Austin Calling’s interview with Skinny’s Ballroom owners Brad & Maggie Marcum. For more information on Skinny’s Ballroom visit http://skinnysballroom.com/
Austin Calling’s interview with Skinny’s Ballroom owners Brad & Maggie Marcum. For more information on Skinny’s Ballroom visit http://skinnysballroom.com/
We’re nearing the cusp of SXSW in Austin. There’s a feeling like a collective deep breath before the inevitable, long, sputtering exhale happening in live music here in town. It’s a bit tougher to find shows worth your time (and scratch) right before SXSW, but that just means that you have to look harder! Here’s some great shows happening in the next week.
Tuesday Feb 28
The Mohawk - A Giant Dog, Lola Cola, Kay Leotard (doors at 8pm, $5)
Austin garage-rock quartet A Giant Dog are one of those bands that’ll make you want a long hot (but probably cold) shower after just a couple of tunes. The band’s got a dynamite live show, and puts out dirty, stomping, sexy rock ‘n’ roll pure and simple. A Giant Dog just released a new long-player called Fight. Take a listen, and prepare for some face melting.
Wednesday Feb 29
Beauty Ballroom - Dropkick Murphys Afterparty with East Cameron Folkcore, Noise Revival Orchestra, Frank Smith, Mayeux And Broussard (9pm, $8 at the door, $3 with Emo’s wristband)
After you’re done raging to the Boston Celtic punk of Dropkick at Emo’s East, mosey next door to the Beauty Ballroom for a taste of Texas. While not as overtly punk rock as the Dropkick Murphys, have a burning punk spirit that’s hard to deny.
Thursday March 1
Hole In The Wall - Shakey Graves, Joe Sundell, No Show Ponies, John Neilson (9pm)
If it seems like Hole In The Wall gets gets a lot of love here at Austin Calling, it’s because Austin Calling really does love the Hole In The Wall. The Drag staple serves up tasty drinks and great music seven days a week. Thursday’s show headliner is Mr. Alejandro Rose-Garcia, a.k.a. Shakey Graves. Also on the bill is the whiskey-soaked rock of No Show Ponies, and the delightful folk troubadours Joe Sundell and John Neilson.
Friday March 2
Cheer Up Charlies - Kindform Presents Total Crush 2 with The White White Lights, New Roman Times, Magnificent Snails, Boy + Kite, Robert D Junior, DJ Nick Lopez (8:30pm, $5)
This particular show at Cheer Up Charlies put on by the blog Kindform has a particularly hipstery sheen that usually puts me off, but sometimes you have to set aside your ego and just let the music rule. On the bill are sweet psych-rockers White White Lights and the EU-meets-USA pop of New Roman Times. Yes, there will be absurdly clothed, self-indulgent millenials about with too much money to spend and too little self-respect in the audience. Just shut your eyes, and let the music wash over you.
Saturday March 3
ND at 501 Studios - Shivery Shakes (CD release), BOY, Sleep Good, Burgess Meredith
You really couldn’t ask for more of a feel-good night at the ND this Saturday. For one thing, it’s a celebration. Austin wall-of-sound poppers the Shivery Shakes (featuring members of The Bubbles) are releasing a brand-new EP. To ring in the new record, they’ve enlisted the help of some great groups. BOY has a bit of a whimsical, Brit-psych lilt. Burgess Meredith and Sleep Good are deliciously quirky (with momentary wafts of ELO coming in from the former). It’s gonna be a sunny night at the ND.
Sunday March 4
Antones - 101X Homegrown Live with Shearwater, Marmalakes, Dana Falconberry (doors at 8pm, $15)
I had some moral qualms about including a big show like this, but you really can’t argue with excellence. Shearwater has a monster new record out called Animal Joy, and the show also features up-and-comers Marmalakes and the always lovely Dana Falconberry. Even the most jaded, cynical music fan has to admit this is an exciting show.
Monday March 5
Take a breather, in a few weeks, you’re gonna need it!
It’s Tuesday, so you know what that means…Austin Calling Calendar time!
Tuesday Feb. 21
Hole In The Wall - The Dalles, The Revenants, Power Chief, These Mad Dogs of Glory (9pm)
Austin Calling can’t say enough good things about The Dalles. The group’s debut My Own Private White House was right in my wheelhouse with honest, ramshackle rock ‘n’ roll. The Dalles aren’t the only highlight for a great Tuesday night at the Hole. The night will also see the wet, glorious birth of Power Chief, who are playing their first “official” gig. Truth be told, I haven’t heard their tunes yet, but with the bill already hefty with good acts (Austin punk rock mainstays The Revenants and alt-country rockers These Mad Dogs of Glory), it’s hard to imagine them not being excellent.
