Showing posts with label Austin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Austin. Show all posts

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Better late than never, A South by Southwest photo journal


This mural on Sixth Street should say "self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the World", but whatever, we love you anyway. Love the little buttons on the top there of Stevie Ray Vaughn, Willie Nelson, Janis Joplin (who spent like a year in Austin, but shhh), Townes Van Zandt and Roky Erickson.


I was super excited to catch a Planned Parenthood Rally right next to the Texas Capitol building (I LOVE that building so much). Texas-born President of PP Cecile Richards made it out for this rally, along with powerhouse Congresswoman Dawnna Dukes. There were performances by Marcia Ball, Carolyn Wonderland, Jimmie and Dale Gilmore.

Pro-lifer Rick Perry has shut down dozens of Planned Parenthoods in Texas, saying "no" to federal money. There were protesters across 11th St., one male high schooler had a sign that said "Don't' believe their lies". It broke my heart a little bit.

And on that note, this is a random sign I liked a lot.


At one point while walking down Sixth Street late at night, I thought to myself "there really is a distinct smell to this place that I would recognize anywhere". It's sausage, mixed in with sweaty people and beer. Tasty, right? I've eaten at BestWurst a few times in my years in Austin. That stuff is good at 2am. Smells like freedom. Tastes like Texas.


Yes, that is a guitar squid costume. I think someone off camera is climbing a tree.

I went to a Family Friendly show at an Organic Farm with ducks and chickens and saw Mother Falcon (again), and Japanese comic action punk band Peelander-Z. What Awesome fun NUTTY NUTTINESS!

My favorite song? WHY SO MANY MIKE? hahaha.



I did not take this photo, but you have to see these costumes.

And then there was my Okie Heights Hootenanny, which was a huge success. The bands had a great time, Elaine and Brian rented a bouncy house for the kids, all of the beer and milk was gone and we raised $500 in tips for the bands. It was great.

The Family Crest rocks the house... uh yard, as always. (See the yellow bulldozer behind them, yeah, it had just knocked down a house the day before and was still working that morning, but it quieted down before the bands started to play.)

This photo comes from Mashable of Backwords from Brooklyn (yeah, my party made it to Mashable). The caption read:
"Slightly off the beaten path, we had one of our most relaxing, best shows this year. Front lawn, sun shining, beautiful trees and cactus all around and people just lounging out. Cans of Lone Star on ice in the turtle-shaped sandbox nearby."
So awesome. The Backwords folks were so nice.

Stroller parking lot. Love this.

The ADORABLE Bella Ruse from Minneapolis. She played the typewriter and had kazoo solos. That's Marcus in the back futzing with the speakers. He helped us book the bands and took care of the sound system. He's awesome and we thank him enormously.

Brooklyn based Miracles of Modern Science and the crowd in the front yard.

Miracles of Modern Science (or the "taped up F-holes") have the instrumentation of a folk or bluegrass band (fiddle, cello, mandolin, drums) but sound like a rock band. This band is super excellent.

Awesome puppets at a Rubblebucket show. This might have been one of my favorite new finds, imagine Flaming Lips zaniness, but with a horn section. And the lead singer lady doubles on baritone saxophone, which of course is super appealing to me.



Frontyard parties are fun. Too bad this one (Brooklyn County Cookout) was shut down by the Fire Marshall.

Man, I wish I took this photo of the Austin bluegrass band Whisky Shivers with a better camera. My cousin has been talking about them sing Hardly Strictly Bluegrass last year. Here's a pretty weird and awesome video from them.



That's it folks. Jamie's headed to New York City tomorrow morning at 7am. Gotta be up in 4.5 hours.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Gospel Brunch in Austin, Texas - my Masters Report


The Shields of Faith perform at Gospel Brunch - Stubbs in Austin, Texas

In 2006, I wrote a 100 page book in partial fulfillment of my Master's Degree in Ethnomusicology (the anthropology of music) about Gospel Brunch in Austin, Texas. It's called "If Church was like this, I'd go Every Sunday". For the last five years, it's been sitting in the University of Texas at Austin's library on a CD (they didn't even make me print it).

About a month ago, I was finally inspired to actually print the thing out. I made two copies: one for me and one for the Austin Public Library. On my visit to Austin, I saw the record, it's officially in the system!

I've also posted it for download if you were so inclined.


