Archives for May 2018

Texas Standard: May 31, 2018

A first of its kind plan to address gun violence in public schools. What do the state’s school superintendent make of Governor Abbots outline? We’ll have school chiefs from San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and Buena Vista weigh in on the governor’s proposals to stem gun violence in the wake of the school shooting in Santa Fe. Also, dear Mark Cuban: Texas monthly’s Michael Hall pens a public letter to the Dallas billionaire and Shark Tank investor making the case for a Texas music museum. And could Texas do what the germans and the Japanese could not? The slow motion sinking of the Battleship Texas and the congressman fighting to save it. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Tancred: “Queen of New York”

Minnesota’s Jess Abbott, known better by her moniker Tancred, has an undying jonesing for 90s-flavored indie pop. More specifically, she’s got a knack for taking inspiration from those melodies and the female vocalists who made them and fixing them to her own brand of power pop. The singles from her new album Nightstand showcase a more finely-tuned, polished sound from Abbott who historically has had some degree of a fuzzy glow around her songs. Telling the tale of a one-night-stand Abbott just can’t quite shake, “Queen of New York” features her classic cherry Smackers-flavored vibe with stripes of Sleater-Kinney influence peeking through this upbeat power-pop tune.

“Queen of New York” appears on Nightstands, out tomorrow via Polyvinyl.

-Taylor Wallace// host, Thursdays 8-11P & Saturdays 2-6P; Producer, Eklektikos with John Aielli

This Song: Marmalakes

Chase Weinach, of the band Austin band Marmalakes, describes how hearing Rilo Kiley’s “A Better Son/Daughter” when he was going through a tough time in his mid-twenties helped him realize he was not alone.

Check out Marmalakes new record “Please Don’t Stop.”

Listen to Marmalakes MyKUTX guest DJ set

Listen to Marmalakes Studio 1A performance

Subscribe via the Podcasts App, iTunes or Stitcher to get the new episodes of This Song delivered to you as soon as they come out.



Texas Standard: May 30, 2018

After the Santa Fe massacre, and a week of roundtables, the Governor comes up with a blueprint to improve safety in Texas public schools, we’ll have the latest. Also, how high is that oft-cited wall between church and state? A new report from the associated press claims we’re witnessing an important moment for religiously conservative attorneys landing positions of power and policy behind the scenes, we’ll hear more. And U.S. politics may get dirty at times, but never as deadly as in Mexico right now. Record number of assassinations of candidates as the nation prepares to pick a president July 1st. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Where Have All The Horny Toads Gone?

A couple of weeks ago I read a book called “The Lion the Living Room,” which was about how our domestic cats are just little lions. I thought, ‘that’s nothing. I grew up with dinosaurs in the alley.’

They looked for all the world like little dinosaurs – at least to us kids they did. When you’d get down on their level, lying on the ground, seeing them eye to eye, they looked prehistoric and formidable. You had to be careful, being eye to eye that way, because they could shoot blood out of theirs. You also couldn’t stay on the ground too long because the little dinosaurs’ favorite prey would soon be all over you – big red ants – harvester ants. They’d eat 100 of those red ants a day.

The dinosaur I’m talking about, so plentiful in my boyhood, was the horny toad. They were also called horn frogs or horned lizards, and we considered those the scientific names for them. We were wrong, though. The truly scientific name is Phrynosoma Cornutum.

Where have all the horny toads gone? When I was ten, I could walk out in the back alley, a landscape of caliche and goat heads, and you could find dozens of horny toads in just a few minutes. Even though we were barefoot much of the summer, we never went out there barefoot. Stepping on a Lego barefoot is almost imperceptible compared to the attention stepping on a horny toad will command. It will certainly focus your mind as few things can. Goat heads, too, have earned no small share of respect in this regard.

Many people theorize that horny toads, officially listed as endangered in Texas since 1977, have disappeared because of pesticides or the arrival of the fire ants.

“As always, it isn’t one thing,” says Bill Brooks, a founding member of the Horned Lizard Conservation Society of Texas. He told me that “it’s a combination of things” that created a perfect storm of bad news for horny toads.

Brooks said these include the “destruction of habitat, over collection by us humans, feral cats, blue grass taking over, reducing hiding spaces, pesticide use, and yes, also the invasion of fire ants.”

