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NV89 Highlights Bands That Excel At Throwback Jams


In music, nostalgia can be a tricky thing. People tend to complain that they’re not hearing much that sounds new. 

And yet, they clearly revere the sounds of old. Witness the names introduced on the radio, filling the festival rosters, and being read at the Grammys -- the throwback R&B of Leon Bridges, the classic country sound of Margo Price, the ‘70s rock-worshipping Greta Van Fleet, and the recent forays into jazz by Kendrick Lamar and Lady Gaga. 

The Nevada music scene is also hearkening back to the golden eras of R&B, funk, psychedelic, rockabilly, surf rock and more. 

You can hear those styles recreated and updated by Silver State bands on NV89, Nevada Public Radio’s music station in Reno.


Shanda and the Howlers - “Keep Telling Me”

“It’s a nostalgic '60s style rhythm and blues revival. Influences can be traced to Big Maybelle ... Howlin’ Wolf, Ruth Brown, Otis Redding, even some James Brown.

The group of five musicians solidified their lineup in 2015 and began writing songs and playing shows shortly after that.

They released their debut album Trouble in 2017 on Rumbar Records and since then they’ve played with legendary acts like the Blasters and Reverend Horton Heat, Los Lobos, Squirrel Nut Zippers, [as well as] a bunch of festivals.

They’ve got a free show lined up at the Sand Dollar Lounge on the August 31.”

Hypnotiques -  “My Little Baby”

“The self-described "exotic magic" that brought these four people together out here in Sin City began in 2018 with vocalist and ukulele player Kitty Chow deciding to move to Las Vegas when she learned that Brent Paul, her guitarist from her previous Honolulu rock steady soul band, was living out here and eager to start a new band with her.

She met with former Magna Fi bass player Robert John Kley from Manhattan and neighbor and veteran Vegas drummer Clay Heximer to form The Hypnotiques.

It’s a musical cocktail of sorts: A blend of vintage Hawaiiana, exotic tiki, hillbilly and swing ... jazz and early Americana, with some surf and tiki exotica. Speaking of tiki, you can find them the first Sunday of the month at their residency at Golden Tiki. They also perform frequently over at Tiki Di Amore.”

The Sextones – “Drunk Off Your Love”

Originally titled The Mark Sexton Band, Alexander Korostinsky, Mark Sexton and Daniel Weiss went to high school together and then banded together 10 years ago, later adding Ryan Taylor.

"They’ve been out there representing Reno to the fullest extent on the road. Bright future for these guys. They’ve been out on the West Coast gaining a fan base that really turns all their shows into this crazy dance party. They’ve shared the stage with Macy Gray, Charles Bradley, Dumpstphunk, and just recently completed an extensive European tour, which included Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and France.”

The Laissez Fairs  - “For You to Know”

“John Fallon was an original member of the band The Steppes. You might recognize them from the '80s and '90s neo-psychedelic rock movement. They were based in Ireland and the U.S., [but have] since disbanded.

Fallon went on to do some solo work [but] formed this band in 2014 when John met Joe Lawless, a guitarist, at the Bunkhouse Saloon. They were comparing notes, probably having a few beverages. It was pretty clear after they understood each other’s tastes that they needed to make some music. So they enlisted John’s son Cromm, and Aaron Archer on the drums, too.

The Laissez Fairs are influenced by British music from the '60s. You’ll hear The Beatles and The Kinks. The band describes their sound as
"maximum mod-psych," which combines the mod movement from the late '50s and early '60s celebrated that merged soul, rhythm and blues, ska, jazz and freakbeat, and the psychedelic rock and pop explosion that followed.”

Thee Swank Bastards – “Get Away Car”

“Thee Swank Bastards are completely instrumental with all the swag of Old Vegas, bringing waves of sound to the desert, as they like to describe it. They're the brainchild of Jesse Del Quadro. There are interchanging bass players and drum members as well, including Clay Heximer [also of] The Hypnotiques, his wife Denise Heximer, Courtney Carroll from Dusty Sunshine [and] bassist Jason Aragon from Same Sex Mary. The band all wears matching suits [in] Vegas style.    

It does the offbeat things that others don’t really like to do, like make Black Sabbath covers in the stylings of surf rock.

They’re busy, to say the least. They play all over town. Over 500 shows under their belt and a common presence at Double Down and Tiki Oasis in California. They’ve rocked crowds as far east as legendary [and former] venue CBGB out in New York, as far south as the Savannah Zombie Walk in Georgia and even in Yellowstone."



Jake Wagner, host, NV89

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Mike has been a producer for State of Nevada since 2019. He produces — and occasionally hosts — segments covering entertainment, gaming & tourism, sports, health, Nevada’s marijuana industry, and other areas of Nevada life.