This week we’re celebrating the Live Music Capital of the World.
Standard Daniel here, and hot dog am I excited to share with you this week’s playlist; songs from deep in the heart of the capital of Texas. As a life long Texan, I have a deep love for my home state, but Austin shares a unique place in my heart. I’ve been to shows all over, played a couple of shows, and seen some of the greatest shows in this town. I’ve been in mosh pits at the old Emo’s, and I’ve admired the stars while watching bands at Stubb’s outdoors. We know the phrase, “Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World,” and if you’ve been entrenched in the thick of it during SXSW you would know that fewer statements have ever been more true.
As much as I want to talk about each band, that might take too much time, so instead I’ll single out a couple of bands. One of the newest bands to come out of Austin, Black Pumas have sky rocketed to national prominence, and their performance at the 2021 Grammy’s leaves no doubt why. Soulful and catchy, I can’t wait for live music to come back because I really want to see this band perform. Relatively a new band, Black Pumas formed in 2017, and I’m excited to see where this band goes in the future.
Two of my favorite bands of all time come from the Austin area; Explosions in the Sky and This Will Destroy You. If you’ve seen Friday Night Lights (the movie, not the show), you’ve heard EITS. They reworked their album ‘The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place’ for the soundtrack, and ever since I’ve been unable to look at high school football the same way. EITS is one of the biggest bands in the post-rock genre, and I can’t recommend listening to their music on a long drive out to Big Bend. This Will Destroy you, on the other hand, is doing everything it can to push the genre in a new direction. TWDY formed at Texas State in San Marcos (eat ’em up Cats) in 2004, right about the time I entered college, and I was fortunate enough to see them play live frequently before they went on to touring around the country and the world. You can also hear their music in movies such as Moneyball, World War Z, and Foxcatcher. Two of those movies star Brad Pitt, which might just be coincidence.
Now for the lightening round. You might be familiar with Shakey Graves if you’ve seen Friday Night Lights (the show, not the movie); he was the Swede in season 2. I used to intern at the drummer from Spoon‘s studio, and he’s very cool and I bought him coffee a lot. I went to college with members of Bayonne, Wild Child, Lola Tried, and Otis the Destroyer, and I can say nothing but amazing things about them. Great musicians, and even nicer people. Listen to The Black Angels if you’re feeling rather psychedelic , and listen to Ghostland Observatory if you feel like dancing. If you’re riding on a motorcycle, you should listen to the Sword. If you’re feeling like you have the power to conquer the world, you should listen to Sweet Spirit. You know what, you should get on a motorcycle and conquer the world and ride to west Texas and listen to all these bands. Support local music.
I could write so much more about all of these bands, and as usual I’m missing so many great Austin acts. If there are any egregious errors on my part, please forgive me.
And of course, the city of Austin wouldn’t be what it is without Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughn, and institutions such as ACL Live. Take it easy, and I’ll see you next week!