Tag Archives: austin

Fred Mills: THE COLLEGE ROCK CHRONICLES, PT.7 (Thomas Anderson)

TA 1

“Hopefully the world is big enough for all us”: The Austin rocker, whose career stretches back to the ‘80s, on his remarkable new album, on death, dying and the afterlife, on the travails of dealing with indie record labels—and on the various other Andersons out there who keep stealing his digital thunder.

BY FRED MILLS

Ed. note: For this installment of my ongoing “College Rock Chronicles” series (previously excavated: features on Big Star, Dumptruck, The Gun Club, Dwight Twilley, Winter Hours and Green On Red) I’ve opted not to trawl through my personal archives—although, as you’ll learn, my subject today definitely is a favorite part of my journalistic history. Instead, I’m presenting an interview I did recently with an artist I’ve admired since the late ‘80s but who, for reasons that will become clear, I’d lost touch with for a good while. Ladies and gentleman, allow me to (re)introduce Thomas Anderson.

Anderson’s a native of Norman, Oklahoma, but for the majority of his adult life has lived in Austin. If memory serves, I first became aware of him as a journalistic peer; he was writing for the likes of Trouser Press and Musician and was an ace scribe at that. All along, though, he’d been writing songs and finally, in ’89, he decided to move to the other side of the stage lights and release his first album, Alright, It was Frank . . . and He’s Risen From the Dead and Gone Off With His Truck via his own Out There label. Critics like Robert Christgau approved, and as was frequently the case back in those days, the record found its way into the hands of such (cough) roccrit tastemakers as moi and my old pal Jud Cost; it’s entirely possible that Jud and I got on the horn and called each other up simultaneously to call “dibs” on reviewing the LP for the rock mag we both scribed for, The Bob. There was something undeniably compelling about Anderson’s Dylan/Reed style of literate rock lyricism, and he also knew his way around a good hook and a catchy riff.

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Nowadays, “singer songwriters” are not even a dime a dozen, more like a nickel a dozen (if that much). But a quarter century ago, at a time when Seattle was starting to breathe down everyone’s neck, it took a lot of huevos to prize actual songcraft over attitude, and to understand that to “kick out the jams” wasn’t a template, but an aesthetic—and that it was okay to have folkier, contemplative material alongside full-tilt rockers. In that, Anderson was clearly a traditionalist, one who didn’t mind wearing his influences on his sleeve while still bringing something absolutely fresh to the table.

Several acclaimed albums would follow, including Blues For the Flying Dutchman (Dutch East India) and Moon Going Down (Marilyn). Meanwhile, I landed in Tucson, and I consider myself fortunate to have struck up a friendship, first via the mail and then later in person when he traveled from Austin to Arizona for some shows. Gifted with an easy-going, self-deprecating manner and a brain containing veritable Wikipedia of musical facts and trivia, Anderson’s the kind of guy you could sidle up to in a bar and within five minutes find yourself deep in conversation about some obscure record or swapping rock ‘n’ roll anecdotes.

Which doesn’t exactly bring us to his new album Heaven (Out There) because Anderson’s put out a number of other records since the early ‘90s, including 1998’s Bolide, 2003’s Norman, Oklahoma and archival releases The Moon in Transit (2012) and On Becoming Human (2013). But Heaven, comprising all-new material (his first such collection in years) does serve to remind me of all the things that appealed to me in the first place. Cheerily billed as “songs about dead people and the afterlife,” it kicks off with the jangly “No Thought For the Morrow” plus a blazing T. Rex/Velvets-style rocker titled “Arguing With the Dead,” and indeed, with lines like “Old man lying in an ICU/ Loved ones around him weep” (the former) and “When I get to Heaven it’ll clear my head/ ‘Cause it’s no use arguing with the dead,” Anderson’s thematic mandate gets fulfilled right from the get-go.

