Vin Mott’s Country Blues In Quarantine

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Few people have made a name for themselves in the Austin blues scene faster than Vin Mott. The week he arrived, Mott sat in at the Little Elmore Reed Blues Band’s weekly residency in the heart of the East Side, fiercely blowing into his harp with a determination that couldn’t be ignored. Mott quickly brought his harmonica driven intensity to Rainey Street with a weekend residency at Clive Bar that exposed a younger audience to a century of traditional sounds.

The train may have stalled with venue closures amid the Coronavirus pandemic, but Mott isn’t one to twiddle his thumbs. Country Blues in Quarantine is Mott’s most transparent release, showing off his intensity for the music and his versatility on instrumentation. Mott performed vocals, harmonica, guitar and drums on the album along with Steven Kirsty on bass.

Mott started taking drum lessons at the age of seven, and took advantage of every music program available throughout grade school in New Jersey. His talent granted him acceptance into the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, and after graduation in 2011, Mott returned to New Jersey and put together a traditional harmonica-driven blues band. After gaining notoriety and releasing his debut albumQuit the Woman for the Blues, Mott was advised by songwriter and guitarist Bob Lanza to take a look at the Texas blues scene.

“I would tour alone actually in my Jeep,” Mott said, “and travel the country and play the blues. I strung together gigs basically to and from Texas, and I did that twice in two years.”

Mott was immediately drawn to the thriving atmosphere that put the Austin blues scene on the map, and loaded up every inch of his Jeep with music equipment and clothing.

“It just came down to making a decision,” Mott said. “I could either sit back home and continue doing the same stuff I’m doing for the rest of my life, or I could take a shot while I’m young, and while I dont have too much commitment. I don’t have a wife, or a kid, or a house to take care of. It’s now or never really.”

In his first two months in Austin, Mott found a weekly spot on drums at the Big Easy with Matthew Brodnax and the Blues Sherpas, a happy hour gig with pianist Henry Herbert at Skull Mechanix Brewery and led a full band with traditional and original material. Two of the venues Mott performed at have since closed, with another up for sale due to mandated Coronavirus shut downs.

“I started to build a little bit of something until everything shut down here. I got like every email from every one of my gigs all in one day that everything was cancelled,” Mott said with a laugh. “I got here just in time.”

As working musicians watched Coronavirus mandates effectively end live performing in major metropolitan areas, Mott purchased a $50 acoustic guitar on Facebook Marketplace, borrowed an audio interface from local guitarist Chris Ruest, plugged in his Shure SM 58 microphone and

started laying down tracks for Country Blues in Quarantinein his Oak Hill apartment. Mott later sent the tracks to Kirsty in New York for upright bass.

“I had a little well of songs that I had been writing since my last record,” Mott said. “I had always wanted to start learning to record myself, I had just a very bare bones knowledge of how to do it. It was something that was always in the back of my mind.”

Mott focused on open tuning and traditional slide on the guitar to back up his harmonica. The style fits perfectly on the quick country blues opening track “Buck 110 Blues,” and provides a sweeping low down grit on “The Werewolf.”

“My influences are in that traditional Delta blues vein, on this record especially, and I just felt like that was what I wanted to try and do, even with my limited skills,” Mott said. “I almost think it’s cooler to suck a little bit, you know? It’s almost like the punk rock attitude in a blues setting.”

Mott’s humble attitude may give a nod to the artists that caught his attention in the blues genre, but the guitar playing and DIY attitude put forth on Country Blues in Quarantine can’t be understated.

“It forced me to look at my life, and how I make money, and being a musician,” Mott said. “It’s never too late to learn a new skill, and now’s the best time to learn a new skill, so I’m just trying to take advantage of what is positive about it, you know? It’s a blessing in disguise in that way.”

Mott’s future in the Austin blues scene remains as uncertain as the venues that featured nightly acts earlier this year. A recent Facebook post indicated a possible return to New Jersey to be with family through the pandemic, but Mott feels a connection to the audiences he’s performed for.”

“That’s the whole reason why I fell in love with Austin,” Mott said. “No matter what you’re doing, or what you’re playing, there’s more appreciation for the artists and the music.”

Country Blues in Quarantine combines powerful vocals with intense instrumentation and an obsession with the traditional Americana recordings that have spread around the world.

“This is the deepest dive into my mind as you’re going to get,” Mott said. “It’s purely me. It’s purely my sound and the way I feel it and hear it.”

 -Andrew Blanton


Rags and Riches: Teeta’s Wild Ride

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 The Teeta and Netherfriends keep Austin’s arms pumping and heads banging with the rhyming rhythmical musical miracle, The Stimulus. The duo use bassy drums, rhyme and The Teeta’s deep flowy voice to develop an entire album which centers around money and the daily hustle. This LP is sure to make you amped up and relaxed at the same time with smooth vocals and vibrants beats.

Chill, yet powerful in beat and lyrics, The Stimulus has its own niche and takes you on a wild drum ride. The hi-hats serve to add some funk and light to the album, while the rhyme creates a flow. Coupled with this, the bassy reverb and kicks compliment Teeta’s deep voice and create a chill atmosphere.

The Stimulus serves as a prime new example of The Teeta’s work and really embodies the financial part of his life. With a consistent flow throughout the LP, we really begin to see how each individual element The Teeta talked about shaped his life. From the LP, it is evident there were highs and lows which all together shaped The Teeta.

