Daily Music
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 »

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 »

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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 »

July Is for Lovers (of Screaming and Feedback)
Mohawk's Tuesday July residency is a good'un, I tell you what. Ume, led by whirling dervish Lauren Larson, knocks down the hive tomorrow night (and July 24) along with Ringo Deathstarr, and Horse + Donkey feeds back to black next Tuesday.

And this Wednesday night, a certain sea-faring group from the Northwest will perform a rousing set of salty tales. Last one there has to swab the poop deck.

4:52PM Mon. Jul. 9, 2007, Audra Schroeder Read More | Comment »

Cardiovascular Blues (Inner Secrets)
“I’m going to have to shave you,” nodded the nurse, holding up a little white Bic razor.

We both looked at my chest. Standing there on a treadmill, soon to sport more electrodes than William Hurt in Altered States, I sighed. It took me 30 years to grow that!

“One Way Out,” an Elmore James/Sonny Boy Williamson razor strap, smolders infidelity, but mortality ain’t materializing any great escapes either. There’s only one way out of this life, and “oh, baby, I just don’t know.” The Allman Brothers’ cover of “One Way Out,” Live at the Fillmore East, 1971 (originally from Eat a Peach), chops bone.

Fade In: the whistles, the crowd. The buzz. Dickey Betts’ guitar. Loping just ahead of a swarming rhythm section, his fleet-fingered riffing bounds with animal grace. Airborne. Enter Duane Allman’s slide guitar, dripping with disembowelment.

A singular sound in the rock & roll library, Allman’s Coricidin bottle sliding across steel strings pressed atop steel frets burns ears and brands memory. Once heard, you’ve got the scars to prove it. Allman (1946-1971) wipes the face off “One Way Out” even as he flips its switch. Locomotive on track, baby brother Gregg Allman unwinds his predicament as if Mother Earth herself were reciting the book on tape.

Ain’t but one way out, baby. Lord, I just can’t go out that door.

Ain’t but one way out, baby. And Lord, I just can’t go out that door.

Cause there’s a man down there. Might be your old man, I don’t know.

11:36AM Fri. Jul. 6, 2007, Raoul Hernandez Read More | Comment »

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