Sunday, October 9, 2011

Liam Finn

Musical sons who follow in their families footsteps have the challenge of respecting a legacy while also establishing their own identity. It's a chicken and egg question perhaps - which comes first ? Liam Finn has strongly established his own musical identity - no doubt about it. Even for me as a longtime, diehard fan of his father, Neil Finn, I try to keep the comparisons to a minimum. I was cautiously optimistic when I first heard Liam's songs as a solo artist. He started out as a teenager with the band, Betchadupa, a decade ago. Although Betchadupa didn't quite catch on with me, I definitely heard the potential in his songwriting. His solo debut quickly impressed me. I was able to see that this is a songwriter not riding on anyone's coattails. He's a gifted songwriter and dynamic, charming performer in his own right. I saw Liam perform at this year's SXSW and his shows are a raucous, often chaotic treat. In his video for "Jump Your Bones" from his latest album, FOMO, you get a taste of his performance style. So much fun to watch. He can also take it down a notch and tug at your heartstrings with songs like "Gather To The Chapel" from his solo debut album, "I'll Be Lightning." He's been on a North American tour since September. For those of you in Austin, you can catch him at The ND this Wed, Oct 12th. It's a rare Austin performance from Liam. Worth staying out late for on a Wednesday night. I couldn't resist including this father and son collaboration from the 7 Worlds Collde project.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

STUCK: STUCK Interview: RTB2

STUCK: STUCK Interview: RTB2: This summer, I was introduced to the sounds of RTB2 at Leatherbag's album and EP release show in Austin. RTB2 are Ryan Thomas Becker and ...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Chock Full O'Angst - "The Blackest Shine" Photoshoot with The Pons

In August 2011, Austin TX guitar pop trio, The Pons , successfully met their Kickstarter fundraiser campaign goal. The money raised will go towards album production costs, tour expenses, and promotional support. Donors who pledged $100 or more had the opportunity to attend a make-up/photo shoot party. To honor the album title, "The Blackest Shine", photo shoot participants were given pain-free fake black eyes skillfully applied by makeup artist, Lisa Donahoe. The band will play a handful of tour dates in Texas and Oklahoma starting in early October and end the month with an album release party in Austin at The Highball on October 28th with 2 of my local favorites, The Sour Notes and STEREO IS A LIE. I took my own digital camera to the photo shoot which took place at the home of The Pons' lead singer and guitarist, Thomas Siragusa. There was a fun , casual atmosphere and there were plenty of laughs and amazement as everyone showed off their brand new shiner. Here are a handful of my photos from "The Blackest Shine" photo shoot.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pete and the Pirates - Half Moon Street

In the Pete and the Pirates video for their new single, Half Moon Street, lead singer Tommy Sanders appears to be creating his own version of "The Bachelor" TV series. So many ladies to choose from, so little time, and not enough money (note the expression when he gets bill at the restaurant). Love the mischievous yet endearing sense of humor in their videos. Half Moon Street has an irresistible melody and a ridiculously catchy chorus in which you can't help singing along. Definitely worthy of repeat listens :). Speaking of money, Pete and the Pirates are one of many bands affected by the London riots. Their record label, Stolen Recordings, was one of numerous indie labels who lost a significant amount of their physical stock in the SonyDADC warehouse fire. CDs and albums can still be purchased from Stolen Recordings although orders may take a little longer than usual since the post office they used was also destroyed by fire during the riots. Digital downloads are available from their online shop. A full list of the labels affected can be found here : If you couldn't already tell, I absolutely adore this band. They worked on their latest album, One Thousand Pictures, for 3 years. Show your support if you can for one of the nicest, hardest working bands I've had the pleasure of seeing and knowing.

Monday, August 8, 2011

How I l Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Sour Notes

I can't exactly remember when I first saw The Sour Notes. I vaguely recall not being an instant fan but thought that they had potential. Another way to explain it is I liked the songs enough to see and hear them again but I needed more convincing. It's easy to dismiss bands if their music doesn't instantly win you over. It's almost like a courtship. Sometimes you need to take the time for you and the music to get to know each other, be attentive, and listen closely. And it has developed into a serious music crush. With 4 albums plus 2 7 inch singles in 3 years, an active performing schedule, and always working on new material, they show no signs of stopping anytime soon. They check all the boxes for me : hook filled, ambitious pop songs, occasional dramatic flair with horns and strings, lyrics and melodies that range from sweet to sinister.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

STEREO IS A LIE at Cactus Cafe 7/29/2011

This Friday, July 29th, features a rare style of performance from Austin indie rock quintet, STEREO IS A LIE. This time around, you can leave your earplugs at home because the amps will be turned down for an all acoustic set at the esteemed Austin venue, Cactus Cafe. Doors open at 8 pm. White Dress starts the show. $8 general admission ($5 if you have a UT Student ID). You can purchase tickets here. If you want the chance win a pair of tickets, yours truly is giving a pair away. Leave a comment on this blog and I will choose a winner.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Jen Has A Turntable Once Again

