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The Carper Family – Bluegrass/Country
Formed back in 2010, The Carper Family is a trio of talented singers and string picking musicians that combine old country sounds with bluegrass and swing tunes. Melissa Carper [vocals, bass], Beth Chrisman [vocals, fiddle] and Jenn Miori [vocals, guitar] form the group, and this “family band” is an absolute gem to see live. All the ladies have fronted their own bands at one point, however they combined their talents and use their skills to give a contemporary twist to old time and bluegrass music by adding swing elements to the genres. Their lyrics are up to date.
While most of the songs are narratives about love, heartache and longing, they use an older style of music to share their modern-day tales.
Each singer has her own unique vocal range, and they each take turns soloing on original songs. Their three part harmonies will have you slow dancin’ and two stepping across the dance floor while their memorable lyrics charm their way into your heart and head. They are known for their intimate performances that keep audiences longing for more. They play consistently in Austin and the sur- rounding areas. A few good tunes include “Come See Yer Ol’ Daddy”, “Who R U Texting 2nite” and “My Baby Don’t Like Me.”
Nov. 8 from 7-9 p.m. for the “Carper Dog” Release Party at Honky Tonk Hot Dogs Nov. 9 at 9 p.m. at the White Horse Nov. 15 from 6:30-9 p.m. at Central Market Westgate.
Visit www.carperfamilyband.com for more information.
Phranchyze – Hip Hop
Local lyricist, Phranchyze keeps it smart, hilarious and live. Many ask, where is the Austin Hip Hop scene? Look no further, because Phranchyze is keeping it alive and strong. His beats are original, eclectic and he refrains from using that overproduced sound that dominates the mainstream hip hop and rap scenes. He rose up through the battling circuit and made a name for himself, receiving national recognition. Afterwards Pranchyze decided to take his flows and put them to music.
Phranchyze reps Austin love in a ton of his songs. Watch his videos and you’ll see him rollin’ all over the Austin area. Yet he’s more than just an Austin artist reppin’ his city. He pokes fun at the whole industry, including himself and has some clever ob- servations about life, people and making music. Yet he keeps it weird with his unique vocals and quirky lyrics and rhymes.
Some of his songs are completely off the wall but they’re refreshingly smart and articulate. His style reminds me of old Outkast and Eminem but toned down with that laid back Austin attitude that we’ve all come to know and love. Nevertheless his musical stylings are still unique and indigenous to an Austin hip hop sound that’s definitely trying to make its presence known in the hip hop scene. Be sure to check out his latest albums and mixtapes on his website. My personal favs included “Dolo” off of “The Black Larry Bird” and “Exodus” and “Big Money” off of his latest album, “Phranye West.”
Nov. 7 at the Triple Crown in San Marcos, Texas
Nov. 17 at Stubbs
Visit www.phranchyze.com for more information.
Kay Leotard – Psychedelic Grunge Rock
Kay Leotard’s music is a sexy psychedelic trip for your ears. Kristina Boswell [guitar, vocals], Mirna Hariz [bass, vocals], and Pink [drums] form this dreamy trio and they are just as good live as they are on their recordings. If you like re- verberating guitar riffs, haunting vocal harmonies and feeling like you have trav- eled back in time to the era of the flower children, then you should have a listen. Their latest release “Witchuals” will put its spell on you and have you hitting the repeat button on your MP3 player or iPod. They put a teaser on their bandcamp site so only two songs are available for download. The full album will be released mid-November.
While the sound is reminiscent of that ‘60s psych sound, it is a bit heavier and distorted on some of the tracks like ‘90s grunge, so it is not all daisies for these ladies. The tunes are mellow yet rockin’. The vocal harmonies between Hariz’s sultry deep vocals and Boswell’s sugary sweet soprano are amazing. At times Boswell’s notes rival an operatic singer. After performing at South by Southwest 2011, they have been riding the wave of Austin’s music scene and recording new cuts. You have to listen to “Rolling”, “When I Call” and “Yell It High”.
Be sure to check out their bandcamp site and live YouTube videos or even better, just go see a live show!
Nov. 16 at 9 p.m. at Hotel Vegas
Visit www.kayleotard.bandcamp.com for more information.
The Nouns – Blues/Punk/Garage Rock
The Nouns have been and will hopefully continue to be one of the best live shows that Austin’s Punk/Rock scene has to offer. They look surprisingly tame, but their vintage garage blues-rock sound is high energy, loud and fun. This Aus- tin three piece is sure to get you dancing and pumped for a night of fun. Their sound is good ol’ rock n’ roll fused with blues inspired riffs, punk energy and the lo-fi recordings seem to have stepped straight out of the ‘70s punk scene.
