Archives for October 2019

Creeptastic Shows

Seriously, if you don’t think there’s anything going on tonight, fiend, you aren’t checking the right haunts. Your Austin Music Minute maven has conjured a list of spooky shows around town guaranteed to get you into the spirit. Take your pick, foolish mortal:

-More than the Mash, babe. It’s The Horror Disco, featuring CAPYAC, Calliope Musicals and more at Empire Control Room, 606 E. 7th St.

A Very CBGB’s Halloween at the Hard Luck Lounge, 3526 E. 7th St., with local bands paying tribute to greats like The Ramones, Patti Smith, Television and more, who left their mark on the famed iconic NYC venue.

Here’s your one chanceFANCY at The ABGB, 1305 W. Oltorf, with sonic sirens Christy Hays, Selena Rosanbalm and Beth Chrisman celebrating the sounds and styles of female-powered country acts of the 80s and 90s. Costumes strongly encouraged, Shania.

-He’ll getcha. Look out. The eerie, leery Ole Creepy leads the creepy crew at The Parlor, 4301 Guadalupe St., featuring Blacklight and (oh HELL yes) One Good Lung.

-Something wicked this way comes. The White Horse, 500 Comal St., does haunting the honky-tonk way with Garrett T. Capps, Kathryn Legendre, and The Saddle Sores. Head ’em out.

Hole In the Wall Halloween, 2538 Guadalupe, with more musical tributes as performed by ATX bands Bridge Farmers, Magic Rockers of Texas, Gold Leather and Belcurve.

-It’s The Zoltars Halloween album release show for their new LP, Telling Stories, at Hotel Vegas, 1501 E. 6th. Get that album. (“I’m Stressed” featured on today’s AMM.)

Don’t run away. It’s only me. Do512‘s Dia de Los Muertos show at Scholz Garten, 1607 San Jacinto Blvd., featuring Alex Maas (The Black Angels, MEIN), Bidi Bidi Banda, The Matt Gilmour Band, Peligrosa, Nemegata, and The Cuckoos. Costume contest, by the way. Show no mercy.

-These are the spectres to party with. Ghostland Observatory takes over Carson Creek Ranch, 701 Dalton Ln.

-Bring your fangs. Capes optional. Drakulas and Slomo Drags invade Spider House Ballroom, 2908 Fruth St.

-We dance on your coffin…though, what with the whiskey, some of us might face-plant. Mr. Lewis & The Funeral Five, Caleb De Casper, DD Dagger and Horti scare up the scene at Dozen Street, 1808 E. 12th St.

-This one’s not for the kiddos. Welcome to the Adult Night of Horror, a superb Walker Lukens residency presented by KUTX at the Scoot Inn, 1308 E. 4th St. Lukens and special guests will do a live score for David Cronenberg’s The Fly. (pppttthh…everybody gon be there to see ol’ Goldblum in his skivvies…)

Take your pick, ghoul. Here’s to a Happy Halloween. And, in the immortal words of your Austin Music Minute host’s queen:

“Unpleasant dreams!”

This Song: La Marisoul from La Santa Cecilia

La Marisoul, lead singer and songwriter for the band La Santa Cecilia explains how  Mercedes Sosa’s version of “Yo vengo a ofrecer mi corazón” by Fito Páez helped her understand what a powerful tool music could be for connection and healing.

“I can feel myself connected to the earth when I hear her. I feel relieved. I feel like I’m being held by a motherly force…holding me in melody and words that I need.”

This sentiment is reflected in La Santa Cecilia’s latest, self titled release. The record was written during a year when 3 of the 4 band members lost their fathers and finds the group reflecting on family, love, and loss and connection.

📸 Humberto Howard

Listen to this episode of This Song

Check out La Santa Cecilia’s tour dates and videos

Listen to La Santa Cecilia’s new self titled record

Watch KUTX’s Pop Up video of La Santa Cecilia performing “Ice El Hielo.”

Listen to Songs from this episode of This Song

Texas Standard: October 31, 2019

Does the state have a duty to provide mobile voting centers? Texas democrats claim a new law unconstitutionally disenfranchises young voters, we’ll have details. Also, did Exxon Mobil have one set of numbers about climate change for investors, and a secret set for itself? Texan Rex Tillerson takes the stand in a closely watch trial involving one of the Lone Star State’s biggest companies. Plus, Twitter banning political ads? Tech expert Omar Gallaga on why and what it adds up to. And why you might see tarantulas crossing Texas roadways, and not just tonight, mind you. All of that and then some today on the Texas Standard:

Welsh Avenue: “New Ways”

Songwriter-producer Mark DiLillo has called Austin his home for quite some time, but it’s only been within the past couple years that he’s emerged in the local scene as Welsh Avenue. New wave, pop, and electro collide on Welsh Avenue’s arrangements, and no effect or tone is off limits for the experimental mind of DiLillo. Welsh Avenue released The Great Exchange EP in 2017 and “Disco Moon” last summer and he’s already got a few more tricks up his sleeve.

