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Archive | August, 2017

Show Of The Week

August 30, 2017

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There’s a big show that I’m pumped for that’s happening at Empire Control Room & Garage this Saturday.  Pennyfest, which is presented by my radio show, 101X Homegrown, and Pennyloafer PR, is set to feature 13 bands!  Come on out and see Girl In A Coma, Lincoln Durham, My Jerusalem, Emily Wolfe, Emily Bell, Darkbird, The Ghost Wolves, Slomo Drags, Otis The Destroyer, Cari Q, MCG, Chill Russell and Scott Collins.  That’s one hell of a lineup.  Tix are $12 in advance of the show and $17 the day of.  Let’s hang out and get weird.

PS – I’m putting SOTO to sleep until Labor Day rolls through. Be safe out there!

BONUS Show Recommendations:

Tonight:
- Vacation, Basketball Shorts, Bum Out at Beerland
- Inter Arma, Brain Tentacles, Expander at the Mohawk
- Sylvan Esso, Flock of Dimes at Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater
- Mobley at 3ten ACL Live

Thursday:
- Slomo Drags, Bond Twins (EP release), Magic Rockers of Texas, Lola Tried at the Mohawk
- Kay Odyssey, The Nymphs, The May Company, Drag Me Over The Rainbow at The Sidewinder
- Genuine Leather, Blood Pumps, The Stacks, Solid State Dream Suit at Cheer Up Charlies

Friday:
- Magna Carda, Trouble in the Streets, BoomBaptist at Hotel Vegas

Saturday:
- A Deer A Horse, Growl, Borzoi at Beerland
- Annabelle Chairlegs, The Shivas, Mean Jolene, DJ Tweedy at Hotel Vegas
- Glassing, BLXPLTN, Hardcore Sex, Honey & Salt, FOOLS, Muchos Backflips, Popper Burns, The Dregs at The Sidewinder

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Movie Breakdown: I Do … Until I Don’t (Noah)

August 29, 2017

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Pre-Screening Stance:

I almost liked Lake Bell’s directorial debut, In A World … but after a clever enough premise, it sort of fizzled in its want of tying up all the loose ends. Could be Bell has picked up a few things since then.

Post-Screening Ramble:

I Do … Until I Don’t feels like two films hastily stitched together. It isn’t that the film doesn’t have merits (or the two films, if you’re paying attention), it does, it’s just that 15-minutes before it slides to a polished halt, it just decides it is entirely different than what came before. Lake Bell – the writer and director of the film – plays Alice, a one-time artist who left her hopes and dreams on the side of the road to move to Vero Beach and co-manage her husband Noah’s (Ed Helms) family blind shop. It’s been a few years when the film starts and Alice and Noah aren’t exactly engaged in marital bliss. Neither are Alice’s sister, Fanny (Amber Heard) and her trustafarian husband Zander (Wyatt Cenac) or random Vero Beach socialites Cybil (Mary Steenburgen) and Harvey (Paul Reiser). On to the scene comes independent filmmaker Vivian (Dolly Wells), seeking broken relationships to use as fodder for her new avant garde documentary. For the rest of the film Bell focuses on the individual relationships (and their many many problems) as she pushes them closer and closer together. The actors are all seasoned comedians (outside of Amber Heard, who holds her own) and play off each other well, managing to be both indicative of the state of the modern relationship and warmly funny at the same time. Bell weaves in a nicely quirky, slightly mean-spirited atmosphere into the film particularly through Alice, a drifting almost loser, who blames any and all for her own life stagnation. It never pushes any boundaries but for two-thirds, it at least toots along, occasionally awkwardly, as the ending looms. And then the ending arrives and the film turns from low-key relationship comedy to the sort of feel good pap you’d find yourself half-watching at three in the morning on Cinemax. It’s an abrupt shift – music, character choices, even a warmer glow suffuses the surroundings – and it doesn’t work. You watch in cock-eyed confusion as Bell introduces brand new characters, drastically alters the intentions of others, and one by one ties up the loose ends, until all that’s left is a saccharine blob with a pretty little bow.

One Last Thought:

Ms. Bell, you’ve got one more shot.

