Author Archives | John Laird

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Movie Breakdown: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

December 12, 2017


Pre-Screening Stance:

The teasers for The Last Jedi have been great, the early reviews have been very positive, and Disney supposedly liked it so much that they felt comfortable enough to give director Rian Johnson his own Star Wars trilogy.  I couldn’t be more excited to see this thing.

Post-Screening Ramble:

The Last Jedi is a tough one to review without dipping into spoilers, but I’ll do my best since it’s definitely a film that’s best seen with no knowledge of what’s coming.  Here’s the gist – Rey is on a mission to recruit Luke Skywalker to help fight the First Order, who are bearing down on the rebel army.  Now, here’s what I generally thought about The Last Jedi – I loved it.  The film picks up right where The Force Awakens ends, and then it plows through a ton of plot before gracefully throttling down and leaving you feeling spent.  I was honestly really surprised at how much ground the movie covers.  Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) are certainly at the center of it, but there’s also quite a bit that happens with Luke (Mark Hamill), Leia (Carrie Fisher), Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac), Snoke (Andy Serkis) and Hux (Domhnall Gleeson), plus more with newcomers Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), DJ (Benicio Del Toro) and Holdo (Laura Dern).  Seriously, there are a lot of storylines and characters, but thankfully writer/director Rian Johnson does well to keep The Last Jedi from ever feeling cluttered.  Speaking of Johnson, he also deserves kudos for the breezy pace that never falters over the film’s two and a half hour runtime, and for masterfully providing emotional heft to an oft-loud mix of action and humor.  Movies like The Last Jedi don’t often garner “best director” awards, but I really believe he should be in the running this year.

Go see The Last Jedi, as it’s one of the best Star Wars entries.

One Last Thought:

There’s definitely a variety of similar plot points in regards to The Force Awakens/A New Hope and The Last Jedi/The Empire Strikes Back, but I’ll say this, I have no idea what to expect from the impending third movie.  It definitely seems as though it could end up being the one entry in the new trilogy that’s fully unique.

One More Last Thought:

After watching The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, I now believe that clunky dialogue is just an overall Star Wars thing that can’t be solely blamed on George Lucas.  I mean, Laura Dern is an incredible actress in what’s one of the best movies in the franchise, and yet her character talks like one of those moms that can’t remember how to say the name of their child’s favorite band.

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101X Homegrown Podcast

December 11, 2017


Here’s the first part of my favorite local releases of 2017! Part two will air on 101X this Sunday at 9pm! Enjoy.

Sweet Spirit – The Power
Spoon – Do I Have To Talk You Into It?
The Wild Now – Run For Your Life
Palo Duro – Darken The Glow
Summer Salt – Candy Wrappers
Molly Burch – Wrong For You
Walker Lukens – Don’t Wanna Be Lonely (Don’t Wanna Leave You Alone)
The Black Angels – I’d Kill For Her
Darkbird – Bad Self
A Giant Dog – Bendover
Otis The Destroyer – Van Rosita
Lola Tried – San Marcos
A Sinclair – Just Remind Me
Football, etc – Save

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Movie Breakdown: The Shape Of Water

December 8, 2017


Pre-Screening Stance:

I’ve been anxiously awaiting Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape Of Water ever since that first teaser rolled out way back when.  It looks like it has somewhat of a Pan’s Labyrinth vibe, and I’m all about that.

Post-Screening Ramble:

For me, The Shape Of Water ranks just under Pan’s Labyrinth when it comes to Guillermo del Toro films.  It’s centered around Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a mute woman who works as a janitor in a research facility.  She lives a somewhat stilted life, but her besties – one is her sassy co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) and the other is her gay neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins) – and her daily routine keep her going.  And that’s it!  Just kidding.  Eventually Elisa’s quiet existence gets blown away by the arrival of an amphibian man at the lab.  There’s also the presence of the creature’s capturer, Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon), that throws her for a loop.  Weird but beautiful things then happen.  Actually, beautifully weird is probably the best way to describe this fairy tale for adults (it frequently earns its R-rating).  There are so many lovely things in the movie.  I couldn’t get enough of Elisa’s endearing interactions with her friends, and I really enjoyed how loyal she is to them and vice versa.  The film itself also just has an underlying sweetness to it that’s difficult to not get caught up in.  Then on the other hand it has some stuff that’ll make your brain go “UH UH.”  Again, it’s beautifully weird.  Do yourself a favor and see it as soon as you can.

