Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Tuesday, August 16, 2022 — Houston, TX

Unconventional Rhythms

thresher4

Illustrated by Chloe Xu

By Katelyn Landry     10/1/19 10:56pm

Surprise! The first weekend of Austin City Limits is already upon us. At this point, we’ve all heard the big names headlining this year’s festival, including breakout alt-pop star Billie Eilish, returning favorites Childish Gambino and Tame Impala and legendary rock band Guns & Roses, whose performance this weekend will mark their first Austin performance since 1993. But if you’re planning on attending ACL, don’t plan your schedule with only these well-established artists in mind. Be sure to check out the following genre-bending artists who have each earned their own spotlight with their unique sound.

The Comet is Coming

Prepare for liftoff — the comet is coming and it waits for no one. This London-based trio excels in a new kind of avant-garde jazz that pulls from electronic, funk and psychedelic rock to create a sound that’s truly out of this world. Saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, keyboardist Dan Leavers and drummer Max Hallett perform under the pseudonyms "King Shabaka", "Danalogue", and "Betamax" respectively, keeping with the band’s cosmic aesthetic. 



“We're exploring new sound worlds and aiming to destroy all musical ideals which are unfit for our purposes,” Hutchings said in an interview with jazz blog Marlbank. 

Yola 

With her poignant songwriting and powerful vocals, Yola blends Americana, country and soul genres into gorgeous serenades to femininity and strength. Born Yolanda Quartey, the singer hails from Bristol, UK and spent years evolving her unique country soul sound before releasing her first debut album, titled “Walk Through Fire,” earlier this year. In her mission to transcend the toxic, patriarchal confines of the country music genre, break-up ballads like “Ride Out In The Country” and “Shady Grove” are not only addressed to ex-lovers but also to a past self, according to Rolling Stone. For fans of Kacey Musgraves, I give you a new inductee into the feminist renaissance of country music.

MASEGO

Micah Davis, better known by his stage name Masego, is blazing the trail for a genre he coins as “trap house jazz.” In a rare SoundCloud success story, Davis got discovered by record producers when he began remixing his favorite songs with his own saxophone compositions in 2015 and dedicating the tracks to women on Instagram at random. His recently released debut album “Lady Lady” is an amalgam of sultry R&B, mellow house beats and jazzy vocals, punctuated by Davis’ swinging saxophone features. Masego is certainly one to watch as hip-hop artists continue to explore the jazz roots of hip-hop and revive retro R&B. 

Orville Peck 

If the Mojave Desert had a voice, it would sound like Orville Peck. Peck infuses classic country crooning with shoegaze to create a soundscape that is just as dreamy as it is rugged. As a young queer artist, Peck not only blurs the boundaries of genre but also challenges the heteronormativity that stereotypically permeates the country music genre. On his recently released debut album “Pony,” Peck layers his low-pitched crooning and steel guitars with serene dream pop synths, making for an intimate illustration of Peck’s lonesome cowboy persona. By permanently concealing his true identity behind his pseudonym, the Canadian singer masks himself in mystery, literally — his trademark leather mask is equipped with a long fringe veil that hides his entire face and always accompanied by a black cowboy hat. 

To listen to more unique, genre-defying artists slated to perform at ACL this month, check out our Spotify playlist here



More from The Rice Thresher

A&E 4/19/22 11:35pm
Summer Book Recommendations

With summer right around the corner, many students’ brains will finally have space for things other than organic chemistry or the latest coding problem that needs to be solved. Take this time to read for enjoyment again. The following are a series of summer recommendations perfect for time on a plane, by the pool or just on your couch. All incorporate travel in one way or another, and each has its own adventure that will leave you yearning for more. 

A&E 4/19/22 11:32pm
Review:‘The Northman’ sees Robert Eggers take his work to a larger stage

Robert Eggers is a filmmaker whose work has been defined by its small scale and intensive focus on characters. His prior films, “The Witch” and “The Lighthouse,” both feature a small cast and embrace environmental horror as terrifying events slowly pull the main ensemble apart. His reputation for his smaller scale and focus is partly why “The Northman” was so interesting upon its announcement — “The Northman” blows up Egger’s storytelling onto a massive scale. The locations, number of characters, and time period all dwarf his prior films. For the most part, Eggers steps up to the plate, succeeding in his ambition. “The Northman” will be available to watch in theaters April 22. 


Comments

Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.