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Southside of the Tracks

The National: Fury & Squalor

“People love to sing about being alone together,” posited Matt Berninger before the National’s Austin City Limits Music Festival appearance last year. The collective chorus rising through the Moody Theater Monday night, the sold-out opening of a three-day stand for the band, echoed the sentiment. Read More | Comment »

12:47PM Tue. Apr. 22, Doug Freeman

Arcade Fire – Deep in the Heart of Texas

As polarizing as Arcade Fire’s fifth album, last year’s Reflektor, remains, the Canadian outfit’s show Thursday night at the Circuit of the Americas proved they’re one of the most dynamic acts working today even as they scale to ever larger audiences and venues. Read More | Comment »

1:07PM Fri. Apr. 11, Doug Freeman

iHeartRadio Country Festival... Why Austin?

The question that kept recurring throughout the iHeartRadio Country Festival Saturday at the Frank Erwin Center was “Why Austin?” The show served as the inaugural event for what might be presumed an annual series easily replicated anywhere. Yet why did the organizers, with obvious means to pull off whatever they wanted, choose Austin to launch? Read More | Comment »

11:47AM Tue. Apr. 1, Doug Freeman

George Strait: The Cowboy Rides Away

“I was a young troubadour when I rode in on a song, and I’ll be an old troubadour when I’m gone,” declared George Strait on “Troubadour,” a raw, rich twang near the end of his two-and-a half-hour set Friday at the Frank Erwin Center. The 2008 hit served as a fitting farewell as Strait begins the last leg of his final tour, culminating in Dallas this June. Read More | Comment »

11:57AM Sat. Jan. 11, Doug Freeman

Fun Fun Fun Fest Live Shot: Daniel Johnston

A Daniel Johnston show remains a tenuous endeavor, even as the troubled Texas pop icon has made a successful performing comeback over the past decade. Headlining the Yellow stage on Sunday to a packed tent, he offered flashes of raw brilliance and precarious unsteadiness. Read More | Comment »

12:55PM Mon. Nov. 11, 2013, Doug Freeman

Fun Fun Fun Fest Live Shot: Chelsea Light Moving

“Bands who don’t break strings: don’t trust them,” laughed Thurston Moore through his boyish grin after the second string snap within the course of his band Chelsea Light Moving’s 45-minute FFF set. Read More | Comment »

10:40AM Sun. Nov. 10, 2013, Doug Freeman

Fun Fun Fun Fest Live Shot: Bill Callahan

Standing stoic in the center of his seated quartet, Austin dweller Bill Callahan opened by riffing through the Velvet Underground’s “White Light/White Heat,” delivering a nearly eight-minute version of the song, in tribute to Lou Reed, that pounded into wandering breaks of distortion and static. Read More | Comment »

11:04AM Sat. Nov. 9, 2013, Doug Freeman

ACL Live Shot (Second Weekend): The Cure

There’s something exquisitely poetic and proper about the Cure closing Saturday’s ACL Fest headlining set in the rain. For an hour and a half, the UK group kept the heavens at bay, before the gathering clouds finally opened with the rush of “Wrong Number.” Read More | Comment »

12:04PM Sun. Oct. 13, 2013, Doug Freeman

ACL Live Shot (Second Weekend): Lissie

Lissie’s songs can cut like barbed wire, accentuated by powerhouse vocals capable of transcending bitterness into defiant release. Saturday afternoon’s ACL Fest set, however, was downright joyous, as the Illinois native boasted a smile as big as the Austin Ventures stage and a playful banter that made the festival setting almost intimate. Read More | Comment »

10:57AM Sun. Oct. 13, 2013, Doug Freeman

ACL Live Shot (Second Weekend): Holly Williams

Holly Williams debuted at ACL Fest appearance nearly a decade ago, supporting an introductory 2004 album and the high expectations of a legacy flowing from her family name, inherited from grandfather Hank and father Hank Jr. A car crash two years later nearly ended her music career just as it had begun. Read More | Comment »

10:41AM Sat. Oct. 12, 2013, Doug Freeman

ACL Live Shot (Second Weekend): Sons of Fathers

With ACL’s second weekend already being dubbed the locals’ Fest, Austin quintet Sons of Fathers played hometown heroes to a hilt with their noontime set on the Austin Ventures stage. The hard-touring locals returned from summer travels with a live show honed for maximum impact. Read More | Comment »

9:43AM Sat. Oct. 12, 2013, Doug Freeman

ACL Live Shot: the National

The National delivers catharsis in the most traditional sense: a misery-loves-company, populist uprising of release. Read More | Comment »

11:01AM Mon. Oct. 7, 2013, Doug Freeman

ACL Live Shot: Typhoon

Typhoon’s Kyle Morton sings as if his life depended on it, and perhaps it does. Read More | Comment »

9:49AM Mon. Oct. 7, 2013, Doug Freeman

ACL Live Shot: Portugal the Man

Portugal the Man trades on excess and epic post-glam jams that confound as much as they groove. The Portland, Ore., quintet constructs its own cosmos, with ambiguous ethos to match. Read More | Comment »

10:06AM Sun. Oct. 6, 2013, Doug Freeman

ACL Live Shot: Reignwolf

What’s that shrieking howl shredding through the early afternoon heat at Zilker Park like some rough beast slouching towards Austin? That’s Reignwolf, the scrawny 29-year-old Canadian Jordan Cook who decimated the Austin Ventures stage, grinning like a demon behind his streaks of sweaty hair and shaggy sideburns. Read More | Comment »

9:14AM Sun. Oct. 6, 2013, Doug Freeman

ACL Live Shot: Okkervil River

A primary test for each new Okkervil River album is how well the songs mesh live with their previous material. How the worlds that Will Sheff spins so completely with each LP collide and expand upon each other. Read More | Comment »

10:29AM Sat. Oct. 5, 2013, Doug Freeman

ACL Interview: The National

National frontman Matt Berninger opens up about the Brooklyn quintet’s melancholic sound, subverting expectations on sixth LP Trouble Will Find Me, and his brother’s documentary, Mistaken for Strangers. Read More | Comment »

11:00AM Fri. Oct. 4, 2013, Doug Freeman

Overseas at Home

In 2009, Austinite Will Johnson (Centro-matic), Dave Bazan (Pedro the Lion), and Matt and Bubba Kadane (Bedhead) met in Denton to begin a collaboration. The death of their mutual friend Vic Chesnutt reverberated with all. It took three years for those songs to get fleshed out into Overseas’ eponymous debut album, released last month. Read More | Comment »

1:30PM Mon. Aug. 5, 2013, Doug Freeman

Down on the Farm

No signs marked the way out to this farm. Driving 30 minutes east of Austin past the Circuit of Americas’ complex into Dale’s dry fields and ranches, back roads tested my GPS system until I turned down a dirt lane and heard the music welcoming revelers to the Red, White & Blue Ball. Read More | Comment »

1:00PM Mon. Jul. 1, 2013, Doug Freeman

Five Questions for Jim James

After an epic SXSW, Jim James returns Monday to Stubb’s. The My Morning Jacket frontman, taping Austin City Limits on Sunday, touts his first solo LP, Regions of Light and Sound of God. Read More | Comment »

11:37AM Fri. May. 3, 2013, Doug Freeman

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