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Show Of The Week

September 21, 2016

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There are a lot of great shows happening this week. A lot.  And I’m admittedly pretty excited about most of them, which means that it’s difficult to pick just one gig to recommend.  So, here’s what I’m going to do – list one show that’s local, and one that isn’t.

Local Pick Of The Week:  The goods folks in East Cameron Folkcore have readied a new album, Better Off, and on Saturday at Empire Control Room they’ll be celebrating the release of it.  Along with them will be The Bread, Town Hall Devils, Sich Rada, Name Sayers, Harvest Thieves, A Sinclair, Possessed By Paul James and Like Dogs.  That’s a packed lineup!  I hope the bar stocks enough whiskey.

Non-local Pick Of The Week:  Cymbals Eat Guitars only release good albums and they’re rad live, so you have to go see them at Sidewinder on Sunday night.  They’ll be there with Field Mouse, who just released a very catchy LP called Episodic, and Wildhoney.  The show is also in celebration of Sidewinder’s one-year anniversary.  That’s even more reason to be there!

PS – If you’re interested in some of the stuff I’ve been working on lately.  I’ve got a Red Bull Sound Select showcase on Thursday at Barracuda with The Ponys, In The Whale and BLXPLTN.  RSVP HERE for $3 entry!  I’ve also got an early (as in it starts at 6pm and will be over around 9pm) show on Saturday at the Oasis for 93.7 KLBJ that features Ume, Abram Shook and Leslie Sisson (of Moving Panoramas).  This one is FREE!

BONUS Show Recommendations:

Tonight:
- Titus Andronicus, A Giant Dog at Barracuda
- Beirut at Stubb’s
- Old 97′s, Dalton Domino at 3ten ACL Live
- Kanye West at the Erwin Center

Thursday:
- Adam & the Figurines, Jean, Plantation Band, John Wesley Coleman, The Mammoths at the Hole in the Wall
- Fort Never, Mobley, NGHT HCKLRS, Lou Rebecca, Tres Oui, Shimmer Island at Cheer Up Charlies
- Andrew W.K. – The Power of Partying at The North Door
- Night Drive, Anoraak, Troller, Lambda at The Swan Dive
- Toadies, Emily Wolfe, Oil Boom at Stubb’s
- Kaytranada at Emo’s

Friday:
- Alabama Shakes, Corinne Bailey Rae at Austin360 Amphitheater
- Classixx, Alex Frankel, Harriet Brown at the Parish
- Ruby & The Reckless, Purple, MCG, The Wild Now at Empire Control Room

Saturday:
- Think No Think, The Golden Boys, The Gospel Truth, SXSW at The Swan Dive
- Capyac, Ishi, Honor System at The Sidewinder
- Hovvdy, Alexalone, Neat, Kellen at Cheer Up Charlies
- Rocky Votolato, Chris Staples at the Parish
- Otis the Destroyer, Ringo Deathstarr, Casual Strangers at Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co.
- Nic Armstrong and the Thieves, Great Shapes at Spiderhouse

Sunday:
- Radioactivity, US Weekly, Nosferatu at the Mohawk
- Junebug Spade, She Sir, The Early Stages at the Mohawk
- Stephen Svacina and Friends at Hotel Vegas
- James Blake at ACL Live at the Moody Theater

Monday:
- Lissie at Antone’s
- Alice in Chains, Staticland at ACL Live at the Moody Theater

Tuesday:
- The Howling Hex, Crooked Bangs, Hidden Ritual at Beerland
- The Spill Canvas at the Parish
- Big Thief, The Deer, Gracie Terzian at Antone’s
- Coheed and Cambria, Saves the Day, Polyphia at Stubb’s

Show Of The Week Media:

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Abram Shook

May 5, 2015

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At this point you’re probably tired of me and the rest of the SOTO gang repeatedly telling you to be excited about Abram Shook’s upcoming album, but we can’t help it.  We really like the guy and we’re just sure his new effort is going to be as good as or better than last year’s excellent Sun Marquee.  So jump on the bandwagon already!

