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Show Of The Week

March 30, 2016

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I’m super excited for two shows – both of which are album release parties – this week, and since they’re on different nights, I’m highly recommending both.

1)  Pageantry will be celebrating the release of their new album, Influence, at Cheer Up Charlie’s on Friday.  Also on the bill is a variety of SOTO favs – Good Field, Borrisokane, Lomelda and Birthday Club.  That’s an all-around great lineup.  Be there.

2)  Dana Falconberry & Medicine Bow will be at Stateside Theater on Saturday in celebration of the release of their awesomely titled album From The Forest Came The Fire.  I suspect it’ll be an enchanting evening.  Don’t miss it.

BONUS Show Recommendations:

Tonight:
- Thor and Friends, The Dan Ryan, Little Mazarn at the Mohawk
- Greg Dulli, Derrick Brown at the Central Presbyterian Church
- Loteria, The Two Lips, Que Pasa?, Dryspell at Hotel Vegas

Thursday:
- Melvins, Napalm Death, Melt Banana at the Mohawk
- They Might Be Giants at Stubb’s

Friday:
- Royal Forest, Summer Swells, Modrag, Mother Merey & the Black Dirt, Plantation at The Sidewinder
- Young Lovers, Sailor Poon, Leather Girls at Barracuda
- Wiretree, El Campo at Lamberts

Saturday:
- MCG, The Warplanes, Obsolete Machines, Marshall Moon and Friends, Megafauna, Rishloo, Transit Method at The Sidewinder

Sunday:
- Matthew Squires and the Learning Disorders, Matt Hines, Dawn & Hawkes, Turtle Dove & John Valley, Carry Illinois, Carl Theil, Blue Bear, Philip Olsen, Mamahawk at The Sidewinder

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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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The Versus Project – Borrisokane & Major Major Major (Premiere)

August 5, 2014

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If you like ambitious endeavors, then look no further than The Versus ProjectCurated by locals Borrisokane (and to be released by Oscillation Records), The Versus Project is a six-EP box set that features a whole variety of things.  There’s Borrisokane covering each of the six contributing acts, all of the contributing acts covering Borrisokane, and also six new Borrisokane songs to go with a new track from each of the contributing acts.  Whew.  It’s definitely a lot (12 covers and 12 originals, to be exact), but it’s also one of the more rad things to come out of Austin in 2014, so the extra effort required to get it all straight is worth your time.  We promise.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s get on with the premiere of the Borrisokane VS Major Major Major portion of the box set.  Both songs are completely different than their original takes, but that’s what I love about them.  Why bother with a project like this unless you’re going to shake some stuff up, right?  Enjoy.

:Borrisokane – God Doesn’t Want Us (Major Major Major Cover):
:Major Major Major – Amelia Fucking Earhart (Borrisokane Cover):

For fun, here are the original versions …

:Borrisokane – Amelia Fucking Earhart:
:Major Major Major – God Doesn’t Want Us:

By the way, Borrisokane, the contributing bands and 101X Homegrown are getting together at the Scoot Inn on August 23 to celebrate the release of The Versus Project.  You do not want to miss the show.  Join the event on Facebook and check out the poster below.

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Guest Mix: Josh Denslow of Borrisokane

May 16, 2014

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The SOTO staff is big and mighty, but every now again it’s fun to bring in a guest.  This month it’s Josh Denslow of Borrisokane.  See his band play the next SOTO PRESENTS show at the Blackheart on May 30.

HIDDEN GEMS

The other day I opened my glove box and there, amidst the charger for my phone, my insurance card, and a ticket I never paid, was a half full bag of Twizzlers. What an amazing discovery. It was as though my car had become sentient while I was trapped at my desk and had popped over to the grocery store to pick up the very thing I needed for my drive home. Let’s see the car from Knight Rider do that.

Or how about this: After two months of using a video baby monitor (yes they make those and yes, they look like outtakes from Paranormal Activity) my wife’s brother stopped by for dinner and he pulled a little kickstand from the back of the unit and propped it on the table like a little TV. My wife and I looked at each other with shock. We had no idea that it did that.

Sometimes the things with which we are most familiar will yield unexpected surprises.

