Aug 12, 2023

Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week: Slow Pulse EP release, Austin Afrobeats Fest, Border Kindness Benefit, and more recommended shows

Toward the end of the Obama era, Slow Pulse was a darkwave duo that gigged around Red River. A smoke machine was usually present, and at least one dude could be relied upon to wear sunglasses. We dig Slow Pulse up not to once again bury them, but rather to reupholster their headstone and fortify their memory. Since early 2022, there's been a new, totally unrelated Slow Pulse in town, and they play fuckin' metalcore. The tempos thrash. The tremolos twist and gnarl. The only thing freakier than the drop-tuned riffs are Brooke Hampton's demon-with-acute-pharyngitis vocals (featured on the new Beyond Reach EP). They sound like your face collaborating with the concrete, so I would personally not recommend wearing sunglasses to their shows. Slow Pulse has been racking up prestigious placements (notably at Alabama's Furnace Fest and Houston's Texas Hell Fest), but their EP release show is pure ATXheavy: groove metal behemoths Virtue, deathcore hellraisers Instinct, and the somewhat unclassifiable chaos of Banged Out. – Julian Towers

Afrobeat now umbrellas a swath of proto-blues psych from the crucible of American music, but Ghanaian hiplife and highlife, Yoruba jùjú, and Nigerian naija beats backbone the hypnotic hip shake of this once specifically regional genre. As such, the heart of this debut ATX convergence beats Nigerian. Texas Tech graduate J'ray earns listeners back home in Lagos, Jeff Akoh reps the West African gulf coast, and Nigerian Texan BM Casso reps Dallas. NYC speed industrialist D.Lyte, San Francisco Afro-electro crooner John Networq, and D.C. wedding singer Isaac Geralds support ATX MCs Pop Stunna, Mike Melinoe, and more. – Raoul Hernandez

Making "water drops" in harsh borderland terrain, operating a Children's Empowerment Center where young asylum seekers take classes and learn modern job skills, providing gear and information to day laborers, and reuniting separated families – this is the kind of work Border Kindness does. Austin shows out big for the California-based migrant aide nonprofit with a certified all-six-of-these-bands-rule lineup: gothy post-punk uplifters Urban Heat; sax-spiked garage patriarchy torturers Sailor Poon; devilishly lovable glam punk brain melters Lord Friday the 13th; deep voice-of-the-streets wordsmith Norman BA$E; and Gus Baldwin & the Sketch, restoring the essence of teenage wildness to rock & roll. – Kevin Curtin

At April's first annual Austin Blues Festival in Waterloo Park, Adrian Quesada prowled and growled. "The Black Pumas guitarist/founder riffed an instrumental expedition into the urban jungle: ours," we wrote. The local Laredoan recalls the set vividly: "People reacted a lot more than I thought they would," he texts. "I thought the music would be a little too left field." Hardly. Try cinematic magic. "This show will be a Jaguar Sound show primarily, but with a mini boleros set as a rare special treat," Quesada outlines. Balladeers Mireya Ramos, Angélica Garcia, and Clemente Castillo bonus last week's surprise bulletin of a long-awaited sophomore Pumas LP. – Raoul Hernandez

After four months of sprawling, screen-filling epics, the Paramount Summer Classic Film Series flickers to an end on September 2. For those not yet ready for the return of feeling to their posterior nerve endings, never fear! Austin butts shall be kept comfortably numb for at least one more evening. Swans, experimental rock's most cinematically minded brutalists, have been orchestrating Soundtracks for the Blind for 40 years now. (Add up their collected song lengths and it should come pretty close to 40 years as well.) Latest material, though characteristically grinding, repetitive, and demanding of careful attention, is perhaps their most subdued ever. – Julian Towers

Jazz/funk fusion demigod Stanley Clarke returns to Austin with a new band in tow. Consisting of four young musicians, 4Ever includes guitarist Colin Cook, saxophonist Emilio Modeste, keyboardist Beka Gochiashvili (a piano prodigy brought to the U.S. by Condoleezza Rice – there's gotta be a story there), and drummer Jeremiah Collier. Some are relative veterans of the virtuoso bassist's band, some newcomers. Regardless, it's a testament to the 72-year-old bandleader's intelligence that he sees value in the time-honored tradition of mentoring and collaborating with young players – for their benefit, his own, and, no doubt, that of the jazz-hungry audience. – Michael Toland

This issue of the Chronicle celebrates our publication's 42nd birthday, which just so happens to also mark the born day of Beyoncé. Riders Against the Storm and DJ Chorizo Funk pay tribute to the Houston icon with their long-running monthly dance party.

Luna Luna's keyboardist/backup vocalist supports fellow Dallas-turned-Austin band Flight by Nothing before Bonilla's group departs town for a nationwide tour later this month. Burgeoning indie rock band West 22nd – an act made up of UT students – opens on the heels of releasing debut EP All the Way Home two weeks ago.

The Mindz of a Different Kind member aka "Pip Demascus" readies the forthcoming release of his EP Vaca de Oro. MDK comrade Blakchyl supports; Ben Buck hosts.