June 24, 2010

Week 42: Indofin - 2x Broken

(This is week 42 of my 52 Austin CD Reviews in 52 Weeks Project)  

“I’ve got sunshine on my mind. I’ve got a heart so hard to find. I’ve got troubles no one cares to know” - Sunshine

2x Broken
Nonprofit Boozer

Fresh from a trip to the Wakarusa Festival in Ozark, Arkansas, the guys in Indofin are gearing up for the release of their second full-length studio release 2x Broken. If you are a fan of the dirty-reggae-punk sound that Sublime’s live shows were chock full of, you’ll be a fan of this Austin three-piece.

The 12 tracks that make up this record combined come in at just over 30 minutes of what I would term as throwback reggae-punk music. Leading off with the distortion-driven “Honey,” the album’s sound is established early. The crawling reggae sound continues on such tracks as “Whatever,” “Nonprofit,” and “Riverside.” And songs like “Blue Light,” “Princess,” and “Missing Me” operate at a nice reggae-jam speed.

The vocals of T.J. Huerta are decidedly imperfect, but it’s very fitting for the tracks that comprise the album. The songs are full of regret and hearbreak. Apparently someone broke his heart good. But, the album is also a celebration of coming out the other side, in personal relationships and as a band. I think “Sunshine” is the key track to prove this point.

My favorite track on 2x Broken is a track called “Fingerfight.” The two minute jam is led by the crisp guitarwork of Huerta. The bass-line of Albert Huang keeps the song flowing while the percussion of Donny Mann brings it all together. 
Enough with all this posturing, fingerfighting fist a cuffs I got myself an ex-girlfriend / enough with all the apologizing, If you don't so I'm probably gonna do the same / I'm feeling like a bird in a cage when you come by to say hi you take this pain away / I pray, and I pray.”
The album ends with “2x Broken” that begins as a classic country song before it leads into a punk rock jam that would make the Dropkick Murphys proud.

If you’ve been through a rough break-up this album may serve as therapy, and as I stated at the beginning of this review if you are/were a Sublime fan, you’ll ikely find yourself at home with Indofin.

They are releasing 2x Broken on July 13, and will have a hometown release party at an INsite Night on Friday July 16 at Encore (611 Red River) with The Buzzkillers, Under The Gun and Root Dimension. If you’re an early bird, they will be on your television between 7-9a playing Fox 7's Good Day Austin on July 16 as well.

You can pick up the album at the show, or if you can’t make it download it on Amazon.com or order it via their website - http://indofinmusic.com/

June 21, 2010

Under 18 in Kyle? Hays CISD is feeding you this summer.


Several schools within the Hays CISD school district are offering free breakfast and lunch for kids all summer long (except July 5-8). This photo was taken Thursday (grilled cheese day) at Negley Elementary.

Here's the information from Hayscisd.net

Any child under the age of 18 is eligible for free breakfast or lunch this summer at the following schools:
  • Wallace Middle School, weekdays, June 7 through August 6, breakfast is from 8:15 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. and lunch is from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (no meals will be served July 5-8);
  • Camino Real Elementary School, Monday-Thursday, June 7 through July 1, 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. for breakfast and 11:30 a.m. to noon for lunch;
  • Negley Elementary School, weekdays, June 7 through August 6, breakfast is from 8:15 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. and lunch is from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (no meals will be served July 5-8);
  • Fuentes Elementary School, weekdays, June 7 through August 13, 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., for breakfast and 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for lunch;
  • Science Hall Elementary School, weekdays, June 8 through July 1, 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. for breakfast and 10:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for lunch (no meals will be served on July 5;
  • Chapa Middle School, weekdays, June 14 through July 9, 7:15 a.m. to 8 a.m. for breakfast and 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. for lunch (no meals will be served on July 5);
  • Lehman High School, weekdays from June 14 through July 23, 7:35 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. for breakfast and 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for lunch (no meals will be served July 5);
  • Tom Green Elementary School, weekdays from July 26 through August 6, 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. for breakfast and 10:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for lunch.
Costs of meals for adults is $1.75 for breakfast and $3 for lunch.

