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Archive | February, 2017

White Reaper

February 28, 2017

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Here’s hoping you’re ready to spend the day air guitaring and strutting around, because that’s exactly what the new track from White Reaper is going to inspire you to do.  I’m now feeling rather sure that their upcoming album, The World’s Greatest American Band (due April 7 via Polyvinyl), is going to be a great one.  Enjoy.

PS – You should listen to their previous single. It’s also rad.

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101X Homegrown Podcast

February 27, 2017

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Check out this week’s 101X Homegrown. It’s mostly brand new stuff!

(NEW) Sweet Spirit – The Power
(NEW) Walker Lukens – Where Is Thunder Road?
(NEW) Spoon – Can I Sit Next To You
(NEW) The Wild Now – Run For Your Life
The Octopus Project – Pedro Yang
(NEW) Knifight – Let The End Begin
The Black Angels – Currency
(NEW) Greg Vanderpool – To Violet
(NEW) Food Group – Could I Be
Alex Napping – Living Room
Growl – Suhferring
(NEW) Go Fever – United States Of My Mind
(NEW) Christina Cavazos – Over Me


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Jay Som

February 27, 2017

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Maybe I was in a weird mood or just not paying attention, but I didn’t really catch onto Jay Som the first time a track from her found its way into my inbox.  Baybee though, which is her latest single, is captivating as hell and I can’t get enough of it.  Groove it with the volume way up, my friends.  Also, be sure to grab her album, Everybody Works, on March 10 (via Polyvinyl).  Enjoy.

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Movie Breakdown: Get Out (Noah)

February 24, 2017

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Pre-Screening Stance:

Jordan Peele is a very, very funny guy. He’s also an enormous horror fan. Seeing what he can do with a racially-tinged horror film about a black guy going to meet his girlfriend’s white parents has been a delightful bit of anticipation.

Post-Screening Ramble:

For anybody, the ritual of going to meet your significant other’s parents for the first time is, well, panic inducing at best. How do you dress? What do you talk about? How can you come across as a good match for someone’s child without coming across as a faker just trying to hold the dogs at bay while you canoodle on the leather couch in the rec room? As my friend Arjun, a strapping Indian-American told me after seeing Get Out, “Going and meeting your white girlfriend’s parents for the first time is absolutely terrifying.” I can’t attest to this – I’m pasty – but Jordan Peele in his fantastic new film Get Out plays the tension of your initial-I’m-dating-your-daughter-meet-and-greet out with horrific results. But of course, Peele isn’t just using his deep understanding of classic horror films to tell the story of Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) going to meet his beautiful, charming girlfriend Rose Armitage’s (Allison Williams) wealthy, white parents (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener in fine form). Oh no, this is a story about race my friends, about how acceptance and understanding can be used as a mask for our deeper set racism. How the smallest things we do, the things we say to make connections, can showcase our base level notions of people of color. It’s hard to talk about how well Peele plots this tight, fast moving little gem, because there’s secrets to be revealed, and I won’t be the one to do it. But know this: Peele knows his horror pacing, knows how to gently tug at your fear strings so everything normal seems just a little off. You cringe in this movie, a lot, at double-sided comments, the racism of the old, and terrors lying just off screen, but what really got me is how Get Out addresses the concept of the cycle of violence inherent in both horror movies and American society. A horror movie works like this: someone is killing people, people find out, people are scared, more people die, and then the only way to stop the killer doing the things that originally freaked you out is to, well, kill them. The horrified becomes the horror. American society isn’t that far off, with our guns and our right-to-carry laws, and the blood-soaked streets we lean closer and closer to. Peele gets this connection, sees that the horror films we love advocate this terrifying circle of gore (tongue-in-cheek one can hope). And when the film ends, and those left standing stagger down a street covered in blood, dead bodies trailing in their wake, you, me, anyone who even slightly understands this film, well, they’ll know, too. Jordan Peele, you’re a really funny guy, but hell, you’re an even better director.

One Last Thought:

This is going to be a great fucking year for horror.

