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Sunday Morning Coming Down: Review–Black Angels at South by San Jose (Unofficial SXSW)

27 Mar

By Tommy Garcia

Tommy Garcia, the drummer for Fishboy and an all-around bad-ass with impeccable taste in music and a knack for finding the best free shows that SXSW has to offer, wrote a review of the Black Angels’ set at South By San Jose. It’s a surefire distraction from that nasty hangover!

Waves of reverb-drenched sound emanated from the stage as the Black Angels played a free show to a captivated audience on March 19th at the annual South by San Jose bash, an unofficial SXSW event.

The band kicked off their set with “Bad Vibrations”, the opener from their latest record, Phosphene Dream (Light in the Attic), which was released late last year. Lead guitarist Christian Bland used his dynamic tremolo drone to lead the band into a psychedelic abyss. In true ironic form, “Bad Vibrations” was preceded by the last song of the Angels’ pre-show music–the Beach Boys’ landmark psychedelic opus, “Good Vibrations.”

The set was a mix of songs from the band’s three full-length releases, with more focus on the material from their newest record. A particular highlight of the set was a take on the band’s “Sniper at the Gates of Heaven”, in which the band locked in tight around a dark and heavily distorted groove.

Lead singer Alex Mass picked up a Hofner bass guitar and put down his signature maracas and tambourine for several songs, adding a heavy bottom end to the Angels’ already propulsive rhythm section. Drummer Stephanie Bailey pounded hypnotically on her floor tom and ride cymbal while spacey guitar and swirling bits of organ were added to the mix to bolster the garage rock swagger.

Melding a high potency mix of the Velvet Underground , Jesus and Mary Chain and Austin’s own legendary psychedelic pioneers, the 13th Floor Elevators, and with a flair for the sounds of more modern psychedelic groups such as The Warlocks, The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Spiritualized, the Black Angels have consistently raised the bar with each successive release and tour.

The Black Angels’ set at this year’s SXSW performance showed the band exerting an assured confidence and passionate take on their dark, uniquely psychedelic sound.

Sunday Morning Afternoon Coming Down: Review–Guided By Voices’ Classic Lineup hits Texas

3 Oct

When I was visiting New York over the summer, a friend told me that the classic lineup of Guided By Voices (Robert Pollard, Tobin Sprout, Mitch Mitchell, Greg Demos and Kevin Fennell) was reuniting for a huge Matador anniversary show in Las Vegas. (This was a few days before the label officially announced the show.) I was excited about the news, but that excitement turned to sadness when I realized that I would never be able to afford the concert ticket, let alone a flight to Vegas (such is the plight of a lowly, unpaid blogger).

But the sadness changed back to excitement when I read about the Hallway of Shatterproof Glass tour, and the opening date in Austin. I bought tickets the day they went on sale and I was all set. It was at The New Pornographers show at the Palladium when I first discovered that a new GBV date had been booked at the venue.

At first I thought, “Well, shit. I’ve wasted money on a show almost four hours away that isn’t yet sold out and now there’s going to be one less than an hour away.” But I had a golden opportunity to see one of my favorite bands two nights in a row and to spend time in one of my favorite cities (that would be Austin, not Dallas). It also meant I could write a review comparing the two.

And to break the tiny bit of suspense that this review held in the first place, the Austin show blew the Dallas show away. Now I’ll explain why. Continue reading

Sunday Morning Coming Down: Ryan Thomas Becker; While everybody’s rehashing, shake things up

10 Jan

Ryan Thomas Becker @ Dan's Silver Leaf

(ed. Every Sunday (more like some Sundays)  we’re going to have a long form  article which investigates some odd piece of culture that’s been intriguing one of us. This is of course one of those.)

By Melissa Crowe

There is an overwhelming amount of energy flowing into the North Texas music scene this year. What with the buzz about NX35, secret shows I wish I could reveal and the albums due out in the coming months, we’re really off to a bang. Of the excitement, don’t be surprised to find one name repeated over and over and over: Ryan Thomas Becker.

The somewhat-homegrown musician, hailing from Highland Village just down the road, contributes to a handful of bands in the area includingEaton Lake TonicsThe Slow BurnersSunday Drive, and his own RTB2, just to name a few. Last month, he released his latest solo project, an album by the name of Neighborhoof, which came out just as Eaton Lake Tonics and The Slow Burners both released albums all the while holding down his full-time job at the TWU library. Sound exhausting?

Busy as he is, Becker found time to meet up with DBB at Jupiter House to talk about his start in songwriting, philosophies on creating music and how he would rather unbalance the equation than push the envelope. You can see Becker in Dallas at Trees on Thursday and The Cavern on Friday. If you’re in Denton, wait for the $6  Saturday show at Hailey’s withRTB2Luna MattoPVC Street Gang and Come on go with Us. Continue reading

Sunday Morning Coming Down: I was wrong

27 Sep

Every Sunday we’re going to have a long form multi-part article which investigates some odd piece of culture that’s been bothering one of us. this is of course one of those.

You may have noticed that this didn’t run last week, and to be honest it was due to a hangover.

I was wrong. Good god was I ever wrong. Diablo Cody is not covertly subverting genres, and turning preconceived notions on their head, no she’s simply tossing painful slang into weak stories, and laughing all the way to the bank. Fuck I can’t believe I paid money to see Juno again, and then paid to see Jennifer’s Body. I hate the vapidness of the films, I hated the painful slang, I hated “Megan Fox’s cold dead eyes, I now hate any performance by Ellen Page that doesn’t involve killing Patrick Wilson, or the Juggernaut. I just simply hate it all.

Sometimes you try to find something to write about, and you mistakenly fall for an idea you think is great, instead of one you know is great, and this was one of those. Sorry folks, the next round will be better.

Suday Morning Coming Down: Diablo Cody, not quite hate worthy?

13 Sep

Every Sunday we’re going to have a long form multi-part article which investigates some odd piece of culture that’s been bothering one of us. this is of course one of those.

The other day a tweet alerted me to the fact that the local alt weekly contained a photo from the recent show I had organized, so taking it as a n opportunity to escape from work I made my way to the independent theater located behind my office. Simple enough, I make a habit of doing this on Fridays, it’s a welcome break from the mundane, there’s air, and sights to come across, it’s one of those things us working stiffs turn to when the job becomes banal. Continue reading