June 18, 2010

CD Review: Tristan Clopet - Purple EP

“But do they know what they want?  / Could they heed what they need?  / Would they pull the knife out  / or continue to bleed?” - Ethereal Evidence

Tristan Clopet
Purple EP
Sussex Recordings

Those who follow my writing know that I’ve got a thing for Austin music. I don’t often review folks who live too far outside the ATX city limits. Not because I don’t think there’s great music outside Texas, it’s just there’s such a wealth of Austin bands who need to be heard. I’ve even got a mission this year where I’m reviewing 52 Austin CDs in 52 Weeks. That mission alone has got me not listening to much other than Austin bands.

That said, a few months ago Miami-based musician Tristan Clopet reached out to me and sent me his Purple EP and a t-shirt. Maybe it was his persistence of getting hold of me (he touched base with me about 3 times before I replied), maybe it was the t-shirt that made me want to listen… but either way I’m glad I did.

Purple EP is a quick 25-minute introduction to this rock-based funk man. He sings with a conviction that seems much more mature than his 23 years. Lyrically, Clopet marries a funk flow with mindful commentary and questions about life. And musically he can bring the funk but also knows when to pull the reigns back and garner a more singer-songwriter sound.

To the songs. “Proximity Bomb” and “Ethereal Evidence” both have an early Red Hot Chili Peppers vibe to it. I can almost hear Anthony Kiedis delivering the vocals. “So Alive” brings in a laid-back singer-songwriter feeling to the table. “Love and a Question” is musically beautiful (think Oasis’ “Champagne Supernova” or Coldplay’s “Yellow”).

A personal favorite on this recording is “Superficiality Is A Sin.” The track makes a good case for not judging people. “And what do people say?  / And what do people do?  / They all do it too  / Cause they want to.”

The bass-driven “Black Panther Party” ends Purple EP on a funky high note. I could see folks being driven to dance during this track.  

Purple EP is the second release by Clopet and if you’ve not heard of this musician, it’s a really nice introduction. He’s currently planning a tour in September, hopefully he chooses Austin as a stopping point. I'll wear the shirt proudly (just not to the show... I'm not "that guy").

For more infotmation about Tristen Clopet, visit his website - http://tristanclopet.com.

June 17, 2010

Week 41: Dave Madden - Open Eyed / Broken Wide

(This is week 41 of my 52 Austin CD Reviews in 52 Weeks Project) 
“God made the world and saw that it was good. Not fair, not happy, not perfect, but good. And little understood, like rain.” - Rain

Dave Madden
Open Eyed / Broken Wide

When many bands are quickly releasing EPs and getting their mp3s on iTunes in order to get ahead of the music curve and to satisfy the need-it-now demands of fans, Dave Madden has done something both amazing and amazingly impressive.  He’s assembled a cast of phenomenal Austin musicians (Will Taylor and Strings Attached, Suzanna Choffel, Wendy Colonna, and John Pointer to name a few) and released a double album – 24 individual tracks (18 songs with 6 alternate-version tracks).
That alone is pretty impressive. As they say… “wait.. there’s more.” He’s abandoned the physical compact disc and instead released a beautiful lyric book with an access code to get to the albums in digital format, giving you access to a higher quality than has been offered in the past, the 96k audio (Madden explains it’s better than 2x CD quality and 35x mp3 quality).

It’s a statement, for sure. And a bold one. But, all is for naught if the music suffers or is not fully realized. Well, it took me about 3 weeks of listening to Open Eyed / Broken Wide to feel like I could write about it. Not for any other reason than, it’s packed full of really, really good music and some of the most heartfelt and genius lyrics I’ve heard in a long time.

This collection gave me the same feeling I got the first time I listened to Guy Forsyth’s Love Songs: For and Against, Ruthie Foster’s Runaway Soul, or Edwin McCain’s Honor Among Thieves. That is to say… it’s really good.

The album is a journey. It’s about life, it’s about love, about finding your way in this world’s sea of confusion. Madden marries his music and words with other things that have inspired him. He uses an Ariele Danea triptych poem across three songs. He quotes the likes of T.S. Eliot and Allen Ginsberg and draws inspiration from diverse folks like Leonard Cohen and a WWII retailing analyst by the name of Victor LeBow.