A year after you pick all of your favorite songs on an album, you might discover a hidden gem buried at the end of the track list. Or perhaps you disliked an album, and then the shuffle on your iPod reintroduces you to one of that album’s overlooked treasures. Or, as with Fiona Apple’s Extraordinary Machine, there was a completely different version of the album that had been shelved and was only available as a bootleg.

My mix is in honor of those underdog songs. The ones that have the patience to wait for you to finally find them.

:TV On The Radio – DLZ:  Inexplicably buried at the end of Dear Science, this is probably my favorite song the band has ever done.

:The Antlers – Putting The Dog to Sleep:  The last song on Burst Apart and their most accomplished. It gained popularity a bit after the album came out, I think because everyone discovered it at the same time.

:Yeasayer – Rome:  This band only succeeds 50% of the time, but never as successfully as this. Why isn’t this the first song on Odd Blood?

:Fiona Apple – Not About Love (Jon Brion Version):  The Jon Brion produced version of Fiona Apple’s Extraordinary Machine may have been shelved, but I thank the music gods for allowing me the opportunity to hear this recording of Not About Love. Raw and alive, I still get chills when I listen to it.

:Tom Waits – Lucky Day:  Tom Waits is one of my favorite artists of all time, but I don’t like the Black Rider soundtrack. There I said it. But right at the end of this mess is the song Lucky Day and I didn’t even know about it until I saw him perform it live a few years back. Now it shows up on all my Tom Waits mix CDs. And yes, I make a lot of those.

:Wolf Parade – This Heart’s On Fire:  The last song on their first and most popular album, it’s the most emotionally resonant thing they’ve ever done. In fact, my wife and I included a lyric from this song in our wedding invitations.

:St. Vincent – Dilettante:  Everyone liked Strange Mercy, but I didn’t know how much I liked this track until I shuffled all of her songs on Spotify when the new album came out.

:Islands – I Feel Evil Creeping In:  Arm’s Way was a huge disappointment of a second album. Years later, I decided to give it another shot because I was a fan of everything after it. Still a major disappointment. But I’m glad I slogged through because this is the last song on the album and it’s more than worth it.

:Future Islands – Fall From Grace:  This is the next to last song on Singles, and I predict it will not be a single. But it features the most growling on the whole album and I can’t get enough of it.

:Man Man – Top Drawer:  I’ve noticed a small decline in Man Man albums, but I remain a fan. I give each new offering a real shot and I always find something to like. But this little gem from the latter half of Rabbit Habits is probably the best thing they’ve done since Six Demon Bag.

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The Versus Project (Single Premiere)

January 14, 2014

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The snazzy folks over at the Austin-based Oscillation Records have teamed up with SOTO favs Borrisokane for a little something called The Versus Project.  The idea behind it is that six Texas bands will each interpret a Borrisokane track, and then Borrisokane will later return the favor by covering a song from each of the participating acts.  The Baker Family have already done their cover, and now SOTO has the pleasure of debuting Pageantry’s totally different but stellar take on Elizabeth.  Enjoy.

:Pageantry – Elizaaaa:

:Borrisokane – Elizabeth:

By the way, there’s also a plan for each of the bands involved to do more than just covers, and on January 31 a Kickstarter will be launched to gauge demand for a box set that would feature six discs of music and collages by Shawn Magill (one of her pieces is at the top of the post).  If you ask me, that sounds pretty rad.

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Free Week: No Play Music, Cheer Up Charlie’s (Jennifer)

January 8, 2014

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I’ve been out of town visiting family, so I’m having to make the most of Austin’s Free Week on just this Saturday night. You will for sure find me at the Mohawk as SOTO is the one of the sponsors for the No Play Music showcase. The show features some SOTO favorites such as Borrisokane, Letting Up Despite Great Faults, and The Sour Notes.

Be sure to show up early and check out the 60s girl group meets 80s new wave sounds of Party Girl (featuring members of The Carrots) and the eclectic dance party sounds of Holiday Mountain and Whiite Walls.

:Whiite Walls – Easy Love:

I’m also hoping to stop by Cheer Up Charlie’s as they will be saying farewell to their space via an outstanding selection of bands over three nights this weekend. Some bands I really enjoy are playing on Saturday, including Royal Forest, Young Girls, and Little Radar.

