Down are an all-star heavy metal side project whose original lineup consisted of members from Pantera (singer Phil Anselmo), Corrosion of Conformity (guitarist Pepper Keenan), and Crowbar (guitarist Kirk Windstein, bassist Todd Strange, and drummer Jimmy Bower). Formed in the mid-'90s when Pantera were on a brief break (between their Far Beyond Driven and The Great Southern Trendkill releases), the quartet's members had been longtime friends and decided to break up their downtime (hence their name).
The EastWest label issued Down's 1995 debut, NOLA, an abbreviation for New Orleans, where all the group's original members came from. While many assumed that the band would specialize in over the top, extreme metal, it contained more elements of classic rock than the members' usual bands (a prime influence of the group being Black Sabbath). The album eventually went platinum in America, but after a supporting tour wrapped up, little was heard from the group; the members had returned to their full-time projects, leading many to assume that Down were a one-off. But Anselmo, Keenan, and Bower reconvened to work on new material in 2001, with Pantera bassist Rex Brown taking Strange's spot in the lineup.
March 2002 saw the release of Down's long-awaited sophomore effort, Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow. A third volume, Down III: Over the Under, followed in 2007, including Anselmo and Keenan with Windstein, Bower, and Brown. In 2010, the band released a live audio/video set, Diary of a Mad Band. Down IV appeared as a series of EPs, beginning in 2012 with Down IV, Pt. I: The Purple EP and continuing in 2014 with Down IV, Pt. II. ~ Greg Prato
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Punk rock band 30 Foot Fall went through frequent lineup changes before settling down to its current lineup of singer Butch, drummer Brian, bassist Rubio, and guitarist Jason. Initially the band consisted of vocalist Billy, bassist Jeff, guitarist Tony Avitia, and Rubio on drums. Rubio -- the one constant from the start -- stayed, while the singer and guitarist went on to work with the band I-45. By the band's second gig, Billy was out and Butch was in as vocalist. Bassist Jeff lasted slightly longer, but after three gigs he was a goner and Mitch stepped in to take over his duties. With this interim lineup, 30 Foot Fall put together a pair of cassettes that were released by Broken Note Records. The lineup was in for another shakeup, however, when bassist Mitch wed and left the Houston area to settle in New Mexico. With the band in need of a new bass player, Rubio gave up his spot on the drums to fill the position. The former drummer for the Houston band Fortress, Damon Delapaz, came on board next.
The group started to play out in cities that included Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio. During this period 30 Foot Fall put out a 7", Elementary School Love, and Yo Mama's Records issued 500 copies. The band's lineup changed yet again by the close of 1994, when guitarist Avitia dropped out. The band played each of its next two shows with a different guitarist, both of whom had worked previously with the group I End Result. The first guitarist was P-Nut. He was followed by Chris, who ended up staying a bit longer. Less than six months later, the band put out Divided We Stand, an album issued by Fuzzgun Records. A period of touring followed. Early in 1996, Twistworthy Records released the 7" Junior High Sucked. More touring followed, this time throughout Louisiana and the band's home state, Texas. The album's title track was later featured on Punk Bites, a compilation put together by Fearless Records. Not long after, the label inked a deal with the band, and 30 Foot Fall set to work recording Acme 143.
Paranoid Records, a label out of Houston, issued the 7" Cartoons in 1998. The band included two of Cartoons' three tracks, "Ida Know" and "Throwaway," on a later album. Following the release of the 7", drummer Delapaz left the band to join the group River Fenix, which mutated into Fenix TX. Corey stepped in briefly to fill the gap until he was replaced by Brian, formerly of the band Middlefinger. Nitro Records offered 30 Foot Fall a contract in 1999 and issued the album Ever Revolving, Never Evolving. The band is featured on almost two dozen compilations. ~ Linda Seida
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Ishi is a high energy electronic band with influences of Soul, Funk, Folk to Electro, Techno & House. They thrive on creating a positive atmosphere that encourages their audience to be themselves & let loose.
