Pub-rock, U2, and British-style power-metal: Where are we again?
Steal This Album
U2's latest album, reportedly titled Vertigo, is making headlines long before its release by disappearing when the band left it lying around during a recent photo shoot in the south of France. Whodunit? Hoping for a (legal) advance copy, "TCB" rounded up 10 likely suspects.
10) GOD, Supreme Being: Hey, he's a fan, too.
9) PETE TOWNSHEND, guitarist, the Who: Curious if all the Who comparisons surrounding Vertigo are valid.
8) GEORGE W. BUSH, U.S. president: Something else Michael Moore can pin on him.
7) CHRIS MARTIN, singer, Coldplay: In dire need of lullabies for newborn Apple, but ran out of Coldplay demos.
6) LANCE ARMSTRONG, six-time Tour de France champion: Wanted to distract French press from persistent doping allegations.
5) BRIAN ENO, artiste/producer: Agreed to give album the once-over; band too loaded to remember conversation.
4) ANTON CORBIJN, longtime U2 photographer: Fed up with band's constant bickering over mixing and resulting photo-shoot delays.
3) THOM YORKE, singer, Radiohead: Motive unclear; either practical joke or attempt to make U2 as paranoid as his band.
2) KOFI ANNAN, secretary-general, United Nations: Mistakenly thought disc contained photos of his and Bono's African fact-finding mission.
1) PAUL McGUINNESS, U2 manager: Just wants the lads to finish the bleedin' thing already.
Vertigo is (very) tentatively scheduled for a November release.
Welcome to Redrum, Sixth Street's newest live music venue, located upstairs from Coyote Ugly. Manager Mike Boudreau, formerly of the Back Room, says the 100-capacity club switched over from coffeehouse Jakarta Jack's late last month, but "we still serve coffee." Boudreau is especially interested in providing exposure to emerging bands; Redrum currently offers the 101X-sponsored Metal Mondays, Warped Tuesdays, and Indie Wednesdays. Named after the famous graffiti in The Shining in fact, the club may show after-hours horror movies down the road Boudreau says Redrum's grisly moniker hasn't put off any potential customers. "Most people think it means we have red rum," he laughs.
Austin's rowdiest weekly fundraiser pulls out all the stops this Saturday, as Amber Voiland, Hit by a Car, Halo Rings Her Head, Original Glitch, Murpfh, Amplified Heat, Me vs. Everybody, the Maybes, Honky, the Lifters, and Born to Lose assemble at Trophy's to mark the first anniversary of the Punk Rock BBQ. Originally begun at Ego's by Taye Marshall, the barbecue moved south last month for a variety of reasons, including better sound, an outdoor patio, and complaints from both the TABC and nearby Congress Square Apartments. This week only, Cisco's is donating meat; as always, the $3-5 donations benefit the SIMS Foundation. "We're just trying to have a good time and give something back," says door guy Mark Spacek, who estimates the event has raised around $5,000 for SIMS so far. Starts 3pm.
Going Down the Pub
From the "Only in Austin" files: Popular local country crooner Elizabeth McQueen and her Firebrands are preparing a covers CD of pub-rock, the obscure British genre that gave the world Brinsley Schwarz, Eggs Over Easy, Ducks Deluxe, and the slightly better-known Graham Parker, Squeeze, Rockpile, and, arguably, Elvis Costello. McQueen originally moved to town wanting to do straight country, acquitting herself quite well on last year's The Fresh Up Club, but changed her tune upon hearing the Conrads, who along with predecessors Banana Blender Surprise give pub-rock a Texas twang. (Conrads bassist Earl B. Freedom's Freedom Records will release McQueen's album this fall.) "I guess what we do is pub-rock we play roots music live in bars," figures McQueen, who says she's been "too skittish" to ask Ian McLagan who more or less invented pub-rock with the Small Faces to sit in with the Firebrands. Then she divulges the real reason behind this one-woman revival: "It's just an excuse to do a lot of songs I love."
