Thirty Three Degrees announces it will be shutting its doors. Out the door, too, is Associate Music Editor Michael Chamy.
Another One Bites the Dust
As "TCB" went to press Tuesday afternoon, word filtered in that Thirty Three Degrees would close at the end of the month. Owner Dan Plunkett confirmed the news shortly thereafter, saying the store had been "very successful" and the reasons for closing were not economic. "We've done this for nine years," he said. "It's just time to move on." The upper Guadalupe record store specialized in all things indie, and was one of Austin's only places to locate not-readily-available titles in Krautrock, black metal, free jazz, and avant-garde composers. Additionally, Thirty Three stocked a wealth of local titles from all styles, and hosted both local and touring bands at Friday-afternoon in-stores nearly every week. The store immediately cut the price of their entire inventory except markdowns and stuff already on sale by 20%, a sale set to continue until the doors close for good May 31.
Slipped Disc The Stepbrothers (Licorice Tree)
O BROTHER, WHO ART THOU? Formed in 2001, the Stepbrothers are Sons of Hercules producer and ex-Devil Dog Mike Mariconda; Sean "Sonny" Morales (Titz); Patrick Pestorius (Stingers); Willy Camero (Hard Feelings); and Matt Smith (White Heat). This CD-5 is their first, but a full-length is due in late summer.
SOUL POWER: The Stepbrothers draws on several sources, including Southern rock ("Shut It Down") and reggae ("Catch This Teardrop"), but the overriding flavor is the gut-punching blast of vintage Sixties garage rock, best exemplified on the riotous "Broke Down."
CD release Friday at the Capitol with Ignorance Park.
The mixing sessions for local ska men the Stingers' new LP All in a Day were so harried, with the band logging three sleepless nights in a row to come in under the wire, that it took guitarist/vocalist Jon Meyers a while before he could appreciate the end result. "It wasn't until two weeks later that I was able to sit back and smile," he says. All in a Day is mellower than its predecessor, last year's This Good Thing, with more focus on multipart harmonies thanks to the arrival of keyboardist and vocalist Brent Baldwin, also a UT voice major. Just returned from their third European tour, the Stingers release All in a Day with an acoustic performance at Cheapo Discs on Friday and at Saturday's Flamingo Cantina show, where they take the stage between Maneja Beto and Houston's Los Skarnales, whose approach to ska is somewhat more aggressive. "Skarnales is heavy," says Meyers. "We've done so many shows with those guys, we know it's better for them to go on last."
Who knew all it took for the Austin Music Network to realize its oft-debated "potential" was a giant mountain of cash? That seems to be the city's reasoning, as last week both the Austin Music Commission and City Council Committee for Telecommunications Infrastructure heard a proposal by the Austin Music Partners consortium concerning future "entertainment television possibilities." As outlined by media consultant Connie Wodlinger, the proposal promised better production values, widespread regional distribution via Time Warner, and a budget in the $25 million to $30 million range. However, it left open the questions of whether an Austin-centric network would appeal to markets like Waco, Corpus Christi, or Lubbock (maybe); if the new channel would give sufficient airtime to nonroots genres like punk, experimental, and hip-hop (doubtful); and if turning local music into a commercial brand is really that great of an idea (hell no). Perhaps this network would enhance Austin's image and bring more tourist dollars to the area, but it feels more like the city is once again, intentionally or not, undermining its own music network. With five months left on AMN's current contract, the writing is on the wall, and the color of the ink is green. More soon.
Paging Doctor Velvet
Local R&B swingers Nick Curran & the Nitelifes won Best New Artist for their Doctor Velvet CD at last Thursday's W.C. Handy Blues Awards in Memphis, but nearly missed their chance to accept. Waiting backstage to perform (or so they were told), they met their new booking agent for the first time and adjourned to the lobby to get acquainted. "This girl came in yelling, 'You won!'" recounts Curran. "We never even heard the announcement." Once they reached the podium at the Cannon Center's ballroom, "we didn't know what to say," says Curran, whose new Blind Pig LP Player comes out June 29. The Nitelifes' other thrill was performing the Fabulous Thunderbirds' "True Love" with Kim Wilson, reuniting Wilson with Nitelifes and ex-T-Birds bassist Preston Hubbard. (Completing the circle, Curran sits in with Wilson from time to time.) Other locally connected folks taking home Handys were Marcia Ball for Female Contemporary Blues Artist and Contemporary Blues Album (So Many Rivers), Antone's mainstays Pinetop Perkins (Male Traditional Blues Artist), and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith (Blues Instrumentalist Drums).
