Daily Music
Tune Up
Jana Hunter’s new album, There's No Home, may be the folkier leanings in her once-darkened doorways, but it’s no less impressive. On the eve of a tour that will take her as far away as Clermont-Ferrand, France, with Tara Jane O'Neil, I asked Hunter for her current playlist and what she's been digging lately. Poof!

Wicked Poseur
Matteah Baim
Santa Dads
The Ram Ones
"One of These Nights" by the Eagles
"Baby Hold On to Me" by Eddie Money
"You Really Got a Hold on Me" by Smokey Robinson
"Busted" by the Isley Brothers
"Elvira" by the Oak Ridge Boys
Deer Tick
Thee Ohsees
Michael Jackson two-disc early-career anthology
Doris Duke
Karen Dalton
Bill Callahan
Bonnie "Prince" Billy
The Howling Hex
Crazy Fucking Landlady's Son
Eat Grapes
Pink Nasty
A Pink Cloud
Don Medardo y Sus Players
Indian Jewelry
Glass Candy
Tara Jane O'Neil

3:28PM Mon. Apr. 9, 2007, Audra Schroeder Read More | Comment »

Cute Band Alert!
What happens when you put roughly 30 record nerds in a store run by record nerds to watch a band of record nerds? Sadly, not the apocalypse. However, Times New Viking has tapped into something that proves a return to the lo-fi movement is not a bad thing right now. Put down your shiny, hot-pink garage-door opener, and step over here, please.

Saturday afternoon at End of an Ear, keyboardist/singer Beth Murphy and drummer/singer Adam Elliott thrashed away on their respective instruments and traded shouts about war and not wanting to “die in the city alone,” as guitarist Jared Phillips crunched out dirty, amp-busting noise. I’m pretty sure you can get high just listening to them. Murphy’s long, brown hair obscured her face as they wound through the dizzying “Let Your Hair Grow Long” and art-fucked balladry of “Devo & Wine” - these are pop songs made retarded, in a good way. The triois shout out to Jad Fair, “If he’s in the audience,” was a precursor to a semi-intelligible Half Japanese cover that still managed to sound like them.

“It’s a half Half Japanese song,” says Murphy.

1:04PM Mon. Apr. 9, 2007, Audra Schroeder Read More | Comment »

Finally Zevon
By the late Seventies, when Warren Zevon had come into the national consciousness with Excitable Boy, "singer-songwriter" had become a dirty word, thanks to the milquetoast offerings of the James Taylors and Joni Mitchells of the world. But Zevon changed all that. He sang about murder, desperation, espionage, detachment, and excess with unswerving wit.

Following his passing in September 2003, there were rumblings of a Zevon box set. While that idea seems to be currently on hold, Rhino has reissued three of his albums, with now-obligatory bonus tracks. What is most heartening to his fans is the appearance of Stand in the Fire, a live set recorded during a five-night stand at L.A.’s Roxy in 1981, and The Envoy, a 1982 studio effort, neither of which have been previously available on CD. The third is the Jackson Browne-produced Excitable Boy, home to some of his best-known songs including “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner,” “Lawyers, Guns and Money,” and that hit about werewolves. Extras include an alternate take of “Werewolves” and outtake "I Need a Truck,” a 50-second a cappella rant that reveals, "I need a truck to haul my Percodan and gin," as well as one to "haul the womens from my bed.”

1:45PM Thu. Apr. 5, 2007, Jim Caligiuri Read More | Comment »

Fighting Music
The metal genre is the cockroach of the music industry, vile and primal. Though hated, despised, and misunderstood by most, it will always survive because the demand for dark and disturbing music never diminishes. Every so often, Into the Void will spotlight some of the resilient metalheads responsible for keeping the local scene alive and thriving.

Since the summer of 2004, Noble Brown has hosted Fighting Music, Sundays from 12mid to 2am on KVRX 91.7FM, UT's nonprofit student radio. It’s the two most intense and brutal hours of radio around, packed tight with killer cuts from the UK's Into the Moat, Tampa's Bodies in the Gears of the Apparatus, Youth of Today, and Coalesce. There are only two rules to this fight club: It has to be independent and heavy.

