In preparation for the 2014 San Antonio Music Awards announced in next week’s issue, the Current and SATX Music have staged an ambitious and badass evening of music scattered throughout the city. At 10 stages, we’ve booked over 40 acts to play, congregated by venue according to genre. Below is a guide to three of the exciting bills this Saturday, though a full lineup is available at sanantoniomusicawards.com.
621 E Dewey
As Lizarazo, Tomas Salazar creates beats with fondness for light experimentation, like dispatches from a few minutes into the future of instrumental hip-hop. As the founder of SA’s First Caste record label, Lizarazo’s work delivers like a finely Screwed mix of the Blade Runner score.
Together, Rad Envelope and Espre work as Teal Feel, bringing the deep, murky sound of UK production to South Texas. Diving into the London styles of grime and future bass, Rad Envelope relays the music out of which EDM and American bro-step later developed.
As a band driven by a tambourine-blessed drum kit and angular, drugged-out Isaac Brock-ian guitar, PBLC could easily feature at a few of the Music Award showcases. Featuring the growling keys and pedal dickery that got them on the electronic bill, PBLC’s feral rock ‘n’ roll will provide the most live instruments Hi-Tones will see on Saturday.
Calico Club and Pink Leche fall into a similar category of contorted pop production with delightful hooks layered on top. On the new EP Permanent Night, the Calico Club duo of PleasureFaces and GALACTICAT wield a strong understanding of barfly life and an even better understanding of opaque synth pop. Meanwhile, Pink Leche’s self-described queer bass is an ecstatic one-man exercise in ethereal beatmaking and LGBT pride. For confirmation, visit the excellent repurposing of Nina Simone in “Young, Gifted and Gay.”
Hip-hop: Bottom Bracket Social Club
1603 N Colorado
Operating out of the West Side, LaJit’s two color/solar releases (Blue Sun and Black Sun) maintain a low BPM, allowing LaJit to double-time his rhymes over the top. With production weird enough for the insider game of SoundCloud rap and enough mass appeal to deliver in any context, LaJit’s nimble verses attend the school of Kendrick Lamar, for whom LaJit opened in SA back in 2012.
On their new LP Revolutionary Theme Music, Third Root explores their titular strain of culture: the relationship between black and Xicano art in the Americas. With lush soundscapes courtesy of SA producer Greg G, Third Root’s socio-political rhymes expose the bruises and beauty of Afro-Mexican life.
What’s a showcase of SA hip-hop without a traditionally Texan rap sound? Though an Epic label contract fell through in the late ’00s, Question? is still churning out tales of Alamo City life and libation—“Peace to David Robinson/ Resume the liquor swallowing,” he demands on “We from SA.”
As Chisme, R.e.L. and Progeny do much more than just gossip. On their 2014 effort It’s OK to Dream, Chisme pulls off one of the most difficult plays in the rap game: slinging self-compliments while staying emotionally exposed. With death looming from the margins, Progeny waxes on depression and Texas life, as R.e.L.’s crackling soul samples and boom-bap beats lay the foundation.
108 Blue Star
In the instrumental Spanish rock of Boca Negra, percussion and guitar switch their traditional rock ‘n’ roll roles. Where normally the guitar demands focus, in the music of Boca Negra, the six-string holds down the rhythm, as the drum kit and auxiliary percussion go off on a polyrhythmic rant.
From tight updates on the old-school San Anto soul feel to long jams of cumbia-rock, Los de esta Noche are quick on their feet to change styles within a set. The Ones from Tonight are a formidable and fluent Latin rock threat, with guitarist Julio López and bassist Juan Camacho versed in mariachi and accordionist César Herrera Jr. a former student of “the genius of conjunto,” Valerio Longoria.
The Bombasta Barrio Big Band is a party in Spanglish language and styles. Ten years into the experiment, Bombasta has earned some wild success blending a rap-rock orientation with Latin funk instrumentation. Last year’s winners for Best Latin Alternative Band, Bombasta distills the street sounds and neighborhood styles of SA.
San Antonio Music Awards Showcases
$5 for all-access wristband
9pm Sat, Sept 27