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Archive | July, 2016

Hip Hop Hooray (Leah)

July 29, 2016

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This week, the ruling came down that no officers in the Freddie Gray case will be indicted for murder, and we’ve lost at least two black men to blatant racism in the last month. The Austin Police Department has also demonstrated a reprehensible attitude towards its citizens. The continued treatment of black bodies as disposable enemies of the state by a racist police force is despicable and it needs to stop. I’ve made a mix and contributed to my local Black Lives Matter coalition. I will be writing to my police force and attending meetings in the coming months to be an ally to the movement, and I hope you will too.

:Janelle Monae – Hell You Talm Bout:
:Kendrick Lamar – The Blacker The Berry:
:Lauryn Hill – Black Rage:
:Innatesounds Crew – Police State:
:Cole James Cash – Hands Up feat. Crew54:
:Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five – The Message:
:Taina Asili – Freedom:
:Vince Staples – Hand Up:
:Talib Kweli – The Proud:
:Supastition – Black Bodies:
:10isee Williams – Nat Turner:
:OT-C3 – Black Rose feat. TreeG:
:Public Enemy – Beyond Trayvon:
:Zion I – Unity feat. Bambu And D.U.S.T.:
:ZiplockDomo – BlackLivesMatter:
:Tink – Tell the Children:
:Hermit Kingdom – That Blackness:
:Jaheal – BlackLivesMatter:

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Clipping

July 28, 2016

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Splendor & Misery is an Afrofuturist, dystopian concept album that follows the sole survivor of a slave uprising on an interstellar cargo ship, and the onboard computer that falls in love with him. Thinking he is alone and lost in space, the character discovers music in the ship’s shuddering hull and chirping instrument panels. William and Jonathan’s tracks draw an imaginary sonic map of the ship’s decks, hallways, and quarters, while Daveed’s lyrics ride the rhythms produced by its engines and machinery. In a reversal of H.P. Lovecraft’s concept of cosmic insignificance, the character finds relief in learning that humanity is of no consequence to the vast, uncaring universe. It turns out, pulling the rug out from under anthropocentrism is only horrifying to those who thought they were the center of everything to begin with. Ultimately, The character decides to pilot his ship into the unknown—and possibly into oblivion—instead of continuing on to worlds whose systems of governance and economy have violently oppressed him.”

Man, that is one hell of a concept for an album.  On a related note, I think Clipping’s first single from the LP is super rad.  Enjoy.

PS – Clipping’s Daveed Diggs, who plays Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in the Broadway musical Hamilton, just won a Tony.  That’s pretty neat.

:Clipping – Baby Don’t Sleep:

Splendor & Misery is due out September 9 via Sub Pop/Deathbomb Arc.

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Movie Breakdown: Jason Bourne

July 27, 2016

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Pre-Screening Stance:

The Bourne Trilogy is pretty damn great.  The Bourne Legacy isn’t terrible, but I can’t say I’ve ever really wanted to revisit it.  As for Jason Bourne, I want it to be good, but if it isn’t, I’ll just treat it like I do its aforementioned semi-sequel and pretend it doesn’t exist.  Easy come, easy go!

Post-Screening Ramble:

Like pretty much every other major film that’s rolled out this summer (it hasn’t really been a great one, has it?), your approval or disapproval of Jason Bourne is going to be dependent on what sort of film you’re expecting.  If you’re simply down to see some familiar characters doing some espionage-type things, then you’ll probably be into it.  If you’re wanting a worthy entry into the Bourne series that expands the original story or at least starts an interesting new thread for the character, then the film may disappoint you.

To me, The Bourne Trilogy’s greatness stems from 1) Bourne being a great character and 2) The way each entry in it is essentially a chase film with spy elements.  The poor, goodhearted Bourne is on the run and he’s trying to figure out his past.  And there’s satellites and laptops!  Ah!  Jason Bourne, for whatever reason, alters this formula.  There’s definitely some chasing (the scene in Las Vegas is particularly exciting) and a mystery (albeit a lazy one) for Bourne to solve, but overall the film puts Bourne, his plight and his muscles in a corner while it focuses more on its various CIA characters.  Each of the shady figures have their own sneaky agendas (career advancement, internet policing, etc), and Bourne simply serves as a device that moves their plots along.  Yes, that’s right, the movie may be called Jason Bourne, but its titular character is practically a sub plot.  Go figure.

