For the last few years, I’ve tried to treat myself to an annual trip to Austin, TX for obvious music related reasons. This year I was able to spend a whole week in Austin around the holidays and unlike my first and second trip, I was really able to sink my teeth into the real Austin music scene a little each and every night hitting big names and big clubs like Alejandro Escovedo and The Continental Club to start ups like No Show Ponies and hole in the walls like the literally named Hole In The Wall . Not to mention, I spent the better part of an afternoon in Waterloo Records (we’re sorry for your loss Waterloo) and picked up some of those hard to find Texas treasures. So, here’s the lengthy list of treasures I brought back from the magical musical land of Texas.
Uncle Lucius – Although I had seen Uncle Lucius twice in less than a year at local shows in Pennysylvannia (Strand Capitol and The Garryowen Irish Pub), I jumped at the chance to see them again live in Austin with the famous Alejando Escovedo at The Continental Club. The Uncle Lucius boys were finishing their month long residency at The Continental Club and didn’t have much merchandise with them so I picked up the extracurricular recording of Live At Saxon Pub . Truly a great live recording and comes close to capturing that live unexplainable energy that Uncle Lucius carries on stage.
Slowtrain – The buzz amongst many circles alone was enough for me to pick up a copy of Bound To Find You Out at Waterloo Records. Slowtrain is a creative mix of pop, Texas country, and good ol’ rock and roll. It’s a great album that stands up to repeat plays.
Eleven Hundred Springs – The Dallas/ Fort Worth band bring that old school Texas flavor to the present. Waterloo Records had This Crazy Life in stock and when I want to teleport back to Texas I pop this one in the stereo.
Seth Sherman – Contrary to the touristy stereo type, Austin Texas isn’t all banjo’s and yee haws. When The Moment Is True is a fine example of classy indie pop straight from Austin.
ModRag – This is point and case why you pick up CD’s at shows even if you’re drunk or a little unsure about what you just heard. I had a great time listening to ModRag live at the very “spirited” The Hole In The Wall, but the next day I thought maybe I was just caught up in the moment. Thinking back I remembered 3 sleepy looking skinny white boys, an average array of instruments, and an ok sound system, but I popped in Little Birdie recorded in 4-track monophonic and was happy the poppy garage rock wasn’t all a dream.
The Baker Family – I saw The Baker Family live at a darling little bar called Club De Ville . The array of different percussions and on stage experimentation was fun to watch and after the show I picked up their latest recording, When The Internet Is Down from their merchandise stand/ baby carriage set up. The Baker Family carries on the tradition of classic indie rock, a little dark, a little experimental, but still rock. Think Modest Mouse but not so screechy.
English Teeth – A Brit pop punk rock band, I had come across a few years ago surfing through myspace pages. I was impressed to find a physical copy of their self-entitled recording at Waterloo, so I grabbed it. It’s not an amazing set of five songs, but I’ve always liked the band name.
Ramsay Midwood – By Far my best find at Waterloo Records was Larry Buys A Lighter by Ramsay Midwood. I was so excited when I saw it on the shelf (it’s been sold out almost everywhere) and it was the last copy in store too. It’s hard to describe this album in reference to today’s music scene, it brings back wonderful elements of blues, soul, and folk but in a very untypical, un-nostalgic feeling way with lyrics that get stuck in the cobwebs of your brain. It’s not a copied style of retro elements, but just Midwood’s incarnation of those genres.
Roky Erickson – After having debated about buying True Love Cast Out All Evil half a dozen I times, I finally decided to pick it up on my shopping spree at Waterloo. Part of my hesitation for purchasing was that I didn’t want to be disappointed, being a fan of 13th Floor Elevators and Roky’s older stuff, I feared that the new acclaimed album featuring Okkerville River would be to commercially produced for my taste. Unfortunately, what I feared was true. I’m not a fan of this folky ho-hum kind of album.
The Gourds – One of the last Gourd’s albums on my list to pick up, I was feeling a little sentimental at Waterloo and thought I’d pick up my very own copy of Stadium Blitzer . Stadium Blitzer released way back in 1998 was the quick follow up to The Gourds first album Dem’s Good Beeble including songs recorded in a variety of styles, with a diverse array of instruments, and complete with crickets in the white noise spaces. Some of the songs on Stadium Blitzer were re-released on Shinebox, but to date Stadium Blitzer is the only formal recording of many songs which serious fans consider gems. Stadium Blitzer is full of quirky, rough, and rowdy moments and seems to capture the roux or sofrito of what we (or at least myself) fans love about being at Gourds shows and what we look forward to on each new album.
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