Usually when rising artists are hotly tipped and mysterious, associated with them is a scarcity of information that is somewhat artificial. This time, though, it feels more authentic: LA newbies Paris Texas have caused something of a stir whilst offering relatively little in the way of particulars. From some simple sleuthery, what can be gleaned is Louie Pastel and Felix are the names of the clandestine duo, and other than several unembellished Soundcloud profiles and abandoned Bandcamp pages, the trail runs cold there. What is clearer is that they share a moniker with a 1984 arthouse Western movie soundtracked by Ry Cooder; together with the fact that their name sounds like the B-side to Black Country, New Road’s ‘Athens, France’ you could be forgiven for assuming the sound of Paris Texas might be a little ostentatious. You’d be wrong.
On BOY ANONYMOUS, a debut mixtape that comes with painfully little context, they deliver a defiant, punk-adjacent sound and aesthetic that is patently exciting. Sitting somewhere on the aural spectrum between Tyler the Creator and JPEGMAFIA, they distribute Brockhampton-flavoured hooks with a Clipping-like sonic immediacy, packaged with an Odd Future ethos that culminates into a refreshing take on hip hop.
First single ‘HEAVY METAL’ fashions a distinct buzz, as it chugs along with a prescriptive and deliberate guitar riff. Their melodic rhymes form around persistent and repetitive guitar work (is nu-metal back?!) and jump between hard-hitting and sarcastic. They’re clearly a creative partnership unafraid of pushing boundaries and making statements; on the single’s uncompromising accompanying video, they’re dragged behind a car through a sun-soaked California neighbourhood, kidnapped and tortured by guitar-toting masked figures.
‘SITUATIONS’ sees them shift through the gears, offering a glossy beat with future-facing production and sounding not unlike Young Fathers, thus achieving a more expressive ambience. Bouncy arpeggiating synth loops sit aside falsetto vocals and programmed basslines to create an off-kilter contemporary hip hop sound as they tell stories of growing up in South Central LA. ‘BETTER DAYS’ is their most stripped-back and traditionally West Coast-sounding cut, which allows them to riff on their dreams of success.
Even from an isolated debut mixtape, the uncompromising vision of Paris Texas is clear. Their sound comes with the accessibility and charm of a bedroom recording project but arrives packaged with the scope and ability of something with much larger potential. It’s frenzied, but streamlined; with a well-aimed follow-up, the sky’s the limit.