It wasn't until this spring that I finally stopped procrastinating and bought a turntable. The turntable I had as a kid probably was sold in a family garage sale a long time ago. It's been nice to have one again so I can take advantage of buying new vinyl releases from some of my favorite local and regional bands. I thought that I had missed my opportunity to get a copy of the 7 in single, Six Pack Back Stab/Party Tape by Houston TX trio, Young Girls. Take in the reverb soaked sound and dual harmonies of "Six Pack Back Stab". Flip it over for the jangly, surf rock inspired "Party Tape". This year, my long time Austin favorites, The Ugly Beats, released 2 7 in singles. I couldn't resist picking up a copy of "Beeline" just for the sunshine yellow colored vinyl. The song itself is irresistible for its spot-on sounds of bees that come from a guitar and organ. The final touch on the bee theme is the B-side instrumental of "Maximum Bumble". Since the 2010 release of their Motor! album, the band has continued to add new tunes to their live set. 2 of those nuggets found a place on their latest 7 in single, "Throw Me A Line/Sombras. You can buy this limited edition single (500 copies made) from the band or from Hey Girl Records. "Throw Me A Line" is a plea for help or it could be an underdog's anthem : "I'll get what's mine/just throw me a line". The B-side contribution is "Sombras" which is a cover of the Spanish 60s garage rock band, Los Nivrem. My vinyl library is small but these 3 singles are a welcome addition to my growing collection.

Leatherbag - "...make this feeling come alive with electric guitar wires..."

Album artwork by Chase Maclaskey Yellow Television by Leatherbag Patience by Leatherbag I don't possess an ounce of musical talent but that doesn't prevent me from being envious of people who can express their thoughts, observations, and emotions and put them into song. One of those people is Randy Reynolds, the songwriter behind the musical moniker of Leatherbag. When you listen to his songs, you can tell he cares about songwriting. In a music world full of hype, I find his honesty to be quite refreshing. In "Imitation Generation," when he sings on repeat with a sense of urgency, "Wanna make this feeling come alive with electric/electric guitar wires", you can sincerely believe him. But you can also appreciate the wry humor in songs like "Teenage Creeps" and "Yellow TV". Although I'm a fan of the louder, punk-infused energy of songs like "Waxing Nostalgic" and "No Future", I also love the raw, sparse side of his sound (with hints of folk and Americana) in tracks like "Patience","Sincerity" and "Sparrow Blues". Get yourself to a live Leatherbag show if you can. The latest live lineup is a trio and Randy is joined by Drew Emmons on bass guitar and Daniel Blanchard on drums. All killer and no filler. If you're in Austin, you have a chance to see Leatherbag 3 times this week as they celebrate the release of the Yellow TV album and Patience EP : Mon, July 25th at Waterloo Records at 5 pm, Thurs July 28th at End of an Ear Records at 6 pm, followed by the official release show at Skinny's Ballroom. Go see a gig or two, buy the records at your local record store, and tell your friends. Leatherbag simply kick ass and deserve to be heard.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Songs For Summer, Texas Style

Looking for tunes to add to your summer playlists ? Try these new tunes from some of my favorite up and coming Texas bands. Black Hearted Faction by Elevated Lines Elevated Lines is a musical project fronted by singer/guitarist Carrie Clark. "Black Hearted Faction" from their debut Evil Eye EP is a perfect song for summer. It's Debbie Harry meets The Ronettes combined with glam rock riffs and an infectious singalong chorus. This Time by young girls The self titled debut album from Houston TX trio is also perfect for this summer's soundtrack. Summery harmonies, shimmering guitars and a steady surf rock backbeat. I think I can almost hear the beach calling. The Shore by Wiretree If you're going to rely on YouTube video comments, this song is supposedly a rip off of Iggy Pop's "The Passenger" and/or Green Day's "Holiday". This song is from their upcoming album, Makeup, which is set for release on Aug 1st. Whether or not you agree with the song comparisons, it's a stomping, rollicking tune telling a tale of aquatic adventures. You can download the song and pre-order the album from their Bandcamp page. Yellow TV (Unmastered) by Leatherbag Leatherbag (featuring singer and songwriter, Randy Reynolds) has been previewing tunes on Soundcloud from upcoming album, Yellow TV, set for release on July 20th. The title track is a great example of the range of influences from post-punk to power pop and pub rock. The humor from the lyric "I woke up this morning with a yellow television/and a neon grin" certainly puts a grin on my face. 1994 - International Waters The title track from their upcoming album brings to mind the gentler, sweeter side of summer with its cool organ and acoustic guitar intro and soothing harmonies. A musical oasis during an extremely hot Texas summer.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pete and The Pirates - One Thousand Pictures

