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Show Of The Week

October 28, 2015

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It’s Halloween weekend, so I’m assuming most of you have a litany of house parties that you’ll be attending while dressed up as your favorite superhero or blogger.  That’s fair.  However, if you decide you want to spend some prime costumed-time downtown, head to Cheer Up Charlie’s on Friday for the record release party that the wonderfully experimental Shmu is having.  There are a ton of great bands on the bill – Botany, Calliope Musicals, Alex Napping, Feverbones, Gloves Collective, New Fumes, Total Unicorn, Karla Nightblooms, Party Plants – and it’s only a $5 suggested donation.  Plus, if you RSVP you’ll get a free CD or download of Shmu’s new album, Shhh!!!!.  That’s a steal, my friends.  Do it.

More shows!

Tonight:
- Django Django, Wild Belle at the Mohawk
- Mastodon, Clutch, Corrosion of Conformity at the Austin Music Hall
- Residual Kid, The Ancient Gods, Dead Sally at The Sidewinder

Thursday:
- Basketball Shorts, New China, Oozer, Mean Jolene at Trailer Space
- Sweet Spirit, Crushed Out, Major Major Major at Hotel Vegas
- Otis the Destroyer, MCG, Ghostbunny, The Bravo at The Sidewinder
- Oddisee, Good Company, Magna Carda at Empire Control Room
- Rose Selavy, Loafer at the Mohawk
- The Eastern Sea, Bee Caves, SAFIA at the Scoot Inn

Friday:
- Coathangers, Nobunny, Birth Defects, OBN III’s at The Sidewinder
- Shmu, Botany, New Fumes, Total Unicorn, Karla Nightblooms, Alex Napping, Feverbones, Gloves, Party Plants at Cheer Up Charlies
- Vintage Trouble, Latasha Lee at Emo’s
– Think No Think, Nilo Bronco, Pure Urges at the Scoot Inn

Saturday:
- Reptar, Holiday Mountain, Breathers at The Sidewinder
- Har Mar Superstar, Casual Strangers at Indian Roller Boutique Roadhouse
- Skylar Spence, Mark Redito at Stubb’s
- Salt-n-Pepa, , Golden Dawn Arkestra at ACL Live at the Moody Theater
- DIIV, No Joy, Sunflower Bean at the Mohawk
- Milezo, Tele Novella, Annabelle Chairlegs, Unknown Relatives, Pollen Rx, Slomo Drags at the Spiderhouse Ballroom
- White Ghost Shivers, Clyde & Clem’s Whiskey Business, Wild Bill & the Lost Knobs, Dave Insley’s Careless Smokers at the White Horse

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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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2014 Austin Essentials: Volume 2

November 25, 2014

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Hey!  Here we are with the second volume of my 2014 Austin Essentials.  Dive in.  But don’t tire yourself out, as there’s still a third volume coming your way tomorrow.  Enjoy.

:Alex Napping – Weak Knees:  Alex Napping popped out of nowhere this year and instantly impressed.  Their debut, This Is Not A Bedroom, is the kind of introspective indie pop that college me listened to too much of.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Hundred Visions – You’re Gonna Cut Me Loose:  The fuzzy garage rock ways of Hundred Visions have been on point in 2014.  You’d be crazy not to check out their sophomore album, Spite.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Flesh Lights – Just About Due:  My passive appreciation of the punk trio Flesh Lights ended with Free Yourself.  The album features some great songwriting.  And it rocks.  If you’re into that sort of thing, of course.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Sweet Spirit – Let Me Be On Top:  It was a bummer when Bobby Jealousy called it quits, but at least Sabrina Ellis, who is one of Austin’s most dynamic performers, quickly landed on her feet in Sweet Spirit.  Eventually the band will officially release an album and make the world a better place.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Shivery Shakes – Hold On:  Shivery Shakes put out their debut full length, Three Waves & A Shake, this year.  You pretty much have to listen to it if you consider yourself a fan of indie pop.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Gentlemen Rogues – Mocking Love Out Of Nothing At All:  Jennifer, SOTO’s purveyor of local music, was adamant that this slice of power pop from Gentleman Rogues make the cut.  Look out for a new album from the band soon.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Grape St. – Wallpaper:  Last year Grape St. released the excellent A Date With You, and just recently they followed it up with the equally fantastic Free Stuff EP.  The band just can’t miss!  They’re a must-listen for fans of jangly garage rock.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:The Sour Notes – Cutthroat:  Earlier this year The Sour Notes put out a really solid album (their fifth overall) by the name of Do What May.  It’s worth your time if you dig hooky indie rock.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Ramesh – The King:  For those of you that don’t know, Ramesh was once a part of Voxtrot.  His debut solo album, The King, is a well crafted alt pop effort that features a lot of great vocal work.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Coeds – Sensitive Boys:  I haven’t seen Coeds play and this is the only song of theirs I’ve heard, but that’s not stopping me from being into the duo.  Make a note to keep an eye on them and their synthy ways once 2015 rolls around.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Young Tongue – Heavy Metal Thunder:  Once known as The Baker Family, Young Tongue have a sound that’s a pleasant mixture of indie rock and pop.  Recently they released an album titled Death Rattle.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Jess Williamson – Snake Song:  Jess Williamson spent 2014 fully establishing herself as one of the best singer/songwriters in Austin.  If you haven’t already checked out her album, Native State, then you should do yourself a favor and seek it out ASAP.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:A. Sinclair – Shiny Things:  Indie rockers A. Sinclair (formerly known as Frank Smith) had a nice year.  They signed with Dangerbird Records and churned out a good album, Pretty Girls, for all to indulge in.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Boyfrndz – Design:  When it comes to experimental rock in Austin, not many can compete with Boyfrndz.  Their sophomore LP, Breeder, is a daunting, but rad listen.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:OBN IIIs – No Time For The Blues:  OBN IIIs are a loud, good ole fashioned rock n’ roll band, and their latest release, Third Time To Harm, is further proof that you should be giving them all of your attention. Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Spray Paint – Rest Versus Rust:  Many would argue that Spray Paint are Austin’s premiere punk act, and I think I’d have to agree.  Their album, Clean Blood, Regular Acid, is one you need to hear.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Polio Club – Poison The Well (Demo):  I just recently came across Polio Club, and I’ve already pretty much worn out the demos on their Bandcamp page.  I’m looking forward to whatever is the post-punk act decides to do in 2015.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:The Wolf – In Waves:  SOTO’s own Dan said that I should include psych-rockers The Wolf.  He’s apparently a big fan of the noisy, distortion-filled sound that’s all over their latest release, Ride.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Christian Bland And The Revelators – Brian Wilson:  Back in September Christian Bland (of The Black Angels) released his third album, The Unseen Green Obscene.  Naturally, it’s a gloriously hazy psych rock experience.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

