With live music making a swift return to Austin, it's time to dust off your local music knowledge and prepare for the tunes that will likely be coming to stages near you very soon. Austin musicians are sharing the fruits of their labor after a year of creating—and the results are almost worth a global pandemic.
If you're looking for some new songs to add to your rotation, check out these local artists.
Amigo the Devil
In a genre that he calls "murderfolk," Danny Kiranos plays music about subjects that most shy away from under the name Amigo the Devil. The new album, titled "Born Against," which Kiranos said is more subdued than the last, references taboo subjects, the human condition and a fear of death. "Quiet as a Rat" examines moral depravity to a marching band beat while "Letter From Death Row" is a teary ballad of a death row inmate finally letting go. With a voice reminiscent of Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard, Kirano takes a raw look at his emotional state in his new album.
This is the band that is keeping Austin Weird. In a new single titled "Animal Ending," Reigalman pairs the song with a kooky video that flips the script on a typical hunting trip, where a stereotypical hunter chases an anthropomorphic pizza while surrounded by forest animals. The indie-pop song comes with an array of different guitar riffs to add interest, Riegalman's pleasant falsetto and will probably make you want to go vegan after hearing it... just for a second though.
Croy and the Boys
If a cowboy and a hippie had a baby, it would grow up to start Croy and the Boys, a politically-charged country music quartet led by Cory Baum. Their new EP, "Of Course They Do," is reminiscent of Father John Misty's complex lyrics while maintaining the familiar twang that Texans love oh, so much. The song "Do They Owe Us a Living?" which indirectly serves as the namesake for the record, takes a frustrated look at the state of living in modern America, while "Ready to Fight" challenges imposed authority in an upbeat, danceable tune.
Somber sounding and bridging several different genres at once, Austin-based musician Tyler Dozier's new album, "I Am the Prophet," explores emotional opposites of all types. An Alabama native, Dozier jumps from country to pop to orchestra to blues like it's no big deal. "I Am the Prophet" tells a story of a woman who is rebuilding herself, while "Paradox" is about the idea of a woman of stone. In an album dedicated to learning about herself, unlearning toxicity hiding in her past life and forming a new identity like a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, Dozier lays it all out on the table. This album is introspective, vulnerable and graceful in the face of change.
After releasing three projects in 2020, The Teeta, an Austin-based rap musician, recently revealed a new album, titled "24," with a complementing visual exhibit that meshes the barrier between music and perception. "The Teeta World'' is an interactive visual album that the Austin native said he hopes will bring people closer after a year of separation. The exhibit will only run through May 1 but has free entry and is full of surprises.
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By Jonathan Lee
The Planning Commission was split Tuesday on whether to help save an eclectic lakefront estate from demolition by zoning it historic amid concerns over tax breaks and the likelihood that a previous owner participated in segregation as a business owner.
The property in question, known as the Delisle House, is located at 2002 Scenic Drive in Tarrytown. The main house, with Spanish and Modern influences, was built in 1923 by Raymond Delisle, an optician. A Gothic Revival accessory apartment was built in 1946. The current owner applied to demolish the structures in order to build a new home.'
Historic preservationists, for their part, overwhelmingly support historic zoning, which would preserve the buildings in perpetuity. The Historic Landmark Commission unanimously voted to initiate historic zoning in July, citing architectural significance, landscape features and association to historic figures. City staffers recommend historic zoning, calling both structures one-of-a-kind examples of vernacular architecture.
Tarrytown neighbors have also banded together to stop the demolition. Many have written letters, and a few spoke at the meeting. “How could anyone buy this property with the intent of destroying it?” Ila Falvey said. “I think it’s an architectural treasure.”
Michael Whellan, an attorney representing the property owner, said that the claims made by preservationists are shaky. The buildings are run down, he said, and have had substantial renovations. A structural engineer hired by the owner said any attempt at preservation would involve tearing down and rebuilding – an undertaking Whellan said would likely cost millions.
Whellan also argued that any historical significance derived from the property’s association with Delisle and longtime owner C.H. Slator is dubious. “These men are not noted for any civic, philanthropic or historic impact,” he said.
What’s more, according to Whellan, Slator likely participated in segregation as the owner of the Tavern on North Lamar Boulevard between 1953 and 1960.
A city staffer, however, said she found no evidence to support the claim. “We would never landmark a property where a segregationist lived, or there was a racist person,” Kimberly Collins with the Historic Preservation Office said.
Commissioner Awais Azhar couldn’t support historic zoning in part due to lingering uncertainty about Slator. “Focusing on that factor is not here to disparage an individual or family. It is not about playing the race card. This is an important assertion for us to consider as Planning commissioners,” Azhar said.
Commissioner Carmen Llanes Pulido said that allegations of racism should come as no surprise. “We’re talking about white male property owners in the 1950s, in Austin, on the west side – and of course they were racist,” she said. But she argued that allowing the house to be demolished based on these grounds does nothing to help people of color who have been harmed by racism and segregation.
The question of tax breaks was also controversial. Michael Gaudini, representing the property owner, said that the tax breaks associated with historic zoning would exacerbate inequality by shifting property tax burdens to less affluent communities. City staffers estimate that the property, appraised at $3.5 million, would get either a $8,500 or $16,107 property tax break annually, depending on whether a homestead exemption is applied.
Commissioner Grayson Cox preferred the commission focus not on tax breaks but on whether the structures merit preservation. “To me, nothing in the historic preservation criteria lists, is this person deserving of a tax break or not?”
Azhar, on the other hand, said he plans to propose a code amendment getting rid of city property tax breaks for historic properties.
The commission fell one vote short of recommending historic zoning, with six commissioners in support and three opposed. Azhar and commissioners Claire Hempel and Greg Anderson voted against.
The odds of City Council zoning over an owner’s wishes are slim. Nine out of 11 members must vote in favor, and there have only been a handful of such cases over the past several decades.
What's new in Austin food & drink this week:
- Nau's Enfield Drug closing after losing their lease. Did McGuire Moorman Lambert buy the building, with its vintage soda fountain?
- Nixta Taqueria Chef Edgar Rico named to Time Magazine's Time 100 Next influencer list, after winning a James Beard Award earlier this year.
- Question: From what BBQ joint did pescatarian Harry Styles order food this week?
- Austin Motel is opening the pool and pool bar Wednesday nights in October for Freaky Floats.
- Vincent's on the Lake closing due to "economic conditions and low water levels [at Lake Travis]."
- Cenote has closed its Windsor Park location. The East Cesar Chavez location remains open.
- The Steeping Room on N. Lamar has closed.
- Local startup It's Skinnyscored new financing for its gluten-free pasta business.
- P. Terry's opened a new location in Kyle, at 18940 IH-35.