Review: Austin City Limits with Foo Fighters

Program: Austin City Limits
Date: Saturday, Jan. 17
Time: 7 p.m.
Also Airs: Wednesday, Jan. 21, at 10 p.m.; Friday, Jan. 23
Preview the show:

Few bands striding the modern rock landscape can match the mix of mainstream popularity and critical credibility as the Grammy-laden Foo Fighters . Bandleader Dave Grohl had been quietly amassing a catalog of songs while still drumming for alt.rock kingpins Nirvana. When Nirvana dissolved following Kurt Cobain’s suicide, Grohl began recording his tunes in earnest. After his demo tape sparked an industry bidding war, Grohl signed to Capitol and released the self-titled debut Foo Fighters. Grohl formed a band to tour the record and, barring a few personnel changes, has been making albums and hitting the road ever since. Acclaimed bestsellers like In Your Honor, There is Nothing Left to Lose and The Colour and the Shape sprinkled the radio with hits “Big Me,” “Monkey Wrench,” “This is a Call,” “Best of You,” “My Hero,” “Learn to Fly” and more. Now the band brings its smooth blend of loud/soft dynamics and hard-rocking melodies to Austin City Limits’ studio 6A in support of its Grammy-winning latest album Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, featuring the hits “Long Road to Ruin,” “Let It Die” and “The Pretender.”

– Michael Toland

About the Reviewer: Michael Toland is manager of national productions for KLRU and contributes music reviews to several online and print publications.

Review: Frontline online

Program: Frontline
Web site:

Whenever I tag promos at KLRU, Frontline is always a show that stands out to me.  They always have topics relevant to today’s world.  Whether its social changes in China, the 2008 election, Hugo Chavez’ Venezuela or the struggle to maintain America’s retirement funds, Frontline always has the latest and greatest information.  As I’ve said in previous blog posts, I do not have much time to watch television, so the internet is a resource I frequently use to keep up to date with the times. more

Review: Independent Lens "Atom Smashers"

Program: Independent Lens “Atom Smashers”
Date: Tuesday, Nov. 25
Time: 9:30 p.m.

Just the name alone made me want to see how and why scientists are smashing atoms. As far as I knew smashing atoms only resulted in big explosions that ended a world war. I was quickly put in my place as the scientists from the Illinois based Fermilab explained how destructing atoms can help identify questions like how and why matter even exists. That’s a pretty big question so I was hooked.

Do you remember a few months ago, reading “news” stories about how the Swiss were going to blow up the world with their own “atom smasher” or Large Hadron Collider? As far as I can tell, the world didn’t end when they flipped the switch on earlier this year and the LHC seems well on it’s way to making some amazing discoveries as a result of creating such a huge project. more

Review: Austin City Limits with Gnarls Barkley/Thievery Corporation

Program: Austin City Limits
Date: Saturday, Nov. 22
Time: 7 p.m.
Also Airs: Wednesday, Nov. 26, at 10 p.m.
Preview the show:

It’s a point of pride at Austin City Limits to try to give space to as many genres as possible. So we’re always happy to have an artist who represents several genres at once. Both members of the mercurial duo Gnarls Barkley love to mix and match styles: hip hop, rock, electronica, psychedelic soul – anything, as long as it’s musical. Producer/instrumentalist Danger Mouse first gained attention with The Grey Album, a notorious mashup of the Beatles’ self-titled “white album” and Jay-Z’s The Black Album , before going on to provide the beats and backgrounds for pop/dance/hip-hop act Gorillaz. Singer/rapper Cee-Lo Green was a member of 90s hip-hop crew Goodie Mob, before embarking on a successfully eclectic solo career. The pair came together in 2003, releasing tunes through digital download before finally hitting the shelves in 2006 with the Grammy award-winning St. Elsewhere and its worldwide smash single “Crazy.” Now, in the wake of the pair’s second album The Odd Couple and second stop at the ACL Music Festival, Gnarls Barkley brings its colorful, booty-shaking show to studio 6A. more

Review: Austin City Limits with Aimee Mann / Iron & Wine

Program: Austin City Limits
Date: Saturday, Nov. 15
Time: 7 p.m.
Also Airs: Wednesday, Nov. 19, at 10 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 21, at 11 p.m.
Preview the show:

It may not seem like it these days, but in the music business, perseverance pays off. Consider Aimee Mann. The Virginia-born, Berklee School of Music-trained musician had a hit in the 80s right out of the box with her band ‘til Tuesday’s debut single “Voices Carry,” but it’s her journey as a solo artist that’s ultimately gained the most attention. After 1993’s Whatever and 1995’s I’m With Stupid, her first two solo albums, attracted reams of critical acclaim but few sales, Mann left the major label system behind for good. Befriending film director Paul Thomas Anderson, she made significant contributions to his infamous movie Magnolia, including the Grammy- and Oscar-nominated “Save Me.” Mann then started her own label Superego Records, through which she’s released three studio albums, a Christmas record and a live CD/DVD set. She’s found more success than ever before and become a model for artists who want to do it themselves. With her colorfully-titled latest LP @#%&*! Smilers in hand, at long last Mann brings her intelligent, intricately arranged modern pop to the Austin City Limits stage. more

Review: Monarchy-The Royal Family at Work

Program: Monarchy – The Royal Family at Work (part 1 & 2 back-to-back)
Date: Wednesday, Nov. 12
Time: 7 p.m.

