Growing up in, predominately white, Austin – with its penchant for country and indie rock bands – Melat didn’t have many local R&B musicians to look up too. Yet this Habesha chanteuse has had the confidence and self-will to carve her own path in the Austin music landscape. Melat’s strength shines through on her emotive and soul-drenched music. Having recently begun playing shows outside of the U.S. with visits to Mexico and Europe, her next stop may be Ethiopia, as a she also sings in Amharic. Experience more exposure over the past couple of years having played SXSW and ACL – Melat has also collaborated with L.A. –based producer Janport J (Snoop Dogg, Freddie Gibbs) and featured her song “Speedracer” on a Honda commercial. With new releases on the horizon, this future star is starting to see her career snowball, and to her we say “Amesegenallo”
A band that has had buzz since they began playing shows in 2016, Los Coast might just reach a fever pitch in 2019. The group will release their 14-track debut album on May 8th through New West records, and for many listeners – it’s about damn time. A pleasantly palatable mix of soul, psych and jam band vibes, the quintet has grown its following quickly. The band was named an Austin Chronicle ‘Best New Act’ and ‘Best Residency’, while also scoring consecutive years of Black Fret grants, including a $20k one this past year. Festival slots at Trans-Pecos, Waterloo and ACL have raised the band’s profile, but it’s their opportunity to open for St. Paul and the Broken Bone and Gary Clark in May that could light the fuse for national recognition.
This shoegaze quartet comprising of two husband and wife teams, deftly weaves strands of ethereal pop with an aura of nonchalance. Together since 2015, Blushing has been a beacon of consistency in playing shows, releasing music and spreading their effervescent shoega. Blushing has shared the stage with national acts like La Luz, Sunflower Bean and Broncho while also being named a SXSW official act in 2018 and 2019. However it’s their decision to team up with Cheer Up Charlie’s savvy booker, Trish Connelly, on her new Nothing Song Records, that may prove to be the jet fuel they need for 2019. The band is the first and only artist on the label (so far) and as they prepare to roll out their debut album in the next few months, Connelly should ensure it gets the attention it deserves.
Billy King and the Bad Bad Bad
Shot out of a cannon and onto Red River street, Billy King and the Bad Bad Bad aren’t afraid to put in the leg work to get where they want to be. Full of moxie, long hair and allegories to mythical creatures, this quartet uses frequent live performances in Austin to convert scores of local fans. Only scratching into their second year of existence, the psychedelic surf rockers have already landed gigs at Do512’s Sound and Cinema, Formula One and are now a SXSW 2019 official band. Singles like “Werewolf of Love”, “Methmatics” and “The Night Terror” serve as harbingers of the band’s songwriting potential. Guaranteed to eventually show up on your radar and bewitch you with their sound – BK&BBB are hoping to release their debut album this August. The band made Austin Monthly’s ‘Bands to Watch’ list so their 2019 is already off to an auspicious start!
An act that has gone criminally under-the-radar, Mr. Kitty, typically has to leave Austin to get their due. A purveyor of the darker side of synthwave, their sound isn’t type you’d hear headlining at Blues On The Green or a Shady Grove Unplugged show. Yet with a broad international following, – they don’t need too. Legions of fans from Russia, Japan and Europe display their loyalty to the Austin gothtronica duo by having streamed their songs over 50k times a month on Spotify and amassing over a million Youtube plays on some songs (enviable numbers, even for some of Austin’s most notable bands.) A promising 30-song album, Ephemeral, will be released in March on Negative Gain records and sharing the stage with HEALTH and Youth Code in May, should fortify the momentum Mr. Kitty has already spurred.