April 29, 2010

Week 34 - SuperLiteBike - Away We Go

Before we couldn't tell / Our thoughts were all dispersed / Experience the inner body at its worst / But we called out for the signs / and they showed us they were there/ And that they're all around us / telling us that good times are coming.  - "That's A Lot Of Adhesive"

Away We Go

A band born from the melding of two local bands, Pocketful of Deng and The War Against Sleep, SuperLiteBike has taken a big risk. They’ve put together a concept album to serve up as their first effort. According to the bio, the songs on Away We Go describe “the story of a girl leaving the planet only to come back and realize that’s her home.”

I’ve got to say, this style of concept-ethereal-sonic-indie rock isn’t usually by bag. It’s got that sound that would be very appealing to the scene in Austin known as the “hipsters.” And, I’ve been told very poignantly that I am not in that crowd (thank you hairstylist at Beauty Bar). All that aside, I’ve got to say, good music is good music.

The songs are all fully realized with sonic guitarwork and percussion providing the backdrop for the creeping lyrics of Patrick Husband. The entire outfit gives a Talking Heads-meets-Spoon-meets-Ghostland Observatory vibe.

Away We Go leads off with 2:30 minutes of sonic pleasure building up to the kick-off of the chanting “That’s A Lot Of Adhesive.” Carrying on is the organ-meets-guitar jam of “Raise the Colors” then it slows down for instrumental track “The Great Erie” that serves as the intro to the horn-infused “Something With the Spectrum.”

My favorite track on Here We Go has to be “Home.” It’s the seventh track and kind of serves as the epicenter of the journey. Its got a really interesting QueenBohemian Rhapsody” type breakdown in the middle. “Can I get back to where I’m from? Will I get back everything I’ve known? Can I tell you everything I’ve learned? Will I ever find my way? ”

From there the story winds down with the very Spoon-esque mind-opening jam “Unbelievable Party!!! Cool” followed by the retrospective “See Change” and the 8-minute dream-finalizing “Let’s See A Jet Plane.”

SuperLiteBike will be releasing Away We Go on May 13 at The Parish. I’d be interested to see how this sound is pulled off live. It has got some really complex technical riffs and mood swings throughout. If they can capture live what they captured on Away We Go the release party will be an epic event not to be missed. I know the album is one that should be heard by anyone who appreciates good music… hipster or not.

For more information on SuperLiteBike, visit http://www.superlitebike.com.

There wasn't much video on YouTube on Superlitebike... but.. for a little video taste:

Here's a video flier the band did for a Free Week promo back in February.. good stuff.

April 27, 2010

This Weekend (5/2/10) - Front Porch Days in Kyle

Front Porch Days 2010 - Sunday May 2
9 Bands • 2 Stages • 1 Neighborhood • FREE

Every year for the last nine, the Plum Creek neighborhood of Kyle celebrates with an open-to-the-public community-wide party called Front Porch Days (http://www.frontporchdays.com).  This Sunday, May 2, from 11a – 4p is this year’s celebration.

Much more than just a party. Plum Creek’s Fergus Park will be transformed into a full-on carnival with no admission fee. Moon bounces, a petting zoo, pony rides and the Jigglebus Express are at the forefront of the things for the kiddos to do. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Front Porch Days without a free concert by the Emmy Award Winning Biscuit Brothers who play at 12:30.

Speaking of music, the Fifth Annual Front Porch Days Music Festival is also being featured with continuous music from 11a (when the Kyle United Methodist Church Praise Band kicks things off with a 45 minute gospel set) to 4p. If you tune in to the Fox 7 morning show on Friday, you’ll be treated to the Americana sounds of Aimless Gun who play at noon. The full line-up can be found on the event’s Website.

Front Porch Days will also include a pie baking contest, washer’s tournament, A 5k and 1k run, an old-fashioned soapbox derby, and a skating exposition by TxSk8 Team.
Everything is happening from 11a – 4p this Sunday in Plum Creek. For full schedule of events and directions to Fergus Park visit http://www.frontporchdays.com

Live music from 11a - 4p
Music Sponsor - Kyle United Methodist Church
2 Stages. 9 Bands. 1 Neighborhood - Plum Creek.
Stage 1:
11:30 12:15: Bruce Curtis Fallgren 12:30 1:15: The Biscuit Brothers
1:30 2:15: Rockaroni and Cheese 2:30 4:00: The Dead Phonetics

Stage 2:
11:00- 11:45 The Kyle United Methodist Church Praise Band 12:00 12:45: Aimless Gun
1:00 1:45: Chelle Murrey
2:00 2:45: Lucas Cook (solo)
3:00-4:00: Righteous Brisket

April 22, 2010

Plum Creek Community Wide Garage Sale 4/24/10

This Saturday there will be literally hundreds of garage sales going on in my neighborhood.

