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Black Mountain

February 11, 2016

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Waking up to a new Black Mountain song is like waking up to find out you’ve won the lottery.  Well, maybe it’s not quite that great, but I am really excited that the psych rocker masters have rallied up a new album (their first since 2010′s Wilderness Heart).  Below you’ll find the riffy, atmospheric gem that is the first single off of IV.  Enjoy.

:Black Mountain – Mothers Of The Sun:

IV is due out April 1 via Jagjaguwar.  The band is set to play Levitation in April/May.

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Show Of The Week

February 10, 2016

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I normally like to go local or small when it comes to my main pick for this column, but this week I couldn’t help but be fixated on the show that’s going down at Stubb’s tomorrow night.  The tour is called Summer Is Forever II, and the lineup features three acts that have made plenty of appearance here at SOTO – Wavves, Best Coast and Cherry Glazerr.  I’m expecting it to be be a fun night.  Be there.

BONUS Show Recommendations:

Tonight:
- Jessica Lea Mayfield at the Cactus Cafe

Thursday:
- The Murder City Devils, Sweet Spirit, Caskets at the Mohawk
- Protextor, Secret Levels, Scuare, Hermit Kingdom at Barracuda
- The Blistering Speeds, The Midgetmen at Indian Roller Boutique Roadhouse

Friday:
- Riders Against the Storm, Subkulture Patriots, Cake, Brenden Foster, Mama Duke, DJ Zetroc at The Sidewinder
- Moving Panoramas, Telepods, Daniel Francis Doyle & The Dreams, Teenage Cavegirl at Hotel Vegas
- Zettajoule, Slomo Drags, Major Major Major, Star Parks, The Holy Child, Feline & Strange, The David Ruffins at The Blackheart

Saturday:
- Flesh Lights, Manhunt, Sweet Talk, Runnin’ with Pendejos, Mike Melendi, DJ’s Tweey and Sara O at Hotel Vegas
- The Eastern Sea, Good Field, Lomelda, Grand Child, Early Internet, Molly Burch, Scenery at The Sidewinder
- Isaiah the Mosaic, Shmu, Food Group, Red Comet 3 at the Mohawk

Sunday:
- The Happen-Ins, The Ghost Wolves at Stubb’s

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Charles Bradley

February 9, 2016

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The great Charles Bradley is about to release a new album through the also great Daptone Records, and today I have his latest single for you.  As is always the case with the soul singer, the song features powerful vocal work and the kind of lyrics that make you want to be a better person.  Enjoy.

:Charles Bradley – Change For The World:

Changes is due out April 1 via Daptone/Dunham.

Bonus Video:

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Quickdraw: Sheer Mag, Parquet Courts, Mass Gothic, The Raveonettes, Mogwai

February 8, 2016

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Sheer Mag – Can’t Stop Fighting:  Another year, another immensely rad track from Sheer Mag.  Eventually they’re going to write a bad song, and even then I might still dig it.  No word yet on whether this is a one-off track or if it belongs to an EP/LP.

:Parquet Courts – Dust:  Here’s a simplistic, somewhat humorous new one from Parquet Courts.  I appreciate the way those guys seemingly never take any time off.  Human Performance is due out April 8 via Rough Trade.  The band will be at Levitation in April/May.

:Mass Gothic – March Of The Cigs:  Even though they just put out an album via the mighty Sub Pop, I wasn’t aware of Mass Gothic until this track came along.  It’s big and atmospheric, and I’ll definitely use it as a reason to check out the band’s debut.  The Mass Gothic/Mazed split is available now via Bandcamp.

:The Raveonettes – This World Is Empty (Without You):  This catchy, 80s-enthused number is the first of 12 singles that The Raveonettes will be releasing this year (that’s one per month, in case that didn’t auto-click in your head).  I’m into it.

:Mogwai – EtherMogwai just made the jump to Temporary Residence LTD, and that’s where they’ll put out reworked versions of the music they crafted for the documentary Atomic: Living In Dread and Promise.  This first taste is a slow-burner that’s deserving of good headphones.  Atomic: A Soundtrack By Mogwai is due out June 17.