As one of Fat Wreck Chords' very first bands, Propagandhi have long been going against the grain of not just society, but even their own record label. Initiated by Chris Hannah and Jordy Samolesky, the band of radicals from Winnipeg, Canada, got together in 1989 and eventually played a show with NOFX. After talking with Fat Mike and realizing they shared the same D.I.Y. attitude, the band agreed to join his fledgling label. Ideally, the band would have loved to skirt the entire capitalist process of selling and marketing music, but made compromises in order to get its pro-gay, pro-feminist, pro-civil liberties, anti-fascism message out. Screeching over fast, catchy punk music, the group moved easily from humorous to profound to blunt with song titles like "I Was a Pre-Teen McCarthyist," "Hate, Myth, Muscle, Etiquette," and "Stick the Fucking Flag Up Your Goddam Ass, You Sonofabitch."
That style took a dramatic turn in 1997 when singer, songwriter, and bassist John K. Samson left to write, start a publishing company, and eventually form the Weakerthans. The remaining members of Propagandhi started their own label, G7 Welcoming Committee, which released several Weakerthans' records and Propagandhi's 2001 effort, Today's Empire, Tomorrow's Ashes, in Canada. Their last for Fat Wreck Chords, Potemkin City Limits, appeared in 2005, featuring Glen Lambert as a replacement for Chris Hannah -- although it soon became apparent that Hannah had not left the band, and had instead been using the "Glen Lambert" moniker as a pseudonym. The band became a four-piece in 2006 when guitarist David Guillas joined up, touring with the band before making his album debut on 2009's Supporting Caste. Propagandhi followed up three years later with Failed States, which was released on Epitaph in 2012. ~ Ron DePasquale
Click Image To EnlargeMonday29December Fitzgerald's07:00 PMAll Ages$14.00 ADV $16.00 DAY OF$18.00 DAY OF BOX OFFICE
"The first album was me wanting to burn down my life, cut my hair off, and run screaming into the woods," says Alejandro Rose-Garcia. "This album is the trials and tribulations of becoming domesticated, letting people into your world and letting go of selfishness—the story of becoming a pair, losing that, and reconciling with the loss and gain of love."
Rose-Garcia is professionally known as Shakey Graves, and with his new record, And the War Came, he extends the ground—emotionally and sonically—broken by his 2011 self-released debut album, Roll the Bones, which brought him national acclaim and, three years later, still ranks near the top of Bandcamp's digital best-seller charts.
Roll the Bones established the powerful, mesmerizing Shakey Graves sound of Rose-Garcia accompanying himself on guitar and a handmade kick drum built out of an old suitcase. NPR Music named him one of 10 artists music fans "should've known in 2012," describing him as "astonishing…unclassifiably original. And frighteningly good." Paste included him in a "Best of What's Next" feature, praising his "gnarly composite of blues and folk," while The New York Times observed that Shakey Graves "makes the one-man band approach look effortless."
But while this distinctive arrangement continued to earn him an ever-expanding fan base on the road, Rose-Garcia knew that he wanted the follow-up to achieve something different. "With the first album, I didn't have any expectations except my own," he says. "This time, I was making something people were going to listen to out of the gate. I tried to maintain everything I enjoy about recording, the weird homemade aspect, but I was seeking a new, shining sound quality. The concepts for the songs are a little bigger. This is not the ‘Mr, Folk, Hobo Mountain' album—it's more of the Cyborg Shakey Graves. It's definitely the next step in the staircase."
An experienced actor who had a recurring role on Friday Night Lights and appeared in several of Robert Rodriguez films, Rose-Garcia started making music as part of New York City's "anti-folk" scene. While knocking around the underground music community in Los Angeles, he saw a performance by one-man band Bob Log III that pointed his work in a new direction. Since returning to Austin, Rose-Garcia has become so closely associated with his hometown that for the last three years, Austin has celebrated "Shakey Graves Day" by mayoral proclamation.
To record And the War Came, co-producer/collaborator Chris Boosahda brought all of his gear to Rose-Garcia's house and converted the space into a big, open studio. Though the signature Shakey Graves set-up remained the starting point, other instrumentalists came in and multiple, wildly different arrangements of the songs were attempted for what was initially planned as a double album.
