You can feel cultivated inspiration seeping out the first moment you hear Baxu. A confident intelligence tows their line. They are bigger than what they offer—and what they offer is pretty damn fine. Michael Regino and Mike Garrido create music vibing with the feeling of carrying a guitar case through the front door of a sold-out show you are headlining. It comes on as you settle into the corner booth with some black and leather babes sitting on both your sides. Cool, cool, cool.
"Chicon" from The Stacks is a beautiful eloquent reflection of this malaise. Did they have to go and break our hearts so sweetly with this video though? It is almost too much. Beautifully shot and edited, we get a heaping dose of nostalgic letting go soundtracked in perfection.
If you put on your scratchiest ill-fitting black t-shirt and close your eyes with Smooch's "Pucker Up" playing, you can actually smell the late eighties.
"Highway of Hearts" continues the can't-get-the-volume-high-enough excitement. These songs hype themselves. There is a rhythmically layered catchiness as each line dances on its own as though an entire chorus plays out with every five words that pass.
Most years it is a fifty/fifty split between storm clouds and optimistic light breaking around the edges; there is time to laugh; we can band together to keep each other sane and lifted. This year has made jaded cynics of us all. Turns out when you have enough free time on your hands to watch the world function, it is a complete shit show. Spend eight months seeped in it and—well—here we are...
Between Stevie Nicks on "Edge of Seventeen" and Deana Carter with "Strawberry Wine," now there is an equal which somehow manages to draw comparisons to both at the same time. "Wild Wild Woman" is powerful, perfect, and rises into the realm of greatness by transcending forever beyond the person who created it to represent a moment forever speaking to whoever hears it as one of the great beacons of the realized rare potential music has the heights of reaching.
Once everyone has settled into a spot around the backyard, toss out a square to everyone and get the jawing out of the way waiting for those eyelids to get a bit heavy, those feet to get even heavier. Vibe.
Singled Out ISS – “Too Punk For Heavy Metal” by Jay Armstrong There are maybe four bands giving me feels beyond pacified as of late. ISS are one of them. Working on the review for the new Spits album, this forty-five Total Punk Records put out in June is what I find myself playing on repeat while catching a break. Initially, this one seemed as though it ran the risk of losing its kick, as though it might get beaten into the background slightly with each play. Here we are months later and it keeps hitting better. Somewhere lower on the list of reasons this one rides is how it…
For those who might be unfamiliar; when someone says "Austin music," either with acute awareness or down on the collective subconscious level, they are talking about Loteria.
As with the 2019 album in which this is the title track from, we witness here yet another moment where Calliope Musicals prove to us they have an acute grasp on their collective output; stunning us by their growth and intriguing us along with their familiarity. Truly the band, their music, and this Jerry Sparkman directed video are impressively memorable.
I see Sheila Vand in that scene of perfection; all stylized and rhythmic, imagining had A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night been made six years later. She places the record on to fill the silence and space, love is precarious after all, possibly this could have been the song washing over the uncertainty between her and Arash Marandi. Would it have felt more dangerous? We should probably listen to "Ociin" another fifteen times to know for sure.
....to exist creatively in a way which inspires those around him to aim not high with their ambitions but instead to look within themselves to embrace the joy which comes through finding an artistic vessel worth pouring oneself into again and again on the path of self-exploration forevermore is as beautiful as the work Schwartz crafts. Be it musicians, writers, models, whatever the walk of artists currently calling Austin home, all seem to see his creative presence as a mirror before which they may see their better selves reflected.
Is anyone else over completely the perpetual reminders that Rockyanne Bullwinkle is perfect?
Immediate, upfront, hitting perfectly the notes of reminder the band everyone fell in love still retains the perfect balance from when their gang first took over these streets; facetious cynicism crafted with acute skill.
This album is about as jazzy as Morrisey's personality is tolerable but on the scale of listenable it leans decidedly more towards "highly" than it does "Jethro Tull." We recommend putting it on repeat while going toes up in some sunshine for a few hours, it was meant for being stuck at home looking for help tapping into the optimistic side of life.
Billy King and the Bad Bad Bad are not a band solely hyping us on where they are, nor is it the unexpected notable progress we feel from them at every show played, it is where they are going getting us excited to be in proximity of what they are doing.
Coffee in hand. Watching my neighbors from the back window, "so it just rained and they are running the sprinkler...while mowing the yard.... as one kid screams in the corner and two others jump on the trampoline. Guess it's do-whatever-you-want day next door." This is what the quarantine has come to. If music can't save us now, what is the point. This is my salvation of a playlist. - Jay Armstrong
I began this project wanting to show off the incredibly creative people whose work I love. To come up with a comfortable place where we could be vulnerable together, a place where we could speak openly about our dreams and excitement for the future. Hopefully, there, in that place, we would create something truthful, reflecting our trust in each other, a moment made beautiful collectively.
