Check out our top 4 awesome local bands to look for in November

Story by Abra Gist • Online Editor

Photo by Jon Shapley • Video Editor

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.”

Upcoming shows

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.”

Upcoming shows:

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!

Upcoming shows:

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.

‘New Super Mario Bros 2’ game takes a 3-D trip down memory lane

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.

 

Check out our top four local bands to look for in October

Story by Daniel Wright • Reporter

Deep Time – indie rock

Photos Courtsey of Deep Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this age of music ruled by computer generated sounds and auto-tune, it’s refreshing to find a band like Deep Time that actually plays real instruments.

Comprised of Jennifer Moore on organ, guitar, and vocals and Adam Jones behind the drum kit, this Austin based duo is bursting into not only the Austin circuit but also the national scene in a big way. They released a self-titled LP, which is available on iTunes, last summer that does not sound like anything you would expect from two people out of Texas would make.

Their Facebook page describes their genre as “minimalist weirdo pop” and that is actually a pretty accurate description. They sound a lot like West Coast surfer music.

The guitar is almost always clean without any effects and Moore’s voice is deep and mellow.

Deep Time opened for Tune-yards earlier this year and they sound just as good live as they do recorded. Their show is all about the music and it is really great to see a band that focuses on their sound more than their image.

Similar to: The Drums.

Boy Friend – electro synthpop

Photo courtsey of Ben Aqua

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boy Friend is a band with a very modern, ambient sound.

Members Regina Palazollo and Sarah Brown reunited after leaving their former band, Sleep Over, to create excellent hipster music that is described as combining “a passion for dark fantasy, narratives, and love-sick lyrics.”

In February, they released a full-length LP titled Egyptian Wrinkle that is full of reverberating, harmonizing vocals, deep keys, and thumping drums.

Boy Friend’s music makes one feel as if you are floating in the ocean or drifting off to sleep. As contrary as it sounds, this doesn’t mean the band is boring. There is a lot here for a music fan to like.

This is thoughtful and almost poetic music that can bring up a lot of emotion.

For anyone looking to open his or her mind to something new and cerebral, this is the place to look.

One could easily see Boy Friend touring with bands like Beach House or Neon Indian. This duo is definitely worth checking out and being given a shot.

Similar to: Beach House.

White Denim –  psychadelic rock

WD Photo Credit Photo credit is Michael Hammett and Bobby Weiss_USE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been following White Denim for a few years now and they have become one of my favorite bands. This might be a bold statement, but they sound a lot like if Jimi Hendrix had come out of Texas. Now, singer/guitarist James Petralli may not be the new amazing guitarist Hendrix was, but the resemblance of their sounds is uncanny, especially on “Say What You Want.” White Denim has some songs that are pure, classic hard rock, at other times they can sound like a psychedelic mind trip, and then at other times they sound like an acoustic band. White Denim can’t be tied down to one specific type of genre. The two singles from their latest album D are called “Drug” and “Keys” and it is cool to see two different sounding songs come from the same album. Bassist Steven Terebecki, drummer Joshua Block, and other guitarist Austin Jenkins are all very talented musicians who seem to have mastered their instruments. Their live show is also incredible. They sound just as good as they do recorded and they’ve been known to play their sets without taking breaks, but seamlessly transitioning from song to song. White Denim is a modern take on classic rock and it is easy to be pulled into becoming a fan.

Similar to: Jimi Hendrix.

Kat Edmonson – singer/songwriter

Photo courtesy Alyson Fox

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kat Edmonson’s music is best described as being eloquent and lovely. Her piano and acoustic guitar driven songs match perfectly with her light and airy voice. She has performed with very famous musicians, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Boz Scaggs, and Lyle Lovett.

Edmonson writes beautiful love songs that are jazzy and relaxing. This is the kind of music that can remind someone of that one special person we all have in our lives; songs that put pictures of slow-dancing couples in your head. Her song “I Don’t Know” represents her latest album “Way Down Low” perfectly.

It showcases her vocal talents as she hits high and low notes as well as her skills as a songwriter. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the music video for this song is really funny.

This music Edmonson has made is great because it can cater to all different age groups. It isn’t often that my parents and I can both agree on music, but we both like Edmonson.

Edmonson’s jazz/pop is a great break to the current chaos of the music world. It is very nice to take a step back and breathe with Kat Edmonson.

Similar to: Regina Spektorr