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2013 Austin Essentials: Volume 1

November 25, 2013

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A couple of weeks back I was thinking about my annual Top 50 Songs/Top 25 Albums lists (expect those to start on 12/2), and it dawned on me that I should do something separate specifically for Austin.  So, I did.  There’s no particular ranking to anything in Austin Essentials, I just wanted to share with you some local stuff that I liked a lot this year.  There’s 45 entries (culled from a group of about 70-80) that are spread out over three 15-track volumes, so look for a post tomorrow and then another on Wednesday.  Enjoy.

By the way, if I had one goal for SOTO this year, it was to try and include more mentions for Austin artists.  Overall, I think we did a solid job, but there’s definitely room to improve.  Hit me up if you have any suggestions for us as we head into 2014.

:A Giant Dog – All I Wanted:  Sabrina Ellis is one of Austin’s most dynamic singers, and there isn’t a single song on A Giant Dog’s Bone where her enthusiasm doesn’t shine through.  This pop punk gem is my favorite track on the album.  Find A Giant Dog on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Grape St – A Date With You:  Harlem’s indefinite hiatus has now formed three great bands – Lace Curtains, Daytona, and Grape St.  If you dig this song, then definitely pick up the album A Date With You.  All of the other tracks on it are just as catchy.   Find Grape St on FB here, and buy their music here.

:The Laughing – Disappear:  The Laughing kind of dropped off the planet for a while, but this year they made their return via Oscillation, a 10-track effort that features some really nice pop rock tunes.  Find The Laughing on FB here, and buy their music here.

:The Sour Notes – Do What May:  The Sour Notes may be great friends of mine, but I can honestly say they’re listed here because they earned it.  They’re one of Austin’s hardest working bands and their upcoming album, Do What May, is a really solid prog pop effort.  Find The Sour Notes on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Borrisokane – Amelia Fucking Earhart (A.F.E.):  For those of you who like your pop music to have an experimental side to it, there’s Borrisokane’s Murdering Teeth EP.  I think it’s one of the more quirky (in a good way, of course) listens to come out of Austin in 2013.  Find Borrisokane on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Love Inks – Time:  Love Inks are a quality act, but they don’t seem to have the biggest of followings in Austin.  We should figure out a way to change that.  The band’s album, Generation Club, is a must if you like minimalist pop.  Find Love Inks on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Whiite Walls – Easy Love:  When I wanted something dancey this summer I either tossed on Daft Punk’s Get Lucky or Whiite Walls’ Easy Love.  You can’t listen to it and not want to move.  Here’s hoping the band doesn’t take too long to put out an official effort.  Find Whiite Walls on FB here.

:Knifight – In The Fire:  Their name makes them sound like a punk band, but they’re actually more of a New Order/Future Islands type – dark and synthy.  Their debut, Dark Voices, is an intense but good listen.  Find Knifight on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Zorch – We All Die Young:  I love this track.  It’s wild and raw and should only be listened to at the sort of volume that makes your neighbors angry.  Find Zorch on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Boyfrndz – Water Weight:  Boyfrndz are one of Austin’s better experimental rock acts, and I thought they did a good job of proving that on their Natures EP.  Find Boyfrndz on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Major Major Major – Scream Queen:  I was a late adopter of this track, but once I did I couldn’t seem to get it out of my head.  Talk about infectious.  If we’re lucky, the duo will wrap their EP sooner rather than later.  Find Major Major Major on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Genuine Leather – Head Wound:  Chris Galis (from the Gorgeous Hands) heads up this breezy pop act.  Viper (Found A Good Place For My Love) is the other single that the band put out this year, and it’s also worth your time.  Find Genuine Leather on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Royal Forest – Goldwallpaper:  Over the years Royal Forest have really become a fine pop band.  If for some reason you didn’t check out Spillway, then seek it out.  It’s a nice listen.  Find Royal Forest on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Walker Lukens – Dear Someone:  Walker Lukens somewhat recently made the jump from NYC to Austin, and I’m happy that he did.  The guy knows how to write a good pop song.  Find Walker Lukens on FB here, and buy his music here.

:Yum – Take My Blue:  Yum just sort of popped onto my radar one day over the summer, and ever since then I’ve been a big fan.  Their album, Take My Blue, has a lot on it that plays like a lighter version of Warpaint.  Find Yum on FB here, and buy their music here.

