Music to Your Ears
Honky Tonk Hero
By Michael Henningsen
Anyone hoping for an in-depth page-turner of Texas country legend Billy Joe Shaver be warned: you're not going to find it here. Considering the life Shaver has led, the accomplishments he's achieved through raw perseverance, deep-seated faith and good ol' West Texas gumption, Honky Tonk Hero's 191 pages seems a paltry sum. Only 72 of those pages, however, contain any narrative, while the rest are dedicated to reprints of all Shaver's song lyrics.
Billy Joe Shaver
By Michael Henningsen
Waco-born, Corsicana-raised Billy Joe Shaver is the quintessential unsung hero of American music; a sorely overlooked contributor to its formidable canon. Even though artists from Waylon Jennings and David Allen Coe to Willie Nelson and the Allman Brothers have enjoyed success on the coattails of the songs he began writing some four decades ago, Shaver remains on the periphery. In 1993, his luck began to change with the release of his first solo foray in several years, Tramp On Your Street (Zoo). The release two years later of Unshaven: Shaver Live at Smith's Olde Bar (Zoo) very nearly catapulted him to the forefront of country music, Texas-style. But, arguably, it was the stunning guitar work of his only son Eddy that made the elder Shaver remarkable to the ears of listeners, despite the fact that his gritty songwriting over the past 50 years or so makes him eligible for any Hall of Fame in existence.
By Laura Marrich
Monday, May 30; The Launchpad (21 and older): Combining equal parts French chanson, German electro-pop and good old American trash rock, Stereo Total is the most beguiling musical duo to rocket out of Europe in the last decade. Frontwoman Françoise Cactus bangs away on her drum set, singing everything from Serge Gainsbourg ballads to old school cheese balls like "Push It Real Good" with the brazen enthusiasm (and at times, fragility) of an eight-year old girl. Brezel Güring also does double-duty as a keyboardist and crooner, exhaling German-swathed lyrics as languidly as smoke pulled from a Gaulois cigarette. You might find yourself lighting up, too. Now touring in support of their seventh album, Do the Bambi, the Euro-trash wonder twins are taking American audiences to dizzying new heights of pop mulitilingualism. And, thanks to the support of Downtown's Mecca Records, we'll be one of the lucky ones to hear them live. Oh, how the accents will fly!
By W.P. Malandra
Spanish for 100 Metric (SPF)
Here's a band who loves straight-ahead rock tunes as much as their effects pedals. Spaced out music and melodies float around the standard rock progression to create a pleasant and easily digestable sound. Think Cave-In doing a bunch of Wilco covers. The last track was recorded live at the Crocodile in Seattle, and it shows Spanish for 100's music translates a lot better live than in the studio. "Metric" is a decent attempt, but they could benefit enormously from a bigger studio budget and a better producer.
Dada Life Press Photo
Dada Life • electronic, house
By Joshua Lee
This is not a DJ duo from Sweden. Wait. No. Actually, it is. Sorry, I got carried away. Dada Life is one of the biggest DJ acts in the world. I don't really know what that entails, though, to be honest. It involves dancing, I think. And auto-tune. But I don't really care, because these guys are hilarious. Their logo is a champagne bottle flanked by two peeled bananas. They have press photos involving pastel suits and Sears family photo-style ambiguous cloudy backgrounds, and one showing member Stefan Engblom shoving an oversized piece of meat into member Olle Cornéer's straining face while giving words of encouragement. That's funny. And anyone that funny deserves a show of your support, which you will have a chance to display when they come to The Stage this Friday, Sept. 2 at 9pm. If you're over 21, get your ass down there and let these boys know how appreciative you are of their comic genius. Oh. And let them know you like their music (even if you're old and don't get it, like me).
Kid Dinosaur • indie rock • St. Petersburg • Cry Steve Cry • psychedelic, surf Americana • Sweet Nothin' • punk rock
By Desiree Garcia
Is a Burqeño actually a Burqeño if they don't support their local artists? If you're unsure, indie rock band Kid Dinosaur will be headlining a show at the Launchpad this Friday Sept. 2. Doors open at 8PM. It's a 21+ show, because what's a show without a liquid courage (just for dancing, though)? Tickets are only $5 . Performances will also include St. Petersburg, Cry Steve Cry and Sweet Nothin'
Courtesy of Watsky Instagram
Watsky • Witt Lowry • hip-hop • Daye Jack • rap • Chukwudi Hodge
By Renée Chavez
In search of rap that's about more than hoes and getting turnt at the club? Cruise over to Sunshine Theater on Saturday, Sept. 3, to experience WATSKY, Witt Lowry, Daye Jack and Chuckwudi Hodge. George Watsky is a spoken word artist, rapper, poet and author who has just released his fourth studio album, X Infinity, and let me tell ya, he's rad. Don't believe me? Check out his performance as Shakespeare in “Epic Rap Battles of History,” the flaming-hot “Whoa Whoa Whoa” from All You Can Do, or the fact that he won the Brave New Voices National Poetry Slam in 2006. He tackles complex issues like school shootings, politics, immigration, social media and the bizarreness of the modern human experience with wit and a badass beat. Tickets are $20 for general admission to this all-ages show and doors open at 7pm.
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