Hard Riffs
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Hard Riffs

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2017

Austin, Texas, United States
Established on Jan, 2017
Band Rock Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos




Hard Riffs is the breakout project of the Austin-based Michael Mancuso (Steady Legend), a veteran of the central Texas music scene, featuring keyboardist Sam Powell (Black Joe Lewis) and percussionist Harrell Williams (Resident ZACH Theater drummer). With the release of his first solo EP, respectfully titled Stand Alone, Mancuso lives up to the band name with a collection of guitar heavy roots-rock songs boosted with a modern twist. Just short of 16 mins in length and comprising of a 5 song tracklist, Stand Alone is not the longest studio album to ever be produced but it does tell a story that anyone who has been in a failed relationship can relate to. With upbeat tempos and an uplifting sound it is difficult to believe that many of the songs weave narratives of infidelity, unrequited love, and burned bridges.

Stand Alone is an EP that is not going to reinvent the wheel but rather a modern interpretation on a time when cassette tapes, boomboxes, and 80’s glam bands reigned supreme. It is a twenty-first century journey through blues-rock from the late 70’s to the early 90’s, inspired by the greats of their time. With songs like ‘Dirty Ways’, ‘She’s Running’, and ‘Heart Attack’, Mancuso has created a neoteric collection of 80’s rock classics without the typical overuse of the synthesizer that Generation X and Y seemed to specialize in. Hard Riffs displays soaring guitar solos with solid backing bass lines and easy to understand lyrics sung by an even easier to get behind lead singer; Mancuso himself. It takes me back to the fond days of my childhood sitting in the garage with my father listening to his favorite songs by the bands who dominated the airways of his youth; such as Huey Lewis and the News, Duran Duran, Europe, the Dave Matthews Band, the Animals, and the Cult.

Stand Alone is the perfect album for rock fans tired of being subjected to the wave of today’s ‘indie’ rockers and a homage to some of the greatest music to make an entire generation of uptight, religious fanatics uncomfortable. Hard Riffs is sure to find a home in the hearts of the heavily rock’n’roll influenced Austin, Texas.

Hard Riffs will debut Stand Alone on June 30 at Barracuda along with special guests, Austin-natives Obsolete Machines and Hippo. - Track Rambler

"Austin Music Minute - Stand Alone"

Yep. You’ve got a rock ‘n’ roll date tonight at the Mohawk, 912 Red River. Headlining the inside stage is Hard Riffs, the solo project of local musician and songwriter Michael Mancuso. Hard Riffs made it’s official debut last year, with the five-track EP, Stand Alone (the track “Hey Mama” was featured on today’s AMM).

The music starts off with Glow In the Sun at 9 p.m., followed by Hard Riffs at 10 p.m. and 1-2 Punch rounding out the night at 11 p.m. Check ’em out. - KUTX


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Hard Riffs is the solo project of Austin based multi-instrumentalist Michael Mancuso. With a sound that mixes the songwriting style of Tom Petty with the crunchy modern rock sound of The Black Keys, Mancuso displays meticulously produced songwriting, catchy riffs, and soaring guitar solos. 

Releasing the debut EP “Stand Alone” in June 2017, the self-produced EP features keyboardist Sam Powell (Black Joe Lewis, Emily Bell, Ruby Jane) and drummer Harrell Williams (resident ZACH theater drummer). Mancuso is featured on bass, guitar, and sang on the EP. He also produced all the songs, and did all the tracking, mixing, and mastering in his house. 

“Stand Alone”, the EP’s titular track, is a fast rock number about revenge. A spurned lover returns to his hometown to attend the funeral of a long lost lover. When he returns home, he finds the church on burning to the ground. Did he do it? Why did he return?

Lead track “Hey Mama” is a standout song on the EP. A sultry blues/rock number, this track deals with the anguish a lonely heart, drowned in alcohol. Sweeping an epic guitar solo into the finale, Hey Mama’s lead riff catches a listeners ear right from the first note.

Fighting for space in the crowded Austin rock scene, Hard Riffs carve out a sound that truly “stands alone” in a crowd. 

Band Members