Daily Music
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 »

Second That Emo-Tion
I lifted the advance proof of Everybody Hurts from the pile of books by Raoul’s desk. “Can I have this?” He snickered as I squirreled it away among the 43 CDs that had jammed my mailbox on that pre-South by Southwest day. I poured over the book. I even read it the night before the Austin Music Awards when I should have been making my guest list and checking it twice, but I was hooked. I haven’t found a book about modern music culture so helpful since Generation Ecch! came out in 1994.

Everybody Hurts was a good read because I’ve been baffled about emo culture and what defines it only to discover I’ve been there. Basically, it comes down to being young, dressing like a geek, taking pride in it, and listening to bands like Panic! at the Disco, My Chemical Romance, and Dashboard Confessional to reinforce life’s futility. That life is tough is news only to those under 30, because when you’re young, it’s important to think that life only happens to you and no one ever has hurt like you do.

More importantly, when you’re young, everything else is old and nothing is worse than being old. The best thing about getting old is finding out it beats the shit out of being young, except you’re usually prettier when you’re young. Plus, it’s hard to dress cool when you’re old without looking like a complete dipshit. But when you’re old, looks and dress doesn’t matter as much as long as you’re comfortable. See, comfort is really what being old is about, because when you’re old, everything hurts.

Emo kids like to wallow in self-pity. That part I remember well, though I hadn’t wallowed in self-pity since I got addicted to My So-Called Life during the Nineties. It turns out that it's in the pantheon of emo TV shows. It was the pluperfect show for me at the point in my life – flustered at finding myself in my early 40s, separated and almost divorced, having far more sex than necessary with a man half my age in a tizzy of mid-Nineties bands like Elastica, Oasis, Bush, Toad the Wet Sprocket, the Offspring, and Smashing Pumpkins. I developed an inappropriate crush on Jordan Catalano, played by emo-approved actor Jared Leto. The Christmas episode with emo goddess Julianna Hatfield still makes me weep. And whatever became of A.J. Langer, who played Rayanne Graf?

For a few minutes, I figured maybe I was emo before emo was cool. So I did the only thing I could reasonably do. I found the Everybody Hurts MySpace page and became their friend.

11:51AM Thu. Apr. 12, 2007, Margaret Moser Read More | Comment »

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 »

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Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle
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 »

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