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Archive | February, 2016

Quickdraw: White Lung, Nothing, Summer Cannibals, Parquet Courts, Wire

February 29, 2016

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Music!  Enjoy.

:White Lung – Hungry:  This new White Lung single weirded me out at first.  They’re usually so fierce, and this doesn’t even kind of make me feel like they want to burn down my house.  A cleaned up sound does fit them well though.  Paradise is due out May 6 via Domino.

:Nothing – Vertigo Flowers:  There’s a big wall of guitars on display here, and I’m all about it.  Nothing’s sophomore LP will definitely be a year-end favorite of mind if it has more of the same.  Tired Of Tomorrow is due out May 13 via Relapse.

:Summer Cannibals – Go Home:  Summer Cannibals’ front woman Jessica Boudreaux is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.  She’s just got a great voice (it’s kind of like a more punk rock version of Alicia Bognanno from Bully).  Full Of It is due out May 27 via Kill Rock Stars.

:Parquet Courts – Berlin Got Blurry:  “Nothing lasts but nearly everything lingers in life.”  What a line.  On another note, this is easily one of Parquet Courts most accessible tracks.  Human Performance is due out April 8 via Rough Trade.  The band will play Levitation in April/May.

:Wire – Nocturnal Koreans:  You have to give it up to Wire for the way they’re still trucking along and churning out quality tunes.  They started in 1976!  Nocturnal Koreans is due out April 29 via Pinkflag.

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Hip Hop Hooray (Leah)

February 26, 2016

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Where did Noah keep his bees?

In the ark hives.

:Da Phenoms – Old School Rules (Drum Mix):
:Pete Rock and Camp Lo – No Uniform feat. M.O.P.:
:Despot – House of Bricks:
:Vince Staples – Lift Me Up:
:B.B. And The Underground Kings – Smoke Sumthin’ feat. Trill A.G.:
:Freddie Gibbs And Madlib – Knicks (Remix) feat. Action Bronson:
:Fashawn – Golden State of Mind feat. Dom Kennedy:
:Cole James Cash – Hands Up feat. Crew54:
:OT-C3 – Black Rose feat. TreeG:
:Aesop Rock And Homeboy Sandman – Get a Dog:
:Fugees – Ready or Not:
:Magna Carda – Banger Jones:
:Run the Jewels – Blockbuster Night Pt. 2 feat. Despot And Wiki:
:&more… – Fantasy:
:Astronautalis – Sike:

 

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Damien Jurado (Noah)

February 26, 2016

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I didn’t get Damien Jurado until he started partnering with Richard Swift. My brother had tried to force him on me when I was growing up, but songs like Medication and Ghost of David just felt like the mournful bitching of another Seattle white-dude. Richard Swift on the other hand, another prolific singer/songwriter, got to me right off the bat. He played with the notion of a singular human being pumping out music, infusing his tracks with 60s garage and poppy allusions to psychedelia. It was everything I thought I wanted. Until Swift started producing Jurado. Under Swift’s able hand, Jurado is no longer just a white guy who looks exactly like Moe from Calvin and Hobbes strumming a guitar and struggling with his life. Richard Swift has deftly thickened Jurado’s sonic landscape, giving it greater variety (mournful psych-folk is how I think of it) while allowing space for Jurado’s beautiful, blue-collar twang to soar. If you haven’t listened (on repeat, very loudly) to Maraqopa (the very best of the collabos) or Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son, you’re missing out on the very best evolution of Damien Jurado, at once bigger, thicker, more epic, but still infused with the soulful pining of a man clearly dealing with some issues.

His newest album, the third in what he refers to as his “Maraqopa Trilogy”, Visions of Us on the Land is out March 18 and you owe it to yourself to dig in and dig deep.

Qachina, the second single off the album, is a dusty, cacti-soaked bit of tumbleweed-folk rock. A new direction to be sure, but one that the duo (I think we can call them that now) ably stroll down.