I live in Plum Creek in Kyle Texas. Plum Creek is a 2,200 acre master-planned community located on the west side of IH-35 in Kyle, Texas, 17 miles south of Austin. There's a few thousand homes here... and once a year the entire community turns into bargainville. We have a GREAT time talking to neighbors... and buying their stuff.

That 1 in 365 day inn 2010 is this Saturday April 24.

The sale will be from 7:00a - about 1:00p

Come on by.

To get to Plum Creek:
a. IH-35 to exit 215 (Kyle Parkway/ FM 1626).
b. West on FM 1626
c. Left on Kohler's Crossing
d. Plum Creek is on your left-hand side.


Oh.. and don't forget about Front Porch Days next weekend (May 2). Info - http://frontporchdays.com/

Week 33 - Lennon's Song - We Love, We Lean, We Grow

(Week 33 of my 52 Austin CD Reviews in 52 Weeks)   
“You are the passion, the passion in my heart. And the inspiration to make a new start.” - Lennon

Lennon’s Song
We Love, We Learn, We Grow

Erick Bohorquez is the guitarist and vocalist for one of Austin’s premiere reggae/dub/Latin bands Don Chani. He is also a new father. Both of these facts are evident in his new project, a children’s release called We Love, We Learn, We Grow recorded under the moniker Lennon’s Song.

Love is the theme of this recording and the impetus of the project was the bath of his son Ishan Lennon (hence the name of the “band”). Musically, the album is carried by a reggae-infused acoustic guitar sound. This isn’t you’re typical kids album, it’s more like a view of the world using the eyes of a child.

We Love, We Learn, We Grow is a true one-man project. Bohorquez wrote composed, produced, mixed, and mastered it himself. He also is a pretty strong promotional machine (which makes sense as in his past life he was a Regional Manager of Marketing and Promotions at Island/Def Jam Records).

When I get an album like this, a side project that is a single persons vision, I usually take a deep breath before I listen because 90% of the time it’s a nice idea, but not fully realized. This one is different though.  This is a really moving CD full of original tunes that are child oriented but not too simplistic. And bonus, the lyrics are well thought out and really moving.

Throughout the nine-song 26-minute album, I found myself smiling. The reggae “one love” idea is driven home well in the apropos-titled  “Love.”  The fun “Growing Up” talks about the excitement of new discovery. “Use You Imagination” bops along with a Bob Marley “Three Little Birds” feel to it. The beautiful dedication to Bohorquez’s son, “Lennon,” is another high point of an album full of great tunes. The instrumental “Wonderful” and “Breeze” are also well crafted.

The song that really gets me going is the fun “Summertime.” It is one of those audience participation songs where Bohorquez gets hands clapping and feet stomping. “Summertime is easy because school is out of session. It’s OK to play all day because life is one big lesson.” My kids are big fans of this track as well.

I hope that Lennon’s Song isn’t a one-off for Bohorquez. Although his full-time band is fantastic, the world needs more original kids songs that don’t make parents want to rip their hair out on the 100th listen. I can see this one being on heavy rotation at my house.

You can find Lennon’s Song in Austin at Picket Fences Baby & Maternity (1003 W 34th St) and Waterloo Records. Also check online at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/LennonsSong. Erick will be playing the The Red Balloon Benefit at 501 Studios in Austin this Sunday as part of Don Chani. He will also be performing as Lennon’s Song in June at Lake Hills Montessori.

April 16, 2010

I'm not judging this round, but I've judged the Music Lab / Raw Deal Battle of the bands several times in the past. INsite's Food Editor and music contributor Marsha Mann will be judging tomorrow night. In my experience this series of shows has introduced me to some of my favorite bands in Austin. Judging Battle of the Bands is where I first heard Bright Light Social Hour, Prey For Sleep, and Language Room. Past winners include Zlam Dunk and Brink of Disaster.

This is the 12th Battle. Who will make the cut and take the prize? Head out to the Red Eyed Fly tomorrow night (Saturday April 17, 2010) and find out.

Here's the line-up

Music Lab/Raw Deal Battle Of The Bands XII- Finals
12:30-Knock On Wood
11:40-Naked Empire
10:50-Arctica Embrace
10:00-Stegosaurus Lips
9:10-Jalapeno Heads
8:20-AM Meltdown

April 15, 2010

Week 32 - Shelli Coe - A Girl Like Me

(Week 32 of my 52 Austin CD Reviews in 52 Weeks)  

“May your heart rest in pieces / May your wishes never come true. / May your nights be long, cold, and lonely / like mine are each night without you.”
- May Your Heart Rest In Pieces

Shelli Coe
A Girl Like Me
Big Beard Records

There are many different versions of country music. You’ve got the pop-princess version like Taylor Swift, the rock-country of Sugarland, the over-produced American Idol country, and every now and then all of the effects are stripped away and country music gets back to the basics. The latter is what you find on Shelli Coe’s latest A Girl Like Me.

In case her name doesn’t sounds familiar, concentrate on the last name. Yes, she’s the daughter of David Allen Coe, and although she doesn’t have the same outlaw-country sound of dear old’ dad, she has a firm grasp on the classic country sound. Songs about heartbreak. Songs about love. Songs about revenge. Songs about coming into your own.

With A Girl Like Me you get about 45 minutes of 2010-released classic country gold. Coe has a voice akin to Terri Clark, the kind that is a little bit lower then the bulk of female country singers out there. The kind of voice that says “I not only sing this song, but I lived it, and if you try me I’ll wipe the floor with you.”

There’s “Red Lights Flashing,” a jam about trying to let someone down… not so easily. “May Your Heart Rest In Pieces” explores the idea when the heartbreaker becomes the heartbreakee.  Flip that last theme and you’ve got  “Bryan’s Song.” She wears her heart on her sleeve in “I Love You.” Dean Seltzer joins Coe on a beautiful cover of “Please Come To Boston” originally recorded by Dave Loggins. Incidentally, David Allen Coe had a hit with this song in 1974.

In fact, she tips her hat to her dad in a few other places in this album. She’s got a rendition of the 1978 hit “If This Is Just A Game,” and the album closes with another DA Coe track, “Face To Face.” Both very impressive and keeping with the style Shelli Coe plays. She also has a little fun with one of her dad’s most memorable lines about a “perfect country and western song” on the ballad “Truly.”

My favorite track is the beautiful creeping “Falling At The Speed of Sound.” It’s a beautiful love song on A Girl Like Me. “I’m falling at the speed of sound / I’m so high I can’t see the ground. You’re voice is sweeter than any I’ve found / Falling at the speed of sound.”

From start to finish, I found A Girl Like Me to be a really good listen.  Anyone who likes classic bar-room country music will enjoy this as well. With this offering, she has proved why she has earned the nickname "The Honky Tonk Princess." For more information on Shelli Coe, visit shellicoe.com. She next plays on May 8 at Austin’s Scoot Inn.

April 8, 2010

Week 31: One-Eyed Doll - Break

(Week 31 of my 52 Austin CD Reviews in 52 Weeks) 
“I did it for love. I did it because I knew you’d want it all someday. I did it for love. Murder was the only way.” – "Murder Ballad"

One-Eyed Doll

Ever since I was turned on to One-Eyed Doll a few years ago by INsite’s Food Editor, Marsha Mann, I’ve loved seeing them live. It’s as much a theatrical experience as it is a rock show. One thing I’ve always been saddened by was the fact that their studio work really never stood up to the performances. With 2010’s Break One-Eyed Doll has finally turned in a studio recording that is as twisted, enchanting and real as their live show.

Break also introduces a new arrangement of One-Eyed Doll, from a two-piece guitar/drum set up to a three-member band. Kimberly Freemen (vocals/guitar) and PJ “Number Three” Evans (former drummer, now bass) are joined full-time by the album’s producer Jason Rufuss “Junior” Sewell (drums).

The first three tracks set the tone on the album. “Airplane Man” is an oddly radio-friendly offering that perked my ears up instantly. With “Beautiful Freak,” One-Eyed Doll proves just why they’ve gotten top honors as Austin’s Best Punk Band in the Austin Music Awards for the last two years. “Murder Ballad” is a disturbingly beautiful love song.

