Month: November 2017

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Nominee sparks warmth when we need it most

I don’t know when or how it happened, but the live music experience has changed. The warmth that used to fill venues, a tangible energy that bubbled and blossomed in the bonds made between strangers, has been replaced by a prickly and sticky heat that exerts itself in the form of cranky elbows to the ribs and an unspoken agreement not to interact with those around you (unless they have a doobie you’re trying to sneak a puff of). Maybe it’s just that we are the first generation that values the video—the tangible evidence of attendance—more than the experience itself, and this means audiences are never fully present, their experience mediated and dampened by the screen held in front of their first. I fear that this loss of this vitality is symptomatic of a larger (and unnerving) societal trend of people growing apart from one another, too invested in hollow interactions mediated by a vacuous internet to interact and engage with other humans in the real world. It is depressing to think that the venues where I grew up (in both literal and figurative senses) and which hold my fondest memories might one day be obsolete, replaced by videos and virtual reality, but I would prefer that than to see the state of live music continue its current trajectory and end up void of all meaning.

Or so I thought.

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Chynna Rogers gives Austin rappers the chance to shine

For a city whose reputation and self-image is built on its identity as the mecca for live music, one would expect Austin’s musical output to be through the roof and that the city’s musicians would be leading artists in every genre. Unfortunately, this is not entirely the case. Though there is no dearth of talented musicians in Austin, Texas, those artists who have hit the truly big-time can be counted on one hand (depending on your criteria—Willie Nelson and Spoon are probably the only inarguable names on the list) and, like the city itself, tend to pride themselves on their weirdness, their refusal to fit into existing notions and norms of music.

Given the massive popularity of hip-hop music in modern culture, it is perhaps (at first glance) no surprise then that the hip-hop community and scene in Austin is not thriving. It’s just like Austin to shun the genre that is dominating popular culture, to stand by their strange strains of psychedelia and celestial pop-funk. That said, to consider hip-hop a genre without room for “weirdness” is a massive disservice to the music and to those artists creating that music, just like excluding an entire aspect to the music industry and culture is a disservice to that community. There are, of course, some very talented rap and hip-hop artists here in Austin— they just need our attention and our support. With The Bishops leading the charge, there are some name emerging from Austin’s hip-hop community with a promising buzz to them: Clee and Ronnie Lott are two of those names. This Thursday, November 16th at Empire Control Room, Vinyl List is going to see what the buzz is all about, as these two musicians have been given the opportunity to open up for Chynna Rogers, who has the notable distinction of being the “first lady” of the A$AP Mob. We invite you to join us in discovering and supporting some of Austin’s best-kept treasures.