Aug 31 2010

Thrift Store Cowboys – Light Fighter Preview

As the song would suggest, the boys (and Pearl) are back in town – Thrift Store Cowboys have a new website, a new tour, and a new album.  It’s been four years, but October 12 is right around the corner, when Light Fighter, the Lubbock-based crew’s fourth full-length will drop.

I was lucky enough to be sent an advance copy of the new effort, and, well, it sounds like Thrift Store Cowboys.  But I dare you to find a soul that thinks that’s a bad thing.  The group’s trademark sound is intact, but the result this time around is more professional, the songwriting more memorably melodic, and the lyrics more introspective leader Daniel Fluitt’s weary, yet hopeful core.  A band that has already wowed so many continues to grow, with a fresh batch of instant classics and a pristine polish – as if these folks couldn’t sound even more like the soundtrack to a post-modern spaghetti western.  The new album is sure to please old faithful followers and rally up new troops.

The band is giving away an MP3 in support – you can grab it below, and I recommend you do.  “One Gentle Inch to Nine Violent Miles” is a nice introductory single to the new era – the perfect mix of the tumbleweed cinematic Americana the Cowboys have mastered, as well as a new, punchy kick of classic rock, reminiscent of Kings of Leon with cajones. The “Thin Lizzy twin guitar” wailing solo from Colt Miller and Cory Ames best captures the spotlight midway through.

Also, here’s a pretty sweet little video for another album cut, “Morning Weekend,” filmed right here in the greater Austin area (Kyle, TX, to be exact, at the badass mansion/studio hybrid Studio 1916).

1) Go to TSC’s new site for more media, new and classic, then

2) check the tour dates – chances are they’re coming to your town, and finally

3) mark your calendars for October 12.  It’s goin’ down.

Aug 9 2010

My Top 300 Songs of the 2000s – 190-181

Today I continue my ongoing feature showcasing my personal picks for the best songs of the past decade, posting ten songs at a time.

190. Pete Yorn – For Nancy

There’s no getting around it: musicforthemorningafter is a masterpiece and by far Yorn’s finest hour.  And “For Nancy,” the breakthrough single for the Jersey-born musician, is the finest song off that disc.  A tale of love lost that’s parts optimistic, parts well-wishing, and parts purely bitter, every confusing emotion associated with a breakup is laid out plain here.  That’s always been a specialty of Yorn’s – no confusion, no abstraction, just a straightforward, “it is what it is” approach, musically and lyrically.  Here, when wishing the best/worst for an ex, it reminds me of another great American songwriter.  Don’t think twice, it’s alright, indeed.

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Jun 16 2010

Ain’t Nothing Like Texas, Y’all

Up until about a month ago, I lived in the blue part of that “map” up there – I recently transferred to deep in the red, but I have been a Texan my whole life.  And there’s no place like it.  Anyone visiting will tell you: there’s something about the Lone Star State, a vibe, a sense of pride you can’t find anywhere else in the Union, or the world for that matter.  And I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon.

One of the best things about Texas is the music – from the country background of our capital to the rock and roll roots of the South Plains, to the Dirty South “Screwston” scene, to the metal movement based in DFW.  Harlem, Willie, Buddy, Pantera, Paul Wall, we’ve got it all.  I invite you to listen to the new mix Subservient Experiment has posted featuring only the finest in the state’s indie rock offerings.  It’s an awesome sampling of great tunes from such a huge land mass, and it has inspired me to make my own mix.

So enjoy a helping of tracks from the friendliest region on the planet.  I think you’ll agree: everything’s bigger in Texas, even the sounds.

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Apr 15 2010

5 Things That Can Do No Wrong In My Book (And 2 Other Related Lists)

Some of the things I love come under intense fire and scrutiny, and I am forced to intensely defend them.  Conversely, there are things that I am done defending – they have crossed a certain line of mediocrity that I cannot follow.  And then there are a few things that certainly have made mistakes, but I have not given up on yet.

So, because, as you know, I love lists, after the jump you will be treated to five things I constantly defend, five things I’m done defending, and five things that I feel still deserve defense, even if they’ve slipped up recently.

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Mar 30 2010

Review: One Wolf – One Wolf II: Secret of the Wolf

One Wolf II: Secret of the Wolf by One Wolf (unsigned, 2010)

Two years ago, when Daniel Markham split from Waiting to Derail, he changed direction completely.  He formed One Wolf, making a remarkable transformation from Whiskeytown alt-country to REM-influenced, Western-tinged rock.  Much like the local peers in Thrift Store Cowboys, Markham had come into his own, producing what could only be described as the sound of Lubbock.  Markham’s skill in pop craftsmanship was honed, but the lyrics were more introspective, the songs slower, sadder, and slightly more rock and roll than country.  It was an audible representation of West Texas; Buddy Holly would’ve been proud.

And now, with One Wolf’s sophomore release, Markham and the boys have done a 180…..again.

I spoke with Markham many months ago during a podcast interview for the now-defunct KTXT-FM.  Some favorite influences of his at the time were Nirvana, REM, Deadsy, and Starflyer 59.  So what’s the new One Wolf record sound like?  All of the above, and more.  In a word, it’s a lot LOUDER.

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Mar 15 2010

SXSW 2010: My Top Ten Picks

Tuesday thru Sunday will be post-less, as I will be traveling and partaking in SXSW 2010.  So, to get the rest of you as pumped as I am, here are my personal picks for parties/shows happening this year.  These aren’t all necessarily shows I will be attending (I’m sure a lot of them are happening at the same time), but they are all ones that I would probably go to if they were more spread out.  In this vein, SXSW is a blessing and a curse….but mostly a blessing.

Also, check out The Top 13’s list of day-show picks – pretty awesome.

List after the jump…CLICK!

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