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Off the Record

Music News

By Austin Powell, Fri., June 10, 2011

Clockwise from top: Milk Music, Omar Souleyman, Fucked Up
Clockwise from top: Milk Music, Omar Souleyman, Fucked Up
Photos by John Anderson

The Chemistry of Life

Chaos in Tejas is actually a misnomer for Timmy Hefner's annual summer punk parade. Certainly there was no shortage of mayhem during the four-day carousal last weekend, yet the whole crazy affair ran on schedule and without any reported injuries despite countless circle pits kicking up more collective dust than the 2005 Austin City Limits Music Festival. Before reuniting with his NYC outfit Citizens Arrest, Ted Leo launched a solo suite at Beerland on Thursday that transitioned from Hüsker Dü's "Could You Be the One?" into the Misfits' "Angelfuck." The following night Syrian wedding singer Omar Souleyman left Antone's in a dizzying trance of Middle Eastern house music concocted by his one-man band of gypsies, Rizan Sa'id, who balanced fluttering high-octave arpeggios across two keyboards and a drum pad. Other highlights included the stoner guitar triumph of Milk Music from Olympia, Wash., at End of an Ear Saturday, followed by the annual return of Denton's the Marked Men at Beerland. Then came the walking contradiction that is Fucked Up, a hardcore band with epic zeal, as witnessed by the biblical thrust of latest David Comes to Life. Frontman Damian Abraham orchestrated Mohawk's pit on Sunday like a hairy pinball wizard, delivering at least one Tombstone pile driver in between "I Hate Summer" and "Triumph of Life," two songs that make a fitting epitaph to the finest Chaos in Tejas yet. For more, see "Live Shots."

The Payback

OBN III's
OBN III's
Photo by John Anderson

Orville Bateman Neeley III originally envisioned his namesake punk revue as a soul band. "But that'd feel kinda trite these days," spouts the 25-year-old Denton transplant in between sets at Beerland on Saturday afternoon, where he's worked the soundboard since 2009. "There's just a lot of boring bands in town. I didn't want to be like them." OBN III's proved the polar opposite at Red 7 on Thursday for Chaos in Tejas, shimmying through feral proto-punk gems as the quintet's dual guitar attack stoked Neeley testifying like a Southern Pentecostal preacher with the shake appeal of Iggy Pop and a Pete Townshend complex. He records full-band demos by playing every instrument himself, fitting given his prolific work as a local producer (for the Strange Boys and John Wesley Coleman III) and drummer for contemporaries A Giant Dog, not to mention his mainstay gig as guitarist/singer for Denton power-pop trio Bad Sports. Between those three projects, there are about six new records in the works. "I want to make people laugh but at the same time kind of make them uncomfortable," summarizes Neeley. For a sampling, swing by the weekend stand by UK punks the Paul Collins Beat at Spider House Ballroom, featuring Bad Sports and Flesh Lights on Saturday, followed OBN III's and A Giant Dog on Sunday.

Two of a Kind

In early 2007, Rosie Flores produced what should've been Janis Martin's comeback album, her first major studio recordings in 30 years. The self-proclaimed "Female Elvis" was diagnosed with cancer following the sessions and passed that September. After pitching labels, Flores has opened a Kickstarter campaign to help master and release the album (www.kck.st/l4Y2P3). "I hope to inspire more young females to rock like her in the way that Janis inspired me through the years," wrote Flores (see "Gypsy Rose," Aug. 10, 2007), who first worked with Martin on two duets for her 1995 album, Rockabilly Filly. Flores visits the Cactus Cafe on Saturday, June 11. On a similar note, OTR's pleased to report that after reading here about Joel Laviolette's campaign to help build a full marimba set for the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Texas Music Office awarded the Rattletree Marimba leader with a $1,500 grant.

Beautiful World

Imagine if Devo wrote ditties about "Mrs. Hermit Crab" and "Itchy Scratchy." That's essentially Mr. Leebot, the alter ego of former Manager's Choice guitarist Lee Davila. "It's fun to play for kids because they're very honest and you get immediate reactions," he says. There's an irony to Davila's current situation, though: He's a children's entertainer with no kids of his own. For the past two years, he and his wife have been in the process of adopting two Ethiopian babies, and the proceeds from his third electro-pop album, Erratic Schematic, are being used to purchase a space heater, refrigerator, and stove, along with medical supplies for the kids' orphanage. The two have already raised more than $3,000 and will be making the trip sometime in the next few weeks. "They're beautiful kids there, and they're well cared for considering," Davila notes, "but there are certain things that they really need." Donate at www.ourbabybots.blogspot.com.

Random Play

The latest installment of the Alamo Drafthouse's Music Monday series, 2009's Wheedle's Groove, documents the unearthing and revival of Seattle's once-thriving soul scene in the late 1960s. Black Angels frontman Alex Maas is credited with additional camerawork thanks to his sister, Jennifer, who directed the film, which screens June 13 at the Ritz. "The story is beautiful in many ways," attests Maas.

Leroy Franklin, who cut what's considered to be Texas' first rap record, 1981's "Star Bird II," passed away in Austin on May 30. He was 58. "Leroy was a super sweet guy and a seriously talented musician," professes Noel Waggener of Heavy Light Records, which re-pressed the single in 2009.

Local songwriter David Moss and St. Edward's graduate Grace Pettis were among the winners of the 2011 New Folk Competition. It's a poetic, full circle moment for Pettis, whose father, Pierce, won the same honor the year she was born, 1987, and later penned songs for Art Garfunkel and Joan Baez. The 40th anniversary edition of the Kerrville Folk Festival wraps up this weekend, with the annual Underground Kerrville Revue rolling into the Cactus Cafe on Tuesday, June 14.

Pushing the boundaries of the current live-stream concert trend, Stageside Productions is hosting a pay-per-view streaming of Widespread Panic's two-night stand at ACL Live at the Moody Theater, June 14-15, through Facebook. Guitarist John Bell will also take part in a virtual Q&A preshow. Single streams run $5, with unlimited access bumped to $10, which is still cheaper than a couple of beers or Downtown parking.

This week's cover darling Akina Adderley brings her neo-soul with the Vintage Playboys to Paper Cuts, the Chronicle's new live music series at the Palm Door, on Tuesday, June 21. RSVP to the all-inclusive shindig, presented by Capital Metro, and check out the excellent footage by Austin Music Weekly of Foot Patrol's inaugural rubdown at austinchronicle.com/papercuts.

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