Showing posts with label Features. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Features. Show all posts

Apr 12, 2024

Mixed Music Action: Volume 3, No. 1

By Jeremy Pinnell & Kevin Broughton

This weekend features one of the greatest cards in UFC history, so what better time for the return of your favorite combat troubadour and his trusty scribe? Georgia Pinnell fans, there’s big news for you, too, so let’s dig right in.

What's up, partner? Been a good minute. We've got two major events coming up shortly, UFC 300, and the return of Jeremy Pinnell to the Peach State for the first time in three years. Which are you looking more forward to? I mean, pay-per-views come around every few weeks, but how pumped are you to hang with your partner-bro in journalisming? And do you know anybody who can get a boy on the guest list?

Kevin, I’m stoked for this Pay Per View. I wish I was gonna be home to watch it, but whatevs. Also, I am stoked to hang out and officially meet you in person. I feel like we’ve been going back and forth for over two years on whether or not you’re a government spy or some kind of plant, to expose the alt country music scene for what it really is? I’m guessing a little bit of both but I’m all in either way. Honestly, I’m just happy to be on the road. 

If your phone’s not getting blown up with money requests from the RFK Jr. campaign, it’s missing a great opportunity. This UFC card..."stacked" and "loaded" don't really seem to do it justice. Just to give the fans some perspective, we've got the No. 5 and No. 2 contenders going at it for the next shot at the 205 title; Calvin Kattar fighting the former bantamweight champ; and former women's welterweight champion Holly Holm facing an incoming judo beastess...on the preliminary card. How nuts is this lineup?

Dawg…even the early prelims are worth the pay per view buy in my opinion. This will be pure entertainment all night. 

I want to get to the main card in a second, but there's been a lot of buzz about the lady newcomer, Kayla Harrison. She won judo gold medals in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, fighting at 172 pounds, and ran through the 155 division in PFL. Now she'll fight former women's champ Holly 135 pounds. 

Harrison is close to a -500 favorite in her UFC debut. But man, she's probably been not just cutting weight, but making major lifestyle and physiological changes. That's a big challenge, but if she gets to 135 the day before the fight, do you see bad things for the lovely Holly Holm?

I watched her sizzle reel, and she is an absolute animal but 135 lbs. is a huge cut from 175. I’m assuming Holly is 100% comfortable fighting at that weight? I’m a Holly fan but we’ll see.

See YouTube Short Izzy Couldn't Stop My Takedowns

Looking to the main card, man, what a spread! Let's start with former lightweight champ Charles Oliveira, whose only loss in about 10 years is to Islam Makhachev. He's the No. 1 contender for the belt, and he's an underdog to Arman Tsarukyan, who's number 4 in line. It says a lot about a packed 155 division, doesn't it? 

Honestly, I’m just excited to see Oliveira fight. He such a measured martial artist and his submission game is one of the best. Both their records kind of even out. Very exciting matchup. 

Dana White threw a fun one in for the fans: Justin Gaethje will put his BMF belt on the line against Max Holloway. This one ought to be fun; I think Justin's a healthy favorite for a reason, but Max is a tough out for anybody. What's your read on this one? 

I love the BMF belt! Justin is one of my favorite fighters but so is Max, and Max is only 31, and only getting better. He struggled with Volk, which really surprised me how much he took. That fight made you realize how good Volk really was. This matchup is just pure excitement and fun. Both of these guys are killers.

Turning to music, word on the streets you've been spinning a lot of Sierra Ferrell. Mixed Music Action Headquarters approves! In these days when a fella can't go 30 seconds without hearing about Taylor Swift or Beyonce, what do you like most about your fellow Appalachian artist?

Sierra seems like she’s just doing what she wants, and people are catching on. I love it when artists do what they want and people catch up. I had the opportunity to see her live last year, and she was amazing; blew everyone away. Her new record is so powerful; it takes you to a place, and that’s how you know it’s good: When you find yourself somewhere else.