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Movie Breakdown: Triple 9 (Noah)

February 25, 2016

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Pre-Screening Stance:

John Hillcoat made The Proposition. John Hillcoat made The Road. John Hillcoat made Lawless. My level of hype was so high for Lawless that its crushing terribleness soured me right badly. Triple 9, please, be the sweet to my sour.

Post-Screening Ramble:

Looking back at The Proposition, I think it hides some of director John Hillcoat’s biggest problems under the cavalier, and brilliant, stylings of a first-time director. It’s a great film, but one that eschews the norms of traditional, coherent story-telling, in favor of a bleak, near-hallucinogenic, Australian walkabout peppered with feverish bouts of violence. I love it, because I love hallucinogenic violence, but looking back now, after watching the “evolution” of Hillcoat’s cinematic career, I wonder if the film’s slight storyline and visual acuity were simply red flags we discounted because it was still in the shiny, honeymoon phase of Hillcoat’s filmography. Now though, after the immense letdown of Lawless, I approached Hillcoat’s newest film, the modern-day crime caper Triple 9, with a sack full of worries about what the director might bring to the table. Triple 9 feels, for the most part, like the modern day equivalent of Michael Mann’s Heat. It follows a crew of dirty cops and ex-special forces members led by Chiwetel Ejiofor (in full they were trying to cast Denzel Washington mode) trying to pull off a particularly impossible heist involving the Russian Mob, an NSA safe deposit box, and the planned murder of a rookie cop (Casey Affleck, proving that even in a supporting role, he’s still a standout). For almost the entire running time, the film hurtles forward at a sickening pace, taking us from the mean streets of Atlanta (and Hillcoat does not shirk his audience on the grim and gritty portrayal of a city with a massive wealth gap; seriously, Atlanta looks like beautiful shit in this film) to the fluorescent lit hallways of the ATLPD to the mansions of ATL’s wealthiest regions. It’s grim and gritty and Hillcoat, never a slouch visually, makes you feel every crackhead’s stare, every gang members mean mug, every abandoned project’s broken glass and cracked concrete. And, like any good crime flick should, the hideous exteriors reflect the corruption that lives at the hearts of its characters. Everyone gives their all in this piece (Anthony Mackie’s corrupt cop with a heart of a gold and Woody Harrelson’s drug-addled Captain are standouts) and even though it’s stacked with famous faces, Hillcoat manages to make the film feel authentic and lived in. But it’s Hillcoat’s issues with story that drag him down. The film is too full – of plot and characters and just stuff – and as it loafed towards its conclusion (the film slows down considerably when it should be picking up) this reviewer started becoming concerned that unless this was the first film in a secret, planned trilogy, Hillcoat had little-to-no chance to stick the landing. He is not planning a Triple 10 and boy-oh-boy does he fumble the last fifteen minutes of the film. It is a testament to the well-crafted, extremely tense first 9/10 of the film that an ending this bad forces you to think, “Did I miss something?” instead of “worst film ever.” At this point, one has to wonder if this is just the director Hillcoat is – a visual genius who places well staged action scenes (and there is a doozy of a police raid in this film) over a cohesive story – and that maybe The Proposition is just a lucky stab by a first-time director.

One Last Thought:

I want nothing more than for John Hillcoat to hit his stride and produce movies this beautiful that aren’t hampered by terrible endings of excessive storylines. Until he does, I’ll keep approaching his films with the same wariness I approached this one.

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Movie Breakdown: Eddie The Eagle

February 25, 2016

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Pre-Screening Stance:

Taron Egerton starred in one of 2015′s slickest, sexiest and most fun films – Kingsmen: The Secret Service.  Now he’s the lead in what appears to be a cheeseball feel good story centered around a character who looks like he talks to himself a lot.  Who let this happen?  Also, why is Hugh Jackman taking part in such silliness?

