music

Music
6:00 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Dogs, Trains and a Piano: How Austin Sounds Inspired a New Album

Ben Johnson in his studio. Johnson originally came to Austin to attend The University of Texas at Austin.
Ben Johnson

Many people the world over are inspired by the 'Austin sound.' But Dallas native and composer Ben Johnson found his inspiration in the sounds of Austin. Literally.

In fact, "The Sounds of Austin, Texas" is the title of his new album – a collection of impressionistic pieces inspired by his adopted hometown, where he studied music in college. Johnson considers his latest album a collection of love songs to Austin. 

Johnson mixes field audio recordings from sites all over the Austin area with his own custom piano compositions, each dedicated to a particular place.  

Read more
Music
1:03 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

How Austin's Anderson High School Got Phoenix to Play Their Gym

Phoenix performing in the Anderson High School gym last night.
Jenna Macaroni http://instagram.com/p/fMOLxAjT29/

When you were in high school, wouldn’t you have loved to have a cool band play in your gym? I remember trying to get the band Karp to play my high school in the 1990s, but the teacher who sponsored the student council balked once he heard what they sound like. Instead, they spent the money on a Top 40 video dance party with fog machines. 

But last night, Anderson High School in Austin ISD did what my high school could never do: They hosted a secret show for the French dance-rockers Phoenix. (While considerably more accessible than any post-hardcore band, it's a remarkable achievement nonetheless.)

“Seriously how the hell does Anderson book Phoenix to play a gig at their school and Pflugerville gets Granger Smith #injustice,” tweeted one envious teen.

“Phoenix at Anderson? Lucky bastards,” said another.

Indeed. So, how did it happen?

Read more
Two Guys on Your Head
2:33 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

This is Your Brain on Music

Learning an instrument, especially as adults, provides us with a type of "brain food" that can help to protect our brains against damage. Experiencing music together is also an important part of being human.

We like to be in sync. Experiencing live music with others, whether you're playing an instrument or not, provides a certain synchronized relationship that boosts our feelings of togetherness and enjoyment.

Read more
music
6:25 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Interview: Austin Songwriter and Survivor Sam Baker

"Say Grace" is Sam Baker's fourth album. "I try to take stuff out, try to get things down to what is essential."
Chrislyn Lawrence

Almost 30 years ago, Sam Baker was traveling on a train in Peru when a terrorist bomb exploded, nearly killing him. After countless surgeries and years of therapy, Baker worked out not only what it means to survive, but to thrive.

He describes his new album, “Say Grace,” as part of an ongoing healing process.

Read more
4:57 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Antone's Nightclub Put Up for Sale

Lead in text: 
Antone's Nightclub proprietor Frank Hendrix announced today he is offering his club for sale. Named for departed blues booster Clifford Antone, the club’s long been synonymous with Austin music, despite changing locations over the years. Its current location on East Riverside is near a relocated Emo’s Austin, another longtime club Hendrix helped run before selling earlier this year. “I’m like the guy who runs a doughnut shop,” Hendrix tells the Chronicle. “After a while he doesn’t like doughnuts anymore. After all these years, music has changed from being my love to a laborious job.”
Frank Hendrix is putting Antone's up for sale. The local club tycoon, who famously owned Emo's and took over Antone's in 2010, confirmed to the Chronicle this morning that he's exiting the Austin music scene. "When I turned 53 in August, I laid there in bed and thought about my life," Hendrix reflected via phone during a long drive to East Texas.
liner notes
10:43 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Stan Getz: Unifying Paradigms

“My life is music, and in some vague, mysterious and subconscious way, I have always been driven by a taut inner spring which has propelled me to almost compulsively reach for perfection in music, often – in fact, mostly – at the expense of everything else in my life. – Stan Getz

Stan Getz brought a lush, carefree future into the collective imagination of post-World War II America with tunes like “The Girl From Ipanema“. But in his own life he struggled with addiction and lived recklessly in juxtaposition to the possibility and light he offered through his music.

Read more
Music
1:53 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

What Arcade Fire Did When Someone in Austin Complained About Its 'Reflektor' Graffiti

The Reflektor symbol seen in London. The Arcade Fire logo is appearing in several other cities, including Austin.
flickr.com/djhon

Update: Shortly after Ian Dille’s Slate article appeared online, he received a handwritten apology from Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler.

The band's PR company “forwarded me a handwritten note from Win Butler apologizing for the graffiti and explaining that it was supposed to be put up in chalk or water-soluble paint,” Dille tells KUT News. “And somewhere along the line, someone started using spraypaint. He said it was hard to control all the small details of such a large project.” (Read the letter below.)

