Dancing About Architecture

They Blowed Up Real Good!

There's just no rest for the weird in Austin, let me tell ya. I took a little trip out to the Survival Research Labs "compound" at Longhorn Speedway on Monday in anticipation of Friday's big show, and found a scene that resembled what Star Wars might have looked like if it were made in a trailer park. Giant, shrouded, walking machines stood everywhere, and talk among the busy-bee workers generally centered on worry about gathering enough wood for the planned fires and pride over the dead cow they'd found which was to be posthumously mutilated for the crowd's glee. I didn't stay long, as one of the more sonically hyperactive machines was about to be tested and my companion, who had had a bad experience in her Army training when she forgot her earplugs at the firing range, had managed to do so there as well. The last thing I saw and heard as we drove away was an enormous blast and a lot of people running real fast. It may not be music as such, but screw electronica -- spectacles like this are the future of rock & roll. (See the "Screens" section for more on SRL.)

Another set of loud, frightening creatures, the Uranium Savages, are holding their Eddy Awards this Friday as well. I was nominated for the "Writer of the Year" award, but thanks to the SRL show, I don't think I have much of a chance of beating the competition, since the invite clearly states that "often times the winner is determined by who shows up." With competition like L.M. Boyd and Diane Holloway, I'm not sure what to think anyway; isn't at least one of those two a fictional character? In any case, the Savages' show is at the Roadhouse Cafe, with appearances by the Time Travellers, Kerry Awn, and Freddy Fender impersonator Robert Stanton.

All Smiles at Antone's

So far, the new Antone's location at Fifth & Lavaca seems to be all that its owners hoped it would be. "I absolutely love it," gushes Clifford Antone, "but that doesn't mean I don't miss my old place." Antone, in fact, thinks it's a shame that the city doesn't buy the old place, move the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue there, and let him run a music club for art's sake, focusing on traditional music like hard-core blues, conjunto, zydeco, and the like. He doesn't expect that to happen though, and the real estate company in charge of the building formerly known as Antone's hints that it may be sold soon but declines further comment on the deal. (Oddly enough, one source close to the matter says the building may serve art in a way -- as an art supply store.)

Antone's main focus right now is on moving forward with the new club, which he says he hopes to shape by focusing on the old Sixties soul revue shows seen in Austin then in places like Charlie's Playhouse, presenting the sort of classic danceable music that was heard in such places. The club's one step backwards is on the clock; starting on the April 3, Antone's will begin opening for happy hour, in addition to their already early (8pm) show schedule. "For years people have been calling for early shows," he says. "Now we need the people who've been asking for it to come support us." With the new, roomy, and convenient location, Antone may finally get his wish.

Wasn't It a Party

The Wallflowers' "Rock for the Roses" show last Sunday boasted its share of celebs, both onstage and off. Gary Louris of the Jayhawks joined the band for their rendition of "Raspberry Beret," while Joe Ely and John Doe both hopped onstage to aid in their performance of "Not Fade Away" and an attempt at "Bring It on Home to Me." Also spotted at the show was Mark Sandman from Morphine, who later showed up at Stubb's along with Jakob Dylan, those darn Sexton brothers, and Hunt Sales of Iggy Pop/Tin Machine fame. Pretty much all of the above jammed together there, much to the surprise of attendee Miles Zuniga. "Usually the place is packed out and none of the stars show up," he grinned, but this time the opposite occurred. "Where were all the usual freeloaders?" he asks. At least one was there, as Andy Langer found himself in a mild confrontation with the abovementioned Jayhawk, who accused the Chronicle of ignoring his band's SXSW showcase this year (um, look at p.34 of our SXSW guide, Gary), and of calling him, via last year's Golden Smog "Live Shot," a "pussy" (er, have I ever mentioned what an admirable memory you have, Gary?). Since Louris came down here for SXSW, and he's still hanging around, I have to ask one further question: Ah, don't you have somewhere you need to be, Gary?

Compilation Camp

For years now, some of the best-selling albums in the U.K. have been compilations, usually of rehashed hits. (Here in America, of course, we order such things off the TV so no one can catch us paying for them in the store.) Lately though, the entire planet seems to be swimming in compilations, largely of the tribute variety and new music kind. Once used mostly as promotional items, these comps are coming out of the woodwork thanks to the shrinking attention span and music budget of the U.S. citizen. In addition to recent ones like the Prince tribute Do Me Baby and specific, club-oriented numbers like the Live at Emo's Vol. 2 7-inch series and the Hole in the Wall's Free for All Vol. 2 and Unplug This, the new Loungeapalooza disc featuring Fastball is hitting stores soon. Now, add these two latecomers:

#1) So What: A Tribute to the Replacements. Actually, it's more a tribute to the late Bob Stinson, featuring only songs that the 'Mats performed before they fired him. The disc features Pork, Fastball, the Gourds, Prescott Curlywolf, Buick MacKane and a host of others (see "Record Reviews"). "Just" Archie, who put the disc out on his Dis Twin label, says that among others who've contacted him seeking copies of the album (e-mail at RCHE@hotmail.com) is former 'Mats manager Peter Jesperson.

