February 25, 2010

Week 25 - Twang Twang Shock-A-Boom - Me So Twangy (20th Anniversary Edition)

(Week 25 of my 52 Austin CD Reviews in 52 Weeks) 

“But I know that someday you’ll miss me, I know that someday you’ll miss me, I know that someday you’ll miss me soon and I’ll be an empty ballroom.”

-       My Emaciated Heart

Twang Twang Shock-A-Boom
Me So Twangy (20th Anniversary Edition)

Folks that lived in Austin in 1989-1990 probably have heard of the eclectic acoustic jam band Twang Twang Shock-A-Boom. Others who are dedicated Davíd (Dah-Veed) Garza Fans possibly know this band as the band he was in before he embarked on his own impressive and quirky solo career.

Here’s a quick (and hopefully accurate) bio. Three UT students (Garza, Jeff Haley, and Chris Searles) with an acoustic guitar, stand-up bass, bongos, and infectious lyrics came in, busked, captured hearts, recorded a fantastic album in one day, got shot down by a record company in New York, then as quickly as they came in they disappeared. They were just kids. I don’t think any of them were 20. They all moved on… Garza to a solo career, Searles to drumming for bands like Alejandro Escovedo and Shawn Colvin and has become a voice for Green living, and Haley graduated from UT and became a music teacher in New York.

Yes, their time as a band lasted about a year, but left in its wake a lot of great memories and one tape, Me So Twangy. Although I arrived in this area in 1996, I heard of this band because my sister was in college at Texas A&M during the time of Twang Twang. She would talk glowingly about their live shows, Dah-Veed, and “Fishsticks.” I personally came late to the scene and was never able to see them perform at that time.

Well… in late 2009 the boys of Twang Twang re-released their 1990 Me So Twangy on CD. It’s the 20th Anniversary Edition. It was originally only on tape. They did it in style with four sold-out shows at Austin’s soon-to-be gone Cactus Café in December.

Me So Twangy is not only a great time-stamp of Austin music (I hear their busking in the West Mall at UT was a thing of legend) but I believe it stands up to today’s music. The real music with people actually playing instruments, not the electronically playback dance grooves. I’d align it with folks like Matt The Electrician, Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, Southpaw Jones, and Todd Snider.

Me So Twangy is highly danceable music… the acoustic flamenco-meets-1960s rock kind of dance music. Forget your cares for about 40 minutes and let your body and mind be taken on a ride. Release your mind and your legs will follow. The album gets your feet moving with “Always Give Your Love Away,” and offers high-energy jams throughout the disc like “Blue,” “It’s No Secret,” and “Nicotine Queen.” It’s not all dance jams, they slow it down for “While My Hair Grows Long” and “Quiet.” Of course there’s the obligatory why-can’t-we-all-get-along song “My Wish”  (it’s a college student thing).

The most fun track on Me So Twangy and my favorite has to be “Fishsticks.” Perhaps it’s because I finally was able to hear the song my sister talked about all these years. But it’s a damn good song. “If I were going to a jewelry store / I’d buy you a big diamond ring / If I were going to a candy store I’d make sure to get you some gum and a pair of Shrinky Dinks / But I’m not going anywhere, at least, at least not yet / I may be going to a grocery store, but if I do I won’t forget my fish sticks.”

The CD ends with “Bigstick,” a stream of consciousness spit where Garza proclaims his love for chunky peanut butter among other things.

The disc can only be found at Austin’s Waterloo Records (where it sat at the top of their “Local Top Ten” list for seven weeks). I hear they are almost out of the first-run, so if this review makes you think “I need to get this” or “wow, my sister’s birthday is March 3 and I should totally send her the CD” you should probably get in your car right now and head to Waterloo. If you’re not in Austin, you can purchase it at Waterloo's Online store or on iTunes. They don’t have a local show coming up, but they are playing New York in April. Follow them on Facebook – http://www.tinyurl/twangfacebook for more information and to reconnect.


Unknown said...

My birthday is March 3rd too!
Thanks for the nice review (with videos!)

Sean Claes said...

Thanks for the music. The review will also run in March 2010's INsite - http://www.insiteaustin.com