The first challenge for horny toads was the crazy promotions run by businesses, particularly movie theaters and gas stations back in the ’60s. You could get a free or half-priced ticket at some movie theaters by just showing up with a horny toad. Sometimes gas stations would give you a free gallon of gas for a horny toad. I have no idea what they did with them. Perhaps they sold them by putting ads in the back of comic books, the Ebay of that day, and shipped them up north where no doubt their days in some eight year old’s shoe box were numbered. The lion in the living room may have been involved.

Bill Brooks said that he has seen coyotes try to eat them, but rarely successfully. The horny toads release a foul-tasting chemical from their eyes and the coyotes drop them. They are also quite good at puffing themselves up and looking quite menacing which gives them some added protection against coyotes, and snakes, too.

And then the fire ants drove out the red ants, which the horny toads won’t eat. Having been bit by both, I understand their reluctance.

Sadly, the horny toads are fighting a losing battle for survival. You can find them where people are not. There are still a good number on remote ranches. “Around Kenedy,” Bill told me, “there are healthy numbers.”

Just sad to hear of their plight. I do miss the little guys. To me they are as Texas as rattlesnakes, longhorns or Willie Nelson, which is why they are the Official Texas State Reptile.

The Sour Notes: “Welcome to the Club”

Ten years ago, Jared Boulanger humbly released a 6-song EP under the moniker The Sour Notes. Today the venture has evolved into a full-on band (with Boulanger still being the chief songwriter) winning over fans from all over and building a discography 12-releases strong. In that decade, Boulanger and crew have played with a number of styles and instrumentations, sometimes using as many as 5 synths at a time or employing the use of a full string section (shoutout to Austin’s beloved Mother Falcon). Throughout these sonic explorations, some things have remained rigidly consistent. Boulanger has an uncanny knack for catchy pop melodies, blending female voices seamlessly into the landscape, and, something that’s fairly uncommon, employing the same producer and engineer for every single effort the group has put out, thus creating a solid foundation for making their sour brand so addicting. Put simply, it’s just real good pop-rock, dude.

Their latest release is a 7-inch celebrating the Sour Notes’s 10th anniversary. Everything fans have come to know and love about the group are in play here: catchy guitars supported by a driving bass and rhythm section, the deft mixing and mastering hands of Steve Christensen and Joe LaPorta respectively, and an exemplary use of gilded-female vocals threaded through the piece, lent this time by Ruby Fray’s Emily Beanblossom. Oh…and if you listen carefully, you might hear a little Pink Floyd nod in the bridge *wink, wink*.

“Welcome to the Club” appears on Finest Sour, out now via their Bandcamp. Catch the Sour Notes (for free!) tonight for the Wine Down at 3Ten at ACL Live.

-Taylor Wallace// host, Thursdays 8-11P & Saturdays 2-6P; Producer, Eklektikos with John Aielli

Texas Standard: May 29, 2018

Astonishing allegations of misconduct and pervasive child abuse by US customs and border protection during the Obama years. 30 thousand pages of documents dated between 2009 and 2014, obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union, detail verbal, physical and sexual abuse of undocumented migrant children. We’ll hear some of the findings and what the government is saying about them. Also, is there a relationship between wealth and winning baseball games? A Dallas Morning News investigation explores why the same teams remain championship contenders year after year. Plus, Alexa, are your recording this? Privacy and the smart speaker. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Anna Burch: “Tea-Soaked Letter”

Initially inspired by a spectrum of sounds ranging all the way from Disney musical numbers to Carole King to Fiona Apple, Detroit’s Anna Burch has just entered a new chapter in her career. Michigan concertgoers are already familiar with Burch as a member of Frontier Ruckus and Failed Flowers, yet Burch was only recently – and not so discretely – encouraged by close friends to focus on her solo songwriting. After one particular friend helped put a band together to back up the rough demos, Burch’s first solo foray began to truly take shape.

Defined by Burch as “the end of an era of uncertainty”, her debut Quit the Curse came out to critical acclaim this past February. The dark lyrical content of Quit the Curse stands in stark contrast to its bright ’60s jangle pop arrangements, but the result is nothing short of sensational. You can see Burch performing with the full band, Speedy Ortiz and Control Top this Saturday at Barracuda and you can grab a piece of Quit the Curse right now with “Tea-Soaked Letter“.

Jack Anderson (Host, Monday-Wednesday 8-11pm, Saturday 6-10am)

Special: Pesticides, Science, and Subterfuge

In the 1970s Monsanto unveiled a miracle herbicide–Glyphosate. The pitch: it was as safe as table salt for people, but could flatten even the peskiest weeds. Farmers and homeowners alike have used the product ever since. Now, it shows up in detectable levels in many foods, and almost every American has some in their bodies. Several new lawsuits allege that it’s linked to cancer—and that Monsanto knew it all along. In this Secret Ingredient special Raj Patel, Tom Philpott and Rebecca McInroy explore why scientists, farmers, and lawyers are taking on Monsanto and what it means for everyone today.

