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Sonny Vincent Benefit (Dan)

February 5, 2016

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Saturday night there is a benefit show at the Sidewinder (doors at 8pm) featuring a slew of incredible Texas punk and garage rock bands. The show is being held to benefit Sonny Vincent (of the Testors) whose family was recently involved in a tragic accident. All proceed collected at the door will go towards the recovery of Sonny’s family.

Sonny’s son, daughter-in-law, and grandson were involved in a gas explosion. They are each currently in the Burn Intensive Care Unit at Winston Salem Medical Center, and are on life support struggling for their lives. A Go Fund Me has been established to help cover the family’s massive medical bill. Whether you can make it to the show or not, I hope you will consider donating to this worthy cause.

For those unfamiliar with Sonny Vincent, he’s a punk rock musician that has been making great music since the mid-1970s. He started out as part of the New York City punk rock scene and over the years has performed and recorded with an incredible array of musicians. These include Maureen Tucker, Bob Stinson, Brian James, Thurston Moore, Lou Reed, John Cale, and Jad Fair, just to name a few.

Here is the lineup for this Saturday. I hope to see you there!

Outside:
Riverboat Gamblers
11:10-12 AM
Easy Prey
10-10:30 PM
Gentlemen Rogues
9-9:30 PM

Inside:
Sweet Talk
12:50-1:30 AM
Bad Sports
12-12:40 AM
Drakulas
10:30-11 PM
Broken Gold
9:30-10 PM

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Sweet Talk (Dan)

October 2, 2015

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A few years ago I selected Pickup Lines by Sweet Talk as one of my five favorite albums of 2013. I’ve seen them live many times and it is indisputable that they are fucking great. So, obviously I’m pumped that the band is back with it’s follow up album, Double Perfect (out on 10/16).

The new record was recorded with the help of the Orville Neeley (OBN III’s) and Matthew Melton (Warm Soda, Bare Wires). Much of what I loved about Pickup Lines can be found on Double Perfect. The songs have an urgency and intensity but are also personable and relatable. Sweet Talk’s label describes their sound as “a freak mix of 70s classic rock, early 80s alternative, and unmistakable Texas punk grit”, which is pretty spot on. For me though, the greatness of Sweet Talk lies in their savvy songwriting, catchy choruses, and great guitar work. Check out tracks such as Witness or Someone Else off of the new album and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

Listening to Double Perfect you can’t help but crank the volume and start singing along. Austin possesses an impressive number of garage, punk, and rock bands that play smart, intelligent, and memorable music. Sweet Talk are one of the very best of those bands.

The new album is available for pre-order now. Or you can pick it up at the band’s record release/tour kickoff show at Hotel Vegas on October 10.

:Sweet Talk – Witness:

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Jonly Bonly (Dan)

September 3, 2014

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Jonly Bonly is led by guitarist extraordinaire Jason Smith, best known for his shredding in OBN IIIs. His virtuoso skills and shock of blond hair left an impression on all who saw him during his stint with OBN IIIs. In Jonly Bonly he’s supported by the formidable rhythm section of bassist Stephen Svacina (Sweet Talk, Uptown Bums) and drummer Marley Jones (OBN III’s, ex-Sweet Talk).

The group began when Jason had down time between OBNIIs albums and tour dates. He started writing new songs and instead of focusing on nasty garage punk and searing solos, Smith went a different route. He channeled classic power pop and post-punk to forge a sound distinctly different than that of his other bands. The result is their first album, Put Together, which proves the talented trio should be garnering a lot of attention.

Jason claims the band is named after his grandfather JB Smith but I think it’s named after a Henry Cho joke. Maybe I’m wrong, but I kind of doubt it. Anyway, the name aside, the band has produced an undeniably great debut record. Put Together will be released on September 9 via 12XU, but you can pre-order the album now. Be sure to attend their record release show on September 19 at Beerland!

:Jonly Bonly – Too Many Things:

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2013 SOTO Staff Picks

December 18, 2013

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It wouldn’t be fun if only I just rambled along about what I liked this year, so I reached out to my very diverse staff for their Top 5 Albums of 2013.  I think you’ll see that the SOTO clan like a lot of different things.  Enjoy.