Elsewhere there’s atmospheric ballad “Chelsea Grail,” which with its references to Andy Warhol and Brian Jones makes explicit that Anderson is paying tribute to the late chanteuse Nico; a Bowie-esque slice of wham-bam distorto rock, “All the Cool People Have Left the Party,” lamenting how our heroes, icons and objects of desire are “leavin’ too soon” and in their wake are “nothin’ but some loud and obnoxious goons”; and a folky, seven-minute epic “The Wilderness,” which provides Anderson his chance to ponder, at length, what the afterlife might resemble, his protagonist wandering around on the streets of Heaven, taking in the sights.

There’s plenty more, of course, but you get my point: Anderson remains a scholar of literate and thoughtful tunesmithery while instinctively channeling his rock ‘n’ roll roots, and the result is one of the nicest musical surprises to come down the pike so far this year. I caught up with him via the digital horn, and what follows is the result of the two of us doing some long-overdue commiserating.

TA 2

BLURT: Perhaps a good way to start would be to re-introduce yourself, as I imagine a good chunk of our readership, at least the younger ones, will be unfamiliar with your work. Could you tell us a little about your roots and background?

THOMAS ANDERSON: Well—the Okie roots aren’t much to talk about. Oklahoma is a place that people largely want to get away from. A lot of music has come out of Oklahoma, but with the obvious exception of the Flaming Lips, it’s mostly been made by people once they left there. From Woody Guthrie on.

As for me, I spent the ‘80s writing for music mags such as Trouser Press, Creem, Record and Musician. Around the end of that decade, I released my first album, titled Alright It Was Frank, And He’s Risen From The Dead And Gone Off With His Truck. Since then I’ve released seven more, including Heaven, the new one. There have also been a couple of 45s and some stray tracks on compilations.

So why surface now, in 2016? With the ascent of Donald Trump, a lot of people would appear to be getting ready to go underground and/or move to Canada…

Surface?! I never thought I went under! Really, I just put out records when I can, y’know? It’s always been that way. I have a neurotic fear that at some point—for whatever reason—I won’t be able to do this anymore, so I try to release stuff whenever I can. In the old days, when I was on actual labels, I was kind of at their mercy as to when my stuff got released; but now, I’m always working on the next one.

I remember when you were working at Waterloo, you quipped to me that you try to leave Austin during SXSW. What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen go down in your adopted city, both pro and con, in the time you’ve lived there?

I’ve moved to Austin twice. The first time in…1984, I think? Back then I could walk over to the UT campus in the evenings and visit Sterling Morrison in his office. At the time he was working on his thesis on Cynewulf, the Anglo-Saxon poet, and he always appreciated an excuse to put it aside for awhile. Or I could talk to Roky Erickson, who was living with his mom and a black cat named Halloween, in a house with spray-paint all over the walls. The Big Boys had splintered into Poison 13, and the Standing Waves had moved to New York. I used to play at an awful coffeehouse run by some distant relative of Ernest Tubb, and go see the Tail Gators and Brave Combo.

I moved there again around 1993 and basically worked in what I call “yuppie support,” as most of the musicians did. Lotsa minimum-wage jobs to make rent on a ghetto apartment up on Rundberg. It was depressing. On the good side, I played a lot of shows at the Electric Lounge, and had records coming out on Unclean and Propeller in Austin and on labels in Europe. It’s… um… hard to explain. Austin’s great for a lot of people, but maybe not so great for me. It’s kinda like, if I go to a party and no one there is particularly happy to see me, I leave, y’know? Now, I kinda bounce back and forth. When Bob Mould moved there in the ‘90s, a friend of mine asked him what he thought of Austin. He supposedly said, “It’s nice to live in a place where the street don’t smell like piss.” So yeah—Austin has its advantages!

What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen go down in the independent music world, bot pro and con, in the time you’ve been part of it?

Um… is Korn still big? No—seriously, I’m the last person in the world to ask about that…. Since I stopped working at record stores, I’m totally in the dark on what’s happening in music. I always figure that if something is great enough, I’ll probably hear about it eventually. Maybe in BLURT. [Damn straight. —Reviews Ed.]