My Masters report on official record at the Austin Public Library

Why Gospel Brunch? Every House of Blues across the country has an brunch buffet and gospel show every Sunday morning. And other than a couple other venues (like the Cotton Club in New York) the House of Blues is about it... except in Austin, where there are three every weekend.

Maria's Taco Express Hippie Gospel Church in South Austin

The research for this paper was really fun, every Sunday morning I would head down to one of three spots: Stubb's, Threadgill's (the South Austin location) or Maria's Taco Xpress (the old location). This little Jewish girl would settle into some good food, booze (sometimes) and music about Jesus.

The three venues couldn't be more different. As you can see from the photos, Maria's is full of wonderful dancing hippies and the bands are mostly non-religious bands singing Bob Dylan tunes, traditionals and spiritually themed original songs. Stubb's is more likely to hire Evangelical bands coming from the Salvation Army. Threadgill's was somewhere in the middle. It was fun to compare and contrast the venues.

The Shields of Faith perform at Gospel Brunch at Stubb's

One chapter is about the City of Austin, and why it has grown to be a cultural and liberal oasis in one of the most conservative states in the country. I even got to mention Janis Joplin's brief stint in Austin before she headed to San Francisco.


I wrote a chapter on the history of African American scared music outside of the church. One of the more interesting examples I discussed was how Northern abolitionists used African American spirituals for humanitarian purposes pre-civil war. From the Tuskegee University Choir to Ray Charles changing gospel tunes into secular ones, there is a pattern of African American sacred music being used outside sacred spaces for various purposes. Pairing the music with a brunch buffet on a Sunday morning is no exception.


LZ Love performs at Maria's Taco Xpress

One of the wonderful things about being an ethnomusicologist is talking to people. Through hours of interviews I found out why Austinites would come to these venues on Sunday mornings to listen to religious and sacred music, instead of being at church.


The youngest member of the Shields of Faith

I was curious as to why Evangelical musicians would leave the church and perform in secular venues for beer drinking heathens (my words!) and why non-Christains like myself are so drawn to this music.

One of the more interesting moments of my research was when an 80-year-old reverend told me in an indirect way, that as a non-believer, I was going to hell. But, and I really do say this in most sincere way, he meant it in the nicest way possible (as someone who I saw being genuinely concerned for my soul). It was at that point that the hour long interview ended and we went to a fish fry. It was a relief.


Rose, my favorite Hippie Church dancer at Maria's Taco Xpress.

Just last Sunday, I headed down to Threadgill's for Gospel Brunch. I'm glad to see Gospel Brunch at all three venues is still going strong, and six years later, many of the same bands are still in rotation. The food is good and the music is great. What else could you want on a Sunday morning?

Anyway, if you are at all interested in check out my report, you can download the pdf here, or get a hard copy from the Austin Public Library.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mother Falcon at the Scottish Rite Theater - SxSW report #1

Mother Falcon (playing a previous show at Mohawk)

Just got into Austin yesterday morning, and last night I found myself with members of the Family Crest at the Scottish Rite Theater to see indie rock orchestra Mother Falcon.

Mother Falcon consists of dozens of members, with an ever rotating cast of musicians. Their music is something between the twee Sufjan Stevens and the exuberance of the Polyphonic Spree.

In an interesting converging of worlds, my friend Emily Marks who started the Austin Girls Rock Camp, now works as the Executive and Artistic Director of the Austin Scottish Rite Theater. It's the oldest theater in Austin, and with constellations painted on the ceiling and classy old school lounges encircling the theater space, it's gorgeous.

Take the visual tour here, link on lower left

Emily was hired on to bring new life into the theater, bringing in folks like Mother Falcon and Of Montreal. A year ago, after telling her about the Family Crest, she turned me onto Mother Falcon as a good pairing of bands.

First getting together as most high school kids, the age range is somewhere in the vicinity of 17-25. Members have ventured to other cities and come home for spring break to play. What's funny is that they, like the Family Crest, wear mostly black with highlights of red.




Issue #4: Sanctuary - Mother Falcon from Daniel Fabelo on Vimeo.

P.S. Already had Torchy's Tacos and some beers at Casino el Camino. It's going to be a fun week, and technically, the music portion of the festival hasn't even started yet.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Update: a house show at my parent's and a South by Southwest back yard party


If you're going to be in Austin next weekend, you are invited!

Last Friday, my parent's hosted The Family Crest in their living room to around 50 people. It was a total blast.

Leah Paul, my talented friend who has recently relocated to Los Angeles, joined the extended family and played a on a couple tunes (with only a 10 minute rehearsal). Fun, good music, conversation, cheese and brownies were had by all. Even my 92-year-old grandmother enjoyed herself!

