BGray’s SxSW Reflection

I had my camera. I took almost 4,000 pictures. That seemed like a lot, but once I factored in the number of bands, the odd things that have to be documented, the friends gathering for shenanigans and the eight long days involved, it really wasn’t surprising. I haven’t done the final tally, but it would be fair to say that I saw part of a set from around seventy bands.

It is my turn to give a rundown on bests and worsts of The Conference. The many highs were tempered by very few lows. I chased that BUZZ that drives the relevant music fan. My summary will be a little different because I did the whole damn thing; twelve movies, several Interactive and film panels and of course all the music.

So, plenty on the movies, panels and bands and a flurry of pics to accompany all that 411 after the break…

Read more

New Punk Single from The Energy

The Texas punk rock scene is alive and well, especially with the likes of Bad Sports, Video, Mind Spiders, etc making waves, in 2011.  But, there’s a well kept secret going on in Houston with the Energy, a band who recently released their album Get Split on Team Science Records.  While they’ve got a little bit in common with the likes of Black Flag, they have a steadier drumming section, and seem to have cooled on the ferocity, making their sound much more palpable for every day listeners.  It’s good to see Houston bringing on some rock, strengthening the punk rock in the great state of Texas.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/03-I-Cant-Stand-Up-1.mp3]

Download: The Energy – I Can’t Stand Up [MP3]

New Punk Jam from VIDEO

For me, 2011 has been an excellent reemergence (in my life, at least) of the punk rock. One of the most recent albums I’ve been spinning a lot lately has come from Denton’s VIDEO.  The band is comprised of members of Wax Museums and Bad Sports, bands I’ve already raved about.  They just released their album, Leather Leather, on Play Pinball! Records, and it’s nothing but a rocking adventure, harkening back to the grittier days of rock n’ roll.  On the track below, the song just builds and builds, exploding in the chorus in dramatic fashion, giving you an impression of a killer live show sure to come (12/28 in Austin). If you’re looking to get your blood boiling, then look no further than right here! And head to the record store to pick up your copy, as you can see that it’s got some unique packaging; I think it’s their to hide the fury inside.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/07-video-red-pills.mp3]

Download: Video – Red Pills [MP3]

Top 15 Texas Albums of 2011

Oh man, is 2011 over already?  It is indeed, which means End of Year list time!  Of course, that means it’s time for you to tell us where we went wrong, but on this list, we’re thinking we got it pretty right on.  You’ll notice we expanded our list to a Top 15 of Texas Artists, as we thought our state did a great job, musically (not politically) speaking this year.  I’ll admit, it might be a little Austin-centric, but we’re based in the town, so get the Austin word a lot faster.  Apologies to Houston and San Antonio, as your scenes weren’t represented, but it’s nothing personal.  Feel free to leave us a comment to yell at us or tell us we were right on.  But, that being said, remember this is just the OPINION of a few dudes keeping it real in Austin.

Read more

Weekend Punk Shows in Austin

We all know that I’m a lover of the punk rock, and I just wanted to share some excellent shows about town this weekend highlighting the good old fashioned rock n’ roll for you.  Below is a quick list of some shows worthy of your attention.

Friday: Curtis James & Grape Street @ Skinny’s Ballroom – FREE!!!

Saturday: Bad Sports, Act Rights – Matinne Show @ 1 PM @ Beerland

Mind Spiders, Birthday Suits, Shit Creek, @ Beerland

John Coleman, Rhett & Dean, Bang B. Theodores @ Frontier Bar

Just a quick list, but some killer shows you should check out.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/bad_sports_teenage_girls.mp3] [audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/bad_sports_teenage_girls.mp3] [audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/01-John-Wesley-Coleman-Track01.mp3]

Show Preview: Bad Sports @ Beerland (8/27)

Date Saturday, August 27th
Location Beerland
Doors 900p
Tickets CHEAP

You all know how much I love my punk rock, and probably the best place in town to enjoy such bands, for me, is Beerland.  It’s the perfect place to catch the gritty power-pop of Bad Sports, the Texas band who’ve been blazing away after the release of their recent record, Kings of the Weekend.  As if one great band wasn’t enough, you’ll get two, with Wax Museums opening up the evening just after Bang Bang Theodores. It’s going to be cheap, there’s going to be booze, and some of the best bands around, so you better get there!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/bad_sports_teenage_girls.mp3]

