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Author Archives | John Laird

About John Laird

Perfume Genius

April 25, 2017

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Time to get caught up on Perfume Genius!  The act will be releasing a new album, No Shape, next Friday (May 5) via Matador, and I’m excited for it.  Both of the LP’s singles are down below.  The “oldest” is a rather infectious effort titled Slip Away, and the newest is an interesting little blip called Go Ahead.  Enjoy.

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101X Homegrown Podcast

April 24, 2017

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Check out my latest 101X Homegrown! Enjoy.

Wiretree – JF Sebastian
Tres Oui – Prince Of Pop
Abram Shook – The Hours
(NEW) Go Fever – This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
Mean Jolene – Bump The Rump
Growl – New Sincerity
RF Shannon – Had A Revelation
The Black Angels – Half Believing
Emily Wolfe – Atta Blues
Otis The Destroyer – Cheetah
(NEW) The Ghost Wolves – Whettin’ My Knife
Crooked Bangs – No Future
Bad Sports – Living With Secrets
The Dizzease – Sticky Hand


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The War On Drugs

April 24, 2017

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You guys grab anything rad on Record Store Day?  I got a couple of cool things (like Dolly Parton’s first recordings), but since I didn’t get up at 3am, I didn’t even see the “bigger” releases. This includes the new single that The War On Drugs put out.  Thankfully though, there’s a stream!  The 11-minute track is immaculate, and I highly advise that you slap on some headphones before you hit play.  Enjoy.

PS – If you need this 12″, re-sellers will allow you to overpay for it on eBay.  Boo!

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Movie Breakdown: Unforgettable

April 21, 2017

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Pre-Screening Stance:

I’m 100% certain that Unforgettable is going to be terrible, but I’m really hoping that it’ll be fun-terrible.  I’m also very down to watch Katherine Marie Heigl play herself.  Zing!

Post-Screening Ramble:

I thought for sure that Unforgettable was going to be trashy and hilarious, and that didn’t quite turn out to be accurate.  This isn’t to say the movie is good, because it isn’t, but it’s not near as terrible as I was expecting it to be.  Here’s what you need to know about its story – Tessa (Katherine Heigl) is not yet ready to let her ex-husband go, so she sets out to ruin his new girlfriend, Julia (Rosario Dawson).  She does some catty things at first, and then that escalates into some wild, dangerous shit.  Oh my!  Honestly, if you’ve seen the trailer, then you’ve seen the movie.  It does everything by the numbers and in general feels like a Lifetime movie with an actual budget.  There is one bright spot though, and it’s Heigl.  She is absolutely perfect as Tessa, and it’s her intense performance that makes the movie worth anything.  Now, I wouldn’t recommend running out and seeing it just to witness Heigl at peak bitchiness, but in a few years when the movie is on TBS at 1am, maybe give it a bit of your attention.

One Last Thought:

If you’re planning on seeing this movie and don’t want it spoiled, then stop reading right now!

For those of you that stayed, here’s my idea for a different ending.  In the film it’s just simply confirmed that Katherine Heigl’s character has mental issues, and then there’s a big fight that she loses.  How boring!  I think that instead it should have been revealed that Heigl’s young daughter had been her puppet master the whole time, and then Rosario has to defeat them both.  But they’re too much, and she loses.  Then the movie ends with Rosario locked up and the little manipulator on the loose with Heigl as her brainwashed pawn.  Can you imagine?!  That would have been … unforgettable.

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Movie Breakdown: The Lost City Of Z

April 20, 2017

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Pre-Screening Stance:

Theaters are currently loaded with The Fate Of The Furious, Ghost In The Shell, Power Rangers and the like, so I have no idea who Bleecker Street is expecting to run and out see The Lost City Of Z, a heavy-looking two and a half hour film about a fella stumbling around in the jungle.  With that being said, I’m excited for it.

Post-Screening Ramble:

The Lost City Of Z takes place in the early 1900s, and it tells the tale of Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), a real life British explorer who made various trips to South America in search of a lost civilization.  Well, he eventually gets to looking for ancient stuff, but first he just goes to help draw borders for a couple of countries on the verge of war.  It’s then that he discovers some busted pottery and decides that there’s no way such things could randomly be way out in the jungle on their own.  This leads Fawcett to forever trying to convince his countrymen and others that there are great discoveries to be had in the Amazon.

I enjoyed this film.  It’s patient, wonderfully shot, interesting and well acted.  However, The Lost City Of Z is definitely one of those efforts that teeters on the edge of pretentiousness, so someone could easily flip that and say that the movie is a slow, thick affair that’s not particularly accessible.  In other words, only head to the theater for this one if you feel as though your patience won’t bow out on you halfway through its heftiness.

