April 22nd, 2011 by hux
Archive for the ‘CD Reviews’ Category
April 22nd, 2011 by hux
Lost Pines: Sweet Honey–This renown Austin bluegrass band has recently release a new album produced by Lloyd Maines (Grammy Award winner).Their 14 original tracks span the genres of bluegrass, country and folk. Their sophomore album deliverers sincere songwriting and tunes with vocal harmonies, mandolin, fiddle, banjo and guitar punches with Maines playing on Tracks 2 and 11 on the Dobro making for a polished bluegrass sound. The Lost Pines are heavily influenced by songwriters like Gilliam Welch and Tim O’Brien using the plush catalogue of traditional music to craft songs that are sweet and pop filled to mature and heart-wrenchingly honest. They’ve played many of the well-regarded Austin stages winning over audiences one show at a time. This album is true bluegrass with a sweet Austin flare.
Zevious: After the Air Raid–Based out of the big ol’ New York City this band totes itself as a “genre-bursting out” electric/punk-jazz trio consisting of sounds fusing guitar, drums and bass. Their focus is on the improvisational accompaniment of contemporary jazz artists, metal bands and vintage jazz and rock (fusion). Rhythms are oddly paced, guitar soars through and a punk-jazz sound joins the new movement. Worth a shake.
The Powder Kegs: The Amanicans–Still searching for their “sound” the Powder Kegs keep on chugging with each diverse release they put out. Each release has allowed the band to explore their style, while still gaining a wider audience and critical acclaim. Initially, they were a old-time string band feeding folk songs that were so well received that they won first place on NPR’s “A Prairie Home Companion’s “People In Their Twenties Contest” in 2007. Then, they moved into indie-pop and also garnered some attention from Hype Machine’s “Most Popular MP3s” list for 3 weeks. Now, they are changing again, although still sticking with a relatively loose interpretation of indie rock/pop. Opening with “Hospital”– a dreamy, hypnotic sonic sound sets the stage for other notable tracks like ”When The Body Tricks The Mind” with delectable vocal melodies and a catchy guitar groove. The title track, ends the album eloquently and closes with a tribute to their folk roots- a dabble back and forth between genres that continue to set them apart throughout their albums.
November 18th, 2010 by hux
Admittedly, it’s been a while. The back log is pretty huge– so the format is going to change a bit in order to get everybody some sandbox time. And there are a lot of them. It’s a long list this time. Gone are the more lengthy reviews. Hello to the shorter cuts. Just for now, kids. Just for now while we get all caught up. Read the rest of this entry »
September 19th, 2010 by Russ
ME: HEY, TELL ME ABOUT NEW CD TITLE
TONI: I WANTED TO MAKE SOMETHING WARM AND COOL, SWEET AND SATISFYING, LIKE ICE CREAM ON A SUMMER SUNDAY AFTERNOON.
So, I have been told I might be biased.
Yes, I have been to a few of her shows and yes she is a friend, but biased no. If this disc sucked, I would tell ya. It is pretty darn good. In general, I am not a huge fan of Toni’s CD’s. I prefer the live shows much more. Glad I live in such a place where I can speak that statement and actually follow it up by going out and seeing things live. The improvisation of any live show never gets old. The musicianship on all her cd’s is stellar, alwaze has been and continues with this new release. Gathering all this talent requires magic schedules and a huge studio. That is mainly why is why her previous cd’s don’t do it for me. With a few exceptions, most tracks have felt like studio work. It’s all too clean and too package perfect in my opinion. Radio stations love that stuff and I guess most people do too. I guess if I didn’t live here, I would too. Gwil Owen is one of the best songwriters I have found, he fits Toni to a T. All that said, this new CD has something. It feels live. I put it in, close my eyes and am transported to a packed, old school jazz club. Dark and smokey is the scene as the band belts out the tunes. The joint starts to swing. The songs just flow into each other. When a disc can transport you, you know it’s something good. It is good. Many of my favorite players are on this recording. I still prefer the real experience, but if I am out of town or on a road trip, this CD will be there.
This CD will be available at the Continental Club, Ebay and Waterloo Records shortly.Pick (UP) one or some up todaze.