Just below here is Abram’s latest single.  It’s an attention-grabbing slow burner that has yet to stop wowing me.  Enjoy.

:Abram Shook – Perfect:

Landscape Dream is due out May 12 via Western Vinyl.  Catch Abram Shook at the Mohawk on May 15.

Bonus Video:

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Quickdraw: Lee Bains III And The Glory Fires, Cayucas, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Abram Shook, Mates Of State

April 30, 2015

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Lee Bains III And The Glory Fires – Sweet Disorder!:  Every time I hit play on this Lee Bains III And The Glory Fires jam, the volume creeps up a level or two higher than it was for the previous listen.  I also get the urge to grab a beer.  The Sweet Disorder! 7″ is due out July 21 via Sub Pop.

:Cayucas – Moony Eyed Walrus:  This new track from Cayucas is one of the most buoyant pop tunes I’ve come across in … well, I don’t know.  I rarely consider how buoyant a song is.  Anyhow, I dig it.  Dancing At The Blue Lagoon is due out June 23 via Secretly Canadian.  See the band at the Parish on August 9.

:Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Trevor Forever:  Here’s a catchy slice of power pop from Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin.  It makes me want to see the band live.  The High Country is due out June 2 via Polyvinyl.  Catch them at Holy Mountain on August 15.

:Abram Shook – Get Gone:  Leduc and I are so very ready to get our hands on Abram Shook’s sophomore effort.  The two singles released so far (that includes this song) have been total ear pleasers.  Landscape Dream is due out May 12 via Western Vinyl.  See him at the Mohawk on May 15.

:Mates of State – Staring Contest:  Mates of State’s recent show in Austin left me with such a big smile on my face.  It’s good to have them back.  The world is more tolerable when Kori and Jason are churning out charming tracks like this one.  The You’re Going To Make It EP is due out June 16 via Barsuk.

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Abram Shook (Jennifer)

April 23, 2015

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Abram Shook released one of my favorite albums from 2014 – Sun Marquee. After enjoying the lush, atmospheric songs on that LP, I’ve been looking forward to hearing what he would do next.

As a songwriter, he offers a soulful, eclectic range of sounds that delight and seduce the senses. On songs like Understood, he combines bubbling funk and disco grooves accented with dreamy, falsetto vocals that are an indulgent treat you want to dive into all over again.

Abram’s new full length, Landscape Dream, will be released on May 12 via Western Vinyl. Come celebrate the album’s release with a performance on Friday, May 15 at The Mohawk with special guests Cross Record and The Deer. It’s a highly recommended local music triple threat worthy of kicking off your weekend.

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Quickdraw: Modest Mouse, Abram Shook, Jeff The Brotherhood, Blur, Action Bronson

February 19, 2015

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Modest Mouse – The Ground Walks With Time In A Box:  Here’s the latest single/leak/track off of Modest Mouse’s upcoming album.  It’s big and weird, and I think it’s great.  Can’t wait to hear the whole LP.  Strangers To Ourselves is due out March 17 via Epic.

:Abram Shook – Understood:  Abram Shook has announced the follow-up to last year’s stellar Sun Marquee, and I’m ecstatic.  As this track will show (or remind) you, the guy is great at crafting effortlessly enjoyable pop music.  Landscape Dream is due out May 12 via Western Vinyl.

:Jeff The Brotherhood – Black Cherry Pie:  Jeff The Brotherhood recently noted that they’re no longer in the “clutches of the demented vulture that is Warner Bros.”  Good for them.  On another note, there’s some solid flute work at play in this riffy tune.  Wasted On The Dream is due out March 24 via Infinity Cat.

:Blur – Go Out:  The mighty Blur have announced their first LP since 2003′s Think Tank.  This first single is kind of slinky and just rad enough to make me want to spend a day or four revisiting the band’s previous albums.  Look for The Magic Whip on April 27.

:Action Bronson – Terry:  I think this might be one of my favorite Action Bronson songs ever.  It’s super relaxed, rambly and it features a heady outro that’s nearly two-minutes long.  Mr. Wonderful is due out March 24 via Vice/Atlantic.

