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Movie Breakdown: War For The Planet Of The Apes

July 12, 2017

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Pre-Screening Stance:

I never would have guessed it when the James Franco-led Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes was first announced, but there’s a real chance that it and the films that have followed will form one of the best trilogies ever.  Here’s hoping that writer/director Matt Reeves doesn’t stumble at the finish line.

Post-Screening Ramble:

War For The Planet Of The Apes picks up a few years after Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes.  Caesar (Andy Serkis) is a wanted … ape, and he and his kind are trying real hard to avoid conflicts with the army that answered the human distress call from the previous film.  That group is led by The Colonel (Woody Harrelson), a real determined killer of things, and they feature apes that decided to join up with the humans instead of trying to fight them.  So tense!  Now, that’s obviously just the setup, but since there’s so much unexpected stuff that takes place afterwards, I’m not giving you any other plot points.  Actually, since it’s difficult to even talk about this film at all without getting into spoilers, I’ll just say a few other things and then bow out.

First of all, War is an emotional roller coaster that really puts Caesar (and you) through the ringer, and I dug the hell out of it.  Secondly, the hilariously honest Bad Ape (Steve Zahn) turned out to be a real big favorite of mine.  Thirdly, do not go into this expecting some kind of summer blockbuster-y type of war movie with lots of crazy battles and such.  It isn’t that type of film, it’s much more intimate.  Lastly, expect this biblical-like adventure to turn you into a chatter box once you walk out of the theater.

See War ASAP.  It’s fantastic.

One Last Thought:

I feel like these Planet Of the Apes movies will be like Jurassic Park and have CG that’s championed forever.  There’s just so much detail, especially in how the the apes move.  On the flip side of things, I think it’s going to be difficult for me to go back and watch something like this without steadily chuckling.

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Show Of The Week

July 12, 2017

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Hey!  This week is all about Hot Summer Nights.  The four-day (Thursday-Sunday) stretch of FREE shows is presented by the Red River Culture District, and it’s meant to provide a boost for venues here during this slower time of the year.  This means you get to watch a ton of FREE live music and help clubs keep their doors open.  That’s a win-win!  Below you’ll find the Hot Summer Nights gigs I’ll be doing my best to stop in on.  The rest of the shows can be found here.  See you out there.

Thursday:
- Abram Shook, Slomo Drags, Summer Salt, Canvas People at Stubb’s

Friday:
- Radioactivity, Bad Sports, Flesh Lights, Unknown Relatives, Xetas, Borzoi, Pretty Shitty at Barracuda
- White Denim, Deep Time, The Stacks, Go Fever, The Diamond Center, Iji, Ama, Why Bonnie, Tyler Jordan & the Negative Space at Cheer Up Charlies
- The Midnight Stroll, Migrant Kids, Think No Think, Darkbird at the Mohawk
- Octopus Project, CJ Edwards & the Funk Fellowship, Trouble in the Streets, Groove Think at Empire Control Room

Saturday:
- Big Bill, The Zoltars, Residual Kid, Young Mammals, Private Vandals at Barracuda
- Andrew Savage (of Parquet Courts), Alex Dupree, US Weekly at Barracuda
- Magna Carda, Sometimes A Legend, Say Girl Say, My Empty Phantom, Lord Buffalo, Obscured By Echoes at Cheer Up Charlies
- Matthew Logan Vasquez, Mike & the Moonpies, Moving Panoramas, Letting Up Despite Great Faults at the Mohawk
- She Sir, A. Sinclair, Magic Rockers of Texas, Chill Russell at the Mohawk
- Golden Dawn Arkestra, CAPYAC, Blunt Force, Flavor Raid at Stubb’s

Sunday:
- Major Grizz, Swimming with Bears, Hours Quiet at Stubb’s
- Golden Boys, James Arthur’s Manhunt, The Early Stages at Barracuda

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Protomartyr

July 11, 2017

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Good news!  The mighty Protomartyr have signed to Domino and announced a new album, Relatives In Descent (due September 29).  Today I have the first single off of the LP.  It’s an interesting ride, which isn’t surprising since the band couldn’t make a boring song if they tried.  Enjoy.