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The new record—”Songs about dead people and the afterlife”: indeed, the songs frequently invoke words like dead, angels, graves, dying, etc. Were there specific incidents or losses that inspired you to go thematic on the record?

Awhile back, I was on a Mark Twain kick. In attempting to read everything available by him, I found a work called Captain Stormfield’s Visit To Heaven, which, as far as I know, has never been published in its entirety. It’s a story about a man’s visit to the afterlife, and who and what he finds there. And how existence works there. And I thought, ‘What a great premise for an album!’ I mean, you can do anything with that–songs about famous dead people, songs about people you’ve known, songs questioning good and evil, songs about the meaning or meaninglessness of life… you can do anything with that concept. And I wrote a ton of songs for it. In addition to the twelve songs on the album, I had songs about Lou Reed, Jeff Buckley… a LOT of songs.

Depressing subject in theory, but in execution, wonderfully contemplative, with gorgeous arrangements. Still, not the easiest “sell” from a marketing standpoint—discuss.

Well, hopefully I’ve kept it entertaining. I dunno… everyone from the Carter Family to the goth groups have been pretty death-obsessed. I’ve tried to keep it light. I mean, my Heaven has a porn star [Savannah, in “Savannah Got Screwed”] a gospel/blues singer [Washington Phillips, “Dolceolo Glory”], a Star Trek actor [Leonard Nimoy, “He’s Dead Jim”], Nico, and Sheb Wooley [“Sheb Wooley Dies in Oklahoma”] Plus, Michael Jackson has a romance with the author of Frankenstein [“Mary Loves Michael”], and Nixon and JFK stroll by [“The Gatekeeper’s Tale”]. Who else is gonna give you a Heaven like that?

Are all the songs of recent vintage, or are any from the archives? And given that you performed all the music yourself, were there any pitfalls in taking the extreme DIY approach?

A lot of it was written around the millennium, some more recently. “All The Cool People Have Left The Party” I wrote after listening to a bunch of Prince 12″ singles. The only pitfall in the DIY approach was that I was using a new digital recorder this time, instead of the 4-track cassette deck I used on the last couple of albums, and I was getting some anomalous sounds when I tried to use a lot of guitar distortion; which might explain why most of the guitars on there are pretty clean. My friend Kels Koch of the Million Sellers said the sound reminded him of The Blue Mask. So I’ll pretend that was the idea!

In that regard, you’ve come full circle/returned to late ‘80s roots, true? Which resonates with me: I basically write about music without getting paid these days, just for the free records and to scratch my creative itch—just like it was all those years ago when I was writing about you for The Bob.

It’s like you start out scratching the creative itch, and it becomes an obsessive thing. Which has led to a lot of mediocre art. I mean, it feels good—terrific even—to create something that’s greater than the sum of its parts. You know that feeling when it all works—it’s there in journalism just like music—it’s just the best. So you keep scratching that itch. It’s kinda like a gambling addiction, I guess…

You seemed to go on a decade-long hiatus from 2003’s Norman, OK and 2012’s The Moon In Transit. What were you doing during that time? Did you continue to play music and write songs?

Simply put, my label ceased to exist. My stuff had been coming out on a German label called Red River, and they had started working with some new distributors who were jacking them around—telling them what to release and when, not paying them—and eventually the guy who ran the label, a great guy, by the way, just threw in the towel. I had an album ready to be released. It was called Radar Angels—it was recorded, mixed, mastered, the artwork was done… it was ready to go; then the label was gone. One song from it got licensed to Sony in Germany (for a blues compilation—I’m right in between the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Greg Allman), a few more I made available online; but eventually I just started working on a new album. So yeah, there was a little ten year break in there….

Your website doesn’t appear to have been updated since, er, the release of Norman, OK, and the Wikipedia page for you essentially cuts off at 2013’s On Becoming Human. Are there any plans to rectify this info gap for the general public? And how can people get the record, either hard copies or digital?

