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Archive | November, 2017

Calexico

November 30, 2017

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And just like that, we’ve arrived at my last regular post of 2017.  Year-end lists will go up next week, and then it’ll be time to hibernate (although, there will still be film reviews).  Woo!  Anyhow, I’m closing with a nice new one from Calexico.  Their upcoming album, The Thread That Keeps Us Out, is due January 26.  Enjoy.

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Show Of The Week

November 29, 2017

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Hey!  This is the last SHOW OF THE WEEK of 2017!  Next week I’m going to roll out year-end lists and then put the music part of SOTO on break until 2018 arrives.  Fortunately, I’m getting to bow out with a show I’m super excited for – Alex Lahey at Barracuda tomorrow night!  Her latest album, I Love You Like A Brother, is loaded with fantastic anthems, and it’s going to be fun to be in a big sing-a-long session for those.  Be there.

Tix are $12 in advance of the show, $14 the day of.  Dude York and Molly Burch will open.

CONTEST: I’ve got guest list spots the show to give away!  Just send me a note HERE.  I’ll pick a winner tomorrow morning!

BONUS Show Recommendations:

Thursday:
- Nicole Atkins, The Midnight Stroll, Thayer Sarrano at Antone’s
- Saturnalia Festival
— Continental Drift, Christian Bland & The Revelators, The Nymphs, Trance Farmers at The Electric Church

Friday:
- Actress, Telefon Tel Aviv at Barracuda
- Fastball, Moving Panoramas at Antone’s
- US Weekly, BLXPLTN, Terror Pigeon, Popper Burns, Sherman’s March at Cheer Up Charlies
- Saturnalia Festival
— The Octopus Project, Ringo Deathstarr, PART TIME, Peyote Coyote at Hotel Vegas
— Bushwick Bill, Think No Think, Teevee, Hollow Trees, Al Lover, Lola tried, Count Vaseline, DJ Slimy Steve at Hotel Vegas

Saturday:
- Basketball Shorts, Couches, Missing Pages, Pollen Rx, Talkies at Cheer Up Charlies
- Nina Diaz at Empire Control Room
- Queue Queue, Kay Odyssey, Daniel Francis Doyle, Stretch Panic at The Sidewinder
- Saturnalia Festival
— Golden Dawn Arkestra, Cosmonauts, American Sharks, The Sun Machine, Big Bill, The Halfways, Croy and the Boys at Webberville Road Baptist Church
— Zoumountchi, Money Chicha, Crucial Prophet, Kupira Marimba, Mafaro Marimba, Vockah Redu, Lochness Mobsters, Fogg, Flower Graves, Rattlesnake Milk at the Sahara Lounge

Sunday:
- Mayeaux & Broussard at Antone’s Records
- Saturnalia Festival
— Allah-Las, Morgan Delt, Annabelle Chairlegs, Crocodiles, Sailor Poon, Pearl Earl, Crypt Trip at Webberville Road Baptist Church
— Hard Proof, Amplified Heat, Palm Daze, The Millbrook Estates, Acid Carousel, Glaze, Whit, Billy King and the Bad Bad Bad, True Indigo, The Hermits, Lasertusk at the Sahara Lounge

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The Spook School

November 28, 2017

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The Spook School are getting ready to release their third full length, and I’m just now hearing about them.  What happened there?  Anyhow, the band’s Could It Be Different? is due out January 28, and I’m really looking forward to it because their latest single is infectious as can be.  Enjoy.

PS – The band will be at the Sidewinder on February 21.  Let’s go see them!

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101X Homegrown Podcast

November 27, 2017

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Here’s the latest 101X Homegrown!  Enjoy.