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2014 SOTO Staff Picks

December 11, 2014

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I’ve rambled on long enough about the music I liked in 2014.  Here are the staff’s picks.  Enjoy.

Turns out that aside from the crippling bodily ailments and the inability to control my bladder, getting older has made me absolutely awful at listening to music. Don’t hate haters, I’ve just gotten over the hump of 30 and all of sudden I just can’t focus enough to listen to a whole album. Blame it on the SNES I brought home for my girlfriend’s birthday, blame it on the imposition of real life, blame it on the encroaching approach of a potent mix of early onset dementia and Adult ADHD – I’ve just been really bad at music listening this year. Thus, my teensy tiny list of music is culled from a pond not nearly as large as I’d hoped it to be. That said, the music I liked, I loved and that’s the music that ended up below.

Parkay Quarts – Content Nausea
Mac DeMarco – Salad Days
Caribou – Our Love
Vince Staples – Hell Can Wait
Perfume Genius – Too Bright

Since 2010, rock music hasn’t changed all that much. There’s presently a general look back to past niche musics from the 1960′s onward. But through the nostalgia haze, there are a great deal of both old and new artists finding new latitudes. Here’s my major jams this year.

1. Thurston Moore – The Best Day (Matador)
2. David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights – End Times Undone (Merge)
3. Steve Gunn – Way out Weather (PoB)
4. Datashock – Keine Oase in Sicht (Dekorder)
5. William Tyler – Lost Colony (Merge)

I’ve been staring at my 2014 list like a student procrastinating on their end of the semester term paper.  I go back and forth on who to include, who to leave out, and recalling releases (d’oh!) I never got around to checking out. There are also the nagging doubts such as wondering if I gave an album enough listens to put it on my list. Like last year my list focuses on my local Austin favorites. Narrowing it down to the Top 5 wasn’t easy but I stand by my choices of my faves that earned multiple listens. So many good bands to choose from but oh what a problem to have, right?

In no particular order, I present to you :

The Sour Notes – Do What May
Abram Shook – Sun Marquee
Alex Napping – This Is Not A Bedroom
She Sir – Go Guitars
Shivery Shakes – Three Waves and A Shake

Honorable Mentions: The Ugly Beats – Brand New Day, Roger Sellers – Primitives, Genuine Leather – Losers

Compared to last year, 2014 left much to be desired when it comes to the sheer number of amazing releases. 2013 offered probably 15 to 20 “crap your pants while listening best record of the century” type stuff but then after that it sort of fell short in the real meat of the pack by not having a lot to deepen the core of metal. The reverse of which is true this year, I have attached to a few records as rising to the tippy top of the heap, but the real glory came in the form of the fat of the genre, so many decent albums from so many artists, many debuts, but several just continuations on great careers, but few to get all wigged out about.

My Top 5 you can see here are pretty clear choices though when you look at what they accomplished on these albums, Devn Townsend Project made two albums into one, and continued the story or Ziltoid the Omniscient, Anaal Nathrakh did what they do, but better, Job for a Cowboy somehow made bass a relevant instrument in death metal, At the Gates reunited after 900 years and proved they still have it, and Black Crown Initiate stole the show with their debut mixing death metal and melodic anthems into something technically proficient and sufficiently mind blowing. I was not let down this year, but I know I will be surprised in a few years with what I actually retained from 2014, not sure if you would agree, but that’s how I see things …

5. Devin Townsend Project – Ziltoid 2 (Century Media)
4. Anaal Nathrakh – Desideratum (Metal Blade)
3. Job For A Cowboy – Sun Eater (Metal Blade)
2. At The Gates – At War With Reality (Century Media)
1. Black Crown Initiate – The Wreckage Of Stars (eOne Entertainment)

I guess I’ll start by saying that 2014 hasn’t been an amazing year for hip hop, but it hasn’t been a completely terrible one either.  Here are my choices for the best releases this year, in no particular order:

