Of Pearls and Stars

The pearly treasures of the sea,
The lights that spatter heaven above,
More precious than these wonders are
My heart-of-hearts filled with your love.

The ocean's power, the heavenly sights
Cannot outweigh a love filled heart.
And sparkling stars or glowing pearls
Pale as love flashes, beams and darts.

So, little, youthful maiden come
Into my ample, feverish heart
For heaven and earth and sea and sky
Do melt as love has melt my heart.

- Heinrich Heine


a plausible finish

There ought to be a place to go
when you can't sleep
or you're tired of getting drunk
and the grass doesn't work anymore,
and I don't mean to go
to hash or cocaine,
I mean a place to go to besides
the death that's waiting
or to a love that doesn't work

There ought to be a place to go
when you can't sleep
besides to a TV set or to a movie
or to buy a newspaper
or to read a novel.

It's not having a place to go
that creates the people now in madhouses
and the suicides.

I supposed what most people do
when there isn't any place to go
is to go to some place or to something
that hardly satisfies them,
and this ritual tends to sandpaper them
down to where they can somehow continue even
without hope.

Those faces you see every day on the streets
were not created
entirely without
hope: be kind to them:
like you
they have not

- Charles Bukowski

Ashleigh Stone and Our Favorite Colors

Local musician Ashleigh Stone graced the town with her late-night, jazzy performance Tuesday at Triple Crown.

Stone and her band, Our Favorite Colors, successfully filled the venue with deep soul and rich energy.

The band consists of Stone on keys and vocals, Jason Wilkinson on drums, Kevin Colis on guitar and Ricardo Martinez on a variety on

instruments including additional keys, clarinet and saxophone.

I would describe the sound as this decade’s Fiona Apple, without the edgy teen angst factor. Stone’s vocals were low and subdued like those of Dawn Landes.

She had a vibrant disposition as she bee-bopped around and tapped her feet while playing the keyboard.

The band began the set with a poppy, energetic tune and made a smooth transition to a slow, melancholic song called “Amen.”

The crowd swayed and danced the entire set, regardless of the tempos played.

The song, “Lovely” seemed to be one of the more upbeat and popular songs.

Stone’s Web site biography describes her music as “a virtual playground. (It combines) traditional pop form with non-traditional expressions and new perspectives that create something uniquely modern, but always familiar.”

Stone is looking for new musicians to accompany her in a possible spring tour, according to her Facebook. As for now, she plans to stay in the area. Her next show is scheduled for New Year’s Eve at First Night Austin.

Ashleigh Stone and Our Favorite Colors were introduced by the southern rock band, King Fisher.

One of their original songs, titled “Pest,” especially held my attention. They closed their set with The Band’s “Take A Load Off Annie.”


Blues band keeps it real with audience

The Bastard Boys Blues Band are a rowdy group of five 20-something-year-old men on a mission to cure their troubles by belting out the blues with a bottle of Jim Beam at their side.

The Bastard Boys are guitarist and lead vocalist Joe Wozny, guitarist Adam Brisbin, bassist Justin Filor, keyboardist Jamie Ringleholm and drummer Brian Dunn.

According to their Web site, the band’s main influences respectively include whiskey, women, trains and Parliament Lights.

The band proved its ability to blow minds and actively entertain the audience last Tuesday night at Triple Crown.

The lyrics display one-of-a-kind humor that kept me laughing throughout the much-too short, one hour-long set. The first song they played was “Swamp House Stomp” about traveling through a swamp and another was about the “brand new haircut blues.”

I could tell I was in for a good show within the first few minutes of the song.

The Bastard Boys even sang a town tribute called “San Marcos Blues,” which mentioned various parts and characteristics of the city, such as Triple Crown and fellow local band Zlam Dunk.

The band was diverse in its musical styles. It was apparent to me each member brought something different to the table.

They each had a broad range of talent and vocals alternated between Wozny, Brisbin, Ringleholm and Dunn throughout the set.