As I said up above, if you just want a spy flick with some action here and there, then see Jason Bourne.  Those of you hoping for more though should just wait and catch it on the small screen.

One Last Thought:

Alicia Viklander is the best part of of Jason Bourne.  She’s such an alluring presence on the screen.  On another note, I hope her Tomb Raider movie doesn’t suck.

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Show Of The Week

July 27, 2016

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On Friday come join me at Hotel Vegas.  I’ll be there operating as 101X Homegrown (that’s one of my radio shows) in support of Kay Odyssey and the tour kickoff show that they have lined up for the evening.  I’ve been looking forward to it for a month, as it has a super diverse local lineup – Hidden Ritual, The Sour Notes, The Dizzease, The Stacks, Microwave Miracles – and it’s just $5.  That’s less than a buck a band, man.  See you there.

BONUS Show Recommendations:

Tonight:
- Ghetto Ghouls, Perspective A Lovely Hand to Hold, Critical Dad, 86 Vigilance at Cheer Up Charlies
- Cantalouper, Bloody Knives, Rose Selavy, Daymares at Beerland

Thursday:
- Lochness Mobsters, The Be Helds, Ex-Legionnaires, Teevee at Hotel Vegas
- The Donkeys, Booher, Dollie Barnes at The Sidewinder
- Super Thief, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Tunic, Space Battle, Pink Collar at Beerland

Friday:
- Marissa Nadler, Wrekmeister Harmonies, Muscle and Marrow at The Sidewinder

Saturday:
- Night Drive, Keeper, Missions, Shmu, DJ Lizzbeth at Cheer Up Charlies
- Daniel Eyes & The Vibes, Harvest Thieves, Ruby and The Reckless at Lamberts
- The Eastern Sea, Lovely Sparrows at Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co.
- The Halfways, Tamarron, The Similar Prisoners, Palm Daze at the Mohawk
- Chasca, Mrs. Glass, Eagle Claw, Tia Carrera, Duel at The Blackheart

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Movie Breakdown: Nerve

July 27, 2016

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Pre-Screening Stance:

I like Emma Roberts and Dave Franco, but Nerve looks pretty silly.  Also, my lack of excitement for the film isn’t helped much by the fact that the duo behind the internet-kitschy Catfish directed it.

Post-Screening Ramble:

Nerve has a fun concept, but it’s not particularly well executed.  The film starts by introducing the photography-loving, non-risk-taking Vee (Emma Roberts) and her two best friends – a nerdy fella who is obviously in love with her, and a girl who is a bit of a daredevil.  It’s the latter who introduces Vee to Nerve, an underground game that’s quickly becoming a hit.  Via the app you can either watch people take on dares, or you can actually accept some of your own.  Naturally, Vee should be a watcher, but in an attempt to prove that she’s not who people think she is, she starts accepting dares.  This is when she meets Ian (Dave Franco), and the two pair up and have a glorious night!  Or not.

For the first solid chunk of Nerve, I was into it.  Sure, the film takes a little bit to get going and it’s shot in a unfortunate OMG-tech-is-so-kewl kind of way, but Roberts and Franco have solid chemistry, the “dares” properly ascend from cute to exciting/dangerous, and I found it easy to buy into the idea of everyone loving a game where you wander around obsessed with either garnering attention or watching others live.  Somewhere near the third act though the film just totally falls apart.  Weird motives and masked characters pop up without any explanation, things go from exciting to silly, and the movie just loses all momentum.  Talk about limping across the finish line.

If you decide to catch Nerve, keep your expectations in check.

One Last Thought:

If those vids of kids climbing skyscrapers and cranes make you grab onto your chair because somehow you’re afraid you’re going to fall to your death, then Nerve may not be for you.

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Russian Circles

July 26, 2016

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As things currently stand, Explosions In The Sky’s The Wilderness is my favorite instrumental album of 2016.  I’m pretty sure that status won’t change by the time December rolls around, but if it does, it’ll be because of Russian Circles.  Today I have the latest stellar single (the previous two are in faux-video form down there, too) to be released off of the band’s upcoming LP.  Slap on headphones and let it delight you.  Enjoy.

