If you flash back to the turn of the Millennium, you’ll find a plethora of pop punk, garage, and emo rock bands flourishing through the air waves. The cornucopia of distorted guitar riffs, power chords, and manic energy filled stages across America. Emily Whitehurst, then dubbed “Agent M,” fronted Tsunami Bomb, a punk rock outfit from Petaluma, California. The band toured heavily across the world and even opened for The Vandals and Motion City Soundtrack. They became a familiar name at the Vans Warped Tour (Rest in Peace), but they came to fold in 2005 due to creative differences.
Thirteen years later, Whitehurst holds steady in the music universe commanding a solo DIY project called Survival Guide. She played a Saturday night set at The Mohawk in Austin’s Red River District.
Her sound revolves around her pre-recorded beats and dreamily dark synths. Lyrically, her poetic prowess shines on tracks like “Shrouded in Steel”
“I was unaware of the pain involved, and I’m a little scared of emotions so strong”
Fronting a band vocally takes enough bravado and courage on its own, but it’s even more impressive when the entire soundscape is presided over by one captain. Her performance is easily captivating with her vocals alone. She is as emotionally energetic and buoyant as she was in her punk band. The audience saw her constantly swaying back and forth with the beats, smiling and gazing over the crowd, and whipping her hair over the synth. A toy bubble gun floated spheres of glimmering light over the crowd, and a rotary telephone made a few appearances as well.
In Survival Guide, Emily Whitehurst leans into her strengths and trusts her intuition. She is touring in support of theSTART, another tenured alternative rock band. Take a listen to her single, “One To One,” below.