Part 3 & 4 airs Wednesday, Nov.19, at 7 p.m.
Part 5 & 6 airs Wednesday, Nov. 26, at 7 p.m.
Preview the show:

A new PBS series, Monarchy – The Royal Family at Work is about to debut on KLRU. Although I didn’t see the actual Royal Family doing much work in the first episode of this inside glimpse of the British Royal Palace, it was very interesting and sometimes comical to see how much work is done by others to accommodate the Queen and her entourage.

The first episode begins with an American photographer learning the rituals and formalities of royalty while attempting to keep a photo shoot of the Queen on schedule. more

Review: Nova "Hunting the Hidden Dimension"

Program: Nova “Hunting the Hidden Dimension”
Watch online at

Let me start off my first KLRU blog post by saying that as far as I know, I am officially KRLU’s first blogger under the age of 20.  As a college student at the University of Texas at Austin, I rarely have time to watch television.  (Though, I ALWAYS make time for an away Longhorn football game).  When at KLRU, I tag a significant amount of promos and often times see interesting segments that I would love to watch but never get the chance.  When I was asked to watch KLRU for work, I was frustrated because I didn’t think I would have time in my busy schedule.  I was then reminded that KLRU has many of their shows online and I can watch at my convenience.  You got to love the shift in KLRU to allow for the new emerging standard of time shifting via webcast!

Nova: Hunting the Hidden Dimension tells the story of the development of Fractals and their application into new fields of science.  For those of you who do not know what a Fractal is, it is a repetitive geometric pattern discovered by Benoit Mandelbrot in the 1950’s when he helped IBM solve the problem of transporting computer information via telephone lines (the early internet).  more

Review: Austin City Limits "Sharon Jones/Carolyn Wonderland"

Program: Austin City Limits
Date: Saturday, Nov. 8
Time: 7 p.m.
Also Airs: Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 10 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 14, at 11 p.m.
Preview the show:

With all due respect to contemporary R&B, there’s a hunger for the old-fashioned, sweat-drenched, digitally unenchanced soul sounds of the 60s and 70s. Enter Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, the New York-based collective at the forefront of the soul revivalist movement. Influenced by Ike & Tina Turner, Otis Redding and especially James Brown, Jones spent years in the Big Apple doing session work and the occasional single, supporting herself by working as a corrections officer and armored car guard. By 2000, she hooked up with Daptone Records and its house band the Dap-Kings, a group made up of veterans of NYC soul/funk outfits Antibalas, the Soul Providers and the Mighty Imperials. She and the band have since released three albums and done numerous tours to great acclaim. In addition to their own work, the Dap-Kings provided much of the backup for Amy Winehouse on her album Back in Black, while Jones appeared in Denzil Washington’s film The Great Debaters. However, it’s tunes like “100 Days, 100 Nights?” and “How Do I Let a Good Man Down?” that best tell the band’s story. more

KLRU set to re-air Frontline's "The Choice"

I have worked for KLRU for nearly two years and certain things remind me why I love being a part of the station. The most recent is the KLRU programming department deciding to re-air Frontline’s recent episode “The Choice” the night before the election. The episode takes a closer look at the unique stories of Barack Obama’s and John McCain’s histories and eventual roads (although one road will be stopped short) to the white house in the most comprehensive and unbiased presentation of the subject I’ve seen.

With an even handed approach, Frontline re-introduced me to two men I thought I knew very well, since they’ve spent the last year or so in the national spot light. I’ve heard the “personal story” segments of each candidate’s stump speeches, but this program digs deeper – something that co-writer, co-producer, and UT professor, Paul Stekler has shown a talent for in his many projects dealing with Texas politics. Now on a national level, he has worked with a team to bring to light many details the candidates choose to leave out of the speeches, and most of the media chooses not to cover.

Review: Tattooed Under Fire

Program: Tattooed Under Fire
Date: Thursday, October 30
Time: 9 p.m.

This documentary takes you on a journey to Killeen, TX, to Fort Hood — the largest Army post in the country.  Due to the heavy military presence in the town, all of the shops in the area cater to the needs of the soldiers.  In particular River City Tattoo is home, and in some cases family, to many soldiers about to leave to go to Iraq, or returning for 2nd or 3rd tours of duty.

The film features a handful of eager soldiers from the first time they are deployed to Iraq and follows them after they return home and, of course, to the tattoo shop again to add to their “storyboards”.  The stories told by these soldiers while they are being inked are heartbreaking and eye-opening.  They talk about their friends and fellow soldiers dying in front of them, killing innocent people who interfere with their mission, their struggles with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the fear of going back for another tour of duty, only this time not returning.