One Last Thought:

The Amphibian Man from The Shape Of Water.  The Faun and The Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth.  Abe Sapien from Hellboy and Hellboy II.  The Silver Surfer from the movie that doesn’t deserve a name mention.  Doug Jones deserves a lifetime achievement award.  Someone make that happen.

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2017 SOTO Staff Picks

December 7, 2017


Here’s your chance to take a look at what the SOTO staff dug in 2017!  Enjoy.

CHUCK LOESCH (Happy Metal Fun Time)

Mors Principium Est – Embers Of A Dying World (AFM)
Igorr – Savage Sinusoid (Metal Blade)
Junius – Eternal Rituals For The Accretion Of Light (Prosthetic)
Kreator – Gods Of Violence (Nuclear Blast USA)
King Woman – Created In The Image Of Suffering (Relapse)
The Black Dahlia Murder – Nightbringers (Metal Blade)
Power Trip – Nightmare Logic (Southern Lord)
Royal Thunder – Wick (Spinefarm)
Paradise Lost – Medusa (Nuclear Blast)
Toothgrinder – Phantom Amour (Spinefarm)

Submitted without explanations, simply know that this is indeed the best metal or 2017 and probably one of the most eclectic group of sounds I have heard in years of listening to the genre. From female fronted hard rock, jazz infused black metal, symphonic black metal, and straight up death metal, this year has been weak over all but with some shining hope for the future and what is to come from the people creating great and innovative metal tunes.

RANDY REYNOLDS (Raised Eyebrows)

Hayden Pedigo – Greetings from Amarillo
Gunn ~ Truscinski Duo – Bay Head
Simon Joyner – Step Into the Earthquake
Brokeback – Illinois River Valley Blues
Happyness – Write In
Justin Walter – Unseen Forces
James Elkington – Wintres Woma
The Stevens – Good
Bob Dylan – Trouble No More: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 13 / 1979-1981
Neil Young + Promise of the Real – The Visitor

I listened to these records the most this year. I’ll probably keep listening to them way past this year. Great music is made every day. And for those of you skeptical about Bob Dylan’s gospel years, take the leap. You can listen here.

LEAH MANNERS (Hip Hop Hooray)

Open Mike Eagle – Brick Body Kids Still Daydream
Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels 3
Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
Tyler the Creator – Flower Boy
Jonwayne – Rap Album Two
Shabazz Palaces – Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines
Your Old Droog – Packs
Rapsody – Laila’s Wisdom
Oddisee – The Iceberg
Milo — Who Told You To Think??!!?!?!?!
SZA — Ctrl

These are in no particular order!


Every year I sit down to make my “Best Music” list I realize that I’m an old man who no longer cares too much about being hip to whatever new music is dropping into the collective mainframe. I don’t know if my mind has just atrophied to a point where I can only enjoy what’s come before or if there’s just too much for me to listen to and the sheer overwhelming nature of it all makes me want to climb into my record collection and never come out. What I’m trying to get at here is, well, I haven’t listened to that much new music this year, and what I have has been directly funneled to me by either John Laird (sweet angel that he is) or my pre-existing tastes. You will find no revelations or ground-breaking artists on this list, just the music that filtered its way down from the enormous cloud of musical output this year.

Best Music of 2017:

1. Anti-Socialite / Alvvays

There’s a thread of despair woven through Alvvays poppy ditties, a lingering sense that not all is right. Alvvays second album could get away on the sheer catchiness of every song on the album, but Molly Rankin and company add a gravity to the pop that caught me off guard. “In Undertow” is the best single of the year, with “Dreams Tonite” a close second, but any song on the album could at least show up in the running. These songs haunted me – awake or not – with the clean break of Rankin’s voice burying itself deep in my subconscious.

