Everything Cool Has Been Canceled
Foot Foot have been blowing minds and scaring the neighbors for almost ten years. The husband and wife team of Bryan Lawhorn and Patti Lou Ryland (granddaughter of Austin icon John Henry Faulk) were brought together musically by a mutual regard for the absurd, as well as the melodic. Inspired by such diverse talents as Legendary Stardust Cowboy, Thinking Fellers, and Leadbelly (in addition to the unholy axis of Texas psych: Scratch Acid / Butthole Surfers) they began writing songs together while exiled in Portland, OR in 1997. Lawhorn (guitar, vocals) and Ryland (bass, vocals) returned to their native Texas in 1998, and soon made their debut at hipper Austin house parties. Taking their name from the legendary Shaggs ("My Pal Foot Foot"), they were immediately embraced by the Austin freaknoscenti for their mix of noise/skronk psych, acid-damaged country, and Dadaesque humor, delivered with a huggable and refreshing lack of pretension. Favorable notices followed from The Austin Chronicle for their 1999 Velvet Shag release, Post Normal, and gigs with their friends Pong helped raise their local profile. It didn't hurt that Pong went so far as to namecheck them in the song "Who is Foot Foot?" ("Patti and Bryan's band!", went the refrain), with an accompanying video featuring Ryland and Lawhorn that's still in rotation on Austin cable. Live gigs became less frequent after 2000 and the birth of son Tave (who can be spotted frequently now at Foot Foot gigs), but writing and recording continued, culminating in the 2006 release Ye Olde Pitchshift (Bunkhaus). Engineered by Jeff Copas (Sixteen Deluxe, Hit Space), Pitchshift unearthed a mellower, freak-folk side of the band, while still paying tribute to the noisier, brain-frying Austin traditions on vintage 4-track jams like "Johnny Applesauce" and "Who is Killing the Stuntmen?" Thankfully, Foot Foot returned to regular live shows in 2006, and the band continues to expand - pedal hopper Eric Tussing has been added on guitar and effects, and the mighty Justin Andrews can play it rawk heavy or Elvin Jones-smooth behind the drum kit. Their sound on Everything Cool Has Been Canceled is given an added heft, with some color injected into the sonic palette, and live gigs now often spontaneously combust into full-blown, exploratory noise/psych jams. Recorded in July 2007 at the infamous Sweatbox Studios in Austin, Everything runs the gamut of the Foot Foot universe: the nervous, distressed power pop of "Alien Nightmare World" kicks things off in a high-energy style that Bob Pollard could easily scissor-kick to; "I Have Been a Fool" turns a 180 into country-soul territory (with horns courtesy of Sweatbox honcho Mike Vasquez), and the Ryland-led "Tearing My Mind Apart" mashes early Meat Puppets with Austin art-rock pioneers Glass Eye. "Clock in the Tower" takes a brief trip into space-folk, followed by the celestial "Darker Half", updated from the Pitchshift disc with some stellar guitar work from Mr. Tussing. Foot Foot really let's it blurt on "Quarters of Ole San Juan", then ups the rock ante even higher with the hell-bent metal homage "Princess". Everything comes to an eerie, moody conclusion with the freaked-out epic "Charred Torso", wherein drummer Andrews makes his vocal debut on disc. Wake the children: Foot Foot have come to visit. And you're in luck, 'cause they're not planning on leaving any time soon.-Jeff Copas Yes, the name comes from the Shaggs' song 'My Pal Foot Foot,' but the local trio sounds nothing like them, thank goodness. Formed in 1998 when husband/wife team Bryan Lawhorn (guitar) and Patti Lou Ryland (bass) returned to Austin from Portland, Ore., Foot Foot became a threesome with Greg Hull on drums. Summer 1999 yielded Foot Foot's first recording, Post Normal, and the band received some inter-scene props when friends in local electro-rockers Pong recorded the song "Foot Foot." With the birth of a son in 2000, Lawhorn and Ryland took an extended break, the act resurrected and restructured in 2006 with the addition of Eric Tussing on guitar and Justin Andrews on drums. Their second punk dish. Ye Olde Pitch Shift, engineered by Jeff Copas (Sixteen Deluxe, Beecher), was erratic and melodic at once, drawing on influences like the Butthole Surfers, country, and Syd Barrett-esque psych, in addition to sounding just plain mad. Live, the fourpiece incorporates costumes and props into their shows. In 2007, they released their third LP, Everything Cool Has Been Canceled, which promises to keep Austin irreverent. - Audra Schroeder- Austin Chronicle Drawing on a brain-addling bouillabaisse of serrated psych-punk and surreal freak-folk, Foot Foot's strange emanations make easy relations of their International Artists and Trance Syndicate forbears. With their third album, the Austin quartet builds up their own brand of rib-sticking iconoclasm. Beefed-up production helps, but sharpened songwriting is key. Guitarist Bryan Lawhorn's opening salvo, 'Alien Nightmare World,' lives up to it's harrowing title with taut, anxiety-fueled bursts of hold-and-release fuzz-pop. 'I Have Been a Fool' has the faraway veneer of an obscure juke joint tearjerker reimagined by Galaxie 500. Bassist Patti Lou Ryland - Lawhorn's wife and granddaughter of John Henry Faulk - lays the sludge hammer down on 'Tearing My Mind Apart.' Think Black Sabbath on a Half Japanese budget. Then drummer Justin Andrews' vocals on 'Charred Torso' taps a harrowing acoustic wisp reminiscent of Skip Spence's Oar. If you only know about Foot Foot from Pong's name-check, it's time for a closer look.-Greg Beets-Austin Chronicle.