Austin Spotlight: New Tune from RF Shannon

rfshannonIf you haven’t heard us rave about RF Shannon until now, then perhaps you have some time this morning to let their latest track carry you away.  Earlier this year they released Hunting Songs, which surprised us, not because we expected it to be awful, but because it was such a cohesive collection of beautiful songs that we were taken aback.  They’re back again with a split 7″ with their friend Jess Williamson, which is being released today via our friends at Punctum Records.  The track below is their piece for the split, and it’s quite special.  I’ve grown attached to the piano that works beneath the guitar lines.  Definitely something you should pick up today, if you’re so inclined.

The 2014 Austin Music Blogger Awards

AMBA 2014 Photo BannerIt was a great event. We were proud to be a part of it.

I have a list of winners and so many photos. Orthy sounded great, buoyed by Ian and Jeramy’s win for best DJs as Learning Secrets. Shivery Shakes ripped after their win for “Sidewalk Talk”. Jess was charming and haunting as ever, congrats. A Giant Dog stole the show with their set, while Mirror Travel may have given some voters buyer’s remorse. Magna Carda is hip-hop in Austin; go see them.

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ATH Interview: Jess Williamson

Jess AMBA BannerWe’re really proud to be part of the Austin Music Blogger Awards; it’s going to be a huge success celebrating the Austin music community.  While it may not be perfect, we’re doing our best to make it an event that everyone enjoys.  So with that in mind, we caught up via email with Jess Williamson, as she tours in support of her recent effort, Native State; she’s nominated for Best Solo Artist.  She had a great 2013, and looks like 2014 is shaping up to be another solid year for her.  She’ll also be playing at the awards show, so be sure to pick up your tickets HERE.

Also, don’t forget the readers get a vote too! Vote for your favorite Album of the Year HERE.

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Announcing the Austin Music Blogger Awards – February 27, 2014

14-AMBA-Logo-Amp-Color-3x3We’ve kept this a secret long enough! We’re here to announce the Austin Music Blogger Awards! This event has been carefully coordinated through the hard work of your local Austin Blogger Community: Austin Town Hall, Red River Noise, Ultra 8201, Side One Track One, Austin Bloggy Limits, Pop Press International, OVRLD, and Republic of Austin. We’re working with the excellent folks at Austin Music People, who’ll be running the show with the help of Fender.  Not only will there be awards, but also rad bands to play all night long.

Here’s the details:

The doors will open at 7:30 PM on February 27th at SpiderHouse Ballroom. Bands will start at 8:30, with awards in between.

We’ll have Jess Williamson, Magna Carda, Shivery Shakes, Orthy, Mirror Travel, A Giant Dog + a Special Guest.

Austin Music People will present awards for behind the scenes folks such as Best Recording Studio and Best Poster Design.  The Bloggers will present awards ranging from Best Band to Best DJ. You can read a full list of the awards and nominees HERE.

Tickets are $12 in advance; buy them HERE.

And, because we know that YOUR voice is just as important as ours, we want you to help us select our Readers Choice Austin Album of 2013.  Cast your vote right HERE. Votes must be submitted by 5 PM on Friday, February 21st.

Thanks to everyone for their hard work (especially Jennifer at AMP for putting up with so many different opinions), including Eva at Spider House! We’ll bring you more news as we draw near. Please come out and support the local Austin Music Community.  And thanks to our sponsor Fender.

FULL LIST OF AWARDS AND NOMINEES.

 

Super Rad Thursday in Austin: Tons of Shows


Happy-Thursday-DudeMany of us might have bundled up for the last few days, which means we’re aching to get out on the town and enjoy libations and music.  Lucky for us, the weather is clearing up, and there’s tons of shows on Thursday, including a few important releases we whole-heartedly back.  Check below for your interests and best bets on a great night.

 

 

Wildfires, Simple Circuit, Colleens, David and the Israelites @ Beerland – 9 PM

Jess Williamson LP Release, RF Shannon, David Longoria @ Hotel Vegas – 9 PM

Grape St., Captive, Party Girl @ Mohawk – 9 PM

Orthy EP Release, Letting Up Despite Great Faults, Technicolor Hearts @ Holy Mountain – 9 PM

Dam Funk, White Walls, Electric Attitude @ Red 7 – 9 PM

That’s five incredible shows, all reasonably priced, all over town.  You’ll hate yourself if you don’t attend at least one of these. Here’s some jams from Simple Circuit, Jess Williamson and Grape St., respectively.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Simple-Circuit-S-T-02-Sattrash.mp3][audio:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/02-Native-State.mp3] [audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/10-Track-10.mp3]

Jess Williamson – Native State

jesswilliamsoncover

Rating: ★★★★ ·

It’s been a pretty great few months for Austinite Jess Williamson, with press clamoring to hear her latest album, Native State in its entirety.  Listening through, the hubbub is definitely justified, as a great deal of musicianship is accomplished in a short span of seven songs.  Those that devote time to the record will be rewarded with an album both thoughtful and well-crafted, giving you a listen that you’ll come back to again and again.

