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Archive | October, 2016

Thee Oh Sees

October 31, 2016

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I don’t know about you guys, but I’m really looking forward to the “relatively hushed affair” that is Thee Oh Sees’ next album.  The singles so far have been great, and I’m also just digging the idea of an entire effort where the band operates outside of their oft-kinetic wheelhouse.  Enjoy.

:Thee Oh Sees – You Will Find It Here:

An Odd Entrances is due out November 18 via Castle Face.  You’ll be able to see the band this weekend at Sound On Sound Fest.

Bonus Video:

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Hip Hop Hooray (Leah)

October 28, 2016

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Happy Halloween, my spooky ghouls and ghastlies! Here’s your playlist for costume parties, trick-or-treating, or making fun of trick-or-treaters!

:Run D.M.C. – It’s Tricky:
:MC Chris – Halloween:
:Doug E. Fresh – Spirit:
:Dr Dre – Murder Ink (Instrumental):
:Geto Boys – Mind Playin Tricks on Me:
:DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince – Nightmare on My Street:
:Foggy Fresh – Halloween:
:Swollen Members – Odd Goblins:
:RJD2 – The Horror:
:Binary Star – Wolf Man Jack:
:Big L – Devil’s Son:
:Braille – Frankenstein:
:Snoop Dogg – Murder Was the Case:
:Mac Miller – Born on Halloween feat. Ghosty:
:Beastie Boys – Egg Man:
:Ras Kass – Interview with a Vampire:
:Bone Thugs N Harmony – Hell Sent:
:Felt – Ghost Dance Deluxe:
:Aesop Rock – Homemade Mummy:
:DJ Signify – Costume Kids:
:Something Anything – Monster Rock:

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Hazel English

October 27, 2016

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Only yesterday did I become aware of Oakland’s Hazel English, and I’m already borderline-obsessed.  Her songs are hypnotic, and I just get swept up in them.  Down below you’ll find her latest single in mp3 form, plus videos for every track off of her EP.  Expect to like all of it.  Enjoy.

:Hazel English – Make It Better:

The Never Going Home EP is available now via Bandcamp.

Bonus Videos:

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Movie Breakdown: We Are X (Noah)

October 27, 2016

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Pre-Screening Stance:

To be honest, I thought X was a hardcore band and this was going to be another talking head doc about how they picked up their community and their lives by the bootstraps and soldiered on. It’s not.

Post-Screening Ramble:

Music documentaries remind me a little bit of badly made biographical films: they all have the same narrative. A band, any band really, starts small, gets huge, struggles with (insert: drugs, suicide, inter-band battles, etc.), but after years of non-band solitude, they come together for a emotional reunion show at (insert: Madison Square Gardens, their hometown bar, etc.). Yes, they have their own characters and their own special bumps along the road, but c’mon, band docs in the last five years have shored up on the beach of unoriginality. And, to be frank, while We Are X is well-made film, it never throws the shackles of its niche genre aside. We Are X documents the story of Japanese mega-metal rock band X Japan (they sound like a mixture of Pantera and Led Zeppelin with just a twinge of boy-band) as they, sigh, rise, fall and rise again. Director Stephen Kijak is good at what he does, the film, which follows drummer/pianist/all-around smooth-skinned musician Yoshiki, captures a) the enormity of this band and b) the curse of suicide and anguish that seems to plague them through their years shredding in front of screaming fans. This is a “metal” band (extremely loud and extremely soft, to paraphrase Yoshiki) but one that calls tens of millions of screaming, cosplayed out women as their fans. What Kijak does particularly well is allow us brief glimpses into the emotional terrain of Yoshiki, a pained musician, who regardless of how famous he gets can’t shake the agony of his past. And yes, of course, we get a plethora of talking heads from around the music world, who pontificate about just how good these guys are, just how important they are to music, as well as brief asides to highlight the pain these famed folks endured. But, Kijak never digs deep enough into what’s truly interesting about the film – first and foremost the idea that this enormous (they sell out huge arenas) band never really made a dent into American pop culture. Second, though a larger chunk of the movie is dedicated to vocalist Toshi’s time spent, well, brainwashed by a cult, Kijak never resolves it, never finds its meaning in the larger context of these musicians. Instead, he grabs on tight to the up-down-up structure of these kind of things and sort of lets the bigger, more interesting stories dead-end. We Are X is, as so many music documentaries are, an entertaining, well-made film, and yes, it focuses on a genre of music – Japanese Metal – that I at least knew nothing about previously. But, aside from the story of X, or at least the parts that fit into the overarching “music documentary” narrative, I still don’t know that much. And you know, from the glimpses We Are X allows, that’s a shame.