Most notably, Rose-Garcia wrote and sings three of the album's songs with Esme Patterson, a solo artist and member of the Denver-based band Paper Bird. "We started out just having fun and writing, and then that turned into some of my favorite songs on the album," he says. "We actually wrote ‘Dearly Departed' on Halloween as a tongue-in-cheek, haunted house sex joke, and then we played it that night and people went bonkers. Esme and I write so similarly it kinda freaked us out, and I really learned the power of writing music with someone you get along with."
Soon enough, Rose-Garcia found that the experience of making the record was being mirrored in the songs themselves. "I was letting go of that one-man everything," he says. "I did need people's help, and my control freak nature had to subside a bit. It meant learning collaboration, but also knowing when to stick to my guns—all of that was the experience of this year, and the songs were some of the more genuine experiences; some of them even became sort of prophetic."
"Only Son," a meditation on solitude ("I used to be an only son/My heart was like a stranger"), became the opening track and "thesis statement" for And the War Came. "Hard Wired" is not, as it may first appear, about a relationship falling apart, but "about having friends with problems—watching a friend struggling and not doing anything about it."
The themes of these ten songs, explains Rose-Garcia, return over and over to the idea of the "other." "It's not about any single person, it's about being that second, other person. Even the title—I never thought about whether I was able to handle that aspect of things, of having these relationships. And the War Came is a little bit of, be careful what you wish for."
Songs like "The Perfect Parts" and "Family and Genus," meanwhile, represent a very different sound for Shakey Graves. "Those have a lot more aggression, they're heavy and big," he says. "I'm a little worried because it is a new step out, and people have gotten really precious about the stuff I've done—which is a huge compliment, and a dream come true—but I'm interested in what a Shakey Graves song is to people."
Another crucial influence on the direction of And the War Came has been Rose-Garcia's lengthy and far-flung touring schedule (which has recently included stops at the Winnipeg and Newport Folk Festivals, prior to a headlining run this fall). "I'm constantly flying places and moving at a fast rate," he says. "Imagining what it was like a year ago is almost incomprehensible to me now. I feel like I've almost seen too much this year—bands, music, places. And if that doesn't affect you in certain ways, then you're doing it wrong."
While his remarkable success story continues to unfold, Alejandro Rose-Garcia sees And the War Came as a pivotal step in the evolution of Shakey Graves. "This is a doorframe album, as we're going into a new building," he says. "It's taste of everything—what might come in future, which might include just guitar or the one-man band thing, but not pigeonholed to any one sound. I wanted to open some stuff up and get people ready for wherever it's going."
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Born Joshua Hayes Carll, Texas singer and songwriter Hayes Carll received his first guitar at the age of 15 and almost immediately began writing songs, influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan, John Prine, Kris Kristofferson, Dead Poets Society, and the Beat novels and writings of Jack Kerouac, all of which continued to reverberate in his mature songwriting style. After graduating with a history degree from Hendrix College in Conway, AR in 1998, Carll returned to Texas, settling in Crystal Beach, where he played his own material in the local bars. After a stay in Austin, he returned home and continued to play gigs in the Galveston and Houston area, picking up a loyal following. He signed to Compadre Records and released a debut album, Flowers and Liquor, which garnered him favorable comparisons to Townes Van Zandt, in 2002. Turning down a deal from Sugar Hill Records, Carll released his second album, Little Rock, on his own Highway 87 Records -- produced by R.S. Field, it reached the top spot on the Americana charts in 2005. Carll signed with Lost Highway Records a year later in 2006. The label released Trouble in Mind in 2008, which contained the clever and increasingly iconic "She Left Me for Jesus," a song Carll had co-written with Brian Keane. Now firmly established as a next-generation singer and writer in the Van Zandt/Guy Clark/Ray Wylie Hubbard style of maverick country-folk, Carll released a second album for Lost Highway, KMAG YOYO (the title comes from the military and is an abbreviation for "Kiss My Ass Guys, You're On Your Own"), in 2011. ~ Steve Leggett
Click Image To EnlargeWednesday31December Fitzgerald's08:00 PMAll Ages$0.00 to $10.00
Ring in the New Year in style with BLSHS, Teeel, New York City Queens, children of pop, and Yung Slutty!!