Scene Stealers: Ignitor
Screaming for vengeance with battering-ram guitars and ear-piercing vocals, Austin's Ignitor is out to restore the good name of Judas Priest- and Iron Maiden-style power metal. The faint of heart are hereby advised to, er, run to the hills.
Approximately a year ago, Stuart Laurence, the former Batlord of Agony Column, his wife and fellow shredder Beverly Barrington, bassist Brendan Bigelow, and drummer Pat Doyle were growing increasingly dissatisfied in the AC/DC-loving T.A.N.G. That's when longtime power-metal devotee Erika Swinnich's boyfriend happened to call Laurence and Barrington's home studio, and soon after that, they had both a new singer and a new band.
"It was really neat to invite her into this band," laughed lead guitarist Laurence as Ignitor relaxed at the Back Room before opening for W.A.S.P. last week, "and have her be more knowledgeable about the music we're playing than we are."
Besides keeping her bandmates apprised of current torchbearers like Primal Fear, Grave Digger, and Brainstorm, Swinnich also pens Ignitor's lyrics. On the band's Take to the Sky EP, she eschews the torrent of self-loathing and filial angst people associate with metal these days in favor of a wide variety of topics: demon-slaying, capital punishment, World War II, and the self-explanatory "Lean Mean Leather Machine."
"What I'm trying to do is put a spin on it so it's not all dour 'life sucks and let's all kill ourselves and let's all worship the devil,'" she explains. "There's so many other bands doing that. We don't need to."
"We do our devil worship privately," quips Bigelow.
Ignitor plays Headhunters tonight (Thursday) after the Killing Machine, Create, and Clobber Needles.
Bullet the Blue Sky
Joe Ely, whose Hightone best-of Settle for Love is out now, is rumored to be working on a novel. Go figure.
Austinites Slaid Cleaves, Patty Griffin, and the Greencards are all nominees for the Americana Music Association's 2004 Americana Honors & Awards, which will be handed out Sept. 25 at the Nashville Convention Center.
Saxman Elias Haslanger is back in the local fold after four years in the jazz capital, NYC, where he jammed, worked, and rubbed elbows with the likes of Maynard Ferguson, Wynton Marsalis, and the late, great Elvin Jones. Catch him this Friday at his old stomping grounds, the Elephant Room.
Local rockers 54 Seconds have joined the iTunes family. Their "Ben's Letter" is available at iTunes.com for the low, low price of 99 cents.
One of Austin's oldest clubs has a (sort of) new face: Tammy Moore, who takes readers behind the scenes in each Rank and Revue, is now booking the Back Room. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The definition of "oldies" has obviously changed. "TCB" heard Los Lonely Boys' "Heaven," currently No. 20 on Billboard's Hot 100, on Jammin' 105.9 last week. Coming soon to Z102: "classic rockers" Jet and the White Stripes ...
Highway to Hell
Inspiration for countless songs across all genres since time immemorial, the road has lately been keeping local musicians busy in a much different way: playing benefits for friends injured in vehicular accidents with uninsured motorists. Sunday at the Longbranch Inn, Pong, the Ridgetop Syncopators, Shorty Long, the Bloody Tears, New Disciples, Ray Ray's Soul Party, DJ Jim Bradford, Daniel McKeever, Bruce Smith, Bill Davis, Slowtrain, and more pitch in for co-owner Kevin "Kumbala" Crutchfield, who hurt both hands in a July 11 collision with a drunk driver. Starts at noon, suggested donation is $10, and other activities include a Texas Rollergirls car wash (the Longbranch sponsors current league leaders the Honky Tonk Heartbreakers)... The night before, Chrissy Flatt, the Dropouts, Balistica, and Feeding 5000 converge on Club de Ville starting at 6pm for Flatt's friend Shawn Strader, who was seriously injured last month near Dripping Springs. "TCB" is happy to give GEICO's phone number to anyone who wants it.