#2) Triggerfish Records' new L'Austin Space. It's not a covers-only comp, but Tallboy and the Soulbenders provide some highlights with their takes on Devo's "Red Eye Express" and Sir Doug's "Is Anybody Going To San Antone?," respectively. Other bands on the disc include Miss Xanna Don't, Loblolly, Regalmatic 2000, Sir Finks, and Jesus Christ Superfly. L'Austin is also unique in that it's the only local comp in recent memory not featuring the Damnations.

Mixed Notes

Amid rumors that Justice Records was closing its doors, label president Randall Jamail called to say no, he merely resigned his post. Due to his workload as a producer, he found "I was doing more harm than good," adding that running the Houston label requires "someone to be there 365 days a year." Gary Moore has been chosen as that someone, with Jamail filling the position of head of A&R. The label is currently trying to put a deal together with MCA, and is currently in the process of reissuing Willie Nelson's 1971 classic, Yesterday's Wine...

After going into a brief limbo following its SXSW debut, the Atomic Cafe should reappear in about two weeks, pending the arrival of their liquor license...

The Butthole Surfers keep making things tougher on completists. Now they have a second song, this time in conjunction with the Dust Brothers, commercially available from makers of the Romeo and Juliet movie. Look for "Tybalt's Return" on volume two of the soundtrack...

Advance cassettes of Hamell on Trial's The Chord Is Mightier Than the Sword have made their way to the office. Among the treats on the album are Hamell's tale (now put to music, natch) of meeting John Lennon...

Touch Me Columbus, the Horsies CD from the Benten label of Japan is available in these parts now. The band is hoping to do a CD release show but is having problems with members' work schedules...

Squdge have a new 7-inch out as of last week, and 50 Million have something new as well. I can't remember what 'cuz Wade Driver handed me a whole bunch of stuff (new and old) at once...

Guns 'N' Roses drummer Matt Sorum admitted to one local that his recent Austin visit, in which he was supposed to be looking for bands to produce, found him instead spending most of his time at the Yellow Rose...

Next Tuesday's performance by the Bill T. Jones/Artie Zane Dance Co., at the Bass Concert Hall features the troupe's performance of Love Re-Defined, a full-company piece set to early recordings by Daniel Johnston. The songwriter plans to be in attendance at the show, accompanied by another interpreter of his music, Kathy McCarty...

Post-SXSW sagas: Word just in that Atlantic won the battle of Kacy Crowley, beating out Island Records and the rest of the Western Hemisphere. (This apparently after a long, private meeting with Ahmet Ertegun, himself.) Her major-label debut, Anchorless, comes out this summer...

Meanwhile, Matt McCormick of Choker Montana has flown off to meet with Mammoth Records, who've taken a shine to the group. Rykodisc, who also showed some interest in Choker, should be happy with reports that all four Bill Hicks CDs have already sold out their initial pressing worldwide...

There's more Austin music scheduled during the Fox soaps (they must know how addicted some of you folks are). Lisa Tingle's "Breakdown" is scheduled to run on the soundtrack of next week's Beverly Hills 90210...

Jean Caffeine reports receiving praise from Blue Oyster Cult's Sandy Pearlman following a recent gig. Pearlman had come to see Superego (and Paul "the mouth" Minor didn't bother to mention this to me?), but the evening was running late, so he first got a jolt of Caffeine, which he apparently enjoyed...

Kim Wilson has a solo album (with Danny Kortchmar and Steve Jordan) in the mixing stages right now, and says a new Fabulous Thunderbirds album is in the planning stages. Meanwhile, Wilson is working on getting his new record company, Blue Collar Music, up and running, though he says it'll mainly be seen on the Internet until the first release comes out. Try http://www.kimwilson.com sometime to see if the site is ready...

Ahhh, the Internet! Only in the Usenet newsgroup austin.music could the topic of whether or not SXSW sucks turn into a fevered discussion about Louis Black, Celis beer, "the black helicopters," and alien rectal dissection. And that was before world-famous net "troller" Joe Newman managed to get in on it...

-- Contributors: Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser

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More Dancing About Architecture
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The last installment of "Dancing About Architecture."

Ken Lieck, Jan. 3, 2003

So Long, Slug
So Long, Slug

Ken Lieck, Dec. 20, 2002

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