Daily Music
Big Boned
It's been way too long since I thought about Fishbone.

The Los Angeles-based punk/ska/soul outfit plays Emo's Wednesday with Lick Lick and Opposite Day in support of Still Stuck in Your Throat (Sound in Color), their first new stateside album in seven years. Aside from helping pave the way for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane’s Addiction, and No Doubt, they were one of the best live bands of the Eighties. Anyone who saw them plow through "Party at Ground Zero" or "Lyin' Ass Bitch" during their heyday can testify to that.

Fishbone's sweat-soaked August 1987 show at the Ritz with the True Believers and Bad Mutha Goose may have actually saved my life after being shown the dorm-room door by an unrequited summer-school crush. I also recall a 1989 show at the Texas Union Ballroom with Thelonious Monster at which the band stated they'd never play UT again until the university divested from apartheid South Africa (a promise they kept).

The 'Bone's commercial peak was 1991's The Reality of My Surroundings, but even that sprawling album never made the Top 10. Diminishing returns followed and original members started dropping off. Today only sax player/vocalist Angelo Moore and bassist/vocalist John Norwood Fisher remain from the original 1979 lineup.

At its finer points, Throat recalls the frenetic, stereotype-smashing fusion of “black” and “white” musical genres that made Fishbone’s 1985 debut EP so revolutionary. From the hardcore neurosis of "Frey'd Fuckin' Nerve Endings" to the goofyass ska hoedown, "Party With Saddam," the band retains its boiled-over melting-pot vibe. While hearing them pay tribute to the influenced with a cover of Sublime's obnoxious "Date Rape" is sort of sad; it's the last song and easy enough to skip. Either way, Fishbone was always a live band. I'd never write them off in that context.

3:08PM Tue. Apr. 24, 2007, Greg Beets Read More | Comment »

Take This Roll and Shove It
Sheryl Crow wants us to use “only one square per restroom visit” of toilet paper when we use the toilet. By “we,” I take it she means women since the only man I know who blots his weenie after peeing is David Beckham.

La Crow admits that there are “those pesky occasions where two to three could be required.” Two or three? What do you eat, Sheryl? Iams and Science Diet? As long as you’re citing exceptions, what about explosive diarrhea? Must we requisition extra? And what if you wipe and then have to go again, Sheryl? How about a long, snotty sneeze in the vicinity of the bathroom? What’s the allocation there?

I’m a little surprised that she took off after toilet paper. She mentioned paper napkins, which seems a much more reasonable place to start, since they don’t actively involve personal hygiene. The downside to using cloth napkins is that they must be washed. Washing usually involves soap, water usage, and electricity, but maybe that’s the fair trade. Clean napkins are as much a necessity to the restaurant industry as they are to household eating. She didn’t even mention disposable diapers.

3:18PM Mon. Apr. 23, 2007, Margaret Moser Read More | Comment »

Don't Call It a Comeback
For the past couple of years, the Old Settler’s Music Festival seemed to wobble on its last legs, both creatively and in terms of attendance. This past weekend, however, it showed great signs of life with respectable crowds; a full, lively campground; and some inspired bookings that proved it’s more than just another (dreaded) bluegrass festival.

The vibe at Camp Ben McCulloch on Thursday night was as pleasant as an Austin music event could be with smiles all around and everyone kicking off their shoes for dancing and hula hoops. Slaid Cleaves cleared the air as to how a singer-songwriter goes about entertaining an audience. Backed by a trio that included striking fiddler Eleanor Whitmore, Cleaves laid down a set of country and folk, fast-paced yet touching and peppered with the occasional yodel. Baton Rouge, La.’s Red Stick Ramblers followed with a plate of swing, blues, and Cajun that had nearly everyone shaking their moneymaker. They’ve had some personnel changes over the years, which has unfortunately led the quintet to lean a little heavy on the swing and away from their Louisiana roots, but there were no complaints from the crowd, which was obviously geared up for a energetic weekend.

2:38PM Mon. Apr. 23, 2007, Jim Caligiuri Read More | Comment »

Cute Band Alert!
Above the sea of neck tattoos and back patches, I can only see Signal Lost singer Ashley Marshall pop up and down. So often, in fact, I begin to wonder if there's a trampoline I can't see. Signal Lost has lots of fans. Besides maybe Hermosa Beach in 1981, Room 710 is pretty much the perfect place for Signal Lost to play. Energetic, anthemic, all those things you like from punk rock, right?