:Russian Circles – Afrika:

Guidance is due out August 5 via Sargent House.  See the band at Barracuda on October 8.

Bonus Videos:

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Screaming Females

July 25, 2016

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If you’re in Australia or New Zealand, then today’s news should slap a smile on your face.  Not only are Screaming Females heading your way to play some shows, but they’re bringing along a deluxe edition of last year’s mega-excellent Rose Mountain.  Boy am I jealous – I love that album so much.  Somebody has to send me a copy!  Please!  Anyhow, one of the b-sides from the new version awaits you down below.  It rips.  Enjoy.

:Screaming Females – Skeleton:

Bonus Videos:

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Movie Breakdown: Captain Fantastic

July 22, 2016

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Pre-Screening Stance:

Viggo Mortensen is an all-time favorite of mine, and he just so happens to be in Captain Fantastic.  This automatically means I’m excited to see it.  Granted, it certainly doesn’t hurt that the trailers have made it look like a quirky good time.  Also, I’m intrigued by the fact that Matt Ross (Gavin Belson from Silicon Valley) both directed and wrote the film.

Post-Screening Ramble:

It’ll be interesting to see how people react to Captain Fantastic.  The film follows Ben (played with spirit by Viggo Mortensen) and his pack of kiddos as they undertake a road trip in order to attend their mother’s funeral.  I suppose that sounds fairly normal, but what provides a bit of a twist is that Ben and his family live off the grid, deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest.  There the kids go through daily physical training sessions and they’re home-schooled on advanced subjects.  The whole lot of them seem rather well adjusted, very intelligent and happy, but as the film glides along you start to see that all isn’t well in the perfect world that Ben believes he has built for himself and his family.  His kids may be able to survive in the woods and have full-on philosophical discussions, but their social skills are poor, they’ve never had the chance to apply most of what they’ve learned, and they’re often in situations that the outside world considers unfit and/or dangerous for a child.  Should Ben and his family live how they do?  Should he put an end to it and place his family in society?  The film looks at both questions, and while I don’t really think it ever fully commits to saying yes or no to living on or off the grid, it does endearingly try to at least remind the world that regardless of whichever lifestyle you choose for yourself and your loved ones, flexibility is a must.  Now that’s a message I can get behind.

Go see Captain Fantastic.  It has heart and it’s funny.

One Last Thought:

As of now, Viggo doesn’t have any other films lined up, and that’s a damn shame.  Here’s hoping he doesn’t stay off the big screen for too long.

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Movie Breakdown: Star Trek Beyond

July 21, 2016

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Pre-Screening Stance:

Let’s face it, just about everything in regards to the marketing for Star Trek Beyond has been decidedly weird.  It’s like the studio wasn’t really sure who to sell the movie to – Trekkies or normies – so they just mashed the two marketing campaigns together and went to work.  Perhaps this approach stems from it being directed by action-junkie Justin Lin and written by super nerd Simon Pegg?  Either way, I hope it’s a success.

Post-Screening Ramble:

Star Trek Beyond is a fun film.  There’s a lot of neat visuals, good laughs, big action and everything else that one might expect from a summer blockbuster.  I guess the real question is whether or not that’s what you want from a Star Trek film.  If it is, then you’re going to like it.  I certainly enjoyed its various quips and explosions, and I walked out of the theater feeling good about what I had seen throughout its brisk two hour run-time.  However, those of you hoping for the series to go all-in on deep space exploration or to grow its main characters, I think you’re going to scoff at Star Trek Beyond.

As you may remember, Into Darkness ended with the Enterprise setting off on a five-year journey into deep space.  Beyond picks up about midway through this excursion, but the crew’s mission just so happens to be next to a newly built space station-world-thingy, so at no point does it seem as though they’re really on their own or doing any measure of exploring.  On the character front, Uhura, Sulu and Chekov are all around, but mostly just as familiar-face fodder, while Bones and Scotty are given a good chunk of screen time in order to give the film heart and humor.  None of them evolve in any way, though.  As for Kirk and Spock, both are given seemingly important subplots (hint: neither really want to be in Star Fleet anymore), but aside from the introduction and conclusion of their separate plans, nothing is ever discussed or even revealed.  It’s so useless!  And what’s even weirder is that I’d say these parts should have just been cut, but the amount of screen time they take up is so inconsequential that it doesn’t matter.

