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New Sensation: SA’s Austin Mahone and teen pop superstardom

Music: Like the bulk of Austin Mahone’s Instagram account, this one’s a selfie. In a white tank top, hair coifed up real big, Mahone arranges his facial... By Matt Stieb 7/22/2014
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Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Best Thai Food

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Best of SA 2012: Tucked off Blanco Road in a bland shopping strip lies a tasty secret that has been keeping SA foodies smiling for over a decade. Once you pass through the rough exterior, you'll... 4/25/2012
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Best Food Truck

Best of SA 2012: We love food trucks. But, honestly, there are days when the restaurant-on-wheels trend feels completely out of hand. Frequently operators wheeling out new mobile eateries... 4/25/2012
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Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013

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Aural Pleasure Review

The Mars Volta: 'Noctourniquet'

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The Mars Volta is back. Back from a three-year hiatus, back from the bad Ouija trip of two albums too full of concept, and back to where they left off with the eerily melodic and sculpted chaos of 2006's Amputechture. Absent longtime collaborator and Chili Pepper John Frusciante, Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodríguez-López have crafted a dizzy and gently exploratory set of progressive rock songs infused throughout with improvisational jazz drumming and murky pop-informed melodies. This album is not a new direction, per se, but it does demonstrate that they have learned some temperance and are the better for it, particularly on "The Malkin Jewel" and "Lapochka." Other standout tracks include the uncharacteristically sultry "Trinkets Pale of Moon" and space-punk opener "The Whip Hand." Call their output prog-rock, psychedelic jazz-fusion, or experimental hard rock; The Mars Volta have made, and reaffirm here, a niche for themselves as guardians of a contemporary surrealism. Noctourniquet is a cathartic listen that offers new textural complexities and thought-provoking idiosyncrasies with each spin. Grab it however you can — you just might find it a perfect companion to the fertile fury of spring.

★★★ ½ (out of 5 stars)

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