Archives for April 2019

It’s Real

To summarize: This is badass.

DC-based power trio Ex Hex shook up their local scene with an awesome 2014 debut, Rips., loaded with all the post-punk/garage-rock rocket fuel your ears could feast upon. However, after some sonic experimenting and fine-tuning in the studio, it was time to unleash a little something unabashedly rocked out, even with a few nods to ’80s hair metal and then some. All those Rips, riffs and garage/post-punk power chords that drew you to Ex Hex in the beginning are as solid as ever on their second LP, It’s Real, but with added swagger, shred and maybe even a few CBGB-era vibes. Like, imagine Sleater Kinney and Quiet Riot building jams at their shared rehearsal space with Blondie.

Ex Hex follows their recent Studio 1A performance with a show tonight at Barracuda, 611 E 7th St. LA psych-punk band FEELS and Austin garage-pop rockers Mean Jolene share the bill. Doors at 8 p.m. Very recommended.

-Photo courtesy of the artist.

Texas Standard: April 30, 2019

To be or not to be a Senate candidate. Democrats puzzled why an expected challenge to John Cornyn is slow to materialize, we’ll have the latest. Plus, amid what appears to be growing support for gun control efforts in other parts of the U.S., the nation’s biggest gun rights group takes aim against itself? A leadership struggle at the NRA poses one of the most serious threats to the organization in years. And a Texas senator moves to stop publishing the final words of prisoners facing the death sentence. All that and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

The Suitcase Junket: “Stay Too Long”

Given the immense lyrical world and refined arrangements of The Suitcase Junket, it may surprise you that there’s just one storyteller behind the curtain. Multi-instrumentalist and sole songwriter Matt Lorenz (with his almost Dali-esque appearance) has been at it for awhile, zeroing in on The Suitcase Junket’s sound that’s somewhere in a cloud of folk, blues and psych rock. Lorenz’s latest offering, Mean Dog, Trampoline, encourages the spirit of curiosity in light of the world’s cynicism and he’s been spreading that message all across the United States since its release, continuing tonight at The Townsend.

The record was mixed by Vance Powell, who’s worked with Jack White and Houndmouth, making for Lorenz’s sturdiest album yet. So pop some latches on The Suitcase Junket before the show with “Stay Too Long”!

…Despite Your Destination

See the MP3 link below? Click on it. It’s absolutely true; you hear that distinctive set of chords at the beginning, and you instantly know what it is.

Some fans regard the following fact incredulously because it doesn’t seem that long ago, but “Under the Milky Way” by UK band The Church is now 30 years old. The album you find it on, Starfish (1988) – the band’s fifth LP, is revered as a classic.

And now, The Church continues the Starfish 30th Anniversary Tour. After last week’s sold-out night at 3Ten, the band has a second performance tonight, also at 3Ten, 310 Willie Nelson Blvd. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show begins at 8 p.m.

No doubt you’ll be singing along. As you should. Recommended.

-Photo courtesy of the artist.

Texas Standard: April 29, 2019

The state of Texas to to pay half a million in legal fees and rescind its plan to check the citizenship of registered voters, we’ll have the latest. Other stories we’re watching: how what’s happening in the Texas oilfield resembles a certain superhero-filled hollywood blockbuster. Also, the part of Texas’ death row seldom heard about on the news. Plus Abilene rediscovering a chapter of its history many would like to forget. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Sophia Bel: “Time”

For Montreal singer-producer Sophia Bel, her past isn’t just formative; it’s prime fodder for her music. Bel’s upbringing on millennium-era skate-punk and emo-wave crossbreeds with her proclivity towards ’90s-style trip-hop and electro-pop production, all for a woeful retelling of her earlier years. Re-appropriating the moniker given to her by teenage bullies, Sophia Bel’s debut EP Princess of the Dead, Vol. 1 sounds equal parts Avril Lavigne, Moby and Dido and it came out last Friday.

Keep your eyes peeled for more from Bel in the future and enjoy Princess of the Dead, Vol. 1 in all its royal necromancy with the synth-heavy album opener, “Time”!

Higher Ed: A Mindset Shift Can Elicit Satisfaction And Even Joy From Intellectual Struggle

Learning is not always easy. Some subjects, concepts and teachers are just plain tough. Mastering that material can be frustrating and even discouraging. In this episode of the KUT podcast “Higher Ed,” KUT’s Jennifer Stayton talks with Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger about how a shift in mindset can help learners at any age harness lessons, power and even joy from those struggles.

Challenges and frustrations that we encounter in and out of the classroom can elicit a variety of emotions including anger and frustration. Not wanting to wallow in negativity, we attempt to move on from that sensation as quickly as we can.

“We look upon those things, and those emotions, as negative,” Ed notes. “People are saying that they want to avoid and we want to get past it.”

But what if those negative feelings were framed differently – perhaps as fuel instead of foil?

“Imagine a mindset where the idea of struggle generates a positive emotion. The feeling of frustration generates something that helps you move you forward, ” says Ed. “Imagine a world inside one’s mind where those feelings … enhance our learning and drive us to go further and inspire us to reach new levels rather than squelch our interest or enthusiasm.”

Ed encourages students struggling with a difficult subject or concept to harness the power of that conflict to assist their learning.

“What if we looked upon those emotions and tried to use them as empowering tools to continue the struggle and to move beyond the frustration” Ed wonders “by using the frustration as a catapult to push us and throw us into a new place?”

Ed believes applying mindfulness to this endeavor can actually propel learners beyond simply converting their frustration into fuel.