August 13th, 2010 by hux
No Justice—Second Avenue: Since 2005, No Justice has dominated the Oklahoma and Texas music scenes both on the stage and through the radio waves. The band’s previous album Live at Billy Bob’s Texas allowed them to wander across the U.S. playing more than 200 dates a year. Read the rest of this entry »
August 6th, 2010 by hux
Mainly Lanes—Oomami: Opening track “Nails,” is grounded by the cello and drives unexpectedly into a rock rhythm with accompanying guitars. Toni Zaman’s vocals sting throughout the track pacing with a curious anthem. Read the rest of this entry »
July 26th, 2010 by hux
Northern Paradox-Self-Titled EP: Self-described as audio art with a progressive and energetic sound, this Austin quartet captures its audience with influences from ambient punk, folk, blues and dark, indie rock. Beginning in 2005, the band took full shape after moving to Austin and inhabiting its bassist. The new self-titled EP is one that they call a mini album with a release date later in the year. The three dynamic tracks set forth pulsing with odd time signatures, strange changes in rhythm and a vocal hallmark. Emotive sounds accompany lyrics that evoke political and poetic renderings that are often brooding. Pairing the guitar and piano with driving bass and drums rounds out the band’s sound quite nicely.
Somebody’s Darling-Self-Titled LP: Dallas, TX is no slouch in producing bands that garner attention. This band is no different. In fact, they’ve put quite a few notches in their proverbial musical belt in the last few years—one of which provided them the opportunity to secure a recording contract with Shiner Records. The four-piece rock band has country sensibilities and a sense of themselves to boot making them a local favorite and gathering a large, diverse fan base in the making. Forming in 2007, they quickly began to make a name for themselves. They have supported artists like Ray Wylie Hubbard, James McMurtry, Lucero, Corb Lund, Stoney LaRue, Walt Wilkins, Same Roberts Band, Sleepercar and more. Each member is fully capable of holding their own—lyrically, vocally and instrumentally. Their self-title LP is a magical blend of country, roots rock and plain ol’ good times. They intertwine their musical talents beautifully and without much fodder. They play out authentic effortlessly.
Tennis System—The Future of Our History: To best describe this band it’s important to know just what happened during this year’s SXSW. They were shut down. Twice. Due to noise complaints. Not only do they do loud, they apparently do it quite flawlessly. Even though loud as hell, they manage to tuck in songs that are precious and pop tunes that are catchy throughout. They are able to mix high energy with a chill, ethereal temperament. Together since 2008, they’ve opened for bands like Japandroids, Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Harlem. They power the album with their thundering drums, bass, and two guitars full of distortion-like antics that play out well. Exported out of Washington D.C. they are apt to follow well in their predecessors footsteps (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., and My Bloody Valentine) as their sound is both on par with powerful instrumentation and extremism.
The Figurados—Lesson Two: Two men, Timothy Abbott and Gregg Kirk come together again to define their version of alternative classic rock with “Lesson Two” their follow-up to their debut album “Divine Spirits, Holy Smoke.” They pull songs throughout the album that have a broad range which sometimes leaves the listener a bit focusless dabbling in everything from ‘80s power pop, gospel, traditional rock and blues of the Texas persuasion. They came together after various individual efforts with other outfits and use their vast experiences to express angst, urban depravity and pure Texas. They state that their albums are “meant to be played at maximum volume and savored… like a fine figurado… preferably with a glass of absinthe or a choice Belgian beer.”
July 17th, 2010 by Russ
Those crisp cool nights back in November & December flood on in. The time passed through our dancing bodies, oh so fast. If you were one of the fortunate souls to be at The Continental Club you know the magic on this new cd by Alejandro Escovedo, called; Street Signs of Love. Last November AND In to December he played a stint of Tuesdaze nights after Toni Price. I was waiting for a ride to snag me so I stayed for the first one. I knew who Alejandro was, maybe had seen him a few times, but nothing really stuck with me. He started and I was sucked in. Needless to say, I did not miss a gig after that first one. Anyway, at these shows he would introduce two new tracks from the (yet to be recorded) new cd amidst his repertoire. Magic ensued. So, I knew for many months that this cd was going to be amazing.His backup band, the sensitive boys and sensitive girls are smokin. The Boss (Bruce Springsteen) sits in on a track. Yes it is that cool. It is also produced by Tony Visconti! This disc is gold. It ranks up there among the greats in my cd collection. Part of this disc includes the lyrics to each tune. You just don’t get that in cds anymore. I thought I knew the song but they become cooler when the real words are seen. Cooler and shattering at the same time. The riffs of “AFTER THE METEOR SHOWER” send me into a state of beauty and lost love. Really an awesome piece of work. Powerful. I am full of joy and tears when i listen to this cd. We plan to interview Alejandro when we can catch him………………… GET THIS DISC!
July 5th, 2010 by Russ
SOME THINGS JUST SLIP THROUGH THE CRACKS.
It happens. Had this disc in plain site, wrapped for some time. People kept telling me about it. Shit just kept me from opening it, or getting it to HUX (cd reviewer). Today I got to it and gave it a spin. Actually, that was a few hours ago and it is still spinning. God damn yall, this is the funk! If you dig funk like I do, you gotta pick this up. My experience with this genre of music is that the live shows are always way better than the recorded material. I think it has something to do with the room left for improvisation at live shows and the energy and groove of live expression. Yes, yes I am a spoiled bastard to have the luxory of catching live shows on a nightly basis. That’s why I live in this town. I know many of you agree. That is why the heat doesn’t bother me that much. Do yall remember GNAPPY? I liked that outfit. Two guys from that band are behind FLYJACK, Brad and Buck. The players on this cd can be caught in many different jams on a nightly basis. The drummer here used to be the beats for JAMES BROWN. This cd is damn good. My only complaint is that it is too short. That issue is solved by putting the repeat/shuffle function on. This is a groovy disc. “Ain’t it funky now” is my favorite track. I wanna catch a live show. The Momo’s stage would be a nice fit. Maybe double billed with BROWNOUT!, Akina Aderly and the Vintage Playboys, Hector Ward & the big time or Bruce James Soultet. The choices are endless. I just hope FLYJACK plays more often.
June 28th, 2010 by hux
The .44—In The Red (EP): Ricky Stein was well received as a solo act just over a year ago when he released his 2009 record “Crazy Days.” At the time he was a weekly resident at the legendary Hole in the Wall. During some of those sessions Stein’s high school friends would back the set with bass, keyboard, and drums. Shortly thereafter, the group hit the road for a 17-date East Coast tour for Stein’s promotional release tour. While on the road Stein wrote a few new songs that seemed to point the band in a different direction. Stein’s solo sound was incredibly Americana meets old-school blues, perhaps even with a little Motown twist. He was a blast to watch on stage because he truly embodied his music. He vibrated it just as much as it came straight out of him. On this EP, the twangy down home blues sound is muted to the point where it might be missed altogether (“Trouble All the Same” brings it as much to the forefront as they will put it). The songwriting is strikingly, lyrically strong, but it moves from a darker tone to a mellow vibe just inside the four-song EP. The instrumentation that is the .44 works well with this direction and is noticeable without being distracting. Somehow, even though there is a lot to absorb when listening to the intricacies of the EP it appears incredibly simple. Engineered at Baltimore House Studios, the EP released is apparently just a smattering of what the band is going to lay down on the local scene.
The Literary Greats–Ocean, Meet The Valley: Out of Houston comes this band that managed to climb its way to debut 153 on the CMJ 200 while unsigned. Not too shabby. The band puts together a sound that is Texan at the core with a rock back and a sprinkling of Americana and alt-rock somewhere in between. Differing from their previous release, each song on the album was written as a group. There’s an underlying darkness in the album, but it isn’t so palpable that it makes the listener uncomfortable, it’s perhaps more of a feeling of longing that comes through. Opening with “That Mountain Yonder” the album folds you in quietly and then starts smacking you around a bit with the sharp percussion and moody guitar riffs. That opener is the first of many treats on the album. Wisely blending poetic lyrics to an addictive musical backing that grips you is this band’s strength.
Jeffrey Moon—Conscious Pilot: Moon is a sing-songwriter. But he’s also a bit more than that. He primarily uses a nylon-string guitar and ‘no picks’ approach while interweaving vocal and guitar lines. His sound is soft and his voice generates a bit of the old Cat Stevens with a range to match. His CD plays beautifully, melodically and captures the listener in its sweet simplicity.
