Daily Music
In the Seventies, the one artist I saw perform more than any other was David Bromberg. At the time, I was living on Long Island, and since he was immensely popular on the East Coast, I saw him more times than I can remember.

The real attraction was the mighty band he had back then, full of fiddles and horns and mandolins. Along with masters like Andy Stein, Dick Fegy, and Peter Ecklund, he would play for what seemed like hours. They would cover an amazing range of music from traditional fiddle tunes to electric blues to deep folk songs to blaring rock & roll. It was always a high point when five fiddlers would line the front of the stage, Bromberg included, and run through a medley that would just about raise the place off the ground. After a Bromberg show, you'd be in a jumble, breathless and intoxicated beyond anything that you had consumed during the evening.

Sadly, in the fall of 1980, Bromberg dissolved his band and moved to Chicago where, four years later, he graduated from the Kenneth Warren School of Violin Making. Since then he’s concentrated on crafting violins and tours infrequently, mostly as a solo act.

3:21PM Fri. Feb. 23, 2007, Jim Caligiuri Read More | Comment »

Look Into the Light Light Light Light …
If you're like me, your last interaction with a cassette involved P.M. Dawn's single “I’d Die Without You” and an overheated dashboard, so you may be reluctant to dare cross paths with such an antiquated form of recorded music ever again. Everyone knows we'll all soon have iPods the size of contact lenses.

Furniture Records, the Austin/Chicago bastion of loud, lewd, and totally crude (and whose revolving-door band policy has birthed Tuxedo Killers, Daniel Francis Doyle, Awesome Cool Dudes, and When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, among others), has started a singles club which entails you listen to and appreciate a cassette.

Wait, come back! It's totally worth it. Each tape in the club (there will be six tapes in all, released every other month in 2007, all with cover designs by different artists) features varying versions of the same song: Oneida's drone masterpiece "Sheets of Easter," the 15-minute rifftastic opener from their 2002 album, Each One Teach One. The club, dubbed Sheets of Easter Everywhere, features covers by locals Dick Price; Assacre; Oh, Beast!; and Jana Hunter, as well as Jagjaguwar's Parts & Labor and the awesome Coke Dares. Recorded with all the charm of cassettes, Parts & Labor’s version, recorded by Oneida’s Hanoi Jane, is truest to the original, albeit slowed down. Assacre’s electro-wizzzard power-violence version is mind-altering, Oh, Beast! clocks in at 35 seconds with typically Oh, Beast!-y panache. But the Coke Dares might be the best, and they saved it for last.

12:08PM Fri. Feb. 23, 2007, Audra Schroeder Read More | Comment »

Trivium's 'Crusade'
Trivium wears its influences like a badge of honor. After the infamous Bruce Dickinson/Sharon Osbourne altercation at Ozzfest 2005, the Florida-based quartet clothed itself in Iron Maiden uniforms and marched with “The Trooper” on the second stage. Two years later, the metal band is now launching a Crusade of its own.

Into the Void: I like to think of you as the Lebron James of metal. What did you try to do to up your game for The Crusade?
Matt Heafy: We just wanted to make the type of music that we wanted to listen to, regardless of whether or not it’s metal. We just did it the way we wanted to.

ITV: I spoke to Corey Beaulieu last year, and he told me that he was listening to a ton of hair metal, and I could really hear that influence creeping into the album in terms of the texture of the sound and the stadium feel.
MH: I never really got into the hair metal myself, but everybody in the band has such eclectic tastes that the record doesn’t really make sense in terms of influences. When we were writing The Crusade I was listening to Kelly Clarkson mostly and some jazz, Elton John, the Beach Boys, and Elvis Costello. Now that I’m writing again, I’m coming up with all of this really weird, technical shit on one end and heavy metal rock on the other. Our favorite bands are still Maiden, Metallica, and Pantera. It’s just kind of bizarre.

5:48PM Thu. Feb. 22, 2007, Austin Powell Read More | Comment »

Anthology Recordings Dusts Off the Early Stuff
After rewatching Revisiting Father & the Source Family, a bizarre documentary about Father Yod (formerly known as Jim Baker), a Sixties counterculture free spirit, health-food entrepreneur, and Jesus-look-alike who preached vegetarianism and orgasm-free sex to his myriad followers, I felt a little dizzy, and not just because it's two-and-a-half hours long. Actually, the most interesting part was that Father Yod had a band with several of his disciples. More interesting, their psychedelic jams were actually good. Sadly, Yod died hang-gliding in 1975 while trying to fly near the sun like Icarus. So there's that.

