Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Frisbee Dan: A San Marcos treasure

Frisbee Dan is out at Sewell Park just about every day, decorating the sunlight with his singular Frisbee technique. Photo by Christina Zambrano.

News Reporter

Through numerous interviews, YouTube videos, a handful of commercials and even a t-shirt, Dan Barry, known to most as “Frisbee Dan,” has risen to San Marcos celebrity status throughout the years as a fixture at Sewell Park.

But Dan Barry’s true hook is his finesse with the Frisbee, a flair for teaching his craft to the young, and his useful presence in the park as sort of an unofficial guardian of the peace.

Every day, without fail, during prime hours in the scorching daytime, Barry can be found at the park tossing his customized Frisbees until sunset. Clad in black short shorts, a white sun hat, rec specs and close to half a bottle of sunscreen, Barry has played Frisbee at Sewell Park for almost 20 years.

Barry jokes that he’s more of an “eye sore” than an “icon.” Regulars at the park enjoy that humor, to say nothing of the show he puts on most every day.

“I think he has great technique, and I’ve never seen him drop a disc or miss a catch,” Texas State student Vanessa Monahan said. “Frisbee Dan is an icon. He’s like the Leslie Cochran of San Marcos, minus the drag.”

Hailing from Akron, OH, Barry arrived to San Marcos in 1986 as a rehab therapy patient at Tangram Rehabilitation Center after suffering a severe head injury from jumping out of a moving truck.

Excelling in horticulture, he was released from Tangram four years later and staffed at the facility for eight years, helping to treat other injured patients.

“I was trained by a horticultural specialist who got their horticulture degree from A&M,” Barry said. “I was really good at it and I sifted through recovery period quickly, and now I’m a certified licensed landscaper. The only reason my parents chose Tangram was because it had nursery work or landscaping, and they knew I enjoyed to do that kind of stuff, since I had already been doing that.”

Even before his accident, Barry enjoyed playing Frisbee, a hobby he and his brother shared during their years as landscapers in Ohio. With more than 35 years of Frisbee playing experience, Barry said he can “can hit a walking person yards away without any effort on a windy day.”

Sharing his throwing method with numerous Texas State Ultimate Frisbee athletes, Barry has developed a more efficient technique.

“Stance, grab, wrist release, quick release,” Barry said. “Pop it quick. The slower you throw it, the worse it flies. Some people don’t have any eye-hand coordination. You have to have some sort of hand-eye coordination. If not, you won’t be able to do it. If you have a boyfriend and don’t have a problem backhanding him, you’d be great at Frisbee playing.”

Barry, who customizes his Frisbees with colored duct tape embellished with a star logo, says the process is tedious and time consuming but worth the effort.

“It takes me three hours to set all the tape, but doing this will reinforce the center to kick it, tip it or do whatever to it without it breaking,” said Barry. “I have guys come back here five or 10 years after getting a disc from me and they still have them intact.”

Texas State Graduate Assistant for Outdoor Recreation Steven Campbell, whose workplace is on Sewell Park, sees Frisbee Dan on a daily basis.

“I think he’s a San Marcos legend, a staple part of the atmosphere at Sewell,” Campbell said. “He’s a friendly character and gets along with the students well. He watches out for the folks in the park - reports anything detrimental.”

Local progressive fusion band Ars Poetica pays homage to Barry with its track entitled “Frisbee Dan.” The 2:15 minute song is an upbeat orchestration of jazzy piano, happy guitar riffs and whispery brushed drums featuring the lyrics, “All the grass in the park, from the day to the dark - he’s no ordinary man, Frisbee Dan. And when you ask why he do what he do, he says ‘I love it,’ why don’t you love it, too.”