21+ Free Admission / $10 under / Fitzgeralds (downstairs) / Doors at 8pm
Do not miss this party! We are going to party like its 1999!! This is the place to be: tell all your friends, make your plans, install Uber. Whatever you need to do to get ready, do it now!
Free digital download of BLSHS - Abstract Desires for everyone that turns up!
Stay tuned here for more information about giveaways and fun prizes...
Note: This is an all ages show. This is a Masquerade Ball, so masks are encouraged but not required. Dancing, however, is required. No standing in the back and playing on your phone at this show. It's NYE and we're gonna have some fun Houston
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"When Mineral broke up in 1998, they had been together for only four years and released only two full-lengths, yet their shaping of the indie rock landscape cannot be overstated. " – All Music Guide
EndSerenading was the second, and final album released by Mineral. It was the definitive statement by the Austin, TX based band. So final, in fact, that the band members had actually gone their separate ways prior to the album's release in 1998.
What ended in 1998, actually began four years earlier, in Houston, TX, when friends Christopher Simpson (guitar/vocals), Jeremy Gomez (bass), Gabriel Wiley (drums) and Scott McCarver (guitar) formed the band Mineral. Mineral launched into touring immediately, often alongside other indie bands like Jimmy Eat World, The Promise Ring, Texas is the Reason, Knapsack, Braid, and The Get Up Kids, garnering them a legion of fans from the outset.
Eventually the band relocated to Austin, TX and a debut single, Gloria b/w Parking Lot, on Caulfield Records followed, as did more touring. Via a zine editor in Colorado, the single found it's way to Jeff Matlow at crank! A RECORD COMPANY, which eventually led to an album deal and the release of The Power Of Failing in 1996.
Upon the release of the first album, Mineral quickly emerged as one of the leaders in the burgeoning indie / emo music scene. College radio loved the record. The press gushed about the band. It was inevitable that the major labels would come calling. Interscope Records eventually won the major label beauty contest and signed the band.
Such were the circumstances when the band went into Big Fish Studios in San Diego, California with Mark Trombino (Blink 182, Jimmy Eat World) to record one final record for crank! A RECORD COMPANY. EndSerenading was the result. The songs for the record had not come easily, nor did the recording of them. But the album was strong, emotional and daring. It was a Mineral album.
And then it was over. The perfunctory "creative differences" statement was issued. The album was released and new bands were formed. Christopher and Jeremy went on to form The Gloria Record and Gabe founded Pop Unknown.
In a short amount of time, Mineral's poignant dynamics combined with impassioned lyrics about coming of age was influencing bands everywhere, and still inspires new bands in the indie scene today.
2014 marks the bands 20th anniversary.
Click Image To EnlargeFriday9January Fitzgerald's08:00 PMAll Ages$10.00 ADV $12.00 DAY OF
In the two years it has been together, Friendly Savages has established itself as a band to know throughout the Southeast with its powerful, genre-defying sound. Heralded as "one of the best groups working in Austin today" (The Horn), the group serves a double helping of passion and levity in their can't-miss concerts. Friendly Savages is making big noise with the studio, as well. Their full-length debut, O, Joshua!, found immediate success, climbing to #3 on the iTunes singer songwriter charts and quickly seeing over 100,000 streams on Spotify.
The group is made up of Josh Coulter, John McDonald, Michael Summers and Malcolm White. With each member coming from a distinctly unique musical background, Friendly Savages' music breaks the mold of typical folk, stretching into rock, blues, and classical music. Concert goers are hard pressed to find an equal to the energy, joy, and musicality of a Friendly Savages show anywhere else. As Back Down South put it, "they're a band you just need to be listening to, ok?"
Thomas Csorba Bio
With his debut EP, "Kentucky", Houston songsmith Thomas Csorba secures his place among the storied voices of folk and Americana music. Melancholy and nostalgic, this is a record for old souls. Csorba's songs -- rustic, honest, and as mournful as they are sweet -- recall the best of Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan, and Woodie Guthrie. "Kentucky", in that great tradition, is the offering of a man both weary and hopeful, a traveller on a long journey home.