It’s powerful.

Also, I told you I was listening to BigXThaplug and you paid no mind. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Sometimes you assume things were told you in confidence.] But in this serious time you need people enjoying life, and I’ve been going through his entire catalog. It may be the best hip hop going right now. I’m answering these questions in the tour van. You owe me a coffee. I appreciate ya, Kevin. 

Dec 15, 2023

Mixed Music Action, Vol. 2, No. 5

By Jeremy Pinnell & Kevin Broughton

The UFC closes out the year with its final pay-per-view of 2023, as do your humble journalistic correspondents, Jeremy “I’ll choke your ass out” Pinnell, and Kevin “don’t do it with the actual blue belt, please save my dignity” Broughton, with their expert analysis. Seriously: This might be a fight worth the 70-ish bucks Dana is charging via ESPN+. Or not. Read on.


Kevin:  Hey, dude. It's been a minute. These last few UFC events have been pretty underwhelming, and you've been busy. Playing music and (checks notes) earning a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu! First off, congratulations. Let's use this moment to educate me a little on BJJ; I assume there's a basic set of standards (holds/escapes/etc.) you have to achieve. In general terms, what involved in earning a blue belt, and what was the process like for you? 


It took me almost 3 years to get my blue belt, maybe a little more? I was traveling quite a bit and I would become inconsistent in my training. I don’t know much about rank but I’m surely beginning to understand, and your capacity to use and comprehend technique has a big role in advancement. Plus commitment, obviously. 

If I recall correctly, I had to go through multiple guard passing techniques and sweeps. I’m sure there was more involved, but my memory goes quick these days.


Kevin: After some not-so-compelling fight cards, UFC 296 has excellent potential to close out the year on a high note. Colby "Make Fighting Stupid Again" Covington gets his third shot at welterweight gold, this time against Leon Edwards...who's twice beaten Covington's former nemesis, Kamaru Usman. I have to say, I think the wrong fighter is favored here; Edwards is a -155 favorite to Colby's +130. My gut tells me Covington's size, strength and wrestling will be too much for Leon. Pinnell, am I missing something?


Jeremy: No, I don’t think you’re missing anything. Colby is a banger. It’s gonna be interesting; although I like Edwards he wouldn’t be my favorite on this fight.


Kevin:  There are a couple of tasty matchups on the undercard. UFC all-around nice guy and welterweight gatekeeper Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson stands between Kazakhstan mauler Shavkat Rakhmonov and a run at the 170 title. These Soviet-bloc Sambo dudes are all pretty scary; can Wonderboy keep this guy at range? I kinda crave a Wonderboy spin-kick for the upset win, but that’s me talking with my heart. 


Jeremy: Shavkat’s record is clean. Wonderboy always amazes me. That’s an interesting matchup. Gonna make for a great fight.


Kevin: Finally, may we talk about Tony Ferguson? From October 2013 to June 2019 our guy won 12 straight fights, besting the likes of Rafael dos Anjos, Edson Barboza, Josh Thompson, and Athony Pettis. Then he lost to Justin Gaethje and five more guys in succession. Tony's 39 and on a six-fight skid. Does he have enough in the tank to beat Fatty Pimblett, the most overrated UFC fighter since Coke Monkey McGregor? 

Jeremy: Honestly, after seeing Paddy propped up by the UFC, this is kind of a lame fight considering Tony is on his last leg. Although I hope Tony knocks him out. 


Kevin: Fine, but I’m pretty sure he goes by “Fatty.” And Tony is kind of a brain-dead lunatic, but I’m with you. 


You recently closed out a stretch of dates to end your touring year.  Did you have a favorite, or most memorable this year, and are you trying out any new material on the road? 


Jeremy:  I’ve been to New York multiple times, and this time it was different. It was like I understood it or something? We had lunch at the famous Nom Wah Tea House, and I bought a fake Rolex and gifts for the family. It was maybe a highlight. We also hit Texas this year, and that was a great tour with good friends. It’s been a good year. Of course we’ve been running new ideas; you have to. 