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Movie Breakdown: Get Out

February 23, 2017

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Pre-Screening Stance:

Jordan Peele’s Get Out looks like it’s going to be a blast, but occasionally I remind myself that his Keanu was a big fat dud and then I wonder if I’m just being wooed by a well crafted trailer.  WE SHALL SEE.

Post-Screening Ramble:

Get Out is a wild little ride.  The film begins with Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) getting ready to spend the weekend at her parent’s house.  Chris is nervous, as he’s never met Ma and Pa before and he’s unsure of how they will react to their daughter dating a black man, but Rose assures him that there’s nothing to worry about.  Naturally, everything about Rose’s family is pretty weird right from the get-go.  They have black servants, her mother (Catherine Keener) wants to hypnotize Chris, her father (Bradley Whitford) is bizarrely fake and her brother (Caleb Landry Jones) is aggressive in all of the wrong ways.  Chris tries to hold it together though, hoping to ride out the weekend and to make a good impression, but it all goes bad.  Real bad, actually.

I wouldn’t say that Get Out is particularly scary, but it does make you feel uneasy at every turn.  Jordan Peele does a masterful job of leaving it up to you to decide whether what’s happening on the screen at any given moment is funny, ominous, racist, absurd or alarming, and then usually right after you’ve made a decision, something else happens and you question yourself.  The film is, without a doubt, a total mindfuck.  See it immediately.  And be ready to squirm.

One Last Thought:

Any time I watch a horror movie I always try to note when the characters should quietly say that they “forgot something in the car” and then drive right out of there, never to be seen again.  In Get Out, this moment occurred in the first act.  That’s how much side-eye-worthy stuff there is in it.

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At The Drive In

February 23, 2017

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It’s so weird to me that there’s a new At The Drive In album coming.  Perhaps it’s due to the way the band bowed out just as they were starting to take off, or maybe it’s because most of its members exited the breakup and had successful side projects, but I just figured they wouldn’t do anything but tour for funsies.  Shows what I know!  Anyhow, the first two singles have been inspired stuff, and I’m looking forward to in • ter a • li • a (due May 5 via Rise).  Enjoy.

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Show Of The Week

February 22, 2017

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It took them a solid handful of years to do it, but the good people in Black Books have finally assembled a new album, and this Saturday at the Mohawk they’ll be celebrating its release.  I got to hear all of Can’t Even a while back, and it’s a good one.  Don’t miss the show!

Tix are $6Royal Forest and Palm Daze are set to open.

Tonight:
- The Midnight Stroll, Jonathan Terrell, Altamesa at the Mohawk
- Tamarron, Magic Rockers of Texas, Smile, Angry Beige at Cheer Up Charlies

Thursday:
- The Bandulus, Steady 45, River City All-Stars at Flamingo Cantina

Friday:
- Zoltars, Quin Galavis, Unknown Relatives, Missing Pages at Beerland
- Jens Lekman, The Dove & the Wolf at the Mohawk
- The Halfways, Roses, Mantra Love, Casual Strangers at the Mohawk
- Go Fever, Big Bill, The Reputations, Deep Time, Glass Grapes at Cheer Up Charlies
- Tameca Jones & Honey Gun at the Continental Club

Saturday:
- Moving Panoramas, Beams (ON), Booher, Paris Falls, Mirrorman at Cheer Up Charlies
- Austin Instrumental Music Fest with El Ten Eleven, Rattletree, Legendary Skies, Verisimilitude, [Q], Fermata Playa, Vinylboss, Dolphin Dilemma, Seven Circles, 16 The Olympus at Empire Control Room
- Reckless Kelly, Harvest Thieves, Mike and the Moonpies at the Mohawk
- Teevee, Grape St., La Migra, Fools at The Swan Dive
- Ghost Wolves, The Heavy Hands at Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co.
- Adam Torres at the Cactus Cafe

Sunday:
- Rose Selavy, Muff, Roaring Sun at Hotel Vegas
- Landlady, Slomo Drags at the Mohawk
- Jesca Hoop at 3ten ACL Live

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Parquet Courts

February 21, 2017

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Late last week I got an email about a new Parquet Courts track with Bun B, and I feared that maybe the band had jumped the shark.  Nope.  It’s definitely a weird tune, but I really dig it.  Can’t say I want more of the same, though.  I hope it remains a random little one-off thing forever.  The Captive Of The Sun 12″ is available now.  Enjoy.