The Suffers – I Think I Love You
Golden Dawn Arkestra – Sama Chaka
Hard Proof – Stinger
(NEW) Emily Wolfe – Holy Roller
Molly Burch – Wrong For You
Curtis Roush – Real Love
Wild Child – Think It Over
(NEW) Big Bill – Pharmacy
Basketball Shorts – Kevin McAllister
(NEW) Marmalakes – Vittoria
(NEW) Vodi – Talk
Loma – Black Willow
Hovvdy – Late
Moving Panoramas – Always

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Anna Burch

November 27, 2017

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Today I’m rolling out a song that I spent a good amount of time with over the break.  It’s from Anna Burch, and I really dig how sincere it is on all fronts.  Not sure when Anna is looking at putting out an album, but hopefully it’s soon.  Enjoy.

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101X Homegrown Podcast

November 22, 2017

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Check out the latest 101X Homegrown!  Enjoy.

(NEW) Curtis Roush – Real Love
(NEW) The Suffers – I Think I Love You
(NEW) Loma – Black Willow
(NEW) Hovvdy – Late
Julia Lucille – Eternally
Most Likely – Steve
(NEW) Wild Child – Think It Over
Young Tongue – Electric Display
The Sour Notes – Clock Strikes Twelve
Lowin – Sloop
Bayonne – I Know

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Movie Breakdown: Coco

November 20, 2017

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Pre-Screening Stance:

I hadn’t even heard of Coco until I saw a commercial for it during a football game two or three weeks ago.  That’s super odd to me, especially since it’s a Pixar film.  Is this thing getting buried?  Or is it one of those films that zigged when I zagged and therefore I just know nothing about it?  I hope it’s the latter.

Post-Screening Ramble:

Coco starts slow.  So slow in fact that for the first chunk of it I kept having to repeat “I believe in Pixar” to myself so that I wouldn’t just go ahead and write the film off as pandering trash.  It’s that bad.  The narration is grating, the characters aren’t particularly likeable, and I could not at all figure out where co-directors Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina were trying to take the film.

Well, as it turns out, their destination was the Land of the Dead, and once Coco’s lead character, Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), finds himself there, the film becomes a delightfully different adventure that’s complete with bright colors, inspired designs and lots of Mexican culture (the songs are particularly great).  This shift honestly bowled me over, and by the end of the movie I was right on the verge of crying my whole soul out.  I don’t often get caught up in championing a film because it prominently features a woman, a minority or whatever, as I think it just somehow lessens the act while also occasionally making bad movies seem like good ones, but Coco legit feels like a culturally significant effort.  Maybe it’s the threat of Trump’s racist wall, or perhaps it’s because I’m half-Mexican, but I walked out wanting to convince everyone to see it.  Hopefully you will.

One Last Thought:

I think I’m going to learn Un Poco Loco and then make it my default karaoke song.  It’s so damn good.  You’ll see once you watch the movie and then can’t get the song out of your head.

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Raised Eyebrows: 2017 RIP (Randy)

November 17, 2017

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Before the holidays kick in, I wanted to take a moment here to look back on the incredible artists that we have lost in 2017. 2016 hit hard with Bowie and Prince, and 2017 did not let up. Here are a small group of musical artists who each found their own unique space within this dimension we inhabit. We’re all better as a people for their contributions.

Tom Petty

This one man was able to intelligently say so much with very few words and my god could he write a bridge.

Walter Becker

The run from Countdown to Ecstasy to Gaucho is nothing short of amazing.

Chuck Berry

His solos always started straight but could get pretty fried towards their end. This man stands at the very front of the rock n’ roll line.

Maggie Roche

One of the greatest altos of the underground.

Larry Coryell

The lead man when it comes to fusion guitar. One of the heaviest rock/outsider guitarists ever.

Fats Domino

Swamp/Choogle pianist extraordinaire.

Glen Campbell

This man deserves his own constellation. His contributions as a solo artist and session musician are just BEYOND.

Grant Hart

Husker Du drummer and insane-o talented songwriter.

Fred Cole

Dead Moon were a powerful lo-fi force unmatched by any other psych/garage throwback outfit during or since.

Gregg Allman

“Dreams” by The Allmans is an all-timer for me. That voice and that leslie tone!

Chris Cornell

Soundgarden was a big band in my youth. Superunkown and Badmotorfinger differentiated the band as something darker than their contemporaries. Much of it had to do with the voice of Cornell.

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Screaming Females

November 16, 2017

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Oh yes, there’s a new Screaming Females song.  Below you’ll find a fancy ballad, which is the third single off of the band’s next album, All At Once (due February 23).  Enjoy.

PS – The band will be back at Barracuda on April 21.

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Movie Breakdown: Justice League (Noah)

November 15, 2017

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Pre-Screening Stance:

It’s hard for me to think anything but horribly negative thoughts about Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, as it is absolutely one of the biggest failures of a film, big-budget of otherwise, that I’ve ever seen. Zack Snyder and DC Comics could barely handle Superman and Batman on the big screen together, so I’m setting my expectations terribly, terribly low and hoping that I won’t lose any friendships over this one.

Post-Screening Ramble:

It’s an amazing sight to see a film company course-correct in real time. To use a gazillion dollar film as a public response to the allegations of “grim-dark” tone and bad characterization is a fascinating thing. And there is no doubt that Justice League, with it’s hand-off between Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon and it’s extensive re-shoots, is just this. DC knew it messed up, knew that its last few films leaned too heavily on early-80s darkness and tinkered with a film that would’ve followed suit to make it a beacon of the shining light of not-dark they’re hoping to be. To do so, Snyder/Whedon bring Batman (old and broken Ben Affleck) together with Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot showing she’s the real deal again) to bring together a league of fresh-faced superheroes to do battle with a horned guy who wants to blow up the world for his mommy. It is, frankly, a rehash of every superhero movie up to this point and if you’re looking for narrative originality, you should steer your ship in a different direction. This isn’t a movie that purports to be anything but a classic get-the-team-together-to-fight-a-big-bad-guy, and that isn’t an entirely poor decision as Whedon uses the simplistic narrative box to build up the characters that will inhabit the DC Universe going forward. And hey, it works. The team of heroes that Batman and Wonder Woman bring together are energetic and interesting, funny and bad-ass, each gifted an original voice and the character actions to go along with them. Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen (i.e. Flash) is the stand-out, a nervous, awkward kid gifted with the ability to run super super fast, but lacking in the confidence to do so. Jason Momoa is a pleasant surprise, his late-film confession to the rest of his super-pals a strong moment of emotion in a film geared towards comedic levity. Cyborg (Ray Fisher) suffers from the enormous amount of CGI needed to bring the character to life, but Fisher manages to instill the living video game with some amount of emotional resonance. The CGI in the film is a problem. Scenes of Wonder Woman’s homeland look pulled from a 90s Myst knock-off and it isn’t a singular offense. It’s surprising, shocking even, that a movie that cost this much in an era dominated by computer graphics could look this bad. In the end though, for someone who whinged and whinged and whinged about how bad this film was going to be, it’s okay. It doesn’t do anything new, but it takes the DC Comic palate – dark and somber – and injects life into it in a way that refreshes the whole line, a way that strips away the darkness in a believable sense and sets the table for a new wave of films more in line with Wonder Woman than anything else.

One Last Thought:

DC and Marvel need to figure out their bad guys. This is the nth film from DC that features a bad guy who’s trying to blow up the entire world and goddammit, I’m sick of it. DC is full of great villains – Lex and Joker and Reverse Flash and a whole hell of a lot more street level baddies – and they don’t have to be seeking to blow up the Earth all the time. Just put some people in Gotham who are looking to kill Batman, or kill Flash or kill Wonder Woman and have them square off in an interesting way. Stop it with the gods looking to destroy everything, it’s boring and the entire movie watching world is getting exhausted by it.

