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Playback

Dreaming up the Young, smokin' with Snoop

By Kevin Curtin, Fri., June 8, 2012

Playback raised Ellen DeGeneres, seen here with the Young's promotional egg shaker
Playback raised Ellen DeGeneres, seen here with the Young's promotional egg shaker
Courtesy of Teven Hudgins

Hatching the 'Dub Egg'

"I showed up at our practice space in Hans' backyard and we were set up to do dub remixes of our songs. He had this contraption. It was all these wires running into a tiny little speaker – aimed at this half-boiled egg that was sitting in the fucking dirt. The sound waves would pass through the egg and collect in a box, and those were the dub mixes.

"Then the egg broke and we had to go to the HEB on East Seventh to get more."

That dream, from the subconscious of guitarist Kyle Edwards, was the titular inspiration for Dub Egg, the new album by the Young, hatching on Matador Records this Tuesday (see "Chaotic Discs," June 1, for review). Riding high on recent praise from Rolling Stone, the locals' national attention may soon eclipse their limited Austin buzz. Made up of four guys who previously only played in punk bands, the Young's sound is no contrivance, but rather the result of adventure and trust.

"It's become what it is because we've latched on and let it take us somewhere," says singer and guitarist Hans Zimmerman. "The more we play together the more it gets to do whatever the fuck it wants."

After recording first album Voyagers of Legend in various living rooms, the band was noticed by Matador Records co-head/local music guru Gerard Cosloy, whose New York team offered to put out a follow-up.

"He's the only reason we're on the label," says bassist Jason Costanzo. "Otherwise we probably wouldn't even be a band anymore."

The foursome lit out to an isolated cabin, free of the interruptions and conveniences of modern life, to record Dub Egg. With no producers or engineers to hassle them, the band took their time, experimenting and recording lots of takes.

"It's all about zeroing in on shit," says Zimmerman. "You gotta pick the one with the right mistakes. They've all got mistakes, but the ones with the right mistakes are the best takes."

Zimmerman, a luddite as a producer, recorded and mixed Dub Egg on analog machines and sequenced them the old-fashioned way – with a razor blade and tape. The result is 10 songs with agile guitar interplay, easy grooves, and murmuring vocals that take complex and interesting paths as they develop. Hear it in person at the CD release show next Saturday, June 16, at Spider House 29th St. Ballroom. Asked what the Young stand for, Zimmerman cites the disc's first track: "Livin' Free!"

Phranchyzing

Though Phranchyze came home empty-handed from the Red Bull EmSee National Finals in Atlanta last week, he had something on the horizon equally as valuable as the $10,000 purse – a string of upcoming dates with the almighty Snoop Dogg. The local rapper plays seven shows with the Doggfather, including a sold-out concert at Stubb's tonight, Thursday, June 7. "It's a great opportunity to introduce my brand to the widest possible audience," says the 27-year-old South Austin native. "Snoop's for everyone. He transcends age, race, and class, and being able to perform to his fans is as good as it gets." Still buzzing off the February release of his full-length S.T.A.R.S., the stoney MC is already putting the final touches on another project entitled Phranye West – the third installment of a mixtape series (Gucci Phran and French Phrantana dropped last year) – that Phranchyze describes as "Laid-back legit smoking music" and which he says will incorporate beats by its namesake producer. After the Snoop shows, Phranchyze opens for Riff Raff on Friday at the Beauty Ballroom, Blowfly at the Scoot Inn Saturday, and Lil' Kim at Emo's East on June 19.

Half Notes

• Veteran MC Tee-Double has been elected to the Texas Chapter of the Grammy's Board of Governors. The Austin-born rapper, producer, and public speaker began his two-year term on June 1, and will vote in all categories for the national music industry awards. "It's an amazing opportunity for someone doing hip-hop in Austin to be involved with this great forward step for urban music," he says. Tee-Double is also in the process of developing a roundtable for urban artists to discuss how to better handle their careers as well as to teach them about licensing.

• Gary isn't a name that gets chanted often, but, according to on-site reporter and Austin Chronicle Music Anthology co-editor Doug Freeman, those cheers erupted several times for local guitar slinger Gary Clark Jr. as he wailed at last week's Sasquatch Festival in Washington. Other notable Austinites performing there were Shearwater who, with understudies filling in for the absent Thor Harris and Kim Burke, unloaded a boffo set, and Explosions in the Sky, which drew a large audience on the Bigfoot stage opening night.

• There's to be no "Playback" next week, as I'm headed to New York to visit and photograph lyrical landmarks such as 53rd & 3rd, Lexington and 125, and Bleecker Street. If you have any suggested locations, send them to newyorkcitylyrics@gmail.com. Until I return, everyone in Austin please cease all musical performances so I don't miss anything. Thank you.

Hey Ho

Before their sold-out show at Antone's last Thursday, Denver's Lumineers played a not-so-intimate in-store performance at Waterloo Records. The rising folkies, touring in support of their self-titled debut, packed more than 200 people into every corner of the record store. The free beer lines were short – due to the large contingency of young girls getting their hearts melted by singer Wes Schultz's sweet and thoughtful lyrics. Playing with a stripped-down setup of acoustic guitar, cello, and light percussion, they exceeded the typical in-store set length and played a solid chunk of their album including the hit "Hey Ho," showcasing the catchy choruses that put them on the Mumford & Sons side of the folk music index. Humble about the group's increasing popularity, Schultz remarked, "Until very recently, this would have been the biggest show we've ever played." In attendance at their Antone's gig was Austin City Limits' Executive Producer Terry Lickona, who was "blown away" by their performance. "I definitely think they're ready for ACL and would hope to find a spot for them down the road," enthused Lickona.

Better Than a Place in History

Antisect at the Mohawk Saturday, June 2
Antisect at the Mohawk Saturday, June 2
Photo by John Anderson

Credit Chaos in Tejas organizer Timmy Hefner with reviving UK anarchy punks Antisect from a 24-year coma. I ran into founder Pete Lyons after the band's wild headlining show at the Mohawk last Saturday and asked him what, after all these years, reunited them. "Timmy, he kept bugging us," Lyons said. "He contacted us to reform and play last year's fest, but we couldn't all do it. After meeting, though, we decided to make it happen. Without his pestering, we would not have come back." Lyons said the trepidation he felt about playing in the U.S. for the first time was quelled by the fervent local audience. "Amazing," he called it.

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