Wozny’s vocals would blow the minds of Tom Waits fans. Wozny had a raspy, bluesy tone that correlated well with the traditional heavy blues bass line and soulful, ardent keyboard solos.

Wozny was jittery and animated during and in-between songs, energizing the crowd, chanting back and forth with them. I was having a blast watching his outrageous performance.

The boys closed with “Over-privileged Hipster Blues,” which comically chronicled the trials and tribulations of the modern day college student.

I have always been a fan of blues and jazz music, and I can honestly say I was impressed with the members’ energy and ability to convey the traditional blues style of artists like the great B.B. King.

The Bastard Boys Blues Band is scheduled to play its next show Nov. 11 at Triple Crown.

Bowen Taps Boots at Cheatham Street Warehouse

Kent Finlay’s Cheatham Street Warehouse, built in 1974, is still booming after 35 years of honky-tonk bliss. The warehouse proved its ability to continue drawing in large crowds of western clad, country music lovers for Wade Bowen’s Tuesday night performance.

The show kicked off with The Wes Nickson Band from Austin. The band was mostly Texas country with a hint of traditional southern rock.

They play shows almost every other night, mostly around Driftwood and New Braunfels at Tavern on the Gruene.

The Wes Nickson Band’s first independently released album came out in 2005 titled Tired of Waitin’. The band played its latest hit single called “Barely Holdin’ On,” and despite the keen ability to make listeners tap their boots and sing along, the band members currently remains unsigned.

Wade Bowen and his band took the stage at 10:40 p.m. By that time, the crowd of people gathered closely and the bar nearly tripled.

Bowen announced this was the band’s first time to play at Cheatham Street and they got a warm welcome.

The band’s front man, Bowen, was born and raised in Waco. Bowen said he had a love for country and bluegrass music from an early age, and finally decided to break off and start making his way in the music business in 2001. Other members of the band include Bowen’s longtime friend and fellow musician, Matt Miller, along with Gary Wooten, Brooks Robinson and Caleb Jones.

The band played its current radio hit “You Had Me At My Best.” I could tell it was a fan favorite looking around the warehouse at all the people singing and toasting their drinks in the air.

Ashley Westbrook, psychology senior, has seen Wade Bowen play a few times and said she is never disappointed.

“They were amazing as usual,” Westbrook said. “He always puts on a great show, and he really knows how to entertain the crowd. I had a great time as always.”

Currently signed with Sustain Records, Bowen wants to remain true to his Texas country roots. He turned down a music video opportunity for their latest single.

“This ain’t no No.1 or No.2 on some CMT countdown,” Bowen said.

Like other artists in the industry, Bowen claims to be in it for the music and not the fame. However, the music video for their song “Trouble” does happen to be posted on CMT’s Web site. I found that rather interesting.

The debut album Try Not To Listen was released in 2002, followed by Live at the Blue Light and Lost Hotel in 2006. The group’s latest album is titled If We Ever Make It Home and came out in Sept. 2008.

The band has collaborated with artists such as Pat Green and Ray Wylie Hubbard and recently toured with the Randy Rogers Band, another Texas country favorite.

Wade Bowen is heading east for the next couple of weeks to play shows in Huntsville and Victoria, but will be back Nov. 25. in New Braunfels at Gruene Hall.


Fulton Read brings live music back, light show disappoints

Local music junkies from the area, along with those just looking for a good time, found themselves at Bar One-41 last Saturday night for the highly anticipated and overly promoted 3D light show.

The bar opened its doors at 8 p.m., bringing the space above Barfish back to life by filling it with a source of entertainment and, subsequently, a crowd once again. Rest in peace, Lucy’s.

The show kicked off with plunging, hardcore sounds from Austin-based band, Newlywed that was followed by the energized boys of Zlam Dunk, a San Marcos favorite.

The Couch was the third band to inexplicably bring the beat to Bar One-41 with a soulful, catchy sound.

