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Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Folk Americana




"Daytrotter Best Songs of 2016 (1-100)"

Here it is, our top 100 songs of 2016!

We’ve posted thousands of songs in 2016, and picking the top 300 songs from Daytrotter’s 11th year was so fun, albeit difficult. The #1 song of 2016 comes from the LA group Mild High Club, we seriously cannot stop listening to Tesselation.

With so many great artists stopping by our studio it’s hard to narrow it down, but we did. So here it goes. The list covers so much ground, you’ll have to listen to it again and again. Featuring tracks from: Craig Finn, SUSTO, Big Thief, Avett Brothers, Sarah Jarosz, Fantastic Negrito and so much more! (hint: the Matthew Logan Vasquez session is extra special)

2016 has been a year of loss, so many great musicians and artists have passed this year, one of the more profound of course being David Bowie, who is survived by his backing band (#5 Donny McCaslin) from his elegy, Blackstar.

Sadly, we’ve lost a favorite Daytrotter alum, Chris Porter of Porter And The Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes (#8). Chris passed away tragically in an automobile accident while on tour in the Southeast. Porter’s legacy will live on through his music. The saving grace in tumultuous times is the art and music that comes out of them, which emote like nothing else. It’s the thing that keeps up positive.

We hope you enjoy our Best Songs of 2016!

- Daytrotter

Madisons "So Long West Texas" - #68 - Daytrotter

"Dad Rock Podcast Showcases Great Unsigned Acts"


Madisons (Photo: Mike Rothschild)
This eight-piece band from Austin calls itself "garage rock," but that label doesn't do justice to the lush arrangements in songs such as A Long Slow Death in San Marcos Texas, complete with banjo and horns. The song is off the band's self-released 2014 album You Can Take Your Sorry Ass Back to West Texas!, and it's based on a personal account of a woman's mortality as she struggled with diabetes and dialysis.

Stream Madisons' three albums on Bandcamp or Spotify:

Madisons' music is also available for purchase on iTunes.

Learn more about Madisons at - USA TODAY

"You Can Take Your Sorry Ass Back to West Texas! (Album Review)"

I wish I could take credit for discovering Madisons. Hell, I wish I could take credit for everything about them because for some odd reason their music strikes a deep chord within me. But, alas, credit goes to writer Jim Caligiuri who has turned me onto so much good music over the two or three years I've been reading him that I'm afraid not to follow his recommendations anymore. About a year ago, he mentioned that if we (meaning the listening public) wanted an alternative to the pap the media was promoting, we should check out Madisons' new album--- at that time, Desgraciados. I did. I was impressed enough to write a very positive review which I found out just this morning was never posted. Sigh. I need a keeper.

So this time around, in the wake of their new album (You Can Take Your Sorry Ass Back to West Texas!), I am posting as quickly as I can get this written to make damn sure it makes it into the ether. These guys deserve the exposure. They really do.

I knew it the first time through when the lyrics 'I'm not responsible for the way you say you feel/That's what therapists teach assholes so they don't have to feel like assholes' made it through my ears and into my consciousness. I'm a sucker for good lyrics and those are among the best I've heard in recent years. Of course, it helps that they lay them across some fine mid-tempo country rock with just enough twang and a bedrock of music supported by a trumpet/violin combo which raises the song up a level. I don't even mind the banjo on this track (or on the album, truth be told), an instrument I have heard way too much the past decade but which I think is just not used correctly most of the time. The song, by the way, is "A Long Slow Death in San Marcos Texas." and is only one outstanding track on an album packed full of solid tunes.

As with all albums, some songs strike deeper than others. I looped "A Long Slow Death" this morning while making coffee because it dug the deepest last night when I first heard the album. It dug even deeper this morning. As did "Carolina," which took me back to the early seventies and the early country rock years, and "Meet Me By the Riverside" with its overtones of fifties and sixties country gospel and bluegrass mix. "The Hill" and "Sucker Punch" step outside the band's country-leaning sound, the first an upbeat but controlled rocker, the second a rocker with simple background guitar reminiscent of some of Jerry Garcia's pedal steel work on songs by The Jefferson Starship and on David Crosby's "If I Could Only Remember My Name." Nice to hear a female voice up front, too.

Madisons are out of Austin, if that means anything to anyone. I suppose Austin is to Americana/Country/Folk what grunge was to Seattle and Southern Rock was to the South. I may be over-reading that, though, because music out of Austin has in my mind been correlated with Austin City Limits. For these guys, I hope it carries some kind of cachet. They are too good to be just tossed in the mix with the few thousand bands out there fighting for an audience.

If you're smart, after checking this album out, you'll backtrack to Desgraciados. Coupled with Sorry Ass, it is a solid one-two punch for fans looking for that smooth country-rock punch with raw edges without going for the same old. Myself, I'm looking forward to hearing both over the next few months. It should suffice until Old Californio finishes up their next album. Madisons? Old Californio? Man, life is good!

Here is a video, a bit raw, of "A Long Slow Death" from Sorry Ass. I think it was a party! - No Depression

"Madisons - No One's Ever Gonna Know Your Name"

They call themselves garage-folk, but that's the Madisons underestimating themselves. After two releases featuring a rotating cast of characters, they've settled into a septet of fiddles, trumpets, guitars, and percussion that's ramshackle in all the right places. No One's Ever Gonna Know Your Name purports the tale of a young Mexican named Sal, whose childhood can best be described as poor, and who then enlists in the Army, battles alcoholism, and endures a pair of divorces before finding love and happiness. All in the span of 10 songs. The breadth of sound conveying this evokes Alejandro Escovedo, the songs filled with Southwestern imagery rooted in a wide swath of Texas rock, country, and none of the above. The swaggering of "Bar Stool" and the heartrending acoustic ramble "Melissa" are among the high points of a collection best appreciated whole. - The Austin Chronicle

"Sunday, June 26th, 2016 – Madisons Have a Rollicking Good Time in Denton as They Wrap Up a Midwest Tour"

A little more than four years ago I first came across Madisons, the Austin-based folk outfit having scored a slot on that year’s Homegrown festival in Dallas.

They’ve made plenty of trips to D/FW since then, but it seems like every time they have there was always something else that prevented me from going.

And here we are four years later, some of the band members having changed since then, while their discography is now three times the size it was back then. In fact, both 2014 and 2015 saw the band releasing records.

This last Sunday of June saw them wrapping up their tour, a tour that had begun on June 10th and took them around the Midwest, with Denton, Texas being the end of the line for them as they did a happy hour show at Dan’s Silver Leaf.

Personally, I didn’t have anything else better to do, and headed up to Denton to finally catch my second Madisons show.

Not only was it a free show but it was also all ages; a few dozen people milling around or sitting at some of the tables in the venue, including one or two little kids, a rare sight for a venue that typically hosts eighteen or twenty-one and up only concerts.

“Madisons to the stage, Madisons to the stage,” Dominic Solis spoke into the microphone, the singer and acoustic guitarist calling the other members of the eight-piece ensemble up there to start the show.

It was just a few minutes after the scheduled five-o’clock start time as they assumed their spots, opening the show with the more bluegrass sounding “Meet Me By the Riverside”. Doubling as one of the most upbeat songs in Madisons’ arsenal it heavily featured Nick Kukowski and his banjo; the whole lot of them turning it into a foot-stomper towards the end as they repeatedly struck a foot against the stage, some of the patrons joining in.
The mood became a little less chipper as they got to the poignant songs Solis has made a signature of his songwriting. “…And I’m tryin’ hard as I can to forget what I saw and pretend I don’t care; and drink beer from a brown paper bag,” he sang in a melancholy tone at the start of “Sweetwater”, the somber tone being aided by the violin that Heidi Garcia was wielding, masterfully at that.

They got to their latest record by song three; the clearly loyal fans knowing every word to “Sandra” along with everything else this night, singing along with Solis and Cass Brostad — who aside from some backing vocals also played an accordion on several of the songs this night.

The onslaught of songs continued, with just enough pause in between them to let the fanfare of the spectators ring out as they praised the group.

They followed suit with Solis when seeing him begin to clap his hands, his band mates doing the same as “Heart” got underway, the spirited sing-along carrying the message that it’s the amount of heart you possess that matters most, being crucial to maintaining a good disposition. It was one of a few numbers that often had Kukowski, Garcia, and Brostad harmonizing with Solis, their combined voices having a rich quality.
The primary singer grabbed a neck rack and harmonica for “When I’m Gonna Fall”, using it periodically throughout the track, after which he mentioned that this was their final show of their tour. He then pointed over to their merch booth, which people swarmed after learning the CD’s were free, and I think a lot of people had their eye on the shirts as well, which Solis guaranteed would get the wearer laid. “There’s a lot of power in those shirts,” he stressed.

While talking about their first three releases, he informed everyone they were working on number four, and even treated the crowd to a song that will be included on it. “…I’m just gonna drink until my headache goes away…” a few of them shouted on the chorus, adding a raucous vibe to the high-energy track.

It was during that one that one of the fans sat their little girl on the stage. Everyone in the band seemed to be pointing it out to one another, smiling at it; and Kukowski tried to pull one over on her, tapping her shoulder before pointing to Garcia trying to insist she was the one who had done it.

That was the only glimpse of things to come this afternoon, as they returned to their sophomore album (a flawless record, in my opinion) with one of the best cuts on it, “A Long, Slow Death in San Marcos, Texas”.
“I’m not responsible for the way you say you feel. That’s what therapists teach assholes so they don’t have to feel like assholes…” Solis crooned, the sheer honesty of that opening line being endearing. Things got pretty intense again as well, as they all suddenly shouted at the top of their lungs, “Yeah, there’s a leak in the ceiling the floor’s begun to rot!” in the latter part of the song, which only seemed to ensure it stood as a fan favorite this afternoon.

Even when she was free of the accordion Brostad was constantly dancing around on the stage, having no trouble feeling the music, but as they launched into “Iraan”, she became the main focal point, singing the first half of the co-sung number. A song that tells each side of a couple’s story as they begin to regret having ever gotten tangled up with one another.

The rhythm section, comprised of Mike Rothschild on the drums and upright bassist Thomas Damron, was quite restrained at the start of “In My Pocket Forever”, which eventually grew to one of the most explosive songs of their set, Solis breaking away from his microphone near the end, kneeling down on the stage as he shredded on his guitar. “There was a girl who got set fire to down the street,” he finished, the songs final line having almost a chilling quality to it.
“Mary never knew she was a terrible person, but that’s what she come to learn. Some folks can’t handle what they’ve been handed, some folks get what they deserve.” A few of the onlookers were overheard softly singing along to that opening line of “Losing Pictures”, soon cutting loose with the song as it intensified. A few even joined in on the clap along that everyone but Solis participated in as they got back to some old material from Desgraciados, “Growin Up” being first up.

Lyrics that cut to the bone and paint some vivid imagery in the listeners’ head were again on display in “The World”; and upon finishing it Solis mentioned how good it was to be back in Texas and so close to Austin. Mostly that was probably due to the fact that he said eleven of them had been crammed in a fifteen passenger van for the last two plus weeks. That included what constituted their road crew, whom Solis thanked for joining them and helping out.

“Me On Fire” enlivened things once more, its up-tempo pace getting everyone moving around; while Solis ended the track by taking a stance and holding his guitar in the air, viciously strumming it.

Before carrying on, he formally introduced Brostad, calling her the newest member of the band. “Actually, Omar is the newest member,” he said, speaking of electric guitarist Omar Reyna, who was almost hidden at the back of stage left. The singer admitted that they had been driving themselves crazy preparing for this tour, working tirelessly to make sure they found their collective rhythm and knew all the songs they needed to.
“Are you ready?” one patron asked, soon clarifying he meant were they ready for tour. “Yeah,” Solis chuckled. “Our preparation for tour was doing a seventeen day tour.”

“This song’s about falling in love with someone that’s too good for you,” he then stated, a sentiment a few cheered at, apparently being all too familiar with the feeling. Indeed, “Parasites” is about having your eyes set on someone in a completely different class than you; Garcia, Kukowski, Brostad, and Solis all harmonizing on the final line, “I’m down in the gutter with all them parasites”.

“You’ll Never Know” followed a similar tone, heartbreak at least still being very prevalent in it; and to kill time between it and the next song, Brostad had a joke to share. “What do you call a cat with no legs?” she asked, the crowd being silent, as they had no idea. Most didn’t seem to keen on the punch line either, but as unexpected and perhaps shocking as “ground beef” was, it was kind of funny.

Their 76-minute long set was almost over by this point, “Stranded” being another one of their originals they did, and Solis did stress that Madisons were all “all original garage folk band”. “We had to keep saying that in Nashville,” he remarked, noting they kept getting cover requests while playing that city. Why you’d want to hear their take on someone else’s song when you can hear spectacular tracks like “El Paso” is beyond me, though.
“…And what am I gonna do when I can’t smell her anymore? Well, if it comes to that I might as well be dead,” goes the chorus of the doleful song that is partly about a young woman losing her mother; Solis moving over to the mic Gomez used for his trumpet at one point, singing into it, which made his voice sound all the more mournful.

With two songs left to go, eight beers appeared on stage. “That should last us,” Solis quipped as they distributed them in advance of one of their loudest cuts of the day, “So Long West Texas”.

Afterwards, Dan’s got a gracious thank you for hosting them this afternoon, and Solis didn’t overlook the sound guy, thanking him for making them sound so good. He shared an anecdote from one of their previous adventures, saying a sound guy once told them he would set up five microphones for them, though added, “You guys need to be doing some Beach Boys shit.” “We’re like, ‘Okay. Four microphones will be fine then.”

They ended the show with the subsequent track from No One’s Ever Gonna Know Your Name; a song that in some regards Solis said captured how they all felt after the last couple of weeks.
“Wakin’ up on a barstool, not knowin’ where I am. This ain’t the way that I pictured my life when I was just a kid… And it’s hard, but I guess it’s where I belong.” That portion of “Bar Stool” best summarizes it, the song boasting a killer solo from Reyna as the show ended lively and noisy manner that was behooving of the happy hour time slot they had this day. Everyone was there just to have fun and enjoy some great music, and everyone in Madisons were having a blast as they raced through that number — and the show.

To be honest, I don’t remember much about that Madisons show four years ago other than that fact that I really enjoyed their music and dynamics, both have which have grown in leaps and bounds since then.

It sure didn’t look like Brostad and Reyna were new to the group, this tour apparently having allowed them to really find a groove together, their chemistry with one another being undeniable as they all played with a fiery passion and love for the music. That was most evident from Solis, the emotion he was packing into the songs bleeding through on his face as he delivered the lyrics.

Not only was the performance enthralling, but the atmosphere they cultivated was something. Sure, it didn’t hurt that they were playing to fans, but still, it was electric in Dan’s on this Sunday afternoon. That was something I hadn’t anticipated for a late afternoon/early evening show.

Everyone made it sound and appear as if they were having the time of their life listening to Madisons play, enjoying every second of the show and showing just as much passion for the music as the band members were displaying.

I think that helped ensure this was the perfect end to a busy tour for Madisons, with Denton (and specifically Dan’s Silver Leaf) having become a home away from home for them. (This was the third tour they’ve ended at the venue, according to Solis.)

I’m going to have to make sure another four years doesn’t go by before my next Madisons show; and if you aren’t familiar with them, give them a listen now.

Easily one of the most underrated bands in Texas, they’re a group everyone should be talking about, and Solis is one of the best songwriters out there. He possess a clear knack for penning songs, being an exceptional storyteller, his talents having only gotten better with each album they’ve released.

Speaking of which, grab their records in iTUNES, or you can purchase them at the “name your own price” level in BANDCAMP. They have a couple of upcoming shows as well, the first one being in San Antonio at the Amp Room on July 2nd and the other on the 9th at The White Horse in Austin. - The Music Enthusiast

"Madisons’ Dominic Solis on the Characterization of Catharsis"

By day, Dominic Solis is a social worker, putting in more than 60 hours a week. At night, he comes home to a house with a large chalkboard wall. Robot and tornado doodles break up song titles sprawling across the space, a living and evolving brainstorm for Madisons’ next album. Some nights the Austin garage folk band comes to this room with the chalkboard wall to collaborate.

All eight members of the band have full-time jobs outside of Madisons and many also have kids. Madisons is putting its day jobs — ranging from custom LED light installer to robotics technician — on hold, bringing its storytelling lyric-driven music to Duffy’s Tavern tonight.

The eight-piece, brutally honest band’s music is for people at the bottom, and with lyrics from their most recent album, “No One’s Ever Gonna Know Your Name,” about alcoholism, cocaine addiction and losing lovers, it resonates with the worst of times.

“Life’s a bitch,” Solis says. “We’re all trying to get through it together.”

No One’s Ever Gonna Know Your Name follows Sal, a young Mexican whose youth is torn apart by alcoholism, his joining the army and losing the love of his life. Ultimately, through intense trial and error, he ends up somewhat happy and where he’s supposed to be.

The character was influenced by Solis’s upbringing in the poor environment of Sweetwater, Texas. He found sanctity in school though and fell in love with writing, feeling torn between his world at home and his life at school.

The band’s principal songwriter, Solis finds inspiration for his albums not only from his past but also from authors and stories. He writes albums in the style of elaborate, eloquent and witty novelists like Kurt Vonnegut, Chuck Palahniuk and songwriter Jason Isbell. Early on, Solis’ literary influence created a roadblock on the band’s sophomore LP You Can Take Your Sorry Ass Back To West Texas! His publicist urged him to not only remove the curse word from the album, but significantly shorten it. Solis disagreed.

“You don’t waste a word. We can do whatever we want right now,” he said.

Solis had Madisons’ cult following in mind, built on the back of its energetic, demon-exercising performances. Its fan base spans across the country, even spilling into Canada. In Austin, Solis ran into a Lyft driver from New Jersey that pulled out a burned copy of a CD Madisons handed out at one of its first shows. Solis believes their fanbase loyalty is unwavering because of relatability.

“They dealt with these same things,” Solis said. “I meet all these people who tell me stories and things about their life. The lyrics aren’t word for word, but a lot of it is and a lot of it happened to my friends.”

According to Solis, all of Madisons publicity is through word of mouth and owed largely to the Internet — fitting, for a DIY budget. After its first few shows, Solis started getting Madisons fan emails and, during a promo in Los Angeles, almost everybody that came knew the words to the band’s songs. After that, Solis knew it was on to something. Madisons’ high-energy shows, jampacked with confetti cannons and audience interaction, demanded attention from crowds in Colorado, California, Wisconsin, Florida, Texas and Ontario.

“We need to do something to get that attention,” Solis said. “You have to do you and then do it even better. It’s balls to the wall, whiskey and sweat flying everywhere.”

Brostad, an Omaha native, was surrounded by lively performances growing up. Her grandfather was a natural musician who taught himself by ear. Her Uncle Wayne was invested in the music scene as the bassist in classic rock band Flyin’ High. Brostad kept a poster of her uncle tacked to her wall.

“That’s what I wanted to do,” Brostad said. “I wanted to be in that poster.”

Now she’s on her own, a purple Clash of the Titans-themed tour poster with swarms of winged ‘M’s and a list of dates. The poster characters, like the blue sea monster rising from the depths, are an underlying theme for Madisons. Sal, for example, signifies Solis’ difficult past.

“Writing about these things that can be pretty terrible but I’m still here and I’m still trying,” Solis said. “I’m not going to let that defeat me.”

That’s where the chalkboard wall comes in. Brostad, Solis and the rest of Madisons scribble their ideas on the board, moving forward and further away from hardships. Madisons shows share a similar sense of community.

“[Performances are] a celebration,” Solis said. “It’s tough but everybody is going through these things. That’s the connection.” - Hear Nebraska

"Madisons Are An Austin Band With a Houston Vibe"

If you’re a visiting band from Austin vying for attention outside your (ahem) city limits, how might you accomplish that?

Sure, killer songs help. Lots of bands have those, though. Maybe your group is photogenic. We all know that can’t hurt. Possibly you’re industrious enough to reach out to the press in these nearby towns you plan to conquer. You might even score an article about a gig you’ve planned. But, that won’t ensure readers will actually make the effort to attend the show.

If you’re Austin’s Madisons, you’ve got all this going for you, and a few other things that set you apart. First, there’s your penchant for eye-catching, evocative album titles. Some might consider this a ploy, but it’s a proven one. It worked for Jello Biafra and Fiona Apple and scores of others. Your latest is No One’s Ever Gonna Know Your Name and it’s the showcase piece for a Saturday-night CD release at Notsuoh.

“I’ve always liked the idea of having interesting album titles. I take a lot of pride in writing, so whenever there’s an opportunity to use words, I don’t want to waste it,” said Madisons front man, Dominic Solis. “One of my favorite books is titled Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. I thought that title was so cool!

“When we decided to title our last record You Can Take Your Sorry Ass Back to West Texas!, some people advised us to change it because it had a cuss word, and it was too long, which made it not as marketable. That made me want to keep it even more,” he explains. “During that same conversation, I mentioned that Neko Case’s last record had a very long title and I thought it was an amazing album. The response was something to the effect of “Yeah, but that’s Neko Case. Now that she’s successful, she can do what she wants.’ I think it’s ridiculous that just because someone doesn’t know who you are, you can’t make what you want. The artist should dictate what is created, not the market. I like titles that put an image in my head. I’m not making art I don’t like just to sell records.”

That’s a second thing you’ve got going for you, Madisons. You sound folky, even a little twangy, but you’re punk as fuck. You’ve self-described what you do as “garage folk,” which sounds about right on songs like “So Long West Texas,” the new album’s opener, which details one hard knock after the next, but still sounds hopeful. Or, when you sing a line like, “I’m not responsible for the way you say you feel/ That’s what therapists teach assholes so they don’t have to feel like assholes.”

If you don’t want to be just another string-heavy band from Austin, you have to bring some H-town attitude. You have it in bunches, Madisons.

“We’ve only played in Houston once before, and we played at Notsouh," Solis says. "It’s the perfect venue for us! We’re not background music by any means. Notsouh has a lot of people who want to listen to live bands, not just have music playing while they have a conversation. It’s also a perfect size to be able to engage an audience. Our good friends, Jealous Creatures, an amazing Houston band, helped connect us. We’ve caught on to Houston for sure, and we’re hoping to come back as often as possible.”

No One's songwriters, Solis, Benjamin Blair and Charles Short
No One's songwriters, Solis, Benjamin Blair and Charles Short
So, you’ve also taken the time to get to know us, Madisons. Good on you. Houston doesn’t have an inferiority complex when it comes to music, as some would have you think, and you recognize that. It’s a two-edged sword because you know we will expect you, Mr. Solis — and your bandmates Oscar Gomez (trumpet), Thomas Damron (bass), Mike Rothschild(drums), Cameron Cummings (guitar), Heidi Garcia (violin) and Nick Kukowski (banjo) –to bring it.

“I think if you’re a fan of ‘genuine’ art that kicks ass, you’re gonna make a connection with our live show. Every artist likes to describe his or her art as genuine, but it’s hard to put what that means into words,” Solis noted. “For us, the best description of that is given in the live performance. If you want to feel an intense connection to every emotion you have at once for 45 minutes, come see Madisons, the people’s band!”

“If we’re anything, we’re a band who loves to meet cool people,” Solis continued. “We’re not very good with or impressed by music industry folks, but we never pass up an opportunity to hang out with people who listen to our music. I’d much rather drink a beer on someone’s porch and talk about how their kids are doing than listen to some other band tell me how we should all be wearing matching outfits.”

As we get to know you, Madisons, we’ll learn that you’re named after a former bandmate, Rachel Madison, without whom the current band might not exist. And we’ll learn that you finished third in Best Performing Folk Band– behind a Grammy nominee and a contestant from The Voice – in the Austin Chronicle’s Music Poll. And, we’ll learn – if we didn’t already know – your NPR Tiny Desk Concert submission was featured on the wildly popular contest’s Tumblr page.

This is Hustletown and we see you, Madisons, on your grind. When you come here, we expect you to keep it trill. The new album’s songs, co-written by Solis, Benjamin Blair and Charles Short, seem to have that covered.

“All three of us have a similar story and attitude about life," says Solis. "We all have a rough background, we’re hard partiers, we work hard, we play music, and now, we’re finding out who we are. I think that in order to tell the story honestly, I needed to put songs together that were written while we were experiencing the sadness, happiness and loneliness that the songs convey.

“I think being in a place where I’m comfortable with myself allowed me to finally put the songs in an order that had an ending," he continues. "‘No One’s Ever Gonna Know Your Name’ was the missing piece. For me, that song is saying, ‘Calm the fuck down. The world sucks, but you’re being an asshole, too. Stop taking yourself so seriously.’”

You don’t have to take yourself too seriously, Madisons. But we might, now that we know you better. See ya tomorrow night.

Madisons’ No One’s Ever Gonna Know Your Name is available on Amazon, Bandcamp, iTunes and the band’s Web site. Their Houston CD release is 8 p.m. Saturday at Notsuoh (314 Main) with special guests Colonel Peter’s Pig, Stephen Heiman and Fox Parlor. - Houston Press

"Song of the Day- Madisons: "In My Pocket Forever"

Austin’s Madisons come from some pretty disparate backgrounds. Frontman Dominic Solis picked up the guitar relatively late in life, finding it in his twenties during a stint in the military. The other members’ musical resumes are just as fascinating: a Misfits cover band, a mariachi upbringing, even a classically-trained viola player all play a role in Madisons. Perhaps this helps explain the band’s ramshackle energy, which is built as much on punk rock power as it is on a love for classic country.

Madisons’ second album, the awesomely-titled You Can Take Your Sorry Ass Back To West Texas!, revels in both beauty and ugliness. “In My Pocket Forever” is a murder ballad balanced by a triumphant arrangement. While Solis sings of desperate characters, the trumpet and fiddle help the song explode like a long-lost Uncle Tupelo deep cut. - KUTX Austin

"Madisons – You Can Take Your Sorry Ass Back To West Texas!"

If there is such a musical genre as Americana Noir, the Austin-based Madisons may be one of the leading disciples. Front man, and sole songwriter for the band, Dominic Solis has imbued their second album, You Can Take Your Sorry Ass Back To West Texas! with a darkness that is equal parts fear and curiosity. Solis’ vocal gruffness reminds me a little of Ryan Bingham, but the other six members of the band pitch in to provide a musical richness that push the overall sound in an indie direction.

Much of the darkness on the album comes from the lyrics. Solis spins tales of the seamier side of society where the people you run across are not folks you want on your friends list. And yet they’re all people we’ve known, or known about, and you can’t help but wonder what happened. In My Pocket Forever tells the story of a 14-year-old pregnant girl burned alive by the 28-year-old who got here that way. A Long Slow Death In San Marcos Texas talks about a girl who was the reason a neighbor hanged himself. Losing Pictures opens with, “Mary never knew she was a terrible person, but that’s what she came to learn.”

Fortunately, the sadness on the album is hidden from plain sight by the instrumental sounds, so you can listen on the surface if you aren’t in a mood to dig too deep. Group co-founder Oscar Gomez adds some sweet horns to several tunes, including You’ll Never Know and The Fiscal Year. Violinist Jocelyn White takes the vocal lead on Sucker Punch, and delivers something like what you’d hear if Carrie Rodriguez fronted a Portland indie band. Carolina is an uptempo indie-grass number with everyone taking an instrumental solo and where Solis singing that, “my mental state is in a state of decline” seems light-hearted.

madisonscover Although several songs on this album come across a first listen as modern bluegrass happy tunes, there’s no way to sugar coat the underlying topics. Similar to many people’s favorite album of last year, though (Jason Isbell’s Southeastern), You Can Take Your Sorry Ass Back To West Texas! rewards multiple listens. Like good film noir, you just have to keep going back to see more of the ne’er-do-wells. -

"Madisons: You Can Take Your Sorry Ass Back To West Texas!"

It is not a debut, technically, though not the first album from Austin, Texas’ Madisons. There was another record with a different line-up, nothing like this version of Madisons. Full disclosure, this is the first Madisons album that I have heard, and the recent release, You Can Take Your Sorry Ass Back to West Texas!, is the shit. The band’s bio is simply stated…. ‘we’re a band from Austin Texas. We play music’. Indie Roots drives the music of Madisons though the mix of string band, folk and rock claims a seat at the Americana table more often than not in the songs. Granted the roots of Madisons can still find sound mirrors in full-on Indie Rock A-listers such as The National (“The Hill”), Deer Tick (“In My Pocket Forever”), Calexico (“You’ll Never Know”) and Conor Oberst (“Losing Pictures”).
The music of Madisons is a watering hole that the musicians can share as they travel to the sound from other musical territory such as mariachi (Oscar Gomez – trumpet, percussion), singer/songwriters from Neil Young to Daniel Johnston (Dominic Solis – lead vocals), classical training (Jocelyn White – viola), Misfit cover bands (Nick Kukowski – banjo) and metal (Thomas Damron – upright bass). Rounding out the Madisons line-up are Portalnd, Oregon transplant Cameron Cummings on guitar and Mike Rothschild on drums. Songwriter Dominic Solis brings the country to the city as he trains the sad tales of The Carter Family and Louvin Brothers to take their licks in a big city that can dole out the same misery. Mountain music gets remade Indie in Take Your Sorry Ass Back to West Texas! over a runaway freight rhythm as the band whispers “The Misadventures of Shea Grant” so that even the ghosts can have a listen and they understand the need to work out issues… they are just saying the right spot might not be “A Long Slow Death in San Marcos Texas”. True to Indie, many of the players in Madisons are investigating new sounds with new instruments, and the excitement that feeling of conquest it gives to a musician can be clearly heard in the songs on You Take Your Sorry Ass Back to West Texas!. - The Alternate Root

"New Slanged: Dominic Solis of Madisons"

Not all southern gothic songs have to sound as though it’s just moments either before, during, or after a thunderstorm. It doesn’t have to all be drenched with dark tones. Austin-based country folkers Madisons prove just that with their debut record Desgraciados.
They’re mainly light in timbre, tone, and sound. By all means, they’re country folk–more folk than country–songs that lean primarily on the acoustic form. I just can’t imagine there being too many pedals on stage. As you guessed it, Southern Gothic has more to do with lyrical content than anything else.
And that’s where Madisons strive. Primary singer and songwriter Dominic Solis introduces to you characters that aren’t in ideal situations or have the best of attitudes or mood–whether they’re actually about him or something he’s created about strangers he’s seen on the road.
He often takes you on the road–but interestingly enough–not like how other songwriters typically do. Most songwriters when they bring you on the road, they’re just that: road songs. They’re tour life. Not with Solis. He takes you to small towns and convinces you that he’s a native.
In that respect, Desgraciados is similar to Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois or Greetings From Michigan: The Great Lakes State. You begin to ask yourself if the characters reflect the true makeup of the given town or could they be from anywhere and still be the same? Regardless, Solis has a way of storytelling and revealing characters unlike most.
Madisons is playing The Blue Light tonight (June 19). We caught up with Dominic Solis of Madisons late last week.

New Slang: You guys have kind of said that you’re bad at marketing yourselves. When I was getting ready for this interview, I didn’t find much on how you guys got started or anything. Where are you originally from?
Dominic Solis: I’m originally from Sweetwater, TX. Yeah, I went to school out there and really didn’t play music until I was much older. I was in the Army and stuff. I was in my early twenties before I ever picked up a guitar. And kind of went from there. Kind of moved around a lot–not a whole whole lot–because of the military. When I got out, deciding on a place to live, I chose Austin. I have a little kid and wanted to be around in the area. I have a buddy who I moved in with who is the trumpet player in the band now. But I didn’t move there for music or anything. I was already 29 at that time. But when I got there, just messed around a little on the guitar and decided that maybe I’d try a few open mics and shit like that. Then it started getting cool, man. Started going out and playing. Got to see a lot of shows in Austin. Been exposed to a lot of music.
NS: Yeah. I kind of figured that there was a really good chance you were from Sweetwater since that’s the name of the opening track on the record. It’s pretty interesting seeing how well-developed the music is considering you’ve not really been doing this that long and since you got started so late. Now the band, there’s a lot of people in this band. How did you find one another and start this band up?
DS: A lot of these songs are about friends, back home, and growing up and shit. So I had started out just with a buddy of mine who had moved from Sweetwater. It really didn’t work out. He moved back and was trying to make it solo I guess. I’d go out and meet people and randomly ask them if they’d do stuff. And actually, my buddy, the trumpet player, we were going to throw a party at his house for his wife. We were looking for people to play over there and we invited this other band who we had met at an open mic. You know, there’s house shows in Austin all the time. They played a little bluegrassy type set. Then we ended up being really great friends and asked if they wanted to start a project with me. We did and it was my first band. We started from there. And there was this girl I worked with named Rachel. I found out later she played violin. So I invited her to come over to jam sometime. She came over and was just a fantastic violin player. One thing that always helped was that the band who we were working with, The Shady Rest Band, was that the songs were well written. I’m not a really good musician. I’m not a really good guitar player. But I think people stayed on because they liked the songs. But ever since moving to Austin, there’s just always been tons of different people over. We’d have anyone over who wanted to play. But, their band (Shady Rest) got really busy and it just wasn’t going to mesh up. Our schedules weren’t matching up so we just decided we weren’t going to play anymore. Rachel and I were pretty bummed out, but we started writing new songs. We didn’t know if we’d play anymore, but we thought we’d just mess around. And we came out with a really good demo. We got really lucky. We made it just for something we’d enjoy. Something we were proud of. And in Austin, everyone’s on Craigslist, so we said, “Fuck it, let’s start a new band.” So we put it on Craigslis - New Slang

"Six Simple Ways to be Courteous at Shows"

Do you, as an audience member, have responsibilities to the performing band at a local show?
Yup. The biggest is to keep your trap shut long enough for the music to reach those who came to hear it, and to do that, we must be where the act is performing. But Rocks Off has beaten this particular deceased horse so many times that by now we're on PETA's speed dial. Instead, let's set it aside and explore what else audiences can do to enhance a band's live-show experience.

These recommendations are made mostly on behalf of burgeoning bands who are trying to gain some traction in an industry that's nearly all slippery slope. I haven't asked personally, but it's doubtful Beyoncé or the Black Keys need you to do much, if any, of the following:

Kevin Parmer, guitarist for the recently disbanded metal punks Versklaven and now a member of hardcore group Bastard Cult, makes it clear on whose shoulders the responsibility for creating show buzz falls.
"I personally believe the burden of promoting the show falls primarily on the promoter and secondarily on the bands playing," he says. "The thing is that in my experience, there is a certain group of people that are always going to know about a show that's happening. Call them regulars. These are the people that are going to be doing your word-of-mouth promotion.

"The thing is, this is finite because word of the show is only going to extend as far as their own social circles," he continues. "This same point is why I dislike the sole use of Facebook for show promotion. If one makes an event page and invites all of his or her friends, they are essentially just promoting the show to people who probably would have showed up anyway, so you're just preaching to a choir."

That still doesn't mean you can't "street team" for your favorite bands, he notes.

"I still think that it's absolutely necessary to pass out handbills and put up flyers at high-trafficked spots around town," Parmer says, "with the hopes that you may attract a few more people to your show."

These notions don't apply only to Houston venues, as confirmed by Austin indie/folk-rockers Madisons. In a town where everyone is fighting to be heard, the band's vocalist, Dominic Solis, stresses how critical this point is.

"For Madisons, getting people to listen to the music is our main focus," he says. "Since we have a lot of acoustic instruments and we play a more traditional style, it's very easy to get caught up in the 'dinner music' scene here in Austin."
Playing covers at restaurants around the state capital for three- or four-hour gigs can be lucrative, he admits, but Madisons still decided the background-music route wasn't for them.

"We made a decision early on to avoid those situations at all cost," Solis says. "For us, the performance is an art. It's an art we make not for people to hear in the background like a television, but for people to make a connection with. We're trying to tell a story and convey emotion.
"That being said, it's not just the audience's responsibility to pay attention," he explains. "The artist better put on a good fucking show and have some really good songs. Just because you pick up an instrument doesn't give you the right to bitch about not getting attention. You gotta earn it."

Madisons' recent release, You Can Take Your Sorry Ass Back to West Texas, is getting solid reviews, which Solis thinks is a nod to the fans the group has accumulated over the past few years.

"Our fans are great listeners," he says. "As a result, we don't have a ton of fans, but the connection we have with them is very close. The songs mean something to them, and they mean something to us, which is why we made them.

"Making money is not our first priority," Solis insists. "We're trying hard to make quality art and to reach people with it."

Houston metalcore artists Nine Minutes list "needlessly aggressive music" among their interests. But guitarist Brad Farabough cautions audiences not to get so caught up in the moment they throw common sense to the wind.

"It's important for audiences to be good stewards at shows, because that is what makes other bands want to play there and entertain," Farabough says. "Not just local bands, but touring and national acts as well. There are a lot of major bands that will skip Houston on their tours because of the crowds, or lack thereof."

"Bands feed off of crowd reaction," he continues. "Playing a show with 30 people who are loving what you are doing is better than 300 people who stand there and stare. It is also important because if you invite an out-of-towner to play your show and your fans are douche bags, that can be associated with your band.

"Then you give yourself a bad reputation in a town you haven't been to yet," Farabough concludes. "No one wants to bring a band to their hometown whose fans will throw beer bottles at them, right?"

"Obviously, touring is an expensive endeavor, especially for DIY acts that aren't supported financially by a label or have a large enough pull to demand a guarantee," Parmer of Bastard Cults says. "These acts show up, play and at the end of the night, hopefully walk away with enough money to buy enough gas to make it to the next city.
"In my time with Versklaven, the highest we were paid off [the] door was $350 and the lowest was ten bucks," he notes. "That's why merch sales are so important. They supplement that income so the band can continue to have money for gas, food or any 'Oh shit!' moments that may occur while you're on the road -- and they will happen.

For the time being, Bastard Cult will be playing shows at home -- specifically a couple of September dates at Mango's. But these wise words might help touring bands like Pennsylvania's Full of Hell and California's Despise You forge on.

"You don't have to and are under no obligation to buy merch, but it is a pretty awesome thing for you to do," Parmer says. "I personally make a point of buying their music above all else, because in the end the music they're making is what really matters."

Bands benefit from fans who enjoy what they do, says Nine Minutes' Farabough, and are willing to prove it by offering their own artistic talents and connections to help grow the following.
"When you are on the bottom rung and need help, it's great when someone likes your band and offers to help you get your merch table built up or can put you in touch with a good promoter who can get the ball rolling," he says. "Musicians rarely have money, so almost nobody starts off with a bunch of cool stuff to sell their fans...or fans, for that matter."