2. Sleep Well Beast / The National

Every time The National releases an album, I listen to it with a hint of nervousness coiled in my stomach. Will this be the album that isn’t a classic? Will this be the release where they break apart at the seams? Every album since Boxer has been a certified classic and Sleep Well Beast continues the trend. There’s some progression in terms of sound for Akron’s own – a light electronic buzz in the background, a Lou Reed like swagger to a few almost interstitial songs – but in the end, this is The National doing what they do best – dark, emotional anthems anchored by Matt Berninger’s rattling growl.

3. Damn. / Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar’s music demands your attention. It isn’t background music, it isn’t something to throw on in the car, it isn’t party music – it is, to varying degrees, challenging music that forces you to sit, think and inevitably enjoy. If To Pimp A Butterfly swung too far into artistic concept, then Damn is Kendrick finding his balance, a full album of party tracks filtered through the mind of Kendrick Lamar. This album bumps as much as any that arrived this year, but with Kendrick manning the cruise ship, the beats will get you in the door, the dark political overtones will keep you in your seat.

4. “Growth Groove” / Nappy Nina ft. Bria Monet

I’d argue that rap in general is in the midst of a hey-day right now, but with the caveat that the new generation of female vocalists are one of the driving forces behind it. “Growth Groove” by former Oaklander Nappy Nina is indicative of just how good rap produced and performed by women was this year. It’s rooted in the classics of rap – there’s a distinct ATCQ vibe to the proceedings – but Nappy Nina’s flat vocals and almost stream-of-conscious flow add a spoonful of originality to the mix and the slow burn of the track holds you in place.

5. “Caroline” / Amine

If I were passing out Rookie of the Year awards, Amine would get the coveted Golden Unicorn. He, like Kendrick before him, has managed to take the structure of commercial rap – catchy hooks, sing-songy vocals – absorbed it, and spit out an amped up version that rises above what came before. “Caroline” is the standout track on the album – a bouncy, morbid smirk of a song – but the whole thing is an announcement that a very real talent has arrived on the scene.

6. “Keys To The Castle” / Thee Oh Sees
“Memory of a Cut-Off Head” / OCS

One of the joys of listening to John Dwyer’s musical evolution is how he continually surprises by working the various formations of Thee Oh Sees into new and engaging soundscapes. Orc and The Memory of a Cut off Head arrived in 2017 with the former seeming to be a nod to the simpler, garage rock of earlier days and the latter bringing back Brigid Dawson in an almost orchestral selection of tracks. Both, to be quite honest, are fantastic, prime examples of the spectrum of Dwyer’s skill.

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Top 25 Albums Of 2017

December 6, 2017

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Here are the albums I listened to the most this year.  Enjoy.

25) Alvvays – Antisocialites

Antisocialites is a catchy, occasionally infectious collection of tunes from Alvvays.  Definitely a worthy follow-up to their self titled debut.

24) Julien Baker – Turn Out The Lights

Julien Baker’s Turn Out The Lights isn’t exactly an easy listen, but it’s worth the effort.

23) Wolf Parade – Cry Cry Cry

Cry Cry Cry might be my favorite Wolf Parade album.

22) Growl – Won’t You

Austin’s own Growl really hit a home run with the indie pop-leaning Won’t You.

21) Alex Lahey – I Love You Like A Brother

Alex Lahey is an anthem-making machine.

20) Molly Burch – Please Be Mine

Please Be Mine is proof that Molly Burch is one of Austin’s best artists.

19) The Courtneys – The Courtneys II

The Courtneys sophomore effort has a whole slew of very catchy tracks.

18) SZA – Ctrl

SZA’s Ctrl is one of the best R&B albums I’ve heard in a long time.

17) White Reaper – The World’s Best American Band

White Reaper always rip it up.  The World’s Best American Band is their most complete effort to date.

16) Taylor Swift – Reputation

Reputation is no 1989, but it is a super solid effort.  Few have hooks like Taylor Swift.

15) LCD Soundsystem – American Dream

American Dream is a really nice comeback album for LCD Soundsystem.

14) Walker Lukens – Tell It To The Judge

The Jim Eno-produced Tell It To The Judge is one of my favorite albums to come out of Austin in 2017.  Nicely done, Walker Lukens.