Not only does The Family Crest make good, crowd-pleasing music, they're super nice, respectful, helpful people as well. We're going to be working together again at a South by Southwest backyard party in Austin on March 17th 1-6pm. After the success of the parties I helped organize last year, we're going to do it again! This time with a whole line-up of bands coming to Austin from Copenhagen to Minneapolis.

Email me at alwaysmoretohear[at]gmail.com if you'd like more info (invite and lineup above)!


Here's a video my friend Armin took of The Family Crest's new song "As Move Forward" (good for an Obama re-elect campaign, no?)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Photos from SXSW 2011

Elain and Eitan enjoying The Family Crest

Torchy's Tacos. The one on the left is called the Trailer Park, it has fried chicken in it and the one on the right is a breakfast taco.

The Defibulators play a the Brooklyn BBQ house show.
http://thedefibulators.com/

Two-steppin' at the Broken Spoke
www.brokenspokeaustintx.com/

South Congress Ave.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

SXSW highlights from Saturday March 19: yeay for house shows!

Best house show ever - frog sandbox full of beer (and milk for the kiddies)

Yesterday was a fun day. Got a Jimmie John's sandwich and wandered around a bit downtown. Then headed to South Austin for some outdoor house parties, which by the way, are totally the way to go.

First I checked out the 3rd Annual Brooklyn BBQ party in someone's backyard off of South Congress to see alt-country/bluegrass/punk band the Defibulators. Erin's brother and my brother went to junior high together, so I keep up with what she's doing and her band is really fun. The bbq had two stages, food, drink and dancing.

Brooklyn BBQ back yard show (double click to see larger image)

Then I headed over to a house show at Brian and Elaine's house. They came to my show on Thursday and enjoyed it so much that they invited The Family Crest and Megan Slankard to perform in their front yard It was a blast.

It was also really nice to hear Megan play an acoustic set with just her guitar. This girl can sing.

Megan Slankard plays Elaine and Brian's front yard

Even on such short notice, a bunch of Brian and Elaine's friends showed up, many of them with their kids. It was so fun to watch them enjoy the music and just wander around. Watch this video and just look at all those little faces. Some of them were super into the music. I got another video on my camera of them playing percussion along with the Family Crest, I'll post it when I get home.



Then it was over to a funny little bar called G&S on South First that I had never noticed. I finally got to see The Hello Strangers live, which was a total treat. Larissa and Brechyn have all these new songs that I'd not heard before, like this gospel-y tune "Big Flood." I love the way these ladies harmonize. This song gave me goosebumps.



I have a lot more videos and photos to share, I'll try to roll some of it out in the next couple weeks.

Today we decided to go toobing in the Guadelupe River. It was WAY too cold for toobing. I don't recommend it. My butt is still freezing, and strangely, I got a little bit of color.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Video Blog 2: SXSW Friday on 6th Street

A second video blog on Friday afternoon on 6th street. My hair is doing weird things because of the humidity and I just visited the coolest hat store in the country, the Hatbox on 6th (I learned everything I know about hats from them)

Friday, March 18, 2011

SXSW house show SUCCESS pt. 1

Thanks to everyone that came out last night! My friend Cedric opened up his home to a great night of music with Jasha Hoffman, Foxtails Brigade, Dina Maccabee, KP and the Boom Boom and The Family Crest.

Here's the highlight of the evening for me (for obvious reasons). I have more videos and will load them up, but it's taking too long right now and I have to get moving. It was sort of dark in the room, but you can see what's going on. And, again, I'm super impressed with the audio on this little flipcam.

I HIGHLY recommend throwing a house show if you have ever entertained the idea. They are intimate and fun. Performers always seem to prefer them and throwing parties is just always a good idea.

This is the Family Crest performing "In the Avenue" featuing yours truly on vocals. I am now an official member of the extended Family Crest! w00t!

Video Blog: SXSW 1am Wednesday night - post-house show

Thanks to KC Turner for inspiring me to post one of these. I feel like such a dork, but here I go releasing it into the interwebs.

Had a great, successful house show, will post video from it tomorrow. Everyone had a blast.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Gary Clarke Jr. at The Ghost Room, Wednesday March 17

photo via talkinblues.com

Walking into the Ghost Room on 4th street, I instantly remembered how good Gary Clarke Jr. is. With his husky, yet smooth voice and mad guitar skills, why is this guy not famous? As a rock and blues guitarist, his sound is like a modern Jimi Hendrix. His vocal stylings are somewhere between Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and Ben Ottewell of Gomez.

A few years ago I was lucky enough to hear a whole other side of Clarke at a singer/songwriter in the round show and heard him play a beautiful acoustic with intricate finger-picking. I remember thinking, "where did this come from" and why can't I hear more?

Clarke told me after the show that he will be going on tour soon, and that he hasn't recorded any of the softer, acoustic tunes. I really hope he does, it'll show off how versatile he can be.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fitz & the Tantrums: Waterloo Records parking lot, March 16th, SXSW, Austin, Texas

Fitz! Fitz! Fitz!

Finally I got to see Fitz & the Tantrums live! I'm also happy to say that I also converted two of my friends over as well who had not heard of them. I, myself, was converted after Amber Gregory's excitement of their Bay Area shows last year. So after finding rockstar parking, we slid over to the Waterloo Records parking lot (they no longer have SXSW shows in the store, which is good news for everyone) and were treated to the funky sounds of Los Angeles based Fitz & the Tantrums.

We found front duo Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs outside Amy's Ice Cream around the corner and had a quick chat, they were as nice as can be. The fangirl in me waited in line to get them to sign my newly purchased copy of their first album Pickin' Up the Pieces.

The music is a sort of reinvention of soul music. It's modern, yet very much firmly based in Motown and STAX. Fitz has no guitar (score!) and instead has a baritone saxophone (double score!) played by Jamie King. The music is fun, but definitely has a certain edge to it, and a good amount of passion and anger. And that's what I think drives it. The performance is super tight and groove-worthy. The vocal combination of Fitzpatrick and Scaggs is perfect. And although Fitzpatrick has a great voice that suits the music wonderfully, I wish Scaggs would get to sing more lead. But, really, that's my only complaint.

I don't know the history of each of these musicians, but these guys are seasoned professionals that know their stuff. Bassist Ethan Phillips and drummer John Wicks lay down tight, funky grooves and keyboardist Jeremy Ruzumna has chosen the perfect keyboard tones for each song that gives each song a specific personality of sorts.

The song "Dear Mr. President" pleads with (I assume) Mr. Obama, "Hey put your foot down, and take a look 'round, if you don't like what you see." Say it. Hallelujah. And songs like the fabulously catchy "Money Grabber" (see the video below) and "Rich Girls" suggest that Fitzpatrick might have had some specific troubles mixing money and women. I'm really enjoying the dark "News 4 U" with a chorus of call and response between Fitzpatrick and Scaggs that gets in your head.

Photos by Jamie Freedman

I took video (including a cool cover of Sade's "Sweet Dreams"), but the amplification was too much for the little flipcam, so I give you their performance on Conan, the late night talk show host with the best taste in music.

White Dress and The Beaumont: Tuesday March 15th - South by Southwest

Last night we ended up at funky Jovita's in South Austin for a hodgepodge of music. Even though there were only maybe twenty people in the whole joint, the bands still worked it out for us.

This is The Beaumont from Lubbock. They are not for the un-humored, singing about every hedonistic, R-rated theme you could think of: drugs, Toby Keith being a pretty woman, having an affair with a member of the AARP, mayo as a favorite lubricant, burning churches and every sexual taboo you can think of. These good (?) old boys are not for the faint of heart and easily offended, so of course I was laughing my ass off.

In their cowboy hats, sunglasses and cowboy shirts, these middle-aged dudes could not have been more hilarious, making everyone in the room smile and shake their heads in disbelief. The Beaumont is like Z Z Top on a drinking binge.

This is a snippet of "Money for Drugs" (I took this with my friend's flipcam, pretty good!):




White Dress - photo by Eric Morales @ www.ericm-photo.com

I was pleasantly surprised by Austin based White Dress. It's nice to see more and more powerful women with electric guitars in their hands. Singer-guitarist Arum Rae Valkonen has a versatile voice that spans a range of colors from Billie Holliday to Ann Wilson. Combined with her dirty guitar sound and the badass drumming of Grant Van Amburgh, a Black Keys comparison is unavoidable.

Monday, March 14, 2011

South by Southwest here I come! And I'm hosting a Bay Area bands house show

This afternoon I leave for Austin for a week. I AM VERY EXCITED. I see that it's going to be over 80 for the next few days, so not only do I get to enjoy the craziness of South by Southwest, there will be fun Texas-y things to do like hanging out in Barton Springs and maybe even toobing on one of the rivers down south.

This will be my 5th time at the festival, and I *think* I've gotten a the hang of it by now. It helps that I can work from wherever there is internet and I have friends who still live there to stay with. It also helps that I know where all the good taco stands are.

I'm also very excited to be hosting my very first house show on Thursday the 14th with Bay Area bands The Family Crest, Dina Maccabee and Foxtails Brigade! It looks like we're going to have a full house! (Let me know if you're in town and you'd like to come) It's been such a pleasure working with my friends to put this together, and house shows are a really wonderful, intimate way to hear music. I think it will be especially excellent after dealing with the street crowds downtown all week.

My general SXSW advice:
  1. wear comfy shoes
  2. drinks lots of water
  3. don't worry too much about sticking to your schedule of bands to see. Even if you have a badge or wristband or whatever (and you don't really need one by the way, there's so much free stuff going on): shows are full, places are further away than you think, you might want to stay for the next band or you might find that there's a glorious sound coming from that tent over there! FOLLOW YOUR EARS! You never know what might come your way, and that's the whole point of this festival, to discover new things.
And of course I have to tell you who I am most looking forward to seeing:

The Bees:
I have been a fan of the Bees since discovering them randomly on a sampler CD I picked up at a Radiohead concert in 2003. They don't tour to the US very often so I will not be missing this one, even though they are playing at 1 in the morning. They have an 1960s thing going on: garage rock with a psychedelic, folky vibe:



Schmillion:
These ladies are Girls Rock Camp alums, so of course I'm excited about them. They were recently featured on a cnn blog. Woa! They are still in high school and embody what camp is all about. AND, they are sharing the stage of the Girls Rock Camp showcase with the Bangles. Not too shabby.



The Hello Strangers:
My friend and former classmate Larissa Chace Smith and sister Brechyn, whom I've written about before, will be in town from central Pennsylvania! Think Neko Case times two! I love the vocal harmonies. Their music tells the stories of women caught in bad relationships who might take matters into their own hands every now and again. I've not gotten to see them live yet, but love their recordings.



The Defibulators:
Erin B. is the younger sister of Eli, who is my pianist when I sing in Los Angeles. Eli and my brother played music together in junior high. The Defibulators throw a raucous party of what I'm gonna call country-punk. I've been getting to know their music over the years and it keeps changing. The new album "Corn Money" has a fun combination of honky-tonk tunes and 1930s-type ballads.

Defibulators "Corn Money" from Possum Den Productions on Vimeo.

I have a new smart phone so I will be trying out live blogging with it. Stay tuned!

And, of course, I will be eating lots of tacos.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Austin, Texas Mix


This is a mix I made in 2007 when I worked at the Hatbox, a hat store in Austin on 6th Street, during South by Southwest. It was super fun putting hats on music industry folks from all over the world. David Boreanaz (from Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Badly Drawn Boy came in to browse around.

I added a couple things that have come out since then like the Maneja Beto tune. All of these songs are upbeat, suitable to be played loudly in a retail shop.

Click to download

1. Something Good - LZ Love
2. Toot Your Whistle - White Ghost Shivers
3. You're Gonna Miss Me - The Thirteenth Floor Elevators
4. Big Fat Mama - Pinetop Perkins
5. Darlin' I'll Do Anything You Say - Junior Brown
6. Don't Wanna - The Asylum Street Spankers
7. Ritmo del Tambo - Grupo Fantasma
8. Stuck in a Crowd - Alpha Rev feat. Casey McPherson
9. City Song - Kathy McCarty
10. Mr. Atom - Liz Pappademas
11. Pride and Joy - Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
12. Solo Quisierea - Maneja Beto
13. Truck Driver - Scott H. Biram
14. Call Of My Heart - Toni Price
15. Bloodless Revolution - Carolyn Wonderland
16. Let's Talk About Jesus - Bells of Joy
17. Take The Fifth- Spoon
18. When She Walks Away - Alejandro Escovedo
19. The Lost City Of Refuge - …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
20. Cariño (First Date Mix) - Ocote Soul Sounds

Friday, November 12, 2010

Record Review: Maneja Beto’s 'Escante Calling' and the future of American Indie-rock

left to right: Bobby Garza, Alec Padron, Patrick Estrada, Nelson Valente and Alex Chavez

Maneja Beto's new album Escante Calling (A Rare Calling) should not just be noticed by Spanish speakers, but recognized by music industry at large. Not just because it’s great record, but because of the direction it’s pointing. Maneja Beto will probably never become a household name (although if I ruled the world it would be) but the concept of the band’s music will become as commonplace as reggae or hip-hop: “Indie en Español” is a genre we’re going to be hearing more.