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101X Homegrown Podcast

February 20, 2017

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Hey hey! Check out the latest 101X Homegrown.  Enjoy.

Alex Napping – Living Room
Tamarron – Let’s Get Out
Black Books – Golden OK
Moving Panoramas – Radar
Lola Tried – San Marcos
Growl – Suhferring
Poly Action – Outta Time
(NEW) Dumb – Heather, You’re So Cool
Grape St. – Wallpaper
Quin Galavis – Glorious Man
Black Angels – Currency
(NEW) Will Johnson – Predator
Harvest Thieves – Escape From Paper City
(NEW) The Octopus Project – Pedro Yang


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Movie Breakdown: Fist Fight (Noah)

February 16, 2017

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Pre-Screening Stance:

It’s February, the doldrums of the movie season, and the studios are dumping their just palatable comedies on the masses. Oh, Fist Fight how laughless will you be?

Post-Screening Ramble:

There isn’t a lot to say about Ricky Keen’s toothless new comedy, Fist Fight. It is exactly the movie it is broadcast to be, the sort of bland, lower-tier comedian-packed film that bounces from one disconnected scene to another, weaving in a prescribed moral (“be yourself”) into the thinnest thread of storyline. It is, well, the definition of the modern studio comedy. Charlie Day plays Andy Campbell, a white-bread English teacher, lacking in spine, on the verge of losing his job to a lagging education system. His students don’t respect him, neither does his pregnant wife (JoAnna Garcia Swisher) and their first child (Alexa Nisenon). Enter Strickland (Ice Cube in full Ice Cube mode) a daunting, serious-minded, confrontation-dependent history teacher who challenges Campbell to an after-school fight when, in an effort to save his job, he rats him out for using a fire axe to chop a student’s desk in half. The rest of the film follows Campbell as he goes through the various stages of denying the fight – escape, bribery, even training, learning how to be some version of stereotypical manhood in the process. It plays like a series of SNL skits tied together by the looming confrontation. Campbell bounces between the various teacher stereotypes – Tracy Morgan as well Tracy Morgan playing a gym teacher, Christina Hendricks (wasted here) as a psychotic French-teacher, Jillian Bell as a meth-smoking, lecherous guidance counselor – tetchy and nervous, his ability to engage in confrontation growing as his nerves fray. I’ll be frank: it ends as you think it will, a piece of fluff bobbing along the standard Hollywood comedy narrative, the viewer simply along to try and find humor in the exceedingly blah film. Day is fine, naturally nervous with just enough edge of crazy to make the character stand out, while Ice Cube is one note, a mean guy with a code of morals. But neither of these actors is able to milk more than a few chuckles out of a film that uses dick-jokes as an attempt to smoke screen the fact that it is the same plodding, humorless comedy we’ve all seen before. It isn’t painful to watch – a waste of time maybe – just a sleek, manufactured bit of generic comedy, low on content, but easy enough to digest and then forget.

One Last Thought:

C’mon, this is a film where a teacher chops a student’s desk in half and it’s played for comedy. You okay with that? Then, by all means, buy a ticket to Fist Fight.

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Movie Breakdown: The Great Wall (Noah)

February 16, 2017

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Pre-Screening Ramble:

Matt Damon as a pan-European soldier sidling up to The Great Wall of China to fight monsters with a bow and arrow? Well, I mean, in description it sounds good. Somehow though, I’m still doubtful.

Post-Screening Ramble:

