Friday, September 10, 2010

Local Recording News: September

As I have mentioned a few times, a business partner and I am working on putting together a print version of Big Western Flavor. We have big goals for the magazine, which is taking my high standards for Austin music further with interviews with some of the most original, imaginative bands in town. The idea is to get everybody making new music around here to work together more closely. A band doesn't have to be the exact same genre as yours in order for you to learn something valuable about how they create, promote, and market their music.

I've assembled a bunch of awesome content for the September issue, but it's a rough time to be selling ads. All next week I'm going to be running the stuff I worked on for the 'zine here on the site, so people can get an idea of what we're working on. I can be ridiculously harsh on bands I don't like, but with the magazine I'm trying to concentrate less on my opinions and more on what all struggling independent bands in Austin have in common.

One thing most local musicians are all dreaming about doing is putting out a record. I learned a lot just putting together a list of musicians working on new recordings in the last month. Here it is, and stay tuned for stories next week on The Gary, The Sour Notes, For Hours and Ours, Bee Sting Sessons, La Snacks, and more. Work for the October issue of the BWF 'zine, whether it ends up in print or not, officially begins right this minute. Bands, let me know if you have recording or tour news of your own.

STEREO IS A LIE just had their debut LP mixed by Chris Cline (Trail of Dead, Society of Rockets, Elephone). It's on its way to be mastered for a late October release. In the meantime the Brit-accented dreamgazers will keep busy with shows. They're appearing at the Texas Music Matters Fest and have slots opening for Sixteen Deluxe and Atari Teenage Riot.

Otherworldly synthesist Cosmic Jaguar is working on a compilation of similarly-minded experimental artists for the Violent Flame Records imprint. Also a Mayan shaman, musician Carlos Cedillo will launch a big promo blitz on whichever date the charts deem most auspicious. Makers of difficult but abstractly spiritual music who are interested in inclusion should check out Truth seekers can also view Cosmic Jaguar videos at

Classification-defying group marriage enthusiasts No Mas Bodas are tracking at Klearlight Studios with Jay Jernigan, who they first met in Dallas while playing with The Darktown Strutters. Like their debut Erotic Stories from the Space Capsule, this new EP will self-released "if nothing changes." Five songs are going down on tape: "Flesh," "Carousel," "Quicksand," "Jungle," and "Ocean." The plan is for a vinyl issue with a free download or CD included. No guests for basic tracking, "but you never know who might pop up on the overdubs."

Indie-jazz hybrid The J. Wesley Haynes Trio, with Wesley Haynes on Rhodes, Matthew Shepherd on drums, and Willy Jones on upright bass, just recorded a full-length reinterpretation of Radiohead's Kid A. Done live in a single take at East Austin's Hot Tracks!!!, Township Records is working on securing the rights for an official release. The trio will be performing the full piece at venues around Austin this fall.

Fresh off their epochal eighth-anniversary celebration at Mohawk The Midgetmen are putting the finishing touches on their fourth album. At 17 tracks it's a monster, and early reports have it that by their standards it's positively baroque. Backing vocals and everything. They started recording at Arlyn Studios in August of 2009, but have ended up doing the bulk of the work right at home. "Thanks to Rock N Roll Rentals and a MacBook Pro with Logic, we can basically record with professional mics whenever we feel like it," says bassist Marc Perlman. Epics take time, and the world may have to wait until The Midgetmen's ninth anniversary show next spring to sink their teeth into this one.

Geography have taken the recording of their first EP into the practice space as well, after some false starts. Guitarist Justin Granger reports, "We started recording this EP back in February 2010 in our bassist's garage, but the difficulties of DIY recording bogged us down." They spent some months searching for a studio, settled on one, but then... back to the garage. "After much discussion we decided to have another whack at doing it ourselves and this time around, it has been going much better." The self-titled EP will feature the songs "Golden Tremors," "Summertime Lovin," "In Our Town," "Boxes and Boxes," and "We All Get Along." It should be out by the time you read this!

Science fiction enthusiasts and rock animals, World Racketeering Squad drop What Is Nerdwave? on September 18th. Song topics include being a powerful human electromagnet and lusting after Summer Glau. Musicians should pay particular attention to the clever and enterprising way that the three-piece has made a variety of different pricing options available for their fans. You can buy just the CD itself for five bucks, but why would you when for only a pittance more you can upgrade to the Racketeer Glory Edition, the Limited Edition Ace Racketeer Edition, or even the hallowed Absolute Ultimate Racketeer Glory Edition? This last, in addition to the poster, bonus outtakes CD, and postcards available with some of the less ultimate versions, comes with added incentive still. Lay out for Ultimate Glory and WRS will write you your own song, on a topic of your choice!

Psychedelic-educated, music theory-damaged quartet The Fever Dreams are also preparing a new record that comes with some cool pre-sale options. Tracking for the Dreams' second full-length, with the working title Etymology, is being done at keyboardist/guitarist Harold King's Peach Tree Studios. October 31st is the planned release date, but check out before then. Pre-order customers will get access to a special, otherwise unavailable EP with "The Unsobered Tales of Nightwatchmen," a 30-minute studio improvisation. And that's not all: The Fever Dreams are also offering their most devoted fans handmade packaging, a full-sized poster, and a voucher for the full-length.

The hard-touring Achachay! will also do whatever it takes to make you buy their record. Handy Escape Coach, a five-song EP, comes with premium options including bonus live CD's, lawn-mowing, mixtape-making, and cooking services from band members, and even personal house shows. Also custom sunglasses. There's a lesson to be learned here. Bands: Don't beg for handouts! Sell your fans things they actually want. Even if what they want is for you to do their yard work in your underwear.

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