Tonight’s Show: Lung Letters/Quin Galavis/David Israel @ Barracuda

Album Cover_Online VersionSeems like shows are ramping up all about town as of late, with a jam packed bunch of shows from locals and traveling acts alike. But, tonight’s show over at Barracuda seems like the best option if you’re looking to get out. Lung Letters features Jeremy from Flesh Lights; it looks to be a promising set from them. You’ll also get Quin Galavis, formerly (and presently of the Dead Space); he’s been playing solo looped sets lately, sometimes joined by friends, so you never know what you’re in store for…you just know it’s good. And finally, one of my picks would be to show up early to catch David Israel. David contributed to the Slack Capital compilation, and his track “Coldwar Superchild” is one of my favorite pieces in that great collection. In fact, it’s streaming below, so take a listen and love it.

Show Preview: Flesh Lights @ Sidewinder (Tonight)

12189211_1670535453161781_4666457673454939594_oThe following reasons should encourage you to go to Sidewinder this evening in Austin and catch a great show featuring some of Austin’s best rock n’ roll. Reason One: Flesh Lights are headlining…they put out one of my favorite records of 2014, Free Yourself; it’s punk, it’s power pop and it’s just plain good. Also, Sweet Talk is in the mix, and their album Double Perfect will be in my 2015 year end list for sure…best work of that band to date. Oh, and opening the evening is Slow, who don’t have an official release, but I’m betting they’ve got new songs that will blow you away. And, Endless Youth! It’s going to be cheap and it’s going to be all ATX awesome, so we’ll see you there! Doors are at 10 PM.

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ATH @ X Games Austin 2015

ATH was invited to attend X Games and we agreed based on the strength of he local lineup that graced the big stage during the day leading up to the headliners and then on to the Super Stage mega headliners. The cool part was that my access allowed me to moonlight as a sports photographer. We all have a history of skateboarding or riding a bike or something rad like that, don’t we? I worked in a bike shop to buy my Haro freestyle bike and still have my Lance Mountain special edition in the office. To get to see some guys like Dennis McCoy and Tony Hawk still riding and skating at a high level and catch the innovation coming from so many guys from Austin along with rally car and truck racing and maniacs on dirt bikes, it was an exciting change up to my usual subject matter. I got a little twitchy not shooting f2.8 or bigger and ISO 200? What is that? I don’t leave the house for less than ISO 2500. #concertphotographerjokes

So join me as we take a trip down memory lane and talk X Games…

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ATH Curates SXSW Playlist

sxswfm_LOGO-stacked-4CI’ve been fortunate with this site, and such fortunes continue with some friends reaching out to have me curate an hour of music featuring SXSW Official Austin acts that I wanted to rest of the world to know about. It also features my horrendous voice, though only for like 30 seconds total. I kind of went all over the map, trying to be as diverse as possible within the realm of my own tastes.  The little show will run three times today on SXSWFM (9 AM, 3 PM, 9 PM), which is a great place to get to know some of the artists, not just the Austin ones.  Here’s the artists I chose to include: Flesh Lights, Sour Notes, Jess Williamson, Roger Sellers, Mirror Travel, Shivery Shakes, Grape St, Ramesh, A Sinclair, Love Inks, Hundred Visions, Abram Shook, Ssleeperhold, The Zoltars, Warm Soda and The Eastern Sea. Just doing what I can to give a little love to our friends.  Special thanks to Brett and Rory for this rad opportunity.

