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Live music preview: The Shears CD release, The Pixies, 2nd Street Soundcheck

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With the South by Southwest interactive, film and music juggernaut around the corner one would think the Austin live music calendar would be relatively sparse. That would be a false assumption because the "Live Music Capital" never rests not even to take a deep breath before the insanity that is SXSW. This weekend Austin will host a free street festival in the 2nd Street District, a really great electro-pop band, The Shears (see interview below) and legendary alternative rockers, The Pixies. The Mohawk have a couple of good shows coming this weekend and The Belmont is featuring a rather unusual lineup music fans will enjoy. There will be no rest for locals planning on hitting SXSW. If you typically avoid Austin's largest festival, this is your last chance to enjoy live music downtown before it is overtaken with out of town visitors next week.

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Friday, February 28

The Shears CD release w/ Mobley, The Digital Wild - Stubb's BBQ (inside) - 9 p.m. - $6

Local electro-pop outfit The Shears grabbed the attention of Austin music fans shortly after forming in 2010. The group was listed as a "Top Ten Austin Indie Rock Band" by the Austin Chronicle Music Awards then promptly decided to shift gears and pursue a more electronic sound with the same lineup consisting of sublime vocalist Inne along with Albert (keyboards, sax), Aaron (bass, guitar, keys) and Jon (drums). Now the foursome are about to drop a self-produced full album, "From the Ashes" which we previewed on their Bandcamp page. After enjoying the new material it was apparent we needed to find out more about The Shears.

We asked Inne a few questions via email yesterday:

Why did The Shears shift from indie-rock to electro-pop after getting such a good response from fans from the outset? Seems counter-intuitive.

It wasn't a deliberate shift. We just wrote some songs that we really loved that ended up having more of a electro-pop sound. Whoops! lo​l. We've been riding that wave for awhile. I think our supporters are currently riding it with us. Who knows, we might switch to country tomorrow. ;)

Your manager, Paul Osbon told me how prolific a songwriter Aaron is. Is it hard to keep pace with him given you write the lyrics?

Aaron is a song writing machine. It's insane. While everyone else is asleep before the sun comes up, this dude is writing. What usually happens is that he'll send a couple of songs to me at a time and I'll just pick which ever one makes me "feel something" the most and attack that song before moving to the next.

​This is your first headlining show in Austin. Is the band more nervous than normal?

​​​Not so much nervous as excited to play in front of our friends, family, and supporters and actually be able to hand them a physical CD! Ha. But we did get to collaborate on this show with many talented/awesome people such as Paul ​​O, Clayton from Collabnart to make the show stand out from any other show we've had so far. Not to mention The Digital Wild and Mobley are playing with us and Mobley's Anthony KILLS it every time!

I know you and Aaron are bf/gf. Does that dynamic make things easier or more difficult for the band?

A little bit of both. Everything we've been through has been a huge part of where we are now. Honestly, Aaron has been the muse to many Shears lyrics and melodies. Awww, barf. Although we've bumped heads in the past, we've always made sure that the band is not affected by it.

Can you give me a hint as to what surprises are in store for your show Friday? The Facebook event page hints at some fun things coming Friday.

​Clayton Lillard from CollabnArt is helping us kick up the visual art of the show. We're suggesting to those that are coming to the show to wear something UV reactive.....and clean. Because black lights don't lie. Muahaha. ​We also have many guest performers that will be joining us. Aaron might also do a crazy jig. Not sure yet.......

What are your thoughts on the Austin music scene? Is it more or less difficult to make music and get attention here than other places?

​I think it's a bit of both. Naturally it's heavily saturated with bands, but this also puts Austin on the national map. While it is highly competitive, there is a higher concentration of "industry" here as well. Thus both harder and easier to get noticed. I think it's harder to keep people's attention in Austin for sure. There is so much talent, that if your band does not "break" within a few years, popularity seems to digress. We love Austin, and would not be anywhere else. I feel within in ten years it will be even more important than L.A or Nashville.​

Where do you see The Shears in 5 years?

​​​Taking a break from five years of successful selling albums, sold out tours and doing this for a living :) The goal has always been to make this our full time job. There is no plan B.

Advance tickets to Friday's performance are still available at the Stubb's BBQ online box office.

Other notable Friday shows:

The Tontons Waterloo Records free in-store performance

My Education w/ Total Unicorn, Many Birthdays, Aviateur at The Mohawk

Reverend Payton's Big Damn Revolution Tour w/ Dom Fleamons (Carolina Chocolate Drops)

Saturday, March 1

The Pixies w/ Best Coast - Austin Music Hall - 7 p.m. - Sold Out

There is no mistaking the popularity of nineties indie rockers, The Pixies in Austin. Last time the band visited Austin in 2010 the show quickly sold-out. Since their last show here at Austin Music Hall much has changed. Bassist Kim Deal left the band in the middle of recording a new record. The Pixies put out a new EP anyway. Despite the mixed reaction (from both critics and fans) to the new material, Saturday's show also sold-out the 6,000 seat Austin venue shortly after it was announced. There is no mistaking the band has a loyal fan base.

The new work, produced by longtime collaborator Gil Norton, "EP-1" got mixed reviews. Some hated it while others seem to enjoy it. Frankly we are just glad the venerable alternative rockers are still out there making music and playing shows. The new music was a bit of a departure from their previous material but the trademark twangy guitar is still at the heart of their sound. Since then the band has released four more songs on "EP-2" which sold out on limited edition vinyl.

Lo-fi, L.A. duo Best Coast open the show. The surf-rockers played a memorable set at Fun Fun Fun Fest in 2010. Watch live video of the group playing their song, "Crazy for You" at that performance. We recommend ticket holders arrive early enough to catch Best Coast. They might even upstage the headliners.

Other notable shows:

2nd Street Soundcheck featuring Bob Schneider, Leagues and Zeale (FREE)

Four Tet w/ Anthony Naples at The Mohawk

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