Bands to Watch
hard proof afrobe at e’re fortunate to live in a city blessed with a seemingly unending amount of talent. On any given night, we can drive short distances to find that memorable country band, sizzling blues outfit, exciting Latin ensemble or vivacious punk group. Austin’s musical landscape truly is limitless. And over the last few years, the all-star collective known as Hard Proof Afrobeat has stretched it further, in fact, all the way across the Atlantic. The band was officially founded in 2008 after a few successful brunch meetings between Joe Woullard (Ocote Soul Sounds, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears), Derek Phelps (BJL & the Honeybears), Michael Faircloth (Sea Legs) and Stephen Bidwell (The Calm Blue Sea). By fall of that year, the foursome had recruited a number of capable instrumentalists, and together, they cut a 4-song demo at Cacophony Recorders in town. Faircloth departed the following year, but HPA soldiered on. In early 2010, the band recorded its truly amazing self-titled debut album, fusing funk, jazz, and elements of traditional African music to conjure up mesmerizing medleys that take turns to soothe and exhilarate. It’s the soundtrack to that daily rush-hour drive, the setting for that enticing exotic voyage and the backdrop to your next psychedelic trip, all rolled into one. In fact, this music should really be a part of your life, and 2012 is as good a time as any to make that happen. Hard Proof’s second fulllength is due later this year.
There’s a lot of ac tion happening at Ben Kweller’s (this month’s cover star) South Austin home. While his two-year-old naps in the house, h...