First of all, that’s not my website. I have no control over that. As for Wikipedia…wait—I’m on Wikipedia?! Where?! I mean, I’ve looked! Dude, send me a link or something! I’ve NEVER found anything on me on Wikipedia—it’s all Paul Thomas Anderson. [Ed. note: Thomas and I have subsequently rectified this, so BLURT is hoping that both the unofficial T.A. site and the Wikipedia page will see updates in the near future.]

People can get Heaven from CD Baby—and they also have the two albums that came out right before it. They have both physical copies and downloads. You can also get downloads from iTunes or Amazon or any of those places. Plus, you can stream the stuff on Deezer or any of those places. Y’know, I think both Unclean and Propeller Records in Austin still have a few original copies of my 45s from twenty years ago. Get ’em before they’re gone, kids!

What’s coming up for you next? More recording? Touring?

Two things—I’m working on a Requiem Mass For Nash The Slash, and I don’t know what the hell I’ll do with that, if anything…. Also, later this year I hope to do a digital reissue of my second album, Blues For The Flying Dutchman. Lately I’ve been dusting off some early demos of some of those songs for possible bonus tracks, and they sound GREAT.

Finally, what would you say to people who search for you on the internet and think that THIS Thomas Anderson, apparently based in CT, is you?

Nope, he’s definitely not me, though I wish I had his guitar. Cool shirt, too. Back in the MySpace days, some girl from Scotland contacted me because she thought I was the Thomas Anderson who sang a song used in the short-lived TV series Shark. I had to break it to her that I wasn’t the Thomas Anderson she loved. Weird girl—she seemed to be drinking or drunk in all of her online pics. She disappeared after awhile. Maybe her parents made her take down her page; she looked like she was about fifteen. But yeah, there are quite a few Thomas Andersons out there. Hopefully, the world is big enough for all of us. [Below: OUR Thomas Anderson. Accept no substitutes…]

TA 4

 

Michael Passman: The Beginning of The End: Austin’s Public Face on Live Music Contradicts Reality

1. The Sonics at Red 7

Construction, club closings and controversy appear to rule nowadays in the venerable Texas music city. Above: The Sonics June 14th at Red 7. Currently negotiating around an unfeasible rent increase.

TEXT & PHOTOS BY MICHAEL PASSMAN

It started with the closing of Liberty Lunch, then urban centralization with people wanting to live downtown and complaining about the music. Decibel meters were handed out and both sides complained. The cops show up regularly and outdoor shows get shut down. Red River became a musical district and clubs opened up and thrived despite complaints from tenants in new residential buildings. Then…

The Austin Music Census was released this month. The results showed that live music contributed 1.6 billion dollars to the economy, yet the majority of musicians make below the average wage for Austin. In the city that prides itself as The Live Music Capital of The World, those who make it that way cannot afford to live here and many are looking elsewhere. Club owners cited rising rents and noise ordinances as having major impact on their ability to operate. Conclusion? In a city that promotes itself for music, those who do it can’t afford to continue, there are fewer venues for them to do so, and those venues left are threatened with going out of business, not to mention less time in the evening for musicians to actually play.

Also in June, two live music venues were threatened with closure due to rent increases: Holy Mountain and Red 7. Holy Mountain is closing on October first and Red 7 is negotiating with its landlord. Prospective tenants have already toured the property where Holy Mountain is.

Then came Cheer Up Charlies. This small venue at 10th and Red River that hosts both national acts and unknown bands had a significant amount of their venue restricted so Hyatt Hotels can build a parking lot next to them. Plants were removed, scaffolding was put in place to remove rocks and plants from a scenic cliff surrounding half the property, and fencing was put up. The developers went from saying it would be in place two weeks to saying it would be there 18 months. Compensation was offered to the club owners that was one fourth of what they stand to lose monthly, not to mention that ongoing construction discourages people from going to a club. Hyatt worked with the city to reclassify a dumpster area as an alley, thereby requiring Cheer Up Charlies and its neighbor The Mohawk, which is the largest venue downtown that showcases indie acts to find a place to move them when there really isn’t one, as well as telling the Mohawk to remove its venue space to make way for more construction.

