The Show Must Go On: Despite Scrapped Gigs and Tours, San Antonio Artists are still Putting Out Strong New Releases

click to enlarge MIDNIGHT CLEANERS
Midnight Cleaners
The pandemic has shut down venues across the country, forcing artists to cancel shows and whole tours. That also includes plenty of bands and musicians from San Antonio.

Even so, some of our city’s most creative musical minds are continuing to release recordings while quarantined. In the past few weeks, we’ve discovered a wealth of new downloads running the gamut from bedroom pop and dreamy indie rock to hip-hop and snarling punk.

No doubt, some of that recorded output will help bring in much-needed income while local musicians wait for gigging to return. But from the new releases we’ve sampled, it’s clear that love of music and dedication to craft played the biggest part in their creative processes.

What follows is a selection of San Antonio artists that have recently pumped out new music. In this day of downloads, you don’t even need to leave the safety of home or wait on mail order to obtain copies. If you like what you hear, consider opening your wallet and helping any or all of these folks through a difficult time.

One of the hardest working rappers in San Antonio, Jose Angel Perez — or SpyMC — been a tireless advocate for our indie hip-hop community while simultaneously showcasing his own ferocious flows. Lucky for us, the emcee  dropped a new compilation called The Unmastered Tape, and it goes hard.

Midnight Cleaners
On April 1, local bedroom popsters Midnight Cleaners released a compilation of their older demos, reaching all the way back to 2014. Please Don’t Keep Me Waiting just might be the catchy, chilled sound all of us need to get through this pandemic without a mental breakdown.

36th, real name Demitri Crisp, is one of San Antonio’s most sought-after producers. He’s worked with big independent rap artists including Johnny Polygon, Vel the Wonder and others. Recently, 36th has been using Instagram to stream his live beat-making sessions. That strategy has helped him win over new clients who want to purchase his pulses, and it also makes for some entertaining

Cheap Charm
Released just before the pandemic hit, newcomer Chas Waters, better known under the moniker Cheap Charm, released one of the funkiest indie pop albums to hit San Antonio in recent years. The 10-song Self Portrait drifts from sexy R&B to more experimental sounds with a deft ease. Let it be the dance party that makes you forget you’re in quarantine.

It’s been four years since we’ve received a full-length album from D.R.O., one of the most talented rappers and producers in San Antonio. And If, released March 23, may be the best work to date from the artist born Dillon O’Con. Pairing complex cadences with production that weaves into psychedelic territory, this emcee has set a new bar for San Antonio hip-hop.

The Blands
Nasty and overdriven punk outfit The Blands recorded its new EP The Glaze while college spring-breakers were partying at the coast and giving each other the coronavirus. We’d say these young fellows spent their time far more productively. Just as awesome as the music itself, all sales of the EP will benefit beloved Northside music venue Imagine Books & Records, which has been fighting off eviction.

Old Dogs (Be Safe)
Combining the trending lo-fi, dreamy indie sound with elements of ’90s grunge, Old Dog (Be Safe)’s self-titled Be Safe EP makes a perfect soundtrack for lounging during the long, quiet hours of quarantine. While the band utilizes enough dynamics to keep listeners on their toes, the chilled-out vibes also make a good backdrop to read all those books you’ve been meaning to catch up on.

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