The music on Open Eyed / Broken Wide is really not genre specific enough for me to label it. It’s piano ballads (“A Beautiful Night,” “Someday,” “This is Love”), alternative rock (“Dirty Feet” [on Open Eyed], “Music is a Whore”), acoustic guitar (“Dirty Feet” [on Broken Wide], “Broken Wide”), adult contemporary (“Aware,” “Probably Why”), and gospel (“Believe,” “The New New Testament”).

Several of the songs on Open Eyed have alternate versions on Broken Wide (which was recorded live in Austin at the KUT 90.5 Studio). It’s a really interesting thing to get the same song in two musical versions. “When You Say No” is a stunning full production on Open Eyed and a beautiful stripped down guitar ballad on Broken Wide. Similarly the epic “This Is Love” from Open Eyed becomes a single instrument (piano) ballad on Broken Wide. I’d venture to say the songs on Broken Wide are more in tune to the creation process when writing and the Open Eyed versions are what can be done when adding amazing instrumentation.

The common denominator to these songs is the lyrics. Madden knows how to string words together to make a compelling and meaningful song no matter the musical genre.

“Tomorrow Today” is probably my favorite track on the album. It is most outright rock-anthem as well… complete with an AC/DC “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” type break down. “It’s the next big thing didn’t you hear? It’s not new unless it comes from next year.”

Open Eyes / Broken Wide is full of great lyrics. I feel the review wouldn’t be complete without listing a few.
-       She laughs / The fun is never over / and never fully sober / and everything’s a blur. – “Open Eyed / Broken Wide”

-        I feed on the fire my feet on the wire / Try as you might to follow the light / you can’t get it right. Believe.  - “Believe”

-       I could freak out and lose my cool / and put you next to 9/11 and heaven on a pedestal / freak out and make it into a fight / and send you sneaky ninja messages into the night. – “Probably Why”

-       Yeah… well no one’s perfect… but imperfection has never looked so good. – “A Beautiful Night”

-       And everybody’s water is a different shade of blue / and we all take pride in some kind of food / and everyone’s a Me, but mostly / everyone’s a You. – “Drive Across America”

I’m not sure if this should be billed as a double album, two single albums, or a studio album with a live record. For $20 you get 24 really good songs. If you strip away all of the interesting side stories and format issues and just concentrate on the music itself... it’s still one of the most impressive albums I’ve heard in the last few years.

For more information about Dave Madden or to buy Open Eyed / Broken Wide, visit his homepage at http://www.davemaddenmusic.com. He plays next at Flipnotics (1601 Barton Springs Road) on 6/24, then Grace Covenant Church  on 6/27, and The Ghost Room on 7/3. Can’t make those? Click the “Shows” link on his site.

June 10, 2010

Week 40: The Standouts

(This is week 40 of my 52 Austin CD Reviews in 52 Weeks Project) 

"I have caused some pain / Just to make myself feel better. / I created heartache down to the letter. / And if you are still O.K. with me / I suppose I can let you take a swing for free." - Let Love Lead

The Standouts
The Standouts

The Standouts come out of San Marcos/Austin with a sound that I have heard few attempt. Their sound is a combination Roy Orbison-meets-Jellyfish-meets-Jason Mraz. It forms a southern rock with a twist of 70s doo-wop groove and it comes together really good and on their debut self-titled six-song EP.

The fun “Let Love Lead” kicks things off and gets your toes tapping straight away. “Your Love Carries Me” gives a modern twist to a Grease-esque love song.  The feel good jam “Good Thing Goin’ On” follows. Then, if you’ve ever taken a “hindsight is 20/20” trip into a past relationship, “Rewrite” will speak to you.

Coming off like a heartfelt gospel tune, “I Will Be There” is probably my favorite on the release.  It’s got a sweet sax solo to lend to the vibe too. “I will be there / whenever you call me. I will be there / whenever you need. Yes, I will be.”

The album ends nicely with the funky lyrical head trip of “What It Does To You.”

The last local band that I heard that had this kind of groove was This Life Electric who kind of disappeared from my radar sometime in 2008. Let’s hope The Standouts don’t disappear because based off this EP, I hope they have a long future.