Nine Minutes has worked hard and tapped into those relationships, too. As a result, they're in the finals of a citywide battle of the bands sponsored by The Arbiter Agency and will open for The Dialectic, Thy Devourer and Senses Fail on shows this fall.

Farabough thinks these relationships are fun because they're mutually beneficial.

"It's also good to help build up cool things around the scene to make it better," he offers. "Someone who can record or take good pictures can get a good start to making a business of it that will be available for others later. One hand washes the other."

If all this sounds like a lot of damn work, Solis says to never forget any fan's main duty: Enjoy the show.

"An interactive crowd is the apex of connection," he says. "It's as if the band starts putting out a wavelength, and if it's just right, the crowd picks up on it, and everyone's riding the same wave. So the band has to make a badass wave, and the crowd has to be looking for it, and when it all matches up -- boom! Once everyone's hooked up, the sky's the limit."

"A great show is everyone's responsibility. Fans can't just show up, sit back and ask to be entertained," he continues. "You still have to hold the performers to a high standard, but if it's good, get into it. It's a shared experience."

Solis signs off with one more crucial bit of advice.

"If you aren't willing to dance and cheer if the band is great, or if you just want people to pay attention to the stupid shit you scream between songs," he says, "or if you wanna heckle, keep your ass at home and let everyone else enjoy the show!" - Houston Press

"8 Questions: Madisons"

Hot off the release of their sophomore album, You Can Take Your Sorry Ass Back To West Texas!, the seven-piece Austin, Texas indie-folk outfit Madisons graciously answered our 8 Questions.

Consisting of the following members, our Q&A with Madisons is below.

Dominic Solis (vocals/guitar)
Thomas Damron (upright bass)
Cameron Cummings (lead guitar)
Jocelyn White (violin/vocals)
Nick Kukowski (banjo)
Oscar Gomez (trumpet/percussion)
Mike Rothschild (drums)

BFoN: Favorite instrument

DS: Vibra Slap
TD: Upright Bass
CC: Electric guitar
JW: The viola and the piano
NK: Concertina
OG: Trombone
MR: Gretch Catalina Maple Drumset

BFoN: Favorite book

DS: Right now it’s a book called Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. It’s a memoir.
CC: The One Thing – Gary Keller
TD: The War of Art
JW: The Alchemist, A narrative about finding your own personal destiny.
NK: The Art Of War – Sun Tzu
OG: Salem’s Lot
MR: The Name of the Wind – Fantasy book about a boy who can always rely on his music to get him through tough times.

BFoN: Musical Influences

DS: Daniel Johnston, Warren Zevon, T-Bird and the Breaks, Ryan Adams, Drive-by Truckers, Neil Young
TD: Mingus, Miles, ‘Trane, Metallica
JW: Jackson Browne, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Norah Jones, Michael Jackson, and Hilary Hahn,
MK: Bluegrass, Heavy Metal, Black Metal, Black Flag, DIO, Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner, Nikola Tesla, freshly baked bread, rain, morning dew in a meadow full of flowers.
OG: Steetlight Manifesto, Mogwai
MR: Zac Brown Band, Blackberry Smoke, Ray Charles, The Band, The Wood Brothers, B.B. King, The Beatles, John Mayer

BFoN: Favorite album of 2013

DS: Neko Case – The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You
CC: No clue …
TD: I found podcasts and haven’t listened to music since
JW: Ripely Pine – Lady Lamb the Beekeeper
NK: The Deadly Gentlemen – Roll Me, Tumble Me
OG: East Cameron Folkcore – For Sale
MR: Zac Brown Band – The Grohl Sessions, Vol. 1: An amazing combination of vocals, songwriting, jams and Dave Grohl.

BFoN: Star Wars or Star Trek

DS: The old Star Wars for sure, but the new Star Trek movies are badass!
CC: Star Wars
TD: Star Wars
JW: Oh man that’s tough. Probably Star Wars for the Ewoks, Yoda, and my own nostalgia.
NK: I dislike this question, because I have to choose … Though, I reluctantly would choose Star Wars (sans Phantom Menace)
OG: Star Wars
MR: No question, Star Wars

BFoN: Which member of the band is most like a Spinal Tap Character

DS: Cameron. He’s referred to himself as a “diva”
CC: Me … duh
TD: No Comment
JW: Oscar. He will surprise you with eccentric outfits and sneakily witty comments
NK: Although we have a steady drummer now, we’ve changed drummers quite a bit. Luckily, not because of any explosions/electrocutions/fatalities.
OG: Cameron
MR: I’m just hoping it’s not me

BFoN: First album you purchased

DS: It was either The Second by Steppenwolf or a Selena tape.
CC: Texas Flood - Stevie [Ray Vaughan]
TD: Master of Puppets
JW: The Presidents of the United States of America…I think.
NK: Sepultura – ROOTS
OG: Rocky Soundtrack
MR: Space Jam Soundtrack

BFoN: Origin of band name

DS: Our original violin player’s middle name, which we agreed was pretty, but forgettable. If people remembered us, we wanted it to be for the sound. She quit the band. I regret nothing.
CC: Violinist’s middle name
TD: No Comment
JW: What Dom said
OG: Rachel Madison Lane
MR: Our original violin player’s middle name

Featuring songs of utter sadness, brutal truths and odes to ne’er-do-wells, Madisons whitewash life’s bleaker moments with joyous instrumentation. A true onion of an album that reveals more with each listen, stream the strident “In My Pocket Forever” below and purchase You Can Take Your Sorry Ass Back To West Texas! via iTunes. - Bucket Full of Nails


Still working on that hot first release.