Tag Archives: nic armstrong and the thieves

Sweet Spirit, Nic Armstrong And The Thieves (Jennifer)

January 28, 2015


photo by Steven Michael Ruud

In my personal life, I’ve been a bit distracted this month with getting ready to move to another apartment. If I’m not completely exhausted this weekend, I still hope to catch some live music.  Even if you feel like you’re dragging your feet, you can’t help but feel energized and maybe inspired at a Sweet Spirit show. Their sound ranges from rock to punk to country to doowop to Motown and they seamlessly bring those styles together for a loud and fun show. Fronted by the “wonder twins” of the Austin music scene, Sabrina Ellis and Andrew Cashen (who are also bandmates in A Giant Dog), I’m blown away by their strong performances and songwriting talent. This sextet is one of the tightest bands around. They’re just so damn good. Their debut EP is tentatively scheduled for a springtime release so you’ll need to catch a live set of theirs to get your Sweet Spirit fix in the meantime. They have a show at The ABGB this Saturday with The Ghost Wolves. It’s a free show but don’t forget to put a little something in the tip jar. Get there early; parking can be challenging to find at this popular spot.

Nic Armstrong And The Thieves are another favorite of mine who are also playing a show the same night. They’ll be at a new venue, Indian Roller, with Jesse Vain and The Happy Hour Holiness Movement. I’ve been a admirer of Nic’s songs for almost a decade and I remain an enthusiastic fan to this day. The Pocketless Shirt EP is the most recent release. British Invasion and Britpop inspiration (Nic is the real deal from Nottingham, England) infused with 21st century vim and vigor. It’s a musical shot of whiskey in your cup of tea. Free show – Nic Armstrong at 10pm, Jesse Vain at 11pm.

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Jonny 8 Track, Nic Armstrong (Jennifer)

October 23, 2013


Jonny 8 Track is the moniker used by British songwriter Jonny Aitken. He explains that he “writes songs about having a day job, for anyone who has ever had a day job.” I met Jonny eight years ago in Austin when he was the drummer for Nic Armstrong And The Thieves, and I was charmed by his manic energy and enthusiasm (see the evidence here). In 2007, after leaving the Thieves and returning to England, he picked up the guitar, established himself and started writing songs as Jonny 8 Track.  He released his first EP, 8 hours Work, 8 Hours Sleep, 8 Hours For What We Will, earlier this month.

In the title track, he sings about the emotions in the life of the working week ranging from the crushing reality of Monday to the elation of the weekend. Music is still very much part of his world in 33 RPM – “But my world turns at 33 RPM/I play my favorite record ’til the end/Grab the needle/Start over again.” He also reflects about his time spent in America in All America Taught Me – “All America taught me was to wish I was somewhere else.”

It’s been worth the wait to hear Jonny channel his voice, personality, and experiences  into this infectious, charming, and reflective collection of songs.

Speaking of Nic Armstrong and The Thieves, they crash landed from Nottingham, England onto the Austin music scene in 2005. The original lineup called it a day in 2007, but Nic has continued to write songs and play shows (solo and with a new group of Thieves, which currently features the members of The Sweet Nuthin).

I’ve been eagerly anticipating a new record, and it will finally arrive on November 11 when The Pocketless Shirt EP gets released.  The guy has sharp, solid songwriting that gets under your skin and in your head.

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