Below: Cheer Up Charlies and The Wall of Contention: Public space and storage area no more

2. Cheer Up Charlies Wall

3. Cheer Up Charlies Wall 2

4. Cheer Up Charlies 3

Below: This is an alley

5. This is an Alley

This last act caused uproar. People gathered in Cheer Up Charlie’s parking lot to prevent construction. It worked. The Watershed Department showed up and advised the journeyman that if they even touched the area, they were in violation. A March was planned and maybe 50 people took to the streets (pictured, below) to demonstrate and were given a thoughtful police escort to City Hall, where they declared their leaders and peacefully dispersed, walking back to Cheer Up Charlies on the sidewalk.

6. Demonstration 1

7. Demonstration 2

8. Demonstration 3

City Council reps are meeting at this very moment. Supposedly “ideas are being floated around.” As the time of this writing, construction was slated to proceed on Monday, the 29th of June, ideas were scaled back and Hyatt is more communicative. In other words, death is inevitable, but it will just be slower.

We know the causes. People come here for SXSW, SXSW gets bigger and bigger, people decide they want to move here, the tech startup boom is ongoing, the economy is healthy, and buildings get torn down and replaced by high rise condos. It happens everywhere. Many look to SXSW as partially to blame, but those who started SXSW were music fans themselves. They were in there in the beginning, way back in the Raoul’s and Club Foot days. I think had they known the consequences of their own success, they would have acted differently to keep SXSW about the independents and not the music industry/branding free for all it is today.

A quick look at music weeklies from around the country show Washington DC has 19 shows tonight, Portland has 14, Los Angeles: 96, Nashville: 46, and Chicago has 57. Tonight in Austin: 75. Gone is the myth that it’s concentrated in one area and that makes it unique. It’s not. Dirty 6th as we call it is mostly a gauntlet of college drinking bars without live music with maybe a few venues per block and six or seven blocks. Dirty 6th is more famous for drunken fails than anything else. Red River has nine clubs with live music tonight. Outside of downtown, there’s South Austin with good music venues spread out over a large area, one club near the University of Texas, Hole in The Wall and the on campus venue Cactus Café, Ginny’s and The Aristocrat on Burnet Road in North Central Austin, Hotel Vegas on East 6th, a few places on East 12th, Longbranch and Red Scoot Inns, both East Austin, Nomad, and Sahara Lounge, various other places such as Spider House, a few record stores, some cafés, coffeehouses, and restaurants. It’s already spread out.

 Below: (top) The Soulphonics at The Carousel Lounge; (bottom) Jack Oblivian at Hotel Vegas

9. The Soulphonics

10. Jack Oblivian at Hotel Vegas

Austin City Limits Music Festival remains, but that is a large event with mostly popular touring acts that many in the local music community don’t support nor perform at. That’s a big concert, not the development and musical incubation Austin is known for. Additionally, Fun Fun Fun Fest, the music festival that IS independent, is facing conflict with Auditorium Shores over needed space The Parks and Recreation Department does not want them to use, and Carson Creek, a concert area outside of Austin City Limits best known for Austin Psych Fest/Levitation, is facing complaints from one neighbor over traffic during the festival and attempts to either stop festivals from happening altogether or severely curtail its duration and times that artists can perform. Now ask yourself: Live Music Capital of The World?

Think about that for SXSW next year. Maybe the same number of clubs and many of the drinking only bars on 6th suddenly getting bands to play as the norm, but more clubs spread out over long distances, then think about how one will get to all these places. Think about how many shows one is likely to miss due to the extreme traffic congestion combined with longer distances that can’t be done on foot. And there you have it: Just another big city with a live music scene, except LA has more venues and tonight at least, those venues are often packing in a lot more bands.