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101X Homegrown Podcast

July 10, 2017

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Here’s the latest 101X Homegrown.  Enjoy.

A Giant Dog – Bendover
Slomo Drags – Going Out Of Business
Basketball Shorts – Home
Bad Sports – Living With Secrets
Darkbird – Poison Arrows
The Octopus Project – Wrong Gong
(NEW) She Sir – Pheromondo (Babysitter’s Back)
(NEW) Balmorhea – Clear Language
Adam Torres – Morning Rain
(NEW) Molly Burch – Try
White Denim – No Real Reason
Caroline Says – Winter Is Cold
Jonathan Terrell – Color Me Lucky (Gold VHS Remix)
Matthew Logan Vasquez- Same


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People Like You

July 10, 2017

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I wasn’t aware of People Like You until today, but boy am I already in love.  Below you’ll find the latest single off of their upcoming album, Verse (due July 28).  It’s got horns and boy/girl vocals and a light somehow-sunny emo vibe that works on all fronts.  Enjoy.


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Mogwai

July 6, 2017

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Mogwai have rolled out a new single, and it’s not quite like what came before it.  This one is a shoegazey slice of art-pop that’s complete with vocals.  I wonder if there will be more like it on the band’s upcoming album, Every Country’s Sun (due 9/1)?  I hope so.  It’s cool stuff.  Enjoy.

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Show Of The Week

July 5, 2017

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I almost didn’t do a SOTW post today because the listings are so light, but then I remembered that there’s a rad all-local bill with Lola Tried, Mean Jolene and Talkies set for Lambert’s this Friday.  That’s a great space for those three acts, and I imagine it won’t take long for the show to turn into a sweaty good time.  Don’t miss it!

Tix are $7.

BONUS Show Recommendations:

Thursday:
- Diana Ross: In The Name of Love Tour at ACL Live at the Moody Theater

Friday:
- Night Drive at Waterloo Records

Saturday:
- Big Bill, Hikes, SMILE and more at The Swan Dive
- Phantogram at Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater
- Moving Panoramas, Krista Van Liew, Landing, All in the Golden Afternoon, Queue Queue at Cheer Up Charlies

Sunday:
- KLBJ’s Sunset Concert Series with The Damn Torpedoes, Think Lizzy at Ernie’s on the Lake

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Movie Breakdown: Spider-Man: Homecoming

July 4, 2017

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Pre-Screening Stance:

Even with Spider-Man’s very entertaining appearance in Captain America: Civil War, I’m still somewhat leery of Spider-Man: Homecoming.  Here’s hoping that Marvel having more control than Sony will be enough to fully make the character watchable again.

Post-Screening Ramble:

Right before my screening of Spider-Man: Homecoming started, I wondered if I had already seen the movie.  I thought about the over-revealing trailers and whether or not the film had any surprises left.  I also thought about the superhero fatigue I’m currently experiencing and how even if the movie is good, will it do anything that hasn’t already been done?  Thankfully, the answer here turned out be YES.  Spider-Man: Homecoming is the best film to rumble into theaters so far this summer.

The movie picks up just after Captain America: Civil War.  Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is home in NYC and the only thing he has on his mind is a second mission with Tony Stark (and The Avengers).  School, his one friend and any other responsibilities, it’s all noise to Parker, and he spends his time watching the clock and impatiently waiting until he can hit the streets as Spider-Man and attempt to further prove himself.  Meanwhile, there’s a fella named Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) who is trying really hard to keep his illegal alien weapons business in NYC off of the Avengers’ radar.  As you’ve surely guessed, the two collide as Spider-Man & Vulture.