Click Image To EnlargeSaturday10January Fitzgerald's07:30 PMAll Ages$25.00 ADV$27.00 DAY OF BOX OFFICE
Pennywise were one of the key bands of the punk revival of the '90s. Using California hardcore as a foundation, the group incorporated funk-metal and skatepunk into its sound, developing into something that functioned as edgy, post-punk frat rock -- it was speedy and occasionally stupidly catchy, with heavy, propulsive rhythms and positive, optimistic lyrics that stood in pointed contrast to their grunge-addled peers. Through constant touring and recording, as well as appearances at surfing and snowboarding concerts and in videos, Pennywise developed a dedicated following among post-hardcore punk audiences, and were positioned to follow Bad Religion, Green Day, and the Offspring into the modern rock mainstream, but internal problems, culminating in the 1996 suicide of founding bassist Jason Thirsk, prevented the band from being anything bigger than a popular cult band in the vein of NOFX.
Jim Lindberg (lead vocals), Fletcher Dragge (guitar), Byron McMackin (drums), and Jason Thirsk (bass) formed Pennywise in 1988, naming the band after the monster in Stephen King's cult horror novel It. All of the members attended the same high school in Hermosa Beach, California, where they were involved with both punk rock and surfing. Thirsk had played in a local hardcore band called PMA, while the other members played with several other groups before the band actually came together. In 1989, they released their debut EP, A Word from the Wise, on Theologian Records. A local college DJ passed the record to Brett Gurewitz at Epitaph Records, and he signed the group in 1990. Pennywise's eponymous full-length debut appeared the following year. Pennywise became a word-of-mouth hit among the underground punk, surf, and snowboarding community, and the group headed out on its first national tour.
Six months after their debut was released, Lindberg left the group due to his frustration with its lack of motivation and the lack of security in rock groups. Thirsk moved to vocals and his bass teacher, Randy Bradbury, filled in on bass. Following his departure, Theologian released the previously unissued Wildcard EP, backing it with A Word from the Wise on its CD release. While he was separated from the band, Lindberg married, but decided to rejoin the group in late 1992. At the time, Pennywise were attempting to record their second album with Thirsk on vocals, and they were glad to have him back. During his time off, Pennywise had decided to focus on their career, and that increased focus was apparent on their second album, 1993's Unknown Road. Due to constant touring and appearances in snowboarding and surfing videos, the album sold around 200,000 copies. Before they recorded their third album in early 1995, Pennywise were courted by several major labels, which approached the band following the unexpected multi-platinum breakthrough success of Green Day and the Offspring. The band elected to stay with Epitaph and completed About Time, which was released in the summer of 1995. About Time became an indie hit, and the band's live shows became popular attractions. In particular, Dragge became notorious for vomiting on his audience, most notoriously on DJ Riki Rachtman at a show for the influential alternative radio station KROQ, as a veiled protest against the station.
As the band was preparing to record its fourth album in the summer of 1996, Jason Thirsk took a leave of absence from the group to try to control his growing alcoholism; Randy Bradbury again stepped into the bassist role for Pennywise, and he was scheduled to move to rhythm guitar once Thirsk conquered his addiction. Sadly, Thirsk was unsuccessful; on July 29, 1996, he committed suicide after a drinking binge. Pennywise were shaken by his death, yet decided to continue performing, adding Bradbury as a permanent member. The band's fourth album, Full Circle, was released in April 1997; Straight Ahead followed two years later. In fall 2000, Pennywise trudged on to release the live album Live at the Key Club, which was recorded at the tiny club in Los Angeles in front of a crowd of 600 fans on the band's previous tour. New studio albums followed in 2001 (Land of the Free?) and 2003 (From the Ashes). Pennywise had always been political and confrontational. But Ashes amplified those notions with its reaction to the volatile political climate in America on the eve of the 2004 presidential elections.
