Thursday, May 28, 2009

Clues- Clues

“Clues” is the self-titled debut album for Montreal indie poppers Clues. Brain child of ex-Unicorn Alden Penner and ex-Arcade Fire member Brendan Reed, the quintet includes multi-instrumentalists Ben Borden, Lisa Gamble, and Nick Scribner. Forming in 2007, Clues has established a following despite the use of any social media promotion such as Myspace, Facebook and Twitter.

The album's opening track, entiled “Haarp,” is reminiscent of early Flaming Lips circa Clouds Taste Metallic. An incomprehensive lyric begins the song but is quickly disrupted by the clash of a sole cymbal followed by rumbling guitar distortion. Penner’s falsetto vocals peak in periodically throughout the track, setting a steady tone for the dense layer of guitars and drumming that saturate the album.

“Remember Severed Head,” begins with an almost robotic instrumentation subtly joined by a clanky marching band drum beat before churning into a very “Unicorns” sound lullaby. The lyrics “who here wants to sleep in the dragon’s mouth, who here wants to feel” are also sung on the album’s eighth track, “Cave Mouth” which sounds more like a refined version of “Remember Severed Head.”

A tedious piano riff formulates “Perfect Fit,” one of the album’s catchiest tracks. “Elope,” is the LP’s longest and softest track---a serenity level comparable to that when listening to Simon and Garfunkel is sure to transpire. Penner’s quiet vocal amidst soft organ and gentle guitar strumming is a change of pace for the album before resuming into the funkiest album track, “Cave Mouth.”

Clues will play in Austin on June 10th at The Independent, a new 300 capacity venue on E 5th St. and I-35. If these guys are as fun as their debut album, their live shows are not to be missed.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"Dancing Guy "shakes it in San Marcos

Todd Andrews, aka “The Dancing Guy.”

News Reporter

Sunglasses, visor and an iPod are a few of the tools of Todd Andrews’ trade, which consists of dancing for an apartment locating company on Aquarena Springs Drive.

Locally known as “Dancing Todd” or “The Dancing Guy,” Andrews began his dancing career at Liberty Taxes going on four years ago and moved to Little Caesar’s before he caught the eye of Jason Tarr, owner of Great Locations, the real estate company.

“I used to dance in front of Liberty Taxes and managers would drive up to me, give me their card and offer me jobs,” Andrews said. “The manager of Little Caesar’s came up to me and offered me a better paying job, so I started working there for about a year and then Jason Tarr got a hold of me and said he wanted me to work for him.”

With the incentive of more money and a flexible schedule, Andrews began working for the Great Locations in 2007.

Before moving from San Diego to San Marcos, the “Dancing Man” was involved in a fatal multi-rollover accident at age 16, in which he was pronounced DOA, dead on arrival. Resuscitated and revived, Andrews suffered full paralysis on the right side of his body, which he overcame through seven years in rehabilitation.

With a substantial insurance settlement in tow, Andrews moved to Texas in 2004 to find a home.

“I moved to Texas because the housing market was better and the cost of living was lower,” Andrews said. “I really love this town.”

While capable of driving back and forth to work and home, Andrews continues to visit a rehabilitation center in San Marcos.

“Basically I’m kinda still in one, in general,” he said. “I just go over to shower, eat and they take me home. That’s all I need them for and I drive to work and I drive to my house.”

With numerous commercials, interviews, YouTube videos, and even a larger than life billboard, Andrews is well known and recognized by San Marcos residents and Texas State students.

“I was standing in line at the H-E-B and this woman told me she saw me on TV,” Andrews said. “It’s pretty common that I get recognized. The students here come up to me and always say, ‘Hey you’re that dancing guy.’”

Texas State student Liliana Hinojosa recalled her early memories of moving to San Marcos and seeing the dancing man in action.

“I remember when I first moved to San Marcos, I saw Todd dancing on the sidewalk and I asked my friend what that guy was doing,” Hinojosa said. “She responded with ‘That’s Dancing Guy! He’s always dancing on that corner.’ It seems like that guy is always dancing. Besides on Aquarena Springs, I’ve seen him shake it at Nephews. He’s a San Marcos novelty. I can’t help but smile when I see him.”

Currently on repeat on the “dancing man’s” iPod is Country Singer Trace Adkin’s “Got My Game On.”

Said Andrews, “I’m a big Trace Adkin’s fan. His music makes me dance. So, that’s what I listen to when I’m outside shaking it for all the drivers.”

Great Locations Vice President of Operations Julie Hutchins said Andrews’ cheerful demeanor is consistent around the clock.

“Todd always comes into work with a positive, ‘ready-to-work’ attitude,” Hutchins said. “He’s just as energetic off the streets as he is when he’s waving to the cars. Since Todd joined Great Locations, we’ve provided him with outlets to grow his personal reputation while promoting our company at the same time.”