Olive Street-Review

Olive Street
Olive Street
Beginning as house mates in San Marcos, Olive Street formed in 2006. The inspiration behind the band’s name came from their living location’s side street name. The band consists of Kyle Mylius on keyboards, Lindsey James on vocals, acoustic guitar, organ, Jah Wilkinson on drums and Bel Stuart on bass guitar and backing vocals.
The self-titled EP, which was released earlier this year, features four tracks. Bringing a new detail to folk-rock, Olive Street’s front man Lindsey James sounds hauntingly like Connor Oberst while the band’s resonance is reminiscent to that of the Counting Crows.
The first track entitled “Dealbreaker,” is a soft tune resounding guitar pickings, slow drumming, and melancholy piano haunting through the quaver of James’ voice. The pain behind James’ voice is not only evident in the quivering of his vocals but through the thoughtful lyric writing---“I didn’t know what I was putting you through... I don’t think I could be with you, it was a dealbreaker baby.”
In the EP’s second track, “Sea of Mesquite,” James’ tone is more aggressive and mildly suggestive of Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas husky voice droned with background guitar and a piano suggestive of a lounge theme. “They Grow Like Weeds,” includes more upbeat piano, easy drumming, and solemn guitar lines hemming the underlying theme of solitude for the characters in the song. The album’s concluding track, “Shapeshifter,” cultivates a sorrowful mood and incorporates an unnamed female vocalist echoing on some lyrics. Towards the end of the song however, the song becomes faster paced and louder only to return to its slow, dawdling pace in the last 50 seconds.

Henry & The Invisibles-Review

Henry & The Invisibles
Henry & The Invisibles
More notable for his live performances, Henry Roland, front and sole member of Henry and the Invisibles produces live loops on the spot to create a soulful, funk-tastic experience that guides the crowd through an orchestration of electronica and fusion. The one man band’s Prince like vocals suit the incorporation of looped guitar, bass guitar, percussion, keyboards, and household items such as pots and cans, coffee-cans, and water jugs well. With serviceable falsetto funk and glassy-eyed soul rock, Roland’s unhinged 1970’s nostalgia meets with non-stop dancing and grooving.
The self-titled 6 track-EP featured on Roland’s site, http://sonicbids.com/epk/epk.aspx?epk_id=14383, Sounding almost identical (with a more down-tempo element) to Jack Johnson’s intro to “Upside Down,” Roland’s “Power of Ten” transforms after a few bars of the recognizable beat into something more funky and fresh with Roland declaring that “it’s getting funky, it’s getting funky, it’s getting mother funky.” The second track entitled, “How You Livin’,” is a slower tune which recalls the ‘Purple One’s’ sexy sultriness. Roland’s originality and experimentalism entwined with a rhythmic element becomes more and more prevalent throughout the progression of the tracks. “Only Humans,” is resonant of alternative rockers the Pixies in its down-tempo alt. guitar riffs, vibrating bass and echoing vocals. “Sing a Song,” the standout track of the bunch is a live performance which includes tambourine jingling and soulful cooing. Almost like church, “Sing a Song,” list life’s importance’s “one world, one heart, one love” and asks, “If we can all sing a song, then why can’t we all get along?” Midway, Roland rips into a funky bass guitar solo. The last track, “LoveJam A.K.A. The Gospel” is also a live track and the longest at 8:21 minutes. The encompassing theme of Love is ubiquitous and central not only through Roland’s repetition of the word, but in the lyrics.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Okkervil River to Play Free Show at St. Edwards

Start Time:
Monday, March 2, 2009 at 7:00pm

In front of main building

3001 S Congress

More Dan Deacon news

The King of the Hipsters will be playing a show Friday, April 17 in Burnet, TX at Longhorn Caverns. The showcase will be in a cave, as confirmed by the man himself via facebook.

Tickets are only $15! Click here to score!

Dan Deacon's Bromst

I've been hearing a lot of buzz around Dan Deacon's forthcoming album Bromst, the followup to 2007's Spiderman of The Rings. While the album art has been compared to Phish's Round Room the album's mp3 content is described as “much darker” “mature,” and “organic," also definitive of the cover art. The album drops March 24th.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Clay Nightingale-The River and Then the Restless Wind

Clay Nightingale
The River and Then the Restless Wind

The River and Then the Restless Wind is the first self-released EP for local folksy Americana act Clay Nightingale. The band consists of multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Daniel Schaetz, Barry Walker on guitar, Jeremy Whiteon on keyboard/ glockenspiel/percussion, Joe Trent on pedal steel/guitar/percussion, Drew Schaetz, drums, vocals, and Dave Yelacic on bass.

The symbolism behind the album’s title refers to the San Marcos River popular in many recreational activitiesm, and the oldest San Marcos bar, The Restless Wind, which is located right off the square on North LBJ. Titular to the album’s title, the theme of all the songs on the EP include the subject of drinking or floating on the river. Sounding like a puree of the Silver Jews, Townes Van Zant, and The Hold Steady, Clay Nightingale embodies and exudes a timeless alt-country sound.