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OCS

August 29, 2017

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For his 20th release in 20 years (and Castle Face’s 100th overall), John Dwyer is looking back and shifting to when Thee Oh Sees were simply known as OCS.  This means a less noisy and much more pleasant sound.  I like it.  The album Memory Of A Cut Off Head is due out November 17.  Enjoy.

PS – The band will play Hotel Vegas on September 4.


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101X Homegrown Podcast

August 28, 2017

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Check out the latest 101X Homegrown!  Enjoy.

(NEW) Black Pistol Fire – Lost Cause
The Ghost Wolves – Strychnine In My Lemonade
My Jerusalem – No One Gonna Give You Love
Walker Lukens – Don’t Wanna Be Lonely (Don’t Wanna Leave You Alone)
Blood Pumps – Long Gossip
(NEW) Otis The Destroyer – Hand Me Nothing
BLXPLTN – Gun Range
A Giant Dog – Roller Coaster
Darkbird – Daredevil
Emily Wolfe – Cigarette Burns
White Denim – At Night In Dreams
Magna Carda – Angela Bassett


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Mogwai

August 28, 2017

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Mogwai have been all over the map sound-wise in 2017, and I’ve been digging it.  There was this post-rock tune, this shoegaze-ish track, and now there’s today’s indie rock-leaning number.  Oddly enough though, it isn’t on their upcoming album, Every Country’s Sun (due September 1), it’s a b-side.  Enjoy.

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Julien Baker

August 25, 2017

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Since Hurricane Harvey will be the source of a lot of rain throughout Texas today and this weekend, here’s a new one from Julien Baker!  She’s such a great fit for anything that doesn’t involve sunshine.  Look for her new album, Turn Out The Lights, on October 27.  Enjoy.

PS – Julien will be playing Emo’s on December 18.

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Weaves

August 24, 2017

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Weaves have a new single out, and it’s a shimmering, anthemic effort that instantly lodged itself in my head.  I really can’t wait to check out their sophomore album, Wide Open (due October 6).  Enjoy.

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Show Of The Week

August 23, 2017

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This is a big week for A Giant Dog.  The band’s new album (and second for Merge), Toy, is out on Friday, their album release party is Saturday at Hotel Vegas, and then on Sunday they’ll be heading out on a tour that won’t have them back in Austin until they play Sound on Sound Fest in November.  Guess it’s good thing they have a song called Sleep When Dead.

Anyhow, the show this Saturday is can’t-miss.  A Giant Dog are a blast live and it’ll be a great chance for you to snatch up the new LP.  ALSO, the bill features Harlem, who haven’t played in an eternity, and Big Bill, who are always fun on stage.  Pre-sale tix for this one are sold out, but apparently more will be released on Saturday morning and then some will be available at the door.  Seriously, don’t miss this show.

PS – I did a piece on A Giant Dog and their new album for Time Out AustinFind one around town and read up on the band before the show!

BONUS Show Recommendations:

Tonight:
- Shabazz Palaces, Porter Ray at the Mohawk

Thursday:
- Mike & The Moonpies, JD Clark at Hotel Vegas
- Caroline Says, Knife in the Water, Alex Riegelman at Cheer Up Charlies
- The Stacks, Otis Wilkins, Batty Jr., Street Themes at the Mohawk

Friday:
- The Mammoths, Otis the Destroyer at Stubb’s
- Jai Malano, Los Coast at the Continental Club

Saturday:
- Ruby Fray, Cabin Man, Moonsicles, Suspirians at Beerland
- Major Grizz, The Midgetmen, The Blistering Speeds at Barrel O’ Fun
- The Jungle Rockers, Los Coast, Matt Gilmour at the Continental Club
- Lyle Lovett and His Large Band at ACL Live

Sunday:
- Lyle Lovett and His Large Band at ACL Live

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And So I Watch You From Afar

August 22, 2017

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First of all, I think the cover for And So I Watch You From Afar’s new album, The Endless Shimmering (due October 20) is hilarious.  Secondly, the first singe off the LP is a post-rock gem and it just may be my favorite track by them.  Grab headphones!  Enjoy.

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101X Homegrown Podcast

August 21, 2017

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Here’s the latest 101X Homegrown!  Enjoy.

