Lower Dens rattle the Parish, 6/29



Baltimore band Lower Dens are embarking on their first-ever headlining tour, and bringing their moody, richly layered sounds to the Parish this Friday. Their music is the stuff of dreams — ethereal, foggy but with a distinct vision. Their latest album, Nootropics, has been rightfully receiving accolades from the likes of NPR and Pitchfork, and mostly, I have to love a band that uses a lyric that reminds me of “burnination.” In all seriousness, this show is going to be gorgeous, and the Parish is really the perfect venue for this band, so see them there while you can.

Wheeler Brothers unplug at the Grove



It’s been a great year so far for Austin’s Wheeler Brothers. They cleaned up at the Austin Music Awards, winning Best New Band, Best Blues Rock Band, Best Acoustic Guitarist, Best Bass Player, and Best Miscellaneous Instrument Player, but the real proof is in the devoted fan base the group has garnered. They performed at Utopiafest last year and were welcomed back for the 2012 festival, too, and they’ve been touring the country with their southern rock sound for a good part of the year. They will be home this Thursday, June 28th, though, to play Unplugged at the Grove — a music series at Shady Grove on Barton Springs Road. Let the Wheeler Brothers soundtrack an evening of cold brews and great company on a warm Texas weeknight. The music starts at 8PM.

Royal Forest & many, many more jam at Hole in the Wall this Saturday



This lineup is unreal. UNREAL I SAY! This Saturday for only $5, you can see 8 (count ‘em! 8!) bands from Austin play incredible music. Our favorites Royal Forest are on the bill and slated to go on around midnight; The Sour Notes (including fellow KVRX veterans) and storied Austin group Belaire headline, and the Lovely Sparrows play an earlier set as well. This is a prime night to learn about new Austin bands and celebrate the established ones, so make it happen, folks. 9PM. Hole in the Wall. $5.

The Gorgeous Hands release show at Swan Dive



If you loved the Magnificent Snails, you’ll love the Gorgeous Hands. Why, you ask? Because the Gorgeous Hands are a reinvented Magnificent Snails, and they have some gorgeous, sparkly pop tunes they’d like to share with you. The band is releasing their first 7″ tonight at the Swan Dive, and they’re celebrating the release with a fantastic lineup of bands: Fierce Bad Rabbit, the Couch, and Tiger Waves will all be present. Doors are at 9PM, cover is $6 and the first 100 folks through the door will get a free download. How can you argue? Get more information about the event here, and stream the songs here.

Free Press Summer Fest 2012 – a test of strength



Photo c/o the Horn’s Grant Schaefer

“It’s a novelty festival,” my friend and fellow journalist Caitlin DeWeese said to me as we were standing in the middle of the pavement near Eleanor Tinsley Park. “The novelty being, it’s hot as hell.”

I’m not sure who decided to host Free Press Summer Fest in June, in the unforgiving heat of Houston, Texas. But every single band I saw perform mentioned the sweltering warmth, and every fan could certainly feel it. It makes Free Press Summer Fest a bit of a trial — are you fan enough to space out your water drinking and your sunscreen-applying to stick it out and rock out front row at your favorite show? You have to pace yourself, but if you can figure out how to do it, Free Press will reward you. At two days, it’s the perfect length for the adventure that it is. This year, I was sometimes triumphant, sometimes defeated by the heat, but I still managed to catch some unforgettable performances.

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The Couch Single Release Party!



The Couch is making moves. This Austin-based quartet just had their new single “Oh, Libby” featured on KUT, and they’re ready to release it to the world in a physical format. Tonight, they’re having a single release party at the Mohawk with their friends Summer Swells and the Sour Notes. Between the three bands, you’ll get pop, rock and a whole lotta booty shakin’. Make sure you hop on the Couch while you can. Doors are at 8, the Couch is on at 11. Cover is $5 ($7 for minors), and you can check out some of the music here.

It’s a tUnE-yArDs revolution



Merrill Garbus is up to something. Under the guise of tUnE-yArDs, she’s breaking down barriers, getting political, and making people to dance to it all. Her sophomore album, w h o k i l l, won the Pazz & Jopp Village Voice album-of-the-year title, and her music has drawn in fans of all stripes for what she describes as “revolutionary booty-shakin’.” She is a smart songwriter, combining her raw vocal power with undeniable beats and a touch of raucous horns here and there. Simultaneously, she is not shy about tackling very political subjects — feminism, economic injustice, sex and violence — and at the Mohawk last Wednesday, she put on a no-holds-barred performance.

Perhaps people are just tired of the same-old, same-old of typical radio pop. Perhaps people are just tired of being polite. Either way, Garbus’ crowd embraced her face paint and unapologetic roaring from the moment she began looping her vocals as her intro. Despite her at times experimental sound, the audience knew tUnE-yArDs’ lyrics front-to-back, singing them along with her happily. This seemed to fuel Garbus, and she would sometimes record the crowd into her looping.

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