Sunday, March 27, 2011

my waterloo

for a long time, i've had a playlist/mix i called "waterloo". waterloo was the original name of austin. some well known acts but a lot of lesser knowns.

this is in honor of the austin that was when i was there. in honor of the musicians and clubs that shaped my music view from then on.

the following are what i can find on youtube of that playlist, and in some cases, i even went so far as to create videos with the music. if anyone out there is/was in one of the bands for the videos i created and you want me to take them down, just let me know, and i will.

these are not necessarily in a chronologic order, only the order of my playlist.

1) the skunks - "can't get loose" b/w "earthquake shake"

original lineup was jessie sublett (vocals, bass), eddie munoz (guitar) and billy blackmon (drums). eddie went on to join the plimsouls. guitar was then filled with jon dee graham, who later went on to the true believers (see below).

2) the dicks - "the dicks hate the police"

never saw them live. before my time there. but heard them in bars all the time.

3) joe ely - "musta notta gotta lotta"

country? yes. but definitely rock and roll. watch joe and band tearing it up at gruene hall in the 80s and you will understand why the clash idolized him.

4) rank and file - "amanda ruth"

chip and tony kinman's new wave update to the everlys. unfortunately flew under most radars. alejandro is not in this lineup as far as i can tell.

though he was on the studio version...

5) standing waves - "vertigo"

broke up just as i got there. saw the remaining members in many a various incarnation.

6) charlie sexton - "beat's so lonely"

the wonder kid. the guitar solo on this still smokes.

7) the reivers - "in your eyes"

the song i have in my playlist is actually "sound and the fury" but this is a lovely number. the reivers/zeitgeist were one of the most popular bands in austin while i lived there.

8) prescott curlywolf - "accent"

prescott curlywolf were one of those bands that came out of nowhere for me. they opened for someone at the tavern (can't remember who), and then i couldn't see enough of them. the album this song is from, six ways to sunday, is still in heavy rotation for me.

9) glass eye - "christine"

glass eye were one of the most unique bands not just in austin but anywhere. a crazy combination of intellect, quirk, self effacement, and honesty. they were different without seeming to be trying to be different. and then they could put together a song as touching as this. no wonder daniel johnston chose them to stalk.

10) doctors' mob - "gracious brunette"

one of my favorite songs from austin. this song is not a typical doctors' mob song, but it still resonates.

11) wild seeds - "a girl can tell"

the wild seeds basically broke up right around the time i got to austin. i did get a chance to see them several times. they had several phenomenal poignant pop songs, but this catchy one always stuck with me.

12) big boys - "funk off"

again, before my time. irreverence and the beginnings of mixing punk with funk.

13) true believers - "the rain won't help you when it's over"

three amazing guitarists with blistering songs. it has been said, and i agree, that their intensity live was never truly captured on recording. perhaps that's the way it was meant to be. i've never seen a band like them since. a guitar army that felt as though the soundwave picked you up and pinned you to the back wall of the club.

14) wannabes - "itchin' jenny"

a shame that this band has nothing on youtube. of all the stuff i have put into this blog post, this is the band i most wavered back and forth over which song to upload. these guys wrote great lyrics with chord structures reminiscent of vintage husker du and the replacements, this song throws a lot of plimsouls in.

15) the texas instruments - "crammed into infinity"

i had a mixed tape i always played on pint night at the tavern. this song was track #1 on that tape. i have no idea where that tape is now.

16) balloonatic - "skinny lynn"

hands down, my favorite band in austin. i thought this song was transcendent. and then they wrote "if i wake up"

this is a reunion show of the band doing a different song, "all in it together"

17) spoon - "all the negatives have been destroyed"

i couldn't find any skellington to post. i'd seen skellington, and then spoon, several times. they released their first album the year i moved to san francisco. i listened to it often, then dismissed it as a pixies ripoff. didn't listen to it for a couple of years. when i played it again, it opened up for me. yes, it is ridiculously pixies heavy, but still a phenomenal debut.

i can't embed this video, but check it out by following the link

or you can listen to it by watching this still photo

18) sincola - "bitch"

these guys played the tavern all the time. fun band with an interesting lineup. i thought for sure this song would launch them. doing a quick search led me to discover that it was used in a rose macgowan movie called "jawbreaker". sincola, by the way, in spanish means without a tail. it is a term used as calling someone an animal, i.e. you are basically an animal you were just born without a tail. did make for nice coca-cola ripoffs on posters, though, and on the tavern chalkboard lineup.

