terrain. Since relocating in 2001, the Georgia-born songstress has ‘done a little bit of everything in the music world’ while contributing to the works of many local favorites. However, a career focused on supporting the musical ventures of others forced Zava’s own music to simmer on the back burner. Fortunately, the time has come for the passionate and fiery siren to formally introduce herself with her debut solo album, Power To Change, due out June 2.

We received a sneak-peak at Power To Change this morning when Zava shared the album’s inspirational title track. Originally crafted as a personal pep-talk, ‘Power To Change’ deals with battling life’s struggles and overcoming the petty emotions that often consume us. The soulful alt-pop melody radiates with a fierce sense of determination and is a testament to what Zava stands for; that in changing yourself, you have the power to change the world. “This song is about fighting that inner negative voice that shows itself in the form of self-doubt, negativity, jealousy, comparisons and telling yourself you’re not capable,” admits Zava. “I’m talking to all those negative inner emotions and telling myself that I do have the power to change the things about myself that I don’t like or that don’t serve me well.”

The self-reflective track features Zava’s uninhibited, soul-baring lyrics belted through ethereal chords of enthusiasm. Striking keys and harmonious acoustic shuffles peppered by rattling hand percussion ground the upbeat pop tempo with a deep rootsy, gospel base.

The song represents Zava’s internal strength, hopefulness and desire to improve herself and the world around her. She has finally decided that now is the time to share her genre-bending music because it’s definitely worth hearing. After listening to ‘Power To Change,’ we’re just curious what the hell took so long?

The Official Power To Change Release Party w/ special guest Ray Prim will be held Thursday June 1 at The Townsend located at 718 Congress Ave. Suite 100, Austin, Texas 78701. Doors will be at 7:30 p.m. and the show will begin at 8 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased here.

Ten percent of ticket and album sales will be donated to Kids in a New Groove to provide instruments and music lessons to children in foster care.

Visit http://www.jenzava.com for additional information.

Jen Zava press photo 1

Photo by: Todd Wolfson

Written by: Douglas Leach