Post-Screening Ramble:

I’m a huge sucker for sports movies.  Whether they’re good or bad, I always get caught up in them and then find myself exiting the theater with my fists in the air.  Even the recently released Race, which is a big mediocre pile of a film, made me want to head to the gym and watch other people run.  So, with that being said, you know it’s not good when I say that Eddie The Eagle did absolutely nothing for me.  I went in not knowing anything about Eddie Edwards (played like a less interesting Forrest Gump by Taron Egerton), and I left feeling as though I could have lived my whole life without ever knowing anything about him or his performance in the 1988 Winter Olympics.  Seriously, Eddie The Eagle is the most bland, uninspired, non-triumphant sports film I think I’ve ever seen, and I’m not sure I even have it in me to shrug my shoulders at it.  Do yourself a favor and spend your money on something else.

One Last Thought:

Eddie The Eagle features two bad lead performances, and I find it humorous that they’re terrible for completely different reasons.  On one hand there’s Hugh Jackman (Eddie’s coach), who totally mails it in and just lazily rehashes his character from Real Steel, and then on the flip side of that is Taron Egerton, who is clearly trying so hard that I couldn’t stop thinking about what Kirk Lazarus told Tugg Speedman in Tropic Thunder.

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Car Seat Headrest

February 25, 2016

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23-year old Will Toledo is the main brain behind Car Seat Headrest – an act that first popped onto my radar last year (this song got me) -  and his upcoming album is one that I can’t wait to hear.  I just love that while he’s a heady songwriter, his guitar-driven, hooky tunes are still as accessible as can be.  Down below you’ll find the video for his new single (it’s a radio edit, but you can check out the full version of the track here).  Enjoy.

Teens of Denial will be out later this year via Matador.  You’ll be able to catch the band at SXSW.

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Show Of The Week

February 24, 2016

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There are so many great shows set to happen this week that I couldn’t narrow them down to just one particular recommendation.  I did, however, get my list cut to two.  My first selection is this Friday at Sidewinder, where the great Protomartyr will be joined by two of Austin’s finest punk acts – Spray Paint and Xetas.  The second gig is Saturday at Barracuda, where post-punk extraordinaires Mind Spiders are headlining a bill that also includes Manhunt, Jared Leibowich (The Zoltars) and Endless Youth.  Go to both and get more high quality rock than you probably deserve.

BONUS Show Recommendations:

Tonight:
- The Halfways, Sho Galago at Hotel Vegas
- “Witness: An Evening of Music, Photographs and Stories from Pre-War Syria” with Jason Hamacher

Thursday:
- White Denim at Beerland
- Protextor, Secret Levels, Dat Boy Supa, Muggzy Flows at Barracuda
- Radiation City, Deep Sea Diver at The Sidewinder
- Lomelda, Julia Lucille, Claire Morales, Dwight Smith, Cowboy Crisis at Hotel Vegas
- Young Mammals, Loteria, Muah, Dude Elsberry at the Hole in the Wall
- MUTEMATH, Nothing But Thieves at Emo’s

Friday:
- Jonly Bonly, The Sheiks, John Wesley Coleman, Jean, Street Dads at Hotel Vegas
- Holy Wave , Hidden Ritual, Tele Novella, Lake of Fire, Typical Girls, Al Lover at Barracuda
- MCG, Summer Salt, Alex Napping, Lomelda, Moji at Cheer Up Charlies
- Golden Dawn Arkestra, Riders Against the Storm, Heart and Soul Soundsystem DJs at the Mohawk
- Chipper Jones/Chris Lopez, Wire Nest, Tidals at the Mohawk

Saturday:
- Golden Dawn Arkestra, Annabelle Chairlegs, Dallas Acid, The Sun Machine, DJ Chiquita Bombita at the Mohawk
- Lochness Mobsters, Adult Books, Rotten Mangos, Mean Jolene at Hotel Vegas

Sunday:
- Big Bill at End of an Ear

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Polica

February 23, 2016

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Polica have let loose a third track (you can check out the previous two in video-form down below) off of their upcoming album, and I’m pretty much obsessed with it and its beautiful, sparsely arranged sound.  If for some reason you’re not currently feeling excited about the band’s impending release, then I believe it’ll get you there.  Enjoy.

:Polica – Lately:

Ultimate Crushers is due out March 4 via Mom + Pop.