Kevin: You told me you've been listening to Croy And The Boys a good bit here lately, and I'm thankful you turned me on to them! Other than the honky-tonk ethos, what drew you to these guys? Have y'all ever crossed paths? 


Jeremy: So, I got to meet these guys at the Ameripolitan awards and just dove into their music after hearing the tune “I Get By.” I felt like I fell upon a gold mine. Seriously, they might be my favorite current band? 


Kevin: Well, here’s one of theirs from 2017, “Leaving’s The Last Thing,” but stick with me anyway, Slick.


Kevin: I gave you the rare homework assignment a couple weeks back: Watch this documentary about Tom Petty and the making of Wildflowers. I tend to come up goose eggs when I float a musical suggestion to you; please tell me you're not a Tom Petty hater, Jeremy! Did anything stand out to you about the recording/producing/song selection portions of this film? 


Jeremy: Actually Kevin, I did watch it and enjoyed it very much. I love Tom Petty. I connected with his relationships with musicians, and the idea of moving away from the normal way of doing things and making your own path to create good art. It’s hard to create something beautiful in a hostile or damaged place with musicians. It’s good to do your own thing. Unapologetically. 


Kevin: Aight, Cuz. Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year to all the Pinnells.




Nov 16, 2023

A Poignant, Bittersweet Coda: Tom Petty’s Final Farewell

By Kevin Broughton


While it’s difficult to believe, last month marked the sixth anniversary of the passing of Tom Petty. If there’s a Kubler-Ross subset of the stages of grief for great artists, one step is the crushing knowledge that his catalog is now finite. And of course, there’s the garden-variety heartache that accompanies the death of the front man of arguably the greatest American rock band. 


But with a cinematic time capsule, Tom Petty: Somewhere You Feel Free – The Making of Wildflowers, fans of the Heartbreakers get a final look back. It’s not new – there was a limited theatrical release in 2021 – but will now enjoy wide viewership thanks to Amazon Prime. 


Directed by Mary Wharton and Anne Ethridge, it relies heavily on a tranche of old footage someone discovered in the early 2000s – a video diary of the making of what Petty considered his best work, shot from 1993-1995 and never seen before. There’s a surreal aspect that makes the film all the more haunting: Intermixed with scenes of the album’s production – Tom was in his early 40s and had a little more than 20 years to live – are present day interviews with Heartbreakers Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell, along with Rick Rubin, the producer Petty settled on reluctantly. It’s counterintuitive to hear Petty say at the time, “You know, Rick was a lot younger than all of us,” then cut to a scene of the silver-bearded uber mensch producer reflecting on work now three decades old. 


The Wildflowers album – not a Heartbreakers record – came at a time of transition for Petty, whose marriage was falling apart, and the band. The rhythm section underwent a 100 percent turnover. Drummer Stan Lynch, seemingly always mercurial and contrarian, was underwhelmed with the Wildflowers demos and moved on. The last cut he ever played with the band was “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” and that wasn’t even a part of those sessions. Petty needed two more cuts for a greatest hits album he owed the suits to get out of his deal with MCA. 


Bassist Ron Blair – burned out by the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle – punched out to open a lingerie shop. Petty poached Howie Epstein from Del Shannon, who would put in ten great years before succumbing to heroin. His presence on screen evokes another heartache. 


New drummer Steve Farrone, who would be a Heartbreaker to the end, tells the wonderful story of his top-secret audition. He had no idea what was going on, “Then I walked in and saw Tom Petty and Mike Campbell in the control room, and said, ‘Ooooooooh.’”


