Austin has a lot of nicknames: ATX, Bat City, the Violet Crown, Liberal City of Texas, Hippie Haven. But the nickname that rings true to everyone who calls Austin home is the Live Music Capital of the World. Not Texas, not the U.S., but the entire world! It goes without saying that choosing only five up and coming Austin musicians to watch is quite difficult.
I don’t typically like using standard musical genres to describe music because musicians are often so much more dynamic than one label describes. But for the sake of this article, I try to cover a variety of genres.
And I’m not saying these five are the ONLY bands to watch. They’re simply in my top five at the moment. If I see any of them scheduled to play a show, I make it a point to go watch. And I hope you will, too.
So without further ado, here’s my list of five Austin musicians you should watch and add to your playlist immediately.
#1 Danny Malone
I’ll admit: I’m obsessing over Danny Malone right now. I have seen him twice in the past month and would have seen him three times if he hadn’t cancelled a show due to strep. I’m pretty sure I’ll see him again by the time this article publishes.
He was named one of Black Fret’s 2015 grant nominees, and for good reason. Danny is a brilliant singer/songwriter and his emotional and heartfelt lyrics fill your soul. He describes himself as Sexy-Depression. I’d describe him as…yeah…Sexy-Depression fits perfectly. While his lyrics can make you cry, they’ll also leave you with a huge smile on your face.
Danny can jam out on both the guitar and piano, and I’ve seen him play solo and with a band. No two of his performances I’ve seen have been the same, but the resulting satisfaction is always the same. Isn’t that why you go see live music anyway?
#2 Jordan Moser
I would describe Jordan Moser as Americana/Folk. His songs make you want to pick up your keys, jump in the car and leave town. Leave everything behind and head to nothingness. Through his music and lyrics, he makes you feel like the world is your oyster. In addition to his talents as a musician, Jordan Moser is a dancer with Ballet Austin. The kid’s got talent. So take note.
He shares a record label, Punctum Records, with great Austin talents such as RF Shannon, Mother Falcon and Jess Williamson, among many others. You can catch him playing around town at various venues, but keep an eye out for upcoming shows at the intimate space Studium.
Psst, Jordan has a secret show tonight.
#3 Migrant Kids
Another 2015 Black Fret grant nominee, Migrant Kids, will get you on your feet dancing. Their psychedelic rock sound and funky attire transports listeners back to the 80’s…but better. Kids of migrant workers, Miguel and John are cousins who grew up playing music together. Add in their drummer Bryan and you have a powerful trio.
One thing I really appreciate about Migrant Kids is their ability to play not only funky rock, but also acoustic sets which show off their diverse musical talents. They recently finished a recording session with The Bright Light Social Hour for their song “Primordial Soup.” While we wait for that version to drop, check out this version of the song from KRTU Plugged In Sessions in San Antonio, TX.
#4 The Hems
I’m not one for country. But The Hems do it in a way that emulates the classics. I really appreciate duo Dusty and Jamie for their pure acoustic sound and musical ability. I’m also impressed by Jamie’s harmonica playing.
To top it all off, they’re funny. They know how to play with crowd members and get them on their side. You can see them pretty regularly at Cactus Cafe, so be sure to catch a show.
I couldn’t leave y’all hanging without some punk rock music with a strong female on lead vocals. And SuperEtte is that band. Lead singer Dominique has a sultry rocker voice and plays the bass. That’s pretty bad ass if you ask me. The trio is completed by another bad ass female, drummer Susie, and lead guitarist Matt. I’ve seen them a handful of times around town at Gypsy Lounge, ABGB and Mohawk and each time they get better and better.
SuperEtte recently finished recording their latest album at historic Arlyn Studios, so keep an eye out for that EP to drop soon. Otherwise, you can catch them playing around town. Totally worth the neck ache you’ll get from a little head banging.
@jpino9 wants to know:
Who are some of your favorite Austin musicians?