In some alternate reality, there’s a five hour cut of this film that not only makes sense, but doesn’t feel as overly truncated as Zhang Yimou’s The Great Wall does. It’s a film about a century old wall and the age old guardians that protect China and the world from the onslaught of toothy, death-beasts. It’s packed with characters and notions and cool weapons, all of them demanding screen time. There’s a loose love story and some sort of political message about the inadequacy of China’s bureaucracy. And there’s monsters, lots and lots of monsters and arrows and spears and bungie-jumping, spear-tossing women. It is the hastily sketched outline of an epic, roughly shoved into an adequate, crowd-pleasing two hours. It stars Matt Damon as William, a lifetime soldier with a bad Irish accent, who with the help of Tovar (Pedro Pascal), has journeyed deep into China to try and find ‘black powder.’ Instead they find The Great Wall of China and monsters, lots and lots of monsters. The film starts strong, Tovar and William an odd couple of armor wearing Indiana Jones, smooth-talking and glorious to behold in battle. But the weight of what director Zhang Yimou is trying to accomplish here – big, epic, history … with monsters! – drags the film down, forcing it into a harried clip that leaves characters and their stories bleeding on the edges. Yimou stuffs the film with enough off-the-wall weapons and well-executed fight scenes to pull you along, but at some point – probably when a legion of hot-air balloon soldiers float their way into battle, you realize the film’s spread too thin, and all aspects suffer because of it. That said, Yimou’s action sequences are breathless and fun, and the film wholeheartedly embraces it’s sort of Power Rangers-meet-Game of Thrones oddity. It’s hard not to enjoy it, especially when Damon and Pascal are slaughtering the beasts with thrown axes and perfectly shot arrows, but it doesn’t add to anything. The scope is wide, but the execution strained because of it. This is an epic only in description, with characters, story and history short-shifted in the name of Hollywood palatability.

One Last Thought:

Why was everyone up in arms about Matt Damon playing the lead in this film? If I was a Chinese film maker, marketing a film towards a Chinese audience (which this film clearly is) and I wanted to capture the essence of European colonialism in one hunky star, well hell, Matt Damon’s square head and Midwestern good looks would be the direction I went as well.

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Movie Breakdown: A Cure For Wellness

February 16, 2017

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Pre-Screening Stance:

Gore Verbinski did a pretty great job with The Ring, so I’m all about him getting spooky/scary/suspenseful again via A Cure For Wellness.  With that being said, I can’t say I’ve found the early footage to be all that interesting.

Post-Screening Ramble:

A Cure For Wellness is one of those weird movies that you watch and watch and watch and as it continues on forever you just keep thinking “man, this is going to get good at any moment, I just know it!”.  Then it ends, and as you walk out of the theater (seemingly days after entering it), you find yourself feeling befuddled.  Why?  Because of everything.  It’s not a scary movie, but it does have some well crafted moments that are intense.  It’s not an interesting movie, but there are a few parts that will get you thinking.  It’s not a movie with a big, satisfying ending, but it sure does make you feel like one is barrelling towards you.  And so on and on and on.  In other words, if you enjoy being mildly entertained with no real payoff, then A Cure For Wellness is for you!

The rest of you though should stay far away from Gore Verbinski’s meandering film.  There’s nothing there for you but the feeling that something good almost happened, except probably not really and the only real thing you’re left with is the fact that you wasted hundreds of hours watching it.  Go walk in the park, or just spend some quality time with Shutter Island, which is the better version of A Cure For Wellness anyhow.

One Last Thought:

Dane DeHaan looks like Leonardo DiCaprio and A Cure For Wellness plays like Shutter Island.  Coincidence?  Yeah probably, but I’m OK with us tagging this one with a conspiracy theory sticker anyways.

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Raised Eyebrows: Jazz Freedom (Randy)

February 16, 2017

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Things aren’t great right now for lots of reasons. I think often of a quote from Sun Ra that says, “The real aim of music is to co-ordinate the minds of the people into an intelligent reach for a better world and an intelligent approach to the living future.” I have little other commentary except than that to me, Jazz is the purest sound of freedom and one of America’s greatest global contributions. Below are some pieces (all from Bandcamp) that may aid in processing, coping, enlightening, accepting, observing, and ultimately resisting all negatives. Jazz continues to give our collective freedom new voicing against all evil.

Jessica Ackerley Trio – Coalesce

Ackerley’s “‘merica” is all form and chaos and may be a telling fortune of our trajectory.

Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio – Desire & Freedom

“Freedom Is A Two-Edged Sword” is not only a true statement but also a PURE expression.

Charles Rumback – In The New Year

“In The New Year” is a devotional piece that speaks directly to the hopes and disappointments we have had already or will have in 2017.