The 4-year-old quartet is on Prank Records, once home to Kylesa and personal Schadenfreude favorite Guyana Punch Line, but they don’t sound like a typical Prank band. Instead of blast beats or unintelligible screams, they run through pop, thrash, and punk, and count bands like J Church, Severed Head of State, Deaththreat, Balance of Terror, and Storm the Tower among the branches of their family tree. Marshall's vocal range veers from a gruff howl to a Siouxsie-esque bellow and their politi-punk leanings could throw them in the pit with the anarcho ranks of Crass Records. But there's something distinctly Texas about them.

Prosthetic Screams is their latest LP. Produced by the ubiquitous Chris "Frenchie" Smith, there's a definite sheen to the new songs, as opposed to 2005's Children of the Wasteland. Funny enough, perhaps because there are two women in the band (Marshall and bassist Jasmine Mayberry) under the "sounds like" category on their MySpace is the phrase “Your girlfriend would like it.”

“That’s kinda just an inside joke from our European tour,” Marshall explains. “We played with a lot of hardcore type bands, and after we'd finish our set each night, older punks would walk up to us and say things like, ‘I like you guys. It’s different and I can dance to it.’ I'm pretty sure that on our last tour I was approached by a different guy each night who said something along the lines of, 'My girlfriend really likes you!’ I couldn’t help but wonder, where are all these girlfriends?”

Didn't seem to be a problem last night. Signal Lost heads out on a West Coast tour next week, and the play list for the van is quite telling. “Every time we cram into that van, we listen to the same tapes,” Marshall laughs. “It wouldn’t be a Signal Lost tour without Zounds, Wipers, Leatherface, Big Boys, Post Regiment, La Fraction, the Mob. And when things get tense we can always depend on some Dead Milkmen to lighten the mood.”

1:09PM Fri. Apr. 20, 2007, Audra Schroeder Read More | Comment »

Choogle x 2
If you're looking for a condensed history of "choogle," head over to TCBlog.
In the meantime, Minneapolis quartet Chooglin', who rocked Beerland shortly before South by Southwest, take the name seriously on their latest self-titled.

Armed with a Creedence-coined moniker and a logo nicked from Chicago (might wanna lawyer up on that count, boys), Chooglin' blasts far beyond whatever notions those two weapons might confer. The fourpiece utilizes garage-borne punk fury to remind us of the ass-shaking salvation once offered by the boogie-down guitar rock of the Seventies before it got all bloated on deli trays and cocaine.

Ex-Midnight Evils Jesse Tomlinson and Brian Vanderwerf conjure up double-barreled guitar pyrotechnics while drummer Shawn Walker splays himself every which way at a hundred miles an hour without losing time. Opener "So Stupid" spins itself into a frenzy approximating a speed-of-sound collision between Muddy Waters, Foghat, and the Streetwalkin' Cheetahs. Breakneck soul workout "Do It to It" and a well-placed cover of Roy Head's "Treat Her Right" garner extra oomph from the Horns of Eleganza's barroom brass. Theirs is the sound of workaday shackles rapidly evaporating into a rank steam of spilled beer and hormones.

3:22PM Wed. Apr. 18, 2007, Greg Beets Read More | Comment »

Strange Days Indeed
America’s most phallic state may soon forgive Jim Morrison for a 1970 indecent-exposure conviction.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist says he’s thinking about granting the Doors vocalist a posthumous pardon for allegedly brandishing his unknown soldier during an infamous March 1, 1969, concert at Miami’s Dinner Key Auditorium. Local officials also charged Morrison with using profanity.

Bootleg recordings of the Miami show demonstrate Morrison’s drunken, foul-mouthed invective, but the exposure charge has always been a matter of conjecture because accounts vary and no photographs of the unsheathed tool are known to exist. Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek has long maintained that Morrison was merely taunting the audience and never whipped anything out.

Morrison, a Florida native, was sentenced to six months of hard labor by a Dade County judge in September 1970, but he remained free on appeal. The case was still pending when Morrison died of an overdose in a Paris bathtub on July 3, 1971.

"He died when he was 27,” Crist notes. “That's really a kid, when you think about it, and obviously he was having some challenges."

Crist does not have the authority to pardon Morrison on his own. Two of the three other members of the Florida cabinet, which serves as the state’s clemency board, would also have to agree to a pardon. Moreover, Florida does not have a procedure for pardoning the dead.

Still, between this and his politically brave effort to restore the voting rights of most Florida felons once they are released from prison, Charlie Crist deserves to be short-listed for the title of coolest Republican governor.