Open Mike Eagle – Dark Comedy
Run The Jewels – RTJ2
Vince Staples – Hell Can Wait
Big K.R.I.T. – Cadillactica
Shabazz Palaces – Lese Majaesty

T’was a solid year for melancholy songs. Albums that truly destroyed the center of the cardiovascular system were aplenty. We’re living in a golden age of audio misery! There were SO MANY great releases that dehydrated our tear ducts but since you, the readers, are demanding a definitive ranking of the saddest albums of the year, so be it. I’ve done the requisite soul searching and came up with this predominantly lady-heavy list of my fav weepers of the year. They are full of gut wrenchers, soul crushers … and they are all fantastic. Way to bring the pain this year, ladies!

1: Beck – Morning Phase
2. Lykke Li – I Never Learn
3. Divorcee – Self Titled
4. Jenny Lewis – The Voyager
5. Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness

Best Reissue: American Football – Self Titled

Narrowing down my top albums is a tortuous process. I’m an old-school guy. I still listen to entire albums from start to finish and only occasionally opt for a playlist of singles. Immersing yourself in an album is the most satisfying way way to connect with the music. So I get really dialed into my favorite albums each year, which makes narrowing down the lot a difficult task.

Before we get to my top five, let’s take a minute to recognized the amazing amount of quality music released this year by 12XU. It was far and away the top Austin label in 2014. They featured not only one of my top artists (The Dead Space) and but also three others in my top 10 (Flesh Lights, Jonly Bonly, The Gotobeds).

1) Ghetto Ghouls – Self Titled
2) The Dead Space – Faker
3) Protomartyr – Under Color of Official Right
4) Ex Hex – Rips
5) OBN IIIs – Third Time To Harm

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Top 25 Albums Of 2014: Part 1

December 9, 2014

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Well friends, I’m just about done with posting the site’s year-end music lists.  Today I have the first part of my Top 25 Albums of 2014 (25-11, plus various Honorable Mentions), tomorrow I’ll have my Top 10 selections, and then on Thursday I’ll have Top 5s from each of SOTO’s contributors.  Whew!  Anyhow, on with the rambling.  Enjoy.

PS – This year’s list is very heavily influenced by how often I revisited an album.

25) Swans – To Be Kind

There’s nothing about Swans’ To Be Kind that’s easy (or it would be ranked way higher), but if you can fully immerse yourself in its sprawling sound, you’ll find that it’s a rather rewarding album.

:Swans – A Little God In My Hands:

24) Interpol – El Pintor

While it’s no Turn On The Bright Lights, I do think that El Pintor is the best thing to come from Interpol in a long while.  Who knew that parting with Carlos D would turn out to be good for the band?!

:Interpol – All The Rage Back Home:

23) Future Islands – Singles

Future Islands’ Singles is one of those albums that I burned out on and then ending up excitedly coming back to.  It’s a pretty great effort, especially if you need something to dramatically dance to.

:Future Islands – Seasons (Waiting On You):

22) Sylvan Esso – Self Titled

Sylvan Esso’s self titled debut is an easily accessible effort that’s loaded with some of the year’s best electronic pop songs.  I often just put it on and let its warm sound fill the room.

:Sylvan Esso – Coffee:

21) Thee Oh Sees – Drop

Just when it looked like Thee Oh Sees were going to take a lengthy break, they released the lively Drop.  I approve of such indecisiveness.  Here’s hoping they continue on maybe going on hiatus.

:Thee Oh Sees – Penetrating Eye:

20) Ty Segall – Manipulator

Manipulator is the culmination of all the various sounds that Ty Segall has churned out over the last few years, and it’s great.  Way to bring everything full circle, Mr. Segall.

:Ty Segall – Susie Thumb:

19) Phantogram – Voices

I can’t say that Voices dominated my time the way that Eyelid Movies did (way back in 2010), but it’s definitely a high quality effort.  Phantogram craft great hooks.