Maybe Dave Grohl will save Austin by buying the properties on Red River Street.

***

BLURT staff photographer and contributor Michael Passman lives and works in Austin, Texas.

 

Tim Hinely: 15 Questions For… Gerard Cosloy of 12XU Records

12xu buttons

And… here’s the second installment in the BLURT series in which we profile cool independent record labels. What are the criteria for inclusion in the “cool” category? Hey, ’cos we say they are cool, that’s what! We’re making the rules around here, kids. Keep your eyes peeled for the next installment, coming soon, and meanwhile, go here for entry #1, Slumberland Records.

BY TIM HINELY

To most folks Gerard Cosloy is known as being one-half of the Matador Records brass; prior to that he was at the legendary Homestead Records. Matador’s been around for over two decades but close to a decade ago, after moving to Austin, Texas, from London, Cosloy started up another label, 12XU. Named after the infamous Wire song, 12XU now has several releases under its belt by both bands that call Austin home as well as many that don’t. You could call it a garage rock label but then again, Tommy Keene, whose Strange Alliance was reissued last year by 12XU, might taken offense to being called garage rock. Cosloy took time out of his busy schedule to answer our 15 questions and we certainly appreciated his honesty (keep readin’…).

12xu logo

BLURT: When did the label form/ what was your original inspiration?

2001. I’ve been involved with a number of labels before and had no plans of starting or working with another. But there were a number of longtime associates (Joel RL Phelps, Spoon, Chris Brokaw) who needed assistance getting records out in Europe and these were all people I enjoyed working with. The label’s UK operations came to a bit of a screeching halt when I relocated to Austin in 2004, and for logistical reasons things are mostly centered on moving records around North America these days.

Who designed your logo? Do you only have one?

An Arizona graphic designer named Paul Howalt.

What was your first release?

Joel RL Phelps & The Downer Trio (pictured below) – Inland Empires EP (12XU 001)

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Were there any label(s) that inspired you to want to release records?

As I mentioned before, I’ve had a bit of experience with labels far more established than 12XU, and those experiences (good and otherwise) have been pretty educational. But if I have to go back much, much further, certainly labels like Touch & Go, Dischord, X-Claim, Propeller, SST, Ruby, Ace Of Hearts, Teenbeat, Crypt, Siltbreeze, etc. have been influential in a number of ways. In more recent years, there’s other labels I’d probably call more inspirational than influential, just in terms of their ability to do amazing work, set very high musical standards, etc. I could go on for a few days but some of those that instantly come to mind are Trouble In Mind, Play Pinball, Goner, In The Red (duh), Homeless, SS, Pelican Pow Wow, Jeth Row, Douchemaster, Urinal Cake, Monofonus Press, Superior Viaduct, Dais, Mt. St. Mountain, A Wicked Company, Thread Pull… we could be here for a while

If there is one band, current or past, you could release a record by who would it be?

Y’know, I don’t wanna get into that. I feel insanely lucky and privileged to be doing records with everyone on the label past and present. It’s always a matter of what this so-called label can do for them that either they can’t do for themselves or don’t have the resources to accomplish, it’s not about collecting scalps or whatever. The important thing is that the records come out, sound and look right and someone can find them. It’s not terribly important that those records are on this label—but if that has to be the way it turns out, so be it.

What has been your best seller to date?

Spoon’s Kill The Moonlight (12XU 014), however the rights have long since reverted. BOO HOO.

Are you a recording/touring musician yourself, and if so, do you use your label as an outlet for getting your stuff out to the public? [Austin’s Air Traffic Controllers would be Cosloy’s combo. – Ed.]

Yes/no and no. I am a recording musician, I rarely play outside of this lovely city and no, I have another deeply pretentious, poorly distributed imprint for that stuff.

Does your label use and/or have a presence on any of the social media sites?

