…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead

Every Gun Makes Its Own Tune… …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead Score a Solid X “One of our last shows was in London, before everything went topsy-turvy,” says …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead co-frontman/drummer/guitarist Jason Reece, describing how the band’s tour for their latest album,… Continue reading …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead

Particle Kid – Window Rock

Neither of Willie Nelson’s musical sons rest on their surname’s laurels and sing jazz-inspired country music out their noses. That’s not meant as trolling. It’s a fitting one-sentence description of one of America’s master musicians and storytellers. Lukas Nelson has made waves in recent years by taking lessons learned from Dad and frequent tour mate… Continue reading Particle Kid – Window Rock

Levitation Announces First Wave of 2019 Acts

Forget South by Southwest, it burst at the seams years ago. Forget Austin City Limits, too – at this point it’s not noticeably different from most other interchangeable outdoor music festivals. Nah, Levitation is the Austin, Texas music fest that should be on your to-do list. (Assuming you dig cool music, that is.) Since its… Continue reading Levitation Announces First Wave of 2019 Acts

Willie Nelson, Force of Nature

Still chugging away at age 86, Willie Nelson keeps touring and toking and cranking out albums like a 25-year-old. The difference being, most of Willie’s recent albums are really damned good. His latest, Ride Me Back Home, will hit retailers on June 21. Produced by longtime friend and collaborator Buddy Cannon, who co-wrote three new… Continue reading Willie Nelson, Force of Nature

Original Cast Recording – Blaze

When planning a music-related film, please cast a lead actor with impressive singing chops. Sissy Spacek as Loretta Lynn will probably always be the shining example of this effective trope, but don’t forget Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash or, from an otherwise skippable film, Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams. This applies to works of fiction,… Continue reading Original Cast Recording – Blaze

Willie: Still Smokin’, Still Standing

Willie Nelson's new album, God's Problem Child, comes out April 28.

While he’s been having some respiratory issues of late, and cancelled all of his shows through late February after aborting a San Diego concert after just one song on January 6th (the official word is he’s had a bout of the flu), Willie Nelson hasn’t slowed down on his songwriting or recording. The follow-up to… Continue reading Willie: Still Smokin’, Still Standing

Whitney Rose – Rule 62

On new album Rule 62, Canadian singer and guitarist Whitney Rose furthers rock-influenced country music by applying her undeniable vocal talents to songs that celebrate the 1960s. The result is ten good songs and one great one that’ll disrupt some way-too-early year-end lists. The album starts with “I Don’t Want Half (I Just Want Out),”… Continue reading Whitney Rose – Rule 62

Butthole Surfers Pooping Out New Album

People who are high on drugs often do some really bizarre shit. On a completely unrelated subject, the Butthole Surfers have started recording their first album in 16 years. The psych-spazz freakazoids are apparently doing the deed in Austin, Texas, familiar territory for the band. Honestly, before news of this reached my safe space, I… Continue reading Butthole Surfers Pooping Out New Album

The Black Angels

Scraping Chunks From the Bells: The Black Angels Are the Best Part of the Trip The Black Angels are reliable purveyors of a modern rethink of ’60s psychedelia. The Austin group’s updated approach is a kind of tribal psych, heavy on droning, hypnotic and irresistible tunes. The group is poised to release Death Song, its… Continue reading The Black Angels

The Octopus Project Looks Into the Memory Mirror

It’s been a few years since the Octopus Project regaled us with a full-length, but come April, there will once more be eight arms to hold you. Created in their native Texas and beyond, the Austin noiseniks’ sixth album, Memory Mirror, teems with the synthy glitches and sprightly beats we’ve come to love them for.… Continue reading The Octopus Project Looks Into the Memory Mirror


Shearwater Artist Photo

Bowie Keeps Swinging: Shearwater’s Jonathan Meiburg Weighs In on the Ongoing Impact of the Thin White Duke When the telephone rings, the caller ID gives me a number with a 404 area code. It’s Jonathan Melburg on the other end, calling from Brooklyn, where he currently lives. Prior to that, he was a longtime resident… Continue reading Shearwater


Providing the inspiration for both Peter Bogdanovich’s film Targets and Kinky Friedman’s “The Ballad of Charles Whitman,” on August 1, 1966, an ex-marine shot his wife and mother before climbing to the 27th floor observation deck of the clock tower on the University of Texas campus in Austin. Once there, he began randomly firing at pedestrians… Continue reading Tower