With an album like this, The Teeta is sure to come out with many more solid hits in the future, and this album shows an entirely new playstyle for The Teeta. All-in-all, The Stimulus is a bassy hit which contrasts The Teetas floatier albums, like The Quarantine. As a listener, I am going to keep my eye on The Teeta while he goes global, because he sure will. 

– Eric Haney


The Knees “Posture”

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The Knees are releasing their debut EP, "Posture", today, August 28th, via Born Yesterday. This is the first new music we have had from the group since their 2018 single, "Stammer".

This is the work of David Miller (guitar & vocals), Wilson Brehmer (guitar & vocals), Ben Goldman (bass), and Davis Connors (drums).


Girl K “Basement Sessions”

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Girl K has released the audio and a partial video of a basement set that includes their latest single, "Dog Year Lungs", and a couple of tracks from their 2019 debut album, For You.

This is the work of Kathy Patino, Tony Mest, Alex Pieczynski, and Kevin Sheppard.


Abhi The Nomad Drops New Single “Stay”

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The thesis behind Abhi The Nomad’s new single "Stay" is right there in the intro: this is a program about flow. 


Over the course of "Stay," his first release 2020 and featuring , the indie Austin rapper delivers a slick and crisp flow over an unwaveringly digestible beat; from Nintendo 64 references to relationship foundations, Abhi and austin hip-hop artist love-sadKID cover ground over the course of a two-and-a-half minute single. 


With the latest release, Abhi The Nomad distances himself a bit from the indie pop-adjacent ear worm stratosphere he inhabited on 2019’s Modern Trash and centers more towards the dressings of 70s soul with a 90s flow a lá 2015’s Where Are My Friends. 


Abhi The Nomad’s greatest work often puts his off-center hip-hop feel and sound at the forefront ("Soul Safety Administration" comes to mind). With "Stay," Abhi appears to be fully aware of this too, as he leans into being an indie hip-hop mainstay, rather than reaching for something lighter and more accommodating to commercial success. 


Ben Wiese 



New England

The Sheila Divine creates a sweet atmosphere in new single “The Lighthouse”

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The Sheila Divine pours heavy emotion into its new track titled “The Lighthouse,” and that is not surprising at all if you know the group. The band’s brand of indie rock is atmospheric: burbling basslines, sturdy drumbeats, and vocals distant that are glazed with emocore energy create a sonic world easy to live in and appreciate. The band allows its sound to carry and linger, offering the listener valuable time to soak in the message, the pain, or the realization of something liberating. The recent release by The Sheila Divine is something soothing and much welcomed; stream “The Lighthouse” below for music meant for reflection. – René Cobar


Fever Queen “You, You”

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Fever Queen has released a new video for the third single, "You, You", from their forthcoming debut album The World of Fever Queen which is due out September 10th via First To Knock.

This is primarily the work of Eleanor Rose Lee and the songs for this project are inspired by her journals which document of life traveling and working across America.


Luna Shadows goes retro with new single “The Nineties”

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Today it’s easy to view the Nineties how people then viewed the Sixties: A magical era of colorful pixels, modern fashions, and hope for a better future. But as Luna Shadows reflects in her new single "The Nineties", the decade had its fair share of insecurity, violence, disease, and despair. Shadows uses that roller coaster of anxiety to explore her past as well as her present fears, balancing her uneasiness against the poppy electronic music that seems ripped straight from the sound banks of a Super Nintendo. The retro game aesthetic makes a big appearance in the music video, which — in keeping with her DIY brand — Shadows filmed in her home in front of a green screen. "The Nineties" will appear on Shadows’ upcoming debut album "Digital Pacific". Take a look at the music video for "The Nineties" below. – Will Sisskind


Entering The Atmosphere: New Margaret Chavez Record Dreams Big

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Into An Atmosphere, Marcus William Striplin’s excellent sophomore LP under his folky Americana project Margaret Chavez, is a haunting, soothing, fully-enveloping record. 


Across eight tracks, Striplin pulls few punches. From taking listeners through familial trauma at an ICE detention center in "The Croupiers Unite I.C.E. ("To be a cat licking your paws in front of an ice detention bus") to the power-driven wrestling match in "I Virgo" ("Forever keeper of the past//you use your powers to advance and cripple") the record achieves the evergreen without watering down the present. 


Just when the terms of engagement appear to be dictated, Striplin kicks up the dust and unleashes swelling synths and psychedelic guitar textures, making for a markedly different soundscape. ("H O R A" shines bright.) Though occasionally feeling almost sparse or trim, the record has adequate space between the sobering emotional stakes evoked throughout. 


For all of its elegance, quiet, and restraint, Into An Atmosphere is also a decisive, dynamic, and effective shout.


– Ben Wiese



KC Ortiz “The Campground”

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KC Ortiz has announced her new EP, "The Campground" will dropping on September 16th. To coincide with the announcement she released a new DJ Kirk Dickens produced single called "Brenda Jenkins" and visuals for the previously released "Let Me Sign"

"Brenda Jenkins" is the third single from "The Campground" and clearly takes it’s name from the classic sitcom 227. Here is what Ortiz had to say of "Brenda Jenkins": “I really like this song so much. It’s just something about it that really gets my swag vibes going. And 227 is one of my favorite shows of all time. I was probably watching it while I was writing”