I hail from Austin, Texas. That’s right, live music capital of the nation! (Take that Nashville) Anyways, in this magical, musically inclined city, we start each New Year with FREE WEEK. That’s right, free shows by local bands all week long!
In this post I will be reporting on four bands I saw this weekend, that are definitely worth checking out. I have also created a spotify playlist to make your lives that much easier (you’re welcome).
Shy Beast, a local austin band, features wonder woman singer, songwriter, and creative leader of the band: Mariclaire. The online biography for Mariclaire calls her “both shy and beastly, she is the creative force of the group. Her vocal range is huge, and she uses it to captivate audiences, and claim her place as the alpha in her pride of musical men.” If this description is not convincing enough for you, don’t fret, the electro-pop tunes in her new self titled album ‘Shy Beast’ speak for themselves.
Sprouting from original band MCG, Shy Beast is dubbed a transformation into the “adult” version: “Mature band, mature music.” The fully grown Shy Beast debuted it’s first single ‘Back With Me’ in late 2017, with an accompanying music video. In a Vents magazine interview MC digs into the meaning of the single stating: “it comes from a place of feeling like you don’t have to apologize anymore for being yourself. It also speaks to the idea of relying on your instincts”. Both ideas perfect New Years self-improvement projects if you ask me, so don’t sleep on this beat.
On Friday when I saw Shy Beast, the energy was amazing. Mariclaire took the stage in striking red trousers, and jumped around, flipping her hair, even showing off her athleticism with some lethal roundhouse kicks. The whole band’s stage presence had the entire crowd grooving to their electro-pop tunes, and definitely gained them a few fans that night!
Wonderbitch, another local Austin band, finds its sound “citing psychedelic and 80’s pop influence, [with] traces of Bowie, Steely Dan, and Talking Heads”. Their newest project, and first full length album, ‘Oceansoft’, was released early November, 2017, and features popular hits like ‘Run Ya’, ‘Oceansoft’, and ‘Chlorine’. Their 80’s, disco-esque sound will surely get you and your friends on your feet dancing.
Wonderbitch, with their luscious beards, and billowing hair, had a great stage presence. Their disco 80’s vibes, with the addition of a live saxophonist, had the whole audience up dancing for their entire set.
Money Chicha, another Austin based band, will appeal to anyone looking to get up and dance to groovy latin inspired dance tunes. Their musical style boasts: “fuzzed-out, reverb-drenched and a percussion-heavy style of sound, inspired by the sounds of Peru and Colombia in the 60’s and 70’s.” This style of music being known as “Chicha” music, hence the name of the group, Money Chicha. This latin-rock-dance music is guaranteed to get everyone up on their feet shaking things they didn’t even know they had. The group creates their sound with the help of “exhilarating syncopations of congas, cowbell and timbales”.
The group Money Chicha is actually a combination of members from Grammy award winning latin orchestra ‘Fantasma’ and the funk group ‘Brownout’. In an article in online journal PopMatters, the group states that “On Echo En Mexico we took what we learned from playing contemporary Latin orchestra format with Grupo Fantasma and the more Psychedelic Funk rock style of Brownout. We blended it with the classic chicha sound, added a pinch of out South Texas/North Mexico border flavor and let it simmer.” This combination was definitely a recipe for success, which their 2016 ‘Echo en Mexico’ project proves.
Although ‘Echo en Mexico’ is an instrumental album, they did have someone singing lyrics at their show. I cannot speak for the meaning of the lyrics, because they were all in Spanish, but the musicality of each song definitely spoke for itself. This Tex-Mex band is perfect for anyone who can’t deny a good latin dance beat.
Last but not least, Austin locals, the Halfways. The Halfways state that they are “born from the sonic spaces between reality and fantasy.” This chill, psychedelic rock band released its new project ‘In the Interim’ in 2017, and thus hits like ‘I Don’t Know How to Say No’, and ‘Don’t Leave Me Alone to Myself’ were born.
This boy clad rock band stated in an interview with Panthernow that they are “classically influenced by bands like The Who, Grateful Dead and obviously The Beatles and Pink Floyd”. The band also states that their sound greatly varies from radio to live performance. While The Halfway’s albums all feature very chill, psychedelic-esque rock tunes, watching the band live is a completely different experience. Live, the percussion is much more aggressive, and leads to a more hard rock sound. One of the guitarists was even playing so hard he broke a string, and had to run mid-set to replace it. The band live also featured some special folk instrument, resembling something like a lute. Keep an eye on The Halfways, because they could be the modern day Beatles on the rise!
Get groovy & give them all a play!