“Eureka” features soft percussion, doo-wop guitar, a rich country twang and a church bell sound effect. Schaetz vocals, mildly sprechgesang with a down tempo rhythm may suggest that he is unable to hit high notes. However, it remains essential to the entirety to the album. Missing Missing sweet, sleepy and indicative of a broken heart throughout. Schaetz is accompanied by female vocalist Stephanie Briggs, who chimes in on certain lyrics to show mutual emotions.

The duo croon in harmony, “I sure miss missing somebody, I sure miss missing somebody. If I could only miss you,” in the last stanza of the track. “The Bar is a Wonderful Place” is a playful ditty about the joys of hanging out at a bar personified by country riffs and a drunken circus-esque drum rhythm.

The album art is plain and brown, with the band’s name and album title printed in front. The back features a snapshot of two individuals who are most likely in the band clad in hair-rocker garb.

Clay Nightingale is currently working on their second album, which is set to be released mid-year. The River and Then the Restless Wind is the perfect album to hear at a dive bar which believably can be found on the jukebox at the Restless Wind.

The River Hymn- The River Hymn

The River Hymn
The River Hymn

The River Hymn is the full length self-titled EP for experimental rock gospel-esque group The River Hymn, which consists of Morgan Bierlein on vocals/synth, Colin Colby on guitar, Justin Filor on fretless bass and Miles Landry on drums. Comparable to a more soulful Beth Gibbons (lead singer of British trip hop group Portishead), singer Morgan Bierlein’s ethereal vocals are complemented nicely by penetrating bass riffs, mesmerizing guitar and rhythm drums.

The album begins with “In The Water,” an instantly inviting and dreary track evocative of an early Janis Joplin cut. Bierlein’s emotive, whispery vocals see-saw from a soft gentle cooing to a climactic howl throughout the track. “One Eye Open” begins with soft guitar riffs a low key bassline, stiff rheumatic drums and Bierlen crooning “she’s passed out in the passenger seat again, with one eye open.”
Midway Colby, goes into an unsettling epic guitar tangent which convenes with Bierlein’s abrupt wailing almost instantly. “Procession,” is an instrumental piece that remains actual to its title by coming across sad, yet sexy, and provoking a mental image of a funeral procession. The track begins and remains consistent with the slow drumbeats, weepy accordion and melancholy guitar riffs.

The art featured on the eight track album is made up of five intertwined owls atop edifice-like rocks in the three sole colors of red, white and black. The band’s name is on the bottom right in all caps. The back of the album, also consisting of the before mentioned colors, features a female statue flanked by three shadows, which appear to be bears or rabbits. A flock of birds flies across the “bears” and statue.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Free Phish Download

Click HERE to get a free mp3 of the newly reunited band who'll be kicking off their tour Friday, March 6 at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton Virginia. The feautred download is "Harry Wood" performed at The Clifford Ball, a landmark concert event that drew more than 70,000 fans to upstate New York in August of 1996.

Image Via Internet.

More SXSW showcases

-Thursday night (that's March 19) showcase at Stubb's will feature 3oh!3, Katy Perry, Meat Puppets, Gomez, Andrew Bird and Ben Harper..
-The Arc Angels and Explosions In The Sky will headline two Auditorium Shores shows on March 20 & March 21 for FREE.
-M. Ward will be back at SXSW this year to plug his new album Hold Time.
-VICE Records has Emo's locked down for Saturday night's showcase, which will host King Khan & The Shrines, Black Lips, Japanese Motors, and The Sonics.
-The Decemberists will headline the NPR showcase at Stubb's with a song-by-song preview of new album The Hazards Of Love complete with special guests.
-Glasgow's Camera Obscura will showcase their forthcoming 4AD album My Maudlin Career with an official show.
-Echo and the Bunnymen have been reported by various outlets as playing an official showcase at Emo's on Wednesday, March 18th

PJ Harvey at SXSW!

British singer and songwriter PJ Harvey and collaborator John Parish will showcase at SXSW March 21 in support of their new record 'A Woman A Man Walked By,' which will be released ten days later on March 31. Other acts on the bill include Indigo Girls,White Lies, Razorlight, and Parachute.