It's no secret that I'm a bit of a fan of this band so pardon any gushing that will occur here. The 2nd full length record from Pete and The Pirates was released on May 23rd on the Stolen Recordings label. I had been anticipating this album since I saw them at South by Southwest Festival in 2009 where they previewed many of the songs that eventually appeared on the new album. Their 2008 album, Little Death, was filled to the brim with interplaying guitars, soaring harmonies, and blissful melodies. This Reading UK quintet expand on what they established with Little Death. I've read other reviews of One Thousand Pictures that describe the band's sound as getting darker and grimmer. But if you take a closer listen to the songs on both Little Death and One Thousand Pictures, things are not always necessarily as sunny and chirpy as they sound but neither is all hope and optimism lost. "Can't Fish" opens the album on a melancholy note ("empty your pockets and hold out your hand/pretend that you love me") but you can't help singing along by the end of it. "Cold Black Kitty" is an unexpected treat - a pounding, slightly sinister rock song about a cat. "Little Gun" chugs along very nicely. Just listen to the intro guitar riff and that energy doesn't let up through the entire song. "Come To The Bar"starts off with a bit of new wave vibe with its offbeat, squiggly synths and includes another irresistible singalong chorus. "Winter 1" is true to its title with its wintery vibe and repeated lyrical plea of "you've got a long way home". I can listen to this one repeatedly for the bass riff alone. Groovy and bouncy. "Washing Powder" is unapologetically melancholic but they still pull out that singalong chorus that is somehow uplifting. Regrets and memories leave a lingering effect indeed - "it's just your washing powder/little voice I hear getting louder/one stupid thing to remind me/of somebody I thought was behind me". "Blood Gets Thin" was originally released as a non-album single but it makes a return appearance on OTP. It's been redone with a dirtier, rockier feel reminiscent of how it sounds during their live sets. "United" has been released as a single and it's an obvious choice. Your face will hurt just a bit because you'll be grinning so much after singing along and dancing around the room. The video is full of playful cats in contrast to its darkly humourous lyrics (Girl, I don't want to die tonight/I just want some sunshine"). "Shotgun" follows with its darker lyrical tone mentioning building walls and getting out your rifle but it soars with its crashing mix of guitars. "Motorbike" is a lovely, galloping tune. You can almost picture yourself being on a motorbike in the countryside while listening to the lyrics. "Things That Go Bump" is just pure fun. Loud, noisy, and raucous. I loved this one from SXSW 2009 and I'm certainly pleased that this made it on the album. "Reprise" is a continuation of "Blood Gets Thin". It's a result of the extended wig out that happens during live performances of BGT. I'm not sure of it as a standalone track. I like it but you might also want to listen it once or twice right after BGT. It works both ways. "Half Moon Street" finds a second life after first appearing on Tap Tap's (singer Tom Sanders solo project) "On My Way" album. I certainly love the stripped back original version but it also shines in the full band version. Me with the band at SXSW 2011. From left to right : Thomas Sanders, Jonny Sanders, David Thorpe, Pete Hefferan, Pete Cattermoul.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Salim Nourallah, Buttercup, and Leatherbag at Club Deville 5/28/2011

A triple bill of my favorite Texas pop/rock bands playing on a Saturday night at Club Deville ?!? Yes please :) ! Although I've seen all three bands multiple times, I would not be anywhere else this Saturday night. Salim Nourallah opens the show at 10 pm, followed by Buttercup, and Leatherbag closes out the night. These are 3 bands that I wholeheartedly support and will continually sing their praises and spread the word about them. Dallas based Salim Nourallah has been working on his 5th solo record, Hit Parade, the follow up to 2009's Constellation. As a supporter of his fundraiser efforts on Pledge Music, I've been fortunate to have heard a few of Hit Parade's tunes and I'm excited to hear the rest of the album. He continues to win fans with his endearing tales of everyday struggles and triumphs. I've been head over heels for San Antonio TX based Buttercup since I first saw them perform in Austin just over 5 years ago. Buttercup's sound continues to evolve but in a way they've never changed. Their sound always has had a distinct, recognizable personality that is a result of 3 separate yet united songwriters. I always have a hard time describing Buttercup as they are a band that is best understood in the live performance setting. Always fun and guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Leatherbag's sound brings a little bit of a rootsy twang to this triple bill. Take a little bit of Bob Dylan, heaping spoonfuls of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Big Star, and dashes of Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe. The common thread for all 3 bands is good songs and good live performances. It sounds simple but those things are often the most difficult things to pull off well. The cover is only $5 for this stacked triple bill and it all takes place in the limestone wall background setting at Red River's landmark Club Deville. Event link : Buttercup - Superior Salim Nourallah- Pictures Collected Leatherbag - Lines

