Gourds are among the bumper crop of local releases this fall
It's been more than two months since Austin's music scene came under attack from multiple fronts. In case you missed it, a few different writers tried to make the case that Austin's days of producing good music are behind it. The number of bands releasing new music during the next few months is more evidence against that argument. Below is a look at three bands with new albums, but there are far more, including recent or upcoming releases by Austin punks the Flesh Lights, Bad Sports, Holy Wave, the Pons and Wiretree. Also coming up: Sunny Sweeney, Robert Earl Keen and Slaid Cleaves. (If you have a band with a new album, please send it in if you would like it to be considered for review.)
Not-very-Google-able Austin garage band Elvis technically already released its new album, "Crime of the Scene." It's been online for a while on Bandcamp. A small batch of CDs came and went as well. But that doesn't matter, because it's getting released again, this time on vinyl through local label Sundae Records sometime in October or November (a problem with the vinyl pressing delayed release), so we'll pretend it's new fall music.
It deserves a second listen anyway. It's that good. Frontman Brian Rowland doesn't so much sing as he issues commands with the angsty growl of Iggy Pop. If you've seen these guys live, you know what I'm talking about. Song after song, the band doles out heaps of uneasiness — it's a soundtrack for driving off the edge of a cliff, music that barrels forward with abrasiveness. Not for everyone, but people who appreciate that style will love this.
Not unlike Elvis, demos from Cruddy's new record have been floating around online for a while (also on Bandcamp), so what's coming isn't completely unexpected. The local punk trio of Drew Schmitz, Allison Goodman and Dustin Pilkington is releasing "Negative World" on Oct. 25 on 12XU.
What Cruddy offers is energy — fast, explosive energy. When Schmitz, Goodman and Pilkington are on the same page, they create a rhythmic locomotive. A lot of bloated pop music out right now doesn't seem to match the spirit of the times. Not that everything needs to be gloom and doom, but too much good-time music starts to get a little old when times aren't all good. Cruddy isn't all about darkness, but their choppy, sometimes frantic sound feels of the moment.
That doesn't mean there isn't room for a little momentary antidote, too. Enter Austin institution the Gourds and their 10th studio album, "Old Mad Joy," out Sept. 13. Kevin "Shinyribs" Russell and company pulled out all the stops on this one. Not only did they record at former Band drummer Levon Helm's Woodstock, N.Y. studio, they enlisted Helm's (and Bob Dylan's) collaborator Larry Campbell to produce. "Old May Joy" is the band's first outing on Vanguard Records.
The result of all of that dressing up is a pretty good album, but one that's still unmistakably a Gourds record. It's rootsy, it's warm, it has rock — "Drop What I'm Doing" sounds like a Faces record — and country (and country rock) of several varieties, so much so that it's kind of surprising that their Dead-like following hasn't ballooned even more.
More fun. Fun Fun Fun Fest finally said goodbye to Waterloo Park this week in typical FFF fashion, with a ridiculous and funny video featuring various faces of Transmission Entertainment and Boyz II Men's "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye To Yesterday." That video accompanied an announcement of more bands to the already loaded lineup. Austin favorites Spoon, Syrian dance pop sensation Omar Souleyman, Georgia garage rockers the Black Lips and death-metal stalwarts Cannibal Corpse join previously announced bands including Slayer, Danzig and Passion Pit at the Nov. 4-6 festival at Auditorium Shores.
Along with the lineup additions, the festival announced the Fun Fun Fun Olympics, to be held Sept. 11 at Fiesta Gardens. Participants will joust and race on canoes and paddle boards, among other things, for the chance to win prizes including festival passes. The event runs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.; registration to compete begins at noon. More at funfunfunfest.com.
Briefly: Starting Aug. 31, the renovated ND will unveil its new lounge, the North Door, and restaurant, Molly's Tamales. They host grand reopening events and a run of shows the first two weekends in September to celebrate. For details, visit ndvenue.com ... Austin dance funk duo Ghostland Observatory will play ACL Live on Nov. 19. Tickets on sale at 10 a.m. Friday. ... Rapper Big Boi will play the Mohawk on Sept. 16, then the Austin City Limits Music Festival the next night. ... Brandi Carlile is filling the Old Crow Medicine Show slot at ACL Fest (Old Crow abruptly went on hiatus recently), with Electric Touch taking Carlile's earlier set time. Keep up with all ACL Fest news @austin 360.com/acl.