When Pennywise returned in August 2005 with Fuse, they were no less conscious of politics and society. But the album also returned to a more muscular sound, and included a few classic punk rock anthems for the kids to believe in. In March 2008, Pennywise released Reason to Believe on MySpace Records in the United States and Epitaph in the U.K. Fans also had the option of downloading the album for free, thanks to a partnership between MySpace, Textango, and the band. In 2010, vocalist Jim Lindberg amicably left the group, and it was announced that Zoli Teglas, the lead singer of Ignite, would become his replacement. After breaking in the new frontman for the next two years with constant touring of Europe, Japan, Australia, and the States, the seminal So-Cal punks returned to the studio for their tenth album, All or Nothing, which was released in spring of 2012. That year saw Teglas put out of commission by a back injury, so Lindberg rejoined the band. After touring All or Nothing, Pennywise got back into writing mode. Digging in the archives, they decided to freshly record some songs written years before by their late bassist Jason Thirsk, which were more positive and life-affirming than their usual angry political fare. The songs appeared on their next album, Yesterdays, which was slated for release in July 2014. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Click Image To EnlargeTuesday20January Fitzgerald's07:00 PMAll Ages$13.00 ADV $15.00 DAY OF$17.00 DAY OF BOX OFFICE
Bahamas is the solo project of Toronto-based guitarist and musical gun-for-hire Afie Jurvanen. With a carefully trained ear for melody that he's honed during his time playing with the likes of Feist and Howie Beck, Jurvanen's solo project has a stripped-down and contemplative sound that focuses on doing more with less, allowing his voice and guitar to do most of the heavy lifting on his quiet indie folk meditations. Bahamas made its album debut in 2009 with Pink Strat, which was nominated for a Juno Award the following year. After releasing the album, Jurvanen set out on tour in support of alt-country icons Wilco before eventually striking out on his own with a headlining tour. The guitarist returned in 2012 with his follow-up album, Barchords. In 2014, Jurvanen delivered the third Bahamas studio album, Bahamas Is Afie, which featured a '70s soft country-influenced vibe. ~ Gregory Heaney
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Influential West Coast heavy metal quartet Machine Head formed in 1992 around the talents of ex-Vio-Lence guitar players Robert Flynn and Phil Demmel, bass player Adam Duce, and drummer Chris Kontos. Their D.I.Y. work ethic, aggressive playing, and relentless self-promotion eventually landed them a deal with Roadrunner Records, a relationship that would extend all the way through 2005. Their blistering debut, 1992's Burn My Eyes, blended the powerful, modern attack of Pantera and Alice in Chains with the volatility of classic thrash bands like Death Angel and Slayer, earning them a huge European following. The record sold over 500,000 copies and spawned a massive international tour that lasted almost two years.
Kontos was replaced by new drummer Dave McClain on 1997's More Things Change, an album that saw the band blending speed and progressive metal with dizzying results. The excessive touring and high-octane lifestyle took its toll on the group, but the bandmembers fought through their demons on 1999's Burning Red, resulting in the hit "From This Day," their first commercial single and video. Supercharger was released in 2001, followed by the concert album Hellalive and the critically lauded Through the Ashes of Empires in 2003. The DVD Elegies arrived in 2005, followed by Blackening in 2007.
In late 2010, Machine Head went back into the studio, setting up shop in Green Day's Jingletown Studios to begin work on a new album. Produced by Flynn himself, the band released its seventh album, Unto the Locust, in 2011. The band returned the following year with the enthusiastically titled live album Machine F**king Head Live! ~ James Christopher Monger
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Singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and neo-country blues enthusiast Lincoln Durham was born in Whitney, Texas, but raised in Itasca, Texas. Adept at music from an early age, he was playing fiddle by the time he was four, competing in fiddle contests in Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma by the time he was eight, and at the age of ten, he won the Texas State Youth Fiddle Championship. Durham switched gears in high school when he discovered electric guitar, picked up a Strat, and formed a trio that specialized in Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan covers. He took a break from music following high school to concentrate on his art and design interests, and when he returned to playing music, it was with an old Gibson acoustic, a resonator and a raw, sturdy slide guitar style that, given the dark, startling songs he was writing and his gruff vocals, made him sound like a cross between Son House and Tom Waits, or maybe a deep country blues version of Townes Van Zandt. Durham developed a one-man band sound that incorporated his neo-country blues leanings with stomp boards, guitar, mandolin, blues harps, and seemingly any instrument he chose to pick up, and his haunting, riveting live shows earned him a following. Mentored by Ray Wylie Hubbard, Durham moved to Austin, releasing a self-titled EP produced by Hubbard and George Reiff. A debut full-length, The Shovel vs. the Howling Bones, again co-produced by Hubbard and Reiff and including remastered versions of some of the songs from the EP, appeared in 2012 and quickly garnered rave reviews. A second album, Exodus of the Deemed Unrighteous, produced this time by Reiff alone, followed in 2013. ~ Steve Leggett
