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Dead Meadow and Sailor Poon Slay at the Barracuda

  Barracuda has a rugged dive bar charm that emanates an air of volatility that spills into the surrounding streets. The bars in close proximity are still holding their rugged charm and the graffiti on the Barracuda's bathroom walls and wood paneled walls is a far cry from modern. The lineup for Tuesday night's Barracuda show would be a hard rocking triumvirate of Sailor Poon, Saint Pe, and Dead Meadow.

Before Sailor Poon went on as the first opener, someone asked me “Do you ever headbang during a sound check?”. This is the perfect statement to summarize the kind of show Sailor Poon put on. Cheraya the drummer has a pink fuzzy drum set, and when Billie the vocalist and Saxophone player brought out her Sax there was red lipstick stained on the reed. Sailor Poon used a variety of vocal sounds during their set. Screams, maniacal laughs, hysteric laughs, wailing. Spooky, bone collecting, scream queens. Sailor Poon even asked for the lights the be dimmed to a spooky red to raise the spook factor. The performance was theatrical with the vocalists dancing, and facial expressions. A totally engaging show. Billie switching from saxophone to vocals effortlessly. A mix of heavy metal sludge sounds where the music makes you slowly start head banging faster and faster then transitioning to the fast thrashy punk that makes you want to smash around. I think the audience from the Leftover Crack show would of done very well at a Sailor Poon show. Lots of moshing. The reverb of the vocals give an ethereal sound at times too.

Following Sailor Poon was Saint Pe. Ian Saint Pe, a singer from the Black Lips, started Saint Pe. Although the Black Lips are a very established band I felt that Saint Pe was trying to still find their sound as a band. There was ambivalence from the crowd. Some people stayed for a song or two then went to smoke and nobody was up front and center at the stage. Most hung in the back at a cautious distance. Vocals were difficult to hear, and it proved difficult to get into the band's vibe.

 

When it was time for Dead Meadows set, there was a total influx of people into the crowd. The venue shifted from a spacious atmosphere to being packed with sporadic clouds of smoke occasionally arising from the newly formed crowd. Before the show I reached out the a member from The Black Angels and asked what he thought about Dead Meadow. “They’re consistently a badass band” is what he said, and the crowds response supported that. Naturally of course, there was the guy with dreads and a dirty shirt dancing around in circles in the back. Dead Meadow gives people who weren’t alive for the birth of psychedelic rock, a band to jam to. Incorporating the extended guitar solos, “wahs “wahs”, and feedback that are staple elements to psychedelic rock. Between songs the crowd would hoot and holler “Dead Meadow!” “Hell yeah!”. People were swaying and singing along, heavy crowd engagement.


-Hillary Harris

 

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Carrie Fussell Embraces Freak Folk at the Volstead

  

Carrie Fussell performed a solo set at the Volstead this past weekend, and as an active songwriter in the Austin music scene, she is a fantastic example of an authentic Austin artist. Carrie plays solo sets and you can also hear her performing with her other band, Calliope Musicals. A love of creativity and music radiates from her in an effusive manner. Her songs are honest and her presence is as genuine as it gets. Her album, Songs By A Bear, on Spotify, is the juiciest album I’ve listened to all year even though she put it out in 2017.

 

She appeared as a pixie in a black leotard with green bangs and smiling eyes, with a voice and vulnerability destined to ground listeners to the present. Her songs are playful, inspirational and are sung just as  gracefully as they are unraveled sensationally. Her sound is so pleasantly arresting that passerbys are frozen in their tracks after having heard her sirenic prose.

 

Kitty of the year” is dedicated to her kitty who died. Her angel voice, the syncopated chorus, and the relatable nature of the song make this an easy favorite. Carrie is a one woman show,  singing all the songs, playing all the music, expertly looping her vocals creating the effect of a choir backing her.

 

-Melissa Green 

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Le Butcherettes and L7 Bring Feminine Power to Mohawk

  As ritual chants broke over the crowd's heads, a throng of people were mesmerized by the presence of the incendiary individuals on stage. Le Butcherettes, lead by Teri Gender Bender, start to play and people begin to fidget with anxiety in anticipation of dancing. Careless poetic verses float through the audience as the band exemplifies their true expression through body movements, equally magnetizing as hypnotic. Many fans waved their phones in the air for instagram stories and social media photos while many others stood stupified by their brilliance.