Footage of the composing/arranging/recording is bittersweet; seeing the chemistry, the artistry – the love – it’s so beautiful and touching. But the knowledge that you’ll never see it again will leave a hole in your heart. A constant back-and-forth during the process was whether to make Wildflowers a double album. That was ultimately decided in the negative, and Petty spent three agonizing months just whittling and sequencing the final 15 songs that make up the hour-and-six-minute record. But the scrawny kid from Gainesville was rewarded with a posthumous triumph in 2020, when the mammoth, 54-track Wildflowers & All The Rest was released. 


Rest easy, Tom. You’re missed. 



Oct 11, 2023

Defending Patty Loveless, 24 Years Later

By Bobby Peacock

On April 9, 1999, Mark Robison of the Reno Gazette-Journal published a review of Patty Loveless's Classics in the newspaper's entertainment insert Calendar. (Link here: ) Now, I'm no stranger to hot takes myself, including a couple on Patty Loveless. Namely, I think she has about 50 songs better than "How Can I Help You Say Goodbye" (which is not to say that one its itself bad; it's just a "very good" in a sea of "excellent to legendary"); her cover of "Lovin' All Night" is by far her worst single and misses the point of the song; and her voice sticks out like a sore thumb on Alan Jackson's otherwise-great "Monday Morning Church.” But when it comes to hot takes, Robison is a Carolina reaper.


For those who don't know, Patty Loveless underwent vocal cord surgery in October 1992 during her transition from MCA Nashville to Epic Nashville. The overwhelming consensus in country music is that her Epic catalog in the '90s is considered some of the best country music of the entire decade, due to both her voice and overall quality control taking a massive leap. This is a consensus with which I strongly agree, and this is why I'm shocked at Robison's take. Let's break it down point by point.


"[T]here's less range.” I'm not sure if he means emotionally or vocally, so I'll assume both. I don't think vocal strength is defined entirely by range, although I'll address that point anyway. Loveless's voice would most likely be classified as an alto, and just looking at the sheet music shows a wider range on some of her Epic material. For example, she hits G♭3 several times on "Lonely Too Long,” a song whose highest note is a B♭5, and she would later go a half-step lower to F3 on the lowest notes of "The Last Thing on My Mind.” By comparison, "Chains" and "Timber, I'm Falling in Love" both require a vocal range of exactly one octave: from B3 (the note just below middle C) to B4 on the former, and from C♯4 to C♯5 on the latter. At first glance, this would suggest that the lower end of her range became more pronounced post-surgery with little to no negative impact on the upper range. Furthermore, this live performance of "Timber, I'm Falling in Love" -- which while undated, is clearly sometime after her surgery -- shows that the higher notes were still easily within her range: "Timber, I'm Falling in Love." And if you saw her sing "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive" with Chris Stapleton last year, you'd know she clearly hasn't lost a step with age.


Emotional range, however, is a bit more subjective. It's well known that I'm not a fan of belting divas, which were already a thing in country music in 1999. If you play a Patty Loveless song next to, for example, "Whatever You Say" by Martina McBride, then the latter is probably going to sound more dynamic thanks to her extended belting (to be fair, this is one of the few Martina McBride songs on which I can tolerate such an approach). But to me, the beauty of Patty Loveless is how she doesn't need volume to convey emotion. "Here I Am" and "How Can I Help You Say Goodbye" have softer deliveries befitting the songs, while she still has the muscle for something more upbeat like "Blame It on Your Heart" or "She Drew a Broken Heart,” and all are equally nuanced in her reads. There were several up-tempos in the 90s that were kneecapped by limp deliveries (Ricky Van Shelton's "Wild Man" comes to mind), but I guarantee you none of them were by Patty.


For comparison, listen to any Jo Dee Messina record. I've never been impressed with her voice, as she seems to sing everything in the exact same delivery, and she rode the "you go girl" shtick so far into the ground that I genuinely do not remember the three singles between "Bring On the Rain" (her best, both lyrically and vocally) and her embarrassing cover of Joe Diffie's "My Give a Damn's Busted.” To this day, I still get "I'm Alright" and "Bye, Bye" mixed up, and I also have zero memory of "Because You Love Me" (which therefore means it is the worst song by the usually reliable Kostas, whose name is on many a Loveless album). There's just too little vocally, instrumentally, or lyrically to make most of her songs stand out from each other, and I often find her delivery so impersonal that I wonder if some sort of voice synthesis program was used. And thus, "I don't like Jo Dee Messina" is my hot take for the day.