Texas Standard: May 28, 2018

People who’ve illegally immigrated to the United States with underage minors are being separated from their children. What’s happening to those kids? Over the weekend reports have spread that some 15 hundred kids seized by border agents are now lost, but is that story true? What’s happened to those kids? We’ll hear what’s behind the story. And states of emergency declared along the gulf coast, welcome to hurricane season 2018. And are others tracking your travels by tapping into your cellphone data? What one privacy expert says is a bigger scandal than Cambridge Analytica. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Andrew Duhon: “Let You Down”

A true advocate for honest and realistically complicated lyrical narratives, New Orleans’ guitarist and vocalist Andrew Duhon brings the marks of a troubadour into the twenty-first century. Duhon released his debut album back in 2009, following it up with a couple more installments, not the least of which was the Grammy-nominated The Moorings (from 2013).

In the five years that have passed since The Moorings, Duhon’s maturation as a songwriter has coincided with his own narrative of finding out just how complicated true love can really be. Serving Duhon as what may be “the last letters I ever write her”, the eleven-track album False River finds middle ground between blues, rock, folk and of course, candid and complex lyricism. False River was released just last Friday, and you can treat yourself with the tale of ending a relationship early on as the best possible option – “Let You Down”.

Jack Anderson (Host, Monday-Wednesday 8-11pm, Saturday 6-10am)

The Honorable Greg Mathis (Ep. 25, 2018)

On this week’s program, In Black America producer and host John L. Hanson speaks with The Honorable Greg Mathis, former Superior Court Judge for Michigan’s 36th District Court, known as “the judge of second chances,” and host of the long-running reality TV program The Judge Mathis Show.

KUT Weekend – May 25, 2018

Texas Democrats choose their candidate for governor. Plus, why undocumented parents could have to choose between a green card and services for U.S.-born kids. And the history behind the bell tower on Cesar Chavez Street. Those stories and more in this edition of KUT Weekend!

Subscribe at

Texas Standard: May 25, 2018

The Lt. Governor mocked after the Santa Fe shooting for claiming Texas schools have too many entrances and exits, but is he right? After the Sandy Hook school massacre, the old building was raised and a new more secure building built in its place. One of the experts involved says Texas schools should reconsider their architecture too. And another year another season of glitches for Texas’ standardized public school testing scheme. Now penalties for the company behind the tests, and a reprieve for many students who didn’t pass, we’ll take a look. All that and more today on the Texas Standard:

Paul Cauthen: “Resignation”

Wrapping up a tour alongside Margo Price and soon opening for fellow Austinite Shakey Graves, Tyler, Texas-born singer-songwriter Paul Cauthen is breaking out of the local scene with some bold new outlaw-influenced goodies! Cauthen’s country-coated original compositions and live performances stood out this past SXSW, where he deservedly gained plenty of new listeners and attention in national publications.

Cauthen announced his sophomore EP Have Mercy back at the close of April and has set a release date for June 22nd. But let’s face it – a month is a long time. Fortunately for the Cauthen-crazed listeners, a new single was released just today in anticipation of Have Mercy and you can potentially get a live premiere of some new material when Cauthen plays midnight tonight at The White Horse as part of Hot Luck Fest. Don’t give up if you can’t make it out or your hands are tied elsewhere for Hot Luck – say farewell to the work week with “Resignation”.

Jack Anderson (Host, Monday-Wednesday 8-11pm, Saturday 6-10am)

Things Shaped Like Texas

Texans tend to love the shape of Texas — and to buy items, including food, in that shape. That was the inspiration for this Typewriter Rodeo poem.

Texas Standard: May 24, 2018

Can schools identify violent students before they commit mass murder? After Santa Fe, the mental health of students in the spotlight. Governor Abbott’s roundtables on gun violence after the Santa Fe High School massacre getting national attention. Now the governor is calling on mental health screening programs to identify would-be mass murderers, we’ll have more. And a clean water shortage in hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico: how Texas is coming to the rescue. And the end of an era at the University of Texas El Paso: our conversation with the outgoing president, once named one of the 50 world’s greatest leaders. And epic low turnout at the polls: what does this tell us about Texas politics? Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard: