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Author Archives | John Laird

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St. Vincent

September 7, 2017

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You’d think after all these years (Marry Me came out in 2007!) that I’d be at least a little over St. Vincent, but nope, I’m still all in.  That Annie Clark is just the best.  Anyhow, below is the latest single off of her upcoming album, MASSEDUCATION (due October 13).  It’s an infectious one.  Enjoy.

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Movie Breakdown: IT

September 6, 2017

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Pre-Screening Stance:

I’m not a fan of Andy Muschietti’s Mama (ha!), but I’ve been really digging the look and feel of his IT.  Also, my girlfriend has read the book twice this year, so I’ve got her hype driving me as well.  Here’s hoping it doesn’t disappoint.

Post-Screening Ramble:

IT isn’t so much Stephen King’s IT as much as it’s a horror film with an IT theme.  The kids are all present, there’s an evil force that looks like a clown, and the story takes place in Derry, but that’s about it in the grand scheme of things.  This means that you should NOT go into the film expecting lots of character development and back story and heady King elements from the book.  Instead, you should go into it ready to be scared.  Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) is absolutely frightening, and it’s not just because of his glowing eyes or gross teeth – it’s really due to him being everywhere.  Director Andy Muschietti doesn’t hide Pennywise or occasionally roll him out for a jump scare.  Nope, he tosses him out there right from the start, and then those kids (and you, to be fair) just can’t get away from that fucking clown.  Every dark corner/nook/whatever, he’s there, lurking and ready to feed.  It sucks, man … but in an awesome way.

I don’t want to just praise Skarsgard’s instant-classic portrayal of Pennywise though, as the kids in the film really are great.  Jaeden Lieberher is stellar as the stuttery but strong Bill, Finn Wolfhard’s Richie is trash-talking perfection, Jack Dylan Grazer’s hyper-worried Eddie is fantastic, Jeremy Ray Taylor’s take on Ben is charming, and Sophia Lillis knocks it out of the park as Beverly.  There’s also others in play (Wyatt Oleff as Stan, Chosen Jacobs as Mike, Nicholas Hamilton as Bowers), but none of them are particularly notable since they just simply have less to do.  This is the film’s main issue issue – there are too many characters, and it somewhat stifles the story.  Personally, I think one of the movie’s three screenwriters should have considered combining Eddie with Stan and Ben with Mike.  This would have allowed enough extra screen time for certain details to shine brighter (like Pennywise’s influence on the weak) and to make the third act feel less rushed.  Maybe the inevitable sequel will be better at incorporating everyone?

Regardless of my nitpicky things, you have to go see IT.  The film is legit scary.  Just be sure to check your expectations if you’re a fan of the book.

One Last Thought:

It’s been roughly 20 hours since I saw this movie, and I’m still a little worried that Pennywise is going to jump out and try to eat some part of me.  I genuinely can’t remember the last time that a horror film affected me in this way.

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Show Of The Week

September 6, 2017

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If I weren’t going to be out of town on Saturday, I’d definitely be at the Mohawk for White Denim.  Here’s why the band is playing.

“A couple of weeks ago we lost a dear friend. Scott Staab was a fixture in our creative community in Austin and was a very early White Denim enthusiast. We are honored to celebrate the man’s life with two amazing bands this Saturday at Mohawk. All proceeds go to sending his son Vic to college in 2029. We hope to see you there. This one is important.”

Go in my place!  Not only is the band great live, but it’s for a good cause.  Plus, two other excellent locals – Palo Duro and Feverbones – will be opening.  Tix are $15.

PS – I’ve got another entry into the 93.7 KLBJ’s Sunset Series happening this Sunday out at Ernie’s On The Lake.  Come see Quiet Company, Booher and Genuine Leather!  It’s FREE!  Music starts at 5pm.

BONUS Show Recommendations:

Thursday:
- Skyline, North by North, Basketball Shorts, Empire Machines at Cheer Up Charlies

Friday:
- Melvins, Spotlights at the Mohawk
- Black Milk at Empire Control Room
- Knifight, Andy Grant at Hotel Vegas
- Ghostland Observatory, Night Drive at Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater
- Hours Quiet, Flavor Raid at Stubb’s
- Harvest Thieves, Thunderado at the Continental Club
- Green Day, Catfish and the Bottlemen at Austin360 Amphitheater

Saturday:
- Soaked, Billy King & The Bad Bad Bad, Bad Bolts, DJ Stereo Stepdad at Hotel Vegas
- The Stacks, Teenage Cavegirl, Basements, Mamalarky at the Hole in the Wall
- She Wants Revenge, Sine, Curse Mackey at Empire Control Room
- Manchester Orchestra, Foxing, All Get Out at Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater
- Period Bomb, Attic Ted, Suspirians, Pataphysics at Beerland
- Tristen & Jenny O. at Stubb’s
- Nic Armstrong and the Thieves, Skyline at Threadgill’s
- Sturgill Simpson, Fantastic Negrito at Austin360 Amphitheater

Sunday:
- Peelander-Fest with Peelander-Z, Muge Hoso, Otonana Trio, Saint Lo Gun at Barracuda
- Janet Jackson at the Erwin Center
- Downtown Boys, US Weekly, SXSW at Hotel Vegas

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Quickdraw: Bully, Wolf Parade, Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Alex Lahey

September 5, 2017

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Quickdraw!  Enjoy.

Bully – Running

If you love Alicia Bognano’s snarl (how could you not?), then you’re really going to like this new single from Bully.  I can’t wait to check out the act’s upcoming album, Losing.  It’s due out October 20.

Go see Bully at Emo’s on December 8.

Wolf Parade – You’re Dreaming

Here’s a nice power pop tune from Wolf Parade.  I really love the way this track moves.  Be sure to snatch up the new LP, Cry Cry Cry, on October 6.

WP will play the Frank Erwin Center on September 27.

Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Over Everything

This Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile song sounds exactly like what I thought a Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile song would song like.  No complaints here.  Look for their album Lotta Sea Lice on October 13.

The duo will play ACL Live on November 11.

The Rural Alberta Advantage – Brother

The Rural Alberta Advantage have announced a new album, The Wild (due out October 13), and the song below is the lead single.  I didn’t quite connect with 2014′s Mended With Gold (though I feel like I should revisit it), so it’s definitely the best thing I’ve heard from them in a long time.

The band will play Barracuda on November 13.

Alex Lahey – Lotto In Reverse

I just realized that I never posted the first single (it’s here, it’s good) off of Alex Lahey’s upcoming album, I Love You Like A Brother.  That was silly of me.  Anyhow, the second track is a winner as well, and my guess at this point is that the new LP is going to be great.  It’s due out October 8.

Alex will play Barracuda on November 30.

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101X Homegrown Podcast

September 4, 2017

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Here’s the latest 101X Homegrown!  Enjoy.

Ghostland Observatory – Dancin’ On My Grave (Let There Be Vinyl Remix)
Knifight – Let The End Begin
Hours Quiet – Consciousness
(NEW) Palo Duro – True Fade
White Denim – Pretty Green
Otis The Destroyer – Hand Me Nothing
Basketball Shorts – This Summer
Black Pistol Fire – Lost Cause
Suspirians – Nocturne
Quiet Company – On Ex-Husbands And Wives
Matthew Logan Vasquez – Same
Harvest Thieves – I Killed Laura Palmer

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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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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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