May 17th, 2010 by Russ
Grupo Fantasma El Existential
In case you lead a sheltered life, Grupo Fantasma is Austin’s premier Latin Orchestra – which puts them high in the running for best in America. Seeing them play live is a magical thing that will keep you moving and sweating and always wanting more. They have been getting lots of well deserved national attention, especially after the release of their last album, the Grammy-nominated Sonidos Gold.
May 17th, 2010 by christine
SuperLiteBike debuted their new Cd “Away We Go” at the Parish to an enthusiastic crowd. When you see this band you might be thinking, whoa…that’s actually Pocketful of Deng, and a new guy. You’re right. It’s Pocketful of Deng with a new attitude and new sound, thanks to the addition of Chris Heckendorn. These guys have some very funny video “flyers” like this. More information on SuperLite Bike at their official website
May 9th, 2010 by hux
Margo Valiante: I Can’t Pray
Wearing knee-high boots and shadowed by an upright bass, Margo Valiante took the stage at Momos for her long-awaited debut CD release. The venue was packed with bodies tapping their feet and swaying back and forth creating an impermeable heat untouched, but created by “I Can’t Pray.”
Her album reins in with a deep, sultry voice embodying Norah Jones, but better. With a twist. With a stronger, deeper sound and more range. She encompasses a swinging, jazzish-blues background wrapped with Texas country roots. Surrounded by keyboards, upright bass and drums, Valiante easily slings acoustic and electric guitar all the while crooning and swooning her listeners. Her slight frame commands the stage with a big voice and her impeccable range is jawdroppingly sparking in its exactness, especially as a live performance. Her songwriting is touching and sincere in it’s composition with the music carefully crafted around it.
Coming to Austin after spending years in Jackson, WY honing her craft with a stint at Skidmore College as a classically trained vocalist she begins her journey of getting her name known and her music heard. Margo says she felt that coming to the Live Music Capital was a trek she needed to make to “gain the confidence to perform only original material. It’s a mecca for original tunes and supportive, intelligent audiences.” And it’s paid off. In 2009 she was a top ten finalist at the Wildflower Festival Songwriting Competition. She has opened for talents like the Yonder Mountain String Band, Joe Ely, Gurf Morlix, James McMurtry and Tift Merrit.
May 9th, 2010 by hux
The Sideshow Tragedy—Self Titled: Their first studio album begs a full variety of instrumentation using the mandolin, banjo, keys and percussion widely with back up singers. They set out to release an album that reflects their live show performances. Juxpositioned against cleaner and more arranged works in the past they create an album full of gutsy, glory with energy to boot. Standouts include a slow almost-ballad “Cards,” deeply rooted in the sorrow of lost love, “Ain’t No Woman,” is a song possessed with attitude and rock n’ roll. It pieces an electrifying barrage of guitar together with husky vocals and twists and turns the listener around with a force that throttles. They will be celebrating the release of their album on June 4th at The Continental Club.
Fresh Millions—Self Titled: Austin’s trio Fresh Millions has been money in the making. It had to come a long way starting with Geoff Earle. Early days include trying his hand as a pop producer, Columbia Records, and finally, the formation of Fresh Millions. It’s an electronic band with a sound that’s not exclusively dance or electronic, but a careful blending of both and they happen to capture your ears quite easily. Often compared to Caribou, Yeasayer, Passion Pit and Ratatat they are able to stand alongside their possible influences all the while holding their own ground quite strongly. Insect Records released their first album with a debut party on May 7th at Scoot Inn. They have a fresh sound that is unbearingly catchy. A live performance would be a treat.
Miguel Kertsman—Time? What Time? Brazilian-born composer and virtuoso releases an album beyond categorization. It is a voyage into soundscapes that are both fascinating and dark. It is an atmospheric album with tone changes throughout. He explores different ambient sounds using lush string ensembles, vintage synth beds, baroque voices, and a full symphony orchestra. “Promises, Lies and Deception,” holds to an acid-jazz piano structure, whereas, “The Drifter,” produces a prog-metal sound.
