Show Pics: OBN IIIs @ Emo’s

The original Emo’s is closing. Yes, we have mentioned it before, but it is real now. Seemed so far away when we shared our best Emo’s moments.

OBN IIIs headlined a punk show a couple nights ago. Nathan and I went to send off the Alternative Lounge in style as so many familiar faces filled the crowd. Wiccans and Video opened, but my punk-show dollars are going to OBN IIIs right now. Fun.

Head past for plenty of pics as we get nostalgic again.

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Azure Blue – Rule of Thirds

Rating: ★★★½☆

Tobias Isaksson might not have the biggest name recognition here in the United States, but he’s been plying his trade in pop songwriting for some time with his former bands Irene and Laurel Music.  His debut record for the excellent Matinee Recordings is titled Rule of Thirds playfully maneuvers back and forth between traditional new wave and modern electro-pop, all the while referencing heartbreak through various allusions.

Album opener “Fingers” clearly defines the scope of Rule of Thirds from the get-go, offering a trickling bit of synth work as Isaksson warmly whispers his lyrics of love lost.  While the pacing of the track is slow, it provides a precursor to what will follow, establishing a strong foundation for the record’s entirety.  Immediately following is one of the standout tracks present here, “Catcher in the Rye.”  Musically, the electronic work almost builds to an arm-swinging dance hit, but what’s interesting is the juxtaposed vocal presence, begging you to remain a bit subdued; it becomes more of a genuine pop gem rather than a dance floor banger. For a bit, the album kind of walks this same line, which at times can be to its detriment, being a bit too complacent, but pushing through reveals much more depth waiting on the latter half.

One of the tracks that immediately stood out to me on the first several listens was “Long Way Down.”  The opening synth sequence was enough to hook me originally, yet it continued to evolve more into a traditional pop song, forcing me to realize that my Azure Blue listening experience may have been all wrong from the start, as it’s more carefully crafted pop tunes that rise above the label of mere synth pop.  “Dreamy Eyes” might completely contradict that little offering, as it’s definitely one of the most upbeat, danceable tracks, but the following track, “The Shore,” is anything but electro-pop.  Musically, yes, there’s some electronics here, but the minute details applied to “The Shore” demonstrate that this could easily be transferred into some genius guitar ballad.  Tobias seems to carefully consider the way his lyrics are delivered, with pitch and tone harmoniously fitting into the musical background.

The more you fall victim to the genius of Rule of Thirds, the more you realize that you could easily replace every bit of electronics with traditional guitar and drums, creating wondrous pop tunes, yet Isaksson as Azure Blue doesn’t seem to be content with normalcy.  He’s carefully crafted an album of love lost around intricate electronic details, providing listeners with track after track of gorgeous, melodious songs, the type that will sink deep into your soul the more you listen.  For this, amongst other reasons, the record is a huge success and worthy of many hours of your time.


Download: Azure Blue – The Catcher in the Rye [MP3]

New Music from Peter and the Wolf

Personally, I think that Redding “Red” Hunter is one of Austin’s best-kept secrets.  For me, this is a good thing, as I’m in on the secret, but for a lot of people, it’s horrible as they miss out on a lot of incredibly written songs.  Red’s project Peter and the Wolf has a new album out titled Easy Mountain, which you can pick up now.  His music has always been intricately personal, soft and all the while supremely inspiring.  There’s something about his recording process that gives him an intimate emotional appeal, while he carefully crafts melody with his guitar.  You’re not going to find a more enjoyable listening experience this week, I guarantee!


Download: Peter and the Wolf – Rosarito [MP3

Show Preview: Quintron and Miss Pussycat @ Emos (12/29)

Date TODAY!!!
Location Emos (Red River)
Doors 900p
Tickets $12 @ the Door

I know that Quintron and Miss Pussycat get a lot of love, and deservedly so, but for this writer, it’s all about the opening bill at Emos tonight.  You’ll first get to hear the Flesh Lights, a band who put out one of our Top Texas Albums in 2011, and then you’ll go on to the Manatees. If that weren’t enough to entice you, and it should be, you’ll then get to witness the incredible Mind Spiders. Rumor has it that they’re set to release the follow-up to their 2011 self-titled debut, which I absolutely played til my vinyl copy warped.  All in all, you’re going to love this show, so we’ll see you there! Could be your last time to catch a show at Emo’s Inside.


