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Austin artist David Ramirez gains support of businesses for newest EP release

(Barbara FG)

Austin businesses are joining together to celebrate the release of local singer-songwriter David Ramirez’s ninth collection of songs by going back to the basics with sound, songs and collaborative sips.

Ramirez’s new six-song EP, “Rules and Regulations,” is set to be released on Feb. 25 with a little help from Austin Signal Recording Studio, who produced the record, and Try Hard Coffee Roasters, 1115 E. 11th St., which is releasing a coffee blend to commemorate it.

After two creatively-stifling years of the pandemic, Austin Signal owner Jon Neiss offered Ramirez a renewed outlet since his latest record, 2020’s “My Love Is A Hurricane.” Neiss and Ramirez produced the record in two days, with one stipulation: the album had to be recorded live to test Neiss’s new surround sound Dolby Atmos system.

“There's just a magic that comes across in that setting that you don't really get when you're constantly nitpicking and reevaluating,” Ramirez said. “There's something cool about just counting off the song and going for it. What happens (live) can be pretty magical.”

Austin Signal used vintage equipment for a raw, classic sound and Neiss said Ramirez was the first musician that came to mind to contact.

“I wanted to create a showcase for this where we'd actually record someone live in a very traditional way of doing it with no overdubs and no editing and just capturing the musicians playing live,” Neiss said. “The first component of that really is having someone that can bring some really good songs, like David, arguably one of the very best songwriters, certainly in Texas.”

Ramirez said his favorite track is “Can You Hear the Silence,” which was written at the start of the pandemic when his airport-adjacent home was made quieter as flights shut down.

“I distinctly remember sitting on my back patio one afternoon and not hearing anything, no planes at all,” Ramirez said. “I just love it so much and I've never really been able to write in that way, lyrically before.”

Like his record, his coffee blend is simple and straight to the point. Named after the musician, Try Hard blended and roasted the beans and will sell bags first-come-first-serve, or you can pick up a box set with a bag of coffee, slipmat and vinyl copy of the album commemorating the launch.

The blended northern Peruvian and Brazilian coffee roasted at a true medium is meant to be enjoyed black, the way Ramirez likes it.

“I'm pretty standard. Just give me a classic cup of coffee,” Ramirez said. “Going back to the recording process, because it's so classic and raw and vintage, it made sense to have a coffee be classic. Nothing too modern or too experimental.”

You’ll be able to grab Ramirez’s album on streaming services and coffee at Try Hard starting Feb. 25, plus, Ramirez will be live at the Far Out Lounge on March 5.


‘Like speed dating of cats’ at Purr-fecto Cat Lounge
Purr-fecto Cat Lounge

Lina Martinez with her newly adopted cat, Emmanuel, who she renamed Sullivan.

Timmy and Tommy are ready to play.

As the 2-month-old white-and-tabby brothers swat feather wands, chase toys and generally hold court inside Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, a half-dozen potential adoptive parents look on lovingly, trying to get their attention.

“This is kind of like the speed dating of cats,” said Lupita Foster, owner of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge. “I intentionally didn’t put in any tables. That’s why we call it a lounge instead of a cat café because we have these lounge areas where you can sit and relax and cuddle.”

Foster, who has owned a cleaning company, Enviromaids, for 18 years, was inspired to open Purr-fecto Cat Lounge after adopting her own cat, Romeo, from a local shelter.

“When you want to adopt a cat, you have to spend a lot of time with them to get their personality,” Foster said. “I wanted to do something to help the community and something that makes me feel good, that warms my heart. A business with a purpose. This was a perfect idea.”

Actually, a purr-fect idea.

Inspired in part by a cat lounge she visited in Los Angeles, Foster began laying the groundwork for the business in late 2021 and officially opened the doors of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, located at 2300 S. Lamar Blvd., in July 2022. Since then, she’s worked with rescue organizations such as Fuzzy Texan Animal Rescue and Sunshine Fund Cat Rescue to facilitate nearly 100 cat adoptions.

At any given time, there are 10-15 cats living in the space, which features an ideal blend of calm, cool corners and adorably Instagrammable backdrops with phrases such as “I want to spend all my 9 lives with you.”

Lina Martinez, 32, learned about Purr-fecto Cat Lounge from a friend’s Instagram post and made an appointment to visit two days later.

“My first impression was, ‘AWW!’” Martinez said. “The kittens were to die for. I felt happy and at peace – just what I needed.”

Visitors to the cat lounge pay $15 for a 30-minute CATXperience session or $30 for a 70-minute session that is spent getting to know the personalities of each cat. Foster said the first thing she typically sees from visitors to the lounge is a smile.

“Everybody that enters the door is smiling,” she said. “And we’ve seen people who have cried because they can’t have kids and they decide to go and adopt a cat instead.”

Foster said she loves bringing in cats who might not have a chance to be adopted at traditional shelters. She told the story of one cat named Izzy, who was partially blind, who was adopted by a family that had a deaf cat at home.

“Izzy was not going to get adopted anywhere else, but she’s extremely beautiful,” she said. “If she was in a cage in a rescue and you tell people she’s blind, she was probably going to be overlooked. But visiting our space, she doesn’t seem like she’s blind. She knows her way around. She moves around perfectly.”

Although Martinez, who had been casually looking for a pet to adopt since moving to Austin nearly four years ago, was interested in a cat named Ruby that she had seen on Purr-fecto’s social media, at the lounge she instead found herself drawn to 5-month-old mixed breed Tuxedo cat.

“I thought he was a star,” she said. “He worked the room and introduced himself to everyone. When I laid down to pet Ruby, he ran from the other side of the room and cuddled with me. It was game over. He got me.”

And she, of course, got him, complete with a commemorative photo that read “My Furrever Family” the day she took him home. Although his original name was Emmanuel, she renamed him Sullivan after her favorite DJ.

“Purr-fecto is special because of the amount of effort and love they put into taking care of the cats,” Martinez said, “and finding them good homes and making possible adopters feel at home.”

Foster, who spent a recent Thursday hosting a group of teenagers in foster care at the lounge, several of whom expressed interest in working there, said the best part about her new endeavor is that her heart is always full.

“I just feel complete,” she said. “I always felt as an entrepreneur that I was missing something. I knew I accomplished a lot, but in my heart I was missing a little connection with the community. Now I’m creating connections between humans and pets and that’s amazing. I’m creating family bonds. It’s just about love, you know. And we need that.”

Austin's 7 Best Indian Restaurants

We all have those cravings for an amazing butter chicken or some authentic dosas with coconut chutney, but when I was thinking about where I wanted to go to satisfy my taste buds I realized that my list of great Indian food around Austin was surprisingly short. After doing some research and asking around, here is your list of the best Indian restaurants around town.

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