The band is made up of Andrew Howard (vocals/guitar), Junior Scott (vocals/bass), Johnny Ballistic (drums), Philip Prasek (vocals/guitar), Noel "Doc" Vickers (saxophone), David "Rudeboy" Bowman (trombone)

They’ve got a weekly Tuesday night residency at Cedar Street Courtyard through June so if this review has you wanting to check them out live, head there at 9p. If you’d like to learn more about them, visit their MySpace page. Oh.. and those who are unfamiliar with The Standouts may be familiar with their previous moniker "Rockus Circus."

June 3, 2010

Week 39: Allison Thrash - Solitude

(This is week 39 of my 52 Austin CD Reviews in 52 Weeks Project)
“If you look you’ll see no pieces of me to pick up / I believe in the power of loving in the hours after midnight. / What’s to savor if you don’t even sip from the cup? / How can you give if you’re holding on so tight?” – Open House

Allison Thrash
Head On Records

What’s in a name? When I first got this album in my hands I thought, what an interesting stage name for a metal/punk singer. Well, I was wrong on every level with that assumption. Allison Thrash is her ACTUAL name, and her brand of music is decidedly blues-driven. With her November 2009 release Solitude, Thrash and company serve up just under an hour of guitar-and-whiskey-soaked hardcore blues.

The musicianship on Solitude is fantastic, but what sets this album apart from others is the wonderfully unique voice of Thrash herself. It’s akin to some of the big-voiced blues women like Big Mama Thornton, Lavelle White and Nina Samone. If I had to place it alongside some Austin-based singers I’d have to say her voice has the power displayed by folks like Carolyn Wonderland and Shelley King. Thrash’s voice is raw, feminine (without being girly), and powerful.

The album kicks off with the age-old blues line “My man says he loves me” in the classic crawling blues track “Thrash and Moan.”

But she’s not the sit-there-and-take-it kind of songwriter. In fact, the track where the title of the CD came from “Gimme Some Solitude” begins by asking her man to leave her alone (“Gimme some solitude, baby / Tonight don’t come home”). She invites you to come to the party in “Open House” and wants to know “Do You Come With A Drink?” She takes a call from the devil himself in “Fight Dirty” and recounts some interesting life choices in “Rubies of Foolishness.”

The ballad “Mother” is a really heartfelt and beautiful tribute to Patricia Francis Thrash, who passed away in April 2010 after a long Alzheimer’s-type illness called Lowy Body Dementia.  “Mother, I put some of your roses in my yard / I look at them and things are a little less hard / I still wear your sweater when it gets cold / I still look at your picture when I'm losing my hold.”

The album concludes with another somber take-me-Home track,  “Lord, I’m Ready.”

Allison Thrash’s band is made up of Thrash (vocals), David Love (guitar), Jes Sproat (bass), and Jason Hurt (drums).

If you’re a fan of the blues, Solitude is for you. Catch her live to pick this album up. And you’re in luck, she’s playing an early show Friday night (7p-9p) at Rockin' Tomato on Lakecreek and 183 . Can’t make it? Check out http://www.allisonthrash.com/ for more information.

June 2, 2010

Bands - Want to open for KISS?

Seems KISS is still on the forefront of self-promotion. For the record.. I am a HUGE fan of the merchandising animal that KISS is. I used to be a ginormous fan of their music as well....and anytime I can see them live it's an experience. A great one. The fire.. the glitz... the "you wanted the best and you got the best" of it all.

Anyhow... they have gotten together with Guitar Center and are "giving away" an opening slot on one of their 22 dates... which includes dates in Houston (9/17), and Dallas (9/18), and San Antonio (9/19). Oh.. if you win... I'd totally go to the San Antonio Show and shoot photos of your performance... I'm just saying.

Information is at http://gconstage.com/
Some of the information includes:
Register (it's free!) to compete in one city on KISS's tour (bands can only register in one city and will not be able to switch cities) 
The top 5 bands with the most Demands will be reviewed by KISS, and KISS will select the final winning band 
Winning bands are responsible for their own transportation, lodging, and production costs 
The best of the 22 bands as chosen by KISS will win a $10,000 Guitar Center shopping spree!
Here's the YouTube video announcement: