So, I bit off more than I could chew trying to cover every show going on in Austin during Free Week. I'm glad of it... last year around this time there were only three or four venues participating, but in 2011 the idea really took off and extended beyond downtown. Very cool. Best time of the year, except of course for the weather.
But doing work, writing, going to shows, and other stuff, I didn't leave myself enough personal time. I stopped talking to my friends. I was mean to my cat. And mostly I took out my frustrations on Anna C., who deserves a lot better. Long story short, I needed a little vacation in the mental illness ward. Confinement, being presented with many new faces at once, and feeling threatened by the many schizophrenics and aggressively manic people that habit these sorts of wards (of which I have seen the insides of too many) all make the hospital a place I associate with sheer terror. This visit wasn't a cakewalk, but it went by more smoothly than the earlier ones. Belief in myself, and faith in the Austin community at large, made for less of an alienating effect than some of the other mental health clinics I've passed through.
So what made me work so hard I went crazy? Guilt, I guess... I started writing under the assumption that people in bands, especially bands in Austin, know that there's no such thing as bad press. But a whole generation has grown up living in a world of interconnectivity such that you don't think about what you like; you merely follow the consensus. Why try and make up your own interpretation of Black Swan when you can go read thousands of them online until you find the one that most closely resembles what you yourself was going to say?
So, for a few days I thought I had to kill the blog. Now I think I'm just going to use it for interviews and Demo Sweats. What I really want to do is move into writing press materials for bands. And continue to play music, but in as low-key and nondescript roles as possible. I'm going to learn the triangle and the maracas.
Again, I'm sorry if I hurt you or made your band break up because of a bad review. It's only one perspective, but I feel worn out trying to make this clear each and every time I make a negative comment. So I'm knocking it off with the live reviews and concentrating on doing interviews with the Austin bands that I think best fit my ideas about originality, style, command of the stage, and so forth. And if you want me to write a bio for your band, I can do that too. Find "Western Homes" on Facebook, send me a message, we'll work out a rate.
And Demo Sweat? People keep sending me CD's. I hope they will keep doing it. Getting obscure music for free almost every day is terrific. If I could just get some more acts to give me 45's, life would be grand.
Speaking of grand... we've been spinning a bunch of singles I got at Trailer Space on Saturday. A Giant Dog have an A-side called "The Grand" that's a boogie-woogie with X harmony vocals. The Fleshlights sound exactly what you would expect a band called the Fleshlights to sound like, with a sneaky good singer. And the Wesley Coleman Minor Threat tribute is pretty fun, oddly fun medleys of old humorless Dischord straightedge hardcore deconstructed by Austin's own drunkcore overlord. Buy local singles!
UPDATE: I forgot about show picks. I'm going to keep doing show picks too. Every Monday. If you're in a band and want me to recommend a show, same e-mail address as before.