The Reel Austin, Vol. 1

Texas DVDisc

Phases & Stages

The Reel Austin, Vol. 1

(AMN) We have truly begun ascending the stairway to heaven. Yes, it's been a long and winding road, but while it once appeared to be a highway to hell, it's become clear at last that video won't be killing the radio star anytime soon. In fact, signs like The Reel Austin, the Austin Music Network's audiovisual answer to the lowly K-Tel album, point to it making him/her stronger. Weighing in at a hefty 19 music videos and eschewing the generic clichés that drench any and all videos that actually run on MTV between the WWF and new rounds of Dating Game knockoffs, the Reel Austin DVD runs the musical gamut of Austin acts and styles. Tex-Mex, C&W, heavy rock, and even Jerm Pollet's unique brand of rock & droll all get equal time here, with every picture, as they say, telling a story. The first thing that hits home about Reel is that most of the music videos included are low- or no-budgeters, yet even blazing across the old 45-inch screen in the cold harsh glow of DVD, they look great. Their concepts -- whether simple and straightforward like Joe King Carrasco's send-up of the bar scenes of From Dusk Till Dawn in "Cu Ru Cu Pa," or oblique and experimental like Golden Arm Trio's dreamlike series of still images that make up the visuals for "The Ship at the Bottom of the Sea" -- generally overcome the "buck-stopped-before-it-got-here" look. Heck, any one of the clips here may be the one that makes this disc worth the purchase price -- like maybe the animated one for Spoon's "Everything Hits at Once," which everyone except Britt Daniel absolutely adores. And did I mention that there's an additional 10 live-in-concert videos on the end of the disc, ranging from W.C. Clark's wailing "All Because of You," through Trish Murphy's "Runaway Train," and concluding with the S.A. Movers' muy ass-kickin' 11 minutes of "Mendocino"/"She's About a Mover"? There's only one question left to ask at that point: Now how much would you pay?!?

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