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Movie Breakdown: Justice League

November 15, 2017

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Pre-Screening Stance:

For a while now I’ve been trying to get myself excited for Justice League, but I just haven’t been able to get over the “yeah whatever” hump.  With that being said, I’ve yet to see anything about this film that makes me think it’s going to be a stinker.

Post-Screening Ramble:

It’s fine.  That’s my review of Justice League in a nutshell.  The film has plenty of things that work well – Gal Gadot’s attention-commanding Wonder Woman, Ezra Miller’s bumbly but charming Flash, Jason Momoa’s bro-y but entertaining Aquaman, a fairly lean plot (this is good since the run time is under two hours), actual chemistry between characters.  It also has a lot that’s not so great – an utterly boring baddie in Steppenwolf, video game-level CG, an awkwardly designed Cyborg. occasionally clunky dialogue, a lazy magic box MacGuffin.  I actually think that if you were to map it all out, you’d find that for everything the film gets right, it gets something else wrong.  That’s why, without a doubt, Justice League is the most average big budget affair that I’ve seen in 2017.  So, if you’ve been looking forward to it, you’ll probably be disappointed, as it just doesn’t do enough to be tagged as a home run.  If you haven’t been dying to see it, you’ll probably think it’s pretty good, as it doesn’t do anything bad enough to be called a failure.  Talk about an average affair.

Honestly, I have no idea if the DCEU is finally heading in the right direction or if they’ve taken another misstep with what they’re rolling into theaters this weekend.  All I can do is note that it’s fine.

One Last Thought:

Batman sure does seem rather under-powered in Justice League.  The guy is coming off a fight where he bested Superman AND he’s assembled a world-saving team, and yet he always seems in the way or like he might just get squashed like a bug.  It’s weird.

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Movie Breakdown: Last Flag Flying

November 15, 2017

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Pre-Screening Stance:

I’m only going to see Last Flag Flying because it’s directed by Richard Linklater.  I mean, I like the cast, but old guy road trip movies are rarely ever good.  Also, could they have made a more boring trailer for this movie?  I doubt it.

Post-Screening Ramble:

Last Flag Flying is a lot more than just a road trip movie.  It begins with Larry “Doc” Shepherd (a melancholic Steve Carell) recruiting two of his old service buddies from Vietnam – Sal Nealon (a coarse, motor-mouthed Bryan Cranston) and Reverend Richard Mueller (a very settled Laurence Fishbourne) – to help him bury his son, a Marine killed in the Iraq War.  Obviously, the end goal here for this trio of friends features a rather difficult task, and there are plenty of moments in the movie that will tug at your heart strings, but in general, Last Flag Flying is a very sharp-witted comedy that covers life (especially the growing old part) in a grounded, real way.  I related to every character in every single one of their situations in this film, and I’m not near as old as them, nor am I a veteran.  That’s how well written and dialed in it is at every turn.  In the way that Richard Linklater’s Boyhood vividly reminded me of my childhood, his Last Flag Flying is an instant reality check for me at 34.

If you have a free afternoon sometime soon, I recommend that you take a chunk of it and spend it with this film.  It’s a good one.  In fact, it’s just good enough to make me forgive Linklater for the giant disappointment that was his last movie, Everybody Wants Some.

One Last Thought:

Nice Bryan Cranston characters are … well, nice.  I think he’s at his best though when he’s playing someone like Sal, who has been bent out of shape by the world.

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Show Of The Week

November 15, 2017

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The site will be on break all of next week, so I’m rolling out two recommendations today!

1)  My radio show, 101X Homegrown, is presenting a gig at The Swan Dive this Friday.  Indie poppers Shy Beast (formerly MCG) are throwing a party in celebration of the arrival of their new self titled EP, and they’ll be joined by Fort Never, Slomo Drags, Dossey, and Juan Pablo.  This is a rad, diverse local bill.  Come play.  Tix are $10.

