Dec 072012


A Royal Affair - The Danish queen starts an affair and sets off a revolution in this critically acclaimed historical romance.

Bad Kids Go to Hell - This Austin-shot, high school-set horror film is about a group of students in detention being terrorized by their school’s long-rumored ghosts.

Hitchcock – Anthony Hopkins plays the legendary director, Helen Mirren is Hitch’s wife Alma and Scarlett Johannson is Janet Leigh during the controversial production of Psycho.

Holy Motors - One of the season’s stranger titles. A costumed man (Denis Lavant) is driven around Paris and sets up a series of street-set, half-planned “scenes.”



Emo’s – The controversial and galvanizing Odd Future blows up Riverside. Doors at 8 p.m.

One2One Bar – Ginger Leigh hoofs it up again. A great way to begin the weekend. Starts at 9 p.m.

Baker Street Pub & Grill – Blues, Rock, Latin, Funk, and Soul mix as DaHeBeGeBeeS performs in concert. Starts at 9:30 p.m.

Strange Brew Lounge – Some great Austin pros as Don Harvey & A is Red (10:00-11:30pm) performs with Radiola (9:00pm) and Patricia Vonne (7:00pm).


The Boxing Lesson / Blackstone Rangers / Residual Kid / Obscured by Echoes / Pangia

The Frontier Bar – Punk, Psych, and Darkwave all in one night. Pangia, Obscured by Echos, Under 18′s Residual Kid, Blackstone Rangers and headliners The Boxing Lesson. Doors at 8.

Frank – Brownout is playing two sets! 9:30

Continental Club – Come out and listen to some real Texas honky-tonk. Cowboy Dave Band and Dale Watson and his Lonestars. 3pm


The Dirty Dog – The Texas Metal Collective presents The Dimebag Darrell Memorial Concert. Featuring the best of the best in Texas metal including: Nekrist, Rend, Of the Sun, Beyond Gods and Empires. Kicking off at 9pm.

The Lucky Lounge – Mark Gibson CD release party. 9PM



The Derailers

The Scoot Inn Bier Garten – The Derailers 4pm and it’s FREE!

Heavy Metal Christmas

Hotel Vegas – Heavy Metal Christmas featuring The Well, Sweet Lodge and Ancient Wisdom. It’s a rock-n-roll mall with 20+ vendors and there will also be a toy drive. Bring some new toys out for the kids in need and help put a smile on their face for Christmas! 1-9pm

The Nightmare Before Christmas

ND at 501 Studios – FREE FILM SCREENING of The Nightmare Before Christmas. FREE POPCORN! 8pm

Jun 282012

 The latin-groove side project of Grupo Fantasma, Brownout, will be laying the funk and R&B along with De la Soul producer, Prince Paul tonight at The Beauty Ballroom. Also, with Austin’s own DJ Chicken George. Beauty Ballroom 9:30pm.

In the Clubs:

Stubbs – Deadeye 8pm

ACL Moody Theater – Howard Jones 7pm

Beerland – Gremlins UK 9pm

Mohawk - La Migra, Gentlemen Rogues and Soft White Sixties 9pm

Hotel Vegas – Superlite Bike, The Dead Left 8pm


At the Movies:

If the 80′s movie anthem’s didn’t have you belting out some of the most cheese-inspired songs of the era, now it’s your second chance to prove your stamina. Alamo Ritz presents: The 90′s Movie Anthem Sing-Along. Featuring greats that burned a musical jingle in your head like a cattle prod. Sweet ballads from Bryan Adams, Whitney Houston and Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose” with many more greats. All will leave you singing your hearts out, eyes closed and clutched fist to the chest, 90′s style. Alamo Ritz 9:45pm

-Stephanie Groves

Apr 242012

Oozy, the third album by Latin psych-funk act Brownout (who, don’t forget, also play straight Latin music in a little group called Grupo Fantasma) continues the exorcism of the group’s latent jam band aspirations. The album opens with the unveiling drum fill of “Flaximus,” which gives way to pompous, slick horns stomping out the melody. This energy level is maintained through most of the album. That means that it’s a consistently danceable, fun 45 minutes. Also, it means that few of the songs stand out from the others.