Download: The Mind Spiders – Dont Let Her Go [MP3]

Show Preview: NYE 2 @ Cheer Up Charlies (12/31)

Date 12/31/11
Location Cheer up Charlies
Doors 8pm
Tickets $5 @ Door

New Years Eve is upon us, and I doubt any of you people have really solid plans for what you’re doing to celebrate.  Well, let us assist you in that department with news of a party we’re helping sponsor going down at Cheer Up Charlies on the East Side.  The show features an awesome “locals only” line-up in the form of Gold Spine, TV Torso, Ringo Deathstarr, Young Girls, Marmalakes, Sleep Good, The Zoltars, The Sour Notes and a Mouthfeel DJ set to end the night.  Giveaways will also be handed out out in between each set by Fricano’s Deli, Strut Boutique, Birds Barbershop, Tiffs Treats, and The Highball.  More information on this badass event with complete set times for each band can be seen over on the event’s facebook page.


Download: Sour Notes – Hot Pink Flares [MP3]


Download: Young Girls – Mexico in December [MP3]

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.


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

Show Preview: OBN III @ Emos (12/28)

Date TODAY!!!
Location Emos (Red River)
Doors 900p
Tickets $5 at Ticketfly

The next couple of weeks in Austin are heating up folks, and I think it’s about time to get yourself back in the spirit of the city; go out and check out an incredible show!  First off on my list of great upcoming shows is TONIGHT’S show over at Emos Red River, which features several great acts with Austin/Texas ties.  You’ll get OBN IIIs, and believe me when I say that their show is nothing short of pure rock n’ roll.  You’ll also get to check out a Texas super-group of sorts, Video, who just recently released their own LP.  And opening it all up is Wiccans.  My mind has this as one of the best bills of the week, and it’s only five bucks; it’s like old school Emos all over again, so get out and rock.


Download: Video – Red Pills [MP3]

New Music From Black Books

While we sort of creep further into hibernation during the Holiday season, it’s nice to receive a solid track from local band Black Books.  The track, called “Out the Door” is available for free below and will be a part of the group’s upcoming debut full length album due out on Valentine’s Day 2012.  It’s a great tune full of those reverb laden vocals and slow burn we’ve grown to love about the band.  Black Books also recently recorded a cover of classic tune “Love Fool” by The Cardigans which is available to stream over on soundcloud.  Should be a big year for this band.


Download: Black Books – Out The Door [MP3]

Brand New Gem from Cats on Fire

I’ve waited since 2009 for Cats on Fire to introduce me to brand new music.  They’re set to return in 2012 with a brand new effort full of new tunes on Soliti Music sometime this coming Spring.  My first listen to this brand new track, “My Sense of Pride,” reveals everything that I’ve waited for over the last few years: it’s got elements of light twee, but in a casual way where it avoids the realm of nostalgic kitsch.  There’s also a bit of solemnity to the track, which for those who’ve listened closely, has always lurked quietly beneath the surface.  I’m going to come out and say it though; this is possibly one of the best bands around, so take heed and enjoy this new offering.


Download: Cats on Fire – My Sense Of Pride [MP3]

New Old Music from Malcolm Middleton

Long have I adored the work of Malcolm Middleton, ever since he worked in Arab Strap.  Luckily, since it’s raining, I opted to pick up his new LP, which is basically his first album of recordings that never saw the light of day until now.  He’s been really busy lately, or so it seems on his site, so I’m happy to pick up A Quarter Past Shite.  It’s mostly Malcolm and his guitar, with a real melancholy bent on the lyrical matter.  Apparently, the sadness of the songs kept him from publishing it until now, but I’m glad he did, as it makes for a great listen on this dreary day here in Austin.


Download: Malcolm Middleton – New Blue [MP3]

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