Fly Lo and Thom Come of Age, .Paak and Kendrick Soar Predictably in Austin

The sun rose hot over Zilker Park on Friday morning, ushering in Weekend Two of Austin City Limits, also known simply as ACL. The festivities started off at 11, with early risers filtering in to see alt-rock acts like Bear Hands and SUSTO, both of whom will play at Voodoo later this month. Both groups put on solid sets.

Most of What You Think You Know About James McMurtry is Wrong

When I listen to James McMurtry, I feel like I understand libertarians and small government Republicans. Those aren’t the Austin singer/songwriter’s politics; his best known song in recent years is “We Can’t Make It Here,” an across the board takedown of the Conservative efforts to shift more wealth to the wealthy.

Last Week: The Eastern Sea Comes Clean

Thursday night at Gasa Gasa;The Eastern Sea put on a show that reminded people that a band's value is more than its recordings, radio single, or promotional buzz. It's not about what the band could be; it’s about the epiphany in a song's bridge and how the guy next to you dances with his shoulders and the lead singer's glasses, slicked with sweat, are about to fall off. It's about how these moments, stuffed with vulnerability and wild charisma, can never be replicated or exactly recorded.

Shmu vs. Guitar Rock

The Internet has changed the way music is passed around and consumed. It's opened doors for bands, and it's opened listeners' ears to new genres and anti-genres. Still, the mainstream market remains a gated communityl for many artists.

Water Park's Megan Simon Gives Humor a Voice

Comedian, musician, actress. Megan Simon is all three, and ever since high school, people have been well-aware of that. “The Yearbook staff came up to me and said, ‘Hey Megan, you won two superlatives and you have to pick one: ‘Most Likely to Win a Grammy’ and ‘Most Likely to Win an Oscar.’ I chose the Oscar,” she says.

Balmorhea Needs No Words

“I appreciate sacred music,” says Rob Lowe of Austin-based instrumental band Balmorhea. And that’s what he creates: sacred music. Balmorhea (pronounced "Bal-more-ay") uses acoustic guitar, strings, heavy percussion, piano, and a variety of instruments in a carefully composed, dynamic way to create ambient music of unrelenting energy.

Crooks on the Run

Josh Mazour has a job in an Attorney General's office, but when I ask about it, he plays it off. As the singer and songwriter in the Austin-based honky tonk band Crooks, he's preparing to walk away from it to start touring seriously. So far, the band has largely played around the state, but it has a good new album, The Rain Will Come, a booking agent ready to put Crooks to work, and they're in the market for a van.