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Show Of The Week

April 19, 2017

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This week is a show I’ve been looking forward to since early March.  It’s Wiretree’s album release party at Lambert’s!  The band’s new LP, Towards The Sky, is very good and currently available, so you can dive into it now in preparation for Friday.  Do it.

Tix are $8.  Good Field will open.  Also, this one is presented by my radio show, 101X Homegrown.

PS – 93.7 KLBJ’s Sunset Series is back, and I’m going to be booking it again.  This year it’ll be happening at Ernie’s On The Lake, and the first show is this Sunday. Come on out and see Sphynx, Moving Panoramas and Christina Cavazos.  It’s FREE!  Music starts at 5pm.

BONUS Show Recommendations:

Tonight:
- Loteria, Altamesa, Night Glitter at Hotel Vegas
- Bayside, Say Anything, Reggie & The Full Effect at Emo’s
- Darkbird at COLLiDE atx

Thursday:
- Bee Caves, Marmalakes, Small Houses at the Mohawk
- American Sharks, Crypt Trip, Hidden Ritual at Oskar Blues Brewery
- Old Settler’s Music Festival with Billy Strings, The Peterson Brothers, Mandolin Orange, Session Americana, American Dreamer at the Salt Lick Pavilion and Camp Ben McCulloch

Friday:
- Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Laura Gibson at The Sidewinder
- Botany, Corduroi, Limalo, Brainwave, Win 1995 at Barracuda
- The Zoltars, UVH, Grivo, Talkies at the Mohawk
- Booher, Wes Coleman, Apopka at the Hole in the Wall
- MCG at Oskar Blues Brewery
- Old Settler’s Music Festival with Shakey Graves, Leftover Salmon, Anders Osborne, Gregory Alan Isakov, Sam Bush, Reckless Kelly, Gaelic Storm, California Honeydrops, Lil’ Smokies, Session Americana at the Salt Lick Pavilion and Camp Ben McCulloch

Saturday:
- US Weekly, Crooked Bangs, Sailor Poon, Daniel Francis Doyle, Filthy, Sass at Cheer Up Charlies
- Pile, Gnarwahl, Black Boxes at The Sidewinder
- Harvest Thieves, Billy Broome at Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co.
- Old Settler’s Music Festival with Shinyribs, Los Lobos, Old 97′s, Sarah Jarosz, Nikki Lane, Del McCoury Band, Peter Rowan & friends, The Lone Bellow, The Travelin’ McCoury’s, Elephant Revival, Wood & Wire, California Honeydrops, The Honeycutters, Vasen, Griffin Carter at the Salt Lick Pavilion and Camp Ben McCulloch

Sunday:
- Semihelix, Sounds del Mar, Booher, Miranda Brown at Barracuda
- Sallie Ford, Molly Burch at Stubb’s
- Night Drive, Boyfrndz, DJ Space Cadet at the Mohawk
- Old Settler’s Music Festival with Shinyribs, Elephant Revival, The Last Bandoleros, River Whyless, Vasen at the Salt Lick Pavilion and Camp Ben McCulloch

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Tinyhearts, Quiet Company (Jennifer)

April 30, 2014

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Austin’s Dual Tape Deck (Randall LaRue and Andrew Ramirez) will be presenting a screening of their feature length debut, Tinyhearts, tomorrow at the Salvage Vanguard Theater. This romance/drama features music from Austin bands Wiretree and Megabig; the film title is from a Wiretree song and you can hear a Megabig song in the film trailer. At the screening there will also be live music from Wiretree along with a Q&A with the filmmakers.

Tickets are $5. You can purchase them in advance here or at the door. Event starts at 7pm and is all ages.

Be sure to get out and see Quiet Company with Growl and Harvest Thieves this Friday at Holy Mountain.  Quiet Company have been long been a personal local favorite due to their engaging live performances and catchy songwriting. Over the last year they’ve added two new members and have been working on their fourth album, Transgressor. There is currently no set album release date, but their website hints that it may arrive late summer.  You can get Transgressor updates via its Twitter page

Friday night’s special guests include one of my new local favorites, Growl. I’m a big fan of their infectious guitar pop – loud, fun, and you’ll be singing along before the end of their set.  I also highly encourage you to show up early enough to catch the alt-country sounds of Harvest Thieves.  This show is a total triple threat to kick off your weekend.

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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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Wiretree, Royal Forest, The Astronaut Suit (Jennifer)

July 10, 2013

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With the release of their fourth album, Get Up, Wiretree continues to bring together genres and influences ranging from power pop to indie pop, rock and folk. There’s the driving guitar pop on the title track So Bold and In The City (Rail), shades of melancholy indie rock on To The Moon, Out Of My Mind and When You Were Young, and hints of 60s/70s folk on Marching Band, Easychair and Doctor. Wiretree creates smart melodic gems that are uplifting, memorable, and heartfelt. This is genuine, thoughtful songwriting worth embracing and supporting. Keep in the mind the words sung in Get Up – “Only good things matter in the end.”

The band is celebrating their album with a release show on Friday at Lamberts with their friends, The Lennings and Grand Marais. This is a solid, triple bill in an intimate, warm setting.

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Another album I’ve been eagerly anticipating is Spillway by Royal Forest. I have been enjoying their new songs during their live performances over the past year, and the album is a fine example of the adage, “Good things come to those who wait.”

Royal Forest have created a sound where the experimental meets the accessible; it’s a world where analog tape loops and catchy pop hooks happily co-exist and songs are recorded in a submarine and tiny airplane as well as a recording studio. The world of Spillway is colored in with psychedelic pop swirls and hints of hazy Americana. This record takes me on a musical road trip that I don’t want to end; the songs combine feel good nostalgia with hints of melancholy and longing along with a healthy sense of adventure and embracing the unknown.

The band is holding their album release show this Friday at Holy Mountain with Tiger Waves, Frank Smith, and Your Friendly Ghost. This is an excellent bill to kick off your weekend.

The Astronaut Suit are also holding a record release show for their Take My Hand EP on July 12 at The Mohawk. They have created their own take on psychedelic rock (Wake Up Scared, Not In Love) by adding elements of gospel (Precious Lord), folk (Take My Hand), and soul (Pseudosex Television Blues).  The songs are powerful and moving; lead singer and guitar player Jess Farr has an honest, convincing stage presence that I highly encourage you to witness for yourself.

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Wiretree, Gang Sign (Jennifer)

April 24, 2013

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Austin’s Wiretree is releasing their 4th album, Get Up, on July 9. In the meantime, you can download the title track when you pre-order the LP. The folk meets power pop sound of the song contains an upbeat, optimistic message about love, forgiveness, and perseverance.

The release of the single is accompanied by a vibrant and colorful animated/live action video made by Eric Power (who also made a video for a song for Wiretree’s The Shore). Don’t forget to wish the band ”Bon Voyage” later this week as they will be traveling to China to play the Strawberry Festival in Beijing and Shanghai on April 30 and May 1.

A new Austin band that I’m enjoying is the indie/garage pop quartet Gang Sign, who were started by lead singer/bassist Robert Baldwin (ex-Shivery Shakes, STUNTS, Wine And Revolution). On their Bandcamp page, their sound is described as twee. I would prefer to describe their sound as contemporary indie pop that also joyfully embraces pop sounds from the past (such as 60s Motown and 80s college rock). You can also check them out this Friday when they play a show at Hotel Vegas.

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