Read more
Music
11:45 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Okkervil River: Coming Of Age In Small Town America

Click to see an interactive map of Meriden, N.H., with stories from Okkervil River's Will Sheff about his childhood there.
William Schaff

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 3:15 pm

I grew up in a town of about 6,000 people in rural Kansas back in the '70s and '80s. I've never romanticized it much, though it was certainly a simpler time and, for better or worse, it's where I learned to make some sense of my life. The world you inhabit when you come of age in your teen years has a way of digging its claws in you. As the years pass, no matter how far you try to get away from it, it stays with you. The people, the places, the sounds and even the smells become a part of your DNA.

Read more
MUSIC
6:35 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Sam Baker's 'Say Grace' Is At Once Beautiful And Broken

Sam Baker's Say Grace is his fourth album since he started making them in 2004, at age 50.
Chrislyn Lawrence Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 5:31 pm

Sam Baker has a backstory that must be told. In 1986, at age 31, he was traveling by train in Peru when a bomb from the terrorist group Shining Path exploded right next to him. The little girl he'd been talking to was killed along with half a dozen others, and his own injuries required 18 operations. His mangled left hand was rebuilt; work on his ears left him with a loud ringing that never stops, though Baker says he's made his peace with it.

Read more
Austin
7:19 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Toronto: Austin's Sister in the Music Scene?

Mirror images? Austin and Toronto may become the sister cities of the music industry.
Hequals2henry/48 Hour Film Project, Inc/Tyler Pratt

In what is being called the first-of-its-kind alliance worldwide, Austin and Toronto, Canada have established what they are calling the Music City Alliance.

While Toronto is roughly four times the size of Austin, the city has been publicly looking at Austin’s model of success to promote Toronto’s music scene. Officials from both cities met during this year’s South By Southwest to begin talks about forming a partnership to promote economic growth.

Read more
Arts and Culture
4:01 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Photos: Inside the University of Texas Mariachi Camp

Mariachi campers get together from their seperate instrumental groups to rehearse for their final performance.
Minza Khan for KUT News

While some high school students idle over summer break, the 55 teens at the Longhorn Music Camp are learning the art of mariachi music. 

Ezekiel Robert Castro, a lecturer at the University of Texas’ Butler School of Music and director of UT’s Mariachi Ensemble, created the first ever mariachi camp at UT for students entering grades 10 through 12.

Read more
Liner Notes
12:00 am
Sun July 7, 2013

Hank Mobley: An Individual's Individual

Hank Mobley was a self-taught hard bop and soul jazz tenor saxophone player whose sound was situated between that of John Coltrane and Stan Getz. As a bandleader he worked to encourage musicians to develop their concepts and skills past what they may have thought possible, as he created a space for performers to work out their own vision within his compositions.

In this short feature, Rabbi Neil Blumofe illuminates the importance of those who will not settle for a glory in mediocrity – but who urge others to reach further and extend their concept of what is possible.  

Read more
liner notes
12:00 am
Sun June 30, 2013

Lena Horne: A Disarming Revolutionary

Jazz singer, actress, dancer and activist Lena Horne began performing at the Cotton Club in her teens before moving to Hollywood where she worked as an actress - and was blacklisted during the Red Scare. Over a long career spanning the mid-1930s to 2000, she enchanted audiences yet never budged from her principles and beliefs.

In this short feature, Rabbi Neil Blumofe talks about the revolutionary life and work of Lena Horne.  

Read more
liner notes
12:00 am
Sun June 23, 2013

Rembering 'The Judge,' Milt Hinton

Milt Hinton, known as “The Judge”, was the most recorded jazz musician in history.

Over his extensive career he played on more than 1,100 sessions as a bassist. He was also a very accomplished photographer whose images captured intimate moments shared between some of the greatest jazz legends in history.

In this short feature Rabbi Neil Blumofe discusses the significance of Hinton’s life, his work and his perspective, and offers a view of what his legacy can teach us today.  

Read more
Liner Notes
12:00 am
Sun June 16, 2013

Horace Silver: Jazz on a World Stage

Horace Silver’s powerful and transcendent music pushed him beyond the label of jazz pianist. The composing and instrumentation of his quintet created a unique sound that combined rhythm-and blues and gospel music with the jazz known as “Hard Bop.”

It’s this style of composing that helped him respond to the social and cultural upheavals of the 1960′s and 70′s with records like “United States of Mind” and “The Music of the Spheres.” 

Listen for a moment as Rabbi Neil discusses what lies behind the meaningful simplicity of Silver’s music.

Read more

Pages