Download: Bad Sports – Teenage Girls [MP3]


Bad Sports – Kings of the Weekend

Rating: ★★★½☆

Whatever’s in the water in Denton, Texas, people better start to take notice, as the area continues to push out great garage-pop rockers, and Bad Sports are no different. Their second album Kings of the Weekend, this time on Dirtnap Records, is just an energetic burst of great licks, giving you exactly what you need–a solid dosage of good old fashioned rock n’ roll.

The band jumps right in with “Off Switch,” and while garage-pop might be all the rage, this track opens up with a lot more fury than most things associated with the genre, showing you that Bad Sports aren’t here to rehash, they’re here to reimagine on their own terms. From here, the band burst into a bit more territory with hints of the Ramones.

“Cant Just Be Friends” might not have the hammering pace of the Ramones, but you can feel that element of harmony bubbling in the bass, something that truly labels both bands as fans of good old pop music.  “Sweet Sweet Mandi” definitely bears the mark of the classic New York group, with the delivery mimicking Joey, and that hooky chorus that enables you to sing along.

“Teenage Girls” is one of those songs that illustrates the group pushing themselves to live outside of their obvious influences. It’s less punk-infused, going back to more of a garage style of power-pop.  Even the solo cutting in belongs somewhere in the annals of garage/rock/pop history–this is not a bad thing! it’s a similar feeling you’ll find with “You Look Funny,” which has the band using a likeness of the garage sort, just getting a bit dirtier in the final mixing. 

One of the tracks that stood out to me on Kings of the Weekend was “I’m In Love with Myself.”  I love a tune that utilizes simplicity in lyrics, but combines solid pace and a bit of a guitar solo.  You’ll find that this is the sort of song that fits perfect into the live setting, giving in to the fans need to pogo about and shout lyrics back at the group. Another Bad Sports number here that fits this mold, though in a slightly different manner, is “June Sixteenth.”  There’s something about the song’s inherent melody, the sound of the guitar and the pounding drums to wrap the song up that just hits home for an aged punk like myself.

In all honesty, Kings of the Weekend is filled to the brim with brazen pop ballads in punk fashion.  There’s not a single song you’ll want to skip, but that being said, you might also be able to say that a certain creativity is lacking.  But, when it all boils down to it, aren’t we all just here to have a little bit of fun with our music?  If that’s your bag, then this new record from Bad Sports is built exactly for you.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/bad_sports_teenage_girls.mp3]

Download: Bad Sports – Teenage Girls [MP3]

New Power-Pop from Jacuzzi Boys

A slew of jams popped up yesterday by the likes of Real Estate and Cymbals Eat Guitars, but the one I have been enjoying, actually a few weeks before yesterday, is this pop hit from Jacuzzi Boys. Based on what I’ve heard from their upcoming record, Glazin, which comes out August 30th on Hardly Art, they’ve got to be one of my two favorite bands of the moment…the other being Texas’ own Bad Sports.  I mean, it doesn’t get a whole lot better than gritty licks and power-pop kicks.  If you’re in need of a pick me up, put this track on 11, and go to town–the day will only get better from here.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/JB_CoolVapors.mp3]

Download: Jacuzzi Boys – Cool Vapors [MP3]

New Track from Wax Museums

The incestuous punk rock scene in Texas is alive and well, and I’m grateful for that fact. Wax Museums returns to the forefront of the movement with their latest release, Eye Times, after a three year hiatus, which will be in stores June 28th via Trouble in Mind Records. Lyrically, you’ll probably find the track to be a touch on the simple side, but it’s such a quick power-driven number that you can’t help but get attached from the moment those drums clash with the guitars in a cacophonous moment of energy and melody.  With members from Bad Sports, Silver Shampoo and Mind Spiders, there’s not a reason in the world why this won’t be super awesome.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/WaxMuseums_EyeTimes_Sunburn.mp3]

Download: Wax Museums – Sunburn [MP3]

1 2 3 4