Fulton Read, a piano rock band originally from The Woodlands, headlined the show. Although their set was scheduled four hours into the show, the crowd managed to hold for the most part, and I can safely say they held out for an interesting display.

Anthony Erickson, vocalist and pianist of Fulton Read, said the group has been together for almost five years now and have been performing since their high school days.

They have released three CDs since their arrival in San Marcos including How Rocks Become Mountains, Out of the Woods and their latest EP titled Indivisualize, composed of four tracks completely free and available on their website, www.fultonread.com. The band appears to have been successful in their local shows and musical endeavors. Their first two CD releases alone sold over 1500 copies.

Their influences in jazz and piano-centric music were obvious throughout their performance, and the presence of Austin’s Hellfire Horns brought something fabulously fresh and jazzy to the stage. I especially enjoyed their cover of the funk rock classic “Sunshine of Your Love.”

Fortunately the music was a delightful crowd pleaser because it made up for the lack of psychedelic effects produced by the 3D light show. Whether it was the lights across the white backdrop or a defective pair of three-dimensional paper glasses, I was sadly not impressed. I give props to the originality of thought in the planning of the event, but the single red star and slight glow around each band member was not the outcome I was expecting.

Nonetheless, the square got a little more action than usual Saturday night, and it was still a great time for the many for gave it a shot.

Erickson, also a Mass Communication senior, was impressed by the large turnout and glad people were able to make it out.

“The people here have great class and love to come out and party,” said Erickson. “It was a lot of fun, and it was great to get to play a show with other [talented] local bands.”

Tantra Offers Great Treats, Music

Tantra Coffeehouse has become a San Marcos staple for locals and must see for visitors.

It is not only a great place to study and relax with the indulgence of a tasty beverage or snack, but also a perfect location for witnessing some of the town’s finest live music.

Tuesday nights are dubbed the name “Gypsy Jazz Nights”, which are just the cure for long, stressful work or school days.

Locals and students gather out in the side-yard to drift away to some easy-going, mellow tunes played by a few of the best small time, innovative musicians.

Texas State senior, Anne Ruthstrom said she really enjoys Gypsy Jazz Night and tries to make it out every Tuesday after she gets off work.

The jazzy guitars and eclectic sounds of Gypsy Jazz Night can be heard from blocks away from 9 p.m. to midnight.

Every second and fourth Wednesday of each month are “tribal nights”, which sometimes even include belly dancers and belly dance lessons to rumble and roll of tribal drums and bongos.

Thursday nights are Open Mic nights, and Fridays and Saturdays host even more delectable live music acts for local enjoyment.

However, Tantra isn’t merely limited to delicious coffee, tea and absurdly divine music. Sundays are devoted to afternoon unicycle football tournaments out in the parking lot and also poetry readings in the evening.


Grant Ewing Band

Many local bands can trace their beginnings back to shows through the Texas Hill Country, from Austin to San Antonio and small towns around and in between.

Most of the bands are purely country or rock. Not many can provide a sound so diverse as to engage all different types of genres while producing an energetic yet soulful sound — excluding the Grant Ewing Band.

The band is lead singer and guitarist Grant Ewing, lead guitarist Hunter St. Marie, drummer Jake Sutton, pianist and organist Nathaniel Klugman and bassist Colin Colby.

The musicians said it’s difficult to pick one genre they would consider themselves. Klugman said he likes to tell people they’re “blues, soul and rock ’n’ roll.”

I did not fully understand what they meant until I watched the band play at Triple Crown Tuesday night.

Ewing, Klugman and St. Marie formed the Grant Ewing Band in San Marcos in 2004, and Sutton was a later addition. Interestingly enough, they are all university alumni, with the exception of Ewing.

The group has recorded two full-length albums. Rainmaker was released in 2005, and Move, was released in July of this year. All band members agreed “The Touch,” from Move, is their favorite song to perform, as well as being the most popular with audience members.