One Last Thought:

I’m not convinced X is a band I enjoy. They’re too, you know, hairy and glittery.

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In Review: Austin Film Festival 2016

October 27, 2016

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Hey there!  Down below you’ll find little descriptions of the five films I saw at this year’s Austin Film Festival.  I was hoping to see 10-ish movies, but a busy schedule and other details kept me from that goal.  Oh well.  At least I enjoyed what I saw, yeah?

Loving

Plot:  It’s the 50′s.  Mildre Jeter is a black woman, Richard Loving is a white man.  They’re not supposed to be together, but they are.  This film details what eventually led to the Supreme Court’s decision to hold laws that prohibit interracial marriage as unconstitutional.

Mini-Review:  Loving is the latest gem from writer/director Jeff Nichols.  Because of the tale its telling, I figured it would be full of big, sweeping dramatic moments set in a courtroom (or something equally grand), but it’s actually a very sweet and intimate love story.  See it as soon as you can.

Desierto

Plot:  An unarmed group of men and women attempt to make their way from Mexico to the US.  It goes as planned until someone starts gunning them down.

Mini-Review:  Jonas Cuaron’s Desierto is essentially an R-rated slice of survival horror that’s coated with a political message.  Some of it works, some of it doesn’t.  Overall, I liked it.

Jackie

Plot:  This film follows Jackie Kennedy during the days after the assassination of JFK.

Mini-Review:  Oh my.  Jackie blew me away.  Natalie Portman is incredible in it (just give her all the awards now), and the way director Pablo Larrain details the post-assassination days and Jackie’s transition from wide-eyed First Lady to battle-scarred woman is masterful.  I can’t wait to see it again.

The Edge of Seventeen

Plot:  Nadine is having a hard time.  Partly because being a teen isn’t easy, mostly because her best (and really, only) friend just started dating her old brother.

Mini-Review: The Edge of Seventeen is the best R-rated coming of age movie I’ve seen since Superbad.  It’s hilarious, sincere and Hailee Steinfeld is perfect in it.  I fully expect it to be a huge hit.

My Scientology Movie

Plot: Louis Theroux sets out to make a film about the Church of Scientology.  Somewhere along the way, the Chuch starts making a film about him.

Mini-Review:  If you saw Going Clear on HBO, then there’s no real reason to watch My Scientology Movie.  Louis Theroux talks to a lot of the same people and he doesn’t really uncover any new info.  With that being said, his doc is funny, and I had pretty good time watching him befuddle members of the Church of Scientology.

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Show Of The Week

October 26, 2016

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Due to Halloween being upon us, there are so many quality shows lined up over the next few days that you could easily just wander around Austin and end up watching something good.  In an effort to narrow things down though, here’s four local picks to fill your Friday through Monday evenings.  Enjoy.

Friday101X Homegrown Live Presents: Major Major Major’s Album Release Party at Cheer Up Charlies,with The Ghost Wolves, Soaked and Magic Rockers of Texas.  Go celebrate the arrival of MMM’s debut LP, PG-13 Movie!

SaturdayEast Cameron Folkcore’s European Tour Tickoff Party at Barracuda with The Eastern Sea and Belcurve.  Go properly send off one of Austin’s best bands!

SundayUVH’s Album Release Party at Barracuda with Ringo Deathstarr, Crooked Bands and Xetas.  Go check out one of Austin’s up and coming acts and grab a copy of their debut, Last Fruit!

Monday101X Homegrown Live Presents: Tele Novella’s Album Release Party/Halloween Ball at Barracuda with Big Bill, Deep Time and Pollen Rx.  Go indulge in lots of Halloween fun and pick up a copy of Tele Novella’s rad new album, House of Souls!

PS – In case you don’t know this already, I host 101X Homegrown.