Okkervil River – Away

For Will Sheff, inspiration comes in bursts. The sessions for Okkervil River’s career-defining albums, 2005’s Black Sheep Boy and 2007’s The Stage Names, each yielded enough material for companion sets. Both of those sequels felt like wannabe siblings, but them’s the breaks. At its best, Okkervil River fuses pub rock swagger, alt-country longing, and the… Continue reading Okkervil River – Away

Asleep at the Wheel

Swing Away: Asleep at the Wheel Keep On Rollin’ and Ridin’ With the King Veteran Western swing revivalists Asleep at the Wheel’s most recent album, Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, was issued in March 2015. It’s the band’s third official tribute to Wills’ storied career, following the… Continue reading Asleep at the Wheel

Memoir From a Damaged Civilization

Memoir From a Damaged Civilization By Dave Dictor [Manic D Press] Dave Dictor was (and still is) the vocalist for MDC, the band whose evolving acronym stood for Millions of Dead Children, Multi Death Corporations and (most memorably/provocatively) Millions of Dead Cops. The group began in the late 1970s in Austin, Texas with a more… Continue reading Memoir From a Damaged Civilization

Lucinda Williams – Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone

Lucinda Williams has gone and made herself a double album. It’s technically not her first one, but in an artistic sense, it is. Back in 2005 she released a double concert album, Live @ The Fillmore, a bloated affair so ‘luded out and meandering you were left begging for a drum solo. Subsequent studio recs,… Continue reading Lucinda Williams – Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone

Spoon – They Want My Soul

Two very positive reviews of They Want My Soul refer to it as Spoon’s “most booming” and “most generous” album. These adjectives could easily be replaced with “shrill” and “pandering,” but that’s why music criticism is a judgment game – after a sustained run of excellence Spoon has earned some semantic leeway. Advance warning: this… Continue reading Spoon – They Want My Soul

Shearwater – Fellow Travelers

In recent times it’s increasingly been the fashion for musicians to do their covers project sooner rather than later in the career; an unintended by-product of this is that it allays accusations of writer’s block, since artistic burnout doesn’t typically happen until the creative sunset years. Supporting this theory is Shearwater’s ninth album, which adds… Continue reading Shearwater – Fellow Travelers

The Black Angels – Indigo Meadow

Out/proud Austin combo the Black Angels – “out” as in, “far out, maaan…”; “proud” because they make no apologies for their overt brand of Sixties-channeling psychedelia – have been churning out sonic bummers since 2004, four albums and sundry EPs’ worth of fuzz, feedback ‘n’ drone that’s only grown more potent, like a barrel of… Continue reading The Black Angels – Indigo Meadow


A strong frontman goes a long way. You’ve got to have some serious cojones to stand alone, sans instrument, and successfully front a punk band. The OBN in OBN IIIs, Orville Neeley, does it naturally. The Austin, Texas band’s self-titled sophomore LP builds on the chest-puffed toughness of its predecessor The One and Only for… Continue reading OBN IIIs – OBN IIIs

Alejandro Escovedo – Big Station

The way the double-stop riffing of lead track “Man of the World” blasts out of the gates, tires screeching, rpm needle buried hard right, you’d expect Big Station to be a triumphant rock ‘n’ roll record. And why not? After all the trials and tribulations Alejandro Escovedo has faced in his life (from heartbreak to… Continue reading Alejandro Escovedo – Big Station

Willie Nelson – Remember Me, Vol. 1

For Remember Me, Vol. 1, Willie Nelson, one of country’s undeniably great singers and songwriters, hand-picked 14 hits from some of his favorite singers and songwriters, including George Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash. But more than just a cool covers collection, the album is an entertaining trip through some 70 years of… Continue reading Willie Nelson – Remember Me, Vol. 1

Cotton Mather – Kontiki: Deluxe Edition

Here’s one that got away, kids. Austin psych-pop legends Cotton Mather – named after the Puritan minister/Salem witch trials bon vivant – shone promisingly throughout the ’90s, although the ascendancy and takeover of corporate alt-rock and nü-metal eventually doomed them and other likeminded outfits to obscurity. Three full-lengths plus a couple of EPs, and they… Continue reading Cotton Mather – Kontiki: Deluxe Edition

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears – Scandalous

I was struck by the rocking raw power of Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears the first time I heard the band on David Johansen’s XM-Sirius Mansion of Fun radio show. And I was even more excited when I saw Lewis and his Austin, Texas cohorts rip through a fast and loose set of guitar… Continue reading Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears – Scandalous