Ewing said the best thing about playing San Marcos shows is that it’s a small community where faces become familiar, and it becomes more personal. All the band members met locally and said they are familiar with the ins and outs of the town.

“If it weren’t for San Marcos, we wouldn’t be a band,” Sutton said.

I found it inspiring to witness so many different types of music in one band’s set and to see them interacting so much with the audience. I was thoroughly impressed with Ewing’s low, melodic vocals in the soulful and bluesy “Dirt On You” and with the limitless honesty of Klugman’s one-of-a-kind keyboard solos.

There is absolutely no way I could write this column without mentioning the intricate and absurd amount of talented sound St. Marie produced on guitar. I was 100 percent wowed by each and every solo.

Andres Villegas, finance senior, said he was amazed by the band’s musical diversity, which appeared again in “Umbrellas,” a song with obvious reggae roots.

“It’s becoming more and more uncommon to hear reggae music in this area,” Villegas said. “It’s awesome they were able to incorporate it.”

The band’s main influences and inspirations include Led Zeppelin, Van Morrison, The Doors, The Flaming Lips and Count Basie. I could see styles from each of these artists in their set.

“I respect a handful of Texas country bands, but it seems like college students stick to the same (artists),” Ewing said. “We try to be something different and alternative for them.”

The band is scheduled to play at the Texas State Nov. 21 tailgate.


Just a 'Misprinted' Misfit

Misprint Magazine is by far my all-time favorite entertainment publication, or any publication for that matter. It never fails to put me in a better mood than I was prior to opening one of their 15 issues, which are hilariously titled in accordance to the topics discussed/mercilessly ridiculed (I.E.- The Gun Issue, The SXSWasted Issue, The Texas Issue).

The best thing about Misprint is that it's written and published in the heart of our own state capital, and it's known for belligerently mocking and tearing apart the culture (including music, art, events, etc.) of Texas' weirdest (and most badass) city.

I plan to embark on a quest to become the next Misprint intern because I am nothing if not graciously sarcastic and intent on being an elitist in the music industry simply because I have the the right to be.

Here is an excerpt discussing a few classic American novels, from The Decadence Issue:

About Orwell's 1984: "This work of non-fiction chronicles the most terrifyingly infamous year of the '80s, when the trifecta of Rick Springfield, the Cocteau Twins and Ronald Reagan were placing all aspects of pop culture under their control. Basically everyone had to wear ripped jeans, ridiculous haircuts and brutally oppress the fringes of society. And also lust after your good friend's woman and wonder where you can find one like that."

About Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls: "You can ignore what it says on the back about the horrors of war and the human condition when confronted by one's own mortality and all that other nonsense. Today, respected critics read Hemingway's masterpiece as a cautionary allegory about a little band called Metallica after they cut their hair and stopped drinking beer. In fact, don't even bother reading it. Your time is way better spent listening to Ride the Lightning over and over until you can play all the solos."


On the Hunt for Black Gold!

KTSW is home to a wide variety of specialty shows that are aired throughout the week. Local listeners can enjoy anything and everything from Texas country to death metal. One particular show, however, brings something familiar, yet also new to “the other side of radio.”

Nick Kukowski, an electronic media senior, hosts a show called “ ’Illbilly Ruckus” which airs every Friday night from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. Those who tune in would hear the upbeat, country “jangle” of past and present rockabilly artists. Older rockabilly artists might include famous Texan Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, or Jerry Lee Lewis. More recent examples of rockabilly artists include Flametrick Subs and Mr.Lewis and the Funeral 5, both of which originated, and still play shows, in Austin.

Rockabilly was destined to breakthrough as a popular genre in 1953 when Elvis Presley walked into Sun Records in Memphis, TN and made his first recording, according to Billy Poore in his book Rockabilly: A Forty-Year Journey.

So what exactly is rockabilly?