BONUS Show Recommendations:

Tonight:
- Basketball Shorts, Too Built to Spill at the Mohawk
- Reverend Horton Heat, Jello Biafra, Lucky Tubb at the Continental Club

Thursday
- The Well at Waterloo Records
- El Ten Eleven, Bayonne at the Mohawk
- Hola Beach, Extra Spooky, Strange Mother at Cheer Up Charlies
- Blue Healer, The Ballroom Thieves, Sounds del Mar at the Parish
- Quiet Company, Criminal Birds, One Red Martian at Empire Control Room
- Sip Sip at Empire Control Room
- Still Corners at Stubb’s
- Nina Diaz at 3ten ACL Live
- Reverend Horton Heat, El Vez, Los Skarnales at the Continental Club

Friday:
- Of Montreal, Teen at the Mohawk
- Caspian, The Appleseed Cast at The Sidewinder
- Megafauna, Greenbeard, Think No Think, Brother Sister Hex at Hotel Vegas
- The Head and the Heart, Declan McKenna at Stubb’s
- San Saba County at Stubb’s
- Reverend Horton Heat, El Vez, Teddy & the Talltops at the Continental Club
- The Pharcyde, Riders Against the Storm, Phranchyze, ZEALE, Clemits at Antone’s

Saturday:
- Kishi Bashi, Laura Gibson at the Mohawk
- Astronautalis, Ceschi & Factor Chandelier, Transit at The Sidewinder
- Hidden Ritual, Family/Boonesburo Mashup, Attic Ted at The Monstrosity Gallery
- Beats Antique, Thriftworks, Holiday Mountain at Emo’s
- The Head and the Heart, Declan McKenna at Stubb’s
- Roky Erickson & The Hounds of Baskerville, Jesse Vain and the Happy Hour, Holiness Movement, Dark Palaces, Tennessee Stiffs, Royal Velvetee, DJ Fontana, DJ Scissorhans at Wolfshield Ranch
- Reverend Horton Heat, Deke Dickerson, The LeRoi Brothers at the Continental Club
- Brown Sabbath at the Scoot Inn
- Morris Day & The Time, The Suffers at ACL Live at the Moody Theater

Sunday:
- Nina Diaz at Waterloo Records
- Dicks, Cunto, Black Irish Texas, Blind Pets at Grizzly Hall
- Reverend Horton Heat, Deke Dickerson, The Bellfuries at the Continental Club

Monday:
- Dicks, Starving Wolves at Grizzly Hall
- She Wants Revenge, The Dig at the Mohawk
- Moonsicles, Obsolete Machines, TIME, Tres Oui, DJ Malika at The Sidewinder
- Drakulas, Vampyre, Ghetto Ghouls at the Mohawk
- Sip Sip, Slomo Drags, Whiite Walls, Stiletto Feels, Flavor Raid, Dance Sinatra at the Spiderhouse Ballroom
- Pretenders at ACL Live at the Moody Theater

Tuesday:
- Brownout at Waterloo Records
- Growl, A. Sinclair, The Sour Notes, Gutter Glitter at Hotel Vegas
- Evanescence at ACL Live at the Moody Theater

Show Of The Week Media:

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Run The Jewels

October 25, 2016

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I was wondering if Run The Jewels were going to give us peasants a taste of RTJ3 before the end of 2016, and they have!  Oh my.  The track has arrived courtesy of the Adult Swim Singles program, and it is – of course – an aggressive, attention-commanding effort.  Can’t wait to hear more from Killer Mike and El-P’s third go-round together.  Enjoy.

:Run The Jewels – Talk To Me:

No word yet on when RTJ3 will be released.  Be sure to catch the act at Sound On Sound Fest in November.

Bonus Video:

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Joanna Newsom

October 24, 2016

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It’s now been a year since Joanna Newsom’s excellent Divers was released, and to celebrate the anniversary (and remind you that the LP is still on store shelves everywhere) she’s let loose an outtake from the album.  I believe it’s the prettiest b-side that I’ve ever heard.  Enjoy.

:Joanna Newsom – Make Hay:

Bonus Video:

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Raised Eyebrows: Recalling Franco (Randy)

October 21, 2016

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This month we honor the passing of one of Africa’s finest musicians. Franco Luambo Makiadi was a phenomenal Congolese guitarist. He was a founding member of of the rumba group OK Jazz and leader of TPOK Jazz, which were both among the most successful and influential Congolese groups of the 20th century. His death on October 12, 1989 was acknowledged with four days of national mourning in Zaire. 27 years after his passing, Franco’s fluid leads remain scorching and elemental.

Here’s some excellent cuts from his immense catalog:

Tcha Tcha Tcha De Mi Amor – An early 60’s rumba with some truly joyful guitar from the maestro.

Motema Fa Ya Ya – A slow burning B-side off an OK Jazz 1961 single that features some soulful playing from Franco.

