Young Heart Attack and the Austin City Council's 'Mouthful of Love'

Young Heart Attack
Young Heart Attack (Photo By John Anderson)

The Invisible Rock Stars

Fried-synapse riff-rockers Young Heart Attack have toured the UK and Europe with Motörhead and the Darkness, garnering reams of drooling press coverage in the process, but only recently has the Austin quintet begun drawing decently in their hometown, as they did Friday opening for Peaches at Emo's.

"Some of us feel like we've wrung Austin dry in the past," deadpans guitarist Chris "Frenchie" Smith, who did most of his wringing in beloved Austin space cadets Sixteen Deluxe.

Illustration By Nathan Jensen

"We wanted to make it happen, and we wanted to make it happen quick, and it wasn't happening here, so we split," adds YHA bassist and ex-16D drummer Steven Hall.

Formed in March 2001, Young Heart Attack made it happen quick, all right. After some 15 shows, they were snapped up by UK label XL, whose American counterpart releases their debut, the 34-minute firecracker Mouthful of Love, Tuesday. Though Hall admits, "We weren't ready," the group spent the succeeding years honing their high-voltage live show to a stiletto point.

"We had to hammer it out," nods Jennifer Stephens, who splits vocal duties with shrieker Chris Hodge.

Enduring several lineup changes – most recently replacing Fastball drummer Joey Shuffield with Elliott Frasier – Young Heart Attack has remained steadfast in their commitment to rock the pants off any and all comers, even the indie snobs who look down their noses at such brazen hedonism.

"Just look at the way your Polvo record ages versus your Van Halen I record," offers Smith. "I would rather get my testicle cut off than put on a Polvo record right now."

Government Mules

Ozomatli's return to Austin last week brought a lot of dancing, a conga line that ended on the club side of La Zona Rosa's glass doors, and some choice comments sprinkled among their rousing Afro-Caribbean hip-hop. None of that changed the fact that the Austin City Council wouldn't amend the rule that led to Ozo's much-publicized SXSW brush with the law. Thursday, council members Brewster McCracken and Betty Dunkerley submitted a proposal to suspend the city's noise ordinance in the central business district during SXSW, but found no takers. "We're opening up something I don't think we should be opening up," declared opponent Danny Thomas. The matter was shunted to the Austin Music Commission for "further study," which proved unnecessary. At the commission's last meeting, they passed a resolution that not only asked the City Council to amend the ordinance, but also sought to expand its definition of the downtown entertainment district to reflect "current club activity" and create a variance process for clubs outside those areas. The commission also weighed in on Austin's other live-music bugaboo, passing a resolution recommending striking the smoking ordinance provision that would either bar those under 18 from attending shows at venues with unrestricted smoking permits – permits that allow smoking after 2pm – or force all-ages venues to become nonsmoking. Opting for still further study, last week the council pushed back those permits' effective date to June 1. The commission hosts an open Town Hall meeting 6pm Monday at One Texas Center, 505 Barton Springs Rd., Rm. 325.

Carolyn Wonderland's 110th Dream

Lots of people spend Easter weekend catching up with family and friends, and Carolyn Wonderland is no different – except that her friend happens to be Bob Dylan. Wonderland first met Dylan last Easter, when the Man in the Long Black Coat was in town for a pair of Backyard shows and asked lunch companion Ray Benson if he knew how to get in touch with the local blues belter. Being Ray Benson, he did. "My friend Anne-Marie called and said, 'Mr. Dylan wants to meet you,'" recalls Wonderland. Even a year later, Wonderland still doesn't know how Dylan came to inquire about her. "He never really answered me that." But when she showed up this Easter Sunday for Dylan's sound check at Atlanta's Tabernacle Theater, he did let her play his guitar. "It was like going to graduate school," she enthuses. Continuing the educational theme, Dylan sent her back to Austin with a mysterious "homework assignment" she's reluctant to divulge. "I don't think I can say yet," she demurs. Wonderland, who plays Ego's Saturday, May 8, says she expects to hear from Dylan in the next several months, "unless he changes his mind."

