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Cooley FlyKiss My Converse: Proves dangerous with his lyrical rapping and soul. Pulling double duty rapping and singing he draws crowds in to promote his first album throughout Austin. His rapping is mellow and slow with smooth lines and introspective lyrics. Largely popular on the Austin DJ/rap/R&B scene his first album comes out kicking with singing, rapping and comes from a ton of influences (just check out his Myspace page). 4.5 McRipRock’s.

Dao StromEverything That Blooms Wrecks Me:  A pure and earnest voice wrapped up in different cultures and eras makes this album sparse with its meditative quality and fragility, yet is grounded in quiet strength lyrically and vocally. Strom sounds like an old musical soul with moving songs that are deeply intelligent with a folksy/alternative nature. Rippling with guitars, cello, accordion, violins, mandolins and dobro all weave their way into the album making the tone of the album warm and unique. Lyrically she seems to be letting you into her diary inviting a solitary space amongst the musical background. Her 2005 debut album Send Me Home was self-released and received lots of radio and national attention. At SXSW in 2006 she performed and was a “Critic’s Pick” by many publications including the Chronicle. Not only is she musically talented, she’s also a literary author of two published books of fiction which has won accolades. Born in Vietnam in the wake of a war and raised in a small town in California just beyond the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas her background definitely seeps into her music. Now based in Juneau, AK she touches on Eastern philosophy with insight that ingrains the Western tones of American roots music. The album was recorded in Austin by Darwin Smith at Cacophony Records. She will be performing in July throughout Austin. 5.4 McRiprock’s

 Fatback CircusDark World: You wouldn’t think that a mix of jazz, funk and rock with be born in a small, quiet town of Stillwater Oklahoma, but it happened. Now in Austin, they have put out a new album, Dark World,  featuring this four-piece bluegrass-ish group. They have earned a reputation for having quite a stage presence in addition to playing great, relatively undiscovered music.Check out “Back in Love,” a sultry mellower tune which is jazzy and reflects a bit on the love of love. Unlike their previous album, Dark World is a bit of a new breath that Fatback Circus decided to take. It has a heavier tone speaking about break ups and working late and debuts their approach in their ability to evolve musically and lyrically. 5.0 McRiprock’s

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