Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
TC Superstar, Swass Night, Tune-Yards, and more recommended shows
By Christina Garcia, Rachel Rascoe, Raoul Hernandez, Carys Anderson, Morgan-Taylor Thomas, and Kevin Curtin, Fri., Aug. 13, 2021
Mohawk, Friday 13 & Saturday 14
A mini synth-pop fest transpires at the Mohawk this weekend, headlined both nights by a band with an integral roster of postmodern dancers jumping, voguing, and kneading stiffness out of the room. TC Superstar, led by classically trained pianist-turned-dance priest Connor McCampbell, democratizes dance performance to the artful boogie of Eighties pop.
Teasing fourth album, As Seen on TV, with singles about sacking out on the couch and zoning out to the tube ("Nothing to Believe In") and mimetic desire ("Be Like You"), McCampbell emailed that the LP "is in many ways a chronicle of my reflections over quarantine and the last year; realizing how much time I was spending on screens, examining the cultural impact of the media I consume, thinking about the claustrophobic nature of capitalistic consumption."
Reflective though they are, slumped they ain't. Preoccupations with matters of personal and global impact belie the joy of a TC set. Real problems make real good jams. Continued McCampbell about TC's new music: "It's way over the top, very goofy sounding, mostly upbeat songs about our relationship to media."
Friday, six-man outfit Indoor Creature supports 2021's jazzy, dreamy Living in Darkness LP alongside Christelle Bofale's folky smooth tunes. Folk-pop dame Fuvk, supporting two excellent 2021 LPs, and synthy lo-fi trio Hey Cowboy! join Saturday. – Christina Garcia
Swass NiteHotel Vegas, Friday 13
Perusing online, "Swass" references Sir Mix-a-Lot's debut album or fitness-freak jargon for "sweaty ass." At Harpdust Production's excellent showcases, the title connotes punk side projects, first shows, and/or cult heroes of the Texas underground. I want to hear members of Hotmom make sweet (try "Sugar Cube") skewed post-punk as La Femme Solitaire and Paige Applin's delightfully downcast slowcore with On Being an Angel. Post-Googling, Maggot Vomit Afterbirth's 2020 Encased in Festering Flesh speaks for itself (goregrind freakouts with gross art) as does Ready Armed System's frenzied hardcore June demos (like 36-second "Annihilated Nightmare"). I'm hazy on details of new noise project Discreet and opener A-Caustix, and that's precisely the point. – Rachel Rascoe
Tune-YardsEmo's, Saturday 14
Equality dictates a big ixnay on calling Merrill Garbus the non-male David Byrne. Nevertheless, Oakland's rhythmic revolutionary exhibits a like-minded genius with percussive pop. On March's Sketchy, Garbus calls out backhanded sexism on opener "Nowhere, Man," singing, "Seems like Jesus and Dylan got the whole thing wrong/ If you cannot hear a woman, how can you write her song?" Her song of modernity and modality on a fifth LP for 4AD leaves listeners "Hypnotized" by a complex layering of base elements – clapping, sticks, piano – and lyrical truth-saying that peaks on two-part centerpiece "Silence" with, "It's the future that I shape, the changing and revealing." – Raoul Hernandez
Harry & EmmyHole in the Wall, Tuesday 17
Emily Whetstone writes buoyant confessionals as Van Mary and Harrison Anderson brings psychedelic rhythms to SMiiLE, but the indie rockers moonlight as sad cowboys in the country duo Harry & Emmy. Drawling slow songs of desire, the pair – while without an official studio release – makes the most of the live scene with original songs and covers of local favorites like contemporaries Pelvis Wrestley and legend Townes Van Zandt. Tuesday's free, front bar gig marks a return to the band's favorite stage; last year, a livestream performance raised funds for Hole in the Wall when COVID-19 shut it down. – Carys Anderson
An Acid Carousel TripHotel Vegas, Thursday 19
Although the past year halted live performances, creativity persisted, especially for Acid Carousel. A juicy collaborative collection with Johndavid Bartlett (In Your Dreams) and three singles later, the crew hits the road for back-to-back-to-back-to-back nights in Texas, making their first rendezvous the East Sixth homestead. Pairing their authentic, funky rock & roll with mesmerizing digital light projections from Sonic Boom Light Show lets the psychedelic freak flag fly. Accompanying dystopian wizard Bad Markings and soul transcenders the Boleys confirm the brain-melting buzz bound to occur. – Morgan-Taylor Thomas
Greg Clifford QuartetMonks Jazz Club, Thursday 19
Since the city reopened in spring, Greg Clifford's been seen on Austin's biggest stages – Stubb's, Blues on the Green, Mohawk – drumming for Heartless Bastards and Kalu & the Electric Joint. The former White Denim drummer and UT jazz program alumni has also been dishing highly streamed cuts of vibey lo-fi. Still, one could argue that he's at his best rolling and flowing behind the kit in his versatile jazz ensemble, psychically locked with primo bassist Sam Pankey, while Ben Dubois uncorks liquid leads on his Gibson SG and "KindKeith" Galloway runs the keys. Livestream and in studio. – Kevin Curtin