12:14PM Wed. Apr. 18, 2007, Greg Beets Read More | Comment »

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The Waiting Game
I'll skip what's really on my mind - how CONCERT PARKING SUCKS - because I am in the doghouse about it over not filing my Live Shot on ZZ Top show. I won't go into details about a 55-MINUTE LINE INTO THE PARKING LOT or why it annoys me that the Backyard misspells "glen," a small valley, as "Glenn" like the man's name. After attending music events for more than 40 years, I've reached my limit of doing the came-upon-a-child-of-God-he-was-walking-along-the-road march to Woodstock, ACL Fest, or any other place that requires me to park a ridiculous distance and stumble with a bad knee to the venue.

Except for the Rolling Stones. I'll walk, skip, hitchhike, fly first class, or take enough painkillers to limp anywhere to see them.

My most notorious concert line incident occurred in 1969, waiting to see Blind Faith at San Antonio's HemisFair Arena. With a portable tape recorder stashed in my purse - you could do that then without being a Deadhead - I stood with friends at the front of the line, huddled together while someone split a tab of acid. We alternated between saving a place in line and going to the water fountain to swallow the acid.

Two of our group had no tickets but we devised a plan: I'd go inside and meet them around the side of the arena and let them in. About an hour before the show began, the doors opened. We winked at each other and I walked in with my friend Debbie. We strolled along the bank of glass doors until we found what looked like a good place to throw open the door. Unfortunately, the two without tickets had blabbed the plan to some other have-nots. About 14 people stared at me from outside, waiting for the moment.

Debbie was the lookout. She gave the signal and I dashed to the door, pushing it wide open. Just then two cops came around the corner. I tried to slip into the crowd but one spotted me and gave chase. I ran, dodging hippies, and ducked into the bathroom. It was the men's room. The floor seemed to give way under a yellow-green florescent light. The acid had kicked in.

11:29AM Tue. Apr. 17, 2007, Margaret Moser Read More | Comment »

Fan Club
Dirk Michener currently crafts folk/psych/noise/pop with Cavedweller and the Charles Potts Magic Windmill Band. Here, in anticipation of Saturday's Sebadoh show (say that three times fast), he holds forth on an album that inspired him: 1992's Smash Your Head on the Punk Rock.

"I bought the album because I saw their name on the bill for Lollapalooza '93's second stage, along with Glue and Free Kitten," Michener says via e-mail. "I saw them before I bought the record and was completely blown away. Pretty much everything I’d ever wanted from music: folk and noise together at last. And they switched instruments in between every song. I was kind of young, maybe 17, and none of my friends liked this record at all. I wrote 'Sebadoh' on my jacket and some guy at a party came up to me and said, 'You actually like Sebadoh? They fuckin’ suck, dude.' This was probably one of the first times a fellow 'indie rocker' dissed a band I liked. I think he said something about how Dinosaur Jr. could kick their asses or something involving the Mascis/Barlow feud - like somehow that carried over into Sebadoh/Dinosaur Jr. fan camps. I became predisposed to hate Dinosaur Jr. because of this and effectively influenced most of my friends to feel the same way, even though they still didn’t like Sebadoh."

Michener will not be wearing his Sebadoh jacket to the show, unfortunately.

"My mom threw away my Sebadoh jacket when I left it in my closet after I moved out of the house. It also had a bunch of punk rock shit drawn on it. My mom thought drawing on clothes was in poor taste."

Smash your head on the psych rock with Cavedweller April 28 at the Carousel Lounge.

3:27PM Fri. Apr. 13, 2007, Audra Schroeder Read More | Comment »

That Smell
Here’s a video treasure for aficionados of Texas psych – Dallas-based Southwest F.O.B. performing their 1968 cover of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band’s “Smell of Incense” on The Larry Kane Show.

During the Sixties, TV stations throughout the country aired locally produced teen dance shows each weekday afternoon to attract afterschool viewers. These shows were similar in format – if not budget – to American Bandstand, with regular featured dancers from area high schools and pop groups lip-syncing their latest hit. WJZ-TV in Baltimore had The Buddy Deane Show (reimagined in John Waters’ Hairspray as The Corny Collins Show), WFAA in Dallas had Sump’n Else, and KTRK in Houston had The Larry Kane Show.

By decade’s end, local teen dance shows had become an anachronism due to high production costs. Because they aired live, and because videotapes of daily shows were often “wiped” for reuse, very little footage of these shows exists today, which makes this garbled 39-year-old clip a real find.

Despite their deep Texas drawls, the boys in F.O.B. (F.O.B. = Freight on Board) really knew how to freak out. Their version of “Incense” only made it to No. 56 on the pop chart, but band members Dan Seals and John Colley transformed themselves into England Dan & John Ford Coley in the Seventies, scoring a No. 2 hit in 1976 with "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight."

2:36PM Thu. Apr. 12, 2007, Greg Beets Read More | Comment »

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