L7 didn't let up the torrent of force as they purveyed aggressive riffs that demanded movement and headbanging from listeners. People from the Austin music scene blended with white-collar dads in a pseudo-moshpit which served as a testament to the strength of the relatability of L7's music. Nostalgia and blissful enjoyment spread around the venue like a virus, giving a sense of enjoyment and well-being to everyone present.

 

Antonio Rodriguez

Photo:  Austin Hansen

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Better Oblivion Community Center Inspires at Stubbs

 Allow me to bring BETTER OBLIVION COMMUNITY CENTER to your attention; the folk rock duo and pals, Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers. You might be familiar with Conor and his instrumental voice from his other projects; Bright Eyes, Mystic Valley River Band, Desaparecidos, Commander Venus to name a few over the years. Phoebe is relatively new on the scene, although after hearing her vulnerability shine through her music, you might think you’ve known her forever.  (A quick taste of the duo in a Billboard interview.)

On their own, both artists tote songs that could be considered “emo,” but together they create a melodic melange of satire and playful angst. If you’ve been following Conor through his musical career, you may glimpse a new side of him in this project. (Isn’t that what we love about evolving artists?) Phoebe’s youth, realness, and humility elicits a child-like joy out of Conor, and he uses every opportunity to be her biggest hype man. You can see the fun they’re having on stage, and you can hear in their lyrics (listen to: Forest Lawn @ 1:03). Both artists are equally regarded for their honest and thoughtful lyricism. Instead of inward reflection and dwelling on heavy emotions, together they’re looking out at their community and its members. Service Road paints an endearing picture of a difficult relationship with a brother figure, and likewise My City feels like it was written for Austin, but could likely be imposed on a number of big cities that feel like small towns. 

 

When BOCC stopped through Austin and Santa Fe, their roster included Lala Lala and Christian Lee Hutson. Both openers have relations with the founding members of BOCC outside of the initial community start-up. Phoebe gave Lillie West, lead singer of Lala Lala, a shout-out during her set: “Lillie told the kids in highschool to stop making fun of me. Give her another hand!” The whole ensemble rocked it. Christian Lee Hutson opened the whole show with an acoustic guitar, and subsequently appeared in all three sets playing keys and electric guitar. He’s composed and talented and humble. He plays an original song, Northsiders, with a sweet voice and provoking story-telling lyrics. The Better Oblivion Community core family co-created a cohesive show of camaraderie, good cheer, and thoughtful tunes with a touch of soft goth.

 

“Play Sleepwalking!,” hollers an audience member.

“We only have one album, so we’re definitely playing all of the songs. Sorry to spoil that for you,” Phoebe sardonically smiles back.

 

They played Sleepwalkin’, and it was great. It features fantastic bass riffs and intoxicating vocals, and asks a question I think could be assigned to my generation: “Is this having fun?

 

Conor and Phoebe took turns covering each others’ classic songs. Conor sang “Funeral,” but made it punk rock. Seriously, give this song 5 minutes of your undivided attention and feel it deeply. Then, imagine it fast-jump-up-and-down-punk-rock-amaze. When Phoebe sang his “Lua,” at the Austin show the whole crowd echoed her. (I cried…I actually cried thrice from the beginning to the end of the whole show.) The Community these two artist built was tangible and so inclusive in that moment.

 

Being vulnerable can be incredibly challenging. Artists like Phoebe and Conor make it look easy, but when you listen closely to their words and sentiments you can gather that they’ve been through some shit - like everyone else. We’re not alone. There’s a Better Oblivion Community Center that’s open and operating. Call today: +1 (785) 433 5534

 

-Mel Green





Being Dead Blesses the Family "Apostle's Prom"

 Juli Kellerand and Cody Dosier would like you to think that they've let Satan into their heart, but the the truth is much darker - they're conducting LSD-fueled experiments of friendship and musicianship under the guise of Being Dead. The early experimental data is showing a synergistic reaction that has led to the emission of druggy psych rock and hazed surf punk vapors, that are highly addictive. Idolatry, horses, twerking and medieval weaponry are themes that all flow seamlessly into the duo's video for "Apostle's Prom" which is a corrosive agent on the minds of our youth - but a positive delight for those already sporting a warped world view. The duo has released a new EP on Austin Town Hall records and will be playing on April 20th at Hole in the Wall with Duncan Fellows, The Oysters, Magic Rockers of Texas and Hi, Gene.

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