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Sonny Vincent Benefit (Dan)

February 5, 2016

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Saturday night there is a benefit show at the Sidewinder (doors at 8pm) featuring a slew of incredible Texas punk and garage rock bands. The show is being held to benefit Sonny Vincent (of the Testors) whose family was recently involved in a tragic accident. All proceed collected at the door will go towards the recovery of Sonny’s family.

Sonny’s son, daughter-in-law, and grandson were involved in a gas explosion. They are each currently in the Burn Intensive Care Unit at Winston Salem Medical Center, and are on life support struggling for their lives. A Go Fund Me has been established to help cover the family’s massive medical bill. Whether you can make it to the show or not, I hope you will consider donating to this worthy cause.

For those unfamiliar with Sonny Vincent, he’s a punk rock musician that has been making great music since the mid-1970s. He started out as part of the New York City punk rock scene and over the years has performed and recorded with an incredible array of musicians. These include Maureen Tucker, Bob Stinson, Brian James, Thurston Moore, Lou Reed, John Cale, and Jad Fair, just to name a few.

Here is the lineup for this Saturday. I hope to see you there!

Outside:
Riverboat Gamblers
11:10-12 AM
Easy Prey
10-10:30 PM
Gentlemen Rogues
9-9:30 PM

Inside:
Sweet Talk
12:50-1:30 AM
Bad Sports
12-12:40 AM
Drakulas
10:30-11 PM
Broken Gold
9:30-10 PM

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Calliope Musicals (Single Premiere)

February 4, 2016

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It’s Thursday, and I imagine that you’re probably feeling a bit exhausted by whatever the hell this week has thrown at you.  I get it.  Life is hard and stuff.  Don’t fret though, today SOTO has the premiere of Calliope Musicals‘ new single, and it’s such a wonderfully pleasant pop effort that I’m certain it’ll provide enough pep in your step to get you to the weekend.  Enjoy.

The self-described “psychedelic-party folk” band from Austin will release their debut full length, Time Owes You Nothing, on April 15.  Their album release party will be the same day at Central Presbyterian Church.

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Show Of The Week

February 3, 2016

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This weekend features the first Homegrown Live that I get to host (I just took over the radio show 101X Homegrown), and I’m really excited about it.  So, if you love me, you’ll head over to the inside stage at the Mohawk on Saturday to watch Cross Record celebrate the release of their album Wabi-Sabi (out now on Ba Da Bing Records).  I’ve been pouring over the atmospheric LP throughout the last couple of weeks, and I’m totally in love with it.  Adam Torres and Nadia will open the evening.

BONUS Show Recommendations:

Tonight:
- Shearwater, Marmalakes at The North Door
- Big Eyes, Flesh Lights, Old Soul, Crocodile at Cheer Up Charlies

Thursday:
- Protextor, Secret Levels, Crew54, KB at Barracuda
- Lochness Mobsters, Hidden Ritual, Lake of Fire, The Be Helds at Hotel Vegas
- Matt Hines (of The Eastern Sea), Rain Collectors, Twin Brother, Old Earth at the Mohawk
- Tele Novella at The Badlands
- Bully, Diet Cig at the Parish
- Canvas People, The Cover Letter, Taylor & the Wild Now at Stubb’s
- Reservations, Grey Lakes, Darkbird, Wildcat Apollo at Stay Gold

Friday:
- The Zoltars, Faux Ferocious, Soda, Major Major Major at Hotel Vegas
- Tele Novella, Lowin, Devin Jake at Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co.
- I Love the 90′s with Salt-N-Pepa with Spinderella, Vanilla Ice, Coolio, Kid ‘n Play, All 4 One, Young MC at Cedar Park Center