That’s the basic plot, and I won’t note anything else.  As for those trailers that showed too much, they do somewhat come into play while watching Homecoming.  Because of them it really isn’t hard to sort of piece together what’s going to happen next, but thankfully there are a handful of surprises.  Also, what’s in those trailers is just snippets of full scenes, and I think you’ll be thrilled with the way everything fully plays out.  Trust me!

Anyhow, here’s what I think really makes Homecoming work – it never lets you forget that Peter Parker/Spider-Man is a kid.  He’s a sophomore in high school who can’t talk to girls and is generally clumsy.  Parker is also just like any other kid in that he wants to be treated like an adult.  It’s this struggle for Parker that’s the core of Homecoming, and it really does well to keep the film grounded and to make it feel like a standalone effort.  Yes, there’s plenty of flashy action pieces and MCU connections to be had, but the inexperienced and overly eager Peter Parker/Spider-Man is what makes those scenes – and the film itself – memorable.  It’ll be interesting watching the character grow from here.

Somehow someway Spider-Man: Homecoming completely rights the ship for the web-slinger AND manages to avoid doing it in a way that comes off like an origin story or just a setup for the next MCU film.  What a triumph.  See it a couple of times.

One Last Thought:

There are a couple of characters that make their return to the MCU in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and I have to admit that I really enjoyed seeing them around again.  I guess that just goes to show what Marvel has managed to build over the years – even the “small” people in their films tend to hold weight and aren’t just filler.

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101X Homegrown Podcast

July 4, 2017

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Now’s your chance to check out the latest 101X Homegrown.  Enjoy.

(NEW) Caroline Says – Winter Is Cold
Adam Torres – High Lonesome
Molly Burch – Please Be Mine
(PREMIERE) Jonathan Terrell – Color Me Lucky (Gold VHS Remix)
The Dan Ryan – Guidance
Abram Shook – The Hours
(PREMIERE) Basketball Shorts – Home
(NEW) A Giant Dog – Bendover
Lola Tried – West Coast
Big Bill – Stand Still
Hikes – Habit
Moving Panoramas – One
Night Drive – Trapeze Artist Regrets


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St. Vincent

June 30, 2017

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There’s a new St. Vincent song out.  That’s all.  Have fun over the holiday weekend.  We’ll be back on Wednesday.  Enjoy.

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Movie Breakdown: The Beguiled

June 29, 2017

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Pre-Screening Stance:

Lost In Translation is one of my favorite movies ever, so I’ll gladly line up for anything that Sofia Coppola does for the rest of time.  Obsessions aside, I actually do think The Beguiled looks pretty good.  Plus it was well-received at Cannes, which can occasionally mean something.

Post-Screening Ramble:

I really enjoyed The Beguiled.  The film takes place during the Civil War, and it revolves around a wounded Union soldier who seeks help at an all-female Southern boarding school.  At first all is well, but it’s not long before the presence of the charming Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell) sends his caregivers into a fervor.  There’s a lot of pent up energy, resentment and sadness buried in the ladies (both young and old) that populate the school, and McBurney pulls it out of all of them.  Writer/director Sofia Coppola is smart though, and she doesn’t just let The Beguiled turn into some sort of over the top soap opera.  No, her film is made up of nerves, jealous glances, defensive postures and judgemental mumbles.  She wants you pay attention, to be patient, and to let yourself soak in the desperate atmosphere she’s created.  I think this may be one of my favorite films by her.

If you want something quieter than what’s currently blowing up theaters, then I think you should seek out The Beguiled.  It’s beautifully shot (seriously, it looks like an actual live Southern painting), has great performances (super big ups to Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning), and it’ll make your brain and nerves tumble.

One Last Thought:

Elle Fanning is an interesting actress.  She plays a lot of the same type of characters, but somehow she puts just enough twist on each them to keep things fresh.  It’s honestly really impressive.  Side note, what happened to her sister?

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The National

June 29, 2017

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Damn.

