I interviewed Aussie grunge rockers, Violent Soho, recently for Red River Noise. These dudes remind of me bands like The Pixies, Nirvana and even early Weezer a little bit. I love this band. It is nice to see young twenty somethings do something other than samesy indie rock. These dudes were elementary when the music that influenced them was big. Hopefully this trend continues to keep bands doing something different. It will be interesting to see what kind of buzz they get after this summer's Lollapalooza Fest in Chicago. Read the interview here on Red River Noise:
I saw Jeffree Star for the first time at Warped Tour in San Antonio. Kids were going ape shit over this dude. He reminds me of a drag, pink haired, electro version of Marilyn Manson. He's got a lot of crazy stories and is pretty hilarious. He told me about taking a taser to a guy, firing band members and all sorts of stuff. It was an interesting experience to say the least. Check out the interview on Red River Noise:
I applaud people who are champions of the local indie scene here in Austin. My good friend Ajay Miranda is one of them and so is my friend Sarah Vasquez. I'm a little embarrassed to say so, but I'm not as tapped into the local indie scene as I'd like to be. My editor's role and responsibilities do not always allow for that, so I have to look at other sources. Adi Anand is one of those people I started looking at this year.
The reason Adi caught my attention is because has these great showcases he puts together on Wednesdays called "From The Mind Of Adi" residencies. What he does is take local bands of his choosing (I assume) and puts on early evening shows at Mohawk. I think it's great opportunity for the bands to play at Mohawk and also for regular working folks to enjoy a little of that Red River lifestyle without losing too much sleep. Being that I'm getting older and am liking my sleep much more than I used to, I hope this trend catches on. I don't mind late nights on weekends, but getting home around 2:00am on weekdays is the only way to catch an entire bill most nights. That can wear on you.
This week the series continues with a band I do know about and dig, The Hi-Tones. I saw them briefly during Free Week. They have this indie garage rock kind of vibe, like a '60s sound if you will. It's up beat and head nodding. Their front man has the swagger of a favorite male child in a Latin family. They do indeed rock. What more needs to be said? Want me to use big words only creative writing majors (Pitchfork anyone?) can understand? I know a lot of those words and can use them appropriately, but why would I? Regular folks don't understand that stuff and all they really need to know is the Hi-Tones rock. Make sure to check them out with The Ashes and Beautiful Supermachines on Wednesday. Even if you don't know who the hell these bands are, get out of the house and enjoy live music.
Doors open at 6:00pm (not a typo!). There is an art show by Deep In The Art of Texas and food from Woodland. The Ashes go on at 7:00pm and then at 8:00pm Beautiful Supermachines go on. The Hi-Tones play the headlining spot at 9:00pm. The Mohawk is located at 912 Red River, at the 10th and Red River intersect. Make sure to vote for the event on Do512.
I'm still waiting for time travel to be invented so I can show my junior high self this picture and interview I did with Sen Dog from Cypress Hill. I sat down with Sen Dog when they came through Austin and we had a good talk about everything from his personal health, his yard sale and their new album, Rise Up. Not much more can be said that hasn't been said about Cypress Hill already, but this was definitely one of my favorite interviews I've ever done. He was open, honest and even funny at times. Check out the interview online at Austin Vida here:
So I'm sure you all saw the 2010 ACL line up announcements Tuesday. It is always a big deal when one of the major music festivals announce their upcoming line up, I get that. What I saw when looking around online yesterday was not only how excited people were, but also how disappointed they were with the headliners. I must say it caught me by surprise also to see The Eagles and Phish right there alongside Muse. I didn't see that one coming. As I looked at the rest of the line up, I couldn't help notice how the headliners were the only thing about ACL to not to live up to expectations. Let me point out what, or who rather, makes the uber expensive ACL tickets you bought worth your money. Trust me, you need to read this thoroughly and give an honest listen to the videos.
