September 24, 2009

Week 3 - Oak Is Keeping - Animal Style

Oak Is Keeping
Animal Style

Released back in April, Oak Is Keeping’s Animal Style is the debut from what could be the next big hope for Austin rock. They’ve got a great sound, well-written lyrics, and some staying power on the Austin scene.

I met drummer Mastin Kirksey a few years ago backstage at ACL (I was there for INsite and he was working with 101x). He told me about this new band he had formed. It was the same day I met Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age. I mention this only because upon the first listen of this album, OiK reminded me of QOTSA.

Shay Isdale channels a deep baritone voice, much like that of Homme. Zac Bogart emits hauntingly dark tones from his guitar on each track. The back beat of Kirksey’s drums and Adam Keeling’s bass chimes in perfectly to make some beautiful music.

The epic rocker “SiNK” that leads Animal Style off with… well.. style. Songs like the Adam and Eve tinged “Tempt” and “No Kiss” and are definitely the type of stuff that will have your horns in the air contemplating a mosh pit.

They reach into their inner Stone Temple Pilots in tracks like “Burn It All Down” and “Devil In The Truth” and it’s a good thing.

“How We Treat Girls” which is a lighter jam that has somewhat of a timeless hippy rock sing-along feel to it. It kind of reminds me of some old Jellyfish-style song with a heavier twinge.

I’d have to say my favorite track on Animal Style has got to be “Tell Me These Things.” It’s a straight up rock song that has a cocky swagger. “Let me show you / how to beg and steal and cheat / What would you do? /‘Cause I get what I take and I break what I love.”

As you may have noticed in my intro, I’m expecting big things from these guys in the near future. If you’ve not heard them yet, introduce yourself to them at or check them out live September 30 at Red 7.

They’ve also been tapped as one of the 5 finalists in Airwalk’s Unsigned Hero’s contest. To visit and vote go to You’ve got to hurry though, the deadline for voting is September 30.

September 21, 2009

HAAM Benefit Day - Tuesday, September 22, 2009

(Blurb taken from the September issue of INsite Magazine, within the "It’s A Festival" story)

HAAM Benefit Day
September 22
The Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM) has thrown an all-day concert all over Austin for 4 years now. This year it’s going to be on September 22.

The music will be held inside and out in front of businesses all day long. Most of the bands playing have members who benefit from HAAM. Also, a couple hundred businesses are going to be taking part by donating 5 percent of their day’s proceeds to HAAM.

Below you can see the list of performers, times, and locations.
See you out there!

Whole Foods Café with KGSR 525 N. Lamar
6:00a.m. Kevin Welch
7:00a.m. Ian McLagan
8:00a.m. Wendy Colonna
9:00a.m. Terri Hendrix

11:00 hour
Kalu James - City Hall 301 W. 2nd St.
Aimee Bobruk - Pita Pit 619 Congress Ave.
Jenny Reynolds - Pita Pit 2350 Guadalupe St.

Deann Rene - Thundercloud Subs 903 W. 12th St. (off of Lamar)

Giant City - Lambert's Downtown Barbeque 401 W. 2nd St.
John Burgess - Thundercloud Subs 2308 Lake Austin Blvd.
Dennis Ludiker Trio - Time Warner Cable 12012 N. Mopac
Billy Dee - Time Warner Cable 730 W. Stassney
Logic 55 - City Hall 301 W. 2nd St.

Weldon Henson - Allandale Paint and Design Center 6401 Burnet Lane
Mo McMorrow - El Interior 1009 West Lynn
Kimbo - Maui Wowi 11521 RR 620
John Gaar & The Hopeful Souls - ProntoWash Eco Auto Spa The Domain, Parking Deck A, Level 7
Troy Campbell - Romeo’s 1500 Barton Springs Road
Bright Lights Duet - Shoreline Grill 98 San Jacinto
Chrissy Flatt & Eric Hisaw - Thundercloud Subs 1807 W. Slaughter Lane
The Siekers - Thundercloud Subs 1700 Grand Ave. Pkwy. (at Commerce)
Amanda Lepre - Whole Foods 9607 Research Blvd. (Gateway Shopping Center)

Elizabeth Wills - Romeo’s 1500 Barton Springs Road
Jean Synodinos - Time Warner Cable 12012 N. Mopac
Danny Britt - Time Warner Cable 730 W. Stassney
Patricia Vonne - Whole Foods Café 525 N. Lamar

No Show Ponies - City Hall 301 W. 2nd St.

Craig Toungate - Airport - Lefty's 3600 Presidential Boulevard
Paul Finley - Austin City Limits Store 3600 Presidential Boulevard
Jim Halfpenny - Allandale Paint and Design Center 6401 Burnet Lane
Bruce James - Neiman Marcus The Domain, 3400 Palm Way Drive

Sofia Echegaray - Thundercloud Subs 2801 S. Lamar

Los Texas Wranglersby - HEB 2701 E. 7th St. 3:00 pm
Byrd & Street - Romeo’s 1500 Barton Springs Road

Lorrie Singer & Bradley Kopp - Airport - Highland Lakes Bar
Joe Blanda - Airport - Earl Campbell's Sports Bar

Dertybird Unplugged - BD Riley's 204 E. 6th St.
Cienfuegos - HEB 9414 N. Lamar
Slim Richey - Lambert's Downtown Barbeque 401 W. 2nd St.
Ray Bonneville - Phil's Icehouse 5620 Burnet Road
Eleisha Eagle - 26 Doors Shopping Center 1206 W. 38th St.

Uncle Lucius - GSD&M Idea City 828 W. 6th St.
Dave Madden - Romeo’s 1500 Barton Springs Road

Jimi Lee Band - HEB 2400 Congress
Kim Miller w/ Will Taylor and Karen Mal - Hilton 500 E. 4th St.
Suzanna Choffel - Phil's Icehouse 5620 Burnet Rd.
Vanessa Lively - Tesoros 1500 S. Congress Ave.
TRES - 26 Doors Shopping Center 1206 W. 38th St.
Bob Schneider - Waterloo Records 600 N. Lamar
Mike Milligan and the Altar Boys - Whole Foods 9607 Research Blvd. (Gateway Shopping Center)

DJ Bigface - Birds Barbershop 6800 Burnet Rd.
DJ Chicken George - Birds Barbershop 2110 S Lamar Blvd
Seth Walker - Whole Foods Café 525 N. Lamar

Jenifer Jackson - Romeo’s 1500 Barton Springs Road

Dave Insley’s Careless Smokers - BD Riley's 204 E. 6th St.
Brennen Leigh - Evangeline Café 8106 Brodie Lane
Sarah Pierce - Hilton 500 E. 4th St.
Paul Minor & Special Guests - Hole in the Wall 2538 Guadalupe St.
Colin Gilmore - Phil's Icehouse 5620 Burnet Road
Alyse Black - Romeo’s 1500 Barton Springs Road
Bo Porter - Thundercloud Subs 3201 Bee Caves
Steve Carter - Thundercloud Subs 201 E. Riverside

Toni Price - Continental Club 1315 S. Congress ($7)
Jeffrye Glenn Tveraas - Cypress Grill 4404 W. William Cannon Dr. #L
Vitera - Guero's Taco Bar 1412 S. Congress
Brian Batch, Dave Wiley of Alpha Rev - St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church Youth Center 8134 Mesa Drive ($10)

Band of Heathens - Whole Foods Café 525 N. Lamar

Derek O’Brien, Gary Clark, Jr, Malford Milligan, Riley Osbourn, Scott Nelson, JJ Johnson w/ Special guest...Pinetop Perkins - Antone's 213 W. 5th St.
Red Young and Silivie Rider - Aquarelle 606 Rio Grande
Leeann Atherton - El Sol Y La Luna 600 E. 6th St.
Texana Dames - Hilton 500 E. 4th St.
Mike Cross and Karen Marie - Phil's Icehouse 5620 Burnet Rd.
Super Happy Greezy Hour - Threadgill's 301 W. Riverside
Will Dunlap - Waterloo Ice House 38th and Medical Parkway
LZ Love - Wyndham Garden Hotel 3401 S. IH35

Bob Cheevers - Romeo’s 1500 Barton Springs Road

Margo Valiante Band - Artz Rib House 2330 S. Lamar
Rick Hornyak - Guero's Taco Bar 1412 S. Congress

Gina Chavez - Romeo’s 1500 Barton Springs Road

Kevin Gallaugher and Greg Anderson - Evangeline Café 8106 Brodie Lane
Jonathan Terrell - Irie Bean Coffee Bar 2310 S. Lamar #102
Charanga Cakewalk - Momo’s 618 W. 6th St. # 200 ($7)
Big Circle TX - One 2 One Bar 121 E. 5th St.
Mystic Knights of the Sea - Saxon Pub 1320 S. Lamar
Combo Mahalo - Whip In 1950 S. IH-35

Shelley King - Guero's Taco Bar 1412 S. Congress

Paula Held - Irie Bean Coffee Bar 2310 S. Lamar #102

The Frank Mustard Project - Continental Club 1315 S. Congress
Toshie Suzuki - Momo’s 618 W. 6th St. # 200 ($7)
The Karl Morgan Band - One 2 One Bar 121 E. 5th St.
Uncle Lucius - Saxon Pub 1320 S. Lamar

Knuckle Yummy - Continental Club 1315 S. Congress

The Reddies - Momo’s 618 W. 6th St. # 200 ($7)

Grady - Continental Club 1315 S. Congress

Stonehoney - Saxon Pub 1320 S. Lamar

September 17, 2009

Week 2 - Uncle Lucius - Pick Your Head Up

Uncle Lucius

Uncle Lucius
Pick Your Head Up

If you need to put your troubles behind you for a little while slap Pick Your Head Up into your CD player and float away to the rhythm of Uncle Lucius.

To get a feel of their sound, imagine that Ian Moore and Omar Kent Dykes had a love child that was raised listening to only Gov’t Mule and The Black Crowes. That should do it. They’ve got a southern rock gospel vibe to them. I was unfamiliar with this band before this CD came to my attention, but have learned since that this is their second release, a follow up to 2006’s Something They Ain’t.

When I first listened to this album, released back in April, I thought these guys were much,.much older than they are. This sound is certainly more mature than the ages of the members.

The disc kicks off with the gospel-influenced and horn driven “Pick Your Head Up” before launching into the get-off-your-ass-and-dance “Everybody Got Soul” and slowing back down to the guitar grinding tribute to the poison of choice in “Liquor Store.” Three very different sounds in three songs. Nice.

Probably my favorite track on Pick Your Head Up is the haunting “A Million Ways.” It’s a track that talks about the unlearning of everything the world crams down your throat since birth. “Believed in truth read by talking heads /I formed my opinions around the words they said / Told me what to buy and the price I should pay / I’ve been deceived in a million ways.”

In all, the eleven-track album gives you almost 40 minutes of great southern-drenched whiskey driven rock.

Uncle Lucius is made up of Kevin Galloway (vocals, rhythm guitar), Mike Carpenter (guitar, harmonica), Hal Vorpahl (bass),and Josh Greco (drums). They are playing all over Austin in the coming months, including two performances this coming Tuesday for HAAM Benefit Day. I’m going to make it a point to check them out live. You should too. Find them online at

Here's a video of Pick Your Head Up" from Threadgills on April 3, 2009.

And... this is a 2006 video of Uncle Lucius performing "Liquor Store" on CapZeyeZ.

September 16, 2009

INsite Night - Love At War (CD Release) w/ The Soldier Thread and Both Feet

Click on the poster below to win tickets to the September INsite Night on

INsite Night - Love at War CD RELEASE!! w/ The Soldier Thread & Both Feet!

WHEN: Thu. 09/24 | 7:00PM
WHERE: Antone's, 213 W 5th St map

INsite Night Poster

Love At War:
From writer/producer Dwight Baker (Kelly Clarkson, Bob Schneider,
Alpha Rev, Halifax, and more) comes the newest sound to hit American
music. Love at War is a symbol for what we all go through, the ins and
outs of our relationships. The songs reflect the moments that define
these times. Look for the self-titled EP to hit stores soon, and don't
forget to listen for the new single "Sideways" on your favorite radio
station this summer!

Photo by Randy Cremean
There is a fragility coating the sweeping songs of The Soldier
Thread; it’s scrawled on every measure and delicately interwoven with
each chilling harmony. It’s a sound that creeps into the room with a
wispy ambiance, allowing for a tangible vulnerability. But suddenly,
each calculated melody comes crashing together, and the dynamic shifts.
The sound begins to swell with a vibrant chorus, and the fragility
gives way into something more powerful, more meaningful. For The
Soldier Thread, this comes as second nature. For the rest of us, it
comes as breathtaking.

Two guys from Alaska mix musical sounds from past generations into a
fresh style that connects with today’s listeners. Their original music
is strong, full of life and passion, making their stage presence and
energy infectious. The guys love to play music steeped in traditional
blues, as well as blending sounds of early R&B, hip-hop, funk,
reggae and good old Southern style Rock-n-Roll. Their set is a
combination of original material that not only makes you sit up and
listen, but will make you want to get up and dance.

September 11, 2009

Week 1 - Mike Truth and the Relacement Killers - timimnotamachine

Mike Truth and the Replacement Killers

The initial release from Austin’s Mike Truth and the Replacement Killers may only be 18 minutes long, but there’s more good music packed into this five song EP than most bands full length discs.

How is this possible? Well, consider the band. You’ve got former Rubberhed frontman Mike Truth, Muppletone guitarist Aaryn Russell, bassist Kevin Knight from W.O.R.M., the horns of saxophonist James Brinkley, along with Jason White and Mike Ded bringing in the percussion. These guys are all professionals and when they play together it’s tight.

If you’ve had a chance to see these guys live, you know the funk and jazz infused with rap sound well. The horns are hot, percussion is spot on and Mike Truth spits Public Enemy-style lyrics with ease. And unlike a lot of local bands, they were able to capture the energy of the live show on this release.

timimnotamachine, named after a meltdown between during the recording process with producer Tim Gerron, kicks off with the fitting “Anthem” where Truth introduces the sound and his intention of rocking the microphone like a “real go getter.” It continues with a shout-out to the hardcore hustlers in the “Southside Swing,” and a tribute to the folks who hit the bottle a little hard in “Cheers.”

Probably my favorite song to catch live is the love song for everyone’s favorite bird, “Fried Chicken.” The guitarwork of Russell on this track is fantastic as he makes the guitar cackle to the beat as Truth demands you “Clap your hands and stomp your feet / Southern Fried Chicken is good to eat.”

The final track, “I Rock The Beat” is lyrically, the classic self-defining rap song. Want to know the Replacement Killers? This song is their bio.

At 18 minutes, timimnotamachine ends too soon, but if you listen to it like I do, you can repeat early and often and when you get to one of their shows you can sing lyric for lyric with the crowd.

Check Mike Truth and the Replacement Killers online at – Sean Claes

September 9, 2009

52 Austin CD Reviews in 52 Weeks

9/9/10 - This project has been completed. Thanks to all of the bands who submitted such amazing Austin music. I technically reviewed 55 CDs in 53 weeks (I took a week off for a spiritual retreat at what would have been week 50). I'm very proud of this collection and I hope you have discovered some of the amazing music Austin has to offer by reading these reviews.

I'm still reviewing CDs so please reach out if you'd like me to take a listen to yours. Contact information is at the bottom of the page.  - Sean Claes

9/11/09 - 9/9/10
By Sean Claes

Week 1 - Mike Truth and the Replacement Killers (9/11/09)
Week 2 - Uncle Lucius (9/17/09)
Week 3 - Oak Is Keeping (9/24/09)
Week 4 - porterdavis (10/1/09)
Week 5 - Del Castillo (10/8/09)
Week 6 - Love At War (10/15/09)
Week 7 - David Ducharme-Jones (10/22/09)
Week 8 - Darling New Neighbors (10/29/09)
Week 9 - Jeff Lofton Quartet (11/5/09)
Week 10 - john Arthur martinez (11/12/09)
Week 11 - Dertybird (11/19/09)
Week 12 - Sam Baker (11/26/09)
Week 13 - Butcherwhite (12/3/09)
Week 14 - Flatcar Rattlers (12/10/09)
Week 15 - The Soldier Thread (12/17/09)
Week 16 - The Jeremy Miller Band (12/24/09)
Week 17 - The Belleville Outfit (12/31/09)
Week 18 - Adrian and the Sickness (1/7/10)
Week 19 - George Palmer Macias (1/14/10)
Week 20 - Tom Gillam (1/21/10)
Week 21 - Ratarue (1/28/10)
Week 22a - A Good Rogering - EP (2/4/10)
Week 22b - Fulton Read EP (2/4/10)
Week 23 - Powderburn (2/11/10)
Week 24 - Ray Wylie Hubbard (2/18/10)
Week 25 - Twang Twang Shock-A-Boom (2/25/10)
Week 26 - Eleven Fingered Charlie (3/4/10)
Week 27 - The Clouds Are Ghosts (3/11/10)
Week 28 - Reckless Kelly (3/18/10)
Week 29 - Broken Teeth (3/26/10)
Week 30 - Brandon Rhyder (4/1/10)
Week 31 - One-Eyed Doll (4/8/10)
Week 32 - Shelli Coe (4/15/10)
Week 33 - Lennon's Song (4/22/10)
Week 34 - SuperLiteBike (4/29/10)
Week 35a - Kyle Park (EP) (5/6/10)
Week 35b - DC Bloom (EP) (5/6/10)
Week 36 - The Banner Year (5/13/10)
Week 37 - Righteous Brisket (5/20/10)
Week 38 - Terri Hendrix (5/27/10)
Week 39 - Allison Thrash (6/3/10)
Week 40 - The Standouts (6/10/10)
Week 41 - Dave Madden (6/17/10)
Week 42 - Indofin (6/24/10)
Week 43 - Paula Held (7/1/10)
Week 44 - The Mother Truckers (7/9/10)
Week 45 - Trashy and the Kid (7/15/10)
Week 46 - Alejandro Escovedo (7/22/10)
Week 47 - Ugly Elephant (7/30/10)
Week 48 - 3 Kisses (8/5/10)
Week 49 - Bobby Bookout (8/11/10)
Week 50a - Woolgather (8/25/10)
Week 50b - Emily Shirley (8/25/10)
Week 51 - Tin Can Phone (9/1/10)
Week 52 - Deadman (9/9/10)

At The Beach in Port Aransas

The Project:
I've been writing CD reviews for over 10 years. I've written for INsite Magazine, Texas Music, Southwest Blues, Austin Daze, and a host of other magazines and sites.

I was told by someone that I like every band in the world. This isn't true. There's a ton of music I've heard that I'll never write about. I don't believe in writing negative press. I prefer to only talk about and write about bands that have a sound I can get into.

Well, it's now September 2009 and I think I'm going to issue myself a little challenge. From September 2009 to September 2010, I am going to review an Austin-based band's CD a week. I will publish it here on my blog and at month's end will run it in INsite Magazine. If any other website is interested in publishing my reviews online, please let me know.

What I need:
- A plethora of Austin bands to send me their music.
It must be:
1. Released after March 2009
2. Professionally done (no burns, no electronic mp3s)
3. Accompanied by a bio
4. By an Austin band

Send it to:
INsite Magazine
c/o Sean Claes
5401 S FM 1626 STE 170-436
Kyle, Texas 78640

- Any kind words about bands I review in my blog will be great. Please let bands know you're reading about them. Any negative posts will be deleted. You are entitled to your opinion... and I won't argue with you...but I run this blog.

(The CDs I don't review will go into a box that I'll offer other INsite CD reviewers and/or give away at INsite-hosted events.

Why am I doing this?
1. I want to see if I can do it. A CD review a week is a tall order, if you take into consideration that I only review CDs I like. It'll likely take me 3-4 CDs to find one I deem reviewable.

2. Austin is always in the fight for their title as the "Live Music Capital of the World" and I want to help prove it right. There is A LOT of good music in Austin, a lot that people aren't hearing about. I want to help the scene. I am a writer. So, I'll write.

3. My personal motto is "It's all about the free stuff." But my mission in life is to help good people become better known. So, personally, I'm hoping to get a lot of free music, and as a writer, I'm going to do my duty to let everyone I can know about some of the great folks who play great music in and from Austin. It's like the best of both worlds (not the Hannah version.. more like the Van Hagar version).

So... I've gotten the first one written. I will post it tomorrow, then I'll post a new CD review each Thursday until September 2010.

Feel free to follow me to track my progress.
E-mail me at with any questions.

Thanks for reading. I hope you discover a few new bands this way. I know I will.
- Sean Claes