Wednesday Feb. 22
Hotel Vegas - The Boxing Lesson, Follow That Bird, Geronimo Son, Residual Kid (9pm)
Yes, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks are playing with TV Torso at the Mohawk that same night. Yes, it will probably be a great show, and your friends will “totes” be there. But here at Austin Calling, we like to throw a wrench into the hip works by declaring, “No, I don’t wanna cram like tinned sardines into the Mohawk and have my view blocked by a burly dude with absurd facial hair and a Hamburglar tattoo.” Instead, go to Hotel Vegas where you can be up-close and personal with the dreamy garage psych-rock of The Boxing Lesson, who are kicking off a regional tour.
Thursday Feb. 23
Frank - Knifight, God and the Devil, Mice and Rifles (doors at 9:30pm, $6)
This is one of the stranger lineups for the week. Headlining the show are quirky, electro-rockers Knifight. Also on the bill are the rootsy indie rock of God and the Devil and the alt-country of Mice and Rifles. Eclectic lineup to be sure, good show, probably.
Friday Feb. 24
Austin booker and event promotion company Whitesiren Presents are putting on a two-night, two-venue mini festival featuring some great Austin acts. Until Stephen Hawking finally gets off his ass to invent teleportation you can’t be at two places at once. You’ve got a choice to make on Friday though. Do you want moody, sometimes weird indie rock at the Swan Dive, or stick-to-your-teeth catchy electro-pop at Frank? The solution, try to at least catch sets from The Baker Family and the Gentlemen Rogues at Swan Dive before moseying over to Frank for sets from Oh Look Out and BK & Mr. E.
Saturday Feb. 25
Skinny’s Ballroom - Skinny’s 1st Birthday Bash with So Long Problems, La Snacks, Dead Left, Leatherbag, Wiretree, Names Divine, Bang Bang Theodores, Loblolly Boy, Boonesboro, Scrote, Fledglings (2pm, $7)
Skinny’s Ballroom, the plucky little club between Cesar Chavez and 2nd on San Jacinto is celebrating one year of being on the scene here in Austin. For a measly seven bucks you get a t-shirt and the privilege to hear 11 great Austin bands including Austin Calling faves Wiretree and Leatherbag.
Sunday Feb. 26
ND - The Good Music Club: The Calm Blue Sea, Guns of Navarone, The Blind Pets, Hello Wheels (6pm)
The Good Music Club is all about truth in advertising. It’s a group dedicated to fostering and showcasing the great music, and the people that make it, from Austin. The Club films the performances are taped for a web series that you can check out here. Sunday’s show will be The Good Music Club’s second taping, and it’s an eclectic mix of thundering instrumentals from The Calm Blue Sea, easy-swining alt-country from the Guns of Navarone, down-and-dirty rawk from The Blind Pets and the down-home folk of Hello Wheels.
Monday Feb. 27
The Mohawk - Paul Banks & the Carousels, Daniel Ellsworth & the Great Lakes, Lovely Sparrows (doors at 9pm, $6)
Austin singer-songwriter Paul Banks is confounding. He is such a talent that you feel like he’s putting something over on you. The range he exhibits, in his voice and songwriting, is other-wordly. His delivery is seamless. He can tackle twee-pop, country, jazz and rock all in one song. He is not to be missed.
Here are the best from the crop of photos from Austin Calling’s trip to The Dalles album release show. Also on the bill were Shakey Graves, The Couch and The Baker Family. I used a brand new analog camera (Diana F) to take these, and I was still getting used to it, so unfortunately I didn’t get great shots of The Baker Family or Shakey Graves, but needless to say they kicked ass.
The Dalles Ben Ballinger taking a swig of the nectar of the gods
Hello intrepid Austin Calling fans! It’s Tuesday, so that means it’s calendar time!
Tuesday Feb. 14
Frank - Knuckle Rumbler presents Valentine’s Day Dinner with Soul Track Mind
It’s Valentine’s day, so the fine folks at Knuckle Rumbler are putting on a musical evening for you and that special someone at Frank. One-hundred smackers gets you a tasty three course dinner for two, and a very special acoustic performance from Austin neo-soulsters Soul Track Mind. So live a little bit on V-Day, take your lover by the hand and go listen to some danged ol’ music.
Wednesday Feb. 15
La Zona Rosa - Polyphonic Spree (doors at 8pm, $17)
With over a dozen robed members, the Polyphonic Spree could be confused with a cult. But once you hear their dreamy, sunny pop, you’ll wanna drink the Kool-Aid too.
