Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pixies, Austin Music Hall, Sept. 21, 2010

I've seen some legendary bands in my day, but few are as legendary as the Pixies. It's hard to believe that Doolittle came out more than 20 years ago, but the music still sounds fresh and relevant. While some of their songs have morphed into pop anthems (Here Comes Your Man and Monkey Gone to Heaven, for 2 examples), they remain a hard-edge punk band at the core. Loud and awesome. Every band since them has borrowed a bass line from Kim Deal. And, to this day, no one is like them. What a fantastic show.

Here Comes Your Man

Monkey Gone to Heaven

And because I live in Austin, I was able to drop by the Belmont on my way to the Pixies show and catch a few songs by Platinum-selling, '90s icons Fastball. Just another day in the music city :-) They sounded great, drew a big crowd.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Salim Nourallah Previews Hit Parade, Sessions at OTN # 17, Aug. 8, 2010

I love when I get the opportunity to take Sessions on the road, and when I heard that Salim Nourallah was returning to Texas Treefort Studio to work on his own album, I jumped at the chance to visit this special place again. I had been out there in June to interview Rhett Miller about the forthcoming Old 97's CD The Grand Theatre (out on Oct. 12) and had an amazing time exploring this remote, vintage studio. This time out, Salim had assembled a superstar team, including Joe Reyes (Buttercup), John Dufilho (Apples in Stereo, Deathray Davies, I Love Math), Jason Garner (every band you like, including I Love Math and Buttercup) and Richard Martin, and Rip Rowan, all handily assisted by studio engineer Jim Vollentine. Learn more about the CD and how it was funded by fans through Pledge Music on the video.

The interesting thing as I talked to everyone was the theme of the bond across a community of musicians, the ways they work together, share and create are truly inspirational. And the results are stellar. The day I was there, they were working on a song called "The Quitter," which you can hear in the background. The opening and closing song is called "Unstoppable" and that's a finished track, and there's a snippet of "38 Rue de Sevigne" as Salim wrote it in Paris, as it was being filmed by his then 6-year-old son Gavin. Look for a release of what is tentatively titled Hit Parade late this year or early next.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Future Clouds & Radar, ND at 501 Studios, Sept. 2, 2010

A long time ago, before I ever moved to Austin, there was a band called Cotton Mather. I heard them one day on public radio as I was driving around Houston. They were doing an interview and live performance on-air, and I immediately loved them. That might have been the been the beginning of my love for all things Austin and the tiny seed that started my ultimate move here. I saw them at SXSW that year, and then covered them for Texas Music when I did finally arrive. After a great run and some notable references (Oasis was a fan), they suddenly disbanded, leaving fans wondering if they'd ever hear those songs live again.

Years later, Cotton Mather's front man, Robert Harrison, started a new band, Future Clouds and Radar, and they are really amazing. Two CDs and one on the way, they move things beyond the alterna-pop of his previous group. Psychedelic at times, rockin' - Robert is truly a talented guy. And, we all moved on from Cotton Mather. But recently, I had heard that Robert had been adding some Cotton Mather tunes to his set, so I had to check it out. The rumors were true, and Future Clouds (with special guest Joe Reyes of Buttercup) played two CM songs and Robert announced that he was re-releasing Kon Tiki, one of Cotton Mather's great albums. Oh joy! This is really great news and a day I thought would never come. So, please, check out Robert, Future Clouds (with amazing musicians Darin Murphy, Hollie Thomas and Rusty Gebhard) and Cotton Mather!

Openers Hilary York (with whom Joe Reyes also played) and Miranda Dodson were also great. The ND has become my new favorite venue. Quite a nice space, good sound.

Holy Janet Comes on Waves

Ben Kweller, Threadgill's, Aug. 31, 2010

Ben Kweller's lived in Austin for a couple years now, but it's still a treat when he plays for the local audience. The packed crowd at Threadgill's was filled with hardcore fans that sang along to every song. Kweller fronted a solid 3-piece band that played songs from throughout his career, from Sha Sha to his most recent Changing Horses. Sounds like Ben is working on some new stuff, so look for that in the near future.

The Rules

Commerce, TX

Wasted and Ready