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Happy 9th Anniversorry to The Midgetmen

This Friday May 20th at The Mohawk, Austin's own The Midgetmen celebrate their 9th anniversary (or "anniversorry" as the band calls it) and the release of their new album, Loud Enough. 8 bands (including 2 of my local faves, The Sour Notes and The Pons), free drinks from Treaty Oak Rum and Graham's Texas Tea, a photobooth orchestrated by Nash Cook where folks can create their own drunken poetry (think Magnetic Poetry Kit), and DJ Richard Henry will keep the party going between band sets. A plethora of tunes will be provided by the following excellent bands : On the outside stage-- 11:00-12:00 The Midgetmen 10:00-10:45 La Snacks 09:00-09:45 San Saba County On the inside stage-- 01:00-01:45 The Sour Notes 12:00-12:45 Through The Trees 10:55-11:30 Shells 10:05-10:40 The Pons 09:15-09:50 The Blistering Speeds A packed, quality local lineup plus free drinks on a Friday night - the only thing to be sorry about is missing this event. So, what do you bring a band on their 9th anniversary anyway ?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

She Sir at Beerland for The Rumble 5/18/2011

On May 18th, She Sir are the headliner for this months The Rumble event at Beerland. The Rumble is presented by Future Sounds, The Onion AV Club, Waterloo Records, The Austinist, Covert Curiosity, Austin Town Hall, Sonic Itch Music and Austin Music Weekly. It's free and it's a good excuse to stay out late on a Wednesday night. She Sir are one of those local Austin bands I should have seen when they first started playing in Austin but I kept missing them. When I finally saw them last summer, their sound just clicked for me. Lush melodies, dual harmonies and vocals, and guitars that wash over you with just the right amount of shimmer, fuzz, and feedback. Their sound often gets stuck with the shoegaze label but why compare it to gazing at your shoes when you can just close your eyes and dream ? You can preview all of their tunes on their Bandcamp page.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Gentlemen Rogues E.P. Release at Skinny's Ballroom

This Friday, May 13th, Gentlemen Rogues (Matt Bolick - drums, Danny Dunlap - vocals/guitar, Cordon Simons - guitar, Cole Stockton - bass guitar) officially celebrate the release of their self titled debut EP. The release party will be at one of Austin's newest venues, Skinny's Ballroom, with fellow indie/powerpop band, Wiretree (11 pm), and Elephant M (10 pm). Gentlemen Rogues close out the bill at 12am. I encourage you to come out and support one of my favorite new Austin bands. This 3 song EP is full of catchy pop hooks and loud, crunchy guitars. The band definitely brings those things to their live performance. I appreciate bands such as Gentlemen Rogues who bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to their performances and enjoy themselves on stage. On a personal note, I liked them so much I recommended them a few months ago to BBC 6 Music's Tom Robinson Introducing (fans and musicians can submit their music recommendations on the show's website) where he showcases tunes from upcoming artists. Tom featured them in his show for 2 consecutive weeks. If you can't make it to the show, you can download Gentlemen Rogues EP on Bandcamp and Soundcloud. Here's a clip from one of their SXSW week performances : Vote for this show on Do512 :

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hollerado - Got To Lose

From the mad genius of director, Greg Jardin, and the gents from Hollerado, comes the winning frenzy of Hollywood style musical chorus girls, umbrellas, confetti cannons, and a headbanging, hair shaking drummer, all contained in a music video. Depending on the day, this could be my favorite Hollerado song. If it doesn't make you smile and bounce around, and sing along to...."you've got to loooooossseee, you've got to loooooossseee....", then I feel just a bit sad for you. I'm also rather partial to a live version where their friend Dave Foley (yes, the guy from Kids In The Hall and News Radio), gets onstage to join them.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Moonlight Towers CD Release Party with Grand Champeen and Leatherbag

