After a two-month moratorium on services caused by an unprecedented spike in demand and the resulting budgetary shortfall, as of today (Thursday), the SIMS Foundation is once again able to address local musicians' mental-health needs. Thanks to word of mouth and increased media attention, much of it stemming from a rash of suicides last summer, Development Coordinator Emily Erickson estimates requests for SIMS services are up a whopping 50% over last year. "People talking about SIMS put it in a great light, and people knew they could come to us with anything," she says. Actual services are running about 30% ahead, notes Erickson, so when coupled with the increasing cost of psychiatric treatment, SIMS found itself painted into a financial corner and, besides the moratorium, had to let Executive Director Mary-Louise Lopez go. The foundation had previously been able to meet clients' needs with the proceeds from KGSR's annual Broadcasts CD, but Erickson says the recent crisis has forced SIMS to keep a more careful eye on its bottom line. "In the past, anybody who was eligible, we were referring them and authorizing sessions for them, making those financial commitments without knowing exactly how that was going to be affecting our books," she says. KGSR's funding will continue, but Erickson says the foundation now plans to be more aggressive in seeking funds from other sources like private foundations and possibly using musicians' mailing lists to solicit donations. "If everybody who gets those e-mails sends us $10," she says, |"we could really raise a lot of money." To contact SIMS, call 472-1008 or go to www.simsfoundation.org.
Back in Black
With four of this fall's best local albums the Glass Family's Sleep Inside This Wheel, Ethan Azarian's Cross'n Over, the Orange Mothers' Greatest Hits, and the Handsome Charlies' Gentlemen Never Tell in stores now, I Eat Records is easily the label of the hour. Co-founder Jason Callahan is taking the sudden surge of activity in stride, or at least he's trying to. "We're sort of barely keeping it together, but at the same time there's enough momentum that it just carries us along," he admits. After years of working with Okkervil River as promoter, tour manager, and merch guy, Callahan started I Eat earlier this year when friend and Athens, Ga., emigre Lynn Boland approached him for advice on how to go about putting out his band the Casting Couch's EP. "We met at the Crown & Anchor for about two hours," says Callahan. "He asked me this and that, and finally I said, 'Did you really want my advice or do you just want to do this together?'" The two partnered up, released the Casting Couch EP in March, and set the table with this summer's Appetizers & Leftovers compilation. Already busy men, Callahan and Boland both spend their spare time as UT Ph.D. candidates would probably be freaking out even more if not for the fact that they've known their artists long before they had any thoughts of forming I Eat. "We feel like we're part of a collaboration instead of running a business," Callahan says. "It's a very personal relationship we have with all the bands."
Eat to the Beat
Behind 18-inch-thick walls in a two-story Hyde Park guest house rests the latest location of local recording studio the Bubble. After eight months of renovations, the new Bubble reopened last month and has already hosted several bands, including co-owner Chris "Frenchie" Smith's Young Heart Attack and Nic Armstrong & the Thieves, who were recording when TCB dropped by Monday evening. Smith and co-owner Alex Lyon (Zykos, the Arm) agree the studio, built by My Education's Chris Haxty and designed by Mark Genfan, is a marked improvement over the previous location on East Seventh Street. "We ran out of space," says Smith. "We were duct-taping components together." Engineers and producers in the downstairs control room are able to monitor bands in the upstairs rehearsal area through a pair of closed-circuit cameras. "You'll hear the drummer hit a bad note, and half a second later see him make a face," laughs Smith. Since both men have spent countless hours on both sides of the board, they wanted the new studio to be somewhere bands could relax. "It's important to have a comfortable environment for people who are working here 14 hours a day," says Lyon. Among its other benefits, he adds: "It's loud. It's really fuckin' loud."
Turn to the Left: High fashion comes to Emo's Sunday with the Stitch fashion show, where the handmade creations of 20 designers from Austin and beyond head down the runway, while a craft bazaar offers purses, jewelry, candles, and lots more. Jennifer from KOOP's Ear Candy, DJ Dojo's Bigface, DJ Mel with the Boom Chica Boom girls, and Belaire provide the musical ambience. Save some dough, though; next Saturday at the Parish, the lovely ladies of Team Fabrication are staging their own fashion show/dance party with Canoe, the Arm, and Clap! Clap!
Legal Eagles: Texas Attorneys for Texas Music are offering a legal leg up to local musicians at the first installment of "Music Law Sessions," Wednesday at the Music Lab, 500 E. St. Elmo Rd. Topics include rights among band members, copyright/publishing issues, third party agreements, and an "Ask a Lawyer" panel. Tickets available through Star.
The Boys are Back in Town: Word from the Los Lonely Boys camp has the brothers Garza finishing up their sophomore album for an early 2006 release. In the meantime, they're opening for the Rolling Stones in Houston and Memphis next month and performing "I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love" with Carlos Santana Nov. 22 at the American Music Awards in L.A. The track appears on Santana's latest guest-star orgy All That I Am, as does the creepiest title of 2005: Santana and much-younger pal Michelle Branch's "I'm Feeling You." I'm feeling ew.
Stage Fright: Moonlight Towers guitarist Jacob Schulze is organizing a live re-creation of the Band's 1976 swan song The Last Waltz, Nov. 20 at Club de Ville, right down to the preshow Thanksgiving dinner. Nic Armstrong & the Thieves, Superego, Youngmond Grand, and Tia Carrera's Jason Morales are already on board for the free show; others interested should contact Schulze at www.myspace.com/asshockey. "It's either gonna be really horrible or really awesome," he says.