“If we intentionally acknowledge and then try to make those moments of frustration or struggle joyful, we can,” Ed asserts.

Joyful? Listen to the full episode for more on extracting joy from the struggles of learning. And prepare for a new puzzler – anagram-style – that might test that idea of power and joy born from struggle!

This episode was recorded on April 2, 2019.

Ben Tankard (Ep. 21, 2019)

This week on In Black America, producer and host John L. Hanson, Jr. speaks with Ben Tankard, minister, motivational speaker, best-selling author, Reality TV Dad, and Gospel and Jazz musician from Daytona Beach, Florida.

The Worried Coat

It weighs on the shoulders of the uneasy, this particular item from the wardrobe…

There are multiple voices on Adam Ostrar‘s The Worried Coat. Wait, hang on. To be clear, it’s definitely Ostrar’s vocals you hear on his fantastic second solo release, a brilliant 12-track LP redefining everything addictive about folk/rock/pop sounds. The album in its entirety, every single subtlety, radiates a classic feel without an ounce of pale imitation. And this is not a nostalgic trip, either. Ostrar has described his latest work as twelve narratives of “otherness, self-identity,” and that wretched, debilitating beast known as anxiety. “How we often betray our best intentions through willful ignorance,” he’s explained.

It’s outstanding. Get yourself a copy of the new album at Ostrar’s release performance tonight at the Museum of Human Achievement, tucked in the back of the property at Springdale and Lyons in East Austin. The show is paired perfectly with the release of poet Phillip Trussell‘s literary debut, Sentences, plus performances by Thor & Friends, and Spliff Kazoo.

The event begins at 7:30 p.m. Very recommended, indeed. With special thanks to Super Secret Records and Cuneiform Press.

KUT Weekend – April 26, 2019

What’s happening with school finance and property tax cuts at the Texas legislature. Plus, presidential candidates court women of color at a Texas forum. And how one Texas man almost lost everything when it was his word against border officials. Those stories and more in this edition of KUT Weekend!

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Not Everyone Is Special

Your Austin Music Minute host was first introduced to Josh Denslow through music – specifically, through the awesomeness that is Borrisokane (sign me up for those “synth-punk gloom-wonders,” baby). But consider the different layers of this multi-talented individual – music, film and literature. Today marks the release of Denslow’s debut short story collection, Not Everyone Is Special, and he’s celebrating in grand style with a party that will – naturally – include all kinds of great music.

Tonight‘s party at Cheer Up Charlie’s, 901 Red River, includes sets by Marmalakes, Thor & Friends, MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR, ANDY, Borrisokane (of course! thank you), and longtime AMM fave Bill Baird. In addition, check out DJ sets by members of The Octopus Project, and readings by authors Owen Egerton and Rachel Heng, starting out the evening at 8 p.m. The live music kicks off at 9 p.m.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Get there early to take it all in. ¡Y felicidades, Josh! This one comes very recommended.

-Photo of Josh Denslow in Borrisokane (2014) by Bryan Parker.

Gene Ammons

Eugene “Jug” Ammons AKA “The Boss” was a tenor saxophonist known for his bold, R&B-soul sound. His vast discography as a bandleader and occasional sideman stretch from the 1950s to the 1970s. In this episode of Liner Notes, Rabbi Neil Blumofe discusses the legacy of Gene Ammons.

King Pleasure

Clarence “King Pleasure” Beeks was a fronting vocalist and early innovator of the “vocalese” style, whose discography spanned two decades in the mid twentieth century. In this edition of Liner Notes, jazz historian and Rabbi Neil Blumofe discusses the career and influence of King Pleasure.

George Benson

Guitarist George Benson recorded his first album at the age of 21 and continues to be a tremendous influence in the guitar world. In this edition of Liner Notes, jazz historian and Rabbi Neil Blumofe discusses the ongoing life and career of George Benson.

Mal Waldron

Arranger, composer and pianist Malcolm “Mal” Waldron played in a number of big bands and fronted his own before a drug overdose left him unable to play or remember music. As he regained his technique through listening to his own records, Waldron began a second leg of his career with a decidedly different sound than the first. In this edition of Liner Notes, jazz historian and Rabbi Neil Blumofe recalls Mal Waldron, his struggle with addiction, and how he interpolated his former style.

This Song: Citizen Cope

Clarence Greenwood is Citizen Cope,  an American singer-songwriter who has been making entrancing blends of rock and soul music since the early 2000’s.

In this episode Citizen Cope details how his emotional connections to legends such as Randy Newman and Trouble Funk aided his understanding of the powerful energy that music can have. Cope then goes on to discusses how his experiences of the last seven years — which include reconciling with his estranged father and becoming a parent himself —  led him to the songs on his latest record “Heroin and Helicopters.”

Listen to this episode of This Song

Check out Citizen Cope’s Tour Dates

Check out Citizen Cope’s new record Heroin and Helicopters

Listen to Songs from this episode of This Song

Texas Standard: April 26, 2019

It was a perp walk with the TV cameras rolling as the mayor of Edinburg and his wife were led to court in handcuffs. An attorney general’s investigation into allegations of election fraud result in charges for the top official in Edinburg as city officials say they’re standing by their mayor, we’ll have the latest. Also, sea turtle season returns as researchers declare a long term effort to learn more about the critters. Plus, understanding the hype over the new Avengers movie, the week in politics and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

The Easter Egg We Didn’t Find

You boiled the egg, you dyed the egg, you hid the egg — and you didn’t find the egg for a week. That was the inspiration for this Typewriter Rodeo poem.