You can see Welsh Avenue at Opa Coffee and Wine Bar, tomorrow from 8-10pm, and to steer you in the right direction, check out “New Ways”!

Many Voices, One Road

Its mission is simple and direct. And its very existence is meant to represent a multitude of voices you may be discovering for the first time. Check it all out.

One Road Austin, a concert series created to celebrate Austin’s diverse musical community, made its official debut just last year, and a premiere of sorts last week at venue 3Ten. Now you have the opportunity to experience endless waves of talent through One Road Austin with Songs of Love, Equity & Soul, a huge show happening tonight at Antone’s, 305 E. 5th St.

The evening features local artists performing much-beloved classics by Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell, Santana, The Beatles and more. And this is one sick line-up: Kalu James (Kalu and The Electric Joint), Vallejo, Jai Malano, The Watters, Stephanie Bergara (Bidi Bidi Banda), Kiko Villamizar, Lesly Reynaga, Nagavalli, Haydn Vitera, Tomar Williams (Tomar and The FCs), Nelson Valente Aguilar (Como Las Movies), Curtis Lee, Johnny Goudie, and a special performance featuring School of Rock artists, in addition to surprise guests.

It’s a lot to see – and it’s fantastic. Doors at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m. Very recommended.

-Photo courtesy of One Road Austin.

Texas Standard: October 30, 2019

It’s not pay for play, but college athletes won’t have to turn away endorsement dollars. A shakeup in the big buck business of college sports? We’ll have the story. Also a shortage of water at an ice detention center. What we know about conditions and what we don’t…and why. And the latest numbers on Texas kids and health insurance add up to a grim situation, we’ll take a look. And hell yes, or no? Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke says he’s not for weapons confiscation. We’ll have a Politifact check and more today on the Texas Standard:

Sam Houston And Me

By W. F. Strong

A couple of weeks ago I got into an argument with my stairs and I lost. The stairs insisted there were 12 steps and I thought 10 would do. I broke my tibia and fibula. The good news is that I ended up at the bottom of the stairs, conveniently located for the EMS to pick me up and rush me into emergency surgery. I’ll be 97 percent good as new in four months.

As I was lying in recovery at the hospital, I realized that my injury was similar to that which Sam Houston suffered at San Jacinto. Same shattered tibia, inches above the ankle. Of course his was penetrated by a musket ball in battle and mine was penetrated by the hubris of thinking I had the agility of a teenager. Still, the result was much the same, and I thought immediately of my advantages over Sam. I had only to lie there wrapped in the loving arms of morphine and watch the Houston Astros (ironically Sam’s namesake team) play the Nationals. That was all I had to worry about. Sam had to push through the pain of his broken leg and open wound because he had a new Republic to create and protect, an undisciplined army to command, a dictator to keep alive at all costs, and political foes to keep an eye on.

Here are three things of interest to know about Sam’s wound:

First, he ignored it. After the battle was over, though he was suffering great pain and his boot was filled with blood, he met with his commanders to make sure they understood that two Mexican armies were still in the neighborhood within striking distance. Vigilance was essential to securing this newly-won independence. Once confident that all was well for the time being, he said, “Gentlemen, I have been shot. I must go tend to this wound.”

The second interesting thing is that there is a famous painting showing Sam Houston talking to Santa Anna, under a tree while reclined on a rug. His lower right leg is bandaged. The painting was titled, “The Surrender of Santa Anna” by William Henry Huddle. It hangs in the Texas State Capitol in Austin. Beautiful work. Many a fine biographer, influenced by that painting, wrote that Sam’s right leg was broken. But his wound was actually to his left leg. That painting had the power of a photograph, I suppose. It’s a trivial difference, but interesting that the perception lasted so long. It was only in 2002 that Richard Rice discovered an 1853 letter that Sam wrote to his wife in which he said that his left leg still troubled him from the “old San Jacinto wound.”

The third interesting thing is that Sam’s wound at San Jacinto got worse, probably infected – though they didn’t yet know about germs. Sam developed a fever and his doctor wanted to send him to New Orleans for expert treatment. David G. Burnet, then Interim President of Texas, didn’t want to grant him leave. He wanted him to stay with the army, but Sam’s doctor and friends convinced Burnet that he was in danger of dying if he didn’t go. So Burnet relented.

Sam was met in New Orleans like an American hero. He fainted on the docks from his fever. They carried him to the hospital on a stretcher. According to biographer James Haley, when his stretcher passed by a beautiful, violet-eyed 17-year-old there on the docks, she reported that she felt the “eerie sensation of destiny sweep through her.” I guess you have to say young Margaret Lea’s intuition was good. Three years later, when she was twenty and Sam was 48, they were married and eventually had eight children. They had their happily ever after, which may have never happened had he not been wounded at San Jacinto. Cupid works in mysterious ways.

