Mike Nicolai Woody Allen Stunt Footage (Garage D'or)

Woody Allen Stunt Footage (Garage D'or)

Record Reviews

Mike Nicolai

Woody Allen Stunt Footage (Garage D'or)

This absolutely has to be one of the all-time great album names. But rather than attempt to link Austin singer-songwriter Mike Nicolai's own dry and somewhat twisted sense of humor to that of the LP's namesake, we'll stick with the songs. As perfectly stated as any batch of rock tunes to come down I-35 all the way from Minneapolis (home base of Garage D'or) since the early Nineties, Stunt Footage is Nicolai at his best: rock music stripped to its essence, free of frills and bullshit, existing solely for the songs. His songs are about the stories: the rambling narratives of killing a cuckold in "Spider," a stranded couple in a farmhouse on "Sunday Drive." But Nicolai's songs are also about the transcendental blend of word and image, as laid painfully bare in "Lowly." Then, there are the rock songs. "Growing Down" and "Wear a Mask" bump Stunt Footage further from the realm of bedroom singer-songwriter recordings toward bedroom indie-rock recordings, the former perhaps even more comfortable in the garage. In the end, all of Nicolai's songs are rock songs, plain and simple, built of a vocabulary that leans heavily on folk, blues, and country. Wry, dry, with precise lyrics and a carefully toneless intonation, all very much based straight-up on the chords and the lyrics, the stories constantly push forward with no time for pointless instrumental maneuvering. With instrumental and production help from folks like Pete Droge and the Gourds' Jimmy Smith, Stunt Footage is a serious accomplishment and a solid rock album.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Christopher Hess
Phases & Stages
Rob Halverson
Second Whirled (Record Review)

Feb. 4, 2005

Phases and Stages
Stratford 4
Love and Distortion (Record Review)

March 14, 2003


Mike Nicolai

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle