KUTX 98.9 Music Hosts Dish on Their Favorite Bands and Venues
(This sponsored post was written by the Burnt X team)
Now that you’ve settled into your routine, it’s time to explore some of what makes the ATX the “Live Music Capital of the World.” We’ve tapped local DJs to share some of the music and music venues that make Austin a music destination.
Taylor Wallace has wanted to be a radio DJ since she was a kid. She went from making her own mix tapes to securing a weekly radio show at KUTX 98.9.
“I get to choose my own music, talk charismatically and conversationally, and I don’t have to pretend to care about Ed Sheeran or Katy Perry,” she says. Tune in to Taylor Thursdays from 8 to 11 pm and Saturdays from 2 to 6 pm on KUTX 98.9.
She put together her list of her favorite Austin music venues and artists shaping the Austin music scene today. Consider this a mix tape of the Austin Music experience:
These guys gain a new fan each time they reach new ears. The sharp tongue of current Project ATX6-er Acey Monaro puts an enormous grin on my face and her bright, brilliant songwriting hugs my soul directly.
My Bloody Valentine sprinkled with some Mazzy Star-dust, with a bite all their own. Get on that ‘gaze!
Jim Campo is a name you’ll be hearing more and more (if you haven’t already) over the next years. Straight-ahead rock with a grunge kick (or maybe lick) and the occasional country rock gem, these guys will fuzz-riff off your stress with their guitars and get you dirty with Campo’s grit-throated vocal cords. By the end, you’ll feel like you’re three shots into a de-stress bender. Amazingly, their EP rocks as hard as their live shows.
The musical equivalent to Sweet Spirit rocking a ripped leather jacket and several nose rings, AGD pushes every envelope even farther with a full fist with Sabrina Ellis’s proclivity for beautifully perverse verse at center stage. With leotards as righteous as the commentary between songs, you want to see these guys while they’re still Austin’s.
One of Confucius and Fresh’s favorites, Magna Carda is a driving force in the ATX hip-hop scene and for incredible reason. Megz Kelli lays down the lines of hard truth to producer Dougie Do’s jazzy, chilled, captivating beats.
Hole in the Wall (2538 Guadalupe St.)
HITW’s place in the Austin music scene is as timeless as it is priceless. Nothing beats the range you get here– genre, success of musician, fresh, established, it’s all here, with that quintessential dive bar atmosphere to complete the outfit.
Cactus Cafe (2247 Guadalupe St.)
The Cactus reminds you where the heart of Austin music began. Despite its cozy size, the Cactus has hosted everyone from local and touring folk darlings to Lyle Lovett himself. The best place to go when your downtown heartbeat needs a change of pulse.
The Mohawk (912 Red River St.)
Simply put, my favorite venue to see touring acts outside and your favorite local underdogs inside. From small potatoes to soon-to-be-legends, I’ve seen it all here. And it is always excellent. It’ll always be the place I’ve seen Ty Segall, Robert Pollard, AND Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
Cheer Up Charlie’s (900 Red River St.)
A paragon of inclusivity, a should-be role model to venues and bars that aren’t, and a solid choice to see some of your favorite local indie groups on stage or just hanging out with good people and a good drink.
Barracuda (611 E 7th St.)
A new favorite of mine, based on size and sound alone. The size of the indoor space feels sprawling thanks to the wide space and high ceilings. The outdoor area feels just as open, making it the best small/midsize venue to take that friend who is uneasy in tight crowds, but loves them some live music.
Confucius and Fresh
KUTX 98.9 DJs Confucius and Fresh have deep roots in the Austin hip-hop scene. Fresh ran a rap blog from 2008-2014 in order to shine some more light on Austin’s hip-hop scene. “At that time Dallas was really big,” Fresh said, “and Houston was coming off their nationwide phenomena with Paul Wall, Mike Jones and Slim Thug. I felt, with Austin being the live music capital of the world, we deserved that shine and there are artists in this city that deserve that shine.”
Confucius has been involved in the Austin music scene since high school. He invested in some turntables and started DJing around town and making his own mixtapes. He went on to start a local record label. Through his record label work he met Fresh, and they went on to start a popular podcast about comic books.
This year the pair joined KUTX 98.9 to combine their hip-hop bonafides with their radio skills. “The idea for the show simply came from Fresh and I wanting a show that represented both hip-hop and the local scene proudly. A show people from out of town and in town could be proud of and brag about,” Confucius said. The Breaks will help promote and shape the Austin sound. “The Austin scene has yet to define itself,” Fresh said, “in the future we will find out who we are.”
Tune in to the Breaks Saturday nights from 11pm to 1am on KUTX 98.9. In the meantime, check out their list of artists and venues that have shaped the Austin hip-hop and RnB scene.
“Magna Carda has become a staple,” says Fresh. “They’re the most-known group in Austin hip-hop.” The group formed at St. Edwards, and revolves around its two main members Megz Kelli and Dougie Do. They released their most recent EP, Somewhere Between, this summer.
Jake Lloyd started out as a rapper but has transitioned to R&B. “We play his song ‘Str8nge Frute,’” says Confucius. “He was a rapper for a long time, but he’s singing now and he’s great at it.”
Austin-raised Alesia Lani has been winning awards and making top 10 lists since her debut in 2015. “She’s had a lot of residencies over the last few years and she’s done a lot of festivals,” Confucius says. “In terms of consistency, she’s one of the biggest artists [in Austin].”
South Austin native John David Flores Jr. just released his third full-length album this summer. He began rapping at age 4, and has been an essential figure in the Austin scene for years. Both Fresh and Confucius say he’s easily in Austin’s top five hip-hop artists.
“Kydd Jones is a veteran,” says Fresh. “He’s done festivals all over the country; he’s done songs with artists like GLC and Yelawolf.” He’s also been active in the Austin scene for years, and has collaborated with Sertified in the past.
The Teeta is an up-and-coming Austin artist who first gained acclaim as a founding member of “Team Next.” “He’s been doing rap here a while,” says Confucius, “and has been able to come up and do his solo thing.” He grew up in East Austin, and has been busy shaping the scene since he was 17.
Emo’s (2015 E Riverside Dr.)
Emo’s has withstood the test of time. It’s big step for all local artists. Scoring an opening gig for a touring artist here grabs people’s attention.
Mohawk (912 Red River St.)
Mohawk is one of the go-to places for Austin artists. It is part of the new Red River hub for Austin hip-hop.
Empire (606 E 7th St.)
Empire has been supporting Austin hip-hop since its opening night. With its two stages, both popular and up-and-coming artists can draw large crowds.
Spiderhouse Ballroom (2908 Fruth St.)
Spiderhouse hosted Austin mic exchange, the most successful open mic in the history of the Austin scene. Spiderhouse ensured its success.