Sunwatchers – Tomb Howl

This band is not fucking around. “Herd of Creeps” is the second line at the jazz funeral for the current regime.

Bad Luck – Three

“Ideal City” by Bad Luck is a free drone worthy of every moment you’ve spent trying in vain to find the sliver of light.

William Hooker – Heart of the Sun

“Reflector of Truth” is immediately brilliant. If you need inspiration today, THIS IS IT.

Shabaka and The Ancestors – Wisdom of Elders

One of the best albums of 2016 and “The Observer” is one of its finest spiritual moments.

Henry Threadgill – In For A Penny, In For A Pound

Henry Threadgill won a Pulitzer Prize for this astounding LP in 2016. His works are embodied duality, much like the world we inhabit.

The Claudia Quintet – September

“The Coping Song” by The Claudia Quintet is a reminder of the passing of time and somehow clarifies how we got to now.

Makaya McCraven – In The Moment

“In The Moment” is an improv’d meditation and a good reminder on how to approach life under any climate.

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Fujiya & Miyagi

February 15, 2017

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On April 7 the great Fujiya & Miyagi will be releasing their sixth full length.  Technically, it’s a compilation made up of the two EPs the band put out last year and the EP they’re about to put out this year, but who’s counting.  All that matters is that there’s new Fujiya & Miyagi for all of us to jam.  Enjoy.


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Show Of The Week

February 14, 2017

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This week I’m bringing you the SOTW a day early so that I can make sure you head to Barracuda tomorrow night for P.O.S.  I’ve been a big fan of the Minneapolis-based rapper since he put out Audition way back in 2006, so I’m excited to see him perform.  Come join.  We can not only congratulate him on his new album, Chill, dummy, but we can celebrate his recovery from a kidney transplant.

Tix are $15.  Ceschi will open.

By the way, if you’d like to see P.O.S for FREE then shoot an email HERE. I’ll pick a winner tomorrow morning!

One more thing, I’d also like you to come to Barracuda on Thursday for Letting Up Despite Great Fault’s EP release party.  My radio show – 101X Homegrown – is presenting the evening, and it’s going to be a rad time.  Moving Panoramas, Migrant Kids and Football, etc are opening. Tix are $7.

BONUS Show Recommendations:

Tonight:
- AFI, Nothing, Souvenirs at Emo’s
- The Lemon Twigs, Savoy Motel at Stubb’s

Wednesday:
- The Midnight Stroll, Think No Think, Booher at the Mohawk

Thursday:
- Tyvek, Fred Thomas at the Mohawk
- Lola Tried, Planet Manhood, Particle Devotion, AMA, Jess Knight at Cheer Up Charlies
- The Deer, Hikes, Dreamboat at The North Door
- Devendra Banhart at Emo’s
- Joyce Manor, AJJ, Mannequin Pussy at the Mohawk

Friday:
- Molly Burch at End of an Ear
- Flesh Lights, Nike, Horizontal Hold, Missing Pages at Beerland
- Ringo Deathstarr, Al Lover at Space 24 Twenty
- Soaked, Goldbloom, Crocodile Tears, Ben Cissner at Cheer Up Charlies
- RJD2 at Empire Control Room
- The Griswolds, Dreamers, Modern Medicine at the Mohawk

Saturday:
- Tacocat, Daddy Issues, Tele Novella at Barracuda
- Molly Burch, Cross Record, Julia Lucille at the Mohawk
- Neil Fest: Celebrating the music of Neil Young with Norah Jones, Shakey Graves, Boz Scaggs, Erika Wennerstrom (of Heartless Bastards), Alison Mosshart (of The Kills), Charlie Sexton, Alex Maas (of The Black Angels), Nikki Lane, James Petralli (of White Denim), Danny Masterson & Adam Busch, Jonathan Tyler, Eric Pulido (of Midlake), The Midnight Stroll, Robert Ellis, Cory Chisel, Jeff Klein (of My Jerusalem), Adriel Denae, Carson McHone, Matthew Logan Vasquez, The Texas Gentlemen, The Candles at the Paramount Theater

Sunday:
- The Black and White Years, Shark Rider, TV Heads at Barracuda

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