Is that Joe Strummer’s voice singing the lead vocals? Nope, but it’s so damn close you almost can’t tell the difference. Travis Beall [guitarist, vocals] sings with raw scratchy vocals but he can still carry a tune as he howls into the microphone before engulfing it into his mouth. This dude does not hold back. He’s wild and free and seems to represent what all those old-timers were so worried about when rock n’ roll first played on the radio.
Nick Stout [drummer] and Chris Rodriguez [bass, vocals] keep it tight and steady yet they aren’t afraid to party with Beall and follow along his path of utter reckless rebellion. You could listen to it on their bandcamp site…but you couldn’t possibly understand their musicianship until you see it live. Songs to check out include “What Did You Do with my Girlfriend?”, “Malibu”, and “Way You Walk”.
Visit www.facebook.com/thenouns for more information.
Story by Joey Galvan • Staff Reporter
Familiar characters and breathtaking environments provide gamers with a fun twist to a beloved classic
Nintendo fanboys can rejoice as “New Super Mario Bros. 2” is released for the Nintendo 3-DS. Nintendo is hoping to attract loyal customers of the Mario franchise and catch the eye of new gamers as well.
Mario, as a character, evokes powerful memories in anyone who grew up with a Nintendo system in their household.
He is a welcoming icon used by Nintendo whenever they release a new console or game title the company believes in. In the sequel to “Super Mario 3-D Land” they continue to avoid tarnishing his image by putting out a product worthy of the iconic plumber.
The game’s objective beautiful in its simplicity: get as many freakin’ coins as possible and defeat some familiar enemies in the process. Attain large amounts of coins to acquire more lives and special Yoshi coins to unlock special items to aid your quest. The amount of gold coins thrown at you is ridiculous as it is not uncommon for a player to rack up over a hundred lives with a little persistence. The environments in “New Super Mario Bros. 2” are breathtaking much like those in its predecessor with levels bearing a strong resemblance to previous Mario titles spanning almost every Nintendo console.
You don’t have to go far to find familiar territory. The current desert levels look strikingly similar to the game’s older incarnations in the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) system and are rampant with angry cactus littered upon quicksand.
Most of the levels look like they have appeared in some previous fashion of a Mario release which is an important nostalgia factor for players. The biggest letdown after beating the eight worlds is that it can be done so quickly.
It’s not that the levels are too easy per se, but rather that the title ends abruptly and could use some additional content to provide a higher factor for replay.
The controls in this release are of A+ caliber. Often, controls in the game can severely limit the player’s experience by proving too difficult for average players to learn, which may result in them abandoning the game in frustration. If you have played the first few Mario releases for the Nintendo Entertainment System, the control scheme should seem ideal.
It adapts the controls from previous games like “Super Mario World” for the Super Nintendo and is so simple a novice could quickly pick it up. The simple joy of being able to achieve maximum speed and attain flight through use of your raccoon tail is not a hard feat, nor should it be.
The 3-D in this game is incredible. Nintendo pushes the envelope of what the 3-DS is capable of and at times the immersion can become intense. I recommend breaks be taken to avoid motion sickness. The action takes on a completely new dimension and plays one of the most intricate roles in making this release worth purchasing.
Two players can play together and basically trade use of the console between levels. Not many gamers have a 3-DS, so finding someone with the handheld console in addition to this game can prove rather daunting, but it is ultimately worth it.
The same problem exists with the Streetpass function of the console. Streetpass works when the 3-DS is in regular or standby mode with the two consoles trading in game items depending on which games you have set up to participate in this function.
It is recommended that this function be tried in crowded areas like shopping malls in hopes of the consoles recognizing the signal of another player which would then trade off the items automatically.
Not only is standby mode an extreme waste of battery power, the notion of hooking up with another player outside of a Nintendo related event seems highly unlikely.
Coin Rush is a playable mode with three random levels from each world with an objective of acquiring as many coins as possible under a lowered time limit.
If you die or run out of time, you cannot move on to the next of the three levels which contain more coins than regular in-game levels.
You get to keep the coins you get in this mode and use them in the normal game mode. Coin Rush is a lot of fun, but I recommend playing after beating the game and looking for more content.
As expected from Nintendo, “New Super Mario Bros. 2” is a solid release. It is loaded with nostalgia from characters, enemies and decadent levels from previous Mario games in vibrant colors upon a wonderful control scheme.
This game is recommended to anyone that is a fan of 3-D gaming or loves Mario based releases.