"[L]ess adventurousness and simply less spunk" is also hard to quantify. Yes, if you look at the ten songs on her MCA Greatest Hits, the only real ballads on it are "If My Heart Had Windows" and "Don't Toss Us Away"; everything else is mid-tempo or upbeat. She just didn't do a lot of ballads early on, although she did end her MCA tenure with the very Patsy Cline-esque "Can't Stop Myself from Loving You.” While she did start hitting with ballads on Epic, it's not like she gave up on up-tempo by a long shot. I'm sure you're all familiar with such upbeat hits of hers as "Blame It on Your Heart" or "I Try to Think About Elvis.” And she did throw a few curve balls here and there. Listen to the keyboard riff on "You Will,” the plot twist in the last verse of "Here I Am,” or her standing toe-to-toe with George Jones on "You Don't Seem to Miss Me.” Or hell, just the fact that "To Have You Back Again" is probably the only country song with the word "chameleon" in it.


"[I]t's harder to distinguish her from all the other women on country radio.” I never thought that at all, not even as a kid when I had far lesser understanding of artistry. While she didn't write her songs, her husband Emory Gordy Jr. produced nearly all of her albums, and the sound is pristine. There's no multi-tracking like Alan Jackson; no rock hooks like Shania; no Phil Collins snares and heavy reverb like early Toby Keith; and no blaring Dann Huff guitars. Sure, the heavy twang puts her in a similar league as Reba McEntire or Natalie Maines, but at the same time, Patty never chased trends or derived herself from other artists. She didn't do dance remixes. She didn't start doing overwrought pop ballads at the end of the '90s (a mistake even Reba made). or try to do a Shania Twain-style rocker. Every single song in her Epic catalog feels like something she wanted to make because it was her music.


"As for the songwriting, it's not just derivative but lazy.” Oh, really? You mean "blame it on your lyin', cheatin', cold, dead-beatin', two-timin', double-dealin', mean, mistreatin', lovin' heart" is lazy? A hook like "you can feel bad if it makes you feel better" or "holdin' onto nothin' but the wheel" is lazy? A song whose entire premise is mocking the man who's still carring a flame for you -- because you're still carrying a flame for him too -- is lazy? Yeah, I'm not seeing it. Now, around 1980-81 when it felt like every other song by a country woman had the word "cheatin'" in it? That was lazy.


Speaking of "Nothin' but the Wheel,” how the hell does that sound like Rosanne Cash? Her music cast a wide net too: the shiny pop crossover of "Seven Year Ache,” the old-school folk of "Tennessee Flat Top Box" (a personal favorite), the protest-tinged "What We Really Want,” the haunting "September When It Ends.”.. all different, all clearly Rosanne Cash, and none of them sounding even remotely like "Nothin' but the Wheel.” And how is a list song of any kind, "I Try to Think About Elvis" or otherwise, anything remotely close to Mary Chapin Carpenter? She never did list songs to my knowledge, and her up-tempos always had meat on their bones. Just look at "I Feel Lucky.” Finally, there's comparing "Blame It on Your Heart" to Highway 101's "Honky Tonk Heart.” Now, I love Highway 101. Paulette Carlson's tremolo-heavy voice over those tight harmonies, mixing California country-rock guitars in all the while? That stuff's aged like fine wine to me. "Honky Tonk Heart" is a peppy breakup shuffle with a couple unusual chord changes, meaning just on structure alone, it could hardly be different from the evenly-measured, unrelenting tongue-twister that is "blame it on your lyin', cheatin', cold, dead-beatin', two-timin', double-dealin', mean, mistreatin', lovin' heart.” (I just wanted to type that again to prove I could do it from memory.)


