Tired of the red meat are you? What’s that, you say? You’ve never tried meat? Interesting. Perhaps you, like English crooner Morrissey believe that Meat is Murder (Aside from naming one of his albums from his days with the Smiths Meat is Murder, he has famously stormed off of stages mid-set upon simply smelling some form of meat being grilled in the vicinity of his performance).
Well, if you find yourself looking for food that never had a face, then Texas isn’t really that bad of a spot, even with it’s reputation for all things butchered. So, for all of the vegetarian’s and vegans out there, who might be new to the state, or new to the meatless movement, below are a few highlights from some of our major cities in case you find yourself wondering where you can get a killer stack of vegan flapjacks…
- Spiral Diner & Bakery- Speaking of vegan pancakes. Check out either the Dallas spot or the Ft. Worth location.
- Bliss Raw Cafe and Elixir Bar - Takes the vegan experience to creative, new levels.
- Cosmic Cafe - The grand old dame of the vegetarian dining experience in Dallas.
- Counter Culture - Food trailer with a conscience.
- Veggie Heaven - A plain-jane spot, lacking any pretense near the campus, it’s seemingly been around forever.
- Conscious Cravings - Another trailer that shows how Austin just gets it. you know what I mean. They just do.
SAN ANTONIO –
For years now, Centro-matic, a band that began in Denton well over a decade ago, has been known as a prolific group that has risen to a rather lofty status in the world of American Indie-rock. Led by Will Johnson, now an Austinite, the band hasn’t yet put out a record that one would consider anything less than stellar.
The band members themselves are highly sought after when it comes to contributing their individual talents to other’s projects, even. Johnson was the touring drummer for the massive Monsters of Folk project, and he also played guitar on Patterson Hood’s (Drive by Truckers) last solo album. Of course, that’s aside from his many producing projects. Drummer and sound engineer extraordinaire Matt Pence has toured with Jason Isbell while multi-instrumentalist Scott Danbom has played with Slobberbone and Sarah Jaffe. See? In-demand!
Their new album, Candidate Waltz, has reawakened many to the greatness of this band and has already began earning more than its fair share of rave reviews and predictions of the album finding its way onto a solid amount of year-end-best-of lists (Hint: There’s no way it’ll avoid landing on this blog’s list of 2011′s Best Texas Albums. Not a chance).
Enough of me blabbing. Since it’s always nice to see fellow Lone Star dwellers win praise from outside of our own borders, I’ll just let you see for yourself, OK?
- PopMatters digs Will Johnson’s prolific nature…
- Paste loves the straight-forward rockness of the album…
- Prefix Magazine is also a fan of the album’s somewhat “un-hip” straight-forward nature…
- Spin Magazine is yet another admirer of Johnson’s ability to create so much, so well, so often…
So, there. Centro-matic might be a band from our state, but it’s clear that their appeal lies beyond the Red River. Still not sure? Check out the tour schedule for the guys. There aren’t many corners of the great 48 they wont be hitting soon, if not later…
Look: I know that we can get very wordy here and get all kinds of crazy with trying to label artists and detail exactly what nice, neat little corner of the musical universe a song or album might fit into. No biggie, really. We all just want to understand music and know what something sounds like before we even here it. You know, if someone tells you that a band reminds them of the Replacements, and you aren’t a fan of that band, then you may want to avoid them if you dont want to make the effort to judge for yourself (hey, we’re all busy, you know?). Maybe a friend tells you that a certain song sounds “like what country music should sound like,” and you despise country music in any form, then again, it’s good to have a general idea of what to expect, thanks to a comparison someone you trust provided.
Well, I don’t know what to tell you about Dead Rider. Their sound is just so…so…perplexing? Maybe? I guess? I know that the Chicago-based band’s new album, Raw Dents is a masterwork of odd angles, off-kilter tempos and general weirdness…which is 100% greatness.
Some call them art-rock, others have called them industrial, some even detect some funk in the mix. OK, fair enough. I get all of that…I think. How about this for a description. When I click on their video for “The Pointed Stick” (below), or listen to Raw Dents, I can’t easily tear myself away from either. So, addictive and enthralling. How’s that for describing their sound without actually describing their sound…HUH???
Thankfully, this weekend, many Texas (and even a few Okies) will get to form their own description of this band that has simply taken my brain hostage in recent weeks. On Friday in Austin Dead rider will take over Emo’s, and then make their way north to infest the Doublewide in Dallas on July 2nd, before hitting Oklahoma. Do not miss this band!
Ok, I told you that in order to introduce you to all of the bands on this year’s ACL Fest bill, I would have to cheat a bit here and there. So, here’s a bit of a cheat as I use this week’s video post to slip in an extra (and non-Texan) preview/intro…
Elbow, from The U.K. are a big friggin’ deal accross the Atlantic, yet they’ve failed to make a simliar splash here in the states, even with their latest album, Build a Rocket, Boys! being perhaps better than the one that nabbed them a Mercury Prize a few years ago, signifying the year’s best British or Irish album. They’ll be in the states this fall, so look for them at ACL!
Recently, we’ve chit-chatted about heading for a day of fun on the Guadalupe, a stroll through some museums and even the possibility of slinging a few rounds of disc golf. Here’s another simple, but still great non-the-less idea: Catch a play!