One Last Thing:

Remember way back when Charlie Hunnam was all set to star in those 50 Shades Of Grey flicks?  What a bullet he dodged there.  On the flip side of that, I actually feel as though he would have elevated those films.  Probably not to a point where they would have been “good” or whatever, but he definitely would have made them more entertaining.  The guy is a legit talent.

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EMA

April 20, 2017

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When EMA let slip that she had an album so political that Matador didn’t want it, I immediately imagined something way overdone and unlistenable.  I suppose the rest of the LP could still turn out to be this way, but the first single is pretty rad.  Check out the anthemic track below.  Exile In The Outer Ring is due August 25 via City Slang.  Enjoy.

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Show Of The Week

April 19, 2017

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This week is a show I’ve been looking forward to since early March.  It’s Wiretree’s album release party at Lambert’s!  The band’s new LP, Towards The Sky, is very good and currently available, so you can dive into it now in preparation for Friday.  Do it.

Tix are $8.  Good Field will open.  Also, this one is presented by my radio show, 101X Homegrown.

PS – 93.7 KLBJ’s Sunset Series is back, and I’m going to be booking it again.  This year it’ll be happening at Ernie’s On The Lake, and the first show is this Sunday. Come on out and see Sphynx, Moving Panoramas and Christina Cavazos.  It’s FREE!  Music starts at 5pm.

BONUS Show Recommendations:

Tonight:
- Loteria, Altamesa, Night Glitter at Hotel Vegas
- Bayside, Say Anything, Reggie & The Full Effect at Emo’s
- Darkbird at COLLiDE atx

Thursday:
- Bee Caves, Marmalakes, Small Houses at the Mohawk
- American Sharks, Crypt Trip, Hidden Ritual at Oskar Blues Brewery
- Old Settler’s Music Festival with Billy Strings, The Peterson Brothers, Mandolin Orange, Session Americana, American Dreamer at the Salt Lick Pavilion and Camp Ben McCulloch

Friday:
- Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Laura Gibson at The Sidewinder
- Botany, Corduroi, Limalo, Brainwave, Win 1995 at Barracuda
- The Zoltars, UVH, Grivo, Talkies at the Mohawk
- Booher, Wes Coleman, Apopka at the Hole in the Wall
- MCG at Oskar Blues Brewery
- Old Settler’s Music Festival with Shakey Graves, Leftover Salmon, Anders Osborne, Gregory Alan Isakov, Sam Bush, Reckless Kelly, Gaelic Storm, California Honeydrops, Lil’ Smokies, Session Americana at the Salt Lick Pavilion and Camp Ben McCulloch

Saturday:
- US Weekly, Crooked Bangs, Sailor Poon, Daniel Francis Doyle, Filthy, Sass at Cheer Up Charlies
- Pile, Gnarwahl, Black Boxes at The Sidewinder
- Harvest Thieves, Billy Broome at Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co.
- Old Settler’s Music Festival with Shinyribs, Los Lobos, Old 97′s, Sarah Jarosz, Nikki Lane, Del McCoury Band, Peter Rowan & friends, The Lone Bellow, The Travelin’ McCoury’s, Elephant Revival, Wood & Wire, California Honeydrops, The Honeycutters, Vasen, Griffin Carter at the Salt Lick Pavilion and Camp Ben McCulloch

Sunday:
- Semihelix, Sounds del Mar, Booher, Miranda Brown at Barracuda
- Sallie Ford, Molly Burch at Stubb’s
- Night Drive, Boyfrndz, DJ Space Cadet at the Mohawk
- Old Settler’s Music Festival with Shinyribs, Elephant Revival, The Last Bandoleros, River Whyless, Vasen at the Salt Lick Pavilion and Camp Ben McCulloch

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Movie Breakdown: Free Fire

April 18, 2017

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Pre-Screening Stance:

Ben Wheatley (High-Rise, A Field In England) is a buzzy director and the list of actors he’s assembled for Free Fire includes Brie Larson, Arnie Hammer, Sam Riley, Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copley and Michael Smiley.  Seems like a winning combo to me.

