Depending on the night of the week, the Cuban-themed nightclub Embargo is a lot of things: speakeasy, place for live world music, regular ol’ bar, a required stop on weekend tours of the handful of swanky joints that have opened over the past couple of years on the southern edge of downtown (a.k.a. SoDo).

One thing Embargo is not nor has ever tried to be, however, is a rock club, which probably won’t change after The Wildbirds come through this Friday and perform indie-rock on the small, low stage bathed in candlelight. The quartet is from Wisconsin but has connections here. The Embargo show was apparently squeezed in between dates in Austin and Dallas (and, farther on, New York). The Wildbirds are getting a lot of national pub and should make for a solid headliner on a bill that also includes The Steps and the stellar local group Vincent. Embargo is located at 210 E. 8th St. For more info, call the club at 817- 870-9750 or visit the band at

… Congrats to Fort Worth producer Bart Rose, who has recently relocated his studio from a quaint corner-shop in Bluebonnet Circle to fancy digs nearby. Though Rose’s name isn’t mentioned in the same reverent, hushed tones as some other North Texas producers, like Jon Congleton (Black Tie Dynasty, the pAper chAse), brothers Todd and Toby Pipes (Calhoun, Collin Herring), or Matt Pence (Centro-matic, The Polyphonic Spree), he has done work for some of Texas’ best and most legendary musos, including Steven Fromholz, Buddy Miles, Terry Rasor, Bill Ham, Calhoun, Stella Rose, ASKA, and dozens of others. Once it opens in early 2008, Rose’s new studio, which will go by the new name of Fort Worth Sound, will compare to any of the larger recording spaces around. For more info, visit …


I admit it: There’s only so much geek-rap or geek-core or whatever you call it that I can take. Five or six songs are usually fine. Seldom more than seven. And rarely ever a live performance longer than 20 minutes. But yokels swear that, live, Astronautalis won’t disappoint. The former Dentonite and current resident of “Actionville!” (a.k.a. Jacksonville, Fla.), whose manager is from the Fort, will be in the area this weekend to play a couple of shows: on Saturday in Denton at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios (411 E. Sycamore St., 940-387-7781); and on Sunday in Big D at Double Wide (3510 Commerce St., 214-887-6510).

Listener Project and The a-b Theory will accompany him at both shows. Before you strap on your Puma sneakers, don your vintage workout jacket, and affix your black-frame glasses to your head, be aware that Astronautalis (né Andy Bothwell) ain’t your average indie-geek. Boy has mad old-school skillz. He got into rapping via freestyle battles – and got out via threats at knifepoint – and his music is much more experimental and, dare we say, poppy than what you might expect. Think less Beck and more Eminem with a sense of humor and an affinity for pop-rock. Astronautalis also will ask the crowd for random topics and then rap crazy about ’em. For more, visit

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