Victory for Bright Lights Social Hour!

ACL Fest Sound & Jury winners get their moment in the spotlight

Bright Lights Social Hour will shine at ACL Fest
Bright Lights Social Hour will shine at ACL Fest

The votes were cast, the people spoke, and to the victor went the spoils! The Dell Lounge Sound and Jury contest announced its Top Five a few days ago. The winner? One of my two favorites: The Bright Light Social Hour, who lay waste to every stage they set foot on. See them today at ACL Fest at 11:45am.

On Wednesday, September 30th at Antone’s, the competing bands battled it out for a slot at ACL Festival. Also competing was The Bubbles, who pulled off an impressive come-from-behind climb to land a spot in that Top Five, ex Polyphonic Spreeite Andrew Tinker, electro-dancemeisters Mobley, and Denton’s OK Sweetheart. Every band brought their A game to that show.

The Other Side of Music

Austin's young music is getting a lot of attention right now, but what about young music businesses and entities? The growing number of young bands with young listeners in Austin opens up a new demographic full of possibility. Several business-minded young people in this town have seen the frontier that is the new Austin music scene, and are rushing to make their claim. Here are a couple of their organizations:

- Bold & Zesty Productions began in 2008. The brainchild of Colin Jenkins and Zoe Cordes Selbin, Bold & Zesty markets itself as a full-service booking, management, and event production plus PR firm. The company has raised awareness and fostered good feelings around town by supporting causes near and dear to Austin’s heart like The Yellow Bike Project. Last March, B & Z threw a benefit concert for Yellow Bike drawing prestigious Texas bands like Oh No Oh My and The Tastydactyls. The event received a lot of attention from local press and drew an impressive crowd.

Since then, B & Z has specialized in boutique events, like intimate indie acoustic showcases and campfire sing-a-longs. B & Z events are incredibly well-attended, and it is easy to see this company headed in a similar direction as Transmission Entertainment and Fun Fun Fun Fest.

* Last winter, a group of five students from Akins High School traveled to Dublin, Ireland, to take third place in an international music business competition sponsored by Blastbeat Ltd., a philanthropic organization designed to introduce the concepts of music business to high school students. After going their separate ways, the five regrouped to form the Vagabond Collective, a record and production company targeting Austin’s up-and-coming young indie bands. Vagabond – founded by Cory Green and Ricky Valenzuela – is currently working with Cory Dennis, another young entrepreneur and owner of Indie Fort Recording Studio, in the production of Mother Falcon’s debut EP. Vagabond also made their mark as a production company, booking artists like Danny Malone and Tony Scalzo of Fastball at events, and raising over $1000 dollars for Invisible Children at a successful benefit last summer.

Independent companies like these really solidify a scene and can ignite the next musical craze – think Sub-Pop in the grunge days. Pay attention to this group of people, they have their sights set on putting the young Austin scene on the national and global map.

The Daze Straightjacket Hymns (2009)

Once you get around the fact that this album is essentially a clinic in musicianship, Evan Butts’ lyrical sophistication offers a whole new level of appreciation for Straightjacket Hymns. Butts displays great talent as a lyricist, narrowly avoiding clichés with a brilliance so subtle it’s difficult to pick up on. My personal favorite track is “In a Day,” a watery tune with lovesick lyrics that read like Petrarchan poetry. The album is ripe with radio-friendly singles like “Blizzard Woman Blues,” a short but sweet track reminiscent of the White Stripes and Black Keys. The Daze show impressive musicianship throughout the album, often ascending into long musical interludes,that don’t deter from the accessibility of the music. Though it is no secret where The Daze draws their influences from, they make it their own, and deliver it with honesty. With a silver screen appearance in Bandslam under their belt and Rick Del Castillo as their advocate and producer, it would be no surprise if Straightjacket Hymns served as a breakout for these Austin rockers.

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More ACL Fest 2009
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Aaron Miller, Oct. 5, 2009

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ACL Fest 2009, young music organizations, ACL, Bold & Zesty, Vagabond, The Daze

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