All-Star Spotlight: AustinSound.net

As a conglomeration of six writers (Doug Freeman, Marc Perlman, John Michael Cassetta, Abby Johnson, Chris Galis, and Evan St. John), AustinSound.net is a website committed to covering Austin’s local music scene. Depending on an extensive knowledge of music, the group daily constructs quality pieces for a website that has no problem with being completely honest when it comes to scrutinizing the music that Austin has to offer. Doug Freeman, founder and music writer for the past four years, explains that the site aims to cover as much of the local music scene as humanly possible, and, with his crew at AustinSound, he makes our lives easier by filtering through the mass of music available in order to write about stuff that has yet to be heard. Austin being a town where music is such a definable interest, there’s no question that some bands simply won’t catch on. Because of this, Freeman gives credit to his eclectic crew of writers who’s distinct tastes in music make the frightening thought of something falling through the cracks become less of an issue and more of a manageable obstacle as they collectively tackle Austin’s music scene and decide what to put on the site.

When it comes down to music blogging in general, Freeman admits that while blogs are fantastic filters and taste makers for their marketed crowds, there remains a distinct difference between your average music blog and a blog committed to music criticism. He concedes that being critical about music is one of the less favorable things about being in music media, but he sees AustinSound‘s critical process as a key element in being fair to the music, the artist, and the audience. Although it might be ten times harder to write a negative review, the value of music criticism to the industry still plays an important role, especially as the “blogosphere” and social media have exploded and become a necessity in music media.

But even with a critical perspective, it is still the music (pure and simple) that inspires Freeman and keeps him motivated in a business where getting burned out might seem inevitable. He is personally drawn to great songwriters who have vivid lyrics that can find a voice in unique Austin venues, but he also sees stumbling across albums that excite you and discovering new music as some of his favorite aspects of the business. Given his wide variety of experiences (from a memorable Bob Dylan concert back in the 90’s to recent local shows such as Dana Falconberry CD release) and his sustained passion for music (which began at a young age with his first Kool and the Gang concert), Freeman and his group of writers have successfully built AustinSound to mirror these more favorable aspects of music media.

When it comes down to Austin and local music, Freeman has his own thoughts and predictions on how the scene has grown and should continue to advance over the next years. He points out that although bringing in more “music business” to Austin could be seen as a double-edged sword, this kind of change in the infrastructure might bring more national exposure to the mass of local bands that all seem to be trying to “make it.” As for his advice to the average struggling Austin musician, he sees establishing a goal and pushing exposure without getting too caught up in your own thing as two important rules to follow. And with that, there are a number of local sounds that he is expecting big things from in 2010. He’s looking forward to acts such as Harlem (who have recently been getting some national buzz), the Strange Boys (who had a killer debut), Ume (the rock songstress), and Follow That Bird! (an indie/southern rock group) breaking above and beyond the local Austin scene. And at the same time, he’s keeping an eye out for “under the radar” groups, such as Way No Way (who have already impressed him with their recordings and unique cassette tape release).

When it comes down to the venues about town, Freeman credits the Mohawk as a prime example of a successful Austin venue–one that has taken what previously was a “cursed” location and turned it into a killer place for live music– partially for its incredible booking ability but mostly for its success at building a strong and loyal community. He personally believes that music can find it’s niche in the variety of venues that Austin has to offer, but when it comes down to his dream Austin line-up and location, he envisions a show at the Scoot Inn with the True Believers and Rocky Erickson supporting Okkervil River (which actually seems like a very plausible scenario).

Although Freeman still has a job in consulting and PR for tech start-up groups, he runs AustinSound as a professional business which is reflected in the manner and efficiency of the blog itself. As the internet is becoming increasingly important in music media, blogs such as AustinSound (along with some of Freeman’s favorites: Ultra8201, Covert Curiosity, and Austin Town Hall) are becoming a crucial force in helping shape people’s opinions while providing valuable feedback to the artists themselves. So, as an independent music source focused on providing honest and thoughtful reviews for the local Austin music scene, Doug Freeman and the writers at AustinSound.net definitely take a top spot on Do512’s All-Star list, and we are all looking forward to what they have in store for us in the future.

Do512_Hannah

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January 30, 2010. Uncategorized.

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