Kukowski said rockabilly is defined by not only the “boogie” sound of the music itself, but also by the content of the lyrics. Oftentimes, rockabilly artists or bands will portray themselves as rebels, outlaws or “good-for-nothin’ law-breakin’ scoundrels.” Examples of specific rockabilly songs would be “Jailhouse Rock” by Elvis Presley or “Jump, Jive an’ Wail” by Brian Setzer of Stray Cats.

Many people are fans of this genre still today. They are simply unfamiliar with the term “rockabilly”, which is exactly why Kukowski chose to deejay this type of specialty show.

“I just thought it would be something cool and different,” said Kukowski. “It’s something that people enjoy, but maybe don’t know much about.”

He said he hopes to influence more people to listen to rockabilly by playing some of the genre’s best artists, and also by giving band information and details prior to each song.

Before ‘Illibilly Ruckus, he hosted a metal show called “Razor’s Edge” from Fall ‘06-Fall ’07, and he has been involved in many areas of KTSW in his time here at Texas State.

Kukowski said he does take song requests, but only beforehand because he makes the show’s playlists ahead of time. Requests can be emailed to hillbillyruckus@gmail.com, and more information about the show can be obtained at ktsw.net or myspace.com/illbillyruckus.


Annual KTSW music festival set to deliver ‘energy’ next year

Texas State’s radio station, KTSW, has organized and conducted its own free promotional music festival for the past two years. The festival has been dubbed the name “MR.Fest,” which stands for My Radio Fest.

MR.Fest debuted in April 2008 at Lucy’s, now Bar One-41. Alternative rock group Sputnik Monroe came all the way from Los Angeles to headline the act, but before their set, the audience at Lucy’s eagerly witnessed music by Petals, Funkotron, Spank and Three Leaf. The festival proved to be a success, which persuaded KTSW to try to make this an annual event.

The second MR.Fest took place in May, but this time the station decided to stretch the festival out and make it an all-day event. Different music genres filled San Marcos from 11 a.m. until 1 a.m. with sets at The Coffee Pot, Texas Skate, Classic Tattoo and Triple Crown. Austin’s Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears closed the festival with a soulful finale at Bar One-41.

Emily Geoca, pre-psychology sophomore, has attended both of the festivals, and said she is eager to make an appearance in 2010.

“I really enjoyed all of the bands that played, and the atmosphere and energy were fabulous,” said Geoca.

According to KTSW station manager Adam Swank, electronic media senior, next year’s MR.Fest might even be extended to a two-day long event, but plans have yet to be finalized.

Attendance at the festival increased from last year to this year. Also, the more word that is spread about MR.Fest, the more likely the town will see bigger named bands in the lineup.


Jack White makes legendary collaborations

Jack White, most prominently known as the front man of Detroit-based rock duo, The White Stripes, has embarked on a myriad of different musical collaborations over the past few years.

White’s latest endeavor is rumored to be a fusion of his own rock genius with a well-known band called The Rolling Stones. Legendary guitarist and songwriter Keith Richards announced in Rolling Stone magazine that White is scheduled to make an appearance on the band’s upcoming LP, which they will begin recording next year.

White also starred in David Guggenheim’s latest film 'It Might Get Loud', alongside U2’s David Howell Evans, or The Edge, and Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page. The film, released this month, documents the “coming together” of three of the most influential guitarists spanned across the past 50 years.

According to MTV.com, The White Stripes unexpectedly cancelled 17 tour dates in September of 2007, announcing drummer Meg White’s acute anxiety disorder as the cause. As of today, the band has yet to play a live show aside from a performance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in February this year.

The surprise hiatus did not seem to slow White’s unfaltering involvement in the music industry. He has continued to record and perform live with The Raconteurs, a blues-rock band he formed with solo artist Brendan Benson in 2005. The group has released two successful albums so far including Broken Boy Soldiers in 2006 and last year’s Consolers of the Lonely.