April 9th, 2010 by hux
Freddie Steady 5—Live From SugarHill Studios: Power pop pervades throughout this recent release. Recorded at Houston’s legendary SugarHill Studios (with go-go dancing, Dangerous Dana hanging out throughout the recording sessions) tracks were laid down that are pure dance worthy mints. The album has a candy powered pop sensation that infuses the listener and makes dancing a necessity.
The Chimeras—Her: Philly-based Chimeras spent five months to record their sophomore album with a theme comprised of thirteen female character sketches. Read the rest of this entry »
March 16th, 2010 by hux
NeuHuman–Self-Titled: Las Vegas resident and multi-instrumentalist Al Azar created NueHuman in May 2008 in order to test his musicianship and to explore the bounds of his own imagination. Recorded in the spirit of taking single ideas and thoughts and developing them into unique and stimulating pieces of music, the debut album is one that is genre-defying with a splash of electronic music. Read the rest of this entry »
February 28th, 2010 by hux
Explosives-Three Ring Circus: Power pop before power pop was cool. Wandering onto the Austin scene in 1979 at the legendary Raul’s Club. Freddie Steady Krc, Cam King, and Waller Collie all wrote and all played with a tight urgency that lacked the rage of the musical contemporaries but maintained the gloriously jangly garage rhythm and melody inspired by Beatles, Stones and other musical heroes. Their new album includes the entirety of their 1982, Restless Natives, along with all other official Explosives studio releases, plus two live bonus tracks and a bonus DVD capturing the band in its garage rock jungle glory. 4.5 McRipock’s.
January 30th, 2010 by hux
Flatcar Rattlers–Which side Are You On?: A rowdy bluegrass band with a touch of Grime mixes up rootsy, backwoods Appalachia with fast punk rock to create a sound all their own. With six members form six states, they eventually made the journey to Austin and became ranked as one of the top ten Best New Bands and Best Bluegrass Banks per the Austin Chronicle’s 2008-2009 Music Poll. They released their first studio album on 11/28 at the Scoot Inn with appearances including the Lonesome Heroes, American Graveyard and The Bread. The Rattlers take hold of the listener and stick them on a ride that blows right off the tracks. 6.0 McRiprock’s. www.myspace.com/FlatCarRattlers.
November 5th, 2009 by hux
Rick Poss & Folk Medicine—From Greenville to Clarksville: Born in Greenville, TX and raised in Bryan, Poss cut his teeth listening to Texas Blues legends Mance Lipscomb, Lightin’ Hopkins, Freddie King, Albert Collins, “Gatemouth” Brown and others. He says, “I used to sneak in Liberty Hall in Houston and check out every blues-slinger that came through there—Learned an awful lot from them all.” He became a regular visitor to the Mance Lipscomb home after catching a monthly coffeehouse gig that Lipscomb did in Bryan. He recorded from From Greenville to Clarksville at Allan Gill’s East Studio in Austin. The players are all good friends and longtime music associates including Rick Richards, David Carroll, Alan Reizner, Glover Gill, Mike Reynolds and Allan Gills. The recording has a live feel and almost all the songs are inspired by novels and movies from Depression-era America. www.rickposs.com. 5.0 McRiprock’s.
Zane Williams–The Right Place: A self-described “late bloomer,” Williams admits, that after moving to Nashville in 1999 it took him nine years to find his musical soul and sound. And it sounded a whole lot like Texas. Williams honed his songwriting and performing skills on the road at over 500 colleges nationwide and claimed top honors from the John Lennon and Nashville Songwriter’s Association song contests. Now residing in McKinney, TX, he brought on board writer/producer Radney Foster to record this album. www.myspace.com/zanewillaims
October 12th, 2009 by hux
Darling New Neighbors—Rocket: Eclectic without being diluted and genre-mixing without getting lost, Darling New Neighbors create a sound with compositions that fall fast and loose playing along the soft-hard smash like The Pixies and lo-fi contemporaries, the Vivian Girls. Read the rest of this entry »
September 29th, 2009 by hux
The Shondes—The Red Sea: Formed in 2006 after violinist Elijah Oberman and bassist Louisa Rachel Solomon’s former band broke up, they recruited guitarist and friend Ian Brannigan while the three attended The New School in NYC. Read the rest of this entry »