...nails their simplistic aesthetic in craft while still feeling orgiastic in creativity. Basically, business as usual for this band who have been around just long enough to start being grandfathered in as the torchbearers of the Austin ideology.
Lo Country have been keeping their heads down for far too long, this first bite out of their upcoming full-length definitely has us interested. Then again, anyone who has spent ten minutes around Lo Country in the flesh already knows they are about the nicest buncha dropouts you could kick dirt with which should already have pretty much every unpretentious decent comrade in Austin's ears perked regardless.
Like digging boxes out of the closet and finding that leather jacket we thought lost all winter, slipping this one on makes for a good walk around the block with the cool comfort of familiarity. One can imagine "Faces" representing the band turning down the sheets for us to climb into bed with them; I for one already have one of my boots off in anticipation of going heels to Jesus.
Color Out of Space is as much the defining statement of progression in the sci-fi realm as it is a nostalgic walk through the greatest moments of eighties horror. After thirty years of near-silence, Richard Stanley returns to the screen with a brave, bold, risk of a film which is nothing short of genius. Not seeing this in theaters would be a tragedy. All of this is obvious within about four minutes of the film.
....a John Cale broken boldness sort of journey from open to close all swept over with a thousand hushed mystic ohms weaving the ride along. To break down the album track by track would be an injustice to its cohesive nature. Each song shakes hands with the next, peaks and valleys reflecting the same orgiastic light, the only disappointing moment coming as the album closes feeling full yet wanting more.
Anastasia Hexahedron set to work on her latest series "The Mist" not with a concept in mind but by accident. Having studied through the night into the early morning she got up for a drink of water. Looking out of the window and seeing only an absolute nothingness as the heaviest of fogs covered her city of Yaroslavl, Russia, she grabbed her camera and wandered around the waking dawn dream state of a city appearing abandoned. Her aloneness pressing in with each step.
Crocodile Tears make date music for the blank generation, cruising music for the down and outs, and are about as safe as good rock n roll can get. If this were 1980 they would rule the world.
Parasite ultimately expresses the faceted characteristics in ourselves as a healthy balance, the possibilities and pendulum swings from one emotion and style of thinking to another defining us as complex individuals; Bong Joon-ho shows us the balance which can be created within the house of ourselves. Then in his typical unique way shows what happens when our own carelessness allows the balance to be thrown off. At which point the entire films dissolves before us as though it is the opening moment of a demolition derby when the gas pedals are floored, the rear tires are spinning with slow grabbing muddy traction, until finally the mounting expectations crash in on…
Everything about Warish is off the cuff and hazy; they are equal parts walking through the horror section in the glory days of mom and pop video stores coupled with that experience felt playing the mixtapes your cool uncle or cousin snuck into your hands from time to time to show you a world far above the small town filled with small people with small dreams in which you were born shackled to, cramming headphones constantly in ears drowning your nonconforming alienation with the gentle track by track realization you are not alone.
If Jackson Montgomery Schwartz does not top your list of favorite fashion artists then obviously you have yet to see any of his work. Everyone else feels pale and tired after looking through one of his photo shoots. Jackson is one of the rare ones to understand fashion can be cool, it can feel alive, that there is a hell of a lot more which goes into selling ones passion than sniffing your upper lip and championing pretension.
Austin's teen sensation hearthrobs The Sun Machine are out to prove there is more to junior high than homework and sleepovers. They do a damn fine job at doing just that on their latest grindcore/dreampop hit "Cumbia la Lagrimas."
It takes time to get where we are going, things evolve, our foot may ease the pedal off the floor a bit but in its place you get to feel that suspension tapping out the quarter mile rhythm on a back road burn sesh without a cop in site and sunlight still left to freeze a few frames eternal with each glancing off at the horizon; long story short Thelma and the Sleaze just traded in their ninety-one Mustang for a seventy-four Coup De Ville and they are riding around in it like the album sales already paid the damn thing off.
"I have no idea what the hell I am doing. I’m just trying to document the things happening around me. I think life is wild and beautiful and super chaotic. I want to capture all of that somehow. I love life and I think that’s what I want my photos to say about me, that I am living and enjoying it. No matter how frightening or fun it all may be, I am grateful to be alive and to see." - Derek Vaugh Nunez Strahan
With now expected minimalist poetic prose Dan Rico matches his words this go 'round with bare lain instrumentation to deliver a personal yet all encompassing expression of the social societal malaise and the personal regret of the wasted fingertip bygone days to give us on "Let's Go Back" an all in togetherness Stand By Me ending credits sort of song which within seconds sets creeping tears trickling from our reminiscent hearts.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco offers no answers just profound redemption through our confusion. Speaking directly to it words of wise comfort; it is acceptable not knowing the way. It is acceptable to bare the burden of scars. It is acceptable to feel angry. It is acceptable to struggle with the truth. In the end the dust we kick up in circles will settle and we must move on as all who were great before us had to as well; not down a path backwards facing the past, no instead we must step into the unknown confusion with merely flashlights and our love going boldly into that dark…
to lay at our feet this somber, soft-spoken, heartbreaking melody of remembrance and reason at a time in our collective history where we need it as much, if not more, than ever. Sing us home Willie. Hold us as we nurse our wounds. Guide us once more to boldly remember the truth in our current climate. Challenge those of us losing our footing on the path of empathy. Willie Nelson, thank you eternally for being our rock.