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Walker Lukens, The Good Music Club (Jennifer)

November 20, 2013

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Winter is approaching, but there’s no need to hibernate and miss out on some great local shows. This weekend Walker Lukens is celebrating the end of a busy, successful year by headlining a two night stint at Holy MountainWalker Lukens & The Side Arms Present Two Nights I Was Kissed By Patti Smith is what the shows are being called, and if you’ve heard his debut full length, Devoted, then you might recognize that this was inspired by a song from the album.

There are different sets of bands each night distinguished by their musical moods. Friday is Ass Shakin’ Night featuring the soul and funk groove infused sounds of Emily Bell, Roxy Roca, and Mighty Mountain. Saturday is Head Noddin’ Night featuring the dreamy pop and shoegaze sounds of Royal Forest, Roger Sellers, and She Sir.

Both nights can be attended for $12, or you can do just one night for $8.

On Saturday, November 30 you can brush off your post-Thanksgiving feast stupor at The North Door via the latest showcase presented by The Good Music Club and Red River Noise.  It features the dreamy psych/surf pop of Borrisokane, the lush, atmospheric pop of Black Books, and the synth/dance/punk sounds of Knifight.

Good Music Club has been presenting solid and diverse local showcases for almost 2 years now (thanks to creators and producers, Richard Whymark and Laurie Gallardo). These showcases are an excellent opportunity to see up and coming local bands for an inexpensive cover charge. The performances are taped and made available to view online, and the show has garnered attention from around the country and the globe. If you’re in Austin and haven’t been to a Good Music Club taping, come and check out what the rest of the world has noticed.

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Slomo Drags, Boy + Kite, The Plastic Habit, Borrisokane, Black Books (Jennifer)

May 15, 2013

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There is so much good new local music happening lately; it’s a bit overwhelming but it’s a good problem to have. Tomorrow at Holy Mountain you can catch the live debut of indie pop/rock quartet Slomo Drags (including members of Cartographers, BOY, and The Couch). On the bill you’ll also find Boy + Kite, who are celebrating the release of their new EP, We Can Go Anywhere We Want (first 30 people to arrive will receive a copy of the new EP), and The Plastic Habit, whose glam/pop/punk sounds are from guitarist and producer Jonas Wilson (of The White White Lights).

After the show there will be a a special DJ set with Laurie Gallardo from KUTX. If you listen to her weeknight program on 98.9 FM, you know you’re in for a solid selection of quality, eclectic tunes.

If you’re not too wiped out from tomorrow’s extravaganza, I highly recommend going to Scottish Rite Theatre on Friday for another show chock full of local Austin music goodness. Borrisokane are celebrating the release of their new EP, Murdering Teeth, which features the outstanding single, A.F.E..  The song is guaranteed to get stuck in your head with its sultry vocals, sparkling and squiggly synths, and a chorus worthy of dancing and singing along. Their set will also include performances from three other up and coming local bands – Growl, Schmillion, and Knifight. The first 100 attendees will receive a copy of their EP.

This show also acts as a UK tour send off for psych/dream pop quintet Black Books, who have just released an album across the pond and will be playing some festival dates and opening for The Flaming Lips in London. Those two bands are reason enough to attend, but make sure to note that the evening also features sets from Letting Up Despite Great Faults and Tiger Waves.  Awesome.

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Borrisokane (Single Premiere)

April 30, 2013

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It’s been a year since the Austin-based Borrisokane put out the well received Disaster Face EP, so the timing is right for them to be returning with a little something to make sure we’re all still paying attention.  On May 14 the band will set free the Murdering Teeth EP, and then on May 17 they’ll celebrate its release by playing a show at the Scottish Rite Theater with lots of special guests and sets from Black Books, Letting Up Despite Great Faults, and Tiger Waves.  It will be a can’t miss night!  For now, though, you’ll just need to calm yourself and get on with checking out their new single, which is making its debut here at SOTO.  Enjoy.

:Borrisokane – Amelia Fucking Earhart (A.F.E.):  The first bit of this plays things kind of quiet, but it isn’t long before the song swells, sweeps you up, and then refuses to let go.  What a nice ride.  If you happen to not be aware of how crafty Borrisokane can be, then I imagine this track will bring you around.

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