“Stormy Weather” is not an updating of the classic Billie Holiday standard, but it does feature welcome vocals from Dan Dyer. Honestly, the wah-wahed guitar, saucy rhythms and hand drums sound a little bit like Check Your Head-era Beastie Boys, especially when the group-sung chorus pops up. “Andy Y Dando” joins a menacing guitar riff with straight salsa rhythms, while “I Won’t Lie” lies back in a stoned haze.

Each of the songs roll by pleasurably, but folks are going to have difficulty remembering any specifics. Perhaps appropriately, Oozy melts all its tracks together. But despite the energy and musicianship there’s nothing particularly special about the tracks. “JPT” has a frantic jailbreak feel, though, and the title track’s overdriven guitar sounds like Kanye’s autotune. That solo leads into a surprising vocal take by Dylan Goodhue.

Other sections deserve mention. “Rub A Dub” has a potent, 70′s crime movie feel.  Album closer “Poor You” could be a Shins song with James Mercer’s voice cut from the mix. But it’s hard to find any arc or momentum in the way Oozy is constructed as a full listening experience. It feels more like a strong collection of jams than a carefully crafted release.

Final Grade: **** (out of five)

Apr 242012

Brownout, Oozy – The alter-ego of Grupo Fantasma comes out with their third album of “sticky” Latin psych-funk. Stay tuned to AME for a review!

The Dandy Warhols, This Machine  - Portland’s retro-alt rockers drop their eighth record. Notably, they cover “16 Tons” on this one.

Driver Friendly, Bury A Dream - This Woodlands, Texas septet mixes rock with other, more baroque musical elements. This is its long-awaited follow-up to their 2008 release Chase The White Whale.

Toro Y Moi, June 2009 – The prolific chillwave outfit drops a new collection that furthers Chaz Bundick’s songwriting and engineering skills.

Jack White, Blunderbuss  - The constantly busy superstar brings his first solo record since disbanding The White Stripes. Excitement should start now for millions of classicist rock fans across America.

Mar 292012

I have a confession to make. I missed many of the official SXSW events on March 17th because I was participating in GXGJ at Genuine Joe’s Coffee. Josh Brown’s unofficial, annual showcase is timed to coincide with SXSW and is a great showing for the newest, most up-and-coming acts in Austin. The coffee house setting makes for smaller, quieter gigs, but it’s a prime starting ground for many of Austin’s newer acts. My band, Motion Planet, was headlining this year’s GXGJ. Thus, I didn’t get downtown ’til well after 10 PM.

Spencer Davenport (R) and Michael Dieter (L), AKA Marfa Lights

Because I was on a deadline, I dropped $20 on parking and ran over to a nearby food trailer for a quick grub. I had to get to Haven on Colorado to see GZA at the Babygrande Records’ Showcase. The Wu-Tang legend was performing with Grupo Fantasma and Brownout (who share members) for an unprecedented hip-hop/Latin combo. This was my only backstage pass during the festival, but it more than made up for my late arrival to SXSW festivities.

GZA didn’t go on until Midnight, and I had gotten there early, so I got to enjoy the ramshackle performance by hip-hop newcomer Marz Lovejoy. Her music involved a lot of call-and-response melodies and the performance featured a contingent of dancing women who all sported large hairdos very much like the 20year old Ms. Lovejoy herself. Honestly, the performers seemed a little loose on the stage, and while it wasn’t a sloppy show there was definite a sense of stage partying going on.

The Haven stage was similarly filled for Jet Life, a rap collective that includes Curren$y, Trademark Da Skydiver, Young Roddy and several others. This was a much more aggressive and controlled show than the previous act. Multiple MCs replaced one another on the stage between songs and sometimes even between verses. You got the sense that Jet Life was trying to make as strong an impression as possible in their limited time; maybe they’re a new commodity to rap audiences and need to place their punches for maximum impact. While the stage presentation was forceful, the material was up-and-down based on whoever was onstage at the time. Some MCs had impressive flow, while others had more conventional set-ups that paled in comparison.

That's just three of Jet Life's members.

At some point in the middle of Jet Life’s performance, GZA arrived. The mass of people moving around him as he got to his place backstage impossible to miss. People adore him. However, it was clear that he had to prepare for the upcoming show, so by the time he sat down he was largely left alone. This series of events led to the telling sight of Babygrande founder Chuck Wilson informing members of Jet Life of the time left in their set from the back entrance to the stage. He gave them one more song and then cut them off.