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Although the members of Masked Intruder may keep their identities hidden under ski masks, the mysterious band's sugary sweet pop-punk shows that they wear their hearts on their sleeves. Claiming to have formed up in jail, the band, who go by the anonymous handles Intruder Blue, Intruder Green, Intruder Yellow, and Intruder Red, have a sound that finds them adding a criminal edge to their yearning melodies, evoking the Bay Area pop-punk of bands like Green Day and Mr. T Experience. Masked Intruder made their debut with a self-titled album, released by Red Scare Industries, in 2012 before signing on with Fat Wreck Chords, where they would unleash their sophomore effort, M.I., in 2014. ~ Gregory Heaney
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Southern rock veterans Black Oak Arkansas never quite achieved the level of success enjoyed by contemporaries like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers, but have remained a cult band thanks to their raw, primitive energy and the testosterone-fueled antics of lead vocalist/showman James "Big Jim Dandy" Mangrum. Named for Mangrum's hometown, Black Oak Arkansas eventually built up a solid following through incessant touring and enjoyed a run of ten charting albums between 1971 and 1976. The band also found itself with a Top 30 single in their raunchy cover of a LaVern Baker R&B hit called "Jim Dandy to the Rescue," which became Mangrum's signature song. When album sales dried up, Mangrum re-formed the band with more musically skilled veteran players and continued to tour, although the group's glory days were past.
Black Oak Arkansas dates back to the mid-'60s, when a group of young, long-haired misfits headed by Jim Mangrum, unable to find work, turned to rock & roll. However, the group was unable to purchase equipment and ended up being arrested for grand larceny after stealing items from the local school in order to get money. They were nearly run out of town and went to live in the nearby hills, locating and borrowing equipment where they could. The band moved to New Orleans in 1969 and called itself Knowbody Else, with a lineup of vocalist Mangrum; guitarists Ricky "Ricochet" Reynolds, Stanley "Goober" Knight, and Harvey "Burley" Jett; bassist Pat Daugherty; and drummer Wayne Evans. Knowbody Else recorded a self-titled album for Stax, which went nowhere; rethinking their approach, the band became interested in psychedelia and Eastern spirituality, which they filtered through their Southern Baptist upbringing. Changing their name to Black Oak Arkansas, the band secured a deal with Atlantic after several trips to Los Angeles and released its self-titled debut in 1971. While it wasn't a hit, the band toured extensively, building a reputation as a raw, incendiary live act that made up for occasional musical deficiencies with energy and the explicit sexuality of Mangrum, who flaunted his body at every opportunity and became known for such antics as miming sex with the washboard he used for musical accompaniment.
The band's second album, Keep the Faith, was a noticeable improvement, as the band had honed its sound and material through numerous live gigs; If an Angel Came to See You, Would You Make Her Feel at Home? followed the same year, featuring new drummer Tommy Aldridge, but it was 1973's Raunch 'N' Roll Live that established the group as a commercial force. That year, High on the Hog became their most commercially successful album, reaching number 52 on the charts. It was buoyed by the Top 30 cover version of "Jim Dandy to the Rescue," which featured female vocalist Ruby Starr trading innuendoes with Jim "Dandy" Mangrum. Several more albums followed before the group parted ways with Atlantic in 1976; Jett left the band in 1975 and was replaced by Starr cohort James Henderson. Lineup shifts were rampant as the group switched to MCA; Aldridge left and was replaced by Joel Williams, while the guitar/bass axis was gutted and rebuilt around Greg Reding, Jack Holder, and bassist Andy Tanas. This lineup released Race With the Devil in 1977, after the band had one last taste of success with the "Strong Enough to Be Gentle" single. Following several lackluster, straightforward Southern rock albums, the band called it quits in 1980. After recovering from a heart attack, Mangrum reunited with Reynolds in 1984 for a solo album, Ready as Hell; The Black Attack Is Back followed two years later. In 1999, BOA reunited to release The Wild Bunch. ~ Steve Huey