2)  This one is actually next week!  On Monday (11/20) I highly recommend that you go and see Hazel English at Stubb’s Indoors.  Her Just Give In/Never Going Home is a fantastic indie pop album and one of my favorite releases of 2017.  I can only imagine that she’ll sound lovely in that room.  Tix are $12 in advance of the show, $15 the day of.  Julia Lucille will open.

CONTEST: I’ve got guest list spots for both shows to give away!  Just send me a note HERE.  Be sure to put the name of which show you want in the subject line!  I’ll pick a winner for each one on Friday!

BONUS Show Recommendations:

Tonight:
- Twin Peaks, A Giant Dog at the Mohawk
- The Hermits, The Nymphs, Atlas Maior, Barbarian at Cheer Up Charlies
- alt-J, Marian Hill at ACL Live at the Moody Theater
- Tegan & Sara at the Paramount Theater
- The Sun Machine, Lord Buffalo, Marijuana Sweet Tooth, Jesse Wooten & Friends at The Swan Dive
- Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie at Bass Concert Hal

Thursday:
- John Wesley Coleman lll, Dinner with Matt Gilchrest, Loteria, Warm Sugar at the Spiderhouse Ballroom
- Hidden Ritual, The Bad Signs, Teevee, Andy Grant at Hotel Vegas
- Lake of Fire, Shana Falana, Blushing, Angry Beige at Cheer Up Charlies
- alt-J, Marian Hill at ACL Live at the Moody Theater
- Tegan & Sara at the Paramount Theater
- Machine Girl, BLXPLTN, Whitey Vollmer at Barracuda
- Astrotheque, Hours Quiet, Obsolete Machines at the Mohawk

Friday:
- The Golden Boys at End of an Ear
- Lowin, Grape St., All Eyes, Dead Recipe at Hotel Vegas
- Sweet Spirit, Sugar Free All-Stars at Mueller Lake Park
- David Ramirez, Matthew Logan Vasquez, Small Houses at the Mohawk
- Wild Child, The Texas Gentlemen at the Scoot Inn
- Tori Amos, Scars on 45 at ACL Live at the Moody Theater

Saturday:
- The Golden Boys, Flesh Lights, Vertical Vice, Payton Andrew Green, DJ Baby Robots at Barracuda
- Deer Tick at the Mohawk
- Hovvdy, Caroline Says, Jana Horn at Cheer Up Charlies
- Wiretree, San Saba County at Lamberts
- Ani DiFranco, MILCK, Buddy Wakefield at Emo’s

Sunday:
- The Golden Boys, Nick Allison & The Players Lounge at The Little Darlin’
- Lord Buffalo at Waterloo Records
- Mayeux and Broussard, Sour Bridges, Harvest Thieves, Jonathan Terrell at the Scoot Inn

Monday:
- Christy Hays, Jolie Fink (of Mean Jolene), Sara Houser (of Lowin) at the Hole in the Wall
- Beach Slang, Dave Hause & The Mermaid, See Through Dresses at Barracuda

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Pinegrove

November 14, 2017

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Today I have a song that I missed a couple of weeks back.  It’s from Pinegrove, and it’s a total bummer.  Great stuff, though.  No word yet on when to expect an official follow-up to 2016′s Cardinal.  Enjoy.

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101X Homegrown Podcast

November 13, 2017

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Here’s the latest 101X Homegrown!  Enjoy.

Shy Beast – Back With Me
Wiretree – JF Sebastian
(NEW) Most Likely – Steve
Hermits – Ruby Red Summer
(NEW) Bayonne – I Know
Hours Quiet – Consciousness
Young Tongue – Electric Display
Grape St. – Wallpaper
(NEW) The Golden Boys – Sundays With Jackie
Flesh Lights – Just About Due
A Giant Dog – Toy Gun
Hovvdy – Petal
White Denim – No Real Reason
Dumb – Heather, You’re So Cool

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