Texas®

 

Look. We talked about this year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin already. We talked about how the line-up is as quirky and killer as any other festival of it’s kind. Eschewing much of the mainstream acts that understandble help fill up the ACL’s and Bonnarroos of the world, FFF Fest relies on an intoxicating mix of indie, metal, hip-hop, comedy and electronic music to bring in masses that might be a tad more discerning.

Well, if getting to see Public Enemy, Passion Pit, Slayer, the Joy Formidable, Reggie Watts, a reunited Hum, or Neon Indian wasn’t incentive enough, the after parties slated for the fest in various venues will be absolutely free for FFF ticket-holders!

Honestly, it doesnt even make sense. Not from a standard commercial sense, at least. I’m sure the people who need to make the money are making it, but us consumers are so used to getting screwed on ticket prices, service fees, parking costs and astronomical beer prices that it’s jsut hard to imagien so many shows will be included in the price we already paid.

Oh. You want to know who you’ll get to see for free? A ton of bands that aren’t actually playing at the fest, that’s who. Also eschewing teh typical, big festival model of hosting after-shows with bands already on the bill, FFF is bringing in the likes of the Felie Brothers, Dead Confederate, Old Man Malarkey, The Thermals, Kool Keith, Ty Seagall, Mates of State and Thee Oh Sees. These are bands that would headline their own club dates just about anywhere in the country, and they’re just being added onto your list of bands to see. For no extra charge. Just mosey into venues like Beerland, The parish, Club DeVille, and The Mohawk, among others, and get your after-hours groove on.

It’s been a while since we mentioned the psychedelic honky-tonkers from Austin, The Lonesome Heroes. They wow’d us with their inventive take on standard old-school country and they have been touring like crazy for the last couple of years as they’ve been developing material for a new album. Daydream Western is the name for the new record, and it’s yet another wonderful spin on Cosmic Americana.

Thanks to the key duo, Landry McMeans and Rich Russell, we have a couple of songs to share with you. These tunes have been road-tested as much as songs can be, thanks to the group’s relentless touring of the country. Trust us, you do not want to skip the chance to give these tunes a listen and to catch them live when they come through your part of the state, which is always a distinct possibility, given their penchant for life on the road.

Visions Of Yesterday by The Lonesome Heroes

Aspens by The Lonesome Heroes

Sorry. I have to. It’s really beyond me. MTV-U has been playing it on their cable channel a bunch and now it’s online for all of us to enjoy. I’m not going to promise that this will be the last you see or read about them here. Again, sorry. that’s just how it is!

Man, I just can’t help it. I’m still feeling the sting from not making it to this past ACL Festival. Sure, time will likely heal such a mental wound (I’m sure a trip to the Fun Fun Fun Fest will help, too), but I keep going back to the Festival’s official Youtbube channel for some really decent clips of some great performances that will not be a part of my memory bank… Oh well. Enjoy.

 

When the end of 2011 rolls around, there’s sure to be many big names on top of the many “Best of 2011″ lists for music that us music-geeks like to read. The records from the Foo Fighters, My Morning Jacket, Radiohead, Wilco and Adele are sure to be given a great deal of praise. One of the albums that will also be on many of those lists comes from a band that’s yet to become a household name.

Philadelphia’s The War on Drugs’ recent release, Slave Ambient, has been an indie-favorite in the weeks since its release. The love is certainly deserved, too. Beginning in 2005 with current solo-star Kurt Vile as a key figure (he’s since stopped contributing full-time), and Adam Ganduciel as the guiding force, the band has put out two LPs including the new one, and a handful of EPs that all live inside the lo-fi, dreamy world that creates hazy atmosphere and what Gabe Lewis from the Office might call “Soundscapes.”

As I said, I’m not the only one who digs the album, not by a long shot. The finicky folks over at Pitchfork gave it a high rating of 8.3 out of 10.0, which earned the band a coveted “Best New Music” rating. On top of that, the English outlet The Guardian had some nice things to say, also.

So, hopefully all of this encouragement will help get you out your door into one of the spots that The War on Drugs will soon be playing here in Texas. On October 17th, the profile of Dallas’ Bryan Street Tavern will continue its ascent with this show and then the band will hit Emo’s in Austin on the 18th of October.

Edible Austin’s Eat Drink Local Week is full of cool events that give everyone even more examples of why Austin is such a great and unique place to be. Perhaps the coolest event is the one that kicks it all off on the morning of December 3rd.

For starters, The Urban Farm Bicycle Tour just sounds cool, doesn’t it? Second of all, it is a cool event. Austin has always been a great biking town, and now, add pit-stops that include food from the best local farms and chefs in town and you have the best bike ride scenario this side of the French Alps.

For this, the fourth edition of the Bike tour, there will be 20 participating farms providing goodies at the various optional stops for this self-guided bike tour. Depending on where you start your tour, the ride can be up to 20 miles. So, yeah, that averages out to at least one local farm per mile. A pretty sweet ration, I’d say.