Robert Livar of Bombasta (photo by Isabel Salazar)
One of my favorite San Antonio bands, Bombasta, is playing Pachanga Fest on Saturday. They aren't going to be one of the bigger bands being talked about, but they totally should be. They are puro San Antonio, and in my interview with lead singer Robert Livar, you'll see what I mean. Their sound is a fusion of Tejano, R&B, soul and cumbia. Check out my interview with Livar on Austin Vida to learn more. It's more of a preview for fans and readers who already know about them. I'll get more in depth with them later.
The big event is this Saturday at Fiesta Gardens. Pachanga is the it Latino event that happens in this Latin Music Month here in Austin. Pachanga is the only festival to feature Latino musicians of all music genres, where as in other cities they stick to one genre, typically just salsa, Tejano or Latin Alternative. With Pachanga Fest, you can hear great modern rock, punk, cumbia, Tejano, salsa and indie. It is a truly unique and memorable experience that everyone can enjoy.
That being said, my friends and I at Austin Vida are giving away tickets this week through our Austin Vida Facebook fan page. How dope would it be to go to one of the best music festivals in the country for free? It could happen. All you have to do is add or "like" Austin Vida on Facebook to get more details and be eligible to win. Add Austin Vida on Facebook here:
Check out my new interview with Tortilla Factory, the iconic Tejano group which is now being lead by founder Tony "Ham" Guerrero's kids Alfredo and Laura. They will be performing at Pachaga Fest this Saturday at 3:00pm on the Pavillion stage. Click the following link to read the full interview on Austin Vida.
Two great Nacional Records recording artists and Pachanga Fest performers will be making the most of their trip to Austin next weekend. Both Pacha Massive and Bomba Estereo will be performing at indie record stores here in Austin. It is a rare opportunity to see some of the world's best Latin Alternative artists in such an intimate atmosphere. I'd also like to add that I think it is very cool that indie record stores are being supported.
So during SXSW, I try and check out as many international bands as I can. I don't get caught in the all the hype of the free booze hipster parties. I look for music or bands that I will only get a chance to see at SXSW. Everyone else as far as popular bands always make their way back around to Austin at some point so I don't sweat missing them at South By.
Well this past March during SXSW, my favorite new discovery, meaning a band even I hadn't yet learned about or heard of, was The Minutes from Dublin, Ireland. They are three piece Irish rock machine that resurrects the spirit of the 60s when rock and roll was raw. They took me by complete surprise by how good they were live and I can't wait for them to stamp a vinyl for me to add o my High Fidelity collection. Check out The Minutes here. Turn it up and listen loud!
The craziest show Friday night in Austin is easily the Krum Bums at Emo's. They are one of the best live punk rock shows ever to hit the Red River scene. They've been a band for over decade and haven't lost s step. This year during Free Week, they had a crazy show at Red 7 that our Red River Noise crew captured here in this video. It shows what a Krum Bums show is like and why you need to go to Emo's Friday night. Check it out.
Also on the bill Friday night at are Hot Rails To Hell, Women In Prison and World Burns To Death. Emo's is located at 603 Red River. Doors at 9:00pm. Get there early and make it crazy night out. If you're an Austinite, it is a right of passage to see the Krum Bums at least once.
My favorite hip hop group of all time, Cypress Hill, swings by Austin Thursday night for a big concert at Stubb's. Nothing, other than a At The Drive In or Rage Against The Machine reunion, can make me happier. They are touring to support their new album, Rise Up, which includes the summer anthem "Armada Latina". This is their best radio single in years, maybe ever. When you get Pitbull and Marc Anthony on the same track with you, backed by Eric Bobo's percussion and such, you have a smash single. I have already heard a bunch kids with "Armada Latina" as their ring tone.