The longest song on Native State, “Blood Song,” opens things up, seemingly developed in the Western frontier of Texas plains.  The tone of the guitar seems distant, in an enduring sense, forcing the listener to focus closely on the soft release of Williamson.  As slide guitars echo in the distance, there’s a rising tension that seems to build, increasing the emotional investment of the listener. It’s a song that leaves you drifting, mentally, carried away on the winds of Jess’ songwriting.  And, things only begin to get better as we move into “Native State,” which takes on a more traditional folk aspiration centered around a banjo. For me, the vocals are what steal the show on this track, as there’s a faint hint of a quiver; I’m a sucker for the fragility of a good songwriter.

While many of the songs Jess Williamson presents here seem offer up a look at the artist, naked and honest, there’s a few tracks that really are perfectly fitting for providing the sound scape to a road trip or a photography showing.  “Spin the Wheel” is one such song, starting off with little to no pace from the beginning.  As the songs moves forward, there’s faint cymbal touches, string arrangements, all adding depth to the track.  Yet, going forward, guitars enter the picture, cymbals create a wash of percussive waves and Jess uses her voice to propel you towards the ending.  Whether the intention was to provide an image of movement or the passage of time, the varying moments of music within, definitely provide you with that wistful feeling.

As strongly as the effort opens, it closes in just as strong a fashion, if not more so.  There’s more of a light-hearted spirit in tracks like “You Can Have Heaven on Earth” and “Seventh Song,” which definitely seem to contrast the ominous spirit of the opening numbers. For me, this serves perfectly to fit the mood I’ve associated with my listening experience.  Sure, the poetry is well-written and personal, but my emotional attachment seems to place a sense of moving on or pushing forward as you go from track 1 to 7.  Ending on a positive note is never a bad thing.

Clearly this is going to be a wonderful year for Jess Williamson.  The accolades and interest in her music seems quite justified after spending a great deal of time with Native State.  Lyrically, it offers a great deal.  Musically, you won’t be disappointed.  Do yourself a favor and immerse yourself in this listen and see where you end up…odds are you’ll be grateful you did.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/01-Blood-Song.mp3]

Free Week Weekend Preview

austin-skyline-mark-weaverWe hate to see it happen, but at some point, Free Week has to end.  For the sake of the venues, our livers and our bands. As we head into the final weekend of free music about town, we ask that you do your best to catch some band, any band, out on the town this weekend.  It’s been a rad week of some new discoveries and some old favorites; I hope you had the same experience.  Here’s where to go:

Friday

Riverboat Gamblers, Hundred Visions, Midgetmen at Red 7 @ 9 PM

Black Books, Ringo Deathstarr, Hello Caller at the Mohawk @ 7 PM

Shivery Shakes, Tiger Waves, La Migra, DFD at Cheer Up Charlies @ 8 PM

Christian Bland at  Hotel Vegas @ 9 PM

A.Sinclair, East Cameron Folkcore, My Jerusalem  Holy Mountain @ 9 PM

Saturday

Trustees, Sweet Talk, Gospel Truth at Beerland @ 9 PM

Letting Up Despite Great Faults, The Sour Notes, Borrisokane @ the Mohawk

Royal Forest, Young Girls, Little Radar at Cheer Up Charlies @ 6 PM

Sunday

Ruby Fray, Jess Williamson, Midnight Masses at Cheer Up Charlies @ 7 PM

Zoltars at Beerland @ 9 PM

Listen to some jams from Tiger Waves, Young Girls and Jess Williamson.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/01-Weekends.mp3] [audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Caroline.mp3] [audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/01-Blood-Song.mp3]

 

Friday Top 5: Emerging Austin Artists 2014

2014 Austin BannerThose in Austin have surely taken note that the Austin music scene seems to have been on a high as of late, and 2014 is starting to look just as good for our local community.  We wanted to take a little time out of your day to harp on some new acts, or acts that we expect huge things from in the upcoming year.  They’re numbered in no particular order, just the five artists to look into. Feel free to disagree, and add on to this list so we know who else to keep an eye on. I completely expect a few of these artists to emerge beyond Austin and make some pretty heavy national waves as well.

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