You know what can, sometimes, kind of blow? Getting old. Yup, watching the old life clock tick on by, the responsibilities of life pile around your ears, those precious moments when you could just wile away an hour or five listening to a handful of new records. Well kiddies, those days are dead. Nowadays I’m happy if I can listen to the new Lil’ Wayne single more than a few times when I’m driving to the gym to work my gut out with my trainer Francis. What I’m getting at here is that though I wish my list was full of a shocking selection of diverse and mind-expanding music, well, it’s not. I stand by each and all of these picks but I can’t say I did the extra work this year to blow any minds.

Forgive me, and enjoy.

5. The National – If I Stay Here, Trouble Will Find Me
4. Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold
3. Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin
2. Fuzz – S/T
1. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires Of The City

In keeping with my column, I fully intended to select nothing but chick-fronted albums in 2013. Laura Marling was one of my most-streamed, and my girl Neko’s latest was an insta-fave. But once I got back to looking at things, I realized my list was a little more eclectic than anticipated. Vampire Weekend never ceases to be the catchiest around, and Local Natives continue to lyrically break my heart with everything they put out. And there’s nothing like a little Washed Out to soundtrack a Sunday afternoon. Notable mention? Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds stopped by KCRW, resulting in a record store day release that I haven’t stopped listening (and crying) to since purchasing.

Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle
Neko Case – The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You
Washed Out – Paracosm
Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires Of The City
Local Natives – Hummingbird

I see it this way … 2010 was the first date, 2011 was the good times, 2012 was the breakup, and 2013 was when music took some “me” time. That does not mean this year did not generate some great or even classic records, it does mean that there was some experimentation that may or may not have worked out so well; see Drumgasm. That being said, there was still plenty of illuminations happening all over the musical cosmos in 2013. Labels like Chapter Music and Paradise of Bachelors killed it this year, as did Bedroom Suck and Fire Records. Though some more successful than others, 2013 saw artists and bands the world over restate time honored sounds and genres.

5. Fat History Month – Bad History Month (Exploding In Sound)
4. The Stevens – A History Of Hygiene (Chapter Music)
3. Purling Hiss – Water On Mars (Drag City)
2. Dick Diver – Calendar Days (Chapter Music)
1. Steve Gunn – Time Off (Paradise of Bachelors)

When I received my assignment to pick my Top 5 albums for the year, I thought that It would be a piece of cake: “5 albums? No problem.” But then I started to recall the various new releases from this year and felt twinges of panic and regret: “Who do I choose ? Who do I leave off the list ?”. I don’t have a complicated system for deciding on favorites; it usually comes down to what I listened to the most.  The focus for my 2013 Top 5 are all Austin-based artists, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy records from bands from other places. This year was also a fantastic year for some outstanding releases from some of my favorite local bands. They all share a common love for melodies, harmonies, and top notch songwriting.

Royal Forest – Spillway
Black Books – Black Books
Wiretree – Get Up
The Zoltars – Walking Through The Dark
Yum – Take My Blue / Santiago Dietche – Waxing And Roaring (tie)

This year there have been some amazing metal releases, I am not even giving lip service about my genre, it has been incredible the caliber of albums coming out, and to narrow it down to five, I had to switch a few things around from other lists I have made. Excluding Dillinger Escape Plan, Cult of Luna, Arsis, Black Dahlia Murder and All Pigs Must Die is heart wrenching, but these five bands have created some of the best music metal has heard in two decades. From noisy extremes like Nails, to groove laden jams on the new Clutch album, and the rebirth of the dormant Carcass to win the top spot on every list I have done.  So let it be written, so let it be done, the best metal albums of the year are:

5. Nails – Abandon All Life (Southern Lord)
4. Kvelertak – Meir (Roadrunner)
3. Clutch – Earth Rocker (Weathermaker)
2. Protest The Hero – Volition (Razor And Tie)
1. Carcass – Surgical Steel (Nuclear Blast)

Hey, everybody! It may surprise you that here in my natural habitat of the music blog, I am supremely uncomfortable making lists.  Yes, I listen to a lot of music, and yes, there is stuff I like more than other stuff, but really when it comes down to taking my favorite albums from an entire year and ranking them on such a fine gradient, I just get miserable and ambivalent.  There was a lot of great hip hop produced this year and these are all great albums, and these are only in an order because John Laird forced me to do it.