13) The xx – I See You

Admittedly, I wasn’t a big fan of The xx’s I See You when I first heard it, but I came around (real hard) after experiencing the songs live.

12) Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked At Me

Mount Eerie’s A Crow Looked At Me is a devastating album.  I can’t even believe I listened to it as much as I did this year.  Guess that just goes to show how well done it is.

11) Hazel English – Just Give In/Never Going Home

I got lost in Hazel English’s hazy Just Give In/Never Going Home quite a lot in 2017.

10) Japanese Breakfast – Soft Sounds From Another Planet

Soft Sounds From Another Planet is so fantastic that it has made me a Japanese Breakfast fan forever.

09) Spoon – Hot Thoughts

Hot Thoughts is Spoon not giving a whole lot of fucks, and I like it alot.

08) Jay Som – Everybody Works

I don’t do any sort of “best new artist” award here at SOTO, but if I did it would go to Jay Som for the excellent Everybody Works.

07) Gang Of Youths – Go Farther In Lightness

I just recently (maybe a month ago) got into Gang Of Youths’ Go Farther In The Lightness, but it’s had such an big impact on me that I had to give it a high spot on this list.  Just amazing stuff.

06) Waxahatchee – Out In The Storm

If I were sorting this list by number of play-throughs, Waxahatchee’s Out In The Storm would probably land in the top spot.  It’s such a great indie rock album.

05) St. Vincent – Masseducation

Somehow Masseducation is simultaneously St. Vincent’s weirdest and most accessible album.  I love it.

04) The War On Drugs – A Deeper Understanding

The War On Drugs just keep getting better and better.  A Deeper Understanding is a real attention-grabber.

03) Protomartyr – Relatives In Descent

Protomartyr dialed back the intensity just a bit for Relatives In Descent, and it resulted in an album that I have yet to get enough of.

02) Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.

Come on.  It’s Kendrick Lamar.  This guy is currently unstoppable.

01) The National – Sleep Well Beast

I’ve always liked, not loved The National, so it’s wild to me that their Sleep Well Beast ended up being my favorite album of 2017.  Here I am though, declaring all my love for it.  If you haven’t spent any time with it, be sure you fix that real fast.  It’s one of those efforts that just swallows you up whole.

For the heck of it, here are five albums that almost made my Top 25.

Bully – Losing
Conor Oberst – Salutations
Do Make Say Think – Stubborn Persistent Illusions
Jay-Z – 4:44
Why? – Moh Lhean

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Top 50 Songs Of 2017

December 5, 2017


Well look at that, here are my Top 50 Songs of 2017.  Enjoy.

50) Jamiroquai – Automaton

Jamiroquai still got it, man.

49) Matthew Logan Vasquez

I jammed this Matthew Logan Vasquez (of Delta Spirit fame) track on my radio show, 101X Homegrown, a lot this year. It’s fierce.

48) Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Matter Of Time

I miss Sharon Jones.

47) Sheer Mag – Just Can’t Get Enough

Pure retro goodness here by Sheer Mag.

46) Weaves – Walkaway

Weaves churned out a really nice low key anthem here.

45) Filthy Friends – Any Kind Of Crowd

Corin Tucker sounds adorable in this Filthy Friends song.

44) Julien Baker – Appointments

Sad! Classic Julien Baker.

43) Wiretree – Let Me In

I love this sweet little number by Austin’s own Wiretree.

42) Hazel English – Fix

What a wonderfully hazy pop tune by Hazel English.

41) Mogwai – Eternal Panther

Somehow the best song that Mogwai put out this year isn’t on the album they released.

40) Alyeska – Stones

This 90s indie rock throwback from Alyeska is fantastic.

39) Land Of Talk – Loving

It’s so good to have Elizabeth Powell back in action as Land Of Talk.

38) The Kills – Desperado (Rhianna Cover)

The Kills really make this Rhianna track their own.

37) Why? – Proactive Evolution

I’ll never tire of Why?. This is one of my favorite songs by them.

36) The Octopus Project – Small Hundred

This song by The Octopus Project always makes me want to get up and move.

35) Fujiya & Miyagi – Solitaire

Another year, another infectious jam by Fujiya & Miyagi.

34) Carly Rae Jepsen – Cut To The Feeling

Can’t stop Carly.

