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The Lewd Dudes are Lascivious and Hilarious

Are you tired of being a self-serious Austin music scenester? Do you want to fall in love? Neither of those questions matter because the Lewd Dudes have released a debut EP and their potent blend of humor and classic rock is guaranteed to elevate your mood. Infectious melodies coalesce with absurdist lyrics to keep the listener's attention. Would a band ever add an extra member just so they could graduate from being a quintet to a 'sex'tet?  That's silly, but the Lewd Dudes are a band of silly gooses.  Track names like "69 N on the Beach" and "Me and My Bone" make sure to preserve a degree of professional poise, but then the drummer also happens to be named 'Boner'. Whether you like their sugary choruses, the horns section, or just listening to their lively lyrics - the Lewd Dudes are having fun while playing and you can't help but rock along yourself. The Lewd Dudes play January 10th at Hotel Vegas!

 

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Washed Out Rides Chill Wave Vibes Through Mohawk

  You’re laying on a white sand beach under a blazing sun, fading into an afternoon daydream, when the tide begins to creep up from your toes until ocean water fills your ears. Instead of panic setting in, you allow yourself to be consumed by the warming chorus of tropical synths and lysergic energy fields. A molten core of happiness reverberates from your sternum before you awaken to discover you’re still in bed listening to Washed Out. Such is the appeal of the flagship Chill Wave purveyor, Ernest Greene, who continues to flesh out his catalogue of ethereal panoramic soundscapes after he helped popularize the genre nearly a decade ago. Washed Out brought those balmy funk-laden beats to the Mohawk on Saturday, and despite the temperature being frigid, the music emanated a comforting warmth.

On tour after their 2017 release of their third full-length, Mister Mellow, the full band had a laid-back stage presence that was enhanced by a kaleidoscope of hypnotic visuals.  New songs coalesced with older hits to get the concert going in the right direction with a crowd-pleasing classic like “New Theory” being juxtaposed to newer earworms like “Burn Out Blues” and “Floating By”. Room in the audience was unbelievably scarce as the sold out show made other ‘sold-out shows’ look like an open area expanse.

Greene’s positivity flows through band and his audience seamlessly, setting a focal point for the music and aura that never seems to dip into the negative. A select few extended plays were embarked on as Washed Out leaned into solos and good ole fashioned jams. A critical mass of contentedness enveloped the crowd towards the end of the set with their biggest hit “Feel It All Around” and the epoch of the set “Amor Fati” both tempting the moment with perfection. 

Some concerts offer various components of the show to be exceptional but a truly memorable act will streamline musicianship, stage present, lighting effects, etc into a synergistic energy bomb of engagement, and luckily Washed Out is composes all aspects with deft precision. The show would end with an encore of “Soft” and “Eyes Be Closed” to send the crowd home with a heavenly taste in their mouths. While the late December temperatures can weigh heavy on moods, Washed Out is an effective prescription to elevate any audience member’s outlook on life.

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Christian Sparks and the Beatnik Bandits Give Folk A Gritty Edge

 A folk-rock trio from San Marcos who are a self-described as a 'new breed of classic American musician', Christian Sparks and the Beatnik Bandits have had success constructing roots-styled storytelling with a gritty rock patina. The band released their debut self-titled EP in March and have ridden those five songs through a Southern state tour to reach the choir most receptive to their gospel. While their songs typically begin with an ambling, folksy vibe - the rowdiness creeps up through the chorus and ultimately transforms into a good ol' fashioned 'rock out'. While folk and rock music have tried to coexist, ever since Bob Dylan went electric, it has been a tenuous relationship where purists hold their ground by passing judgement. Many musicians have since made their bones trying to bridge the two styles and exploring the grey area between the two, but its the journey to and from the two genres that we get to see the brilliance of Christian Sparks songwriting. While the band is in its nascent stages, and is yet to release a full album, there are harbingers of future success that avail themselves through strong songwriting and a good performance work ethic.

 

 

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Black Fret Ball Gives Back to Austin Artists

 Black Fret’s fifth annual Black Fret Ball set a few different milestones this past Friday night, not the least of which was surpassing over $1 million in grants to local bands as well as upgrading the event venue to the ACL Live Moody theater.  Black Fret co-founders, Colin Kendrick and Matt Ott, have made progress by leaps in bounds since inception by not only growing the charity organization in Austin but also expanding to other cities as well. Moving the Black Fret Ball venue from the Paramount Theater, where it was held last year, to ACL Live could have meant a lot of empty seats. Instead, the crowd was massive and members and attendees flooded the venue in impressive fashion.

 The recipients of Black Fret’s grant money were a mixed bag of returning artists and some brand new acts.  Groups like the Greyhounds, Los Coast and Jane Ellen Bryant all returned from last year’s ball to claim $20k grants while newcomers Billy King and the Bad Bad Bad, Trouble In The Streets and The Texas KGB all claimed their first grants.

 Major sponsors like Dell, Deloitte and NY Life gave the notion that Black Fret has ascended to a high level of recognition within the corporate community as much as the artistic one.  While there is a bit of an Oprah-esque vibe to the grant giving, “You get a grant! You get a grant!”, ultimately the impact is profound for the artist – financially and with newfound exposure.

 Performances by Donovan Keith, The Texas KGB and Billy King and the Bad Bad Bad were all highlights of the night, as a dual stage setup allowed for a more fluid transition to showcase more music. While there is a lot of love in the room, it was still left to A Giant Dog’s Andrew Cashen to inject some legitimate Rock n Roll spirit by accepting his band’s grant while grandstanding on an amp like a golden god, with music writer Kevin Curtin in tow.

 A quarter million dollars was given out the night of the ball which was awe-inspiring, as artist after artist beamed onstage upon receiving their grant amount.  As Austin’s cost of living continues to skyrocket, charities like Black Fret are becoming more vital to allowing musicians to remain viable or reach the next level.  

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Austin Music Video Festival Offers 5 Days of Unique Fun

  

The Austin Music Video Festival, which debuted in 2014, has embraced its eccentric identity and seen exponential growth as a result. More awards, categories, attendees, and fanfare are making the festival a staple in the already competitive and saturated Austin calendar.The festival kicks off on December 4thwith a performance from local electro-artist, Neon Indian, and continues for the next four days with video screenings, live performances, and nightly after-parties. Rather than a typical film festival, the AMVF’s intersperse video showings with interactive events and lots of live performances by bands like Whiskey Shivers, Sorne, Graham Reynolds. The various venues for activities include the Alama Drafthouse Ritz, Native Hostel, The North Door, Austin Visitor Center and Empire Control Room. While there is a plethora of categories that will be judged, none make a local impact like the ‘All ATX’ award which will feature familiar acts like Walker Lukens, Holy Wave, Toma, Fort Never and many more. The festival comes to a conclusion on Saturday night at Native Hostel with an awards ceremony where winners are announced and then a close-out party ensues. Whether you are interested in viewing uniquely creative music videos or just want to get down on a dance floor, AMVF offers it all and you can grab your tix here.

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