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OV Recommends: Kev Bev & The Woodland Creatures

Local indie/bluesy funk band Kev Bev and the Woodland Creatures recently sat down with On Vinyl to share their insight, joy, and eclectic spin on what it is that makes the infectious “Kev Bev Sound.” Highlights from the intimate 1-on-9 conversation include a sneak peak into their upcoming album releases, obscure musical influences, and the paramount pursuit of happiness.

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More local Austin artists take SXSW by storm

South by Southwest (SXSW) is an international arts festival that displays the best of film, interactive media, and music. Unsurprisingly, there are many Austinites taking main stage at this event in March.

We’ve listed the latest batch of Austin artists performing in 2018. From brooding electronica to classic folk you can’t go wrong seeing these world-class performers.

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Cody Canada promises a Red Dirt revival at Empire Garage

Coming to Texas from New Mexico, I always knew I was going to be confronted by a world with which I was not entirely in tune. I had been raised in an environment and community that was innately opposed to Texas, or at the very least placed Texas at the butt of their jokes. I have some guesses as to why this might be, but none of them are very good and none of them come close to explaining the strange phenomenon. Let it suffice to say that I had some existing notions about the state that almost kept me from attending school here. A few were founded in some truth, while others are mysteries to me even now, but my deepest-rooted concern revolved around about being inescapably trapped by country music.

That sounds silly to say, of course—in the age of mobile technology and headphones, it is easy to avoid the music you don’t care for. More importantly, to discount and avoid an entire genre of music is ridiculous—especially one with a history as deep and rich as country. I am very grateful to say that my preconceptions about country music were sorely mistaken, and while I could not go so far as to say I am a fan of the genre in its entirety, I have found artists and sub-genres that I both enjoy and recognize immense value. Cody Canada is one of those artists who I believe truly embodies the spirit and power of country music traditions.

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Nominee sparks warmth when we need it most

I don’t know when or how it happened, but the live music experience has changed. The warmth that used to fill venues, a tangible energy that bubbled and blossomed in the bonds made between strangers, has been replaced by a prickly and sticky heat that exerts itself in the form of cranky elbows to the ribs and an unspoken agreement not to interact with those around you (unless they have a doobie you’re trying to sneak a puff of). Maybe it’s just that we are the first generation that values the video—the tangible evidence of attendance—more than the experience itself, and this means audiences are never fully present, their experience mediated and dampened by the screen held in front of their first. I fear that this loss of this vitality is symptomatic of a larger (and unnerving) societal trend of people growing apart from one another, too invested in hollow interactions mediated by a vacuous internet to interact and engage with other humans in the real world. It is depressing to think that the venues where I grew up (in both literal and figurative senses) and which hold my fondest memories might one day be obsolete, replaced by videos and virtual reality, but I would prefer that than to see the state of live music continue its current trajectory and end up void of all meaning.

Or so I thought.

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Chynna Rogers gives Austin rappers the chance to shine

For a city whose reputation and self-image is built on its identity as the mecca for live music, one would expect Austin’s musical output to be through the roof and that the city’s musicians would be leading artists in every genre. Unfortunately, this is not entirely the case. Though there is no dearth of talented musicians in Austin, Texas, those artists who have hit the truly big-time can be counted on one hand (depending on your criteria—Willie Nelson and Spoon are probably the only inarguable names on the list) and, like the city itself, tend to pride themselves on their weirdness, their refusal to fit into existing notions and norms of music.

Given the massive popularity of hip-hop music in modern culture, it is perhaps (at first glance) no surprise then that the hip-hop community and scene in Austin is not thriving. It’s just like Austin to shun the genre that is dominating popular culture, to stand by their strange strains of psychedelia and celestial pop-funk. That said, to consider hip-hop a genre without room for “weirdness” is a massive disservice to the music and to those artists creating that music, just like excluding an entire aspect to the music industry and culture is a disservice to that community. There are, of course, some very talented rap and hip-hop artists here in Austin— they just need our attention and our support. With The Bishops leading the charge, there are some name emerging from Austin’s hip-hop community with a promising buzz to them: Clee and Ronnie Lott are two of those names. This Thursday, November 16th at Empire Control Room, Vinyl List is going to see what the buzz is all about, as these two musicians have been given the opportunity to open up for Chynna Rogers, who has the notable distinction of being the “first lady” of the A$AP Mob. We invite you to join us in discovering and supporting some of Austin’s best-kept treasures.

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Wonderbitch resurrects the 1980s in fun, luxurious style

If any readers regularly follow On Vinyl’s Vinyl List, it will already be blindingly obvious that my own passion for music stems from and resides somewhere in the capability to create entire worlds for an audience to imagine, to inhabit and (ideally) to learn from. These worlds can be based in mood, shepherding listeners and eliciting particular emotions, or they can be based in thought and wonder, transporting listeners to a place that feels almost-physical. The best music, I would argue, is that which combines the somatic and the spiritual, carefully constructing a soundscape and a corporeal experience that appeals to both.

With their upcoming LP Oceansoft, Wonderbitch have committed mind and soul to creating this all-encompassing musical experience for their listeners through a modern reimagining of 1980s new wave synth-pop that they affectionately deem “new yacht rock.” The transportive nature of their music is both physical and temporal, their shiny blend of new whisking listeners away to “an alternate dimension 1980s where money doesn’t matter and nature is taking over civilization,” and what an adventure it is.