Thursday Feb. 16
The Mohawk - Shakey Graves, Jesse Moore (of East Cameron Folkcore), PJ Bond, Chris Stowe & Colby James (doors at 9pm, $5)
Shakey Graves is the alter-ego of Alejandro Rose-Garcia. He’s a stomping, one-man folk machine (and by all accounts, quite a snappy dresser). The tunes on his latest record Roll The Bones have a haunting Nebraska-esque, porch-side intimacy that’s endearing, and just bit spooky.
Friday Feb. 17
The Mohawk - Wiretree, Whitman, On After Dark (doors at 9pm, $6)
What began as a solo project for singer-songwriter Kevin Peroni blossomed into Wiretree. They are simply one of the most talented power-pop bands in Austin right now, and their 2011 record Make Up was one of the best of the year. The record was a masterful work of mood and texture layered on simple pop songs.
Saturday Feb. 18
The ND - Salesman (doors at 8pm)
Salesman (no direct article there) is the brainchild of singer-songwriter Devin James Fry. He has a skittering guitar style, and a singular falsetto. The whole band sounds a bit like if Radiohead were from the dry and dusty Southwest. Their songs evoke images of long, nighttime drives through lonely deserts.
Sunday Feb 19
Hotel Vegas - Danny Malone (doors at 6pm)
Danny Malone isn’t merely a coffee shop boy with a guitar. He is a craftsman of tender pop tunes par excellence. The title of his 2009 record, Cuddlebug, really says it all. You just wanna give Malone a big ol’ hug.
Monday Feb 20
Hole in the Wall - Leo Rondeau (show at 10pm, $3)
It’s Tuesday so that means it’s time again for another edition of Austin Calling’s big picks for shows not to miss for the next week.
Tuesday Feb. 7
Mohawk (9pm, $5 at the door) - Megafauna, Netherfriends, Shivery Shakes
Austin’s own Megafauna is a POWER trio, and I do mean power (if the all-caps didn’t give you a hint). The group combines elements of atmospheric indie, big fat classic rock and for-the-love-of-god awesome riffage from guitarist and vocalist Dani Neff. On a personal note, Austin Calling’s own band played after Megafauna last summer, and yours truly was so psyched out by Neff’s deft shredding, it rendered me almost unable to play.
Wednesday Feb. 8
Hole In the Wall (10pm) - The Blackwells, The Mayflower, Teddy Long and the Catholic Guilt
The Blackwells are a quintet originally from Asheville, NC who now make their home in Austin. The band combines tear-in-your-beer americana with a little Neil Young-y folk rock. The Mayflower are craftsmen of delightful little power-pop ballads. There’s definitely an easy swinging early 70s vibe and expert songcraft at work.
Thursday Feb. 9
Mohawk (Doors at 7pm, All Ages, $8 for 21+) - Speak, Marmalakes, Roky Moon & Bolt (outside), The Calm Blue Sea, Follow That Bird, The Sour Notes, Buxton, Technicolor Hearts (inside)
Thursday’s show at the Mohawk celebrates the release of a split 7” record from Austin’s Marmalakes and The Sour Notes. The two song record features The Sour Notes’ “Two Hands Wait” and Marmalakes’ “White Height.” It’s being put out by No Play Music. They’re not a label (a fact that their description, makes very clear), but a DIY musical collective. Whatever that means, No Play Music, Marmalakes and The Sour Notes have put together quite a show with eight bands over two stage in one night.
Friday Feb. 10
Beauty Ballroom (Doors at 9pm, entrance with wristband) - Ben Kweller
To celebrate the Feb. 7 release of his newest record Go Fly A Kite, Ben Kweller is playing a show at one of Austin’s newest venues, The Beauty Ballroom. Entrance to the show is limited to the first 600 folks that picked up a copy of the record and received a wristband at participating record purveyors Waterloo, End of an Ear and Antone’s Records. So if you haven’t already pick up yours! To sweeten the pot, here’s a link to a recent KUT Texas Music Matters show in which yours truly interviewed Kweller on his new record, and his new label Noise Company.
Other live goodness for Friday:
Shameless plug for Austin Calling buds The Lennings at the Hole in The Wall. The Lennings make some damned pleasant music. They combine wry songwriting with dense, multi-layered arrangements (plus banjo for added awesomness). A snippet of The Lennings’ much-better-than-the-original cover of the Grease classic "You’re The One That I Want" appeared on the NBC show "Parenthood" last fall. I here tell The Lennings are hard at work on a new record to be released soon…
Saturday Feb. 11
Frank (doors at 9:30pm, $6 all ages) - The Alice Rose, The Pons, Bravo Max, Greg Talmage
The Alice Rose has a long history in Austin music that stretches back to the heady days of the 90s. But the band that we know today coalesced in the early aughts with a pitch-perfect pop sound with touches of psych thrown in there. It’s actually almost mystifying how they managed to unlock the secret code of the perfect pop song, but they sure as hell did, and we are the beneficiaries.