5. Shad – Flying Colours
4. Janelle Monae – The Electric Lady
3. Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap
2. Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels
1. Danny Brown – Old

2013 was a big year for pop music. Miley’s tongue was inescapable, British teens ran rampant, and through it all I reveled in the weirdness. The latter half of this year found me really embracing my not-so-guilty pleasure of pure female fronted pop, so I thought I should theme my Top 5 to mainstream pop with female vocalists. Specific enough for ya? But after all, there’s so much of it, sometimes you need a spirit guide. Like Katy Perry–those of you who wrote her off for bubblegum pop need to check out Prism, where her dark side shines and emotions run rampant. And Ariana Grande–the next in line for a breakout from the Disney dynasty actually has the pipes to back it up, and I can’t stop spinning her tracks. Meanwhile, singles shine for Lady Gaga’s Artpop, where any track could be a hit–and Do What U Want is climbing charts for a reason. None of the Lana Del Rey songs on 2013′s Tropico are new–all taken from last year’s Paradise–but these three songs might be her best so far and provide an excellent primer for burgeoning Lana fans. Number one couldn’t go to anyone but Lorde–sure, brush her off as a one hit wonder, but I’d take Tennis and Ribs over Royals any day–it’s an incredible album.

5. Katy Perry – Prism
4. Lady Gaga – Artpop
3. Ariana Grande – Yours Truly
2. Lana Del Rey – Tropico
1. Lorde – Heroine

So 2013 was pretty good year for music, yes? My thirst for catchy punk rock and fuzzy garage rock was quenched throughout the year. There were a bunch of albums I loved that did not make the very top of my list. I’m looking at you Ty Segall, Bad Sports, Mind Spiders, A Giant Dog, and Thee Oh Sees. I love you all but there can only be five:

5. Radioactivity – Radioactivity
4. Vaadat Charigim – The World Is Well Lost
3. Sweet Talk – Pickup Lines
2. Mikal Cronin – MCII
1. Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold

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2013 Austin Essentials: Volume 3

November 27, 2013

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And now, before Thanksgiving consumes us all, I present to you the last part of my Austin Essentials (here are Volume 1 and 2).  Hopefully you’ve had fun.  If you didn’t, what the hell happened?  At any rate, I love you all.  Enjoy.

PS – Honorable mentions go to the Austin bands who just missed the cut (way too many to list) and to acts like The Couch, Dana Falconberry, and Letting Up Despite Great Faults who put out music last year but still had a great 2013.

:The Black Angels – Evil Things:  While I’m a big fan of The Black Angels’ early albums, I don’t have an issue with them continuing to move away from being heavy and droney.  Probably because I can only stare at my ceiling fan for so long each day.  Find The Black Angels on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Gal Pals – Earthquake:  If you ask me, Gal Pals are just as good as La Sera, Splinters, La Luz, and any of the other lady-lead garage pop acts that are scattered around the globe.  By the way, who can help me convince them to put together an album already?  Find Gal Pals on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Sweet Talk – Microphone:  Sweet Talk remind of the pop rock that I loved when I was a teenager.  This track requires a loud volume and you enthusiastically singing-a-long.  Find Sweet Talk on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Bobby Jealousy – Bang Bang:  Because Sabrina Ellis is just that good, here she is with her other band, the always catchy Bobby Jealousy.  They played ACL this year, which is just straight up awesome.  Find Bobby Jealousy on FB here, and buy their music here.

