Southern Stories
Jan 27/17

Six Austin Bands and Their Drink Pairings Posted by: Aaron Stearns | 0 Comments

When it comes to Austin music, I’ve spent a good chunk of my adult life up here and around the area playing and attending shows. And while it would be downright foolish of me to assume that I have my finger anywhere near the pulse of the city’s scene, I’ve been around the block enough times to know how to enjoy the ride. I wonder if the bartenders at Trophy’s on Congress still use a garden hose to refill the bands’ water pitchers…

Ah. Memories.

So with a little help from my friends, here are six Austin bands you need to check out. Now. Two are MIA as of late, though all of the links provided will take you to sites where their music can be listened to and/or (ahem) purchased. As an added bonus, I’ve paired each band with an alcoholic beverage. Consume while listening. That way, you get the full effect.

1. The Blistering Speeds
Okay. How in the hell DO you describe the musical equivalent of a haunted beehive? Theirs is a doomed assault of walloping fuzz, droning feedback, and cryptic lyrics, often unusual, sometimes violent, impossible to dismiss as casual, dime-store “alternative rock.” The group’s 2012 full-length, Casablanca is a State of Mind, will destroy you – it’s a party, you’re the guest of honor, free drinks and stimulating conversation, and you’re having such a good time you don’t even notice it when the guy starts handing out rain slickers.
Drink: Kentucky Deluxe, stirred with a rusty nail

2. Wino Vino
It’s jazz, it’s swing, it’s folk, it’s an awakening and a revival. Trumpet, trombone, mandolin, clarinet, guitar, with auxiliary percussion to round it all out (I almost said “everything but the kitchen sink” but something stopped me), the band is a revolving cast of talented musicians so you never know what you’re going to get. Imagine an ecstatic dance from New Orleans to a 1930s German burlesque show by way of Burning Man. One of the founding members hails from the Crescent City. Book them for your bar mitzvah.
Drink: Whatever makes you dance. I recommend cheap wine. Lots.

3. Field Dress
It’s like the song says, “You’re my pretty girl but all I want is noise.” Well, baby, I hate to be the one to break it to you. And I take my noise wrapped in a fever-dream of electronic pop. Check out their cover of Talking Heads’ “Listening Wind” or their own “Apocalypse Fantasy 1” – like someone scored J.G. Ballard’s The Atrocity Exhibition.
Drink: Eeyore’s Requiem or any other Cynar-laced cocktail

4. Blackholicus
Ask any longhaired Guitar Hero II fan and they’ll probably tell you the same: Austin Metal = The Sword. To those unworthy simps, I cry out, “Woe unto you, ye souls depraved! I come to lead you to Blackholicus!” Dueling guitars, intricate rhythms, and tales so epic they would make Steven Erikson sit up and take notice. Forget faces – these guys melt skulls. No shows since 2011. Lame. Where are your Lovecraftian dhol chanters when you need them?
Drink: The Third Horseman – equal parts Guinness and liquid smoke.

5. VaNa MaZi
This incredible Eastern European folk-dance group is fresh off a West Coast tour. Dripping with talent, charm, and charisma, one does not merely “attend” a VaNa MaZi show – one participates. Difficult to classify (Gyspy-slava-jazza-folk?), easy to enjoy, they make their bread and butter on music that would give Gogol Bordello conniptions.
Drink: țuică or rakija

6. Shootin’ Pains
These fellas once said, “T is for Texas, my shotgun, and my beer.”
I rest my case.
Drink: a warm Lone Star with a cigarette butt floating in it.


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Native Texan and rot-gut aficionado J. Angelo Cassaro lives in Austin with his girlfriend, Anna, and their cat, Langston. When he’s not busy writing, he’s learning how to bake. He kindly requests that you kids stay off his lawn.



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