Sunday Feb. 12
ND (doors at 9pm) - Ringo Deathstarr, TS & the Past Haunts, Heywood
Make sure your sneakers are squeaky clean because you’ll be doin’ some shoe-gazin’ with Ringo Deathstarr on Sunday. Recalling the doomy psych of early Sonic Youth, Ringo Deathstarr makes a lot of noise for a trio.
Monday Feb. 13 - Chris Isaak?
Tuesday’s always record release day, but since we’re sitting atop the summit of the Live Music Capital, I hereby decree that Tuesday’s shall be the Austin Calling Live Music Calendar day from here to eternity. Without gilding the lily any further, here are Austin Calling’s picks for shows to BE AT for the next week.
Tuesday Jan. 31
Hole in the Wall - The Happen-Ins, Excited States, Moonlight Towers 9pm
The intrepid little bar next to the UT campus is hosting a pretty incredible Tuesday that features Austin uber-retro-rockers The Happen-Ins and local power pop stalwarts Moonlight Towers, and a super-secret special guest. We can’t tell you who he is, but he’s got a brand new solo record out, and is known for his friendship with hoodrats. Get there early.
Wednesday Feb. 1
The Mohawk - February Residency Series with Har Mar Superstar, Marijuana Death Squads
Mustaches Starting tomorrow, the pudgy purveyor of cheesy dance-skuzz Har Mar Superstar begins a Wednesday night February residency at Austin’s own Mohawk. Allot some time when you get home for a shower, because Har Mar’s sweaty brand of r&b’ll leave you feeling dirty, probably in more ways than one.
Thursday Feb. 2
The No Idea Festival brings together artists (musical, visual and “other”) from across the country (with a heavy Austin contingent) together for the closest thing to a “happening” this side of ‘67. Artists are showcased individually and in relation to the larger group. Part post-post-modern classical show and performance art, the No Idea Festival is too interesting (read “weird”) to miss.
Friday Feb. 3
It’s a toss-up.
Choice No. 1: The White Horse - East Cameron Folkcore, Possessed By Paul James
Enough can’t be said about East Cameron Folkcore. The 10-plus member folk collective crafts tunes that tear at the heart strings and vocal chords. Their shows have the feeling of a loose jam, and we dare you not to grasp a buddy and sway, beers in hand by the end. Possessed by Paul James (a.k.a. Konrad Wert) is a one-man folk-country machine. He was raised in a Mennonite community, but you’ll get plenty of profane hootin’ during his set. ECF and PBPJ are pretty prolific performers (and usually together), so you’ll definitely get another chance to catch them, but don’t wait too long.
Choice No. 2: The Beauty Ballroom - Wild Child, The Couch, The Baker Family
Wild Child are a fairly new group, with a some building buzz. Their tunes are beautiful, lacey, barefoot-on-the-porch folk, with plenty of great harmonies. Also on the bill, and providing a nice counter-point are straight-ahead rockers The Couch. Their recent December release Old Touchin’ Blue is un-ironic, no-frills rock ‘n’ roll.
Saturday Feb. 4
The Mohawk - King Khan and the Shrines, Jacuzzi Boys
Canadian-turned-German Erick Khan was born in Montreal to Indian emigre parents. Today he is better known as King Khan. With his band The Shrines, King Khan knows how to brew up a big ol’ batch of punked-up garage soul. Onstage King Khan channels sweat pouring soul frontman. Resistance to dancing is futile, so bring comfy shoes.
Sunday Feb. 5
The Swan Dive - Amplified Heat, Kentucky Knife Fight, Scorpion Child
If you can tear yourself away from nachos, expensive commercials for cheap beer that punctuate, what is sure to be a boring football game, come to the Swan Dive for Austin’s own sludge-psych superstars Amplified Heat and the scuzzy blues of St. Louis’s Kentucky Knife Fight.
Monday Feb. 6
The White Horse - The Dalles, Mockingbird Loyals and the Navasota String Band
Well there you go, a whole week’s worth of live music. We’ll see you next week for another round of the Austin Calling Live Music Calendar.
Welcome to Austin Calling the blog about all things music from Austin, Texas and beyond! My name’s Paul Carrubba. I write about music for Austin Monthly magazine, and I’m one of the curators for KUT 90.5 FM’s Song of the Day feature. I’ll be your host and spirit guide on this strange and funky journey through the wilds of rock ‘n’ roll.
On this blog you’ll find reviews, interviews and other music news you can use to be the fan you always wanted to be. So tune in and turn it up, because Austin is Calling.