:Phantogram – Fall In Love:

18) S – Cool Choices

Jenn Ghetto (formerly of Carissa’s Wierd) is S, and Cool Choices is her very sincere, introspective album.  She’s got the sort of voice that I can’t help but get hung up on.

:S – Vampires:

17) Mono – Rays Of Darkness/The Last Dawn

Technically, Rays Of Darkness and The Last Dawn are two separate releases, but I still consider them to be a two-disc effort.  As for the actual LPs themselves, I really dig how neither of them feel like the Mono that made the over-orchestrated For My Parents.

:Mono – Recoil, Ignite:

16) Jack White – Lazaretto

I can’t ever make any sense of the things that Jack White says and does these days, but I sure do like his music.  Lazaretto is a boisterous experience.

:Jack White – Lazaretto:

15) Abram Shook – Sun Marquee

Austin’s own Abram Shook put out the immensely pleasing Sun Marquee back in January, and it’s been a favorite of mine ever since.  It’s the kind of breezy, relaxed pop music that’s impossible to not get lost in.

:Abram Shook – Coastal:

14) Tune Yards – Nikki Nack

Nikki Nack is exactly what we’ve all come to want and expect from the talented Merrill Garbus (aka Tune Yards) – it’s creative and a whole lot of fun to listen to.

:Tune Yards – Real Thing:

13) Ex Hex – Rips

I miss Wild Flag, but their disbandment delivered Mary Timony’s equally catchy and rocking Ex Hex AND put Sleater-Kinney back together.  I’ll take that deal any day.

:Ex Hex – Hot And Cold:

12) The Dead Space – Faker

If you are even the slightest fan of post-punk, then you need The Dead Space’s Faker in your life.  There’s not a track on it that isn’t rad.

:The Dead Space – Behind The Wall:

11) Tacocat – NVM

I didn’t pay much attention to Tacocat’s NVM until kind of late in the year, but once I “discovered” it I was forever hooked.  It’s total surf-rock bliss.

:Tacocat – Crimson Wave:

Come back tomorrow for my Top 10 Albums of 2014!

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

To be honest, I could have easily detailed 50 albums this year, but since the bottom 25 slots would have been occupied by the various releases that I liked but didn’t listen to a whole super lot, I figured it was best to hold back.  For fun though, here are the LPs that more than likely would have made an expanded list.

A Sunny Day In Glasgow – Sea When Absent
Alex Napping – This Is Not A Bedroom
Alvvays – Self Titled
Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness
Ariel Pink – Pom Pom
Coathangers – Suck My Shirt
Cymbals Eat Guitars – Lose
Deerhoof – La Isla Bonita
Equals – Tracts
Eternal Summers – The Drop Beneath
FKA Twigs – LP1
Flesh Lights – Free Yourself
Literature – Chorus
Men – Tomorrow’s Hits
OBN IIIs – Third Time To Harm
Owls – Two
Pompeii – Loom
Ramesh – The King
Sharon Van Etten – Are We There
Thurston Moore – The Best Day
Tontons – Make Out King And Other Stories Of Love
Warpaint – Self Titled
We Were Promised Jetpacks – Unravelling
Wye Oak – Shriek
Yellow Ostrich – Cosmos

Also, for even more fun, here are my five favorite EPs of 2014.

Speedy Ortiz – Real Hair EP
Diarrhea Planet – Aliens In The Outfield EP
White Reaper – Self Titled EP
Otis The Destroyer – Dark Arts EP
Whiite Walls – Self Titled EP

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2014 Austin Essentials: Volume 1

November 24, 2014

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It’s taken me a couple of weeks, but I’ve finally manged to get my 2014 Austin Essentials list all perfectly hammered out  And by perfectly hammered out, I mean “I’m pretty sure I got 91% of it right.”  Anyways, it’s 60 or so bands long and it’s divided into three volumes (part two is tomorrow, part three is on Wednesday).  In case you’re wondering, my only real “guideline” for the list was that the artist must have put out something new (no re-releases, man) in 2014.  So, get to sampling!  I hope you find some new local stuff to love.  Enjoy.