One of the few "blogger" bands I really dig is a Los Angeles based indie rockers, Local Natives.They debuted their new video for their single "World News" today on Pitchfork TV. It's beachy. Also, a couple of my Red River Noise colleagues, Brett Thorne and Sara Strick, caught Local Natives when they were here in Austin last month. Brett interviewed one of the guys from the band while Sara captured some cool photos. Take a look at the links below when you get a chance:
I recently sat down with Jason Devore, lead singer of punk rock out Authority Zero. He's a great interview and totally approachable. After over ten years of doing Authority Zero, it was nice to see he hasn't lost his passion despite all the changes with the band and record industry over the years. We talked a little about that and the new upcoming album from Authority Zero coming out in June called Stories Of Survival. Read the full interview here:
No Use For A Name is a punk band I've been a fan of since I was in high school, waayyyy back in the '90s. I saw them on Warped Tour and actually got to meet Tony Sly this year. In February, he came out with his first solo acoustic album called 12 Song Program. We talked about that amongst many other things. Check out the interview on our new website, Red River Noise here:
I don't talk about too many local shows on my blog. I leave that to 'Nites and some of these other Austin music based blogs. Also, too many local acts fail capture my attention on nights when bigger touring acts I want to see come through. That is not to say I don't support local, because I absolutely do. I am always on the lookout for good Austin or regionally based bands. Our local scene is the heart and soul of Austin. I know this. I just hold those bands to the same expectations I would a touring band. Austin's Bright Light Social Hour is one of those bands that is on par with major touring acts or better in some cases. Now they need your help, besides going to tonight's show.
This video talks about this week's featured Echotone B-Side release. In the video is The Onion Editor and the head if Indierect, Daniel Perlaky. The video features this year's buzz band, a band I'm a big fan of, The White White Lights. I liked it because it has Perlaky shamelessly plugging his band and talking about the pros and cons of creating music and selling it. The video also features a live clip of "In The Pines" from The White White Lights. If you haven't heard of them or want to know more, I did an in depth interview with them for Red River Noise recently. Read it here: http://www.redrivernoise.com/2010/04/made-in-austin-q-white-white-lights.html.
I've been in Austin since I was fifteen years old. I've seen more concerts both local and touring than I care to try and count. I've been reading music magazines like Rolling Stone, Alt Press and Spin since I was in middle school. I still read those but now I throw in the mix some Paste, Under The Radar, Revolver, Source, Wax Poetics and countless others I find at news stands. Every time I have ever been in my favorite record store, Waterloo Records, I pick up every grab-and-go ad rag fold they have. I've done that for years and read them all almost in their entirety no matter how good or bad the publications are. Why? Because I love all kinds of music. I love good writing. I love interesting opinions or interviews. I love to discover new music that won't be spoon fed to me by mainstream media outlets.
Austin, the "Live Music Captial of the World", the city I love and never want to leave, has unfortunately never been the music media force it should be. I'm sure there are a lot of pieces to that puzzle, but I don't understand why. Everything and everyone comes to Austin or is here already in terms of musical talent. Austin blows every other city in the world out of the water when it comes to music festivals, local talent and live music venues. That being said, our music media situation is weak given that all that is in our back yard.
The Austin Chronicle is what it is and has always been. It is a white, liberal weekly that likes who it likes. They, nor any media, can cover everything and still make print deadlines. It is just not what it once was in the '90s, what I consider to be its prime. It was in the Chronicle where I started following Andy Langer, one of the few exceptions to my rant about Austin music media. I still enjoy reading it every week, but it doesn't have the same luster it once did for me.
Soundcheck Magazine was the one Austin based music media I thought would make it. After not being able to stay in print on a regular basis, I was glad to see they stayed online. Now I only see little leaflet sized editions that hurt them more than help them in terms of image. It is hard to take that little thing seriously. I like checking out the site, as they have great photographers and the occasional interesting review, but they are very indie heavy and only cover C3 shows. It's cool for what it is, but nothing like I once hoped for it.
I'm not even going to get into our TV situation (auto-pilot), but I will put radio on blast! I can go on for days about it. If you're under 50, you probably hate it too. KUT and KGSR are great for the gray haired and balding, maybe the open minded younger listener like myself, but not anyone else. My once favorite (and I guess it is still) rock station, 101X, is the sole reason I hate listening to my high school CD collection. The only thing that keeps me coming back is the weekend programming, which is great to be honest. No Control is the taste maker for me in terms of all things metal, more so than any of the magazines or metal blogs out there. The Next Big Thing is still the best show on Austin radio and has been since its inception. While Complete Control is not Austin based, at least 101X has the sense to air it to fill the much needed punk rock media void in this town. Don't even get me started on hip hop, samesy country stations that play Kenny Chesney (not real country by the way) or Latin music stations. They are terrible or non-existent. All this great music in this town, and we have terrible radio stations? Shame on us, Austin.
