A bumper crop of indie-rockers move to town, right before Audioslave burns it down
After the onslaught of the past decade, Austinites are understandably prickly about new arrivals. Not so of indie-rock sprite Sally Crewe, who's happily at home here. "We like it," she says. "It's as simple as that."
Crewe, who relocated from London in September with husband/Matador Records top dog Gerard Cosloy and their Labrador, wasn't exactly a stranger: She recorded first album Drive It Like You Stole It at friend Jim Eno's studio, and has played the last four SXSWs. "I added it up, and I've spent over six months in Austin over the past four years, so when we got back home to London I felt like I missed Austin," she explains.
When she got here, Crewe had no trouble assembling a local version of her band the Sudden Moves, who'll release Shortly After Take-Off May 24. "I put an ad in the Chronicle to find bandmates, and the response was insanely bigger than any other response I've ever had, even in London," she says. "For someone coming over from abroad and trying to start a band, it's a really, really easy place to do that."
With their emotive hybrid of Britpop, the Postal Service, and, oh yeah, metal, The Story Of didn't come quite as far, but bassist Jeremy Gordon says the quintet's move from Athens, Ohio, nine months ago has been similarly fruitful. Already gigging at Spider House, Hole in the Wall, Flamingo Cantina, and May 7 at Graffiti's on the northside (where they'll give away copies of new EP Foothill Highway Appalachian Road), they're settling in nicely. "Our gigs are getting progressively more where I want them to be," Gordon says. "We're getting to meet a lot of people in town here who are more up our alley."
Rounding out the trifecta is Smog alter ego Bill Callahan, who's been enjoying a relatively anonymous profile here in town despite recording the forthcoming A River Ain't Too Much to Love at Pedernales. Even money says the lo-fi linchpin's latest could give the already shopworn phrase "Keep Austin Weird" a whole new life.
In honor of Saturday's second annual covers night at the Parish, starring Moonlight Towers, Grand Champeen, and Li'l Cap'n Travis, TCB decided to do a little covering of his own. These choice quotes from the participants originally ran in "Under the Covers," cubiclemate Darcie Stevens' fine article marking the occasion.
JACOB SCHULZE, Moonlight Towers: "You get to see the building blocks of all these different songs because you have to sit there and figure them out. Stuff you might not normally pay attention to when casually listening is stuff you can totally steal later."
CHANNING LEWIS, Grand Champeen: "We know very well that if you play a cover often enough and well enough, people start to want to hear that more than they want to hear your own stuff."
MATT KINSEY, Li'l Cap'n Travis: "In the early Nineties you would have a loud band play John Denver's 'Annie's Song,' and it would be kind of like you were making fun of it. Now we can actually admit that we like it."
Last year brought AC/DC, Television, Sonic Youth, the Bee Gees, INXS, and Boston; the bands aren't tipping their hands about Saturday. DJ Polecat spins; cover is $7.
Lit in raza-friendly red and green for most of the night, Audioslave throat Chris Cornell modeled the "cholo" look at Sunday's Austin Music Hall date. Unlike their previous tour stop at the venue, March 2003, where the foursome covered Rush and the White Stripes but not their own prodigious Soundgarden/Rage Against the Machine back catalog, this time they trotted out a devastating version of SG's "Outshined" and explosive takes on Rage's "Sleep Now in the Fire" and "Killing in the Name" that had the sold-out crowd wondering "Zack who?" In a sign Audioslave has successfully avoided Velvet Revolver syndrome, the audience cheered radio staples "Gasoline," "I Am the Highway," "Show Me How to Live," and even "Be Yourself" the first single from next month's Out of Exile just as lustily. After thanking Austin for its continued support, Cornell and the guys promised to come back soon, then set off several Richter scales back home in L.A. with a nuclear "Cochise."
Slave to the Grind
Why is health insurance for musicians a good idea? Because sometimes they play a show with a burst appendix. That's what FasterDisasters and Daylight Titans lead guitarist Clint Shay did immediately before a weeklong stay in hotel Brackenridge. Shay will be back in action with both bands at Room 710 tonight (Thursday), as they and the Pink Swords, Ugly Beats, and Bad Rackets raise a little dough for his medical bills
Before she goes on sabbatical, local fixture Gretchen Phillips headlines a benefit for Swamp Girls singer Terri Station 2pm Sunday at Ararat, with Nancy Scott, Melissa Greener, and M.J. Torrance. Cover is $5
Ailing former Joe Ely Band guitarist and all-around Lubbock sage Jesse Taylor is the focus of Sunday's "Jessefest" at Threadgill's World Headquarters. The Flatlanders, Reckless Kelly, Billy Joe Shaver, Terry Allen, David Holt Band, Texana Dames, and more line up to salute their brother in arms for $20.
Mr. Kite's Corner
Laura Canales, who predated Selena as "La Reina de la Onda Tejana," or "Queen of the Tejano Wave," died from gall-bladder surgery complications last Saturday in Corpus Christi. The Kingsville native, 50, was instrumental in Tejano's rise to regional prominence in the Eighties with hits like "Si Vivi Contigo," "Cuatro Caminos," and "Dame la Mano."
BULLET THE BLUE SKY
Semicelebrity spotting of the week: Beverly Hills, 90210 alumnus Ian Ziering monopolized the pool table at Trophy's last Friday while the Good Looks and Rockland Eagles tore it up onstage. A long way from the Peach Pit After Dark, eh, Sanders?
Nautical naughties Gorch Fock made history of sorts at Room 710 last Thursday, becoming the first-ever band to play their set in the upstairs balcony. The close confines and raging noise led bassist Win Wallace to the emergency room with several cracked ribs, but trouper that he is, he soldiered off on tour the next day anyway.
The Oh, Beast! vs. Attack Formation live mash-up last Saturday at Beerland was a hit. Besides ridiculous covers Barry Manilow's "Looks Like We Made It," LCD Soundsystem's "Daft Punk Is Playing at My House" there was an inordinate amount of hilarious trash-talk, and a trend was born. "Kevin from Steers told me, 'We want to do one of these it doesn't matter with who,'" club owner Randall Stockton said afterward.
Brother from another planet Bernie Worrell outdid himself last week, mining the funk for two exhausting Flamingo Cantina shows before tacking on a third at the Continental Club, where he and his band (including ex-Living Colour drummer Will Calhoun) kept on the good foot until nearly 3am.
The free screening of Willie Nelson's Songs for Tsunami Relief DVD that was rained out, minus the rain, during SXSW is on for 8pm tonight (Thursday) in Republic Square Park downtown. The DVD and corresponding CD will be on sale at the park, and finer big boxes all over the area.
Enigmatic singer-songwriter John Wesley Harding and alt.country chanteuse Kelly Hogan will sit in with MAD6, the new project from former Borrowers Mark Addison and Nina Singh, for their CD release Tuesday at the Saxon Pub. MAD6 will also back Harding and Hogan for a brief set.