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High Bias

Fun Fun Fun Live Shot: Deafheaven

Sunbather, the sophomore LP from metalgaze monster Deafheaven, is supposedly the best-reviewed album of 2013. Accordingly, defenders of true metal (whatever that is) consider the S.F. quintet the ultimate affront in hipster bullshit. Put Deafheaven onstage with no place to hide, and it proves itself ready for battle. Read More | Comment »

9:38AM Mon. Nov. 10, 2014, Michael Toland

Fun Fun Fun Live Shot: Fat White Family

“That was short but sweet,” opined one young woman after Fat White Family’s truncated set. The British sextet had obviously drawn the shortest straw when it came time to recalibrate the Black stage, already running late only an hour past doors on Saturday. Read More | Comment »

9:05AM Sun. Nov. 9, 2014, Michael Toland

Fun Fun Fun Live Shot: Pallbearer

Despite the storm of critical praise for its 2012 doom debut Sorrow and Extinction, Pallbearer turned in a lackluster set at its Fun Fun Fun Fest christening that year. The Arkansas quartet returned Friday with equal acclaim for its mighty ‘n’ melodic follow-up, Foundations of Burden. That translated into shivers of anticipation at the Black stage. Read More | Comment »

9:47AM Sat. Nov. 8, 2014, Michael Toland

Housecore Horror Live Shot: Sunday Part 1

Sunday was the day the freaks and weirdos came to the Housecore Horrorfest party, and we’re not just talking about the bloody clown and slasher stiltwalker in the crowd. Read More | Comment »

11:30AM Mon. Oct. 27, 2014, Michael Toland

Housecore Horror Preview: Eyehategod

Last year at the inaugural Housecore Horror festival, New Orleans sludge rippers Eyehategod overcame the sudden death of drummer Joey LaCaze by guesting Melvins mainstay Dale Cover at their Emo’s performance. Back with a permanent percussive anchor and first studio in 14 years, Mike Williams’ gritty crew returns for year two and possibly many more. Read More | Comment »

4:20PM Wed. Oct. 22, 2014, Michael Toland

ACL Live Shot: Temples

Last time they docked locally, Temples played an uneven set at Austin Psych Fest that begged the question of whether the neo-psychedelic rockers might be better prepared for nightclubs rather than festivals. Friday at Zilker Park, the UK quartet made up for its local debut by bathing confidence and skill in an ocean of reverb. Read More | Comment »

10:05AM Sat. Oct. 11, 2014, Michael Toland

ACL Live Shot: Pearl Jam

Last time they headlined ACL Fest, Pearl Jam blasted a greatest hits set guaranteed to make waves in the sea of people. Rather than repeat that performance, the Seattle alt-rawk staple dug deep into its catalog for a set that, while not stylistically diverse, proved the band has more arrows in its quiver than just the classic rock warhorses. Read More | Comment »

1:30PM Mon. Oct. 6, 2014, Michael Toland

ACL Live Shot: Spanish Gold

Though heartening to see so many kids crowding the front of the Samsung Galaxy stage, these teens and twentysomethings weren’t really there for Spanish Gold. They were staking out their early spots for the headliner, Eminem. They were rewarded with a particularly rocking set nonetheless. Read More | Comment »

9:43AM Sun. Oct. 5, 2014, Michael Toland

ACL Live Shot: The Preatures

Though hailing from Sydney, Australia, the Preatures recorded their forthcoming debut LP, Blue Planet Eyes, in Austin with producer Jim Eno. If the quintet’s early afternoon ACL Fest show is anything to go by, the Spoon drummer did them a disservice. Read More | Comment »

9:15AM Sat. Oct. 4, 2014, Michael Toland

Eels/Chelsea Wolfe Live Shot

Silently taking the dimly lit Paramount Theatre stage on Friday night, making her way through a stage full of Eels equipment – xylophones, an upright piano, double bass – extreme metal-influenced chanteuse Chelsea Wolfe looped her breathy soprano into an a cappella “The Way We Used To,” from her 2012 acoustic disc Unknown Rooms. Read More | Comment »