This is what I said the first time I listened to Guilty Party, the new single from The National.  Combine it with their previous gem, The System Only Dreams In Darkness, and you’ve got two really good reasons to be more than just excited for their upcoming album, Sleep Well Beast (due September 8).  Side note, you should slap on headphones before you hit play.  Enjoy.

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Show Of The Week

June 28, 2017

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In a weird turn of events, my SOTW is actually next week, but since it falls on a Monday and that Monday precedes a holiday, I’m rolling it out right now.  You get it?  I sort of do.  Anyways, go see STRFKR at Emo’s!  Since you (more than likely) don’t have to work on Tuesday, which is the 4th of July, you might as well blow it out on Monday and dance the night away.  Have fun.  Be safe.

Tix are $20.50.  Reptaliens will open.

BONUS Show Recommendations:

Tonight:
- Super Thief, Popper Burns, Lung Letters, Augra Nowhere at Beerland
- Shivery Shakes, Ladyfang, The Irish Exit at the Hole in the Wall
- Chon, Tera Melos, Covet, Little Tybee at Emo’s
- Deftones, Rise Against, Thrice, Frank Iero and the Patience at Austin360 Amphitheater

Thursday:
- Typical Girls, Hypoluxo, Planet Manhood, The Nymphs at Hotel Vegas

Friday:
- Hot Flash Heat Wave, Inner Wave, Summer Salt at the Mohawk
- Belcurve, The Lochness Mobsters, The Reputations, Magic Rockers of Texas at Cheer Up Charlies
- Starparks, A. Sinclair, Glass Grapes at the Hole in the Wall
- The Sour Notes, Junebug Spade at Oskar Blues Brewery

Saturday:
- White Ghost Shivers at Beerland
- Ringo Deathstarr at Hotel Vegas
- The Dan Ryan, Julia Lucille, Thor & Friends, Cowboy Crisis, Hospital Ships, Marijuana Sweet Tooth at Cheer Up Charlies

Sunday:
- The Rotten Mangos, Blackfoot Gypsies, Go Fever, Brother Wives at Cheer Up Charlies
- Bush, My Jerusalem at Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater

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Cloakroom

June 27, 2017

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Want to get lost in something today?  If yes, then get ready to love Cloakroom’s first single off of their upcoming album, Time Well (due August 18).  It’s big and shoegazey and it will just swallow you up.  I’m very excited to hear more from these guys.  Enjoy.

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Movie Breakdown: Baby Driver

June 26, 2017

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Pre-Screening Stance:

Baby Driver looks like it’s going to be a real winner.  Not that this is in any way surprising, as it was written and directed by the one and only Edgar Wright.  That guy is just the best.

Post-Screening Ramble:

I can’t say that Baby Driver is as great as anything in Edgar Wright’s Corentto Trilogy or as quirky as his Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, but it is very entertaining and easily one of the best movies to be released in the first half of 2017.  The plot here is pretty simple – Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a wheelman because he owes a debt to Doc (Kevin Spacey), he meets Debora (Lily James), this proves to be life-changing – and there aren’t any real surprises, but that’s fine because Baby Driver is all about action and music.  The car chases in this thing are a blast.  Actually, just watching Baby walk to get coffee is fun, and that’s because the film doesn’t just have a good soundtrack, there’s a rhythm to the whole thing.  Gun shots, convos, strolls around town, whatever – it’s all set to specific songs and cues within them, and it’s pretty damn impressive.  Now I get why Wright had the entire soundtrack approved before he even started filming.

As I mentioned up above, Baby Driver may not be Wright’s best film – it does have a few things, namely the end, that feel a bit tacked on – but it is a clever, entertaining effort that you’d have to try really hard to not like.  Definitely see it as soon as you can.

One Last Thought:

I sincerely hope that Ansel Elgort is able to follow up Baby Driver with some good projects.  The kid is talented, and he shouldn’t be spending his time in drivel like Allegiant and The Fault In Our Stars.

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