Likambo Ya Ngana –  A divine song from the early 70’s that warns of the harm that can happen when you carry around the stuff of others.

Azda – A gritty rumba released in 1973 containing almost all of Franco’s signature moves.

Mabele-Ntotu – Franco’s Orchestra T.P.O.K. Jazz gets hypnotic on this cut from 1974.

Kamikaze – Released in ‘76, this tune is an instant dance party.

Alimatou – One of Franco’s most memorable solos and one of TPOK’s finest melodies.

Tokoma Be Camarade Pamba – There is so much happening here. It’s an incredible thing and it was released in 1980. Amazing.

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Movie Breakdown: Moonlight

October 20, 2016

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Pre-Screening Stance:

Moonlight has been blowing up the festival circuit and I haven’t come across a single bad review (or even a mediocre one, actually), so at at this point it’s difficult to not have unreasonably high expectations for the film.

Post-Screening Ramble:

Moonlight is as good as hyped, but it’s a tough one.  The film is divided into three sections – Chiron as a boy, Chiron as a teen and Chiron as an adult – and there isn’t a single a bit of it that’s easy to watch.  Chiron (played brilliantly by three actors – Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes) lives in the ghetto with his heroin-addicted mother who mostly leaves him to fend for himself, and he’s often picked on in school because he’s different (and poorer than everyone else).  Then when he’s a teen it’s more of the same, until he can’t take it anymore, so he acts out and winds up on an unfortunate path.  And when he’s an adult?  Well, he lands exactly where a person with his background is expected to land.  Here’s the best part about Moonlight though, the insight into the vicious cycle that many get caught in isn’t even what the film is truly about – it’s a love story, one with a more-forbidden-than-usual slant that will rip you up and serve as a stark reminder that legality means nothing when it comes to culture.  I found the film to be immensely powerful, and it will certainly end up in the top part of my list of the best films of 2016.  You should see it as soon as you can.

One Last Thought:

I’ve always liked Janelle Monae, but Moonlight made me dig her even more.  She’s so charming, pretty and overwhelmingly wonderful in it.  Here’s hoping her quality performance in the film lands her some other roles.

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Quickdraw: The Men, The Orwells, Very Fresh, The Mary Onettes, STRFKR

October 20, 2016

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Music!  Enjoy.

:The Men – Crime:  I wasn’t all that into the first single (it’s called Lion) off of The Men’s upcoming LP, but this one is pretty great.  Makes me want to jam garage rock tunes all day.  Devil Music is due out on November 11 via Bandcamp.

:The Orwells – Buddy:  It’s already been two years since The Orwells released Disgraceland.  That’s weird to me.  Anyhow, this little quickie is catchy.  A new album from the band is expected in early 2017.

:Very Fresh – Hat Tree:  1) Very Fresh main brain Cindy Lou Gooden and Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis are in an all-girl Pavement cover band called Babement. What!  I need to see that.  2) I dig the way this song drips with sincerity.  Hey, It’s Me! is due out November 4 via New Professor Music/Inflated Records.

:The Mary Onettes – Juna:  Here’s the latest well crafted pop gem from The Mary Onettes.  Be sure to put on headphones so that all of its pretty sounds can fill your head.  The Juna single is available now via Bandcamp.

:STRFKR – Satellite:  STRFKR’s upcoming album wasn’t really on my anticipated list, but I believe this song just put it there.  It’s such a comfy jam.  Being No One, Going No Where is due out November 4 via Polyvinyl.

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Movie Breakdown: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

October 19, 2016

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Pre-Screening Stance:

Christoper McQuarrie wrote and directed the terrific Jack Reacher.  For Never Go Back, it’s Edward Zwick pulling double duty.  He’s certainly done some good stuff (The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond), but for whatever reason I’m just not that excited about him in place of McQuarrie.  Tom Cruise will make it work though, yeah?

Post-Screening Ramble:

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is a weird flick.  I won’t say that it’s terrible, but it wasn’t what I was wanting and I definitely walked out of the theater feeling disappointed.  The first entry into the series is such a fantastic murder mystery/thriller – a smart action film, if you will.  In it Reacher is practically a genius and he can physically do anything he wants, but he still has to figure out what’s happening and you get to go along for the ride.  In Never Go Back, Reacher appears to still be a great detective and capable of whatever, but writer/director Edward Zwick has no interest in having him (or the viewer) solve anything.  Nope, instead he has Reacher stand around with a squinty face on as he tries to navigate his greatest challenge yet – a strong woman and a sassy female teenager.  Gasp!  Oh my!  It’s the biggest example of “jumping the shark” that I’ve seen in a long while, and it’s so hokey that much of Never Go Back feels like a parody of the first film.  Dammit.  This should have happened in movie #5, not #2!