Through the photographs of Austin Armstrong we feel the bridge from our place in this moment to the past. There is an ideology to every single shot, a line running through the all of appreciation, understanding, a therapeutic closeness holding hands with time eternal.
...both sides of this record are natural unique cohesive noise; it did not come by accident. When Teenage Cavegirl someday find themselves listed in the annals of that which kept the dream alive in those back-building years of Austin, remember to remind your kids they did not get there by accident, they earned it, Candy Cigarettes was merely the moment we lifted our blasé disaffected lenses to see the band for who we should have recognized their potential to be all along.
Whatever happens, however things go forward, we can only hope these employees get paid what they are due with interest and that whether Beerland remains or not we can at least see this chapter coming to an end with the warm belief that despite the worst our community came together once more to protect what defines our love which is not an address or a fading painted wall in a claustrophobic space, no our love has never had an address attached to it, our love is about each other and despite every cheap shot thrown our way we continue to pick each other up to carry our collective dreams safely…
Jesus Christ, someone send this video to every confused twelve year old before they mistakenly subscribe to Guitar World and start off down that disappointing path of Incubus respect which somehow leads to Steve Vai. There is room in this town for every facet of cool but if you are going to try, you better be going all in like these guys or you might as well head back to Alabama or wherever you were born to be forgotten in.
A false sense of simplicity gradually peels back as Tyler Krasowski's autobiographical expression of a small forest ventured to as a child between subdivisions in suburban Chicago comes to life in all its magnificent dangerous possibilities
Calling all fans of straight-to-video, filmed on videocassette horror; Attic Ted have something special lined up for you. "Skip to the Lulu" is directed by Jeffrey Garcia who kicks up nostalgic dust of Cannibal Cookout, The Video Dead, and Video Violence. Without leaning towards schlock humor the way Scott Barber did on Roky Moon's memorable "Creatures of the Night," this video embodies the weird yet serious methodos of Attic Ted– a notable balance to say the least. This is the first look at their new album Kafka Dreaming which will be out later this week.
Existential chaos being the lens of the all encompassing today, it is through the work of Kyle Carter in which we find solemn comforting zen ease in which to center ourselves through visual release.
Director Triana Hernandez has a full grasp on the image the band is building their dominance on, with a minimalist shot on videocassette approach we get Wake in Fright vibes that neither skew Amyl and the Sniffers in the slightest from focus on the song itself while solidifying what anyone who has caught them live wants to see encapsulated; the unadulterated, theatrically raw, in the moment now of a band changing our existence for the better.
Crawford does a damn fine job calling out, as the magazine has done since the very beginning, to those of us born with the stifling boot heel attempts of plastic herd culture to snuff the sense of passion and purpose eating us black sheep alive in the nowhere nothing cul-de-sac wasteland, his words a reassuring echo in the darkness that we are not islands waiting to silently be forgotten beneath the rising tide of cultural cardboard climate change.
Best of SXSW 2019 Part 3 Amyl and the Sniffers | The Mystery Lights | Banditos | Leo Rondeau
"Hologram" speaks to how our vantage point in life changes inescapably with time while the results of the finite feeling beneath it all remains the conclusion regardless of our ever shifting inner-zeitgeist. We find as the song develops the message to be solace found by accepting the idea of being ineffectual or complacent as largely self-imposed. The heart is a rallying motivational in that all of us are small on the scale of reality while no one–including (especially) ourselves–has real power to hold us their.
The Tough Shits have me once more daydreaming of owning an El Camino just so I can blast this album on repeat blazing across west Texas on the way to California. Overall verdict: Burning in Paradise must be immersed in, an experience as a whole which rises above all condescending criticism, it magnetizes in waves of perfection prepared to climb the "here we are now entertain us" modus operandi of the current stasis felt as we seemingly stretch and yawn from the past couple back-building years. The corpse of Rock n Roll is reanimating once more in a big way.
Best of SXSW 2019: Show Photos (Part 1)
The definitive unarguably best bands you would be an idiot to miss at SXSW 2019.
Kerouacian in the finest most brilliant sense, "Frank Sinatra's Yacht" reads somewhere between coming down out of the mountain in Desolation Angels and saying goodbye to the mice in Big Sur; every line, every note owning us as Andrew Cashen cries out to eternity, "what I do now next? Chop wood?."
As for this moment here now Amyl and the Sniffers are everything.