Daily Music
Real Kid Rock
The absolute coolest thing about listening to teenagers play rock & roll is their unadulterated love for it. They embrace songs the way they hug you – tightly and sometimes awkwardly but with all the passion their little hearts can muster.

I’m sorry I won’t be flying in or out of Austin this week, but those who are can hear five of Austin’s best young local bands at Austin-Bergstrom.

When I say young, I mean young – most coming in under 18. They're not the oh-aren’t-they-cute-practicing-in-the-TV-room variety of kid bands; most of them have been in and out of the local music camps or received extensive training. A few of them have good DNA and/or family connections to thank but that doesn’t replace innate talent or that adolescent fire that burns under their butts.

Westlake High School student Kelli Tucci started the week off. Tucci is a graduate of the Austin School of Music and falls into the pop singer-songwriter category. Max Tolleson of Max & Henry (and grandson of entertainment attorney Mike Tolleson), on the other hand, attended the local Natural Ear Music Camp before teaming with Henry Gillespie (son of literary diva Spike Gillespie). The two make serious noise on their debut CD called, naturally, Max & Henry, a savvy choice of covers from “Killin’ Floor” to “Bang a Gong,” and the two guitarists wisely drafted Ernie Gammage and Christine Albert’s son Troupe for bass and drums for their Tuesday show.

12:07PM Wed. Jul. 25, 2007, Margaret Moser Read More | Comment »

ACL: The Afterparty
The Austin City Limits Music Festival announced its official
aftershows this morning. They can be viewed here.

The concerts should ease the strain of choosing sides during the festival's more painful pairings (Spoon vs. Queens of the Stone Age), though a few conflicts (MIA vs. LCD Soundsystem, Muse vs. Arctic Monkeys) are left unresolved. For those who survive the weekend, Yo La Tengo will beat your ass at the Parish on Monday night, while Common, who is not scheduled to perform at ACL, graces La Zona Rosa on Sunday. Perhaps even more exciting is the empty slot still looming Saturday night at Stubb's. All available tickets go on sale Saturday, July 28 at 10am through Front Gate Tickets.

5:46PM Tue. Jul. 24, 2007, Austin Powell Read More | Comment »

Cute Band Alert!
The first time I saw W-S Burn was last summer and I couldn't decide if I liked them. Perhaps it was the wind chime/lamp contraption singer Amanda Beddard (aka Pixie) was spinning on stage as she sang. (I have an undiagnosed fear of wind chimes that stems from a childhood accident.) But, damn, she had an amazing voice.

I saw them again last month at the Parlor, and I confronted my fear. The duo - with former Brother JT collaborator Steve Gigante on guitar - moved here from Atlanta last year, but before that they lived in Knoxville, Tenn. For the past three years they've been playing as W-S Burn (W-S stands for Winston-Salem, which is where Beddard is from), spinning blues and folk into Southern gothic, and releasing a handful of home recordings that literally sound haunted. Beddard's voice ramps from purr to howl, and the lamp-chime only makes it affecting. Truly engaging to watch.

"Pixie has been writing songs since she was a little kid," Gigante relates. "Actually, one of the songs on [2004's] Two Dreams Tucked in Tight called 'Augustine' was written by her when she was 11 years old. And the version on that disc is the first time we had ever played it together. It just came out. So, there's a strange symbiosis happening which I really love. Writing songs together has been one of the most enjoyable musical experiences of my life."

1:13PM Tue. Jul. 24, 2007, Audra Schroeder Read More | Comment »

Venus: Shocking Blue & Cabanel
A goddess on a mountain top,
Was burning like a silver flame.
The summit of beauty and love,
And Venus was her name.

Looks like a sand bar to me, Venus’ bed, but Lisa Small, associate curator of the Dahesh Museum of Art in New York, lays the goddess on a wave. Small’s lecture last Sunday as part of the Blanton Museum’s summer event guide opened many a bright eye.