1:50PM Mon. May. 19, 2014, Michael Toland

Austin Psych Fest Live (Sunday): Loop

Crowning a music festival as artistically successful as this year’s APF constitutes a hell of a challenge. Fortunately, organizers had a particularly sharp arrow in the quiver: Loop. After a near-quarter-century absence, the UK quartet returned to the colonies, its Sunday slot in Austin the centerpiece around which its U.S. tour was built. Read More | Comment »

4:20PM Mon. May. 5, 2014, Michael Toland

Austin Psych Fest Live (Saturday): Medicine

Have Nineties alt-rockers been gone long enough for reunions to be major occurrences? Medicine’s Psych Fest set Saturday night in the Levitation Tent seemed to be one of the three-day event’s most anticipated – at least as far as this giddy crowd was concerned. Read More | Comment »

2:20PM Sun. May. 4, 2014, Michael Toland

Austin Psych Fest Live (Saturday): Destruction Unit

Arizona’s Destruction Unit left no noisy stone unturned during its short APF set. First paint-peeling feedback, then hair-whipping thrash, then a driving pound – and that’s all in the first song. Drums and bass rumble forward like tanks on a NASCAR track: loud, faster than may be safe, but on target. Read More | Comment »

12:30PM Sun. May. 4, 2014, Michael Toland

Austin Psych Fest Live (Friday): King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard

On disc, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard revels in eclecticism, spraying its profligacy across pop, grunge, spaghetti western soundscapes, and whatever tweaks its fancy. The Melbourne septet’s Oddments offers proof. Live, however, the band wastes little time getting down to the entirely different business of feverishly rocking. Read More | Comment »

10:00AM Sat. May. 3, 2014, Michael Toland

A Gilded Eternity: The Return of Loop

Beginning in 1986, British troupe Loop evolved from a spacy garage band to a smoke-obscured, atmospheric monster that all but abandoned traditional songsmithery for tuneful stasis. A Gilded Eternity, the band’s 1990 masterpiece, remains a striking convergence of riff and drone that still influences mantra-minded musicians. Read More | Comment »

11:00AM Thu. May. 1, 2014, Michael Toland

Bloodletting Behemoth

After 23 years and 10 LPs that began in the Polish port of Gdańsk, extreme metallers Behemoth appear unstoppable. Even bandleader Nergal’s leukemia didn’t derail the band, The Satanist arriving full of surprises. Longtime bassist Orion spoke to these matters and more, including Crimea, prior to Behemoth’s show Saturday at Emo’s. Read More | Comment »

11:07AM Thu. Apr. 10, 2014, Michael Toland

SXSW Live Shot: Lou Reed Tribute

It’s the nature of a beast like this tribute organized by Alejandro Escovedo and Richard Barone that the constant turnover of artists kills momentum. Despite all the equipment adjustments, unprepared artists, and unplanned additions, the show moved along efficiently enough to finish a half-hour early. Read More | Comment »

11:11AM Sat. Mar. 15, 2014, Michael Toland

SXSW Live Shot: Bob Mould

The Workbook days, apparently, are over. Though Bob Mould set out on tour to support the reissue of his first solo album, his Thursday night SXSW set revealed an artist tired of looking back and ready to move forward – as loudly as possible. Read More | Comment »

12:09PM Fri. Mar. 14, 2014, Michael Toland

SXSW Day Party: Wild Seeds

Since its permanent resurrection in the wake of SXSW Creative Director Brent Grulke's death, the Wild Seeds have evolved into a guitar band. That's not to say the catalog isn’t prominent. Any band with a songsmith as skilled as Michael Hall, a writer uncelebrated as one of Texas' best only because he's not a troubadour, will be known for its tuneage. Read More | Comment »

9:17PM Thu. Mar. 13, 2014, Michael Toland

SXSW Live Shot: INVSN

As proud papa of Refused and the (International) Noise Conspiracy, Dennis Lyxzen invites high expectations with any new project. INVSN, the Swedish firebrand’s latest venture, comes after his laying low for a while, or at least keeping a lower profile outside of his home country, so anticipation from fans Wednesday night was double. Read More | Comment »

2:55PM Thu. Mar. 13, 2014, Michael Toland

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