Latin alt-mu­sic gath­er­ing hits Austin note

Or­ga­nizer, mu­si­cians, of­fi­cial rep­re­sent city at Big Ap­ple con­fer­ence

Austin American-Statesman - - LIFE&ARTS - By Jeremy Schwartz

NEW YORK — The Latin Al­ter­na­tive Mu­sic Con­fer­ence takes place in New York City, but its con­nec­tion to the Texas cap­i­tal is un­de­ni­able. Not only do half the bands wax po­etic about Austin au­di­ences and talk long­ingly of mar­gar­i­tas on South Congress, but the city was well-rep­re­sented among con­fer­ence-go­ers last week, both on­stage and be­hind the scenes. Among those hand­ing out CDs in the crowd Fri­day was a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Austin Con­ven­tion and Vis­i­tors Bureau, which has pro­duced a com­pi­la­tion al­bum of Austin Latin al­ter­na­tive acts, rang­ing from Maneja Beto and Cha­ranga Cake­walk to Am­pli­fied Heat and Vallejo. And one of Austin’s own, Ocote Soul Sounds, gar­nered a cov­eted spot on Satur­day’s clos­ing show­case at Cen­tral Park.

Austin’s Rich Garza, who or­ga­nizes the ever-grow­ing Pachanga Fes­ti­val, was also on hand, scop­ing out new tal­ent. “It’s good for Austin, us get­ting out here and rep­re­sent­ing,” Garza said. “The fact that an Austin band is play­ing is su­per ex­cit­ing.” Garza noted that Ocote Soul Sounds is one of just a hand­ful of U.S.-based bands to crack the lineup; the rest hail from

Con­tin­ued from D Latin Amer­ica or Spain.

For Garza, who also is on staff with the con­fer­ence, the gath­er­ing is an ex­cel­lent way to take in lots of new mu­sic from dis­tant lands at one time. “To be able to see ev­ery­thing hap­pen­ing in one place, for lack of a bet­ter word, is con­ve­nient for a guy like me,” he said. “For Pachanga, it’s served a role in meet­ing artists and re­con­nect­ing with those who’ve played the fes­ti­val be­fore.”

So who landed on Garza’s radar dur­ing the con­fer­ence this year? Oak­land­based Los Rakas, a Pana­ma­nian group blend­ing hip-hop, reg­gae and dance­hall, im­pressed at their Thurs­day night show. “(They) were ab­so­lutely amaz­ing,” Garza said. “They were like the Roots or some­thing.” Garza also was ex­cited about Chico Mann, who fuses Afro Cuban and funk and came highly rec­om­mended by Ocote Soul Sounds’ Adrian Que­sada. And he thor­oughly en­joyed Mex­ico’s glam rock wild­men Moder­atto, which closed Thurs­day night’s set at the Bow­ery Ball­room.

Fowler on fire. Lo­cal coun­try hell-raiser Kevin Fowler has en­tered the Bill­board coun­try songs charts at No. 37 with “Pound Sign (#?*!),” a song about how you can’t say how you re­ally feel on coun­try ra­dio af­ter you wake up from a ben­der.

The tune is Fowler’s high­est-chart­ing yet, and the way it’s mov­ing up, it could hit the top 10 be­fore too long. The new al­bum will be out in the fall on the Dis­ney Mu­sic Group’s Lyric Street Records, which no longer has an of­fice in Nashville but re­mains a Dis­ney im­print.

The tim­ing of the sin­gle bodes well for Fowler Fest, July 24 at Nutty Brown Cafe, fea­tur­ing such sup­port acts as Aaron Wat­son, Kyle Park and Cur­tis Grimes. Tick­ets ($24.50 to $95.50) are al­ready on sale through Front­gate Tick­ets.

Stolen tour? Ap­par­ently some­time af­ter Phos­pho­res­cent kicked off a U.S. tour — sched­uled to stop July 22 at the ND at 501 Stu­dios in Austin — their tour van was stolen in Brook­lyn. Their la­bel, the Austin-based Dead Oceans, has the de­tails on what hap­pened Thurs­day night and how fans can do­nate to re­place gear (the van was in­sured) — and keep the tour go­ing (check the blog at dead­o­ceans.com).

Dead Oceans co-owner and la­bel man­ager Phil Wal­dorf said Fri­day that the tour is not can­celed, but a few dates will have to be can­celed or post­poned while the band fig­ures out what to do next.

“The Toronto show is can­celed and the Buf­falo date maybe, but we are try­ing to avoid it,” Wal­dorf said. “The Austin show is 100 per­cent still on.”

New Sword. “Warp Rid­ers,” the third full-length al­bum from Austin al­ter­na­tive metal quar­tet the Sword — play­ing the Austin City Lim­its Mu­sic Fes­ti­val in Oc­to­ber — is set to be re­leased Aug. 24, and to drum up in­ter­est in the “space opera meets post-apoc­a­lyp­tic Western” con­cept al­bum, the band has re­leased the first sin­gle from the record, “Tres Bru­jas.”

Trans­lat­ing to “Three Witches,” the track boasts a more mass mar­ket-friendly hard rock style than the Sword’s pre­vi­ous work, evok­ing the straight­for­ward gui­tar-driven charm of Queens of the Stone Age. But though the sound might be a bit of a de­par­ture, the lyrics are still vin­tage Sword; front man JD Cro­nise is, af­ter all, sing­ing about con­fronting witches while un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs. Hear the sin­gle in our blog @austin360.com/ mu­sic­source.

Jeremy Schwartz

Xavi Moder­atto, left, and Roy Aviles Ochoa of Mex­ico’s Moder­atto rocked the Latin Al­ter­na­tive Mu­sic Con­fer­ence in New York.

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