Post-Screening Ramble:

Ostensibly, Free Fire isn’t a movie with a whole lot going on.  Some shady folks meet up in an abandoned industrial spot to swap some cash for some guns, things go awry, and then they start shooting the shit out of each other.  That’s it.  Thankfully though, writer/director Ben Wheatley’s latest effort features what can be tagged as nuanced violence, and that makes it a lot more than just a film with a bunch of smart-ass goons in a blood bath.  There’s actually something to be learned with each shot – from either a mouth or a gun – that gets fired!  How neat.  And let’s face it, Wheatley could have easily delivered a longer, more elaborate film that takes an in-depth look at who is doing what and why, but instead he allows the characters to quickly show their true selves via how they act in a spontaneous gunfight  – sort of like providing a backstory without providing an actual backstory – and in the end it’s a decision that really pays off.  Expect to have a really fun time picking out little things about each character and then using that to determine who might actually make it out alive.

Definitely go see Free Fire.  It’s violent, really funny and surprisingly crafty.

One Last Thing:

Hollywood really needs to start casting Sharlto Copley in more comedies.  He’d be great as the kooky sidekick for someone, or as an eccentric lead … or really, just whatever in anything that will allow him to ramble about.  He’s so hilarious that I’m sure he could take any comedic role and make it work in wondrous ways.

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Ratboys

April 18, 2017

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While there’s nothing particularly sweet about the name Ratboys, that is the word I think best describes the first single off of their new album, GN (due June 30 via Topshelf).  On another note, I love that the band’s press release notes that they were influenced by the “down-to-earth sincerity of late-90s Sheryl Crow.”  No one would have admitted such a thing a few years ago.  90s nostalgia continues to rule all.  Enjoy.


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101X Homegrown Podcast

April 17, 2017

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Here’s this week’s 101X Homegrown!  Enjoy.

Summer Salt – Candy Wrappers
Sweet Spirit – Pretty Baby
Abram Shook – The Hours
(NEW) Wiretree – Didn’t Know Your Name
Good Field – Necessary Feeling
Quin Galavis – Me To Me
Solid State Dream Suit – Nervous
(NEW) Hovvdy – In My Head
(NEW) The Black Angels – Half Believing
American Sharks – White Witch
US Weekly – Creative Class
Crooked Bangs – No Future
Boyfrndz – Going Under
Darkbird – Poison Arrows


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Do Make Say Think

April 17, 2017

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One of the nicer things that 2017 has delivered (so far) is the return of Do Make Say Think. The post-rock act was pretty quiet for a good eight years, and now they have a new album, Stubborn Persistent Illusions, coming on May 19 via Constellation.  I can’t wait to spend lots of time with it.  Below you’ll find the second, sprawling single off of the LP.  Enjoy.


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Movie Breakdown: Their Finest

April 14, 2017

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Pre-Screening Stance:

Once upon a time Lone Scherfig directed An Education, a movie that I still really love.  That’s enough for me to be at least a little excited about her new flick.

Post-Screening Ramble:

Their Finest is a bit scatterbrained, but I liked it nonetheless.  The film takes place in Britain during WWII and it’s centered around a pair of screenwriters, the sweet but determined Catrin (Gemma Arterton) and the dickish but fair Buckley (Sam Clafin), and their efforts to put together a propaganda film to help the country’s morale.  Their mission is aided (or hampered, depending on the person) by Catrin’s out of work husband Ellis (Jack Huston), the pompous actor Ambrose (Bill Nighy), and a whole host of other minor characters.

I’d love to give this film two thumbs up based solely on the its old school vibe, but then I’d be ducking its plot issues.  Unfortunately, director Lone Scherfig never seems too sure about what story she wants to tell.  Is the film about women’s amazing efforts during the war?  Or how crazy it was to try and live during the Blitzkrieg?  Or film-making during the war?  Or is it a love story?  Well, it’s pretty much all of those things, and while some of it works just fine with limited limelight, overall the film feels like butter scraped over too much bread.

Cluttered story issues aside, I actually think you should see Their Finest.  Maybe don’t run off to the theater, but once it hits VOD, cue it up.  It features some nice performances and it has a genuine feel to it that’s hard to not like.

One Last Thing:

I know it’s really early in the year to say something like this, but I totally think that Bill Nighy should get a best supporting actor nod for his role in Their Finest.  He’s so wonderfully ridiculous and charming in it.

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Land Of Talk

April 13, 2017

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I loved the first Land Of Talk single, then slightly side-eyed the second one, and now I’m adoring the third tune off of the act’s upcoming album, Life After Youth.  I guess this means there’s currently a 66% chance that I’m going to dig the new LP?  Guess we’ll find out how the cookie crumbles when it gets released on May 19 via Saddle Creek.  Enjoy.

PS – Today’s track features (and was co-written by) Sharon Van Etten.  Neat!

