Archives for August 2019

Diamond Shines Divine


That pretty much sums it up.

Even No Depression recently declared that Shinyribs is “more an event than a band, more a force than a show.” That hits the nail right on the head. You go to one of Shinyribs’ performances, expecting to be entertained, and gleefully stride away afterward with an ignited soul and an urge to dance where there wasn’t one before.

The music’s got a little bit of everything front man Kevin Russell and his mighty band dig – funk, soul, blues, some swamp and twang in that thang… And Russell is a maestro of magical lyricism. From philosophical musings to a devious sense of humor with a glint in the eye, Russell’s command of language is a driving force within the funky beats and soulful sway.

Why don’t you get you some? Shinyribs plays tonight at the Historic Scoot Inn, 1308 E. 4th. You’ll get an afro-soul, funk, pop and rock twist on a multitude of Talking Heads and David Byrne classics when Heart Byrne opens the show. Doors at 7:30 p.m. All good. Recommended.

-Photography by Richard Loria for KUTX.

KUT Weekend – August 30, 2019

A church destroyed by Hurricane Harvey finally reopens. Plus, how students at an elite magnet school in Austin ISD felt they had to prove they belonged. And how the legacy of slavery is still confounding the county’s efforts to eliminate health disparities. Those stories and more in this edition of KUT Weekend!

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Texas Standard: August 30, 2019

Something in the air for Texas? Cheers in the oil and gas industry, concerns among environmentalists over what could be a major change. We’ll have details. Also, did the U.S. effectively deny citizenship to kids born abroad to members of the military? No, but a policy change has definitely caused a lot of confusion among members of the armed forces. We’ll try to sort it out. Plus Janis Joplin, Santana, 50 years after a major outdoor music festival. Although probably not the one you’re thinking of. Plus the week in Texas politics with the Texas Tribune and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

Black Belt Eagle Scout: “At The Party”

When you combine an indigenous reservation upbringing with the modern tinges of Portland’s alternative grunge scene, you get Black Belt Eagle Scout. The brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Katherine Paul first popped up on our radar with her intimate 2018 debut Mother of My Children and today Black Belt Eagle Scout returns with her highly-anticipated sophomore full-length, At the Party With My Brown Friends.

Where her first record dealt with feelings of loss and connecting to ones ancestors, At the Party With My Brown Friends explores loving relationships of all kinds, almost as a tribute to the most important people in Paul’s life. You can expect less guitar and more keys on this album, but with her delicate vocals and well-constructed lyrics, it’s peak BBES. Black Belt Eagle Scout joins us at the Barracuda this November and you can get your weekend started with the album opener and title track, “At The Party”!

Photo: Sarah Cass

Summer Electric Bills

The kids may be back in school — but both the calendar and the temperatures still say summer. That was the inspiration of this Typewriter Rodeo poem.

Livin’ It

The Nude Party initially got the party started (see what your AMM host did there? no? okay…) in 2012, when they got the band together in a dorm at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. After moving into an old lake house, the mighty sextet starting having nightly jams in the basement. Yes, the band name comes from playing sans threads, and they kept that name after getting some gigs around town. However, clothing was needed for those public performances, so…

Before he was drumming for The Black Lips, Oakley Munson saw the guys play in Charlotte and really dug what he heard, so much so that he recorded/produced their first EP, Hot Tub, the stuff of legends in all its raw glory – and apparently no longer available because The Nude Party wasn’t too crazy about it. It wasn’t long after that when Munson produced The Nude Party’s self-titled full-length debut, which got them noticed even more.

Granted, it’s been a jolting experience going from playing clubs with hardly any to no people at the shows to opening for the likes of The Arctic Monkeys and ol’ Jay Dubbya on his solo tour, but what a hell of a ride, and the adventure continues. No, they did not play in the nude in KUTX’s Studio 1A today, though…that would’ve made for some interesting radio history.

Don’t miss The Nude Party tonight at Antone’s, 305 E. 5th St. Doors open at 7 p.m., and Louisville three-piece Boa starts the show at 8 p.m. So recommended it hurts.

-Photo courtesy of the artist.

Texas Standard: August 29, 2019

And then there were 10: Houston sets the stage for the third round of Democratic presidential debates. We’ll look at how this time things will be different. Other stories we’re tracking: the path of hurricane Dorian as it bears down on the U.S. mainland, a storm that promised to put the new governor of Puerto Rico to the test. Also a new effort by Texas to test for THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. And the future of the space industry in Texas after another launch this week. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

This Song: Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend

Ezra Koenig, lead singer and songwriter for the band Vampire Weekend, explains why he recently became obsessed with  “I Don’t Think Much About Her No More” by country singer and songwriter Mickey Newbury.  He loved it so much that he even included a cover of the song as a bonus track for the Japanese release of the band’s latest record Father of the Bride.  Listen as he describes why he finds that song so compelling and explores what it was like to apply country music’s direct approach to songwriting to some of the the songs on Father of the Bride.

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Fair City Fire: “Simple Stupid”

When “beating the heat” is on the verge of impossibility, sometimes you just have to crank up the thermostat even further. Austin four-piece Fair City Fire has been making the Live Music Capital sweat with their sweltering take on rock n roll ever since they sparked up back in 2014. Boisterous vocals and pounding rhythms are tamped down by elegant guitar arrangements, and with that fuel on-hand at all times, FCF has had no trouble earning fans across their national tours.

In addition to their growing discography, Fair City Fire has spearheaded the annual “Too Damn Hot Affair” benefitting The SIMS Foundation, celebrating its fourth year at Antone’s this Saturday. A. Sinclair, Lola Tried, and Megafauna will be joining the bill and you can expect some of Fair City Fire’s latest material onstage. Fingers crossed that they break out their latest single, “Simple Stupid”!


Bill Callahan’s voice has an extraordinary presence.

That’s one way of putting it. Or…mesmerizing. Mere words don’t suffice. The fans will understand.

Perhaps on most of the Smog albums, or within the folds and winding paths of his solo work (Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle for one reference, to be sure), Callahan’s voice has been one of infinite solitude. Yet those deep, serious and warm tones weave reflections on things like domestic bliss, love and even letting go on the captivating Shepherd In A Sheepskin Vest. And again, Callahan tells his stories like no other, which is part baritone commanding your attention and part shy/retiring matter-of-fact understatement.

Get the album. Now.

As of this writing, there are still a few tickets remaining for tonight’s performance at Scholz Garten, 1607 San Jacinto (tomorrow is sold out). Doors open at 8 p.m., and opener Jake Xerxes Fussell gets the evening started right. Very recommended.

-Photography by Jorge Sanheuza-Lyon for KUTX.

Texas Standard: August 28, 2019

As fall approaches the political season heats up: and a shift in the role of Texas in one of the most consequential election seasons in modern memory. Coming up a conversation with Gromer Jeffers, political writer for the Dallas Morning News, on why the Texas factor in the 2020 election year goes way beyond the presidential race. Also the homeless crisis in San Francisco: most of those homeless are Texans, says California’s governor. Politifact takes a closer look. And an especially wooly war for survival in the Trans Pecos. Those stories and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

Spooky Mansion: “Real Jerk”

A quick glance at the name “Spooky Mansion” should tell you at least one thing about this West Coast quintet; “these guys are gonna be fun.” And although there is a decidedly playful nature to the group, they’re always tossing themselves in a moody current of serious surf-rock. After establishing themselves in the Bay Area, these L.A.-based hedonists have had no trouble maintaining an impressive following, thanks to their upbeat indie-infusions that take cues from The Beach Boys and Thelonious Monk just as much as from Horace Silver and Pixies.

Recently, Spooky Mansion teamed up with Quadrophenia Chief Engineer Ron Nevison to produce the upcoming EP, That’s Me! , out October 29th. We’re eager to see what Spooky Mansion pulls out of the woodwork for That’s Me! and today they’ve given us a pretty good idea…check out the infectious animated music video alongside the album’s lead single, “Real Jerk”!

Photo: Sam Yang

Pocket Sounds

You’ve had to have seen Mike St. Clair before. If you’ve caught shows by Okkervil River, The Polyphonic Spree, White Denim…your Austin Music Minute host can go on and on with all the names, right up to a performance with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, for crying out loud…then chances are good you may have noticed St. Clair in all the brilliant madness. Multi-instrumentalist, composer, all of the things, St. Clair’s talent keeps him in demand for damn good reason.

But take heed of St. Clair’s own creation, Pocket Sounds, an outstanding project as both solo performance and collaborative effort involving several other impressive musicians in the ATX scene. From the excellent EP You Are Not Alone to this year’s instantly addictive Radio Song  cassette release, Pocket Sounds reigns as a unique pop experience. Catch Pocket Sounds’ residency show tonight at Hole In the Wall, 2538 Guadalupe, with The Pendulum Hearts and Willy McGee sharing the bill.

The music starts at 9 p.m. So recommended.

-Photography by Julia Reihs for KUTX.

Texas Standard: August 27, 2019

Release the tape: that demand from Texas House Republicans as a scandal involving House Speaker Dennis Bonnen appears to enter a new phase, we’ll have details. Also, they’ve been described as prison camps for kids: just how bad are the facilities holding unaccompanied minors crossing the border without documentation? A reporter gets a rare inside look. Plus, how some residents of the hill country are trying to keep developers at bay… by buying the hill. And business bankruptcies in Texas fall, but experts warn its the calm before the storm. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Pinky Pinky: “Do Me Dirty (Charlie)”

Oddball trio Pinky Pinky first got a grip on the L.A. rock scene with their 2017 self-titled EP, and proved their dexterity once again on 2018’s Hot Tears. Now in year three together, Pinky Pinky has extended their garage rock digits even further on the debut full-length, Turkey Dinner.

At just under a dozen tracks, Turkey Dinner is stuffed with classic-sounding indie garage along with all the modern lyrical trimmings of anxiety, bliss, and passion. Pinky Pinky opens for The Nude Party this Thursday night at Antone’s, and to get a better fingerhold on the three-piece, here’s Turkey Dinner’s lead single, “Do Me Dirty (Charlie)”!

Jazz and The Art of Movement

Where do we consider being at home? When do we feel that we belong in a place and how quickly can we become dispossessed?

In this edition of Liner Notes, Rabbi and jazz historian Neil Blumofe talks about how jazz traces various migrations – some arbitrary, some forced, and some chosen – and beyond appropriation and broad-stroke caricature, reveals difficult truths of identity, well-being, and honest relationship.

Texas Standard: August 26, 2019

From guns to lemonade stands, new laws about to take effect. Experts from the Dallas Morning News and the Texas Tribune tell us all about em. Other stories we’re watching, amid record heat, there’s one place in southeast Texas keeping cool without fear of rolling blackouts or skyrocketing electricity prices. We’ll take a look at how they’re doing it. Plus gun control in the aftermath of El Paso: the president first said he’d support tightening gun purchase background checks, then seemed to step back after a call with the head of the NRA. What’s the real story? All of that and then some today on the Texas Standard:

Michi: “Still Feel U”

North Hollywood’s Michelle Guerrero grew up in an adopted household, where she tinkered away on piano and guitar for more than a decade. The foundational early-twenties experience of finally meeting her birth father gave Guerrero the confidence to reinvent her musician side, and for the next five years she provided vocals and keys for indie R&B blenders Private Island.

Just this past summer Guerrero introduced the world to her ’70s-inspired alt-pop-rock solo project Michi, with the Minnie Riperton-evoking “Catch a Feeling”. More recently, Michi’s teamed up with Lorde/Miike Snow engineer Jacob Munk for her second single ever, one that puts the notorious L.A. smog to good use with hazy, Stevie Nicks vibes: “Still Feel U”!

Photo: Ozzy Vidrio

Best of “Higher Ed:” The Biases We Bring To Information And Learning (They’re Complicated)

This episode was originally posted on Jan. 13, 2019.

Many external factors can impact the quality and effectiveness of a learning experience: the teacher; the other students in a class; the school’s resources; even the student’s surroundings and home. But what about the internal factors? In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton discuss the biases learners themselves bring to the information and process.

This episode was inspired by an experience Ed had in the classroom not too long ago. He had given the students a quote with some pretty declarative and forceful language and asked the students to discuss it and try to figure out who said it. As the students puzzled through who the speaker might be, Ed noticed something interesting.

He had given them a quote from Helen Keller, and Ed describes it as a “very strong quote, it was a very forceful quote; it was a quote that was about positivity, but it was strong…..While the conversation was going on, they [the students] themselves gave a gender to the individual,” says Ed. “My students kept saying ‘well, he meant this and he meant that.'”

Ed says gender was not the only metric students used to process and evaluate the quote.

“People thought this must be coming from an individual who is not a force of good in their mind’s eye,” says Ed, referring to the strong language of the quote, “and so therefore said ‘I don’t like the quote that much.’ The moment that some of them discovered that Helen Keller said this, then all of a sudden they looked at it again and said ‘ Oh, well, now I actually get it and I like it.'”

Bias based on perceptions of gender or authorship are just some of what learners bring to the table in and outside of the classroom.  Listen to the full episode to hear more about bias and context and Ed’s provocative question “Is it possible that we can find interesting or good elements in people that maybe we don’t completely agree with, and how does that complicate the discussion or the conversation?”

It is also time for the solution to a puzzler about slicing and dicing. Don’t worry –  it’s a piece of cake!

This episode was recorded on Dec. 4, 2018.