19) butthole surfers - "whirling hall of knives"

crazy brilliant. one of the first "local" bands i saw in moving to austin that let me know i was not in high school any more. ritz theater.

20) shoulders - "trashman shoes"

ah, shoulders... i have no idea how many times i saw these guys. if i get a chance, i will post lula's bar and pool, but for now, here is their touchstone "trashman shoes"

and as a plus, here they are playing trees (deep ellum club in dallas) in 1990, note dave "max" crawford from poi dog and others on trumpet as well as john hagen (lyle lovett's band) on cello. the song is "whole way to the halfway house"

21) bad mutha goose and the brothers grimm - "be somebody"

this was always a fun party band. always saw them as an updated sly and the family stone (they did too, they often covered sly songs, particularly "thank you falletinme..." three main singers, alvin dedeaux, billy pringle and the lovely denia ridley along with the great guitar work of tim kerr.

last i heard, i believe denia has moved to france and often sings with marc devine.

22) javelin boot - "would you believe me?"

javelin boot wrote too many pop gems to name. though often a band for hire, they were masters of their craft. to wit, one of my favorites of theirs:

23) meredith louise miller - "dad's flannel"

meredith wrote so many great songs, often with what seemed to be flippant lyrics about food, bee stings, etc... this song always tugged at my heart. after my dad passed away, it has become a song i often return to.

24) coffee sergeants - "some fair day"

had you described coffee sergeants to me, i likely never would have gone to one of their shows. definitely one of my favorites when they played either the tavern or the cactus. hearing them makes me want a pint of fuller's esb and to sit front row center.

25) k mccarty - "rocket ship"

kathy from glass eye decided to put out an album entirely of daniel johnston songs. truth told, i was apprehensive. until i heard it. it is one of the better albums to come out of austin when i was there. a really solid rendering of some of daniel's well known and lesser knowns. my favorite is "living life" which will wind up in another blog post, but this one just grabs you by the balls and doesn't let go:

26) daniel johnston - "it's over"

had to include daniel. so much i could say about him. sometimes transcendent to watch, sometimes painful. the painful times were often more driven by a crowd that clearly showed up to participate in some weird viewing of him a la his song "monkey in a zoo". i can remember one time working the cactus when daniel was in a recovery phase. he was begging griff to give him a gig. griff wouldn't confirm but handled the situation amazingly, saying they'd discuss it later, that it was a possibility. griff then said, "daniel likes coke, his cokes are on the house tonight."

daniel proceeded to sit at the end of the bar for the entire night, talking (talking was a no-no at the cactus) and ordering coke after coke. i think he probably had at least 40.

about a year later, he got a gig at the cactus. two nights. both packed.

27) the gourds - "clear night"

the picket line coyotes played the tavern a few times, and i was mesmerized. then kevin russell from that band began showing up at open mic at the cactus, which i helmed the bar for many a year. he was astounding. he then worked his way to opening gigs at the cactus. right about the time i left, the gourds formed. i saw them once or twice and have followed them since from san francisco. this was my favorite song from that early era.

28) buick mackane - "gravity"

they say it in jest, but buick mackane really may not only be "the best band in town" but they may be the best garage band on the planet.

29) cotton mather - "april's fool"

what do you get when you cross a circuitous bass line with a great melody and a play on words of a classic t.s. eliot poem?

you get me ... hook, line and sinker.

their album cotton is king is still in heavy rotation for me.
get it.


30) the thirteenth floor elevators - "i had to tell you"

obviously way before my time in austin. my first recollection of hearing the 13th floor elevators was at a concert at the arcadia theater in dallas. between sets, the soundboard man put on "you're gonna miss me". it blew me away. so i asked the soundman who it was, and i began seeking out their albums, which were actually quite hard to find back then. these guys and their electric jug (?!) and roky have put out so many good songs, it is hard to put just one down here. i landed on "i had to tell you" because it melts me every time i hear it.

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