:Scuare – Mind States:  SOTO’s own hip hop expert Leah recently recommended Scuare to me, and he’s been firmly on my radar ever since.  This song in particular is pretty fantastic.  Provide Facebook love HERE.

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Alex Napping (Jennifer)

September 24, 2014

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Alex Napping has become one of my favorite local pop bands. Lead singer/songwriter/guitarist Alexandra Cohen formed the band with guitarist Adrian Haynes, bassist Tomas Garcia-Olano and drummer Andrew Stevens. She writes bright, charming and smart guitar pop songs that capture your attention and make you want to listen to them over and over again. Her clear yet soft vocals and layers of clean, sharp guitars accompanied by a solid, expert rhythm section make them stand out. If asked to recommend a new band I like on the Austin scene, I will often mention Alex Napping.

Their debut album This Is Not A Bedroom is out now on the Austin-based label Punctum Records. If you’re not planning on joining SOTO at the Blackheart this Friday, Alex Napping are having a release party at Cheer Up Charlie’s with Big Bill, Lowin, and Soft Swells. The record will be available in a variety of formats – vinyl, CD,  digital download, and cassette tape (via Accrue Cassettes). I expect that it will perk up your ears and whet your appetite for more from this promising band.


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Stream This

September 19, 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

Please note that the majority of the streams expire as soon as the albums come out, so don’t wait too long to check them out.

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Perfume Genius – Too Bright

Alex Napping – This Is Not A Bedroom
Spray Paint – Clean Blood, Regular Acid
S – Cool Choices
Whirr – Sway
Terry Malts – Insides EP
Dntel – Human Voice
Foxes In Fiction – Ontario Gothic
Tweedy – Sukierae
Mr. Twin Sister – Self Titled
King Tuff – Black Moon Spell
Sondre Lerche – Please
Alt-J – This Is All Yours
Black Moth – Condemned To Hope
Erasure – The Violent Flame
Suicide Year – Remembrance
Youth Code – A Place To Stand
The Aislers Set – The Last Match
Goat – Commune
Leonard Cohen – Popular Problems
Mapei – Hey Hey
Weird Wombs – Laziness EP
Pink Frost – Traitors EP
Teach Me Equals – Knives In The Hope Chest
Redinho – Self Titled
Roz And The Rice Cakes – Need To Feed

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
The Raveonettes

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Quickdraw: NehruvianDOOM, Joanna Gruesome, Alex Napping, Spray Paint, Black Milk

July 28, 2014

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Music!  Enjoy.

:NehruvianDOOM – OM:  DOOM is quite possibly my favorite rapper ever, so I was all in for his collaboration with Bishop Nehru before I even listened to this song.  Thankfully, it turned out to be as rad as I figured it would be.  NehruvianDOOM will release their self titled effort on September 23 via Lex/Noizy Cricket.

:Joanna Gruesome – Jerome (Liar):  Here’s an infectious little gem from Joanna Gruesome.  They’re quickly becoming one of my favorite pop acts, and I hope a new full length isn’t too far off.  The band’s split 12″ with Trust Fund is due out September 23 via HHBTM Records.

:Alex Napping – Weak Knees:  If I were to make a list of new Austin bands that I’m really excited about, Alex Napping would land somewhere near the top of it – they just have such an overwhelmingly compelling sound.  Trust me when I say you’re going to dig their upcoming album.  Look for This Is Not A Bedroom to be released on September 23 via Punctum Records.

:Spray Paint – Rest Versus Rust:  Spray Paint are an act that folks in Austin have rightfully been buzzing about for a while now.  Just a heads up, they’re not exactly the kind of band you casually listen to, so you either have to fully commit to them or just get the hell out of the way.   Clean Blood, Regular Acid will be released on September 23 via Monofonus Press.

:Black Milk – Detroit’s New Dance Show:  I love Black Milk.  The guy never does anything twice, and I just really appreciate how dedicated he is to constantly shifting his sound.  This one-off effort is a catchy thumper, so be sure to crank the volume when you hit play.  BM’s next album is tentatively titled If There’s A Hell Below.  This song may or may not be on it.

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