Echotone Nathan Christ

Echotone Nathan Christ
There's a moment in Nathan Christs' new documentary of the Austin, TX music scene, Echotone, where A/V Club city editor Sean O'Neal throws up his hands in exasperation as scene stalwart/champion/label head Daniel Perlaky tries in vain to convince O'Neal that local band the White White Lights (who are signed to Perlaky's label) are in fact "the future of music." His reaction so perfectly captures the feeling of watching Christ's film, which is filled with blind boosterism for the scene. If the doc is to be believed, the only difference between this Southern bastion of liberalism and other cities is its insistence on calling itself "the live music capital of the world." Of course, this couldn't be further from the truth – every city's music scene has a defining characteristic. But in arguing that Austin's scene is being swept aside, thanks to rapid, expansive development and the faltering financial stakes of the music industry, he forgot to explain what makes Austin so special in the first place. Christ frames the film around u- and-coming Lost Highway artist Black Joe Daniels, major label victim Bill Baird, Belaire's Cari Palazzolo and scene stalwart/champion Daniel Perlaky, but fails to reach beyond "why can't we just get paid to play our music?" types of laments. The extras, or B-sides, are actually far more germane to the film's central conceit than much of the material in the actual flick, particularly the conversation with Alex Maas from the Black Angels. The issues Austin faces are real and could be a microcosm for music scenes across North America. Echotone suffers from a myopic view of an increasingly global music scene though. The filmmakers clearly made this doc for the musicians and music fans in Austin, for whom knowledge of the scene's issues is assumed. But for anyone living outside of Austin, their message is lost in a sea of fragmented clips and whining musicians. (IndiePix)