I met singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Alex Chavez in a Cultural Anthropology seminar at the University of Texas at Austin in 2005 when we had both just started our Master’s degrees (he completed PhD just this year). Once I heard his band's music, the genre “Indie en Español” made perfect sense. Maneja’s music lies in that nebulous “Indie” zone, a term that has lost it’s original meaning identifying a band’s separation from major record companies. These days it’s more of a category describing the fusion of styles, sounds and instruments. “Indie” is where experimental popular music lies.

If you like Radiohead, Animal Collective, Vampire Weekend and the Arcade Fire, you’ll probably like Maneja Beto. And if you’re a non-Spanish speaker, I guarantee the music is interesting enough that you might not mind so much that you can’t understand the words. Who can understand what Thom Yorke sings anyway?

TOO READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW CLICK HERE

Maneja Beto's fun video of the last track of the album "Ofrendas"

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Navigating the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival and a couple band recommendations


Carolyn Wonderland

Every time I look at the line-up of this year's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, I notice another ridiculously awesome name buried in the mix: Patti Smith! Joan Baez! Sharon Jones! Elvis Costello! David Grisman! Trombone Shorty! Gillian Welsh! Ralph Stanley! The Indigo Girls! Conor Oberst! MC Hammer (had to mention)! The list just keeps going and going.

And what? Hardly Strictly is free??? Are you serious?? (Sorry, it's free every year, this 10-year anniversary line-up is just sort of blowing my mind.)

You know what that means: throngs and throngs of people descending on Golden Gate Park. How does one navigate this experience without getting totally frustrated? Golden Gate is not the easiest to get around for masses of people.

My advice: Don’t get overly ambitious about seeing every act you’re excited about. There’s just too much and it's too spread out. Pick one, maybe two a day, and just go with the flow. You’ll end up seeing something amazing that you weren’t expecting. Find a spot and stick with it. The line-up is full of so many amazing musicians that you’re going to see something good, I promise.

READ MORE ABOUT MY PICKS: Carolyn Wonderland, the Carolina Chocolate Drops and the California Honeydrops (suddenly I want candy)!

the Carolina Chocolate Drops

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Austin bound! Two of my favorite Austinite bands - Maneja Beto and The Asylum Street Spankers

This weekend I'm off to one of the best cities in the country: Austin, Texas. For two days and three nights I'm going to visit my favorite haunts from grad school and eat lots of breakfast tacos. When I lived I immersed myself in the healthy, historical and revved up music scene. I discovered two fabulous bands that the rest of the world should know about: Maneja Beto and the Asylum Street Spankers.

Maneja Beto, self described as "indie in Español," is the brain child of Anthropologist Alex Chavez. I met him in one of my seminars and his band quickly became one of the most unique and fun bands I've ever come across: think Joy Division and Elbow sung in Spanish with latin rhythms. Alex studies Mexican folk music and culture and is also in several other bands in Austin. Percussionist Bobby Garza is equally impressive on vocals and percussion. This is a super fun band to dance live as well.





The Asylum Street Spankers I met during my master's report research into Gospel Bunch in Austin. The research it self is a long story, but it turns out this irreverent, silly band who sings about beer and superheros, is also well versed in gospel favorites. They used to play the Gospel Brunch at La Zona Rosa in the 90s when they first got together. I interviewed Christina Marrs (WOW what a voice!) and percussionist/vocalist Wammo for my research and was lucky enough to catch them while they were doing a whole series of gospel shows at the Saxon Pub.

The musical vibe is traditional vaudeville from the early part of the 20th century with Betty Boop vocals (sometimes) banjos, mandolins and washboard percussion. But the lyrical themes of the tunes poke fun (SUV drivers in support of troops in the Middle East) at life both modern and past and just having a grand old sarcastic fun time. You will laugh your ass off: promise. They tour regularly, so check out their touring schedule.

Note: this band is not for the faint of heart. Language! language! language! (I just discovered a song called "Scrotum".)

Here's a gospel tune...



And a good old favorite...


Anyway, I'm off to eat breakfast tacos, sit in a river with a toob and a six-pack, hang at Barton Springs and sweat my butt off.