Yes, you will benefit greatly from a fun ride and great food, but even better, a couple of worthy organizations will also see some of the benefits from the Tour. the Sustainable Food Center and Urban Roots, two groups that look to get the word out about the advantages of living a more sustainable lifestyle, make for completely appropriate beneficiaries.

So, check those bike chains and get ready to raid Austin’s Urban Farms.

There’s a legit case to be made for why just about any season is great when it comes to seasonal brews. For this dude, however, Fall is about as good as it gets. The summer ales are great, and the winter warmers are perfect for those icy nights where the city seems to be shut down, but dang it if the ingredients that are fall staples don’t make a mean stein of lager.

For this north-Texas dweller, Fall beer season officially begins with the opening of Addison’s Oktoberfest. Even if I don’t actually go and partake of the admittedly limited marzen-flavored offerings, it’s just a good time-marker to leave the lighter pils and ales on the shelf and start spending some quality time with brews that get a tad darker and typically don’t require a lemon or lime to accompany it. Perhaps the various Oktoberfest brews and fall seasonals are the long-sleeve T-shirt that bridges the gap between summer tanks and swim trunks and the sweaters that enrobe us all in the winter months.

As you might’ve guessed by now; I haven’t exactly begun my Oktoberfest drinking season by hitting the Import section of the local beer depot. I’ve begun my seasonal celebration on the “Made in Texas” end of the aisle. Of course, we all know about Shiner Bock’s dependable ability to produce quality seasonal brews that often eclipse the greatness of the original style that made it’s name. While their Oktoberfest is surely a worthy one to grab, it’s not the best of the Texas lot, and by now, Shiner has become such a big deal in so many parts of the country, outside of the state, that it might be more of a stretch than any of us ever imagined to simply call Shiner a “Texas Beer”. Don’t get me wrong, of course it’s still an icon of Texas pop-culture and still very much a Texas creation, but it’s not just ours anymore, you know?

While I’m certainly leaving some out, there are three Texas-brewed Oktoberfests that are pretty available for just about any Lone Star resident that can help any beer lover ring in the season of Baseball playoffs, NFL regular season and raking leaves off of the lawn, once they’ve fallen from their trees.

St. Arnold Oktoberfest (Houston) – Perhaps the richest in flavor of the ones we’ll discuss, it’s a full bodied brew that has a heavier mouth feel than the others as well. I wouldn’t call it refreshing, but I would call it a great beer to sit and enjoy casually when you have the time to actually give some thought to what’s in your stein during that first slight, sub-75 degree “chill” in the air.

Rahr & Sons Oktoberfest (Ft. Worth) – The resilient brewer has certainly made a major comeback from the winter storm that collapsed their roof and crippled their operation during the icy weather of last winter. While not as rich as St. Arnold’s, it has a cleaner finish with every bit of flavor in it’s Marzen-styled, deep amber glory as its counterpart from Houston.

Real Ale Brewing Oktoberfest (Blanco) – With the cleanest finish of these three choices, it also might be the one that casual beer drinkers might prefer, thanks to a less aggressive overall flavor. It’s a good beer, and will still rank higher than your Sam Adam’s Oktoberfest’s and other larger breweries versions, but it isn’t likely to pass the test when pitted against the brewers who want to really make a strong point with perhaps the most famous of all seasonal styles. But, hey, it’s still good.

For those (like me) who also like to give a number of brews a try, give this list from the recently-defunct D/FW QUICK a try. It’s from last year, but it gave me a wonderful tour of beers that fit perfectly into the season.

 

OK, OK. I didn’t make it this year. Last minute changes kept me from going, and while we’re at it, I failed miserably in my goal of discussing every one of the artists on the line-up, too. What can I say? I’ll do better next time. For now, we all have some great highlights to look at, thanks to Youtube, whose showcasing official clips from the festival. Here’s some of what would’ve been my favorite performances of the weekend.

There’s really not much to say or add to what you see below. If you’re not famililar with the site Daytrotter.Com, then you’ve been missing out n some serious (and free) music by some of the biggest names (Death Cab for Cutie, Social D, Bon Iver) and brightest up and comers (Yuck, Portugal the Man, Dawes) that the musical universe has to offer. Big time. But, there’s good news: It doesn’t really matter if you havent clicked onto the site ever before, as there is gold beyond measure awaiting you from years of not visiting it before.

What’s even better is that many Texas-based acts have visited the Daytrotter studios in Rock Island, Ill and laid down tracks to be listened to and downloaded from the site. There’s always a great write-up and whimsical artwork to go along with the 4-5 songs as well.

Well, let’s get to it. Below are but a sampling of Texans that have Daytrotted before. You’d be crazy to not dig deeper, OK??

Matt the Electrician | Fresh Millions | Dale Watson | Dignan | Doug Burr | Old 97′s | Ben Kweller | Black Angels | Centro-matic | Jesse Dayton | Meat Puppets | Asleep at the Wheel | Monahans | Seryn | Robert Ellis

Sorry, I can’t get enough of Ume, who we spoke about a couple of days ago. Hopefully, you all feel the same way. Here’s a couple of videos for you if in fact you do. Enjoy!