Said Andrews, “I enjoy this gig. I get a lot of respect from people. That’s what I do for a job. Who else would go out there and shake their thing?”

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Prayer for Animals- Swell (preview)

Prayer for Animals
…from the upcoming LP Swell

The four-track album is a preview of Prayer for Animal’s upcoming summer release Swell. Hailing from Mansfield, Texas (with the exception of the drummer) the band is now based in Austin and consists of Brent Sluder on electric piano/organ and vocals, Jeremy Jenkins on bass, Ryan Gitman on drums, John Pitts on guitar and slide guitar and Adam Brisbin on guitar and vocals. Both Brisbin and Pitts split lead guitar duties while Brisbin and Sluder split vocal duties.

The first track “Recollection,” contains a psychedelic Doors-y, Thirteenth Floor Elevators element permeated with vintage guitar tones. “Neutral Bees,” a melodic fusion of rock, blues, captivating vocals and poetic prose--- “Neutral Bees don’t sting unless they eat, heaven found a reason yet to sting,” is the probably the grooviest track of the album. The experimental guitar riff featured in the track compliments Sluder’s whiskey soaked vocals suitably and creates a 1970’s feel. The concluding track, “Brains,” begins slowly with a soft tambourine jiggling, slide guitar picking and progresses into an explosion of psychedelic rock.

This short preview sells elevated expectations of the full-length album which is set to release this summer- embracing a cool late 1960’s-early 1970’s epoch and being a perfect choice to put on at chill get together.

The album’s art is simple and consists of a coffee brown fabric decorated with flowery paisleys pasted onto the white surface of the case. The interior flaps include the band’s name in a bubbly design and the four track titles etched in back pen; the back is plain.

The Bright Light Social Hour-Back and Forth

The Bright Light Social Hour
Back and Forth

Back and Forth is the third EP release for Austin based rockers The Bright Light Social Hour. Like its predecessor "Love Like Montopolis," the album only consists of three tracks one of which is “Back and Forth-Part Two,” a catchy tune and undeniable crowd pleaser which even has its own video. Their first EP “Touches,” had five songs on it. Formed in 2004 with the inclusion of original and current members vocalist/bassist Jack O’Brien and vocalist/guitarist Curtis Roush; keyboardist and vocalist A.J. Vincent and drummer Joseph Mirasole have since joined the group.

The first track entitled, “Back and Forth-Part One,” serves mostly as an instrumental prelude to “Back and Forth-Part Two,” the EP’s standout track. The 2 ½ minute ambient keyboard line and soft cymbal tapping adjusts into the gateway bass and drum riff for “Part Two” two seconds before it ends. “Back and Forth-Part Two,” continues where “Part One” leaves off but manifests a polka-esque kuitar beat and rock guitar riff. A placid innuendo at the beginning, Roush sings “I’m going back and forth, been going back and forth, been going back and ahh I want you feel everything that I feel….” Only is it apparent what the song is really about when the song goes into the fourth verse--- “I’m going in and out, then going in and out, then going in and out, I just don’t know what to do—to move with you.” Midway through the song, O’Brien adds some Spanish lyrics admist Roush and Vincent’s soft “ooohh oohhhs,” which is preceded and concluded by the ‘back and forth’ chorus. The third track, “Rhubarb Jam” begins with a sound bite reasoning why the wind blows hard before a titillating bass riff commences a loud explosive jam which mellows out halfway into a cool jazzy groove.

The album art done in light and dark shades of yellow and pink features the image of female caricature demonstrating an expression of sheer pleasure-head titled back, eyes closed and mouth baring upper teeth. The band’s name and album title is printed on the lower left side of the cover.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Bright Light Social Hour

I was hanging out at my apartment after work yesterday and was watching ME television when The Bright Light Social Hour's video for Back and Forth came on---what an energetic fun song/video. So convincing that I decided to go see the BLSH at the Parish last night. I caught the last song of the second opening band, The Frontier Bros but didn't see much to form a complete opinion. I really dug BLSH's set; I'd classify it as electro jam if there is such category. The bassist Jack O'Brien reminded me of Earth, Wind and Fire's bassist Verdine White in that he had a permanent smile on his face the entire time. Regardless, here's the video to their catchy song Back and Forth:

Friday, May 1, 2009

Birds Barbershop "Comin' At Ya!" Grand Opening 3-D Party, May 8th!

Birds Barbershop is having a Grand Opening bash Friday, May 8th from 9 to midnight for their new location on 1902 S. Congress.

Free performances from indie hip-hop superstar Astronautalis, local boat party enthusiast Neiliyo and the Dj-ing skills of Andy (the Mouth) all night long.

Birds will also be providing a free 3-D photobooth, video installations and plenty of 3-D glasses to properly view the shop's mural by local artist Luther Himes.

Complimentary Drinks will be provided by Sweet Leaf Tea, Tito's Vodka, and Lone Star Beer. Visit or call 445-0500 for more details.