All right, fine. So it’s been awhile.
Shawn Jones has been on an extended hiatus from music-making, although his CV boasts an impressive catalogue that shows the break was well-deserved. The journey of his band The Lovely Sparrows began with the 2005 7″ release of Take Your Hats Off You Godless Bastards, featuring “Glad Rangers” and “I Have A Need You See.” The vinyl has long been out-of-print, but remains an absolute treasure for Sparrows fans who got to experience the evolution of Jones’ songwriting dynamic through the years, from a kind of Guided By Voices/Sonic Youth-influenced reckoning to a more provocative composition style, playing with language, enigmatic imagery, and a wry humor. Tracks from the 2006 EP Pulling Up Floors, Pouring On (New) Paint were a regular feature on your AMM host’s previous late-night show on KUT back in the day, along with Bury the Cynics (2008) and Tall Cedars of Lebanon (2011).
It’s been seven years since a new Lovely Sparrows release, due mostly to Jones returning to grad school to pursue musical composition studies, along with a big move from Austin to Lockhart, and development of a video game. How time flies, but the music never really goes away. It was merely on pause. And now, we enter a realm of duality with Shake the Shadow, in which Jones poses a question often met with no definitive answer: “Is there any real magic?” One can present that query on so many levels – literally or figuratively. But what it boils down to is this: What is the magic for you? What is the connection?
It’s a beautiful thing to see The Lovely Sparrows in action again. Their album release show is tonight at Barracuda, 611 E. 7th St., with a bill that includes Linen Closet and Dead Recipe. Doors open at 8 p.m. And here’s to another wonderful album. Very recommended.
-Photography by Julia Reihs for KUTX.
Leave it to your Austin Music Minute host to shamelessly salivate and nerd out over a badass line-up going down tonight at Cheer Up Charlie’s, 901 Red River. Case in point:
-The trajectory is far out in Southern gothic space, gone blissfully through a psych nebula. Get to the middle of The Diamond Center. Brandi Price and Kyle Harris opened the doors to the mother ship for you to climb aboard.
-And now there are five, fanning the flames across a wide-spanning soundscape tuning in psych and prog vibes. Lake Of Fire performs their entire album, Crater, at tonight’s show. You heard the dreamy haze of album opener “Mercy of the Worm” on today’s AMM. Gotta wipe the drool off my face…
-Beleaguered brethren, gather round your fellow freaks to experience them unhinged. Ruthless cowpunk lassos are drawing you in to Rattlesnake Milk. Don’t believe the fear mongers, it’s good fer ya.
Doors open at 8 p.m., and the music kicks off at 9 p.m. Don’t miss any of these bands. Your AMM host has spoken. Very recommended.
Today’s Austin Music Minute was fun thanks in part to having the chance to say Cervezalandia. That’s just damn funny. And, if you’re vaguely familiar with the local music scene, it doesn’t take much to figure out the reference.
Your AMM host got it from San Saba Records. The sister label of Super Secret Records here in the ATX specializes in music by multi-genre, multi-lingual artists from around the world, as part of an effort to promote more international sounds in the U.S. They recently curated a special show you won’t want to miss out on tonight: San Saba Records y Cervezalandia Presenta: Sonidos Latinos, Vol. 2, Latin sounds featuring Austin artists Cilantro Boombox (featured on today’s AMM), Como Las Movies, and a DJ set by Beats of Burden.
Doors open at 8 p.m. Vamos a bailar. Recommended.
-Photo of Cilantro Boombox courtesy of the artist.
Syrian-born songwriter and musician Azniv Korkejian knows about moving around a lot, so much so that the displacement made her feel as though she belonged…nowhere. Hence the moniker Bedouine – a take on bedouin, or wanderer. Korkejian’s lived in Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, Lexington, Austin and Savannah, but eventually decided L.A. was the place to be, where she felt more connected to a close-knit community of creatives in Echo Park.
Rather than setting out to be a music artist, Korkejian started out as a sound engineer and editor, working with both music and dialogue. But – fortunately for all of us – it was through this work that she kept meeting artists who renewed her own interest in making music. Bedouine’s self-titled LP shows a songwriter of tremendous depth; gorgeous arrangements; sophisticated layers of ’60s-era folk, ’70s-style country, a touch of soul, and jazz-pop from a Bossa Nova perspective. It’s an impressive and striking debut.
-Photography by Polly Barrowman.
Today’s AMM invited you to pull up a chair and pour yourself a whiskey. Make it a double. You’re gonna need it.
Full disclosure: Your humble AMM host has been a Mr. Lewis & The Funeral 5 fan for awhile now, absolutely smitten over the macabre tones of their 2007 release Murder and The Art of The Dance (bring it, “Black Coffee Night,” you sick bastard) and 2011’s brilliant mind creep Delirium Tremendous (my old entrance song, “I Found Love on The Highway,” like an ego-maniac baller just asking for it). It’s been a years-long love affair with their twisted, razor-sharp wit, the stench of booze on its wheezing breath.
The party kept going, the demon waltz never really stopped, but…life threw some curveballs, as it does. Some horrible ones.
Vocalist/songwriter Gregory Lewis and drummer James Sheeran both suffered devastating losses; Lewis’ longtime girlfriend to suicide, and Sheeran’s wife to cancer. It would be awhile before either even entertained the thought of heading back to the studio to record, and a bit of time to finish their album when they did, but it’s here. Before the World Beat You Down is damn well worth the wait. It’s as raw and real as it gets. The turmoil of personal tragedy fuels these dark melodies, but such is the way with Lewis and his five fiends. Bare those scars. Embrace the morbidity.
Mr. Lewis and The Funeral 5 present their holiday shindig at 10 p.m. tonight at The Townsend, 718 Congress Ave. And apparently, it’s guitarist/percussionist Rob Metcalfe‘s birthday. You get two parties in one, pal.
Now go fetch that whiskey. This one’s so recommended that it hurts.
-Photography by by Gabriel C. Pérez for KUTX.