33) The Courtneys – Silver Velvet

This is the catchiest song on The Courtneys’ album of really catchy songs.

32) Growl – New Sincerity.

Here’s some jangly pop perfection by Austin’s Growl.

31) Kane Strang – Oh So You’re Off I See

I revisited this slightly weird Kane Strang track a lot in 2017.

30) Beth Ditto – Oo La La

Beth Ditto really goes for it here.

29) Sports – Making It Right

This is a charming pop tune from Sports.

28) Wolf Parade – You’re Dreaming

Wolf Parade with a legit ear-pleaser.

27) Ought – These 3 Things

Ought went new wave here. Good move!

26) Waxahatchee – Never Been Wrong

Indie rock perfection by Waxahatchee.

25) The Rural Alberta Advantage – Toughen Up

The Rural Alberta Advantage made a big time jump back onto my radar with this song.

24) Screaming Females – Black Moon

I can’t wait for the new Screaming Females album. This first single is so damn good.

23) Protomartyr – Don’t Go to Anacita

Intense but great. Protomartyr are the best.

22) Sweet Spirit – The Power

What a big track by Austin’s Sweet Spirit.

21) Perfume Genius – Slip Sway

This is one of Perfume Genius’ best songs.

20) Spook School – Less Than Perfect

Spook School are as catchy as can be here.

19) Rhye – Taste

This Rhye track has an immaculate sound.

18) Jay Som – Baybee

Hazy, dancey, perfect stuff here by Jay Som.

17) Walker Lukens – Don’t Want To Be Lonely (Don’t Want To Leave You Alone)

Here’s a total ear-worm from Austin’s Walker Lukens.

16) The Blow – Get Up

This song from The Blow is a rambly as can be, but I love it.

15) LCD Soundsystem – Call The Police

The best song on LCD Soundsystem’s comeback album.

14) Diet Cig – Barf Day

The line “I know that you’re sorry, I just don’t care” will forever make me smirk. Thanks for that, Diet Cig.

13) Molly Burch – Wrong For You

It’s just about impossible to not love this retro-leaning effort from Austin’s own Molly Burch.

12) Lo Tom – Overboard

David Bazan is so good in this Lo Tom tune. I love his voice.

11) Football, etc. – Save

This track from Austin’s Football, etc. has an early 2000s indie rock vibe that I really dig.

10) The War On Drugs – Holding On

Headphones + this track from The War On Drugs = my happy place.

09) The Coathangers – Captain’s Dead

The Coathangers are on a real roll right now. This song is a blast.

08) Spoon – Do I Have To Talk You Into It

I love how loose Spoon sound here.

07) White Reaper – Judy French

So infectious. White Reaper continue to be big favorites of mine.

06) Alex Lahey – Every Day’s The Weekend

My favorite song from 2017 to sing-a-long to. Alex Lahey sure knows how to write an anthem.

05) The National – The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness

Heavy but accessible. Great track by The National.

04) SZA – Supermodel

I spent a couple of months obsessed with this SZA song. It’s so dramatic.

03) Kendrick Lamar – Humble

It was impossible to escape this Kendrick Lamar song in 2017. I didn’t mind.

02) St. Vincent – Los Ageless

St. Vincent is rather aggressive here, and it’s awesome.

01) Alvvays – In Undertow

This was practically my default song this year. It’s perfect. Thanks, Alvvays!

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101X Homegrown Podcast

December 4, 2017


Check out the latest 101X Homegrown!  Enjoy.

Mobley – Tell Me
Vodi – Talk
Marmalakes – Vittoria
(NEW) Wiretree – You’ve Got Tonight
(NEW) Wild Child – Expectations
(NEW) Tres Oui – Seance
(NEW) Okkervil River – What Friends Do
(NEW) Lowin – The Wheel
Solid State Dream Suit – Nervous
A Sinclair – Cars
Emily Wolfe – Holy Roller
Big Bill – Pharmacy
(NEW) Randy Reynolds – Mirror To The Mountain

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November 30, 2017


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


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:

- 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

- 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

- 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

- 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


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


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


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


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


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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Screaming Females

November 16, 2017


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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