Blushing | 8:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30 on Toucan Alley Stage

Blushing features two husband and wife duos consisting of Michelle Soto (guitar, vocals), Jacob Soto (drums), Christina Carmona (vocals, bass), and Noe Carmona (guitar). Jacob and Noe have been lifelong friends that played in bands growing up in El Paso, TX, though they both moved to Austin around 2009, meeting their wives there coincidentally at the same bar (Side Bar). “Naturally all four of us became close friends.” As Michelle was learning guitar, her natural talent to write music started to emerge, creating vocal melodies and guitar parts in her bedroom. Christina, already a classically trained singer, was recruited by Michelle to lend her vocal talents and soon grabbed a bass, taught herself to play and joined in to help solidify the songs. Soon Jacob and Noe began to notice how much potential the songs had so they joined in on a practice session to help flesh out guitar, drums and vocals. From there the husbands never left the group, and Blushing was formed. Their natural chemistry and like- minded musical influences helped solidify their ongoing writing process. The band released their first EP “Tether” in 2017, followed by their EP “Weak” in 2018 with Austin Town Hall Records, and most recently their sold-out, debut self-titled LP “Blushing” on Wallflower Records in 2019.

When Blushing went into the studio December 2019 to record Possessions with engineer and producer Elliott Frazier of Ringo Deathstarr, they had no idea just how much the world would soon change. The studio served as a soundproof safe room for the band, offering an escape from the noise of a mad world all around. When everything was finally complete, what revealed itself was an album emerged from new depths, heavier in some ways and lighter in others. Embracing the spectrum of life and relationships while understanding the need for escape and whimsy. The album title “Possessions” is an observation of the frenetic time in which it was created. A frenzied world possessed through fear or ideals but also with the objects, or possessions so desperately searched for and collected.

While recording Possessions the band tweeted a list of things they wanted to accomplish – including of course – to one day work on music with Miki Berenyi. The band had established a prior musical friendship with the Lush front woman after recording a cover of the Lush song “Out of Control” that received a tweet of appreciation from Miki herself. “After declaring our goal of collaboration, we received a DM from her expressing her excitement and willingness to collaborate on the new record.” An unfinished track and lyric sheet for “Blame” was digitally whisked off to Miki in London with the request that she add any vocals she would like. What she returned was a beautifully creative melding of harmonies and counter melodies and an absolute stellar final track. The band now enjoy chats about recording music, wine and meeting at the pubs or playing shows together when traveling to the UK becomes safe.

Once the record was complete, Blushing knew they wanted to have the track “The Fires” remixed to really get a unique and dreamy feel they always thought it had. Enter Mark Gardener of RIDE. Having once met at an Austin show in October 2019, Blushing knew he was working with other musicians over at OX4 Sound in the UK, so they reached out to see if he had interest in putting his own spin on it. Mark responded, not only expressing his excitement to mix the track, but also his willingness to finalize the record and master the all of the tracks as well. And everything was going extremely well, that is, until just as the mixing and mastering process was wrapping up, the February 2021 freak blizzard that devastated much of Texas put the band out of commission for over a week, losing power and water.

Broken water pipes and getting back to normal caused a slight but most unexpected delay in the ability to communicate back and forth with Mark about the album, who expressed concerned for the band’s well-being as news of the storm reached all the way to the UK. But eventually the snow melted, the lights and internet returned and what the band received was a punchy, glimmering track, a perfect balance to the brooding instruments and lyrics of the song along with perfect master tracks for the entire album.