(NEW) A Giant Dog – Roller Coaster
Major Grizz – Dearest Agatha
Caroline Says – I Think I’m Alone Now
Palo Duro – Darken The Glow
Honeyrude – Something About Milwaukee
Otis The Destroyer – Van Rosita
The Hermits – Ruby Red Summer
Girl In A Coma – Walkin’ After Midnight
Walker Lukens – Don’t Wanna Be Lonely (Don’t Wanna Leave You Alone)
Fort Never – Don’t Push Me Away
Hours Quiet – Consciousness
(NEW) Lomelda – From Here


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Alvvays

August 21, 2017

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I have heard Alvvays’ upcoming album, Antisocialites, and I can tell you that it’s really good.  Make sure you snatch it up when it gets released on September 8.  Also, if you’re in Austin, go and see them at the Mohawk on October 17.  For right now though, just listen to the catchy third single.  Enjoy.

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Raised Eyebrows: 2017 So Far – Part II (Randy)

August 18, 2017

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This year is brimming with excellence on the recorded music front. In my second installment of noteworthy records from 2017, I’m finding female artists to be totally ruling; continuing to transcend the lines of genre and influence.

1. James Elkington – Wintres Woma

This is based purely on the ecstasy of the single “Make It Up,” which is as close to a perfect song as you can get these days.

2. The Stevens – Good

Australia’s The Stevens are God’s answer to my endless pleas for a band to master the psych leanings of Flying Nun and combine them with the bold tape hiss of Siltbreeze.

3. Japanese Breakfast – Soft Sounds from Another Planet

Michelle Zauner is brilliant.

4. Kara-Lis Coverdale – Grafts

One of THE leading voices in ambient music today. This is her masterpiece. Coverdale is headed right up there with Basinski in my book.

5. Kelly lee Owens – Kelly Lee Owens

“S.O” is one of those revelatory songs; dreamlike and immediate.

6. Sarah Davaci – All My Circles Run

Davaci is the 21st Century’s answer to Pauline Oliveros. This record contains some of the most pleasingly monastic drones on the planet.

7. Lal and Mike Waterson – Bright Phoebus

One of the great “lost” Brit-folk records is finally re-issued. This thing has got it all; sombre folk, Sgt. Pepper tomfoolery, and Richard Thompson!!!

8. Thorsten Quaeschning, Ulrich Schnauss – Synthwaves

This is a masterclass in synth music.

9. UMFANG – Symbolic Use of Light

Made entirely with a Boss DR-202, this record is exhausting in the very best way. The patience and care she took to create such a contemplative record is beyond me.

10. The Courtneys – II

Sometimes you gotta rock n’ roll. This one gets you there from the first track to the last.

See my other 2017 picks here.

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Movie Breakdown: Shot Caller (Noah)

August 17, 2017

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Pre-Screening Stance:

The only thing I know about this film is that Jaime Lannister is in it. But I like Jaime Lannister, so, hey I guess I’m mildly excited.

Post-Screening Ramble:

Shot Caller, written and directed by Ric Roman Waugh, is the type of film that feels like an epic, but when its final credits roll (with swelling orchestral arrangements exploding behind them) you realize that you haven’t had your ass in a chair for all that long. You realize that the story of man giving up his moral compass to survive in prison hasn’t stretched for the length of an HBO mini-series, but instead it’s less than two hours. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays Money, a hedge fund manager turned violent convict who’s been released into the wild and is now navigating a dangerous path of double-crosses and gang-life. The film jumps back and forth in time and both timelines are heavy with plotting, so much so, that the film feels heavy, sodden down with the sheer act of trying to explain itself. The moments in the past – the transformation of the main character into Money – are the stronger points, and Coster-Waldau does an admirable job of sloughing his white collared character for the moral morass of prison gang life, but it’s not enough. Ric Roman Waugh clearly wants to make this every form of crime flick – cop drama, undercover cop drama, prison drama, gang drama, etc. – and the balancing act of doing it all drags the film down. There’s a lean, well-acted story of a man doing what he needs to do to not die in prison somewhere in here, but it’s so painfully bogged down by everything else that’s going on in the film, you’ll never be able to find it.

