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Show Of The Week

August 26, 2015

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There are some big, attractive shows set for this week – 101X Homegrown Live tomorrow night, Belle And Sebastian and Mos Def on Friday, the Lonestar Beer Texas Heritage Festival on Saturday – but my main recommendation is that you focus on heading to Hotel Vegas on Saturday night.  There are five bands – FIVE! – that will be there rocking and sweating the night away.  A Giant Dog, Flesh Lights and Hundred Visions are all loud and fun and have been mentioned here at SOTO a ton of times, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes are a buzzy punk act that should have been on SOTO by now, and Negative Scanner (the only non-Austin act on the bill) are a band that SOTO’s own Noah Sanders recently fell in love with. Sounds like a can’t miss night to me.  Go and indulge.

:A Giant Dog – All I Wanted:
:Negative Scanner – Would You Rather:
:Flesh Lights – Just About Due:
:Hundred Visions – You’re Gonna Cut Me Loose:
:Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes – Hot Shoes:

It’s Austin, so there’s always more to see.  Here are some other recommendations.

Thursday:
- 101X Homegrown Live with Sphynx, Letting Up Despite Great Faults, Shivery Shakes, Alex Napping, Gold Beach, Slomo Drags, Young Tongue, Tamarron, Velo at Empire Control Room
- Carry Illinois, Lindsey Verrill, Marijuana Sweet Tooth, Rain Collectors at Holy Mountain

Friday:
- Red 7 Closing Party with Nashville Pussy, Riverboat Gamblers, Valient Thorr, Crimson Devils, Spray Paint, Sweet Talk
- Belle and Sebastian, Wild Moccasins at ACL Live
- Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def): Black on Both Sides (15 Year Anniversary Tour) at the Mohawk
- Birdcloud, Moving Panoramas at the Mohawk

Saturday:
- Lonestar Beer Texas Heritage Festival with Old 97s, Black Angels, Grupo Fantasma, Dale Watson, LaTasha Lee & the Black Ties at Fair Market
- BLXPLTN, Ease Them Pistols at the Hole in the Wall
- Ghost Wolves at ABGB

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Stream This

February 27, 2015

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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 are released, so don’t wait too long to check them out.

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Purity Ring – Another Eternity

Of Montreal – Aureate Gloom
Moon Duo – Shadow Of The Sun
Cannibal Ox – Blade Of The Ronin
Lady Lamb – After
Pile – You’re Better Than This
Beech Creeps – Self Titled
Pillow Talk – What We Should Have Said EP
Au.Ra – Jane’s Lament
Eternal Death – Self Titled
Swervedriver – I Wasn’t Born To Lose You
ELEL – Self Titled EP
Tom Brosseau – Perfect Abandon
The Lowest Pair – The Sacred Heart Sessions
Yonatan Gat – Director

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
Clipping

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Hundred Visions (Dan)

January 7, 2015

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One of the best things about Austin is the glorious way we begin each year – Free Week! Our annual celebration of local music features dozens and dozens of incredible shows and a slew of amazing bands to check out.  If you haven’t yet made it to a free show yet, you still have time. In fact, my top two shows aren’t until this weekend. The first is, of course, the Side One Track One show at The Blackheart on Friday. As you on see on the flyer in the right side column, the night features six top local bands, including one of my personal favorites, BLXPLTN.

The next free show I implore to see is on Saturday night at Mohawk. It features killer lineups on both the inside and outside stages. I’ve written about a number of times about two of the outside bands – Sweet Talk and Flesh Lights. Goddamn I love those bands. The headliner is the Mary Timony led Ex Hex that put out Rips, my #4 top album of 2014.  As for the inside stage, it will have FIVE bands for your listening pleasure. Hundred Visions, Xetas, Super Thief, Hola Beach, and Pollen. I wish I could write about each (and I’m sure I will over the coming months) but this post is already too long. So let’s discuss the headliner for the inside stage, Hundred Visions.

Last year they followed up their debut album, Permanent Basement, with Spite. Each album is an irresistible blend of 70’s power pop and 80’s post punk, which has drawn comparisons from everyone from Television to Gang of Four. They have a knack for writing catchy songs that are also loud, boisterous, and even humorous. Which is why I’ve been listening to Spite over and over again.

Check out You’re Gonna Cut Me Loose off of Spite and Thanks For Nothing from their debut Permanent Basement. Then get your ass to the Mohawk on Saturday and take part in the glory that is Austin Free Week.

:Hundred Visions – You’re Gonna Cut Me Loose:
:Hundred Visions – Thanks For Nothing:

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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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Stream This

November 7, 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 are released, so don’t wait too long to check them out.