“People aren’t born hardcore; they become hardcore,” says Brown, who traces his metal roots back to a mixtape in ’87 that introduced him to speed metal. “If you don't feel like fighting after listening to my show, then I haven't done my job.”

1:28PM Thu. Apr. 5, 2007, Austin Powell Read More | Comment »

More Old-Timers: National Division
In tune with Mark Rubin’s spotlight on the local folk/bluegrass scene in this week’s issue, there are a couple of new releases that are causing a bit of a stir nationally. The two-volume Best of the Flatt & Scruggs TV Show revisits fabled bluegrass duo Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs’ groundbreaking television show, which was broadcast to millions of homes throughout the South in the Fifties and Sixties. It ran until 1969, when the pair ended their partnership to take separate musical paths. Simply the first of its kind, their mix of bluegrass, gospel, comedy, and the occasional guest performer provided an outline for subsequent country variety shows to follow. The Martha White Flour in-show advertising and accompanying cooking demonstrations were precursors to modern product placement and goofy fun as well. Thought to be lost forever, more than 30 shows on tape were discovered in the late Eighties and early Nineties, and the Country Music Hall of Fame is now bringing them to the public.

The first two volumes feature episodes from 1961 and 1962, and they show Flatt & Scruggs at the peak of their performing powers. It’s all done with twinkling eyes, brisk and nimble fingers, and a humble, yet effervescent attitude. Most will be attracted to Vol. 2, which features a guest appearance by Mother Maybelle Carter from August 1961. However, either one offers a fascinating and entertaining glimpse into bluegrass history.

Local bluegrassers are aware that Ricky Skaggs and Del McCoury front two of the best bands in the land, through their regular appearances in Central Texas. Most might not be aware, however, that Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver are the equal to those two. There’s a reason that Quicksilver has been named the International Bluegrass Music Association's Vocal Group of the Year for the past six years. Their latest, More Behind the Picture Than the Wall (Rounder), finds them in secular mode, yet no less moving than when they’re preaching the gospel. Lawson shows why he’s without peer on the mandolin on the dazzling "Tulsa Turn-a-Round," and lead singer Jamie Dailey stands out on the traditional chestnut "When the Blues Are Movin' In." Sure to be one of the bluegrass albums of the year, More Behind the Picture is a must whether you’re just discovering old-time sounds or a geezer who’s been listening to them all along.

Finally, a simple answer to a simple question. The cover of this week’s Chronicle asks: "Is ‘Old-Time Music’ Austin’s New Punk Rock?"

Answer: No

1:20PM Fri. Mar. 30, 2007, Jim Caligiuri Read More | Comment »

Six Three Times
Behold the number of the beast, 666, the latest addition to Into the Void, which condemns six albums in 66 words or less. Entering the inferno for this inaugural edition is a handful of albums that somehow came into my possession during the chaos of SXSW.

Sonic Prayer (Gravity)
San Diego’s Earthless saved the day during Vice’s annual Eastside block party. For 40 minutes this trio killed with an improvised metal jam led by the scorching guitar noodling of Isaiah Mitchell. Sonic Prayer resembles Austin’s Tia Carrera, but these two tripped-out, 20-minute excursions lack both the sense of structure and an interesting rhythm section.

Ladrón (Crucial Blast/Volcom)
Though less innovative and charismatic, Oakland, Calif.-based trio Totimoshi comes across like the Latino version of the Melvins. Led by Antonio Aguilar’s wall of sludge and accentuated by Meg Castellanos’ thick bass riffs and harmonies, the group’s third album, Ladrón, produced by Helmet’s Page Hamilton, scores when it goes epic, like the album’s opening namesake and the violin-scarred instrumental “The Drunken Sun Forever Watching.”

12:38PM Fri. Mar. 30, 2007, Austin Powell Read More | Comment »

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Cute Band Alert!
When I took a jaded, cynical out-of-town friend to see the Carrots at Cheapo Discs during SXSW, his eyes lit up for the first time all week: "A lot of bands are trying to do this, but they're really doing it," he said.