PS – For the sake of not making the list even longer, I left out super familiar names like Spoon, And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, The Black Angels, Shakey Graves, Balmorhea, Ume, Quiet Company and I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness.

:Major Major Major – God Doesn’t Want Us:  Throughout 2014 Major Major Major have been increasingly impressive.  Their shows are a blast, and then there’s also the way the duo can’t seem to write anything that isn’t infectious.  Look out for their debut full length next year.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Abram Shook – Coastal:  I really love Abram Shook’s Sun Marquee.  The album is one of those pop efforts that’s both wonderfully crafted and super accessible.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Tele Novella – Trouble In Paradise:  Tele Novella spent much of the year further establishing themselves (singles, videos, lots of shows), and I think 2015 is now set to be a big one for them.  Jump on the bandwagon now.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:The Dead Space – Behind The Wall:  The Dead Space’s Faker is probably my favorite Austin album of 2014.  It’s a fantastic collection of post-punk tracks.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Magna Carda – Every Weekend (Featuring Olivia Applegate):  Magna Carda are no longer just one of the best hip hop acts in Austin, they’re one of the city’s best overall acts.  Here soon they’re releasing an album, and I can’t wait to check it out.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Dana Falconberry – Palmless:  Dana Falconberry and Jim Eno (from Spoon) crafted this song together for a Record Store Day release.  I want a lot more of the same.  Please.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Borrisokane – God Doesn’t Want Us (Major Major Major Cover):  Borrisokane’s Versus Project (a box set that features them and a variety of guests doing covers and original tunes) is probably the most ambitious thing that popped out of Austin in 2014.  Check it out if you haven’t.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Letting Up Despite Great Faults – Wrapped:  Neon is the name of Letting Up Despite Great Faults’ latest (and maybe final?) album.  You should pick it up just so that you can own a physical copy of this absolutely stellar song.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Summer Salt – Sweet To Me:  Phil and Eugene (from the now defunct Yum) are two-thirds of Summer Salt, a retro pop act with a knack for providing rather hooky, breezy tracks.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Otis The Destroyer – You’re The Wealth:  The Couch are no more, but that’s OK because some of its former members started the equally loud and glorious Otis The Destroyer.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Equals – Glistener:  If you’re a fan of instrumental rock, then Equals’ Tracts is an album that you need to seek out.  I’ve been jamming it for most of the year.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:BLXPLTN – Start Fires:  With music that’s all at once danceable, mosh-worthy and inspired,  BLXPLTN are an Austin band that has dominated in 2014.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Future Death – Basements:  Future Death play like maybe there really won’t be a tomorrow, and I like that.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Genuine Leather – The Enemy:  For those of you that love clever pop tunes, there’s the Genuine Leather album Losers.  Snatch it up.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Phil Ajjarapu – Sing Along Until You Feel Better:  SOTO’s own Jennifer made sure I included Phil Ajjarapu on the list, and it’s not hard to see why – the guy has some really good pop songs in his repertoire.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Lowin – Heave Ho:  Sara Houser’s soaring voice is now front and center in her own band (and no longer as part of The Couch), and the results so far have been pretty great.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:SHMU – She’s Leaving:  Sam Chown, who is also one half of Zorch, is the man behind SHMU.  Give the guy a listen if you like experimental electronic pop.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Pompeii – Blueprint:  After a solid five years or so, Pompeii finally rallied up a new album.  Loom, if you ask me, is fantastic and totally ended up being worth the wait.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Growl – Jackie:  I don’t remember many local music convos this year where someone didn’t excitedly bring up Growl.  This song is from a compilation, but you should also spend some time with the band’s EP, No Years, that was put out back in January.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Crooked Bangs – Ce Type:  This year Crooked Bangs put out this attitude-laced gem (it’s from a split with Houston’s Secret Prostitutes) and played Fun Fun Fun Fest.  Solid.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

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Abram Shook (Video Premiere)

March 6, 2014

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Earlier this week I put Abram Shook on my super short-list of artists that I thought people should try and see at SXSW, so of course I was happy to oblige him when he reached out and asked if I would premiere the video for Crush.  The song is off of his solo debut, Sun Marquee, which is currently available via Western Vinyl and is ready to thoroughly impress any of you who love good pop music.  I also think it’s the first great album to come out of Austin in 2014.  Just so you know, the video that Katie Jones created is rather entrancing, so be prepared to get lost in it.