Not that we claim to be experts in the world of theatre, but it seems to us that Texas probably doesn’t get it’s due when it comes to the theatrical offerings it provides it residents and visitors. Below are a few current and upcoming offerings from some of our favorite stages…
- Zach Theatre – Austin: All kinds of great things go down here on a regular basis. A key upcoming attraction however is the buzzed-about, Tony winning Spring Awakening. Starting in September, this rocking production will likely be packed. Of course, there’s plenty going on between now and then, too. Be sure to catch The Book of Grace, a play by Pulitzer Prize-winning Suzan Lori Parks about south Texas family that weaves themse of familial bonds ond geographical bord.
- Dallas Summer Musicals: A tradition for many North Texans, the DSM series is known for bringing in the most stories titles (West Side Story) while mixing in a few fun favorites (Stomp!), and adding some productions that have gained recent notoriety on the Tony stage, even (Monty Python’s Spamalot). In fact, the legendary British comedy style is currently on display now for another few days.
- Alley Theatre – Houston: Ready for a bit of mystery? It’s hard to top Agatha Christie in that regard, now isn’t it? Head to Houston’s long-standing thatre to catch the latest installment in their “Summer Chills” series, Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.
- Water Tower Theatre – Addison: Now, for a suburban locale (don’t let that fool you into thinking that the quality is any less however), Addison knows how to put on the large, spectacular city events, and that extends to the stages of the Water Tower Theatre’s complex. While they have Little Shop of Horrors on the horizon, do not miss their current offering. Shooting Star is a widely acclaimed two-person production that has amde its way around the country and has been loved at aeach stop. Now, it’s Addison’s turn.
In our never-ending quest (OK, it will end on September 15, actually) to discuss, preview, and introduce you to every act that will play during this year’s Austin City Limits Festival, we are here again to shine a little light on an act that you may or may not be yet familiar with. In fact, in the case of Nick 13, you may be aware of this man’s work without fully realizing it, even.
As the leader of a band named Tiger Army that most seem to deem as “psychobilly,” Nick 13 has specialized in trippy, cosmic shades of country music, especially as a solo artist. Looking every bit the tattooed, greased-up punk, Nick 13′s coolness extends beyond his exterior and into the heart of his tunes. His self-titled solo album was released this month and is simply stellar. Again, it’s safe to use the term cosmic when describing the tone of what is otherwise a prime, stone-cold country disc.
While this new record is good enough to give any artist ideas of making a side project their main gig, word has it that Tiger Army fans have nothing to fear. A native of northern California, Nick 13 has stated numerous times that the band will be back soon enough. Of course, an ACL slot is no small feat. Recent gigs at SXSW and at the Stagecoach Festival (the country little brother to Coachella) have certainly primed his solo act into one that is ready to handle any doubters that may shout for tunes from his other band.
We talked about the boys of Rosehill a while back. Well, we’re not the only ones who like them, of course. Now, mainstream country giant, CMT, has certainly hopped on the bandwagon, which will surely give them a much-deserved boost in notoriety. Above, the video for “Dream it All Over Again” is receiving some countdown love from CMT, so please give it a look, wont you?
The Black Angels, out of Austin, are seriously bringing psychedelic rock back. Not sure if it was ever gone, but these guys are really bringing it, regardless. Above, check out the NPR Tiny Desk Concert, and below check out the trippy videos for “Telephone” and “Haunting at 1300 McKinley” from their kick-butt 2010 album Phosphene Dream.
Every few years, Texas Monthly Magazine crowns their favorite BBQ joints throughout the state. The usual suspects typically make the list, sure, but many new names from unknown outposts also find their way onto the list, thanks to the diligent and smoke-scented magazine staff.
Each year, Texas Monthly hosts a party in Austin to honor and showcase the best BBQ our state has to offer, and we’re all invited! On October 30, at the Long Center for the Performing Arts, The Texas Monthly BBQ Festival will take place and fill our souls with mesquite fumes and some of Austin’s best tunes.
Last year, along with the smoking stars of the day, BBQ lovers were treated to sets by two of the Hill Country’s finest songwriters: Ray Wylie Hubbard and Amy Cook. This year’s musical line-up hasn’t been announced just yet, though.
The reason we mention this so early? Last year’s fest sold-out in a very short time. So, get on it, or you’ll be very sorry. And hungry.
What: Texas Monthly BBQ Festival
Where: Austin, TX
When: 10/30/2011 12pm – 5pm
I can only hope that this post doesn’t find you residing in a scenario where you have yet to take part in one of the most holy, quintessentially Texan of all traditions. Tubing the Guadalupe, or Comal for that matter, is an experience that few other states can offer.
Simply put: If you haven’t yet. It’s about time to get to it. Below are some resources available to help you in your quest for the spirit of Texas summers…
Gruene Texas - It’s kind of crazy how one small town can have just about everything you need for a fun day of tubing. River outfitters, great restaurants and, in case you haven’t made the connection yet: The legendary Gruene Hall. Texas’ grandest and oldest dance hall. If tunes are blaring from the open widows that line the walls of this hollowed palace, than it’s time to get on in and grab a cold one.
- For Tubing: Rockin’ R River Rides
- For Shopping: Lone Star Music
- For Dining: The Grist Mill
- For Live Music: Gruene Hall
- For More Drinks and Live Music: Tavern in the Gruene
Also, check out the Comal River for tubing good-times…
- For Tubing: Comal River Tubing
- For Good Times, Brew and Tunes: River Road Ice House
- For Cabin Rentals: River City Resorts
OK, that’s enough to at least get you started. Believe us, it’s almost a deal where you will have a hard time convincing other Texan’s that you’re a real Texan if you can’t say you’ve tubed the river. It’s kind of like saying you haven’t seen Willie Nelson live in-concert, or paid your respects at the Alamo…wait, you have done those things, right??