Saturday:
- Yo La Tengo, Dave Schramm at Hogg Auditorium
- Christian Bland and the Revelators, Annabelle Chairlegs, Kay Odyssey, Two Lips at Hotel Vegas
- Riverboat Gamblers, Sweet Talk, Bad Sports, Easy Prey, Drakulas, Gentlemen Rogues, Broken Gold at The Sidewinder
- Jukebox the Ghost, The Family Crest at the Mohawk
- P.T. Banks, Tinnarose, Lomelda at Stubb’s
- The Sour Notes, Borrisokane at Indian Roller Boutique Roadhouse

Sunday:
- Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Lower Dens at Emo’s

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Quickdraw: Mind Spiders, Twin Peaks, White Denim, Tangerine, Yuck

February 2, 2016

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Mind Spiders – Cold:  This new one from Mind Spiders is the best post punk song I’ve heard in who knows how long.  I can’t take it off repeat.  Prosthesis is due out March 11 via Dirtnap.

:Twin Peaks – Walk To The One You LoveTwin Peaks have assembled a third full length, and this charming garage pop number is the first single off of it.  I like how comfortable it sounds.  Down In Heaven is due out May 13 via Grand Jury.  You’ll be able to see the band at Levitation in April/May.

:White Denim – Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah):  “I need you like bacon needs eggs.”  Even if this song wasn’t a total blast of retro-enthused fun, I’d still be into it because of that one lyric.  White Denim will release Stiff on March 25 via Downtown.  You can see the band this Thursday at C-Boys Heart & Soul.

:Tangerine – Sunset:  Whenever I listen to this song two things pop into my head – “What an infectious effort!” and “Why in the world haven’t I ever paid any attention to Tangerine?”.  The Sugar Teeth EP is due out February 19 via Swoon.

:Yuck – Cannonball:  Here’s a quickie (that’s somehow not a Breeders’ cover) from Yuck.  It’s fuzzy and loud, and I’m really into it.  Stranger Things is due out February 26.

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P.T. Banks (Album Premiere)

February 1, 2016

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P.T. Banks is a new venture from Paul Banks that also features Christopher Cox and Matthew Shepherd (both spend most of their time with Feverbones and Dana Falconberry), and I’m excited to be premiering a full stream of their debut album, Moonlight Is Sunlight.  The Austin-based trio have created something that’s soulful and inspired, and I think you’re really going to dig it.  Enjoy.

Moonlight Is Sunlight is due out this Friday.  The band’s album release party is this Saturday at Stubb’s with Tinnarose and Lomelda.

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Sheer Agony (Noah)

January 29, 2016

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Let me be honest here: I’ve been hip-dip in mixtape after glorious mixtape of old, weird, obscure music and I’ve barely taken the time to poke my head out of my cubbyhole to acknowledge that contemporary music is still hurtling along. That said, I took a moment away from the world of mixtape podcasts I’ve newly discovered, to dig around and see what I might be missing. Enter Sheer Agony. You can categorize things as Nerd Rock now, like it’s an actual genre that someone came up with that is applied to music (what a world huh?), and though I try to avoid just dropping made-up genres on music, Sheer Agony does have that bookish twinge of what I imagine Nerd Rock would be. It feels like the end of thrashy, leather-clad punk rock in the early 80s, when the Talking Heads were showing people that subversive music didn’t have to be all sweat and punching. It has that twang of a guitar string broke on purpose but pushed into this tight, almost mathematical little parade of off-kilter music that you’d find yourself somehow shaking your hips to. It’s not just that either though, somehow, in two minutes mind you, they squish in a raging guitar solo, a burst of like 80s white-guy soul, and then a step back into that nerd-rock-dance-party we all got our hands stamped for. Nice way to kick off the year.

:Sheer Agony – I Have A Dream:

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Mirror Travel

January 28, 2016

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Mirror Travel have been a favorite of mine since I moved to Austin in 2007.  Though, way back then they were called Follow That Bird, they played scuzzy garage rock, and whenever I saw its members out and about they had big X’s on their hands.  Now they’re all grown up and cranking out undeniably good psych rock tunes (example: their swirling new single down below), and I just couldn’t be more proud.  High fives all around to them.  And you, because why not.  Enjoy.

