Off the Record
Directions to See a Ghost
Austin's psychedelic torch will be handed down at the 2008-09 Austin Music Awards at the Austin Music Hall on March 18. The 13th Floor Elevators' Roky Erickson is confirmed to headline alongside ever-faithful acolytes the Black Angels (see "I See Dead People," May 9, 2008). Considering that the kindred spirits already have a West Coast tour and a few joint recordings under their belts, the collaboration should be a trip for all ages. "I realized last year with Rokkervil [Erickson teamed with Okkervil River] we had something really magical on our hands in that we were able to put the classic with the contemporary and make it work for an international audience," relays AMAs director Margaret Moser. "It's timeless." Also on board are hardcore punks and AMA Hall of Fame nominees the Dicks (see "Saturday Night at the Bookstore," May 12, 2000), hopefully with a special guest from Red River's post-punk past. Expect details to emerge in the coming weeks. The Music Poll remains open through Friday. Vote now, or forever hold your bitching.
New Wave rocketeers Devo are headed to South by Southwest 09, headlining the BMI showcase at the Austin Music Hall on Friday, March 20. Other standouts from the third cut include Abe Vigoda, Amazing Baby, Bosque Brown, Chairlift, Gallows, King Khan & the Shrines, School of Seven Bells, and Women, not to mention locals Gary Clark Jr., Del Castillo, Dan Dyer, Shearwater, and Sunset. Plug in to www.sxsw.com/music for more.
Rumble in the Jungle
Friday and Saturday nights, Pangaea (409 Colorado) transforms into an exotic safari, where old money and young entrepreneurs escape behind velvet ropes and chilled Champagne. The ultra lounge does so well those two nights, in fact, that owner Michael Ault is giving the rest of us a chance to soak up the atmosphere during the week. "It'll be a regular music club that happens to be fancy as hell," enthuses former Steamboat owner Danny Crooks, who has started booking both local and national shows at the venue. "They're not in it to make money; they already have that taken care of. They want to do stuff that's fun and contribute to the music scene." Inaugurating Pangaea Live Thursday, Feb. 5, is Grupo Fantasma, trying to raise travel fare for its trip to the Grammys that weekend. Following on successive Thursdays are Vallejo (Feb. 12) and Del Castillo (Feb. 19). "After I have my first couple of shows, everyone in town is going to want to play there," Crooks promises. "It's the most beautiful club I've ever seen. And if you want to come in and buy a $2,000 bottle, you can do that, too."
"I imagined an old, wooden, mechanical instrument like a clock, something rhythmic but still a bit awkward," says American Analog Set mastermind Andrew Kenny, who moved back to Austin last summer, of his new project, the Wooden Birds. "Once I discovered that I liked the sound, the songs fell into place like dominoes." Though the band has yet to perform live, the Birds recently signed to indie launching pad Barsuk Records, thanks in part to Kenny's association with Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard via their 2003 Post-Parlo split, Home Volume V. The group's upcoming debut, Magnolia, a rather stark collection of serene acoustic pop, is tentatively scheduled for a spring release. As if that weren't enough to fill Kenny's South by Southwest itinerary, AmAnSet is reuniting at the Festival to commemorate the 10-year anniversaries of InSound.com and the release of The Golden Band, which the once again all-local quintet (see "Static Between Stations," Sept. 16, 2005) will perform in its entirety. "I'm hoping that everyone gets excited about playing again," Kenny concludes, "and then hopefully we'll put something together for the future."
Start checking the sofa for spare change. According to Roscoe Beck, bassist and locally based musical director for Leonard Cohen, the Man is kicking off his U.S. tour at the Long Center for the Performing Arts on April 2, the perfect encore to Philip Glass' presentation of Book of Longing at Bass Concert Hall next month. Meanwhile, Bruce Springsteen's Working on a Dream tour touches down at the Frank Erwin Center on April 5 (tickets go on sale Feb. 7). Also look for E Street Band guitarist and Soprano Steven Van Zandt as a featured speaker March 20 at the Austin Convention Center as part of SXSW 09.
Direct Events gained approval from the city of Bee Cave for the rezoning of the proposed land for the new Backyard, located on 35 acres adjacent to Bee Cave City Park. "The topography of the land lends itself to exactly what we're trying to accomplish," owner Tim O'Connor said shortly after closing the original location of the Backyard in late October. "We made a pledge that we were going to be the greenest venue possible, or we weren't going to do it all." Groundbreaking should begin this spring.
The BoDeans, Hayes Carll, the Greencards, and the Gourds are among the headliners thus far announced for the 22nd annual Old Settler's Music Festival, April 16-19, at Salt Lick BBQ Pavilion and Camp Ben McCulloch. Early-bird tickets are now available at www.oldsettlersmusicfest.org.
Hats off to Meagan Tubb & Shady People, who visit Cedar Street on Monday. The local group brought home best song ("Let Me Believe") in the blues category at the eighth annual Independent Music Awards.
Ian McLagan shot down reports of an imminent Faces' reunion tour – with Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers on bass no less – and new album. "Nothing's happened since November," the local keyboardist said in a statement from Europe, where he's on tour with Jon Dee Graham and James McMurtry. Stay tuned.