According to Small, “The Birth of Venus” hanging at UT's Blanton through Aug. 5 provenances as one of two authorized copies of Alexandre Cabanel’s blue ice cream Sunday, lighter than its faux twin at the Metropolitan in NYC. Maybe the Met’s is darker, as Small claims, but in that museum’s upstairs corridor, where it rains lights, “Venus” radiates only skin and sky. Small’s assertion that the copies are half the size of the original hanging in Paris brought back instant recall of just how big Cabanel's canvas really is, especially in the alternately cramped and outsized spaces of the Musée D’Orsay. Ooh la la

That first international viewing was all it took, too. The moment its ID was read, a quarter rolled down into my jukebox and I could hear the tone-arm set down on a spinning 45. Snap, crackle, pop.

12:32PM Fri. Jul. 20, 2007, Raoul Hernandez Read More | Comment »

Voxtrot Guy to World: 'The Internet Is a Very Dark Place to Be'
An interesting interview with Ramesh from Voxtrot here, following the lukewarm response to their album.

Whatever your feelings on the band, he has some valid points about being an "indie" band in the era of mass, orgiastic downloading where everyone's a critic and 15 minutes has become more like five.

1:21PM Thu. Jul. 19, 2007, Audra Schroeder Read More | Comment »

KAOS at Conan's Pizza
KAOS959.com, the South Austin Internet radio station with shows like Colostomy Grab Bag o' Fun and Wasted Hippie, also profiled earlier this month, is holding a benefit Saturday with locals Hit by a Car, Micah Omega & the Mutations, Kraked Surface, and My Fascist Pussy. Naturally, this benefit will be held at Conan's Pizza, 2018 W. Stassney, starting at 7pm.

11:07AM Wed. Jul. 18, 2007, Audra Schroeder Read More | Comment »

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Off the Wall
If you build it, they will come. Austin acts dominate the third Wall of Sound Festival Saturday, Sept. 22, the weekend following the Austin City Limits Festival, at LaGrave Field in Fort Worth. The three-stage show is easy on the wallet (advance tickets are only $30, available here) and includes headliners Explosions in the Sky and Ghostland Observatory, as well as Pinback, Om, the Books, Brothers & Sisters, Peter & the Wolf, the Sword, Lions, Ume, White Denim, and Tacks, the Boy Disaster. The full lineup's at the link above and to the right.

For those unwilling to make the trek up I-35, a handful of Dallas' finest, including Black Tie Dynasty, Shanghai 5, Golden Falcons, and the Tah Dahs, hits the Parish on Saturday as part of the "Debbie Does Austin" showcase.

11:52AM Tue. Jul. 17, 2007, Austin Powell Read More | Comment »

Wreck of the Elizabeth Dane
Ghost stories, lullabies: spectral opposites of the same comfort. Two nostrils perched above covers pulled high serve them equally, same as a leaping campfire.

That firelight centers the prologue of John Carpenter’s The Fog. Follow-up to the previous year’s indie tide-turner, Halloween, the filmmaker’s fourth big-screen hit and run blunts its predecessor’s serrated edge with good old-fashion ghost-busting. The blood and guts of All Hallows Eve 1978 recede for The Fog’s milky screen of vengeful dead men returning to celebrate Antonio Bay’s birthday. Jamie Lee Curtis climbs back aboard as well. Cue the piano.

11:39AM Fri. Jul. 13, 2007, Raoul Hernandez Read More | Comment »

The Rapture of Annie Clark
The buzz around St. Vincent is warranted, as her debut album Marry Me, out today, should attest. Full of religious allusions, illusions of love, and love gone cold, it’s not nearly as fluffy and stuffy as one might think from her previous collaborations – Polyphonic Spree, Sufjan Stevens.

Instead, she crawls through land mines, sees Paris burning, and lusts after holy men, making Marry Me an almost unattainable goal. And that’s precisely why it’s such an engaging listen. The beatific music is secondary to Clark’s doom-filled lyrics. On “Landmines”:

I’m crawling through landmines
I know because I planted them
Under cover of night

And on the jazzy “Human Racing”:

Romeo, where’d you go?
It’s been years and still no sign, but I’m keeping hope alive
Juliet, how you been?
You look like death, like you sure could use some rest

Yes, much of Marry Me seems conflicted and desperate. Love is the answer, according to Clark, and it’s an awfully European gesture. The early century sensibility in her songs becomes even more interesting knowing Clark is from Dallas, and was born in Tulsa, Okla., one of nine children.

11:02AM Tue. Jul. 10, 2007, Audra Schroeder Read More | Comment »

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