If you want sci-fi fun, go see Star Trek Beyond.  If you want sci-fi headiness and character development, don’t go see Star Trek Beyond.

One Last Thought:

This probably goes without saying, but this series just won’t be the same without Anton Yelchin’s Chekov.  He played the character in such an animated, inspired way.

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Jeff The Brotherhood

July 21, 2016

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Jeff The Brotherhood have really been working it since they got “dropped from the clutches of the demented vulture that is Warner Bros.”  Last year they put out two LPs – Wasted On The Dream and Global Chakra Rhythms – and now they’re about to release another.  It’s called Zone, and it’s apparently the last installment of a trilogy of albums, which includes 2009′s Heavy Days and 2011′s We Are The Champions.  Neat.  The sloppy, psych-enthused first single awaits you down below.  Enjoy.

:Jeff The Brotherhood – Punishment:

Zone is due out August 12 via Dine Alone.

Bonus Video:

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Movie Breakdown: Lights Out

July 20, 2016

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Pre-Screening Stance:

James Wan has reached a point where if his name is attached to a horror film, then it’s probably worth checking out.  With that being said, even if I didn’t know he produced Lights Out, I’d still be excited to see the film since the trailers for it have been rock solid in a “should I watch this if I enjoy sleeping” kind of way.

Post-Screening Ramble:

If you just want to have a good time, then I think you’re going to dig Lights Out.  Like The Babadook, The Conjuring, It Follows and other recent horror hits, it features a slew of suspenseful scenes with well done jump scares occasionally peppered in just to make sure you steadily feel on edge.  From there, to be honest, it’s hard for me to say much else about the film.  It has a super brief hour and 21 minute run-time, and its story, which is essentially about a family desperately trying to figure out how to deal with an unwanted guest from their past, isn’t particularly layered or drawn out.  The movie starts, a rather bad thing happens, some relevant info gets uncovered, scary things happen, and then before you know it the film is in its final act and barreling towards a conclusion.  That’s it.  So, as I noted up above, if you just want to watch something that will be fun and perhaps give you the willies, then go see Lights Out.  You can even leave your brain at home!  On the flip side of that, if you’re looking for some kind of game changing, in-depth monster flick, then you may want to seek a different film out.

One Last Thought:

Lights Out reminded me just how much I like and appreciate Maria Bello.  I should revisit some of her older films, especially History Of Violence and Thank You For Smoking.

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Show Of The Week

July 20, 2016

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My favorite night for live music this week is actually one I’m going to miss because I’ll be out of town.  Oh well.  At any rate, on Friday I recommend that you head to the Oasis for a show I booked for 93.7 KLBJ that features locals Summer Salt, The Bad Lovers, Migrant Kids and Emily Wolfe.  All four are big favorites of mine, and I love that I managed to get them all on one bill.  Music will start at 6 (that’s way early), and it’s FREE to attend.  Once that’s all done, I advise that you then head to Sidewinder to watch Whitney.  The band, which is led by former Smith Westerns guitarist Max Kakacek and former Unknown Mortal Orchestra drummer Julien Ehrlich, just put out a really solid album, Light Upon The Lake, and it would be wise to catch them in a small space like Sidewinder while you still can.  Have fun out there!

BONUS Show Recommendations:

Tonight:
- Kitten, Clean Spill, Sizzy Rocket at The Sidewinder
- Emily Herring, Plantation Band, Ruby Fray at Cheer Up Charlies
- Violent Femmes, Lost Bayou Ramblers at Stubb’s

Thursday:
- Red Bull Sound Select Presents Juvenile, Martin $ky, The Outfit, TX at the Parish
- American Sharks, The Lochness Mobsters, Pleasers at Hotel Vegas
- Tia Carrera, Flyin’ Lion, Cabra at Beerland
- Pollen Rx, The Shivery Shakes, Que Pasa at Cheer Up Charlies
- Think No Think, The Baffles, On Delay, Trying Science at Stubb’s

Friday:
- Broken Gold, Despero, Easy Prey at Beerland
- Ringo Deathstarr, Pale Dian, The Stargazer Lilies, Ultraviolet at Empire Control Room
- Wildfires at The Sidewinder
- Naughty By Nature, En Vogue, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Color Me Badd, Tone Loc, Sisqo, 2 Live Crew at Cedar Park Center