The guitar-driven kick-the-door-down One-Eyed Doll that people are accustomed to hearing doesn’t arrive on Break until the fourth song “See Jane Run.” Songs like the title track and “Suckerfish” also follow the band’s tried and true metal sound.

Of course, storytelling is always a big part of the live experience, and Break features a few personal journey songs. “Cinderblock” tells the story of a 10-year old girl essentially raising herself while dealing with an alcoholic father. And the live staple “New Orleans,” the true story of a boy dying in Freeman’s arms, has been captured well with a heartbeat-like rhythm behind it.  Then there’s the dark “Murder Suicide.”  The album ends with the six-minute epic ballad  “Resurrection.”

The song that is most out of place on the album is also the track that the album wouldn’t feel complete without. Anyone who’s seen OED live knows there’s a humor aspect to balance out the dark undercurrent that runs along most of Freeman’s lyrics. So, a tongue-in-cheek country song called “Redneck Love Song” provides the comic relief on Break

The title song is my favorite track. It’s a fitting song as “Break” is about coming into your own. No longer being confined by what is expected. “And I gave you silence. I gave you everything. And I’ll break my silence. I’m breaking everything. “ I have to admit, Break is not what I thought I was getting into when I popped the CD in. It’s much, much more.

The production-work by Sewell is great. Long-time fans may object that this album is “too polished” but I think it’s a wonderful representation of this band’s body of work. It’s real. That’s probably the most important thing. The songs are honest and on Break he was able to provide a professional recording without compromising the integrity of the songs.

This could be the album that introduces the rest of the world to One-Eyed Doll. All the pieces are in place. It very likely could, well, break the band.   Find out more about One-Eyed Doll by visiting their website at http://www.oneeyeddoll.com/

If you'd like to listen to or purchase Break (or any of the albums in One-Eyed Doll's discography for that matter), the price is up to you. They are inviting people to name their price for the downloads. Here's a link - http://music.oneeyeddoll.com/.

The one-and a half hour-long "Rockumentary" on One-Eyed Doll by DavidJr.com. It's worth the time.

April 1, 2010

Week 30 - Brandon Rhyder - Head Above Water

(Week 30 of my 52 Austin CD Reviews in 52 Weeks)

“What good is a man in my kind of shape / I’m a dollar short and you’re 10 days late.” – “You Can Count On Me”

Brandon Rhyder
Head Above Water

It’s been a while since I’ve seen Brandon Rhyder live but his  Conviction got worn out in my truck’s CD player a few years back (my review on Conviction) . So, I was pretty pumped when Head Above Water got to my hands.  His sound is lumped in with the Red Dirt and Americana scene. His music is what turns a lot of folks on to him, but the hidden gem of this singer is he’s a phenomenal songwriter, and he continues to impress with this release.

I have to admit, I wasn’t thrilled with the first single, “Rock Angel” when I heard it on the radio. It sounded too commercial for the Rhyder I was familiar with. But… it’s grown on me (and apparently I’m one of the few that it bothered as it hit #1 on the Texas Music Charts in February and it’s still in the top 30).

The title track is a beautiful ballad about being saved. I don’t know if it’s what he intended, but to me it’s a very spiritual song about finding God and trusting Him with the essence of your very being.

“You Can Count On Me” is a great underdog love story. In contrast “Ultimate Deceiver” is about the end of a relationship. “I’ll Take You” seems like a nice follow up to 2005’s “Back Roads” off Conviction. And “Battery” is about visiting the old stomping ground.

My favorite track on Head Above Water is “You Burn Me.” The lyrical genius on this song is worth the price of the CD alone. It’s a bit of a rocker about a former love. “You can burn me with a simple single touch / I get confused and think I’ve never loved this much / and without warning, you come rolling in like gasoline. / That’s why there’s never nothing left of me. ‘Cause you burn me.”

The bonus track, “Queen Of My Roost” sounds like something that Guy Forsyth would release. It’s a ragtime-charged love song that rocks like a “flapper in a 1920s dress.”

Head Above Water was produced by Walt Wilkins. It boasts twelve tracks (and an awesome bonus track), beautiful CD packaging and a “Making of” DVD.  I appreciate the lengths bands go through these days to get someone to actually buy a physical CD.

Check out Rhyder and band live at Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos on April 8, or visit http://www.brandonrhyder.com to see where he’s playing and how to grab a copy for yourself.