I’m sure Sam thought his wound was a stroke of bad luck that came at the worst time. But the Greek idea of the fates makes sense here. Not all bad luck is truly bad. Sometimes bad luck is just a means of moving you to a better road.

Hopefully that is true for me, too. I would not likely have thought to write this if I hadn’t taken an unfortunate tumble down the stairs in my rush to eat golden brown pancakes one perfect Sunday morning. A convalescence is a terrible thing to waste.

The Zoltars: “Downtown”

Looking to toss some lighthearted, lackadaisical charm into the mix? Your wish is granted! Combining languid vocals with indie-shoegaze-inspired arrangements, local four-piece The Zoltars has been bringing good fortune upon the Live Music Capital dating back to before their 2012 debut Should I Try Once More? and they’ve recently made an auspicious announcement.

The Zoltars will couple their familiar lo-fi style with high-end production clarity on their fourth full-length, Telling Stories, featuring a dozen new tunes. You can offer some tokens of appreciation to The Zoltars tomorrow afternoon during their free in-store performance at Waterloo Records and again later that night at Hotel Vegas for the Telling Stories release show! And to break into the Zoltars’ Halloween stash a day early, enjoy “Downtown”!

Inflammable Material

Stiff Little Fingers got their start in 1977 in their hometown of Belfast, Ireland, as, of all things, a cover band called Highway Star. Difficult to believe, but true. However, all that changed with their discovery of punk rock. With a new name and attitude, SLF came out roaring with their fiery debut, Inflammable Material (1979), on Rough Trade. The first single, “Suspect Device” (featured on today’s AMM) was sent to John Peel, who – as the story goes – played it quite a bit on his show. Chaos reigned supreme.

Despite a break-up in 1982, and several line-up changes over the years, with vocalist Jake Burns being the only remaining founder in the band, Stiff Little Fingers continues to tour throughout the world. This year, they’ve embarked upon their 40th anniversary tour commemorating their debut album, and that includes a stop in Austin for a show tonight at Barracuda, 611 E. 7th St. San Francisco band – one of the first to emerge in San Francisco’s scene –  The Avengers kicks off the show, which is one hell of an opener. The real deal. Doors at 8 p.m. So recommended.

-Photography by Shirley Sexton.

Texas Standard: October 29, 2019

The house prepares for a Thursday impeachment vote. We’ll take a look at what that means. Also, a state board designed to keep spending in check has been working without a director, losing all its executive team and is shedding staff. The rotting away may be part of a plan by the Lt. Governor, we’ll explore. And after a threat from the Governor, Austin is clearing out some of its homeless camps, we’ll have details. Plus, it’s a part of New Mexico rich with roughnecks. Now some are saying they wish they could secede and join Texas, and they may be only half kidding. All of that and then some today on the Texas Standard:

The Pressure Kids: “Inspiration Blues”

For Nashville’s The Pressure Kids, what began in the frivolity of college freshmen year has since graduated into a tight-knit five-piece, whose supportive internal bonds run remarkably deep. Just in the past year alone, TPK’s recipe for rock (heard best in their March self-titled EP) has earned them touring spots alongside The Regrettes and Cayucas, as well as recognition in national publications.

But that doesn’t mean The Pressure Kids are ready to release the valve on their steadily building force. Keep on the lookout for the upcoming The Pressure Kids: Vol. 2, out December 6th, and get a gauge on the EP with one of its six new songs, “Inspiration Blues”!

Mohawk Monday Night

It’s a big night this evening for fans of UK nu-jazz/electronic outfit The Cinematic Orchestra. Their tour supporting To Believe, their first studio album since 2007, includes a stop in Austin for a performance tonight at the Mohawk, 912 Red River, on the outside stage. Electronic experimental artist Evan Shornstein‘s solo project Photay, and L.A. artist PBDY, open the show.

But today’s Austin Music Minute also puts the spotlight on the following show on the inside stage at the Mohawk, featuring sets by Austin-based songwriter and guitarist Michael Hays; local indie-psych outfit Pretty Little Thieves (featured on today’s AMM), and alt.-folk band Dead Animal. Doors at 8 p.m. All recommended.

-Photo of Pretty Little Thieves courtesy of the artist.