If you're looking for an all-around, solid local lineup to see this weekend, look no further than Moonlight Towers CD release show on Sat, April 30th at Antones. Moonlight Towers will be celebrating the release of their 3rd full length record, Day Is The New Night (released on the Chicken Ranch Records label). This Austin quartet delivers with honest rock n' roll songs bursting with catchy pop hooks and plenty of loud and melodic guitars. 3 minute pop songs with a rock n' roll heart - definitely my kind of band. On Day Is The New Night, the band adds some flair and punch on a few tracks with female backing vocals and a horn section. Hopefully those ladies and horn section will be present for the CD release show. If you like what you hear tell your friends in other parts of the country as Moonlight Towers are heading out on a US tour in mid-May. Go to Moonlight Towers website for a list of tour dates. Grand Champeen is one of those local bands I just failed to keep up with over the years but they're definitely a compliment to Moonlight Towers and share many of the same influences. I still remember one Grand Champeen show when they paid tribute to Cheap Trick's Live at Budokan down to the last detail including the between song banter. Classic. I think I can credit ME TV in Austin for turning me on to Leatherbag (musical moniker from songwriter, Randy Reynolds). The video for a tune called On Down The Line was played on regular rotation and I was hooked with its musical stew of influences : roots rock, punk, powerpop, and even hints of blues and folk. Then I see Leatherbag open for some of my favorites such as Robyn Hitchcock and Brendan Benson. It wasn't long until I realized I was head over heels for Leatherbag's sound. The 2 most recent releases, Hey Day and Tomorrow/Everything I Once Knew have certainly been in regular rotation from my listening library. It's honest, heartfelt songwriting - at times, reflective and somber but at other times, raucous and a hell of a lot of fun. How can you resist a song called "Tom Petty Summer" ?!? You simply cannot. But there's more including a new record called Yellow TV about to be released. If you're going to make me compile a 2011 "best of/favorites" list, I'm quite sure that Yellow TV will be on it. I recently turned on a friend to Leatherbag and he liked the songs so much, he told me he wanted to play in Leatherbag's band. Now that's a pretty high compliment, don't you think ? Tip : Save yourself a few dollars on the cover charge and RSVP on Do512 for this show.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Leatherbag and The Pons at Beerland April 13, 2011

Returning from a brief, self imposed exile of seeing gigs, I'm looking forward to next Wednesday's event at Beerland which is part of Future Sounds The Rumble tour. This event includes 2 of my current Austin favorites, Leatherbag (Randy Reynolds performing solo) and The Pons. I've seen each of these bands numerous times but I keep going back again and again because I just cannot resist their intelligent and well written catchy pop songs. The songs have definitely gotten their hooks into me. Take a listen to the songs below to find out why I'm mentioning both bands on a frequent basis. The Pons have recently finished recording their 2nd album, The Blackest Shine, and Leatherbag has recently completed their latest, Yellow TV, which is being released in mid-May. Stay tuned to this blog for updates when these albums are released. This show is FREE if you RSVP using this link :

Friday, February 25, 2011

Trashcan Sinatras " the music, we rise above..."

I discovered Trashcan Sinatras all those years ago probably when I was watching MTV's 120 Minutes in my college dormitory. I still have that original cassette of "Cake" I bought way back when. I admit that I lost track of them until I saw them at SXSW in 2004. That same year, they released their album, "Weightlifting". It was one of my favorite records from that year. Their most recent release is "In The Music" which was released in the US in 2010. These Scots continue their tradition of writing infectious yet carefully crafted pop tunes. They've cast their musical net beyond the catchy, jangle pop tunes for which they first became known for. They've added some old school soul, jazz, and folk into the mix. But they still retain their signature sound that makes them unique. Those clear, sparkling guitars, lush harmonies, and Frank Reader's distinctive lead vocals that are like a warm, comforting hug (at least for me anyway). It's been over 6 years since TCS were in Austin. I couldn't think of a better place than the Cactus Cafe for their upcoming acoustic show on March 5th as part of their 20th anniversary tour. If you're eager to hear a particular song at this show, you can e-mail ( - put "song requests" in the subject line) your requests to the band and they will include some of those songs in that show’s set list. Local musician, Shane Bartell, opens the show which is perfect since I recall that he is definitely a devoted fan of the TCS. This show should be quite a treat. You leave a TCS show feeling loved or at least with a little reassurance that things are going to be alright. And you can take comfort in the lyric I mention above, " the music, we rise above...". in the music

naked to the world i came naked i will leave shadow fall behind me sunlight up ahead i fill the in between

naked to your love i climb naked i succeed you hold me in your arms i’ll hold you in mine we’ll fill the in between

with the music that we make in love in the music

we rise above

we get lost we get powerful we know what to do now we get down and in every way i’m always making love with you

let’s make it til the end of time let’s make it all we need let the music fill our lives and in each other’s eyes find everything we need

in the music that we make in love in the music we rise above

and now i’m naked to the flame curled into you and naked i believe let the timeless everything that we make naked melt into the harmony of love

in the music that we make in love in the music in the rhythm rising up in the rhythm rising up we rise above we rise above Here are videos for 3 songs from "In The Music"