Bark at the Moon
Robert Rodriguez brings his Chingon caravan back to Antone's on Wednesday, with Del Castillo, Patricia Vonne, and the Accelerators (featuring some guy named Bruce Willis) in tow. "TCB" exchanged e-mails with Rodriguez before the first Chingon show in January, but didn't quite make the deadline.
TCB: How do you choose music for your films?
RR: It depends on the movie, but since I also edit my own films, I usually choose music and start scoring a movie at the script stage. I try not to make the music an afterthought, but something that drives the pictures.
TCB: What was the first concert you went to?
RR: I don't remember if it was the first concert, but it made the biggest impression. It was the Ozzy concert in San Antonio, the time he pissed on the Alamo and was released from jail in time to go onstage. I just remember him emerging from the stage on a giant hand of Merlin, over the audience, and drunk as a skunk. You couldn't hear a thing, his voice was so slurred. Sort of how he sounds now!
TCB: If you could pick any one musician to film their bio, who would it be?
RR: It would be on the Vaughan brothers, hands down. That would make a great movie, inspiring and with amazing music. I have four brothers of my own, so I think I know how I can make that movie work.
Mr. Kite's Corner
Rob Gasper, head of security, house artist, and longtime front-door man at the Continental Club, is currently in Seton Medical Center undergoing kidney dialysis and awaiting valve-replacement heart surgery. His prognosis is good but his bills steep, so San Diego roots-rockers the Paladins have turned their 3pm Saturday matinee at the Continental into a benefit for Gasper, with $10 suggested donations and custom-made T-shirts for sale... Room 710 hosts a May 15 benefit for the family of late Squat Thrust bassist Wade Longenberger. Friends helping friends are Pong, Electric Cock, Ignorance Park, eGypt, Hug, Moonlight Towers, and Sweet Mrs. Rae & the Royal Family. 8pm.
Bullet the Blue Sky
Bassist Kit Griffin passed away in a Houston hospital last Saturday after two severe strokes. The Angleton native, 44, spent seven years with Austin blues-rockers the Gary Delz Power Trio, appearing on their Unknown Territories and Live at the Texas Music Cafe CDs. "[He] was close to being a damn musical genius," said Delz via e-mail.
R&B royalty Etta James' eagerly anticipated Hogg Auditorium show and Austin City Limits taping last week were canceled due to complications from the diva's knee surgery. ACL publicist Maury Sullivan said her Hogg date has been rescheduled for August, but no details of another taping have been worked out yet.
A flip-flopped (!) David Bowie visited the Continental Club last Wednesday to watch his bandmates play as Spooky Ghost & Friends. Bowie and his three-person entourage arrived at happy hour, where guitarist Earl Slick complimented Gary Clark Jr., and stayed until the end of bassist Gail Ann Dorsey's set. Slick, meanwhile, stayed even later and left with the entire Jon Dee Graham catalog. "Why haven't I heard of you before?" wondered Slick.
Local singer-songwriter Bill Davis isn't trying to break your heart, but he has been saddled with booking the Wilco hoot night May 22 at Ego's. Interested? Contact email@example.com.
Bon voyage and bonne chance to Chronicle associate music editor and "TCB" cubiclemate Michael Chamy, who leaves the paper next week for married life in the Metroplex. Tonight (Thursday) is an unofficial going-away party at the Parish with Fivehead, Pleasant Grove, Red Thread, and plenty of Astros vs. Rangers discussion.
"TCB" is leaving town, too, but only for a week. His Beerland Western Wednesdays resume May 19 with a personal favorite, Rio Bravo, and, of course, $1.50 Lone Stars. 7pm or thereabouts.