Off the Record
By Austin Powell, Fri., Aug. 15, 2008
Gods of the Earth
Any doubts as to whether Metallica's ninth studio album, Death Magnetic, due Sept. 12, would be a true return to form were quelled on Saturday in Frisco at Pizza Hut Park during the annual Ozzfest. Shedding its collective skin like the rattlesnake gracing the front of the band's eponymous black album, Metallica electrocuted two hours of vintage thrash metal that featured land-mine explosions for "One" and the world premiere of the Rick Rubin-produced "Cyanide," a progressive, six-minute jolt of twin guitars and heavy bass grooves that practically castrated St. Anger. Earlier in the afternoon, locals the Sword headlined the Texas stage, overcoming sound difficulties with the closing headbanger's ball of "Iron Swan" and "Freya." This wasn't the first time the two metal beacons crossed paths. "We heard through the grapevine that Lars [Ulrich] was a big Sword fan, so almost jokingly we would put him on the guest list whenever we would play in San Francisco," recalls Sword drummer Trivett Wingo. "Then one night we looked over and this dude was playing crazy air drums, and it was him." Following a brief European jaunt together earlier this year, the Sword is confirmed to open all 32 dates of Metallica's upcoming North American tour, which includes a Nov. 20 engagement at Houston's Toyota Center. "If you're a Metallica fan, you need to get there," Wingo testifies. "It's a kickass show every night with all of the hits. It never gets old." The Sword pierces Austin with Clutch, Oct. 4, at Stubb's.
Touch the Sky
"I always knew I was going to get to tell my story," says local Army veteran Lorenzo Zarate, who raps under the alias Loudmouf. "I just didn't know how many people would hear it." The 24-year-old Reagan High School graduate served a year with Fort Hood's 4th Infantry Division in Iraq, beginning in April 2003, but has struggled to adjust back to civilian life and make ends meet, due to post-traumatic stress disorder. "You don't trust people the way you used to," Zarate says. "The world looks different through your eyes now." He was one of three people documented for MTV's Choose or Lose & Kanye West Present: Homecoming, which aired last week and culminated with a surprise visit from the show's namesake. "You can tell Kanye has so much on his mind," Zarate muses. "He knows what he's going for and the weight that's on him." Along with tickets to the Glow in the Dark Tour, both in Austin and Chicago, the rap mogul granted Zarate with six months' rent, a week's worth of studio time, a mentorship at Hot 93.3, and a $1,500 microphone, all of which helped Loudmouf cut "Back on My Grizzy," a syrupy single featuring West associate GLC. "I've got to strike now and get this out while this whole MTV thing is hot," says Zarate, who hits Spiro's on Sept. 5 with Z-Ro. Zarate isn't alone in his struggle. According to new statistics, the number of new PTSD diagnoses in U.S. military personnel increased by nearly 50% in 2007. The Samaritan Counseling Center's Hope for Heroes project has stepped up to provide free, confidential counseling to veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and their families, and the Austin-based Music March for Heroes was founded earlier this year to help raise funds for the program. The organization hosts its first benefit at Threadgill's on Sunday, featuring Army veteran/songwriter Levon Ingram, BettySoo, and Dustin & Kevin Welch. For more information, check out www.myspace.com/musicmarchforheroes.
The Path Less Taken
Legend has it that Headdress recorded its dusty, hand-sewn debut, 2007's Turquoise (Totem Songs), underground in Arizona. It's half true. "Our friend had a ranch out there and dug into the side of a hill to build a little indoor racquetball court," explains guitarist and singer Caleb Coy. "This space had nine seconds of natural reverb. We holed up there for a week." The scorching heat and desolate landscape seeped into the mystical spirit of Turquoise, mining the darker moments of Neil Young's After the Gold Rush. "The desert was our main muse," Coy concedes. "We were living in an RV just drifting around, exploring this enormous silence." The nomadic folk duo found their way to Austin around this time last year, while Turquoise has since been reissued by Mexican Summer, a new vinyl-only subsidiary of NYC's Kemado Records. Following an East Coast tour, Headdress plans to record its next album in a vacant church in Marfa. "Everything's getting a little darker," Coy confides. "There's a lot more drone. It's kind of like a transcendental blues meditation sort of thing."
• Early birds take note: Artist submissions are being accepted for the 23rd annual South by Southwest Music Conference, March 18-22. Apply online at www.sxsw.com/music/shows/apply or through www.sonicbids.com/sxsw before Sept. 26 to receive the reduced registration fee of $25.
• KVRX is now streaming "None of the hits, all of the time" on iTunes under the college-radio category. The student-operated station hosts a Cupcake Social at the Carousel Lounge on Saturday with Fizzy Dino Pop, Lady Pterodactyl, and Rae Davis. Elsewhere on the FM dial, KFMK's Jammin' 105.9 is one of 55 stations in 37 markets on the chopping block due to Federal Communications Commission ownership limitations, following the $17.9 billion buyout of Clear Channel by private investment firms Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital, which finalized July 30.
• The Butthole Surfers are headlining an official 2008 Austin City Limits Music Festival aftershow at Stubb's on Saturday, Sept. 27, with the Kills. Tickets go on sale Saturday, 10am, through C3 Presents at Frontgate Tickets. For the full list of shows, see austinchronicle.com/earache.
From the Vaults
• South Carolina's American Beat Records, which reissued Joe Ely's 1980 Clash-supporting Live Shots last year, has followed suit with Rosie Flores' 1987 self-titled debut, for which she was nominated Best New Female Vocalist by the Academy of Country Music (see "Gypsy Rose," Aug. 10, 2007).
• The 13th Floor Elevators' sublime and genre-defining debut, 1966's The Psychedelic Sounds of ... (Sundazed), is now available for the first time on vinyl in its original mono format.
• Local avant-garde reissue label Unseen Worlds has reprinted Elodie Lauten's chilling 1985 opus, The Death of Don Juan, a nonlinear, two-act opera of minimalist arrangements and enthralling, repetitive sequences that features Arthur Russell on cello.