White’s most recent attempt at an alternative rock band is The Dead Weather, which he formed with Alison Mosshart of The Kills, Dean Fertita of Queens of the Stone Age and Jack Lawrence of The Raconteurs. The foursome debuted at the opening of White’s recording studio, Third Man Records, in the country music capital of Nashville on Mar. 11 of this year. The band released their first single Hang You From the Heavens shortly after their first live performance. The Dead Weather’s first full-length album, Horehound, was released this summer, and includes a cover of Bob Dylan’s New Pony.

A note to all Jack White fans in the area: the group is scheduled to play Oct. 4 at Austin City Limits music festival.

New band makes presence known in Houston, Austin areas

The group of 20-something, small-town, big-dreamer musicians is armed and ready with a boxy, hot rod DeVille, an array of overdrive and effects pedals and a tough-as-nails will to turn heads and change lives.
Heroine Stereo is Josh Homme meets a younger, more hostile version of Patti Smith by unleashing a traditionally rough sound with a new technique.
Casey Horn, lead vocalist and guitarist, and Thom Truver, guitarist and additional rock provider, have been making the purest form of rock music together practically since they could walk. They went from The Gentlemen’s Club to Shake Shake to their current and most notable project, Heroine Stereo, give or take a few other bands.Now, teamed with drummer Robby Fruge and bassist Kevin Higgins Jr., the boys are back and ready to feed every mind, body and soul willing to listen with a profound, raw alternative sound that still motivates listeners to get down on the dance floor.
The foursome is recording their first six-track EP and plan to have a full-length album out by December.

Horn, also the songwriter, said Queens of the Stone Age, Deftones, Spoon and The Toadies heavily influenced him in style. There are definite similarities in sound and lyric content, but Horn adds enough of his own touch to wow his devout listeners.
Horn shows a softer side in comparison to the raw, edgy melodies with lyrics such as “don’t it make you sad that we’re just chemicals waiting for connection/ We’re all wandering around our lives waiting for a speck of attention,” from the song titled “This is the Night.”
Guitarist Thom Truver said his favorite songs to play are “The Bronze Age,” “Stones and Glass Houses” and “You Must Be an Alien.”
“Those three are the best, mostly because we can, and have been able to, play them with our eyes closed and can spend more time entertaining the audience, such as the ladies,” Truver said.
Heroine Stereo formed in June of this year is unsigned, but has played a number of shows, most of which have taken place at the newly founded Trash Bar Texas in Humble. Horn said he thinks the shows have drawn in a fairly large crowd for such a new collaboration.
As far as upcoming shows, the band is scheduled to play again at Trash Bar Texas this Friday and at Super Happy Fun Land in downtown Houston Saturday. They recently booked a show in Austin for Sept.18 at The Parlor on East North Loop Boulevard and plan to schedule more in the Austin and San Marcos areas during the next few months.
Heroine Stereo may be a new band, but each member has been playing some form of music from early on. Truver said he loves to entertain and hopes the right people notice them, but for now, he’s just having fun jamming with his best friends and partaking in his passion.


An Unwelcome Guest(s)

Hell-raising and absolutely unnecessary, ants have made our home their home. It started out with just a tiny couple finding shelter around the edges of our living room rug. Then, more and more trickled in...dominating our couches and trailing across the not-wood floors we're forced to walk on if we intend to visit the kitchen, a fairly common area of the apartment.

There truly is power in numbers, let me tell you. I cannot even sit on my own damn couch for fear of being attacked by the vicious organisms. They're relentless and uncontrollable, especially when you have the SuckFest management team in control of your apartment complex.

Ants. You are hated even more than you know. And you thought just the picnickers hated you. Well now the entire world hates you. You have been warned.


Nothing Gold Can Ever Stay...Ever.

As the saying goes, "nothing gold can stay." Well maybe they're right, and it truly can't. But what about silver? What if you have something good, not great, not always flawless, but something satisfactory with minimal errors? Who's to say you can't love that something, that mediocre piece of your life that you've come to depend on and to yearn for? Why can't that stay? Does it have to leave too? It wasn't gold...so why did it leave? To tell you the truth, I prefer silver to gold anyway.