Black Pumas

Photo by Greg Giannukos

I saw Black Pumas at Hotel San Jose this past SXSW. The sun was setting, I had a perfect day-buzz going and I was nursing a bruised hip after falling off my Bird Scooter. What happened over that next hour was transcendent. Fronted by Eric Burton on vocals, who had the crowd in the palm of his hand, and Adrian Quesada they had their hometown in rapture over the course of that set. This album is going to stupid good. Get excited for it and go see them live.

Produced by Quesada in his home studio and colored by Burton’s dark imagery and haunting vocals, the album is equally indebted to East Coast hip-hop as it is to classic funk and soul, resulting in a project that is of the moment rather than retro. Quesada had been working on a new project inspired by a mix of woozy Ghostface Killah instrumentals, crispy Motown soul, and the introspective grandeur of dusty highway folk-rock, and, after hearing him audition over the phone, Burton slotted in beautifully. Pulling from his myriad performance backgrounds — singing in the church, acting in musical theater, and busking at the Santa Monica Pier — Burton injects Quesada’s instrumentals with a howling croon and surrealist lyrical bent. From the roiling, solar eclipse-inspired noir of “Black Moon Rising” to the ponderous yet epic “Oct 33,” these early collaborations provided the basis for Black Pumas.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Black Pumas are here

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Photo by Merrick Ales

Black Pumas are the duo of guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada and 27-year-old songwriter Eric Burton. They play crunchy brand of R&B and have taken Austin by storm. Looks like ATO took notice as they’ve added them to their impressive roster. Here’s some more info from the PR team.

Burton is a relative newcomer who arrived in Austin in 2015 after busking his way across the country from Los Angeles, while Quesada has a storied reputation for playing in bands like Grupo Fantasma and Brownout, while also producing acclaimed projects like 2018’s Look At My Soul: The Latin Shade Of Texas Soul.

After the two connected via friends in the Austin scene, they began to collaborate on a new sound that transmutes soul into something idiosyncratically modern. Reminiscent of Ghostface Killah and Motown in equal measure, this original sound ensured that Black Pumas’ weekly residency at C-Boys quickly became “the hottest party in town” (Austin-American Statesman).

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Black Pumas are here

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