:The Octopus Project – Whitby:  Personally, I think that Fever Forms is The Octopus Project’s best album.  They’ve really honed their experimental ways and the material coming by way of their leap forward is just undeniably good.  Find The Octopus Project on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Magna Carda – Shoes $ Money:  I recently mentioned to SOTO’s resident rap guru Leah Manners that I didn’t get around to much local hip hop in 2013, and she promptly scolded me and then sent this track so that I would know exactly what I had been missing out on.  Lesson fucking learned.  Find Magna Carda on FB here, and buy their music here.

:The Black And White Years – Little One:  I don’t really know what to expect from The Black And White Years’ next album, Strange Figurines, but I know that I’m looking forward to it solely because of this inspired electro pop number.  Find The Black And White Years on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Mother Falcon – Dirty Summer:  You can argue you about it if you want, but the fact of the matter is that all 419 members of Mother Falcon really know how to make a pretty sounding song.  They released the unsurprisingly well crafted You Knew this summer.  Find Mother Falcon on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Feverbones – Breaking Even:  I need to start talking about Feverbones more, as I really do think they’re crafting some of Austin’s most interesting indie rock.  For proof, see the self titled EP they put out earlier this year.  Find Feverbones on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Roger Sellers – Sincere:  Now matter what style of music he’s playing, Roger Sellers always seems to effortlessly pull it off.  It’s okay if you want to scream “talented bastard” and then shake your fist at the sky.  Find Roger Sellers on FB here, and buy his music here.

:Holy Wave – Star Stamp:  I fully expect Holy Wave to garner a slew of new fans in 2014.  This single is as accessible as they’ve ever been, and I have a feeling that their new album, Relax, will be the first great psych rock release of the year.  Find Holy Wave on FB here, and buy their music here.

:The Mole People – Searching The Streets:  The Mole People are a whirlwind of psychedelia, and that’s fine by me.  This song in particular reminds me of the kind of music that Slumberland often puts out.  Find The Mole People on FB here, and buy their music here.

:The Preservation – Still Be Your Friend:  The Preservation pretty much nail it by referring to their approach as “cosmic American music from heart.”  By the way, kudos to them for earning spots at KGSR’s Blues on the Green and ACL.  Find The Preservation on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Bill Callahan – Small Plane:  I’ve yet to give Bill Callahan’s Dream River a thorough listen, and that’s just silly of me.  At least I’ve spent a good chunk of time with this beautiful track, though.  Find Bill Callahan’s fan page on FB here, and buy his music here.

:Reservations – That Road We Traveled Down:  Jana Horn’s stellar voice not only leads Reservations, but I also seem to just wander along behind it.  I hope their debut full length arrives in the first part of 2014.  Find Reservations on FB here, and buy their music here.

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The Bad Lovers, Sweet Talk, Pharoahs (Dan)

May 1, 2013

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This Sunday Burger City will celebrate their 5th Birthday with a party at The Grand. The bill features three top notch bands: The Bad Lovers, Pharaohs, and Sweet Talk.

I became a fan of The Bad Lovers after they were featured in a truly fantastic episode of Hardly Sound. The show highlighted not only The Bad Lovers but the community of bands that make up the garage rock scene in Austin. We were lucky enough to get these guys to play our DC vs. Austin party during SXSW and they did not disappoint. I once referred to them as “garage rock gods” and I’m sticking with that assessment.

:The Bad Lovers – Things That I Forgot:
:The Bad Lovers – Actin Strange:

I was hooked the moment I heard the new album from Sweet Talk titled Pickup Lines. It’s not difficult to see why I like them so much since the band features members from some of my favorite Texas bands (Mind Spiders, VIDEO, Wiccans). They play pure rock and roll. The kind that gets in your head and has you hitting the repeat button. I love the guitar work and the catchy choruses are undeniable. They somehow managed to catch the excitement and energy of a live show on the record, which is no easy feat.

:Sweet Talk – Talk:

I can’t give much background on Pharaohs since their web presence is a bit sparse. Although, all that really matters is if their music is any good and I’m here to say it is not only good, it’s outstanding. I downloaded their album, ????, and it’s chock full of jams. It was hard to just pick two songs to post. You really owe it to yourself to get the whole album.

:Pharaohs – Prettiest Girl:
:Pharaohs – Gonna Feel Good (Ba Ba Ba):

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