As someone with a bit of experience as a music critic, I know what it's like to have an unpopular opinion. So I'm not looking to trash Mark Robison here. This review's from 1999, and he probably doesn't agree with every word of it 24 years later (if he even remembers writing it at all). I was just flabbergasted by the tone of the review and felt a counterpoint to it would be a good match for my own brand of analytical wit.

Feb 16, 2023

Austin is Full of Good Bars and Old Guitars, So Here Comes Chris Castro

By Robert Dean

One of the brightest voices coming out of the Austin dive bar scene is Chris Castro. Putting in his time, one song after another, Castro is finding his speed and niche within the city that calls itself “the Live Music Capital of the World” and is doing so on his terms. Castro’s recent single, “Good Bars and Old Guitars,” it’s a clear shot into a world that’s a little Travis Tritt and a little Cody Jinks. If there’s any good place to kick off a new home in Austin – it’s right here in this pocket. Having moved up from his native Houston, Castro is taking a chance on Austin’s laid-back vibes and appreciation for live music to ply his trade. 

The single is a solid look into what Castro is capable of as he develops into an artist, but more so one who’ll be influenced by his experiences in Austin, slugging it out in the clubs, seeing how vicious some of the players are when handed a guitar or a pair of drum sticks, having one too many cold Lone stars. 

Check out “Good Bars and Old Guitars” here and the video is below.

Feb 17, 2022

Who TF is Clancy Jones and Where Did He Come From? 

By Robert Dean

Clancy Jones is the real deal. I mean, yes, he’s got the requisite cool tattoos everywhere, the faded denim shirt that looks like it’s been through the war. Jones looks like he knows how to scrap after a few Jamesons, but, don’t like the fa├žade fool you – the dude lives in the middle of Nowhere, Oklahoma working on a ranch doing man shit like moving cattle, and in his spare time writes incredible songs that dance in the shadows of artists like JD McPherson, Leon Bridges, Turnpike Troubadours, and Lucero. 

On his debut record, Found My Way, Jones taps into themes of heartbreak, travel the forgotten American roads, and obviously – figuring out who he is one scar at a time. And the results were worth whatever hell Jones managed to dance through. 

“Blacktop Bound” sounds like any sold-out Saturday night at Austin’s famed Continental Club. The drive, the beat, and the funk are all in the mix, ready for a spilled beer and secretly exchanged numbers, away from prying eyes. 

The songs on Found My Way are dripping with massive organs, dirty guitar tones, a long moan into the void. Jones delivers a must listen to anyone deep into Americana and who likes looking for trouble. The slower country-tinged tunes are excellent. They speak the language of someone who’s wound up in one too many dive bars alone for one wrong reason or another. Still, it’s the foot stompers like the previously mentioned “Blacktop Bound” or “Mexican Gold” is where Jones truly shines, proving he could play with the big dogs who love good timin’ and getting into trouble. If you see Jones’ name on the marquee of your local dance hall in the coming months or years, don’t be surprised. Just roll a joint, put on your shitkickers and get out there and party your ass off. That’s  what his music thrives on – the pulsing beat of “fuck just say no, let’s all say hell yes.”

Found My Way is out May 13th.

Oct 20, 2021

Austin, TX Still Has Plenty of Bands you Need to Listen to ASAP

By Robert Dean

I’m coming close to a decade in Austin, Texas. I’ve seen the changes, and yeah, some of them are worth complaining over. But, as the city evolves and becomes one Thanos stone away from some megalopolis that only Elon Musk can afford, there’s still plenty of aspects to this cultural wonderland to celebrate. Great Tex-Mex is everywhere, no shortage of cheap Lonestars at beer joints across the city, and there’s still hot music every night of the week. 