If you’d like to see Abram at SXSW, here’s where you’ll find him …

- Tuesday, March 3/11 – Guero’s – Red River Noise Future Of Indie – FREE – 6pm
- Thursday, March, 3/13 – The Driskill (Victorian room) – Western Vinyl Showcase – 9pm
- Saturday, 3/15 – Botticelli’s – FREE – 6pm

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5 Bands You Should See At SXSW

March 4, 2014

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For years I’ve tried to figure out the best way to preview the music part of SXSW, and I think I’ve finally got it – the less coverage the better.  I know that seems counter intuitive given the size of the festival, but let’s face it, if you’re coming then you probably already have an epic list of artists to see.  Why should I try to add 50 acts on top of that?  And what if you’re not even going to be at the damn thing?  Well then every post isn’t SXSW related and you’re not burned out on something you’re not attending.  It’s just better for all parties that I keep it short.  So, without further adieu, here are the five bands I think you should try to see at SXSW.  Enjoy.

PS – I recommend searching around Do512, Sched.org, and the SXSW page for when these bands will be playing.

THE SUFFERS

The majority of 2014 has seen me in love with Houston’s The Suffers, and SXSW will be the perfect time for you to go see exactly why I’ve been championing them so much.  They’re definitely a must-see for those of you who have ever even remotely liked any sort of soul music.

:The Suffers – Giver (Live):

EX HEX

Betsy Wright (Fire Tapes) and Laura Harris (The Aquarium) are with the great Mary Timony in Ex Hex.  I hate that Wild Flag are no more, but Ex Hex seem like a more than suitable replacement.  Also, it’s Mary Timony!  No matter the project, she deserves all of our attention.

:Ex Hex – Hot And Cold:

MAS YSA

And my wild card pick for the festival is Mas Ysa.  Admittedly, there’s an overly intimate edge to him that may not work well within the chaos and noise of SXSW, but I still want to give him a shot.  Who knows, maybe it will end up being one of those unforgettable SXSW sets.

:Mas Ysa – Shame:

ABRAM SHOOK

There are just around 100 Austin acts that I could recommend, but since it’s SXSW 2014 I figured it made the most sense to give you Abram Shook (formerly of The Great Nostalgic), the guy responsible for the local scene’s first great album of the year.  He makes the sort of pop music that’s endlessly pleasing to the ears.

:Abram Shook – Coastal:

CURTIS HARDING

I’m excited about soul music in 2014, so in addition to The Suffers, I’m also going to tell you to see Curtis Harding.  He seems like he would put out a sweaty, wild show, and that’s always a good thing to experience in the midst of SXSW.  On a side note, I love that the guy is on Burger Records, home to a zillion punk rock acts.

:Curtis Harding – Keep On Shining:

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Abram Shook, Growl (Jennifer)

January 22, 2014

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I was introduced to the sounds of Abram Shook early last year when I saw him perform as a member of Austin’s Feverbones.  Since then I’ve been eagerly waiting for his solo album to be released. Well, now it’s here!  The effort is titled Sun Marquee and is available through Western Vinyl.

The songs on his solo debut LP offer the perfect remedy for the winter blues. The sound and atmosphere on these songs is a bright, dreamy slice of tropical infused pop. As a songwriter, he offers a soulful, effervescent vibe with groovy organ swirls, bubbling bass lines, and seductive, falsetto vocals. Like a tropical getaway during the winter, the album is finished before you know it and you’re ready to relive those warm, sunny memories again and again.

There will be an album release party this Friday at The Mohawk.  Two of my favorite Austin bands, Good Field and Royal Forest, make this bill a triple pop treat.

