There was once a time when Austin synth-fetishist band Survive had a hard time holding your attention. They had moments of greatness, but would meander indulgently to get there, often losing themselves under the weight of their own equipment. It could be the relentless hammering the group has done to their sound over the years, but they seem to have found a focus that was missing from earlier attempts. It did not help that this was often when they would be opening for a band that did have its act together. Earlier this week, I was even told that Survive have even expanded the visual portion of their show, which is also good news.
Survive will perform with Xander Harris on Thursday, at the Mohawk in Austin, and part of me wishes that XH were performing here as well, since I’ve been playing the artist’s sold-out cassette, Chrysalid, on repeat lately (or as close to repeat as the worn-out tape deck in a 2001 Altima gets). Chrysalid one of the better releases by a local label last year, even if the project isn’t from the area. Luckily we have our own rich environment for music of this persuasion, and Vulgar Fashion and Corporate Park opening will prove that with seemingly thoughtless finesse.
Survive performs at Club Dada on Friday. The Weekender:
“Stereo on Strike” (Zubar): Special guests are Phooka, R9, and Trophic, in addition to Jack Dover. This is one of the last ever editions of this weekly in Zubar as we know it, so try to make your way here. The venue’s last day to operate is July 31st. Here is a link to a recent set by Dover at Zubar if you’re curious.
Other Thursday shows:
oOoOO/Night Drive/Killtron (Club Dada)
“The Turn Up” (Beauty Bar)
“Big Bang” (The Travis)
Survive/Vulgar Fashion/Corporate Park (Club Dada): See above.
“Nite Versions” (Ku De-Ta): Blake Ward’s guests this evening are Chris Roze, and Colly T. Take a moment to read Michelle Ofiwe’s informative piece on Ward, in case you missed it earlier this week.
George Quartz/Diamond Age/De Palma (The Crown and Harp): This is actually a pretty tough Friday night, and you could do a lot worse than this lineup on Greenville Avenue to start the weekend. Seeing local pretty boy George Quartz in a new TXU commercial is to understand how he always gets away with kissing your gal’s hand like Pepé Le Pew. Just deal with it, fellas.
Other Friday shows:
Bran (…) Pos/Blood Transfusion/Filth/Prisons (Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios)
Gustafer Yellowgold (Good Records): This free, kid-friendly show begins at noon.
“Punky Reggae Party” (Single Wide): I went to the last installment of this new semi-regular event and the format was much less defined than I was expecting. Along with the obvious moments in punk and reggae’s hybrid history, I also just heard some straight-ahead punk tracks, and even danceable, weirdo German new wave like Andreas Dorau. Recommended.
Octopus Project/Blackstone Rangers/Nervous Curtains (Granada Theater): Speaking of bands who have noticeably improved recently, take a second to read about the Blackstone Rangers show that happened earlier this month, in case you missed it. More info on this event is available here.
Stoic Violence/Glue/Sin Motivo/The Sentenced (Congress House, in Denton): These are great band names, as they seem to indicate you won’t have to suffer through any strained pop punk vocals. Update: I just had a listen to both Glue and Stoic Violence, and that is confirmed. These are gloriously miserable vocals all around.
Lo-Fi Chorus/Casa Magnetica/Cornhole (The Crown and Harp): There are a couple of bands here who I was convinced did not exist anymore. Apparently I’m wrong. The show is free, but you are encouraged to “buy drinks.” Those are cheap here, so it’s of little concern.
Glamorama (Beauty Bar): Tonight’s guest is DJ Yalou.
Update: Jeff Whittington/Eric Harvey (The Foundry): Jeff Whittington is a well-known local media personality—in the thoughtful public radio way, not in the cheap sex jokes way—as well as a longtime area musician, who played in the fondly-remembered 90s band, Adam’s Farm. He’s taking a big step forward by finally going solo, something he could have done some time ago, by playing on the familiarity of a respected name.
A few preview tracks off of his debut solo record, simply titled Whittington, reveal a songwriter capable of a few different styles, but who might do well to settle on one. The perfect enunciation from his Adam’s Farm days is still intact, though the lamenting talk of disappearing record stores and downloads are typically alarmist luddite themes for artists a few decades into their lyrics. Think “57 Channels”-era Springsteen.
But Whittington at his most compelling when he pulls the sophisticated tricks of veteran figures of song such as Richard Hawley and Nick Lowe. The best track I’ve heard so far is “Carbon Loaded,” which features a great descending chord progression, and where the piano and harmonies are great enough to let Whittington get away with using the word “sequestration.” Stick this guy onstage with a tinkling grand and we’ll have an artist comfortable with just how smart he is. I look forward to it.
Sonny Vincent/Birthday Suits/High Tension Wires (Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios): Sonny Vincent played in New York punk band The Testors, who unfortunately seemed to receive less attention than many of their counterparts. That’s okay, however, since the Testors were covered by Norwegian black metal pioneers, Darkthrone, they have an endless amount of credibility with younger, more extreme music fans that many classic rock-sounding punk bands will never possess.
Slum Village/Big J/DJ Love/Reagan Martin/Alsace Carcione/Raw Elementz/Earlly Mac/The Action Figures/City Lights (Green Elephant): I’m assuming these are short sets since the show starts at 9 pm, so get there early if you’re trying to catch a particular act.
Photo: Blackstone Rangers performing at UTD. Credit: Andi Harman