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Welcome to the MoTel Aviv

The Unknown by MoTel Aviv MoTel Aviv (Jayson Altman - drums, Rodney Connell - lead vocals, Cole Hanson - guitar, Misti Watkins - bass) are an Austin quartet who released their first single, The Unknown, this week from their upcoming album, Post-Modern Nation. The album title also hints at the band's sound : 80s post punk with a contemporary modern pop flair. Think The Smiths and early U2 meets Franz Ferdinand and The Killers. The band is offering "The Unknown" for download from their Soundcloud page (see link above). Also, check out the split perspective video for the single which was directed by James Webb. If you've enjoyed the single, I recommend listening to the 2 additional songs posted below.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Leatherbag at The Highball, 2/20/11 This Sunday, Leatherbag will be playing a free show at The Highball as part of the venue's Rock The Highball series. Leatherbag will kick off the event at 9 pm. They will be followed by a late night happy hour and The Authors at 11 pm. It's the perfect event for a long holiday weekend. Check out some of Leatherbag's tunes above. I'm a fan of their slightly rootsy, twang infused power pop. It's like Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, and Nick Lowe having too much fun with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and Big Star.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I Love This Band ! : Pete and The Pirates

Next in my "I Love This Band !" series is the Brit quintet, Pete and The Pirates. I first heard of them 3-4 years ago . My "band crush" started just over 2 years ago when I heard their debut album, Little Death. Since then, many of my other records have been neglected because of all the repeated listenings of Little Death (and their 2 prior EPs which I later purchased). I was able to see several PATP performances during SXSW 2009. They played a bunch of new tunes at that time which were being considered for the next album. Their sophomore album, One Thousand Pictures, is set to be released in May 2011 on the Stolen Recordings label. Since I have yet to see a full track listing, I don't know if any of those tunes survived the band's quality process. Whether or not that is the case, this band definitely knows how to write a cracking pop tune. The best description of their sound comes from their drummer, Jonny Sanders (in an interview with the One For The People blog) : "Pete & The Pirates are pop bliss mixed with rock & roll with a little beauty thrown in." The band already has videos for 2 songs that will be on the next album. "Come To The Bar" is full of bubbling vintage synths, enough groove to get you moving, and a soaring, singalong chorus. Win, win, win is all I can say :). It will be the 1st single from the album and it'll be released on March 14th. "Winter 1" was made available as a free download in late December. It's still available on their Bandcamp page. It features an irresistible, bouncing bassline, some vintage organ sounds, and handclaps you can't help joining in on at home. I've also posted the wintery themed video below. And for my SXSW 2011 bound friends, Pete and The Pirates will be returning to Austin next month. During SXSW 2009, I think that they played 10-11 shows. Maybe they'll break that performing record this year. Who knows ? One of the tightest and most incredibly fun bands I've ever had the pleasure to experience.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wiretree & Future Clouds and Radar at Stubb's Fri 2/11

This Friday night in Austin is a great night for lovers of smart pop with local bands, Wiretree and Future Clouds and Radar. I've been fortunate to be familiar with Future Clouds and Radar since their beginnings in 2007. The band has had a few lineup changes but it remains led by founding songwriter and lead singer/guitarist, Robert Harrison. I've been a fan of Robert's songwriting since seeing his prior band, Cotton Mather, in the late 90s here in Austin. Future Clouds and Radar continues their eclectic pop tradition flavored with bits of psychedelia and experimental rock. I'm newer to the songs of Wiretree but their often folk-influenced pop tunes have grown on me over the past year. Word of mouth has been getting around about Wiretree. Recently they recorded a performance at the old Austin City Limits studios for KLRU's new online music program, Satellite Sets . Their Satellite Sets performance featured some of the songs from their upcoming album which is sure to appeal to fans of sweet, hummable, and intelligent popcraft. For this Friday's show at Stubb's, doors are at 9 pm. $7 cover. Dark Water Hymnal open the show at 9:30, Future Clouds and Radar at 10:30, and Wiretree at 11:30.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Give Me A Beat ! : The Ugly Beats at Carousel Lounge, Sat Feb 5th

The Ugly Beats playing at the Carousel Lounge on a Saturday night in Austin is a beautiful thing. Something magical happens in that tiny room with the big pink elephant. This Saturday night, it's time to put your worries aside and dance them away with the Beats at the Carousel. Below I've posted video (and an audio link for their entire set) from a recent gig at The Mohawk that was recorded by the folks at Austin Music Weekly. Kudos for their full coverage (photos, video, and audio) of this amazingly fun and hardworking band. The Beats give it their all. Seriously. This Saturday's show also includes The Transgressors. $5 cover. If you can, bring some extra $$ and buy The Ugly Beats latest record, Motor!. It'll inspire dance parties in your living room after you go home from their show :) Link The Ugly Beats live at The Mohawk 1/14/2011

The Hi-Tones TransAudioStasis Record Release Party

This coming weekend is already shaping up quite nicely. It's time to shake off the winter blues with The Hi-Tones. They're celebrating their new record release, TransAudioStasis, and kicking off a U.S. tour at Club Deville. Their show on Fri Feb 4th will be their last Austin show until SXSW. TransAudioStasis was produced by noted Austin-based producer, Chris "Frenchie" Smith (previous Austin band credits include ...And You Will Know Us By Trail Of Dead, Ume, Electric Touch, The Steps, SPEAK). Frenchie also wrote 1 track on this EP, All Roads. You can preview their EP above and download it for $5 from their Bandcamp page or come to the release party and buy it directly from the band. The Battlemen will also be celebrating their record release and Megafauna rounds out Friday night's bill of bands. Bring your dancing shoes !

