Off the Record
Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2
If there's one thing the newly created Live Music Task Force agrees on, it's that the solution to the city's conflicted interests in urban development and live music isn't as simple as lowering the decibel level of the current Austin noise ordinance. Instead, the 15-member task force, which was created with a resolution passed on Jan. 31 and includes members of the Austin Music Commission and Austin Planning Commission, is dividing its interest into four main areas, including the creation and maintenance of entertainment districts. Venue owners – task force Chairman Paul Oveisi (Momo's), Charles Attal (Stubb's), James Moody (Mohawk), and Steve Wertheimer (Continental Club) – are addressing issues like building requirements, redevelopment goals, and possible financial incentives. The Sound Enforcement Subcommittee is particularly interested in what local lobbyist and musician Brandon Aghamalian deems the "thump thump" issue, the unique nature of bass noise and the way in which it can skew sound readings. "There are so many different aspects to this undertaking, so much more than dollars and cents," says Rich Bailey of the mayor's office. "It's the heart and soul of Austin." The task force meets on the second Monday of every month from 6 to 8pm, in the Boards and Commissions room at City Hall, and will present its assessment and recommendations to the city manager and City Council on or before Oct. 31.
On the Beach
"No man is an island, but every man has a peninsula," says Austin transplant Hayes Carll, recalling a phrase he picked up during his tenure in Crystal Beach, Texas. Essentially taking the opposite career path as Jerry Jeff Walker (see "Viva Belize!" Sept. 7, 2007), Carll honed his craft in the coastal city, singing for his supper and observing the locals. His memories from that time clearly resonate in his new comic book, Hayes Carll in the Search for Ooga Kabooga Juice and Other Adventures, not to mention his poignant third album and Lost Highway debut, Trouble in Mind, which was released last week on vinyl with bonus tracks, rich with seedy characters and natural prose. "There's not a lot to do there but hang out at the bar and hope you don't get shot," Carll confides. "Let's just say you meet some characters." This weekend the singer-songwriter returns to Crystal Beach to host the second annual Stingaree Music Festival, headlined by Terry Allen and featuring like-minded locals Ray Wylie Hubbard (who co-wrote "Drunken Poet's Dream"), Band of Heathens, Will Kimbrough, Eliza Gilkyson, Gurf Morlix, and the Dedringers. www.stingareemusicfestival.com.
Born to Run
"Drivin' alone through the Texas night," Bruce Springsteen checked the pulse of Houston's Toyota Center on Monday night with opener "Cadillac Ranch" and issued an immediate distress signal with "Radio Nowhere." Sifting through "eight years of bad Magic," the Boss and his E Street Band breathed life and hope into the American dream through classic cuts like the "The E Street Shuffle" and "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out." Two hours later, the Jersey boys turned the wheels back home, introducing Alejandro Escovedo (who now shares the management team of Jon Landau and Barbara Carr) for "Always a Friend," the lead number from Escovedo's upcoming Real Animal, which Springsteen plugged twice. And keeping with a Lone Star tradition, Joe Ely took center stage for what could have been the theme song for the evening, "All Just to Get to You."
Music for the Masses
In case you need a little extra motivation to support independent music retailers, this Saturday is Record Store Day. Twelve of Austin's finest, from Waterloo Records to Sound on Sound, are binding together for a good old-fashioned record-store crawl, wherein receipts from one participating store dated April 19 will result in discounts at the remaining outlets. See the ad on p.75 for more details and Music Listings, for the complete list of in-store appearances. To mark the occasion, artists ranging from Stephen Malkmus and R.E.M. to ACL 2008 performers the Black Keys and Vampire Weekend are releasing limited-edition 7-inches, while Antone's Record Shop is hosting a sidewalk sale. Friends of Sound Records' backroom bargain bins will be 50% off, and everything at Whetstone Audio, including turntables, speakers, and amps, will be 10% off. This might be a good time to mark your calendars for the 2008 Rhythmhound Music & Media Show, May 17-18 at the Palmer Events Center. Dealer tables are still available, but there is a catch: no bootlegs. www.rhythmhound.com.
The Colour and the Shape
With Jakob Dylan & the Gold Mountain Rebels following in the footsteps of last year's headliner, Bob Dylan, the rest of the 2008 Austin City Limits Music Festival, Sept. 26-28 in Zilker Park, is following suit. While there is still a number of high-profile veteran artists (Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Manu Chao, John Fogerty, David Byrne), the lineup, announced on Tuesday, is stacked with alternative staples for a younger generation (the headlining Foo Fighters, Beck, the Mars Volta, Iron & Wine, Gnarls Barkley), right down to its local delegates (White Denim, the Strange Boys, Black Joe Lewis & the Honey Bears). OTR is personally stoked to see Conor Oberst, M. Ward, and Gillian Welch on the same bill, along with Spiritualized, Band of Horses, and Antibalas. Find the whole lineup at austinchronicle.com/earache. Meanwhile, KLRU's Austin City Limits continues its 34th season on Sunday with a double taping of Pinetop Perkins and Bettye LaVette. (For an interview with LaVette, see "Sad Songs Say So Much.") Thievery Corporation and My Morning Jacket are also confirmed for sessions in July and August, respectively. For more information, try the ticket hotline at 475-9077.
• In the April 17 issue of Rolling Stone, David Fricke recounts his attendance of a surprise 60th birthday party for Eric Clapton cohort and Austin resident Bobby Whitlock (see "Keep on Growing," Dec. 1, 2006) on the final night of South by Southwest 08. Elsewhere in print, Spin magazine becomes the last publication in North America to note the buzz surrounding White Denim. Aubrey Edwards should be credited with the photo.
• Texas Showdown Saloon, the Drag's other hole in the wall and former site of punk haven Raul's, is shutting down after 27 years. Stop in for a pint while you still can.
• The hill in Town Lake Park with the spiral walkway, between Stevie Ray Vaughan's statue and Riverside, was officially renamed Doug Sahm Hill last week by Austin City Council in honor of the original cosmic cowboy.
• The Sword shall return to the Land of Ice and Snow (see "We Come From the Land of the Ice and Snow," March 28), joining Metallica for a seven-date tour in July that begins with an appearance at the Bergen Festival in Norway. Gods of the Earth, the local quartet's celestial second LP, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Heatseeker and New Artist charts.