It’s a combination as musically pleasing as it is downright sweaty and dirty. The punk of the Ramones and the twang of Billy Joe Shaver and the writing of Steve Earle. Dallas’ The Von Ehrics are so back and so badder than ever.
Their 2009 album, Loaded, was indeed loaded with peddle-to-the-metal “punktry”, and their blistering new album, Two Foot Stomp (from Lucky Buck Records), is even more so. One of the remarkable aspects of the new record is in the way that the band can scrape and thrash their way through a song yet the tune’s melody is as evident and pleasing as one could possibly hope for, in any type of song, let alone a raucous punk tune. “The Last of The Working Slobs” is a prime example of The Von Ehrics’ keen sense of melody in the midst of madness. For those who may be wondering just how country a punk band can be, look no further than “Smokewagon” for your proof.
While the Robert Jason Vandygriff-led outfit (that’s been together for a decade now) boasts original tunes that stand on their own, the band has an excellent ear for which tunes to cover on their offerings. Hayes Carll’s “Down the Road Tonight,” from his album Little Rock (the album that many people should listen to once they’re done with Carll’s more recent Lost Highway releases) makes for a I-can’t-believe-this-hasn’t-been-covered-before-by-a-punk-band moment. Another cover on the album, a version of Tanya Tucker’s FM Gold classic tune “Texas (When I Die),” could’ve been turned into an ironic, jokey tune, but these guys just let it rip and let the song be what it is, naturally. On their last album, the band covered Shaver’s “Old Chunk of Coal,” proving that timeless country tunes are indeed timeless, regardless of what sonic blaket they’re wrapped in.
The band will be touring the country in the coming months and of course, will be all over Texas, with July stops in Dallas and Ft. Worth, especially.
He may not put out many, but Hayes Carll knows how to bring the funny when he brings the video. Above, we have the new flick from Carll, “Another Like You.” Please, be sure to stick around for the whole thing. Trust us. It’ll be worth it. We mean it. Until the very end. And, because we really dig Ms. Bonnie Whitmore and how she would sing this tune with Carll on tour last summer, before the album came out, check the live cut of the tune below…Oh, and consider this your intro/preview for Hayes Carll’s set at this year’s ACL Fest (I told you we’d bring them in myriad ways!).
I know that we still might technically be still in the midst of Spring, but the temps are beginning to suggest otherwise. Each year, as our energy bills rise, so to does the list of concerts we all circle on our repsective calendars. Below are a few of the top tours and festivals hitting the state. Some you may know all about by now, and others on this list may be hitting your radar for the first time, perhaps. Regardless, we’re pretty sure you’ll find something for almost any taste in the list below…
Austin Psych Fest (April 29 – May 1) - As much of an oddball grouping as your likely to find all year. This intense, all-weekend bill will be filling the Seaholm Power Plant with all sorts of industrial noise and racous bad/good times. Mars Volta’s Omar Rodriguez Lopez group, along with A Place to Bury Strangers, No Joy and even Texan-goup This Will Destroy You, lead a sonic assult that will likely leave any attendees few questions as to why their ears are bleeding.
Wilco (Houston May 6, Denton May 7) – Not much to add to the simple fact that Wilco will be hitting a couple of places in our state. Word has it that some sort of release is nearing completion, but even if Jeff Tweedy and crew dont play new tunes, their classics are just that – classic.
Editor’s Pick! Homegrown Festival (Dallas May 14): What began last year as a relatively humble gathering of local bands, some of which had outgrown the city limits a tad, has become a full-fledged destination festival, this year. the name of the all-day shindig rings true, still though. Headliners such as Slobberbone, Neon Indian, Astronautalis, and School of Seven Bells are widely known around the country, but all started here in North Texas. The still-new and beautiful Main St Garden is an ideal location that soon might be too small for this budding festival.
Editor’s Pick! Mogwai (Dallas May 15, Austin May 16, Houston May 17) – Perhaps the band that gave real wings to what so many term as “post-rock”. The Scottish outfit has now been together for over a decade and a half, and after three years, they’ve just released an insanely anthemic studio album album, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, which is their best effort since their debut record, 1997′s Young Team. Similar to a band like Austin’s Explosions in the Sky, who clearly adore Stewart Braithwaite and his crew, Mogwai has always looked to create moving soundscapes that escape simple categorization. The former Matador stars, now working with Sub Pop have had this American tour planned for a while, actually. The Granada Theater in Dallas announced this show back in November, giving fans plenty of time to brush up on their air-guitar and shoegazing skills. A Pitchfork review of the new record, while not glowing, summed up a feeling that has seemed to evident in the band’s recent performances by suggesting, “ On Hardcore, Mogwai sound like they’re enjoying being Mogwai again.” I can only imagine that us Texans will enjoy them just fine.
Editor’s Pick! Twilight Singers (May 30 Dallas, May 31 Austin, June 1 Houston) – Another Sub Pop act that has been around for a while will be making their long-awaited way through Texas. This project is a bit differnt, however. Greg Dulli, formerly the leader of Afghan Wigs, made this his secondary group, therefore output from this act was scarce until his main act disbanded in 2001. After that, releases havent exactly been prolific, but they have at least bore the mark of a real band and not merely a one-off side project. Case in point: Twilight Singers latest album, Dynamite Steps. An all-out alt-rock album that features agressive rock, with agresive melodies and a real sense for drama. Afghan who?
Houston Free Press Summerfest (June 4-5) - Talk about a line-up that doesn’t need much further explanation? The annual festival, held in Eleanor Tinsley Park, has really topped their already impressive acts from previous years. Weezer, Big Boi, Cut Copy, Yeasayer, Jason Isbell, and Beirut headline a line-up that has really strong support from Lower Dens, Hayes Carll, The Black Angels and Those Darlins, among many others.
Adele w/ Wanda Jackson (Austin June 12, Dallas June 15) – Hello, Girl Power! The current darling of the UK and the US album charts pairs herself with the Queen of Rock and Roll? Yes please! That’s a serious amount of soul to put onto one stage in one night.