Texas Standard: October 28, 2019

Houston: for sale to the highest bidder? Allegations against the incumbent mayor rocking the race in Texas’ biggest city. We’ll have a closer look. Also, why a major Texas city appears to be an outlier amid good news in the fight against the spread of HIV. And the large building some east Texas developers would rather you not go into when checking out the subdivision. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Sarah Jaffe: “Small Talk”

After cementing herself in the bustling music scene at UNT in Denton a dozen years ago, Sarah Jaffe has become one of the most adventurous songwriters the Lone Star State has to offer. Whether it’s with hints of hip hop, indie pop, or acoustic folk, the idiosyncrasies of Jaffe’s pristine vocals has allowed her to conquer pretty much whatever style she wants.

Electronic production finds itself at the forefront of Jaffe’s latest EP, the seven-song SMUT that came out last Friday. One of SMUT’s boldest offerings comes coupled with a lyric video created entirely in Windows 95, matching the minimalist aesthetic of this pop song without glossing over any of the pleasantries that make Sarah Jaffe stand out, “Small Talk”!

Photo: Lindsey Byrnes

Higher Ed: Letting Go Of The “Noise” To Prioritize Better In School And Life

Most people – students included – have a long to-do list but are short on ideas for how to tackle it. In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton discuss strategies for deciding what should top the list.

Ed suggests that removing things from the list might actually be an effective first step in prioritizing what is there.

“I just look at them, and if I can dispense with it instantly, I just do,” says Ed. “And that could be including just forwarding it on to the right person…. That gets a lot of stuff off your desk immediately.”

Okay, so now that the list is shorter, what is the best way to determine what gets attention first? This is where some discernment comes in.

“There’s stuff that you just have to say, ‘I can’t worry about that. That is just a distraction,'” says Ed. “And that I think is the ultimate in prioritizing which is saying, ‘that’s essential. This is exactly why I exist. And this is just noise.’ And the noise you have to let go.”

When those essential tasks are chosen, Ed then advocates for working in parallel on items on the list rather than trying to get them completely finished one by one.

“Just do something for a little bit,” suggests Ed. “And then if all of a sudden you’ve lost your mojo on that thing, then just put it aside and don’t say ‘I’m going to push right through that’ say ‘okay, enough of that, let me do something else.'”

Ed concedes there is a practical side to prioritizing work and tasks but also an emotional side. Listen to the entire episode to hear more about how to make peace with prioritizing – especially when other people are unhappy with those decisions. And you will want to make the new puzzler a priority for this week; it is a little bit math and a little bit art.

This episode was recorded on Sept. 25, 2019.

Cory Minor-Smith (Ep. 47, 2019)

This week on In Black America, producer and host John L. Hanson, Jr. speaks with Corey Minor Smith, attorney, transformational speaker, former Canton, Ohio at-large city council member, and author of #Driven, which chronicles her experiences with a family member’s mental illness.

In Person

White Denim gets a few prog rock references thrown into various critiques, and fair enough. But the live performances speak in more vast volumes. Imagine prog flipped over on its behemoth technical and artistic complexities into a kind of funk/soul maelstrom – the fusion, but on fire.

White Denim will release their first-ever live album, In Person, this Tuesday through their label, Radio Milk – which, by the way, is also their recording studio and an awesome East Austin performance space. In Person follows two spectacular back-to-back releases: Performance in late 2018, and Side Effects, which came out earlier this year.

Tonight is the second night of two album release shows for In Person at Radio Milk, 2300 Coronado St., starting at 8 p.m. This one comes very recommended.

-As of this writing, tonight’s show is sold out.

-Photo of White Denim courtesy of the artist.

KUT Weekend – October 25, 2019

Nobody seems to support Austin’s Proposition A, but we still have to vote on it. Plus, Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen resigns after a secretly made audio recording becomes public. And Austin’s music history is being preserved at a local museum that is opening in a new space this weekend. Those stories and more in this edition of KUT Weekend!

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McHigh Five

One of the newest up-and-comers to shake up the local scene is ultra-fab glam-punk outfit Lord Friday the 13th, featuring siblings Sloane Lenz and Felix Lenz. Just add having a band to their already full roster, which includes modeling, acting, art and fashion (Sloan is a designer with her own fantastic and whimsical line).

La familia Lenz has had their band for just under a year, but are making headway with this magnificent DIY aesthetic, a renegade blend of dirty glam/punk/rock, and a rotating cast of badass talented musicians (Jon Fichter of Sweet Spirit and Hong Kong Wigs; producer Frenchie Smith). And it looks as though a new album is on the not-too-distant horizon, if the band’s recent chat with Johnny Goudie on How Did I Get Here? is any indication. Let’s hope that’s the case.

More to come from these movers and shakers. Truth be told, your Austin Music Minute maven is one smitten kitten. Don’t miss Lord Friday the 13th when they play tonight at The Electric Church, 5018 E. Cesar Chavez. They join Houston psych rockers Cactus Flowers and Central Pennsylvania-based rockers Split Pistols on the bill. Doors at 9 p.m. So recommended.

-Photography by Kat Alyst.