One Last Thought:

Jon Bernthal’s death in this film is a masterclass in coughing up blood and gibbering nonsense until your character kicks the bucket.

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Movie Breakdown: The Hitman’s Bodyguard (Noah)

August 17, 2017

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Pre-Screening Stance:

I have been oddly amused by the trailers for The Hitman’s Bodyguard. It may be the cast – Samuel L. Jackson and Gary Oldman in Old European Villain Mode – or it may be that the trailer paints it as a sprightly, action-comedy. Or, it may be that my standards for film viewing have finally crumbled under the weight of modern Hollywood and that anything that isn’t VeggieTales seems pretty fucking great.

Post-Screening Ramble:

The Hitman’s Bodyguard can only be described as sub-par. It’s a loosely jumbled together, action-comedy that squanders some serious star power in favor of dick jokes and badly cut action sequences. The story is basically The Hangover but with assassins. Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is an elite security person who, after the brutal murder of his client, has fallen on hard times. When his ex-girlfriend (twist!) hires him to move a key witness, super assassin Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), things go wrong and the two old enemies have to try to find their way to Amsterdam, dodging (and killing) baddies all the way. It isn’t really a movie, but a structure that allows for the illusion of suspense and some riffing moments between the two leads. And you’d think that Reynolds and Jackson could drum up some chemistry, but they (like every other actor in the film) feel like they were paid to pretend to be an actor portraying an assassin. Even Gary Oldman (old reliable himself) isn’t given enough to justify his presence. He spends the majority of the film in a hotel room or a generic court until he doesn’t. That’s pretty much the condensed version of his storyline. Selma Hayek might fare the worst though. There’s a glimpse, early on in the film of tangible romance between her and her incarcerated assassin husband, but it’s quickly swept under the carpet in favor of loud screeching and unexplained meanness. Beyond that everything feels meta, and all of it feels fake and entirely unbelievable. Sure, Hughes stuffs as many action scenes in beautiful European locales as possible, but those don’t add anything. Hughes camera lingers too close, his cuts too quick, and what comes out are messy, sloppy bits of film. Sadly, even with Reynolds and Jackson trying EXTREMELY hard, there’s not much to laugh at here. Hughes has made an almost toneless film, mean spirited and crass but still reaching for some sort of emotional pay off, leaving his actors on the side of the road with their thumbs out.

One Last Thought:

Mediocrity can fucking stuff it. Give me great movies or movies that reach so high they just can’t touch the prize. This middling, action-comedy crap – that I’m fine without.

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Movie Breakdown: Logan Lucky

August 17, 2017

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Pre-Screening Stance:

Steven Soderbergh isn’t so good at being “retired” or whatever, so he’s gone and directed Logan Lucky.  The movie looks like a hillbilly version of Ocean’s 11, so I don’t really have any choice but to be excited about it.

Post-Screening Ramble:

As expected, Logan Lucky is essentially Steven Soderbergh’s countrified take on his own Ocean’s 11.  It doesn’t take place in a fancy casino in shiny Las Vegas.  It’s set in rural West Virginia and the plan is to knock over the Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina.  There’s music by John Denver, not Frank Sinatra.  There are no criminal masterminds with wildly tricksy plans.  There’s just some some regular people with an accidental advantage that may make them rich.  The characters aren’t charming or sophisticated like George Clooney’s Danny Ocean, they’re more loveably goofy like Casey Affleck’s and Scott Caan’s Malloy brothers.  Hell, there’s even a moment where the heist gets referred to as Ocean’s 7-11, so if that doesn’t really drive home what Soderbergh has done here, then I don’t know what will.  This leaves just one question, is this backwoods remake of sorts worth your time?  Yes.  So much yes.  It’s a really funny, engaging effort that’s surprisingly clever, and even though I’m not sure at all why Soderbergh rolled out of his semi-retirement to do this movie, I’m really happy that he did.  Maybe he should do alternate takes on all of his films.

See Logan Lucky, if only so that you can watch Channing Tatum, Adam Driver and Daniel Craig speak with a thick drawl.

One Last Thought:

Daniel Craig is so damn good as the smarmy Joe Bang that it actually bummed me out to hear that he’s going to do another Bond film.  I really think it would be fun to watch him take on some lighthearted roles for a few years.

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