Aug 282013
 

Bob Schneider is no longer the man who wrote and performed “Tarantula.” Sure, he still lays claim to that era of his career, but now he’s as established as he’s going to get in the industry. Clearly he realized, for his latest album Burden of Proof, that a change had to come. The result is probably Schneider’s most introspective and least boisterous release.

The first three songs – “Digging for Icicles,” “Wish the Wind Would Blow Me” and single-worth “Hop on the World,” show a heavy meditative streak. Schneider’s wind-swept baritone becomes a pure exhalation on some of the lower notes. The lyrics on all these songs deal with disappointment and frustration – signaling the least sentimental approach Schneider has ever taken. Bill Callahan’s influence is obvious.

The first full-bore electric guitar finally shows up on “Swimming in the Sea,” which has the production, arrangement and hook hit of a Quiet Company song. Schneider must be aware of the recent great work of Taylor Muse. The rock feeling continues on the power chord-raining “Unpromised Land,” which would be in tune with Bob’s party-hard compositions of the past if it wasn’t for the cynicism and reservations that dominate nearly the entirety of Burden of Proof.

It’s a virtue of the record that each song has its own personality. “Best Day Ever” has a beguiling female vocal sample driving it.” “The Effect” has an acoustic guitar (or is that a mandolin?) strumming pattern and call-and-response vocals that recall Paul Simon. “Please Ask for Help” has a yearning sensibility and simplicity that make it one of the record’s top tracks.

“John Lennon,” late in the record, is heartfelt and interesting even if it falls into the “Lennon-as-saint” shortcut so many items about the man do. In terms of recent songs about Lennon, this is nothing compared to Bob Dylan’s “Roll On John” from 2012′s fantastic Tempest. The record ends with two starstruck ballads, “The White Moon” and a cover of “Tomorrow” from Annie. The darkness of the earlier tracks wear off and hope has crept back into Schneider’s performance. It works for the thematic arc of the album.

However, the whole album is done in less than 40 minutes. Many songs are over before you have a chance to really immerse yourself in them. It’s like Schneider wanted to get out of this head space as quickly as possible. This renders the album as a rather slight experience. So Burden of Proof is a new, interesting fold in Bob Schneider’s career, but he’s still never made a great record.

Final Grade: ***1/2 (out of five)

Aug 242012
 

MOVIES

Celeste and Jesse Forever - Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg star as a young couple dealing with a marriage that has lost its spark. Will they break up forever or manage to keep it together?

Cosmopolis - David Cronenberg’s latest start Robert Pattinson as a young billionaire losing control of his empire.

Hit & Run – An action/comedy pitting real-life couple Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell on a road chase against a federal agent (Tom Arnold) and Shepard’s former mobster partner (Bradley Cooper).

Premium Rush - Joseph Gordon-Levitt, continuing to ascend the staircase to superstardom, stars as a bike messenger in Manhattan who has to deal with an even more dangerous day at work than usual when shady characters get on his trail.

MUSIC/OTHER

FRIDAY

ACL Live – Feeling some rootsy country tonight? Try out Pat Green, with guest Nelo. Doors at 6:30 PM.

The Parish – That wonderful stage is gonna be filled to the brim with Mother Falcon. Les Rav and Shakey Graves in support. Doors at 8 PM.

Antone’s – What’s that familiar sound coming from 5th street? Oh, of course, it’s Bob Schneider! People on Vacation and the ear-candy of Danny Malone will also be there. Starts at 9 PM.

Emo’s East – A solo night with Ours, who will be playing material off of The Heart: X Edition. Begins at 9 PM.

SATURDAY

Congress Avenue Bridge – The 8th Annual Batfest gets underway at 5 PM. Performances from VallejoAlpha RevThe Black & White Years, The Soldier Thread and more. Goes until midnight.

The Backyard – Feeling healthy again, Willie Nelson will be onstage. Paula Nelson also appears as a special guest. Starts at 6 PM.

Mohawk – The oft-traveling Americana band These United States will give a sneak peek of some of the music from their upcoming album. These Mad Dogs of Glory and Paleo also play. Doors at 9 PM.

SUNDAY

Fiesta Gardens – Show up at 11 AM for the 22nd Annual Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival. Get some water, too!

ACL Live – Now I…don’t want to fall in love with you, but Chris Isaak might. Doors at 6:30 PM.

Jul 042012
 

Annual Austin Symphony H-E-B July 4th Concert and Fireworks. The magical display is featured over the beautiful skyline of Austin and Lady Bird Lake. Concert begins at 8:30 and fireworks begin at 9:30 til 10pm. Long Center and Auditorium Shores. FREE

 

Austin-based, Dale Watson’s 4th of July BBQ Bash at the Sahara Lounge. 1413 Webberville Road 9pm. $5

Bob Schneider’s 7th annual 4th of July party at Nutty Brown! $25 Doors 5pm

In the Clubs:

Frontier Bar – Ume, Grape St. and Young Girls 4pm

Kung Fu Saloon – America! Fuck Yeah! 2nd annual 4th Party 4pm

The Parish – Bat City Bombshells 4th of July USO benefit 9:30pm

 

Happy Independence Day!!!!! Be Safe!

Mar 032012
 

MOVIES

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax - Danny DeVito stars as Dr. Seuss’ beloved, environmentally-friendly creature in this animated film. With Zac Efron, Taylor Swift and Ed Helms.

Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie - The Adult Swim icons bring their surrealist, aggressively absurd comedy to the big screen.

Project X - This “found-footage” party movie features teens engaging in extremely dangerous, bad behavior.

MUSIC/OTHER

FRIDAY

The Cotton Gin – This entire weekend, Texas Independence Fest 2012 will take over the Gin. Starts at noon and goes until Sunday!

Continental Club – The Blues Specialists have played the Continental every Friday for 22 years. It’s no cover, too! Starts at 6:30 PM.

ND @ 501 Studios – The EP release show for funky T Bird and the Breaks. Brownout also playing. Doors at 8 PM.

Beale Street Tavern – Dana Anderson promises a “rip-roaring good time” at tonight’s concert. Starts at 8:30 PM.

SATURDAY

Austin Convention Center – Texas Rollergirls: Hotrod Honeys v Hustlers & Hell Marys v Honky Tonk Heartbreakers. You know you want to go. Starts at 5:15 PM.

NeWorlDeli - Jan Seides in another weekend concert that should really light up your Saturday evening. Starts at 7 PM.

Stubb’s – Big Head Todd and the Monsters released Rocksteady recently, so they’re gonna do that to you at Stubb’s. Get there at 7 PM.

Nutty Brown Cafe – A great night of Austin singer-songwriters as Bob Schneider is backed up by Reed Turner. Showtime at 7:30 PM.

Mohawk – Saul Williams with CX Kidtronik. Doors at 8 PM.

SUNDAY

Hotel Vegas – One of Austin’s most promising new singer-songwriters, Jack Wilson, will play a CD release show for his new self-titled debut. Of course, the headliner is one of Austin’s very best solo artists – Danny Malone, who will perform with his Orchestra. Doors at 7:00 PM.

Bass Concert Hall – Get some culture with Chanticleer, one of the world’s great male choruses. Starts at 7 PM.

Antone’s – An Austin-band triple-header with Shearwater, Marmalakes and Dana Falconberry. Presented by 101x. Doors at 8 PM.