:Mirror Travel – Yesca:

Cruise Deal is due out March 11 via Modern Outsider.

Bonus Video:

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Show Of The Week

January 27, 2016

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Even though this is kind of a low key week for shows in Austin (SXSW is clearly looming), there’s still a lot that you could get out and see.  As always, if you’re going to pick just one show to attend, go with my top choice, which is Roses, Shivery Shakes, Rose Selavy and Typical Girls at Barracuda tomorrow night.  That’s four quality indie pop bands for … well, I don’t know how much because I can’t find it listed anywhere.  Regardless, I’m sure it won’t be expensive, and like I said, all four bands are good.  Be there.

BONUS Show Recommendations:

Thursday:
- Tuxedo (DJ set), Blue The Misfit, The Digital Wild at the Parish

Friday:
- Cross Record at End of an Ear
- Rain Collectors, Reservations, Tremble Out, Tapes at Cheer Up Charlie’s
- The Villas (record release), Wildcat Apollo, Loafers at the Mohawk
- Sailor Poon, Dan Doyle Solo Loop Set, Loteria, Basketball Shorts at Hotel Vegas
- DJ Hey Chris Page, Kay Oddysey, Que Pasa, Tres Oui at The Blackheart

Saturday:
- A Giant Dog, The Ripe, Street Dads at ABGB
- The Black and White Years, Shark Rider at Lamberts
- Vanessa Carlton, Skye Steele at the Parish
- Grace Potter And Her Band at ACL Live

Sunday:
- Harvest Thieves at Waterloo Records

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Quickdraw: Wussy, Best Friends, DIIV, Blue Healer, Polica

January 26, 2016

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Wussy – Dropping Houses:  In a recent interview with Spin, Wussy’s Lisa Walker referred to this track in part as a “singable wall of noise.”  I second that.  Forever Sounds is due out March 4 via Shake It.

:Best Friends – Wash Me Out:  I wasn’t familiar with Best Friends (phrasing?) until this fuzzy, lo-fi indie rock track arrived in my inbox last week, but now I’m all about them.  The band just released an album, Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane., via FatCat.  This particular song isn’t actually on the LP, but I’m still anxious to dive into it.

:DIIV – Is The Is Are:  The more I hear off of DIIV’s upcoming album, the more I get excited about it.  This track has a driving arrangement that I really like.  Is The Is Are is due out February 5 via Captured Tracks.

:Blue Healer – Luminescent Eyes:  Here’s a slick new pop tune from Blue Healer, an Austin-based act that I’ve grown fond of over the last six months or so.  Expect it to get lodged in your head.  The band will release their debut album later this year.

:Polica – Wedding:  I’ve never really thought of Polica as dark or edgy, but that’s pretty much their approach here both sound-wise and lyrically (the song is about the “symbiotic relationship between the militarization of police in America and the drug trade”).  It works for them.  United Crushers is due out March 4 via Mom + Pop.

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The Range

January 25, 2016

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My original plan was to post a Quickdraw today, but I scrapped that once I realized just how much I dig The Range’s new single, Florida.  So, here we are.  The song, which is the first to be released off of his upcoming album Potential, is wonderfully textured and features some choice bits from Ariana Grande’s You’ll Never Know.  Put on headphones!  Enjoy.

:The Range – Florida:

Potential is due out March 25 via Domino.

Bonus Video:

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Beats & Eats (James)

January 22, 2016

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Beats & Eats is a mixtape and a meal. A collection of tunes (sometimes there’s a theme, sometimes it’s just whatever I’m into this month) and a recipe to cook (bake, mix, whatever) while you listen to the songs. Enjoy!

Nothing says winter like making soups at home, while listening to your latest favorite mixtape, and sipping on strong whiskey — right now it’s a glass of Barrel Select George Dickel, gifted to me by the staff at The Blackheart in Austin.

