You may have seen it around town, adorning a wall or peering out at you from an extremely vibrant mural. It’s a rather recognizable blue cow, flanked by sort of dreamlike houses or buildings – or chickens, maybe even other cows. That is Ethan Azarian‘s blue cow. And that is a youthful heart and a youthful mind at work.
Unlike some of my Austin colleagues, I didn’t get to experience the earlier incarnations of Azarian’s music, which were apparently off the map in the beginning. When the Vermont native first hit the local scene in the late ’80s, he took over with a mutinous clamor and unleashed his band Hollywood Indians, a rowdy, scandalous, show-no-mercy good time. If you couldn’t handle it, you were boring. Or humorless. Pretty much synonymous.
Inevitably, people mellow out over time. From this natural evolution came The Orange Mothers in 1992. Although their debut album 2002 was cranked a bit more in the drone zone, their sound moved toward the blissful pop-folk direction that Azarian also took with his solo music projects. It reflects the creativity and whimsy of his artwork: Colorful, playful, quirky and carefree.
I meant it when I said on today’s Austin Music Minute that he’s one of my favorite people in the world. Don’t miss Ethan Azarian’s performance tonight at The Cactus Cafe with local musician, KUT alumnus and Orange Mothers bandmate Jeff Johnston (Lil’ Cap’n Travis). Opening the show is local cosmic-American psych/country-roots band The Lonesome Heroes. This is a must-see show. Doors open at 8 p.m., and the music starts at 8:30 p.m. Highly recommended.