Hippies and cowboys shit-kicking one another built this city on the good timin’ sounds of Willie and Waylon. Since then we’ve seen the rise of bands like Black Pumas, Ghostland Observatory, and Gary Clark Jr, who all showcase the best things about the Capital City every night throughout all corners of the world. 

Keeping housing affordable in town so the creative class can continue to live here is critical to maintaining the identity of Austin intact because as much as we all love dorks on Bird scooters zipping around downtown in their $500 Nikes, we need the artists, musicians, and now comedians.

With so many good bands playing every night, I thought it was imperative to share some of the music that folks need to know, ones that show the best of what the city has to offer. If you dig what they do, buy some merch, stream their stuff, or catch them on tour. And if you can’t do any of those things, there’s always planning a vacation. 

In no particular order, these are some of the bands you need to know in Austin right now: 


GoodEye delivers some heavy psyche that’s got serious Sleep meets Radiohead vibes. They’re heavy but not scared to get all “Shine on You Crazy Diamond,” either. If you’re looking to smoke out before going to Riff City, this is your band, Cheech.

Riverboat Gamblers 

Classic Austin punk rock. Should need no introduction. Super fun and super insane live shows where no beer is safe from being thrown, just as no surface won’t get crawled on and jumped from.

The Mellows
If you’re in the market for grooves straight from the malt shop, The Mellows deliver the goods. These guys do straight 1950’s do-wop with a twist of early rock and roll. Fantastic. 


Another classic Austin band that should be a bigger deal than they are. If you’re looking for that wild-ass early Butthole Surfers vibe, these guys bring it like total fucking weirdos. These dudes are that perfect drunk marriage of country and punk that smells like spilled Bud Light and cheap reefer. If you’re in Austin for a weekend and these guys pop up on Showlist, don’t sleep on them. Buy that ticket. 

Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol

Yeah, weird name, but pound for pound, the best metal band in Austin.  Riffs for days, everything has a hook, and they’re totally in on the joke. Any chance I get to catch the Rickshaw, I take it. I even have their sticker on my laptop. And I don’t listen to a ton of metal. 

The Sword
Yep, the local gods are still around and still ruling. It’s a fucking crime these dudes aren’t everyone’s favorite band. Either way, they’re still here, and they never stopped being awesome. 

Nether Hour
If you’re looking for that country-rock slug that goes straight to the dome, Netherhour brings the noise. Think Allman Brothers meets Al Green. There’s a lot of deep country soul here. Netherhour also serves as the house band for many of comedians’ Redban and Tony Hinchcliffe’s live shows at comedy hotspot, Vulcan Gas Company. 

Trace of Lime
Another Vulcan Gas Company house band, Trace of Lime, is straight-up 90’s alternative worship. It’s weird being old enough to see my years in high school become a musical source of inspiration, but these kids are doing the decade justice. This is right up your alley if you’re a fan of Dinosaur Jr, the Pixies, or the Violent Femmes. Plus, these guys crush live, too. 

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These kids aren’t even drinking age, and they’re getting on all of the best crusty hardcore and punk shows in Austin for a reason: they deliver. The music is abrasive, fierce, and with them still being so young, like high school young, this is a band who’s only going to get more pissed off as the years fall within the hourglass.

Transit Method
Think Mars Volta meets Smashing Pumpkins riffs and then layer in Coheed and Cambria. That’s Transit Method. They’re a band you need to watch just as much as listen thanks to how complex and layered the playing can go from small moments to gigantic movements, all with a riff that one minute sounds straight from the Grateful Dead’s catalog and then goes all rock and roll city. 

David Ramirez
If there’s one singer-songwriter you need to embrace in the cultural history of Austin, it’s this guy. David Ramirez is the real deal. He’s no-frills and comes from the school of the heart of George Strait, but has all of these moments that are more art school and Echo and the Bunnymen all within a breath. If you’re into Black Pumas or Tyler Childers, David Ramirez should be on your playlist just the same. 


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