Another favorite discovery of mine from last year is the Austin indie pop/rock quartet Growl. This Saturday they are releasing the No Years EP, which is the follow-up to their infectious 2013 EP Gallery.  Their music is fun and energetic combined with a wry sense of humor and a good heart.

The release party will be held at Holy Mountain; it’s a packed local lineup featuring The Laughing, Milezo, and Young Mammals (from Houston). I highly recommend catching them perform live; one show is all it takes – I promise you’ll be hooked. It’s a busy 2014 so far for the band as they’ve also been selected for this year’s KUTX MapJam and SXSW.

:Growl – Review:

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Stream This

January 17, 2014

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From the depths of the SOTO inbox, I present to you your weekly serving of the latest and greatest album streams and videos.  Enjoy.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

ALBUM OF THE WEEKWarpaint – Self Titled

Abram Shook – Sun Marquee
Crushed Stars – Farewell Young Lovers
I Break Horses – Chiaroscuro
Feathers – Only One EP
The Hidden Cameras – Age
Girl Trouble – Hit It Or Quit It
Mogwai – Rave Tapes
Against Me – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
Gem Club – In Roses
Jeremy Jay – Abandoned Apartments
Alcest – Shelter
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchesta – Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
Ages And Ages

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Quickdraw: While We Were Sleeping – Part 2

January 7, 2014

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As promised, here’s another 10 tracks that we missed while hibernating throughout December.  Starting tomorrow we resume normal posting, which should be fun.  Let’s have a blast in 2014, friends.  Enjoy.

:The Dead Weather – Open Up (That’s Enough):  Solo is a word I was hoping Jack White would be holding onto for the rest of time, but here he is back with The Dead Weather.  You know what though?  This track is awesomely heavy and I love it.  The Third Man subscription series is where you can find this song. No word yet on when a full length can be expected.

:Phantogram – Fall In Love:  I’m very much looking forward to Phantogram’s upcoming full length.  It’s been a long time coming, and I’m really hoping it manages to at least come close to what I’m unfairly expecting.  Voices is set to be released on February 18 via Barsuk.

:Tokyo Police Club – Argentina (Parts I, II, III):  One of the more pleasant surprises to come out of December was the return of Tokyo Police Club via this nearly nine-minute long prog pop gem.  It’s good to have them back.  The band is expected to put out a full length at some point during the first part of this year.

:Abram Shook – Coastal:  Once upon a time Abram Shook was the vocalist of a band called The Great Nostalgic.  Now he’s doing his own thing, and as this track indicates, it’s stuff you need in your ears.  You’ll be able to pick up Sun Marquee on January 21.

:Warpaint – Biggy:  While I think that Warpaint have a neat sound, this track is the first of theirs that I’ve legitimately wanted to spend some quality headphone time with.  It’s superbly crafted.  Rough Trade will release the band’s self titled effort on January 21.

:Tiger Waves – Weekends:  Really nice work here by Austin’s Tiger Waves.  This catchy pop tune is easily one of their best songs.  The band has a single out now on Canvasback.

:Tele Novella – Umbrella At The Station:  Tele Novella got their start in Austin last year (out of the ashes of Agent Ribbons and Voxtrot), and they quickly impressed me.  I love their quirky pop sound.  At some point this year the band is expected to put out a debut full length.

:Damien Jurado – Silver Timothy:  A new Damien Jurado album is one of those things that should be celebrated by all.  The guy is a brilliant songwriter.  Brothers And Sisters Of The Eternal Son is due out January 21 via Secretly Canadian.

:The War On Drugs – Red Eyes:  I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t think this was the best thing The War On Drugs have ever done.  Their upcoming album is now one I’m anxious to check out.  Lost In The Dream is due out March 18 through Secretly Canadian.

:Robert Ellis – Only Lies:  When it comes to artists currently making country music, Robert Ellis is as good as it gets.  I dare you to not love his voice and its thoroughly classic sound.  The Lights From The Chemical Plant will be available on February 11 via New West.

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