Yes. I mean, you could look it up. Sorry, Tim, this is kind of a terrible question! [Ed. note: Here, Mr. Cosloy failed (or declined) to pick up the interviewer’s ball and run with it. This is a stock question we ask each label owner in order to give them the opportunity to highlight how they use social media, if at all, to distinguish themselves from other labels—or at least how important it is for them to be constantly tweeting, “liking,” tumblng, burping, farting, etc. For the record, 12XU’s Facebook page is right here, while the label’s Twitter page is here and Tumblr page here. Below: label artist Chris Brokaw, a man who knows a thing or two about social media.]

brokaw

Is the Austin music community supportive of the label?

Ahhh, sometimes, sometimes not. It varies from project to project. But I honestly don’t care very much, those things only matter to me in the sense I hope the Austin-based bands feel it’s working out ok. I really can’t get too bothered about local media stuff.

The record stores here have been awesome (End Of An Ear, Trailer Space, Waterloo) and I cannot say enough about [how] supportive some of the local club folks have been.

Beerland is probably most closely ID’d with the label given that’s where many of the bands played their earliest shows (and continue to) but I would be remiss in not acknowledging the support we’ve received from Hotel Vegas and the Transmission venues (Red 7, Mohawk), none of whom have been asked for any favors whatsoever.

Still, given that the label represents artists from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Seattle, Portland, Cleveland, Columbus, Pittsburgh, etc., I do not expect anyone in Austin to embrace 12XU as a local entity. Nor do I expect Austin to be a selling point for the Austin-based bands when they go somewhere else. I mean, we have terrible bands here, too, just like everywhere.

Have digital sales been significant or nominal?

Depends on the release. Usually the latter, but sometimes the former. (Below: the presumably digital-friendly Obnox.)

obnox

 

Has there actually been a vinyl resurgence the past few years?

Man, I know you’re a busy guy with a family and stuff but this cannot be a serious question. Who could you possibly ask this question who’d say “no”? (Below: Tommy Keene, who knows a thing or two about vinyl, pictured on a 45 that the vinyl-friendly label issued.)

Tommy Keene 45

What is your personal favorite format to release music?

Probably 12″ or 7″ vinyl but I’m hearing great things about these little discs you can play in a car stereo that are really cheap.

What new(er) labels these days have captured your attention?

I probably listed a bunch above but the recent Total Punk winning streak has sort of made a mockery of anyone saying “Hey, write about my label”.

Do you accept unsolicited demos?

I prefer not to, but people usually find a way to send them, despite my best attempts to discourage.

Will there be a Casual Victim Pile III? [CVP was a series of Austin underground rock compilations assembled by Cosloy, with Vol. 1 being released on Matador in 2010 and Vol. 2 on 12XU.]

I sincerely hope not. That’s not to say there isn’t a huge crop of newer Austin bands that deserve documentation, far from it. But I think it’s time for someone else to play favorites/inflict their tastes on the world. Don’t get me wrong, I love those compilations but I don’t feel they did nearly enough to elevate any of the participants. Vol.1 totally got bogged down in people oohing and ahhing about it being on Matador, and while it’s nice that might’ve opened a door or two, it also created weird expectations for slower thinkers (ie. they weren’t used to listening to music that was so badly recorded). I think Vol. 2 flowed a lot better as an album, but again, having to explain why it wasn’t on Matador seemed to take up more time than actually talking about any of the songs!

Anyhow, at this point, I think 12XU can do a lot more good by releasing full, stand-alone records by a handful of Austin bands than by trying to take another snapshot of what’s really a moving target. But if someone else wanted to do a good Austin comp. based on their own take on things, I’d support a good one, sure. [Below: Cosloy in Austin in 2010, as portrayed by John Anderson of the Austin Chronicle]

Gerard in Chronicle

Contact:

12XU.net

info@12XU.net [please, no demos, unsolicited MP3s, etc.]

12XU.bigcartel.com