Thank Yod for Anthology Recordings. The all-digital reissue label, founded by Keith Abrahamsson (who also does A&R for Kemado Records, home to local boys the Sword), debuted online last fall and is another avenue for discerning, crate-digging music geeks in search acid-fried mindfucks, at a reasonable price. There's ol' Father Yod's band, Ya Ho Wha 13, and their improvisational four-song hippie jam, Penetration: An Aquarian Symphony, a truly religious experience of ungodly bellows, drumming, and droning guitar riffage. Whatever they were dropping, it's worth picking up.

Anthology has a lot more up its sleeve: It's home to Sir Lord Baltimore's 1970 Hawkwind-esque metal dish Kingdom Come, psych-dub pioneers African Head Charge, Swedish cosmonauts Pärson Sound, San Francisco's seminal Fifty Foot Hose, Gorilla Biscuits offshoot Moondog, and krautrockers My Solid Ground, among other excellent finds. Dig it.

4:26PM Tue. Feb. 20, 2007, Audra Schroeder Read More | Comment »

Bleached by the sun
And scorched by the moon
If I make it ’til tomorrow noon I’m leaving

– Richard Meltzer/Albert Bouchard, “Death Valley Nights”

Lyrics have never been the be-all, end-all for me. Like Dee Snider said, “I wanna rock.”

That’s an oversimplification, of course. Give anyone verse after delirious verse of Dylan’s “Tangled Up in Blue” and it’s not really a long drop down the well to 13 epic minutes of Maiden’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” Spin the tale on the donkey.

1:11PM Mon. Feb. 19, 2007, Raoul Hernandez Read More | Comment »

Machine Head: Still Pissed
While “Clenching the Fists of Dissent,” Machine Head's lead guitarist, Phil Demmel, makes his descent Into the Void to briefly discuss the band’s punishing new album, The Blackening, due March 26 on Roadrunner Records.

Into the Void: A lot of people feel like they already know what to expect from Machine Head, since the band’s been around for more than a decade now. How is The Blackening turning a new page for the group?
Phil Demmel: I really feel like it was the last record, Through the Ashes of the Empire, which really turned a new corner for Machine Head. After all of the struggles with labels and everything else, the outlook of the band became very focused and determined. This is only the second real Machine Head album as far as I’m concerned. People that think they know the band because they’ve heard Burn My Eyes or Burning Red really need to check this out, because it’s not the same.

1:00PM Fri. Feb. 16, 2007, Austin Powell Read More | Comment »

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Lamb of God's Randy Blythe: Survivalist, Wakeboarder
Since delivering the New American Gospel in 2000, Lamb of God growler Randy Blythe has preached his politics and personal hatred from on high. Now he takes Sacrament with Into the Void.

11:50AM Fri. Feb. 16, 2007, Austin Powell Read More | Comment »

Proud to Be a Geezer
Some will be surprised and, perhaps, thrilled that the Chronicle has given "the most hated man in Austin music" (hat tip: Raoul Hernandez) some space on their Web site. The reality is that I'm delighted to be part of this blogging adventure. The concept allows me to get to some music, that would otherwise go unmentioned, with immediacy, and you can now attack me at will, via the accompanying comments. It should make for an interesting read. We went with Geezerville because I'm the elder of the group. You'll almost never find me at Emo's. I rarely get excited about Austinist.com. And I'm a proud member of the crowd that takes Loudon Wainwright's "Watch Me Rock, I'm Over 30" (or is it 40?) to heart. Plus, there's an amazing group of oldsters still making great music, each unwilling or unable to simply fade away.

11:17AM Fri. Feb. 16, 2007, Jim Caligiuri Read More | Comment »

Ross Johnson, Shit Rocker
"Every day I look at myself in the mirror and think, 'Man or manatee?'"

Ross Johnson is one self-deprecating bastard. He's just gotten off the phone with "one of his exes," he's got three kids, and he's anticipating a trip to Austin because, "for a middle-aged man, it's a busman's holiday."

Local maniacs the Golden Boys invited Johnson and Jeffrey Evans, both longtime Memphis players, to play this weekend, Friday at the Scoot Inn and Saturday at Beerland, after a show in Memphis last year.

"After the show, I said, 'All your songs sound like Roky Erickson's "Starry Eyes,"'" he laughs. "And they didn't say no, they just kind of looked at me like, 'So what?' But I just thought they were great; they didn't fit into any sort of garage ghetto. They just have this look in their eye like, 'I'm gonna hurt myself.' … I've been not drunk for a few months, and those boys do live the lifestyle that I've lived. I can't do it anymore so they do it for me."

5:12PM Thu. Feb. 15, 2007, Audra Schroeder Read More | Comment »

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