Monday, January 24, 2011

Free Energy with The Postelles and The Midgetmen at Emo's, Feb 2nd

I've been looking forward to this show since this tour was announced late last year. Free Energy released their album, Stuck On Nothing, in early 2010 but I didn't discover them for myself until last October when I went to see Hollerado open for them at The Mohawk. I went into their set without any expectations and left a new fan. Their songs and stage presence touched on things that I appreciate : catchy melodies, spot-on harmonies, crunchy guitars, having fun onstage, and making sure the audience enjoyed themselves and left with a smile. I last saw The Postelles at SXSW 2009. I can't remember how I first heard of them but I've enjoyed their catchy brand of garage rock/power pop/Motown soul. They've had countless comparisons to The Strokes (Strokes member Albert Hammond Jr produced their first album). That comparison is not entirely off-base. To my taste, they capture the sunnier sounding, upbeat side of The Strokes. As for The Midgetmen, although they've been around Austin for years, I haven't ended up at any of their shows (except for their set at a recent Neil Young Hoot Night). I've only listened to a few of their songs. But based on what I've heard, they're a perfect fit to join the bill with Free Energy and The Postelles. I think this show is going to be a great excuse to shake off any winter blues. Yes, it's on a Wednesday night but sometimes you just need a reason to allow yourself to smile, dance, and sing along. Free Energy sings about it clearly and simply in their song, "Hope Child", "We broadcast hope."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Goldenboy - Sleepwalker

I've been eagerly awaiting the latest record from Goldenboy for a few years now. I've been a fan of Goldenboy since their debut release, Blue Swan Orchestra, in 2003. Their 2nd album, Underneath The Radio, was released in 2006. I was introduced to Goldenboy's tunes shortly before that time when lead singer and songwriter, Shon Sullivan, was a member of Neil Finn's touring band. Shon Sullivan also played with the late Elliott Smith who gave Shon the nickname of "Goldenboy". While a member of Elliott Smith's band, Shon began developing his own material and thus Goldenboy was born first as a solo side project and later evolving into the current lineup as a quintet. Goldenboy's 3rd release, Sleepwalker, will be released on Feb 8th on Eenie Meenie Records. Sleepwalker continues to showcase Shon's songwriting charms. The album makes its introduction with the driving guitar and vocals of "Different Moon". Sleepwalker also contains Goldenboy's signature gentle, romantic harmonies in songs like "She Belongs To Me", "He Liked Cloudy Weather", "Anna Said", and "Spark." There are also more uptempo, playful songs like "Rock and Roll All Night", "Chelsea Girl", and "I Like You Because" (which contains the smile inducing lyric of "you're so first class/the girl kicks ass") which highlight Shon's skills as a guitarist. There's also the jazzy piano shuffle of "Lilac Afternoon" and the soothing lullaby vibe of the title track. With "Holiday" (a bonus track on the physical CD), you can hear a little bit of the Elliott Smith influence along with the vintage keyboard riffs and wistful vocals. Overall, the songs on Sleepwalker provide lush, engaging indie pop to warm and comfort the soul. Goldenboy will be touring through 2011 and that includes a SXSW 2011 showcase. They kick off their Sleepwalker tour on Feb 1st. Go to for details.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Getting To Know : STEREO IS A LIE