News From the Cool Table

Spoon and Trail of Dead, both with new albums due this year, each appear on Merge Records' 3-CD 15th anniversary compilation, Old Enough to Know Better, due July 13. Sometime Austinite Richard Buckner also contributes a track... Continuing its metamorphosis into public television's answer to HBO's Reverb, Austin City Limits has confirmed Pixies, Flaming Lips, and Strokes tapings for its 30th anniversary season. White Stripes rumors continue to fly thicker than Jack's "Death Letter" tone... The Pretty Please will open legit brother-sister duo the Fiery Furnaces' June 10 Parish date... Emo's says bon voyage to local booker James Minor today (Thursday) but welcomes the surviving members of the MC5 June 25... Upstarts Recover are briefly off the road mixing this summer's Universal debut but start another leg May 21 at Georgetown's Page House (1000 Leander Rd.) with the Rocket Summer and At All Cost. Next is a June UK jaunt with Taking Back Sunday before returning to the States (and Emo's July 22) with Braid... Finally, local sales of inexpensive domestic beer were expected to skyrocket at Guided by Voices' announcement they'll disband after one more album. Amazingly, the Tight Spot Records folks were able to retain enough composure to release Fivehead's Guests of the Nation on schedule.

Photo By John Anderson


Lorena Vasquez (l) and Alamo Drafthouse owner Tim League resort to extreme measures to force a smile as Staring Contest host Steve Grill looks on. League was unable to crack Vasquez's composure, but "TCB" did, and later withstood both a Janet Jackson-like "wardrobe malfunction" and Basic Instinct-style crotch flash before being unseated by former Adult and Staring Contest co-founder Paul Ahern, who mercifully kept his naughty bits covered.


Culture Club

Topping UT's Performing Arts Center 2004-05 schedule, online at, is a long-awaited appearance by reclusive Fort Worth free-jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman, set for Nov. 14 at Bass Concert Hall. David Byrne inaugurates the season with his Tosca pals Sept. 12 at Hogg Auditorium. Other bookings include Carol Burnett Show cutups Tim Conway & Harvey Korman (Oct. 1), gentle guitar genius Jim Brickman (Dec. 8), the Neville Brothers with Angelique Kidjo (Jan. 27), Afghanistan's Ensemble Kaboul (Feb. 25), and just in time for the release of the live-action Fat Albert movie, Bill Cosby at Bass May 8. Hey, hey, hey!

Bullet the Blue Sky

end story Chuy's in Round Rock had a blond moment last Thursday when Jessica Simpson stopped in for a steak burrito with queso after performing for returning U.S. troops at Fort Hood. Simpson had her mom and a camera crew from MTV's Newlyweds in tow, but co-star Nick Lachey (whom she wed in Austin) was nowhere in sight.

end story Due to what founder Rudy Eccles terms "downsizing," the Hole in the Wall has discontinued its popular Wednesday night Stimulus/ Response live hip-hop jam. The crew reconvenes Thursday, May 6, at the Caucus with Earth Raiders and Eccles' other band Blue 7.

end story Original Trance Syndicate troublemakers Crust will reunite at Room 710 May 22. The anatomy-loving gutter-rockers will play at least two hours of squirm-inducing classics, including the immortal "Chlamydia Is Not a Flower."

end story Leon Russell, who played on Halloween novelty hit "Monster Mash" – and worked with Phil Spector, the Everly Brothers, and the Beach Boys – before becoming an Armadillo World Headquarters fixture and Willie Nelson's amigo, stops by the Pier Restaurant Saturday. Call 327-4562 for info.

end story Best Thing on the Radio Right Now: The Lil' Flip remix of Beyoncé's "Naughty Girl," representing H-town in style. Runner-up: Gretchen Wilson's hell-raising "Redneck Woman." Where might "TCB" find one of those? Midnight Rodeo?

end story Western Wednesday – now with $1.50 Lone Stars! – this week: Clint Eastwood's eerie 1973 revenge epic, High Plains Drifter. Beerland, 7pm.

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