Bonus Videos:

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Quickdraw: Solids, The Coathangers, Bleached, Purple, Frightened Rabbit

February 22, 2016

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Solids – Blank Stare:  “YES!”  That’s what I exclaimed when this new tune from Solids slid into my inbox.  The sound here is thick, but the song itself is still hooky.  I love it.  The Else EP is due out April 15 via Topshelf/Dine Alone.

:The Coathangers – Nosebleed Weekend:  Here’s the title track off of The Coathangers’ upcoming LP.  It’s not quite as snarly as the band usually is, but there’s still enough attitude on display to get your week started right.  Nosebleed Weekend is due out April 15 via Suicide Squeeze.  See them on June 5 at the Mohawk.

:Bleached – Wednesday Night Melody:  While I’m slightly weirded out by the way this song starts off like a mix of Beverly Hills and I Love Rock N’ Roll, I like that Bleached are trying to expand their sound.  Welcome The Worms is due out April 1 via Dead Oceans.

:Purple – Bliss:  I really love this pop rock gem from the Texas-based Purple.  Good luck getting it out of your head.  Bodacious is due out April 1.

:Frightened Rabbit – Death Dream:  What a wonderfully moody track this is.  I think it has me ready to get back to fully paying attention to Frightened RabbitPainting Of A Panic Attack is due out April 8 via Canvasback/Atlantic.

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Movie Breakdown: Risen

February 19, 2016

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Pre-Screening Stance:

To be honest, I didn’t even know Risen existed until I received an invite to a screening of it.  Before I RSVP’d I watched one trailer and discovered that film might be an intense, thriller-esque take on what happened after Jesus was crucified.

Post-Screening Ramble:

The first two-thirds of Risen isn’t half-bad.  Sure, it kind of plays out like a weird episode of Law & Order, as Clavius (Joseph Fiennes in “this is an important role” mode) and Lucius (Tom Felton as Tom Felton) interrogate the people of Jerusalem in attempt to figure out exactly what happened to the body of some fella named Yeshua (Jesus – played stoically by Cliff Curtis), but it’s executed well enough that I found myself fairly interested and drawn in by the whole affair.  Then in the third act there’s a long walk that happens, along with some forced rapport building between Clavius and Jesus’ disciples, and it was at this point that I had a major flashback to when I would sit at church and think about all of the things I could be doing besides sitting at church.  Oof.  In addition to be boring, the final chunk of Risen also takes a hit on the production side.  It goes from feeling fairly well put together, to coming across as cheap and hokey.  I think that’s also why I couldn’t wait to escape it.

As a film lover, I can’t recommend Risen.  It’s an okay at best effort with a few interesting tidbits that totally fizzle out by the time its 107 minutes are through.

One Last Thought:

I’m curious to know what someone far more religious than me thinks of Risen.  Is it nice just to have that particular story presented on such a large scale, regardless as to whether or not it has been greatly done?  Or – even if Jesus is your homeboy – is a mediocre film just a mediocre film?

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Beats & Eats: Volume 2 (James)

February 19, 2016

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Beats & Eats is a mixtape and a meal. A collection of tunes (sometimes there’s a theme, sometimes it’s just whatever I’m into that month) and a recipe to cook (bake, mix, whatever) while you listen to the songs. Enjoy!

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February is my better halfs’ birthday month (she’s a leap year babe, so she gets to celebrate whenever she wants, generally all month), so that got me thinking: Parties. Party Music. And salsas! Beats & Eats: Volume 2 “New Jack Edition” is all things New Jack Swing.

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Quick history lesson: In 1987, Teddy Riley is singing Groove Me in Guy and perfecting a signature production style that blends hip hop beats, R&B grooves, and Gospel trained vocals. This sound becomes a staple of 90s popular music. According to Wikipedia, the first tracks to feature the New Jack Swing style of production appear a year earlier, on Janet Jackson’s Control in 1986, produced by Jimmy Jam and members of the Time. No doubt an influence on Riley. After disbanding Guy, Riley goes on to produce tracks for Michael Jackson, Keith Sweat, Bobby Brown, and form two new groups, producing his brother Markell Riley’s Wreckx-n-Effect, and Blackstreet (No Diggity). It’s 1996 and New Jack Swing is in it’s heyday.