Top 50 Albums of 2014

TOP 50 ALB 14These lists are everywhere, so you’ll be excused if you just roll your eyes and skip on. But, that being said, we always seem to be way off the mark when it comes to our Top 50 Albums of the Year.  Sure, we have some of the sure fire hits on this list like Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten, but don’t even read on if you’re look ing to see where Run the Jewels made it…they’re not there. Sorry not sorry.  So, if you’re into arbitrary lists by people who like to push their own agenda, then this list is for you! Read more

Top 15 Austin Albums of 2014

Top LocalsIt’s that time of year when we all toss up our arbitrary lists of what we think is best, and seeing as we’re based here in Austin, we opted to go with our Top 15 Austin Albums first.  Why 15? Well, there were a lot of great releases all over the place, covering different styles, and appealing to our different writers. Sure, the list isn’t perfect, and it doesn’t reflect singles and EPs, as that could get entirely too crazy.  I included links to the labels so you can buy these albums from the hard-working folks in our town.  Also…there are two releases on our label, but I have no qualms about that; I didn’t set out to put out a bad LP, so obviously, they’re going to be in here.  And without further meaningless words…here’s the best records from Austin that you should already own!

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Flesh Lights – Free Yourself

10658972_727475723954210_6969944611352798152_oRating: ★★★★½

Modern punk rock seems to have gotten a bit stale, in my opinion.  You get tons of reverb on the vocals, you get guitar riffs galore, but you never get a band that embodies everything, until you listen to the new Flesh Lights record.  Listeners will find songs that are brash in parts, or tracks filled with arena rock riffs, but most impressive is that Free Yourself shows true musicianship.

You couldn’t ask for a better opening track than “Just About Due.”  It’s a power pop gem filled with this huge guitar stomp that really emphasizes the band’s skills with their respective instruments.  Every riff begs you to pump your fist, and I’m in love with the solo that breaks through briefly near the end, not to mention the growl of the vocal.  Such a tune would fit perfectly alongside “I Wait,” if we were to look at modern album structures, but the band holds off on offering that hit until later in Free Yourself.  The lead guitar works its way through a great mini-solo, but the chorus is best appreciated by people screaming at the top of their lungs with their best set of buds.

Still, this isn’t a power-pop record; it’s a record of great rock songs.  Flesh Lights kick you in the teeth with tracks like “Middle Age” and “We Go Off.”  The former takes a knock at middle-aged wannabes and hangers-on, all the while rocking things with a swagger all their own.  Can’t believe these guys are calling me out!  “We Go Off” is perhaps one of the record’s most dangerous moments, knifing it’s way through your speakers with these jagged guitar riffs and a ferocious vocal that nears going off the tracks.  There’s a stuttering approach that sort of reminds me of the stylings you’d find on an ALL album; just listen through this track to hear the band’s talent.

One of my favorite tracks, “Time Thief” seemingly comes off like an outlier, jamming out in a semi-Ted Leo fashion, at least in regards to the vocal delivery.  But, in the spectrum of the album, it fits in perfectly, displaying the band’s willingness to fill Free Yourself with nothing but their twelve best recorded songs.  Honestly, you can’t throw a single song on this album to the side; every single song is great in its own right, so sticking them all together in perfect order is yet another reason while Flesh Lights should be considered by all as a band at top of their game.

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Free Yourself is available from 12XU.

Tuesday Austin Show Spotlight

austin_live_music_retailrI know we’ve all got our eyes on the Fun Fest prize, but let’s not forget that there are some great things happening in town, leading up to the night. There’s a great album release, a good local show, and some traveling bands that deserve some attention.  If you check below, you can see some of the places on your list…there’s something for everyone. If tickets are available beforehand, you can pick them up by clicking the price. Enjoy your Tuesday.  Read more

Austin Spotlight: Another Flesh Lights Tune

fleshlightsOur first listen to the newest work of Flesh Lights (Just About Due) had this striking power pop sound that definitely grabbed our attention.  But, their new single, “Middle Age” is a blistering tune, both in its sonic quality and it’s verbal attack on “middle age youth.”    The guitar work here is sublime, especially when the solos blast through your speakers; I’m also partial to the call and response vocals that come through the chorus.  If you’re looking for a rock n’ roll record that never stays in one place, then you better get your hands on Free Yourself; it hits streets on November 4th via 12XU. Seriously. You’ll hate yourself if you don’t buy this LP.

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