"This" is Sixties girl-group pop, complete with melodies, hand claps, songs about dead teenagers, and matching outfits. The harmonies are surprisingly good, made even more impressive by the fact that three Carrots are in the scream/thrash quartet Finally Punk.

When they're not re-enacting a graphic Care Bear cannibal play or finding God, the six Carrots - also counting members of Yellow Fever and the Old-Timerz - climb the genre ably, flawlessly covering the Shangri-Las and nearly sounding better. So why girl-group songs? Their longtime manager, Jimmy Don Kray, spoke on their behalf:

“A) They are amazing pop masterpieces. B) They are fun to perform. C) For the most part they are not sacrilegious, at least to Christians. D) The world is full of boy-group songs already. E) We do not have the technology to leave the world at this point so we are trying to do something about point D.”

Swoon over the Carrots tonight at Beerland as DJ Sue turns back the clock, and pick up the debut issue of their fan-club magazine, Carrot Talk!

12:00PM Fri. Mar. 30, 2007, Audra Schroeder Read More | Comment »

Farewell, Boris
Even watching Boris soundcheck during South by Southwest felt like a blessing from the southern lord. The Japanese trio, who played their only U.S. gigs at the Fest, pointed and signaled their way through each endeavor, always beckoning for more volume.

The performances were otherworldly, leaving me breathless and broke each time I rushed to the merch booth, shedding every last dollar to complete my personal Boris altar. Had I been able to conduct this interview after finally experiencing Black: Implication Flooding, their collaboration with Keiji Haino, or been able to ask follow-up questions, this would have taken on a different life. Still, via e-mail and a translator, drummer Atsuo unpacks the band’s bountiful and boundless avant-garde metal.

Into the Void: Boris takes their name from a Melvins song. How did you first get into the band and stoner rock in general?
Atsuo: I was working at a record shop around the time grunge started to become more popular. I think most bands were trying to have heaviness in their music. Among those bands, the Melvins didn’t stick to one kind of playing style; they mixed a lot of different styles, and I felt that because of that, the Melvins brought to life a world unique to each song. This changed the way I thought about music and bands. Earth 2 also changed my life. We don’t really feel that we are playing stoner rock. It might be because we listen to the same kind of music as stoner rock bands, so our sound has some similarity. We do consider ourselves a band coming out after Melvins.

3:03PM Fri. Mar. 23, 2007, Austin Powell Read More | Comment »

The Magic 8-Ball Says, 'Get a New Bass Player'
Going into South by Southwest every day is a lot like being a human pinball, shot into this vast maze of people texting and cars and lines, each second trying to avoid popping up right back behind that spring-loaded plunger. We all want to end up getting the jackpot, to see the band that's going to somehow change our lives. That said, perhaps the most interesting sight was the "palm reader" on Sixth Street, huddled between two buildings with a cardboard box as a table, with a line of musicians waiting. Jackpot.

Something old: Most improved goes to Jandek, whose set at the completely appropriate Central Presbyterian Church was decidedly louder and heavier than 2005, thanks in part to a more aggressive rhythm section – drummer Ian Wadley and bassist Tom Carter fell into some amazing grooves – plus local noisemaker Shawn David McMillen cranking on a harmonium. Amazingly, people were still texting during the show.

Something new: There were solid performances from 120 Days, Mika Miko, the Ponys, the Black Lips (who played the most shows of any band here; seriously, I saw them setting up behind a Whataburger Saturday night), Menomena, Under Byen, White Savage, No Age, Times New Viking, Wooden Shjips (not a typo), Noxagt, and locals White Denim, whom simply everyone seemed to be talking about. "We filled in for a metal band on a Saturday night showcase," recalls drummer Josh Block. "And Sara from Krazayzay started a mosh pit that ended up with two guys we’ve never seen before getting into a bar fight during our poppiest tune. What a sight. We’ve played four shows in a week before, but not in a day."

Something borrowed: Reigning Sound's cover of Sam and Dave's "You Got Me Hummin'"; Ohio's Psychedelic Horseshit (sort of) covering Suicide's "Ghost Rider"; New York weirdo guitar and piano duo Blues Control covering … was that "My Sharona"?

11:45AM Wed. Mar. 21, 2007, Audra Schroeder Read More | Comment »

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