I exercised two “phone a friends” (is that a dated reference yet?) and called on Kellen Kid Slyce Chumley and Yadira Brown to help me with this month’s playlist and recipe. Kid Slyce is a notorious party starting DJ in Austin, TX, known for his semi-monthly New Jack Swing dance parties, and Brown is 1/3 of ultra-talented vocal trio Keeper. She’s also an excellent cook and her recipe for Columbian aji picante is mouth-watering.

“Mary J Blige’s Real Love would be my all-time favorite,” Yadira says. “I think it was the harmonies over dance beats, honestly, that made me love New Jack Swing. I was in 4th grade when [Boyz II Men] Motownphilly came out, and I’d rewind and listen to the breakdown over and over, trying to learn all the parts.”

My love for this sound admittedly came later, fresh out of college and bartending Saturday nights at Austin dance club Plush, where Kid Slyce and his partners in Tables Manner Crew spun the best New Jack Swing and hip hop cuts.

“New Jack Swing takes DJ’ing back to a place where dancing and good vibes were paramount,” Chumley told me. “The music and lyrics are relatable. The majority of [rap and R&B] today is mired in trap and unrelatable if not incomprehensible.”

The two hours of tunes on Beats and Eats: New Jack Edition run the gamut of the New Jack sound, and 90s R&B in general. Godfathers Guy, Janet, Keith and Johnny Gill. Soulful sisters Monica, Aaliyah, TLC and SWV. And some deeper cuts thanks to Kid Slyce! What’s missing? Well, Another Bad Creation, Wreckx-n-Effect and Color Me Badd, to name a few. Hey, not every musical trend produces pure gold! Dig your Jock Jams cassettes out of your mom’s attic if you wanna hear any of those bangers.

This playlist is guaranteed to get any party started. And this salsa is pure fire. Literally.

 

Columbian Aji Picante by Yadira Brown

Ingredients:

- 1 seeded small jalepeno or 1 red habanero pepper
- ½ cup white vinegar
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon grapefruit juice
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ½ cup chopped scallions
- ½ cup chopped tomato

Instructions:

- put the seeded pepper, water, and vinegar into a blender or food processor for a few minutes

- then combine with the rest of the ingredients and refrigerate, preferably over night.

- best served with empanadas or patacones.

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Quickdraw: A Giant Dog, Future Of The Left, Pity Sex, St. Vincent, Dana Falconberry And Medicine Bow

February 18, 2016

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Music!  Enjoy.

:A Giant Dog – Sex And Drugs:  Austin’s own A Giant Dog will be putting out their new album via the mighty Merge Records, and that’s just snazzy as hell.  This first single is like all of their other tunes – fiery. Pile is due out May 6.

:Future Of The Left – The Limits Of Battleships:  Andrew Falkous and the gang have rallied up a new Future Of The Left album.  I’m really into how groovy and infectious this first single is.  The Peace & Truce Of Future Of The Left is due out April 8 via Prescriptions Music.

:Pity Sex – Burden You:  Pity Sex really caught my attention with this new song of theirs.  It’s a perfect little slice of 90s-enthused shoegaze.  White Hot Moon is due out April 29 via Run For Cover.

:St. Vincent – Emotional Rescue (Rolling Stones Cover):  This cover that St. Vincent did for Luca Guadagnino’s new film is slinky and weird (even for her), and I can’t stop listening to it.  The soundtrack for A Bigger Splash is due out tomorrow.

:Dana Falconberry and Medicine Bow – Dolomite:  Here’s a very headphone-worthy new one from Dana Falconberry And Medicine Bow, a long time Austin-based favorite of mine.  From The Forest Came The Fire is due out April 1 via Modern Outsider.  You’ll be able to see Dana at the Stateside Theater on April 2.