GZA’s performance was, of course, awesome. Maybe America’s most purely intellectual rapper (if not the world’s), GZA is an artist who doesn’t have to continue to push his art but does so anyway. The backing Grupo Fantasma was the first live band I had seen that night at Haven, and it changed the whole dynamic. To read a full-on account of this amazing concert (maybe the best I saw during the entire SXSW festival), go here.

Afterwards, the crowd moved out but I stayed behind as press swirled. GZA wasn’t giving any interviews, but I did manage a fist-pump or two and thanked him for coming to Austin. The guy is pretty quiet and unassuming in person, actually. “What are you doing now?” one backstage member asked. “Going home,” GZA said with exhaustion in his voice. According to Wilson, the rapper had to be traveling at 4 AM the next morning. Er, that morning.

Outside, the streets were still full despite the bars being closed. I searched in vain for an after party, but it just wasn’t happening. I got home at 4 in the morning (right around when GZA was boarding his plane). And I’ll make another confession: I was a little burnt out, so I didn’t attend anything on Sunday. I figured it wasn’t going to get better than what I was part of Saturday night/Sunday morning.

Ya’ll should share your personal SXSW memories with AME! Send a message to and we’ll put up your stories next week! It was a much easier-going SXSW than last year, and despite a few technical difficulties and the usual traveling complications (which are to be expected), it revealed as many pleasures and surprises as ever. See ya’ll on the streets next year?

Mar 202012

It’s obvious that GZA/The Genius would find an adoring crowd in Austin. After all, his heady, intellectual rhymes and complex subject matter make a good fit for Austin’s brainy, intellectual approach to pop culture. But when he performed at Haven on Saturday, March 17th for Babygrande Records’ SXSW showcase, he upped his Austin cultural ante by adding in Grammy-winning, Latin superstars Grupo Fantasma as his backing band.

The addition of Grupo’s intense, tightly-wound instrumentation (not to mention their hardcore funk incarnation Brownout, who were also credited on the bill) to GZA’s set list emboldened both his classic tracks and new material from the forthcoming Dark Matter (release date TBA through Babygrande Records). The new record is apparently steeped in GZA’s interest in quantum physics and astronomy (I think The Genius is probably Christopher Nolan’s favorite Wu-Tang member), and the white-hot earthiness of Fantasma blended with the iconic MC’s metaphysical flow. A pounding, svelte rendition of “Shadowboxing,” from GZAs’s classic Liquid Swords, was the apotheosis of GZA’s modern updating of his back catalog.

The collaboration is the brainchild of Babygrande founder Chuck Wilson and Nat Geo Music Vice President Jeff Clyburn. The two are lifelong friends, and both represent sides of the team-up (GZA is on Babygrande, while Grupo releases on Nat Geo). “We were brainstorming about how to stay on the cutting edge at SXSW 2012,” Wilson says. “SXSW means so many things to so many people now. I think for Jeff and I it really is about exposing people to different kinds of music and bringing people together in the spirit of great music. That is what this epic collaboration between GZA and Grupo Fantasma means to us.”

Throughout the performance, GZA stepped across the stage and seemed to be in conversation with each member of the intimate venue’s appreciative crowd. While he’s far from serene while spitting, Wu-Tang’s spiritual head carries an enlightened countenance onstage. He’s a magnanimous and inclusive hip-hop legend, and the formidable nature of his artistry is obvious.

The rap/Latin live combo really was something new to my ears. Like all great ideas, it seems like an obvious choice once you hear how well it works. I don’t know if this approach is reflective of Dark Matter‘s sound, but after a night of electronic loop-based hip-hop acts (who were all admittedly striking) it was a welcome revelation. It fit that an artist who has been at the forefront of the rap genre for so long would be at the head of its live act innovation.

GZA quietly exited Haven after his set ended at 2 AM. He had to get back on the lecture tour (GZA appears at the MIT Civic Media Lab, NYU’s EMP Pop Conference at the Clive Davis Institute and Cornell University in the next three weeks), so there was probably no crazy SXSW after-party in store. But if the new record is anywhere as explosive as Saturday’s performance, get ready for the best GZA album since Grandmasters. This was the SXSW show of Saturday night.

Get more info on GZA, Dark Matter and fellow progressive artists at

Check out Grupo Fantasma, Brownout (who have a new album, Oozy, dropping on April 24th) and other great artists at

Mar 032012


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.



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.


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.


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.