After forming in late 2008, Austin's men in black are finally ready to unleash their self-titled debut album. It's officially released on Feb 8th and they're going to have an album release show at The Ghost Room on Feb 12th with The Strange Attractors and The Astronaut Suit. It's a going to be an evening that will shake the rafters as well as send shivers up your spine. In advance of the show, I sat down with frontman, Glynn Wedgewood, to get the facts and a bit of insight into the band. Profile : STEREO IS A LIE Year Formed : 2008 Members/Instruments Played : Glynn Wedgewood (vocals and guitars), Danny Stapleton (guitars), Marcus Pina (bass guitar), Davy Hamrick (drums), Justin Scott (keyboards) Former Bands/Side Projects : Glynn was previously in IV Thieves, Mr and Mrs Mays, and Viterbo. Marcus previously in Alta May and Love Battery. Danny was previously in Our Black Love Song. Davy was previously in Lomita and currently also plays in The White White Lights. Album : Self-titled ; It is scheduled to be released on February 8th on Monolathe Recordings. Influences : The songwriting is influenced by topics such as bleakness and the manipulations of society, government, and politics. Contemporary musical influences include bands such as: The Duke Spirit, Constantines, These New Puritans, The La's, Six By Seven, Interpol, Longpigs, Sigur Ros, Radiohead. Strangest comment or comparison ever made about your band : In a conversation with Glynn Wedgewood, the frequent SIAL comparisons to Oasis came up. He doesn't really see the musical similarity but views the Oasis mention as an attempt to help the music reach certain audiences. Favorite local bands : Ringo Deathstarr, Hardproof Afrobeat, The Strange Attractors, New Roman Times, She Sir, The Astronaut Suit, White Dress, dead black hearts, Ross Dubois, JBE, DD Dagger, Intimate Stranger Favorite local venues : The Ghost Room, The Parish, The ND and The Mohawk Upcoming shows : Album Release Party at The Ghost Room on Sat, February 12th (with The Strange Attractors and The Astronaut Suit) and A Local Night For Local People at The Ghost Room on March 5th. Details TBA. MR Fest (KTSW Fest) in San Marcos TX, April 30th Favorite albums from the past year : A few favorites that Glynn Wedgewood shared : Interpol - s/t, The National - High Violet, The Nervous Wreckords - Valuminium, The Society of Rockets - Future Factory Ideal band (past or present) to open for on a national tour : Past : Led Zeppelin, U2 (on the Achtung Baby tour) ; Present : Interpol

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dean Fertita (Hello=Fire, The Waxwings, Brendan Benson)

About a decade ago, I became a fan of Dean Fertita's songwriting when he fronted the Detroit band, The Waxwings. I adored their blend of psychedelic pop, folk rock, and garage rock with their first release, Low To The Ground. The video clip below, Steady as Starlight, is from their last release, Let's Make Our Descent, which was produced by Brendan Benson (he also filled in as a band member when Dominic Romano left the band). Following the end of The Waxwings, Dean toured with Brendan Benson on solo tour dates and later with The Raconteurs. He also kept busy by touring with and becoming a member of Queens of the Stone Age and The Dead Weather. Between all these bands, he found the time to write and record songs for his new solo project called Hello=Fire. It became available in 2009 on Schnitzel Records and was finally released in the U.S. in late 2010. One of my favorite tracks from the Hello=Fire release is "Parallel". On this record, he enlisted contributions from Brendan Benson and fellow members of Queens of the Stone Age. The first video released as Hello=Fire, the gentler sounding "Nature of Our Minds" The brand new Hello=Fire video for "Certain Circles" has Dean a bit tied up at the moment :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Trumpeter Swan/The Ashes/English Teeth at Club Deville, Fri Jan 14th

As my friend, Clay (who is the lead singer and songwriter for The Ashes) told me, it's like this bill is made just for me. Simply said but very true. This triple bill gives you a glimpse into my musical tastes - singer/songwriter, indie pop, power pop, alt-country, garage rock, British invasion - all rolled into a tasty little package. Trumpeter Swan is the musical alterego of Drew Patrizi. Drew is currently based in Brooklyn but he previously resided in Austin and was a former member of What Made Milwaukee Famous. He branched out on his own by releasing "Listen For The Clues" recorded with the help of some friends (engineers Erik Wofford and Danny Reisch and players from Voxtrot, the Lemurs and the Polyphonic Spree). I've posted a couple of video clips below but you can also preview some of Drew's songs at In the summer of 2009, I stumbled across English Teeth when they opened for a couple of favorite local bands. They've become a steady favorite of mine by combining solid, catchy tunes along with a fun, engaging stage presence. Since Jan 2010, they've released 3 EPs - the 1st self titled EP, followed by "Two" and "Three" (yes, those are the titles) for your listening pleasure. Take at least one of these EPs home - you'll be glad you did. The Ashes is only just one of the bands in which Clay Fain plays. I think it was 3 bands the last time I counted :-). For brevity's sake, you can describe The Ashes as acoustic alternative pop. If you want to use band names, it's like Wilco combining brains with Elliott Smith and Nada Surf. Just watch and listen to the clip below. It's one of my favorite Ashes tunes - an unreleased nugget known as "Darrel, I Was On My Way". I'm not certain about the band order or cover charge for Friday night at Club Deville. I'm guessing that the music will start at 10 pm and cover charge around $5 or so. Whether you see 1 band or 3, it's worth braving the chilly temperatures to hear some quality songwriting from really great people.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Crawling With Kings at The Mohawk, Austin, TX - Jan 12, 2011

Crawling With Kings were one of those Austin bands I became really excited about a few years ago. But it seems as soon as I did, they broke up. The silver lining since they called it a day is that they've had at least 1 reunion. This week, they're dusting off the cobwebs for another reunion show at The Mohawk this Wednesday, January 12th. Below you can check out a show they performed at The Mohawk in December 2006.