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Despite spanning genres, 'Broadcasts Vol. 19' has cohesion

Peter Mongillo, Commentary

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Though the artists featured on KGSR's "Broadcasts Vol. 19" can mostly be grouped together in the same general genre, a couple moments feature back-to-back tracks by musicians who seem miles away musically but fit together surprisingly well. That a nice version of Sarah Jarosz's "Come Around" feels at home beside reggae artist Michael Franti and Spearhead shows the amount of care that Andy Langer and the rest of the team put into the project throughout the year.

Not a lot has changed on Volume 19 from last year's edition, when Langer took the reins after the departure of longtime program director Jody Denberg. The annual release, which raises money for the SIMS Foundation, is a collection of performances recorded live by engineer Bill Johnson (who has recorded every volume of the "Broadcast" series) throughout the year both at KGSR's studio and at other venues, including the Four Seasons. The 41 songs on this year's edition offer a mix of local and national artists, sometimes from disparate genres, that represents the variety that KGSR broadcasts daily.

"The stars aligned musically for the year in a way that sort of surprised us when we looked at the track listing," Langer says of the artists appearing on Vol. 19. "There's a little bit of something for everybody, there are enough names that the average guy recognizes."

Artists on this year's two-disc volume include Band of Horses, who open with "Laredo" from their 2010 album "Infinite Arms," Local Natives, Mumford and Sons, and Quiet Company. Takes from heavy hitters such as Willie Nelson, Steve Earle and Joe Ely round out the collection.

One of the selling points of "Broadcasts" is that it offers alternate versions, whether acoustic or otherwise, of songs that many people already know. The most striking example of this is a live take on Foster the People's hit 'o the year "Pumped Up Kicks," which breathes some life into a song that has been played to death on the radio and elsewhere. Similarly, a stripped-down version of Ray Lamontagne's "Beg Steal or Borrow" kicks off the second disc.

Enough local artists are included to give the volume a sense of the year in Austin music, at least when it comes to Americana/soul/singer-songwriter fare, including Black Joe Lewis, Nakia, Bob Schneider, Hayes Carll and of course, Willie, who performs "Valentine."

KGSR's "Broadcasts Vol. 19" is out Friday and can be purchased at Waterloo Records, Antone's Records, Threadgill's and elsewhere. For a complete list, visit www.kgsr.com/broadcasts.

Not-so-secret. If there is anything to say about Thursday night's not-at-all-secret Green Day show at Red 7, it's that the band is resilient. It's not often that a band reaches the heights of mainstream success while retaining enough good will that they can show up at a dive and really pump up an audience.

Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong started the show saying "we're going to play some new stuff ... and some really, really old stuff." He kept his promise, opening with "Welcome to Paradise." "American Idiot," which represents a different era for the band, hit just as hard. The enthusiastic reception it got speaks to their experience — they've been doing this for decades.

After an album's worth of new songs (some of which was recorded in Austin over the summer), came a string of old favorites: "Longview," "2000 Light Years Away," "Going to Pasalacqua" and more. All good, with plenty of stage-diving.

Some of the two-and-half-hour set was eaten up repeating songs (it seemed like they were taping the show for a DVD). One three-peat was a cover of the Misfits' "Hybrid Moments," with Armstrong taking a shot at Danzig's legendary fail at "fun fun fun fun fun fun fest." Unlike Danzig, Green Day was successful; they could have played the song for a half-hour and it wouldn't have gotten old. (Read more about the show in our blog @austin360.com/music.)

BackSpin Records closing.The Airport Boulevard record store, announced the news on its Facebook page: "Well BackSpinners, we have some good news and some bad news. The good news is we are having a huge sale this week. The bad news is, it is a going out of business sale. It's not all bad though, it's been a good run from our first spot on Burnet Road to our current home on Airport — just short of six years now which has gone by fast."

pmongillo@statesman.com