My final rant is about all the "music" blogs here. I'm talking to you bloggers, not writers, but bloggers. I have a love hate relationship with you Austin based music blogs. You keep the scene alive and thriving, but only like 1/15th of the scene. How many damn indie and party blogs do we need? I know the scene well and have been a part of it, at the very least as a fan, for a lot longer than most you have. I never see you bloggers at any punk, metal, Latin or country shows. You all talk about the same parties or shows, but I get some are worth talking about. That and the lack of effort or quality of your work tell me that you blog to escape your crappy day time life so you can get into the cool kid parties or shows for free at night. You're not fooling anyone, especially not me. Props to The Peen Scene for at least doing the whole party blog thing right. Kudos for the dedication and service you provide us all.
Even some of the better blogs, the ones with real writers, aren't quite what I was hoping for. Austin Sound is awesome. I love what it does for the local scene but again, it's niche and I want more as a music media junkie. The Austinist is a good blog, but not music focused so I only check the music section really. The people they do have for music at least care about music and are part of the scene. Austin Music + Entertainment (Austin ME), the once print publication is active again online after I don't know how long. What little content they had was good, but I don't have a clue as to what's going on with them. They probably are figuring it out themselves. As an editor myself, I know how that goes sometimes. Still, the sites I just mentioned are the best of the best and still not on par with national competition, mostly because they are niche.
All this being said, why is it that Brooklyn (Brooklyn Vegan), Chicago (Pitchfork, Hear Ya) and the thriving metropolis that is Rock Island, Illinois (Daytrotter) have more internationally known blogs than Austin? That's absurd to me! Believe me this is the short list. So in response to this anger, I brought my writer (not blogger) friends along with me to start our own new site. We wanted one that really reflected our diverse interests, the interests of music lovers here and everywhere, and a site with real writers. In other words, my ideal music blog, online magazine style. Something like that should come from Austin and not New York or Los Angeles but could still be appreciated by real music lovers everywhere. We did not start a niche site, nor a party blog site but rather a online magazine style blog called "Red River Noise".
All I am going to say now is that I hope you enjoy reading Red River Noise as much as we enjoy creating it. Thanks to all those along the way growing up who inspired me to take this path. Thanks to all the sub par media outlets that let me down enough to inspire me to put this together with my friends. Thanks to all the samesy indie blogs for giving the same interview the other samesy indie blogs gave that same band. Thanks to Spinner for being so popular and terrible at the same time. Thanks to Christopher Weingarten for tearing internet music media a new ass. Thanks to all who made it to the end of this post. I've been wanting to say this stuff publicly for years.
Austin's biggest and baddest Latin band is releasing their newest album next week, El Existential. To celebrate the release Grupo Fantasma is having not one, but two CD release shows this weekend at Antone's. Austin Vida is giving away tickets to both shows.Visit the Austin Vida blog link below to find out how:
Before this Tuesday's Cinco de Mayo partying begins, there's a pretty damn good show happening at Momo's on Tuesday you need to catch. Two of Austin's best young bands, La Guerrilla and Este Vato, will be performing for a special edition of their regular World Music Nights. Both bands released their debut CDs this year and are great party bands.
Ian is a graduate of Round Rock High School and attended St Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. In 2008 he joined the team at Double Stereo (formerly CD Fuse) as their Blog editor where he reviewed concerts, albums, and did interviews for the popular music site.In January 2009, he became the Editor in Chief for Austin Vida. In 2010, with the help of some of his most talented friends, he launched Red River Noise. "Ian's Music Blog" is also one of the few blogs selected to be a Do512 All-Star.
On any given night of the week he can be found in downtown Austin on 6th Street and the Red River live music district.