Beats & Eats: Volume 1 is 90 mins of some of my favorite 2015 releases to listen to while you make the baked potato soup recipe below, borrowed from the outstanding cooking blog Smitten Kitchen. This soup is damn near perfection. Perfect for these negative temps I’m experiencing in Minnesota. Familiarize yourself with the recipe, queue up the mixtape, and get ready for the best damn potato soup of your life.

Smitten Kitchen Baked Potato Soup (serves 6)

Ingredients:
- 1 head garlic
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 medium leeks, white and light green parts halved lengthwise, washed, and chopped small
- 5 to 6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (I used 5 cups; add the extra cup after pureeing if you’d like a thinner soup)
- 2 bay leaves
- Table salt
- 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- Ground black pepper
- Toppings, optional:
- Minced fresh chives or scallions
- Bacon bits
- Sour cream
- Grated cheddar
- A drizzle of melted (or melted and browned) butter

Instructions:
- Rinse the head of garlic to remove any outside grit or dirt. Cut the top third off the head and peel any loose papery skins off the bottom two-thirds. Pop out a bunch (or all) of the garlic clove tips and mince them.

- In a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add leeks and cook them until soft (but not brown), about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook another minute. Add the larger part of the garlic head (whole, not chopped), broth, bay leaves and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat and simmer until garlic is very tender when pierced with tip of knife, 30 to 40 minutes. Add potatoes and continue to simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

- Discard bay leaves. Remove garlic heads. Optional: If you’d like an extra garlic boost to the soup, using tongs or paper towels, squeeze garlic head at root end until cloves slip out of their skins. Using a fork, mash the garlic cloves to smooth paste and add it back to the soup.

- Add sour cream to soup and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper to taste. Using immersion blender, process soup until chunky-creamy, leaving lots of potato texture intact. (Alternatively, transfer a portion of the potatoes and broth to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.) Serve with whatever makes you happy on top, or nothing at all.

Beats & Eats Vol. 1 Mixtape

Bones and Beeker open things up. Tap your feet while you peel potatoes and chop leeks. This is the bulk of the prep work you’ll do today. The rest is hurry up and wait.

Smitten Kitchen’s recipe gives you the option of peeling or not peeling your potatoes. I say “sort of” peel them — because peeling potatoes really sucks and is that really what you want to spend your afternoon doing?

2015 Mercury Prize finalists ESKA, C. Duncan, SOAK, and winner Benjamin Clementine, all make an appearance on January’s mix. Son Little’s The River wins 2015’s “Most Under-Appreciated Award” in my book. Justin Vernon-produced The Staves drop in twice. So does Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment (second place in the James Taylor’s “Most Under-Appreciated of 2015″ category).

By track 13 or 14 you should be thinking to yourself “Heck yeah, I’m making this killer soup! It’s gonna be so good,” and you’ll be listening to Bully’s I Remember and it’ll be good. Titus Andronicus quietly (it seems to me) dropped a 29-song concept album earlier this year. It’s a handful to dig through but Fatal Flaw is a Westerbergian gem.

Harvest Thieves and Keeper hold it down for Austin TX. Diet Cig (Harvard) and Pesky (Keep Me) are charming and delightful. Beach House somehow managed to release two albums in 2015, All Your Yeahs being one of several rad tracks spread across these two releases. Beyonce and Run the Jewels collaborator BOOTS drops Bombs Away. I included Blackstar on this mix before we lost David Bowie — what a fucking bummer 2016 has been for rock n roll. RIP.

Once everything is cooked through, transfer half your soup to a blender and puree, then return the blended soup to the chunkier half and mix it all up. You should have a delicious baked potato soup sitting in front of you, full of texture and flavor.  The key to this soup is everything that goes on top of the soup — the baked potato in all it’s glory — bacon, chives, sour cream, grated cheddar cheese.

Chance the Rapper and his band Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment close out this month’s mixtape. Chance’s star is burning bright right now and the decision to put out an adventurous album with his backing band getting top billing deserves respect. Try not to get Jamila Wood’s Sunday Candy chorus stuck in your head while you eat this delicious Baked Potato Soup.

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