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Movie Breakdown: The Fate Of The Furious

April 13, 2017

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Pre-Screening Stance:

I just made my girlfriend watch all seven previous Fast And Furious entries (practically in a row) because I wanted her to be fully caught up before we saw The Fate Of The Furious.  That’s how much I love this big, dumb and ridiculously fun series.  Bring on #8.

Post-Screening Stance:

Just as I hoped, the newest Fast And Furious flick is more of the same.  The cars are incredible and fast, the scope is massive, there are overly dramatic soap opera-like moments, a variety of predictable-but-fun twists and – of course – a lot of talk about the important of family.  For all intents and purposes, you’ve already seen this movie.  You won’t care though because the film is so goddamn cheer-worthy that – just like every other entry in the series – it just sweeps you right up and takes you to your happy place.  If you ask me, there’s no better film to kick off the summer blockbuster season with than The Fate Of The Furious.  You should see it immediately.

One Fast Thought:

Charlize Theron’s Cipher is the best villain that Dom’s crew have had the pleasure of going up against.  Also, it’s so super obvious that Theron had a blast portraying the cunning hacker.  Great casting here.

One Furious Thought:

There’s only one thing in The Fate Of The Furious that I didn’t like, and it’s Scott Eastwood.  Even in a movie that doesn’t exactly feature the best actors in the world, he still manages to totally and completely suck.  I hope he doesn’t return for any further Fast And Furious films.  Not only can he not act, but he plays his character like a discount Brian O’Connor and it’s annoying.

One Fast And Furious Thought:

Sorry if you were hoping for more plot details in this breakdown.  Mentioning anything other than the “Dom has gone rogue” bit from the trailers would be pretty spoilery, and I didn’t want to do that to you.

OK, This Is It:

I was pleasantly surprised with how Brian and Mia’s retired status is handled in the film.

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Show Of The Week

April 12, 2017

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There are three great local release parties happening this week (somehow all on Friday) – Slack Capital 2, The Digital Wild, Hovvdy – but I think the spotlight needs to be pointed towards Chairlift.  They’re on their farewell tour!  So, it’s legit your last chance to see the band at the Mohawk this Saturday.  Well, at least until they jump back together in however many years for a reunion tour, but you get the point.  Do me a favor and go extra hard at the show since I have to miss it due to another engagement.

Tix are $17.  Lou Rebecca will open.

BONUS Show Recommendations:

Thursday:
- Will Johnson and Greg Vanderpool at Waterloo Records
- Bee Caves, Star Parks, Remsy at the Mohawk
- Sounds Del Mar, Buttercup, Slomo Drags, Cliffs at The Sidewinder
- Amplified Heat, Crypt Trip at Hotel Vegas
- American Sharks, Unknown Relatives, Billy King and the Bad Bad Bad at Barracuda
- Cashmere Cat at Empire Control Room

Friday:
- Xetas at Waterloo Records
- Ringo Deathstarr, Krista van Liew, Teenage Cavegirl, Methodrone at the Spiderhouse Ballroom
- Slack Capital 2 Release Party with Pataphysics, The Diamond Center, Daniel Francis Doyle and The Dreams, Mom Jeans, Croy and the Boys, David Israel, Go Fever, Nike at Barracuda
- Super Thief, Bummer, Pinko, Vampyre, Oozer at The Sidewinder
- Foxygen, Gabriella Cohen at the Mohawk
- Hovvdy, Caroline Says, Hola Beach, AMA at Hotel Vegas
- The Digital Wild, Zeale, Trouble in the Streets, Darkbird at Empire Control Room
- The Sour Notes, Drag Me Over the Rainbow at the Hard Luck Lounge
- Not In The Face, Harvest Thieves, Ricky Espinoza at The Blackheart
- Scott H. Biram, Jesse Dayton, Alien Knife Fight at Antone’s
- The Magic Rockers of Texas, The Shivery Shakes at Oskar Blues Brewery
- Portugal. The Man, HDBeenDope at ACL Live at the Moody Theater

Saturday:
- Paws, Tres Oui, Rose Selavy at the Mohawk
- Slothrust at Barracuda
- Lola Tried, The Halfways, Otis the Destroyer, Los Coast at Cheer Up Charlies
- Sounds Del Mar, Henry + The Invisibles, The Bad Invaders at The Blackheart
- Texas Independence Fest with Anthrax, Killswitch Engage, The Devil Wears Prada, Oh, Sleeper, Fire From The Gods, Dead to Fall, Sons of Texas, Shattered Sun, Psychostick, Violent Vendetta, DSGNS, Cerebral Desecration, Driven Below, The Night Of, Forever in Disgust at Grizzly Hall

Sunday:
- Ruby Fray, She Sir, Jana Horn at Cheer Up Charlies

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