You don't need money with a face like that, now do you honey?
New West Records continues consolidating "TCB" favorites onto the label, inking Bakersfield revivalist Dwight Yoakam to a multi-album deal last week. This latest feather in New West's Stetson is a result of Los Angeles-based president Cameron Strang's lengthy courtship of Yoakam, whom he convinced to come aboard after the singer's one-off Koch/Audium Records deal expired with last year's Population Me. "It's a thrill for me," relays Austin-based label general manager and VP Jay Woods. "I'm getting to work with artists I've loved for years and years." Besides being the latest add to New West's Friday-night SXSW showcase at La Zona Rosa, Yoakam could conceivably appear on the label's upcoming single-disc anthology of last year's Austin City Limits Music Festival. Woods says he's working with ACL and festival producer Capitol Sports & Entertainment in choosing tracks and seeking artist clearances and that a major announcement relating to the label's upcoming reissues of archival ACL material is just around the corner. As if that weren't enough, both Jon Dee Graham and the Drive-by Truckers will begin mastering respective new albums The Great Battle and The Dirty South next week. Both are due this summer alongside the Old 97's New West debut.
Here's a novel idea: a record store actually opening instead of closing. Now featuring more than 750 Texas artists, Lone Star Music has been online at LoneStarMusic.com since 1997 but, come next month, will open a retail outlet down the block from Gruene Hall. "That's the place everyone connects with Texas music," says co-owner Clair Devers. "So that's where it seems like it would work the best." Symbolism aside, Devers says that since LSM acquires a good deal of its inventory directly from the artists, it makes sense to be in a place many pass through at least once every six weeks. Devers and husband Michael had already relocated LSM to their New Braunfels home while president and founder Chad Raney recovered from an illness, so she's extra glad to have the space back. "The whole back of our house is CDs," she says. The 2,000-square-foot shop at 1234 Gruene Rd. opens Texas Independence weekend (March 5-7), and Devers believes LSM's highly loyal customer base will carry over from online. "You hear a lot about needing to find your niche," she says. "I think that's what we've done."
SXSW Sprinkles: Global Village
With a mind-blowing 227 SXSW acts passing through customs this year, "TCB" went around the world in 30 minutes with Music Festival Creative Director Brent Grulke, who confirmed news of a Big Star reunion showcase.
AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND: Grulke singles out Aussie female rapper Macromantics, and says hard-rocking V2 signees Powderfinger could do some damage. Kiwis to watch are Little Thief's electronic improvisations and the X-Ray Spex punk of the Coolies.
BRITISH ISLES: The Broken Family Band, Clearlake, the Hells, and Scots Franz Ferdinand should slake your thirst for British buzz, while Grulke recommends funny Irish folkie Niall James Holohan and Less Than Jake-like La Rocca.
CANADA: Besides up-and-coming New Wavers Metric, Grulke likes the Gram Parsons country of the Corb Lund Band, House of Doc's close-knit bluegrass, teen guitar prodigy Kyle Riabko, and the Halifax hip-hop of Buck 65.
EUROPE: Do slash-and-burn punk with Germans Les Baton Rouge, try the Eastern European experimentalism of Poland's the Magic Carpathians Project and the Slovak Republic's Abuse, and investigate Italian Ani DiFranco Carmen Consoli. Or just gawk at French actress-gone-chanteuse Julie Delpy.
JAPAN: Besides ukulele sensations Petty Booka, rising suns are the Jesus Lizard skronk of femmes Kokeshi Doll, Aphex Twin-like ROMZ Record CREW, and the "arty, intense math rock" of Limited Express (Has Gone?).
MEXICO: Grulke says stadium-fillers El Tri could be no less than the Rolling Stones of Mexico. Also welcome back Plastilina Mosh and beguiling songstress Julieta Venegas.
SCANDINAVIA: Yes, there's garage-rocking Swedes the Hives, (International) Noise Conspiracy, and Division of Laura Lee, but don't sleep on the Norwegian stoner-metal of El Caco or the Bonnie Raitt of Finland, Erja Lyytinen.
EVERYWHERE ELSE: Drop the pressure with beloved Jamaicans Toots & the Maytals, experience industrial Indian metal from Pentagram, bathe in the soft psychedelia of Israel's Rock Four, get your Eighties on Malta-style with the Beangrowers, and dance to the Uzbeki beat of Uzbegim Taronasi.
SXSW wristbands go on sale for $105 today (Thursday) at all Star Ticket outlets.
Honky Tonk Angel
Ray Benson (with guitar) and Johnny Gimble (white hat) serenade songwriter supreme Cindy Walker as she makes her way back to her seat at Texas Folklife Resources' tribute Sunday at the Paramount. Lisa Pankratz, Sarah Brown, Cindy Cashdollar, and Hot Club of Cowtown's Elana Fremerman anchored the all-star backing band, and the audience was treated to several rarely seen vintage "soundies," short films of the "Queen of Western Swing" singing and dancing in the Forties.
Mr. Kite's Corner
Saturday at Rockstars, the Keg Vultures, Pam Peltz, After School Specials, 20-Eyed Dragon, Toof, and others play a benefit for longtime local Rufus Roolis, whose house burned down recently. $6, with music noon-8pm... Next Thursday, a gaggle of locals convene at Antone's to aid Ginger Shults, vice-president of the American Federation of Musicians' Austin chapter, in her battle with lung cancer. Host Kinky Friedman welcomes Marcia Ball, Del Castillo, Little Joe, Rub/n Ramos, and lots more starting at 6pm. Tickets are $30 (includes dinner) or $25 (just music) at the door.
HEKILL THREE, One With a Bullet (CardinalZen)
THREE THE HARD WAY: Transplanted Victorians HeKill Three, together since 1998, put out the primal 3.0 EP last year and continue along the same thrashy Megadeth-Voivod-Pantera trajectory on this full-length debut.
HOME SWEET HOME: "RiverÓ is a harrowing travelogue through Austin's seedy underbelly yes, it has one containing the all-too-true lyric, "You'll never believe where I slept last night."
PEACH PITTED: Despite its grim tone and insistence that "there will be no happy endings," Bullet is not without humor. Closer "Beverly" is a fist-pounding homage to Beverly Hills, 90210 (er, "90666!!!"), featuring the heaviest quotation of the show's theme song ever.
CD release Saturday at the Back Room with remains of something human, A Dozen Furies, and Pistol Grip Pump. Cover is $1 seriously.
Afterparty of the Week
"TCB" loves a good afterparty, so last Thursday we ventured to the Allandale-area home of Attack Formation birthday boy and living-room DJ Ben Webster. Also getting down post-Beerland benefit were Crack Pipes singer Ray Pride, Penny Tration of the Winks and Dirty Sweets, Trail of Dead screamer Conrad Keely, Bubble co-owner Alex Ross, This Microwave World's Evan Lawrence, and Brandon Crowe of Oh, Beast! We shook it like a salt shaker to Eric B. & Rakim's "I Ain't No Joke," the Nine Inch Nails-50 Cent "Closer" mash-up, and the bangin' bhangra of Punjabi MC's "Beware of the Boys" Jay-Z remix. Webster attempted to clear the dance floor with Ginuwine's "Pony," which only made everyone bump and grind all the harder. Estimated departure time: 4:40am.
Bullet the Blue Sky