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Parkay Quarts – Content Nausea

Damien Rice – My Favourite Faded Fantasy
Cool Ghouls – A Swirling Fire Burning Through The Rye
Nots – We Are Nots
Dream Police – Hypnotized
Celestial Shore – Enter Ghost
Hookworms – The Hum
Torn Hawk – Let’s Cry And Do Pushups At The Same Time
Gold Lake – Years
Ex Cops – Dagger
Royksopp – The Inevitable End
Cult Of Youth – Final Days
Sunbears – Future Sounds
The Voyeurs – Rhubarb Rhubarb
King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard – I’m In Your Mind Fuzz
Empty Moon – The Shark
2:54 – The Other I
Hundred Waters – Down From The Rafters Remix EP
Guerrilla Toss – Smack The Brick EP

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
Diarrhea Planet

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Quickdraw: Hundred Visions, Francisco The Man, Cool Ghouls, Mogwai, Gold Lake

October 6, 2014

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Hundred Visions – You’re Gonna Cut Me Loose:  Hundred Visions are a quality act that’s been banging around Austin for a good bit, and I’m excited to have some new music from them.  This might be their catchiest song yet.  The band will release Spite on October 28 via Pau Wau Records.  See them play Hotel Vegas on October 25.

:Francisco The Man – It’s Not Your Fault:  If you don’t already have it on there, I believe it’s time to add Francisco The Man’s upcoming debut album to the “anticipated” list.  I think it’s going to be an effort loaded with refreshing pop songs.  Loose Ends is due out October 27 via Fat Possum/Small Plates.

:Cool Ghouls – And It Grows:  SOTO’s own Noah Sanders has been rambling and raving about Cool Ghouls for a while now, and it’s not hard to understand why – they’re rad.  Expect to love this retro rock track.  A Swirling Fire Burning Through The Rye is due out November via Empty Cellar Records.

:Mogwai – Teenage Exorcists:  Earlier this year Mogwai released Rave Tapes, and now they’re following it up with a companion EP that’s comprised of some outtakes and remixes.  I can see why this track didn’t make the LP, as it’s essentially a slice of shoegaze pop and not at all like the post-rock jams they’re known for.  I like it a lot, though.  Music Industry 3. Fitness Industry 1. is out December 1 via Rock Action.

:Gold Lake – Lovers:  Gold Lake have have only ever been a tiny blip on my radar, but this well crafted track has suddenly made me ready to really pay attention to them.  Be sure to grab a good pair of headphones before you hit play.  Look for Years to be released on November 4.

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Together Pangea (Dan)

February 5, 2014

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In my last post I wrote about LA garage rock band Jesus Sons. Let’s continue with the LA garage theme and learn a bit about Together Pangea, shall we?

After a series of singles on the tastemaking Burger Records label, Together Pangea have released their new album, Badillac, on Harvest Records. It’s a boozy, hook laden collection with lyrics that are raw, honest, and occasionally angst ridden, but never too serious. Stand out tunes include the catchy title track, pop punk gems Does He Really Care and River. My favorite track is Offer, which burrows into your head and never leaves.

Together Pangea remind of the great Austin band Harlem. Both bands sing about getting drunk and stoned but are much more than just party rockers. Badillac proves Together Pangea can cover a range of styles and moods and do it damn well. Let’s just hope they last longer than Harlem did (I still miss those guys).

See Together Pangea perform tonight at Mohawk along with Hundred Visions, another band I absolutely love. Also, members of Together Pangea will even be guest bartending at 5pm, so head down early and get extra saucy.

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Hundred Visions (Dan)

June 12, 2013

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I saw Hundred Visions twice at SXSW, and they ended up being my favorite act at the festival. At each show I was asked, “Who are these guys again? They’re really good.” Damn straight. They totally rocked out, but the tunes were still catchy and even danceable. You can’t help but want to jump up and down and sing along.

Last year the group put out their first LP, Permanent Basement. The record dabbles in psychedelic rock with songs like Walk Right Up and post-rock on The Light that Starts The Day, but it’s basically a straight up rock album. It actually reminds me a lot of Marquee Moon by Television, one of the greatest rock albums of all-time. Such comparisons are high praise but Permanent Basement is deserving of acclaim. From start to finish it’s full of jams and is a very impressive debut record.

You can catch the band tomorrow night at Beerland when they headline a show with Slam Dunk, The Commons, and Lochness Mobsters.

:Hundred Visions – Last Cab From Tunis:
:Hundred Visions – Where Do I Sign?:

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SXSW 2013 Picks (Jennifer)

March 6, 2013

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Even though I’m a 16 year veteran of attending SXSW, I’m reluctant to do much in-depth research for fear that my head will cave in from information overload. The festival is certainly no longer limited to the latest buzz bands. I admit I’m looking forward to seeing bands that are festival veterans and maybe even a rock n’ roll legend or two. I also willingly break the unofficial rule for Austinities by checking out local band showcases. I know I can see them throughout the year, but why is it so wrong to support them during SXSW?

I’ve selected five Austin bands and five non-Austin acts worth checking out next week.

Don’t forget your earplugs, wear comfortable shoes, and drink plenty of water.

Hundred Visions

I had heard of Austin’s Hundred Visions a couple of years ago, but I didn’t become a fan until seeing one of their Austin Free Week performances in January. It was full of energy, passion, and fun. Their sound is an irresistible blend of late 70s power pop and early 80s British post punk. You can catch their official showcase on Friday, March at Metal And Lace. They’re also part of the lineup for SOTO’s day party, DC vs Austin, on the same day. Just in time for the festival, the band has released a video for the track Where Do I Sign?.

The Ugly Beats

A longtime Austin favorite of mine is The Ugly Beats. Their sound combines 60s British invasion, garage rock, surf, punk, and psych, and their shows turn into instant dance party. They’re a total blast and one of the best bands in town. They play their official showcase as part of the Get Hip Records lineup at the Parish Underground on March 16.

The Calm Blue Sea

Local quintet The Calm Blue Sea create a powerful sound that (pardon the oceanic reference here) washes over you – at once it can be gentle and calming but it can also take your breath away as it crashes over you. They’re part of an excellent label showcase by Austin based label Modern Outsider that includes other quality Austin bands such as Ume, The Black and White Years, My Jerusalem, and Mirror Travel (formerly Follow That Bird!).

Residual Kid

Don’t call them a kid band and don’t call them a novelty band. The members of Austin trio Residual Kid may be young, but I’ve been to shows where older bands that play after them have asked aloud onstage, “How do we follow that?” They’re loud, brash, and maybe even a bit messy. They’re not afraid to just go for it and have a lot of fun onstage while melting faces of all ages in the audience. They’re playing plenty of day shows and you can check out their official showcase on March 16 at The Palm Door.

Grape St

Grape St are about to release their debut album, A Date With You, on the local start up label Austin Town Hall Records. Their infectious garage rock stompers make for a raucous live show. They have two festival showcases – March 13 at Cedar Street Courtyard, followed by another showcase later that night on the Hotel Vegas patio.

Robyn Hitchcock

Robyn Hitchcock is a longtime SXSW veteran, but this is not an artist who repeats himself. I’m always intrigued to see him perform live. His lyrics and stage banter have a stream of consciousness quality that range from thought provoking and biting to humorous and flirtatious. I’m sure that “quirky” and “odd” have been used to describe him and his songs, but those words don’t do him justice. Just listen and dig a little deeper to appreciate the enigma that is Robyn. His official showcase is on March 14 at the Continental Club. He’s also part of the all star tribute to the late Brent Grulke at the Austin Music Awards.

Ash

I’m pretty sure I did a little happy dance when I learned that the Ireland band Ash was returning to SXSW. I have a fond memory of watching them play a day party from a far distance in 2006; the band could see the far off crowd watching and dedicated Renegade Cavalcade to us. In the past couple of years, the band has played some limited tour dates in the US, but it’s been seven years since they’ve played in Austin. In late 2012, the band marked its 20th Anniversary with the release of the Ash A-Z Series, and they’re playing additional US dates in support of that release. They have skillfully combined hard, crunchy guitars and infectious, singalong worthy pop hooks that have won over listeners and allowed them to maintain a devoted fan following. Their official showcase is at Buffalo Billiards on March 13, and they’re also playing the Irish Full Breakfast showcase.

The Zombies

You don’t have to be a scholar or hardcore fan to appreciate The Zombies, who are in their 52nd year of being a band. Two original members remain – lead singer Colin Blunstone and songwriter/keyboardist Rod Argent. As one of the most influential bands from the 60s British Invasion, you’re probably familiar with some of their classic hits, including Time Of The Season, She’s Not There and Tell Her No. I’m not familiar with their 2011 release, Breathe Out, Breathe In, but I’m sure that they won’t leave SXSW without playing their classic hits and fan favorites. Their popularity and influence on contemporary bands endures for past, present, and future fans. Their official showcase is on March 16, and they’re also a featured interview on March 15 at the Austin Convention Center.

Free Energy

Philadelphia based quintet Free Energy never fail to make me smile. It’s feel good music that’s ridiculously catchy; think classic rock meets power pop. Even the cool kids who usually keep their hands in their pockets will start clapping, dancing, and singing along. They’re supporting the release of their second album, Love Sign, and I’ve been looking forward to their return to Austin since their SXSW showcase last year. The band genuinely enjoys what they do and it shows during their live performances. They’re playing several day shows and their official showcase is on March 16.

Frightened Rabbit

I first saw Scottish quintet Frightened Rabbit at a small SXSW day party in 2008. It was a short set, but they definitely made an impression on me. The band is celebrating their return to this year’s festival with the release of their fourth album, Pedestrian Verse. Their songs have a persistent sadness, but they also convey a sense of hope and resilience which strikes a familiar chords in many of their fans and listeners.  This is not a band that stares at their shoes; their live shows are passionate, sweaty, and satisfying affairs. Their official showcase is at The Belmont on March 14. Even if you have a badge, get there early as The Flaming Lips, The Joy Formidable, Alt-J, and Surfer Blood are part of that night’s lineup.

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