Saturday:
- Whitney (2pm) at End of an Ear
- Rhye, Baio at the Mohawk
- Boogarins, Hundred Visions, Annabelle Chairlegs, The Rotten Mangos at Hotel Vegas
- Suspirians, Deleted Scenes, Evil Triplet, The Weird at Beerland
- Big Bill, Popper Burns, Rattlesnake Milk, Lake of Fire, Tres Oui at Cheer Up Charlies
- Modest Mouse, Brand New at Austin360 Amphitheater
- Lawrence at 3ten ACL Live

Sunday:
- Fitz & The Tantrums, Zella Day at Stubb’s
- Loteria, Mitch Fraizer and His Radiation, Crocodile Tears, Leather Pants at Cheer Up Charlies
- The Wild Now (5pm), Baio (1pm) at Waterloo Records

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Quickdraw: Thee Oh Sees, Joanna Gruesome, Happy Diving, Field Mouse, Sleigh Bells

July 19, 2016

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Thee Oh Sees – The Axis:  There’s something oddly intoxicating about this slow burner from Thee Oh Sees.  Do yourself a favor and toss on some headphones before you hit play.  A Weird Exits is due out August 12 via Castle Face.

:Joanna Gruesome – Pretty Fucking Sick Of It All:  Two things about this song.  1)  It’s Joanna Gruesome’s first bit of new material since singer Alanna McArdle left the band.  2)  It was influenced by their most recent U.S. tour, during which “the CIA took a special interest in the group’s movements.”  Guess that explains why the track’s title is so no nonsense.   The Pretty Fucking Sick Of It All single is available now via Slumberland.

:Happy Diving – Don’t Be Afraid Of Love:  Here’s the latest wall of fuzz from indie rockers Happy Diving.  Turn it up, and then join me in expecting good things from their upcoming album.  Electric Soul Unity is due out August 19 via Topshelf.

:Field Mouse – The Order Of Things:  This a rather jangly, very 90s rock track from Field Mouse.  On a related note, I just got sent their new album.  I need to listen to it ASAP.  Episodic is due out August 5 via Topshelf.

:Sleigh Bells – Hyper Dark:  The first time I listened to this track I figured it was slowly building up to what would surely be some sort of chaotic noise explosion.  Nope.  It actually just slinks about and generally doesn’t sound like Sleigh Bells at all.  I like it.  No word yet on when a new album will be released.

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Jefre Cantu-Ledesma

July 18, 2016

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I stayed up way too late watching Stranger Things on Netflix because I totally got hooked and couldn’t turn the damn thing off.  Now I’m all drowsy and only want to listen to stuff that’s similar to the ethereal, headphone-worthy music that makes up the show’s soundtrack.  On the bright side, this urge led me to Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and his new single, which is rather fantastic.  For fun, I also tagged on the Stranger Things theme song (crafted by Austin’s own SURVIVE, by the way).  It’s definitely more synth-y and creepier than Cantu-Ledesma’s track, but I think they work well together.  Enjoy.

:Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – Love’s Refrain:

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma’s In Summer tape is currently available (though, it is sold out).

Bonus Video:

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Raised Eyebrows: Remembering Fela Kuti (Randy)

July 15, 2016

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It’s been almost 20 years (August 2,1997) since the godfather of Afrobeat, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, passed away. He leaves behind a wealth of musical and political inspiration. Kuti preached peace and human rights through powerful grooves and transparent lyricism that reflected both the joy and struggle of his homeland.

Alu Jon Jonki Jon (from Afrodisiac 1972)

This contains some of Fela’s most refined and FRIED keyboard playing. It gets “out there” for a few minutes in a REALLY good way. One of The Black President’s best.

Confusion Pt 1 (from Confusion 1974)

The intro to this one has a darkness and beauty that few/none of his other works have. A high point in the Fela catalog.

No Agreement (from No Agreement 1977)

One of Fela’s funkiest tracks. Drummer Tony Allen is unreal here.

No Buredi (No Bread) (from No Bread 1976)

Some of Fela’s finest sax playing and singing can be found here. The man was a master.

Noise for Vendor Mouth (from Noise for Vendor Mouth 1975)

This one is tremendous! It’s twin guitar rhythm and thrift moog sounds are KILLER.

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