This week in Austin, Texas, Max Dropout's annual Ground Zero Texas fest is taking place with loads of top-notch bands to shake the foundation of your inner resistance to a good time. Taking place over three different locations around town, this is yet another three-day endurance test pulling some of the underground's greatest hit makers from all corners of the country, and even the elusive A.H. Kraken from Metz, France. Kicking off Friday at Beerland, one of the most under-hyped bands from the Wax Museums menagerie of punk hydra heads, Silver Shampoo takes the stage and devours any expectations of predictability. What was known as an off-center side project of WM's front man Paul Museums, Silver Shampoo has that special "touch" of mild punk retardation with scurrilous song arrangements that can't be traced back to the usual suspects. Incorporating the classic humor of the Museums into a shambolic mess of imbalanced pop tunes sounds good already, so don't dick around and be sure to catch one of their first sets in person. Next up are Memphis dudes, Girls of the Gravitron, who are another one of those "girls" bands with nary a female in sight, yet contain a member or two from the Barbaras, and set foot on the same drifting sound scapes. Definitely more experimental than the Barbaras' released material, yet odd enough to cuddle up with and languish as you caress. Next on the bill are Columbus, Ohio brain scrapers, The Unholy Two, who unleashed one of the year's most memorably caustic 7" singles a few months back on Columbus Discount Records. Check out their 'Cutter' 7" for a dose of their unwaveringly brutal songs to effectively clear out any toxic clogs in your gastrointestinal system, and to restart any frozen vital organs.
The last stretch of the first night is gonna be a blurry one, with three whirlwind acts left to tie up the loose ends, Overnight Lows, Terrible Twos and A.H. Kraken. What the Overnight Lows lack in record releases, they more than make up in sloshed punk lightning, as Marsh and Daphne pound their drinks as hard as they pound their strings and knock you into a Beerland oblivion. Detroit's nastiest Terrible Twos are up next and if you scare easily, or if your synth-fried brains can handle it, you've gotta get right up front and feel the crazed energy and dizzying rhythms these scoundrels bring to the table. And if the shards of energy are still running through your withered bones by the night's end, then you'll cauterize your open wounds quite nicely with the brackish and disastrous noise brought forth from our latest French invaders, A.H. Kraken, who are wrapping up the last nights of their maiden US voyage. With a debut LP this summer on In The Red, and a new 7" this month on Sweet Rot, lovingly dedicated to Gianna Michaels, it's no surprise these cacaphonous cretins have writhed and locked into the minds of today's forward-thinking fanatics.
As Saturday comes up fast, Ground Zero Texas has your whole itinerary planned out with two crazy lineups to get your day off on the right foot. The first show is at the Troy McClure-approved Rancho Relaxo with Elv!s, an Austin combo that's got something really interesting cooking under the surface. Super primitive 2-chord psych/punk that cuts through the fuzz and warms up nicely in your foggy brain, and should be one of the weekend's unmissable acts. Another band you should take note of, John Barrett's Bass Drum of Death, from Mississippi, are up next and usher in the glam caveman aesthetic like Time Flys pulled off so well, yet as a stripped-down two piece. And since they are affiliated with the Cats Purring record label, you know it has to be good! Up next are the hometown hooligans The Teeners, who blast forth with such reckless abandon and wanton drug lust, it'll be a miracle if you make it out of the joint without a bloody nose to go with your controlled substances. With short, venomous songs that blast with such magnitude as this, The Teeners are posed to bust their way into your life sooner than later, so pick up their latest 7" on Rocket Reducer for a taste of the gum-numbing good stuff. Wrapping up after another Overnight Lows slot, is King Louie Bankston's new band Brick War to take the Saturday night down in proverbial flames. Is it really a good idea to have Louie play these shows last? If you've seen the man headline them in the past, then you'll know it is, and you know exactly what you're in for. Red-faced crawdad punk drool that'll rip open your face and loosen your stool. Now on to the Lamar Pedestrian bridge, where the fun really starts.
If you've been witness to any of the numerous shows on the Lamar Pedestrian bridge in Austin over the years, then you know how exciting it can be. Police routinely bust the spot, yet tend to be sympathetic with the fact that there's an AC outlet ready for plug-in right there to power the amps, but the shows are always a blast. If you can still keep your head up, try to catch the other Wax Museums-related band on the bill, the Bad Sports. With TV's Daniel in the band and super-catchy Who-styles pop hooks, it's gonna be yet another high point of the weekend, for sure.
Yet another show on Sunday always seems like way too much in these situations, but back at Beerland don't miss the chance to see some of the bands' encore performances, along with a sure to be spectacular closing by Memphis clown school dropouts, The Barbaras!
check out a video clip of John Barrett's Bass Drum of Death, right here...