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Movie Breakdown: Race

February 18, 2016

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Pre-Screening Stance:

It was pretty neat when Jesse Owens went over to Berlin in 1936 and essentially tossed up a gold medal-laced middle finger right at Hitler, so I’m down to watch a dramatic re-telling of the events.  Though, I will say the trailers for the film haven’t made me feel overly confident about what I might receive in exchange for my time.

Post-Screening Ramble:

Race is a an alright film that could have been great. There isn’t anything about it that’s glaringly wrong, but it’s so paint-by-numbers that it just isn’t anywhere near as dramatic or exciting as it could have been.  Jesse goes to college, Jesse (played well by Stephan James) gets declared a natural by his “tough” coach (played by a hit or miss Jason Sudeikis), Jesse wins some races and sets some records, Jesse cheats on his girlfriend but then wins her back, Jesse ponders – mostly off-screen – about not going to the Olympics, Jesse goes to the Olympics, Jesse wins and makes everyone proud.  That’s about it.  As I always say with movies based on true events (and this particularly goes for real life stories that everyone knows), there has to be more to it than what any of us can simply skim on Wikipedia.  This is, unfortunately, exactly how Race is constructed – it’s just a big summary with no personality at all.  That’s too bad, as it really is based on the type of story that deserves to be on the big screen.

If you’d rather not spend 10 minutes reading about Jesse Owens, then I guess an okay alternative would be the 134 minutes-long Race.  See it if you want.

One Last Thought:

Did it really need to be titled Race?  That’s just so heavy handed and eye roll-worthy.  Why not call it 733?  Or Jesse?  Or J to the O?  Maybe Run Jesse Run?  Perhaps Screw You, Nazis! would have been nice?  Honestly, anything but the not-as-clever-as-that-one-executive-thought-it-was Race would have been great – it just cheapens the whole film.

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Show Of The Week

February 17, 2016

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While I’m excited about White Denim’s underplay at Hotel Vegas tomorrow night, my “show eyes” are totally focused on Carly Rae Jepsen at ACL Live on Saturday.  Admittedly, for so very long I only thought of her as the Call Me Maybe girl, but then she put out the fantastic E-MO-TION (it made my top albums list last year) and it just smashed that designation all to pieces.  Now I want to see if she can increase my level of adoration by impressing in a live setting.  Join me on the adventure.

BONUS Show Recommendations:

Tonight:
- Robert Delong, Colours at the Parish
- MC Chris, Nathan Anderson at Empire Control Room

Thursday:
- White Denim, Pie Fi Pizza DJs at Hotel Vegas
- Sweet Talk, Midnight Reruns, Mitch Frazier & His Radiation, SXSW, Hyperreals, Izzy Cox at Beerland
- Protextor, Secret Levels, Ben Buck, Malik at Barracuda
- Robert Delong, Colours at the Parish

Friday:
- Ty Segall & the Muggers, CFM at the Mohawk
- Eagle Claw, Party Wizard, Woodgrain, OMGWTFBBQ at Barracuda
- Beacon, Natasha Kmeto at the Parish
- Other Lovers, Trashy and the Kid, Boss Battle at The Swan Dive
- Harvest Thieves, Croy and the Boys, Little Mikey & the Soda Jerks at ABGB

Saturday:
- A Giant Dog, Magna Carta, Moving Panoramas, Purple, Sailor Poon, Lowin, Tinnarose, AMA, TITS, Madd Comrades, JEFF, Mama K and the Shades at Barracuda
- RJD2, Wrestlers, Boombaptist at Empire Garage
- Wilcat Apollo, Boxing Lesson, The Human Circuit, Toma at Empire Control Room
- Knifight, My Education, Violinda at ABGB

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Tacocat

February 16, 2016

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While I was thinking about my favorite Presidents yesterday, Tacocat were working.  Not only did they put out a new single, but they also released the theme song for the reboot of The Powerpuff Girls.  The former is really good, but a total change of pace for them, as it’s slower and a bit darker, and the latter is just simply catchy as hell.  Both await you down below.  Enjoy.

:Tacocat – Talk:

Lost Time is due out April 1 via Hardly Art.

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