Dhruva Ailman and Marco Oppedisano are from opposite ends of the country - Aliman calls California home, and Oppedisano lives in New York - but they both make intriguing instrumental music, and hey, they're both MadeLoud artists. Small world, right? Aliman is a composer who delves into electronica and dance as frequently as ambient music. His music has appeared in diverse places, from "Keeping...  Read more

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The world is endlessly complex, isn't it? The ease of communication and our access to recording equipment puts what was once the domain of the bro-ed out music producer/trust fund baby into our domain. I like this "Wonderwall" remix that MadeLoud artist Elements of Noise did. It's a dance-friendly revisit to a slowed-down cover that Chan Marshall's project did of the incredibly ubiquitous (in...  Read more
My trip across the State looked to be sidelined for an undetermined amount of time, but thanks to the help of Abilene insurance adjustor Russell (hi Russ!) and an El Paso body shop, Van Halen will soon be back on the road, guzzling gas up into the panhandle/across the Dallas metroplex, and then eventually to east Texas. I'm kind of dying to get out of El Paso, not because it's hot and weird here...  Read more
Abilene's a nice place, but I'm pushing this poor city to its limits into what looks like a six or seven day visit. The original plan was to meet friends here for my birthday (saving them the trip to El Paso, a courtesy I didn't extend to my girlfriend Marie) and then head west again. Unfortunately, I had a traffic accident on I-20 that could only be described as “country”: a water trough flew...  Read more
It turns out that from the Marfa area to El Paso you don't have much other than inflated gas prices (3.92 a gallon wtf?) and more baked earth. I drove past the literally-scorched stretch of land outside Ft. Davis that suffered wildfires earlier this year, and though I meant to extend my trip west to take up about two weeks, I found myself in El Paso before I knew it. With my friend Lauren's...  Read more
Texas' hugeness means that if you find yourself in a less than stellar spot - like Laredo on a Monday, for example - there's always more out there. After a morning in Alpine where I made sure to check out Ringtail Records, I saddled up and excitedly rolled into Marfa, which for the last six or so years has a coolness quotient possibly unheard of in the rest of West Texas. After stopping off to...  Read more
The way I'm hardwired means I'm more likely to find record stores and venues catering to the kind of music I usually enjoy, so my entire time in the Valley I was pulling over to the side of the road to check out what looked like D.I.Y. punk venues and vinyl-only record stores. Unfortunately this - and my shameful, shameful ignorance of even the rudiments of the Spanish language - meant that I'm...  Read more
Going into this knowing that Texas summers are ungodly hot and that the Van Halen doesn't have air conditioning hasn't dulled the fresh horror of upwards of one-hundred degrees. There's just something about this kind of heat that is baffling and confusing; the sun bakes your blood vessels and can turn a Rhodes Scholar into a stuttering mess. It also routinely kills the unfortunate elderly and...  Read more
When I was originally trying to decide how to frame my cross-Texas trip, I had the idea that I would go to different regional festivals and follow where that led me. The problem with this course is that a.) it would have led me in erratic, zig-zaggy patterns with few trips to far west Texas, the panhandle or south Texas, and b.) after you've seen one goat/rattlesnake/strawberry/shrimp festival...  Read more
After de-dirting from Kerrville and spending about 24 hours in San Antonio visiting friends and family, I took 281/37 south into Corpus Christi (it's a strip of highway I first heard referred to as “Marijuana Alley” in, I think, the Calvin Trillin piece "Mystery Money"). While I missed any overt drug trafficking (these things are usually done non-overtly, I'm told) I did get to experience the...  Read more
"You clearly missed the point of the folk festival," said a friend of mine on Facebook after I much-too-excitedly updated that I had, in fact, found wi-fi in Kerrville proper after two dusty days of sitting outside of the volunteer cabin on the festival grounds and siphoning internet that way (I asked first, of course). I'm not that daft. I understand that a great appeal of this festival is...  Read more

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