Unfortunately, this series went from being smart to dumb in the span of … one film.  Oof.  I don’t think you should bother, but then again, I also think that Never Go Back is more disappointing than awful, so some of you may dig it.  See the film at your own risk.

One Last Thought:

Remember how Jai Courtney was great in the first Jack Reacher film because his character didn’t really have any dialogue and he only had to look cool?  Well, the same approach should have been taken with Cobie Smulders.  She definitely looks the part, but she can’t act.  At all.  When she talks I just see this.

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Show Of The Week

October 19, 2016

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To be honest, the show that I’m most excited about this week is Taylor Swift on Saturday during the F1 USGP out at Circuit of the Americas.  I’m going to go sing my head off, folks.  Seriously.  Anyhow, I realize that spectacle isn’t quite a “walk-up” kind of gig, so here’s a more accessible pick – Preoccupations (formerly known as Viet Cong) at the Mohawk on Friday.  The band’s 2016 self titled album has a warped-Interpol-sound going for it, and it’s been a favorite of mine over the last few months.  Methyl Ethyl are set to open.  Go indulge.

BONUS Show Recommendations:

Tonight:
- Click Clack, Chipper Jones, Grosser, Rock Samson, Corduroi at Cheer Up Charlies
- Neon Indian, Orthy at the Mohawk
- Trails and Ways, Growl, MCG at the Mohawk

Thursday:
- Shellshag, Ghost Knife, Bum Out, The Gospel Truth at Barracuda
- Ryley Walker, Circuit De Yeux at the Mohawk
- AraabMuzik, Sip Sip at Empire Control Room

Friday:
- Roses, The Halfways, The Dizzease, Methodrone, Mamalarky at the Spiderhouse Ballroom
- Otis The Destroyer, The Beans, The Continuums at Lamberts
- Tameca Jones, Dylan Bishop at the Continental Club
- Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue at ACL Live at the Moody Theater

Saturday:
- US Weekly, B Boys, Lung Letters, Quin Galavis at Hotel Vegas
- Balance & Composure, Foxing, Mercury Girls at the Mohawk
- Night Drive, Missio, The Flying Turns at Austin Roller Rink
- My Education, Obscured by Echoes, Speaking Suns, Coattails, Glassing, HI and the Hometeam, More Eaze, Nicolas Azlon at Fine Southern Gentlemen
- Sour Bridges, The Gents, Star Parks at the Parish
- Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Basketball Shorts, Soaked, Planet Manhood at The Swan Dive
- Decade Show, Gentlemen Rogues, Zest of Yore, The Reploids at the Carousel Lounge
- Vintage Trouble at ACL Live at the Moody Theater

Sunday:
- The Well, Mondo Drag, Communion, Crypt Trip at Hotel Vegas
- Danny Brown, Maxo Kream, ZelooperZ at Emo’s
- Usher, The Roots at Austin360 Amphitheater

Show Of The Week Media:

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The Blow

October 18, 2016

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It’s been a long time since I’ve shared anything from The Blow here at SOTO, but their new track caught my attention and I think you should hear it.  Personally, I think the song sounds like early Rilo Kiley, but judging by the press release, that thought might be selling it short.  Here’s the excerpt about it.  Read and then listen.  Enjoy.

“The Blow’s Melissa Dyne and Khaela Maricich have spent the past handful of years deep in the studio, working out their own new way of producing electro acoustic pop. “Think About Me” is the fruit of these labors. The song consists of five tracks, using modular and analog synthesizers plus vocals to create layers of frequency. Through the recording process, the duo have developed their own instruments and processing systems for creating sounds, ending up with a mothership of gear patched together in a a web of cables. No longer employing a laptop in live shows, their songs are now performed as live production.”

:The Blow – Think About Me:

Bonus Video:

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Priests

October 17, 2016

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Boy am I into the Priests track that I have for you today.  It’s got a semi-surf rock sound, which is fun and all, but it’s front woman Katie Alice Greer’s vocals that really have me all wound up.  That girl has a wonderful snarl.  Be sure to crank the volume before you hit play.  Enjoy.

:Priests – JJ:

Nothing Feels Natural is due out January 27 via Sister Polygon Records.

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