Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Last

 Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan

All week, I had been meaning to catch Japandroids, but I continued to miss them.  Until the last night.  It was 1 am, I was exhausted from 4 days of nonstop music and booze.
A friend and I wandered over from Red 7, where we had been lulled into a psychedelic frenzy by Woods and Real Estate, respectively.
Our destination?  The temporary venue known as The Galaxy Room on Sixth Street.  (side note:  Someone please make this a permanent Austin venue)
The band?  The two-piece Japandroids, also from Canada.  I started SXSW with the Canadian band Yukon Blonde, so why not finish it with Canadians?
They were amazing!  I've been digging on the CD for quite some time now, but the live show is where it's at.

When they launched into "Young Hearts Spark Fire" the whole place went insane, including myself.  Hell, people were even crowd surfing.
Whoah! We used to dream, but now we worry about dying.
I don't wanna worry about dying.  I just wanna worry about the sunshine girls.

The lyrics perfectly capture the essence of youth and the realization of growing older.

What a fitting way to close out SXSW.

Listen here.

My First

You always have a special place in your heart (and memory) for the first and last band that you saw at SXSW.  

Filled with excitement and anticipation on the first day of SXSW 2010, I wandered into the Mohawk into a wall of sweet harmonies, fuzzy guitars and bearded men.  The delight that I witnessed inside was the one and only Yukon Blonde from Canada.  I had no idea who they were, but definitely liked what I heard.  I've listened to their eponymous debut several times now and I'm loving it. 
Hear it for yourself here on Spinner, and then go buy it.  You won't be sorry.

Monday, March 22, 2010

SXSW Day Two (Day Shows)

Thursday day. 
The Antlers
(photo courtesy of Our Stage)

I decided to take the bicycle out that I had borrowed (Thanks, Carol!)  It was a great plan, although a bit dangerous at times weaving through the throngs of people.  I was careful!
I started off the day a little late, arriving at the French Legation lawn party just in time to see The Antlers.  I was super-excited about this show, seeing that Hospice was one of my favorite albums of 2009 (if not, the favorite).  Unfortunately, sound problems delayed the set by at least a half an hour.  But, when they launched into "Sylvia," one of Hospice's high points, all was forgotten.  The keyboards/bass could have been louder.  On the album, they produce the perfect eerie backdrop for Peter Silberman's haunting falsetto.  I debated whether to stick around for the stellar lineup, but decided to move on.  To me, SXSW is a nomadic experience.  You might miss some of the major buzz bands because you don't get there early or stand in line forever, but you get to see more under-the-radar bands and bands you didn't even know that you liked.

I decided to head over to the Fort for some free booze and Best Coast.  Unfortunately, Best Coast were just finishing up when I arrived.  I took the time to rest my feet, enjoy a Budweiser and contemplate the rest of my schedule for the day.  While I was doing this, Neon Indian started playing on the outside stage.  I stepped out to watch a little bit of their set to see what all the buzz was about.  Pretty good, but not my cup of tea.

Up next, Local Natives.  Definitely my cup of tea.  Their stellar performance was one of the highlights of my SXSW experience.  I had already been enjoying the album for several weeks, but their four part harmonies and excellent musicianship blew me away, especially for such young guys.  Often, young bands sometimes seem inexperienced and sloppy, but not these guys.  I will be seeing them again when they come back through.

I stopped into the Eastside Get Down across the street from the Fort to check out Here We Go Magic.  They were good, but I wished I had seen their official showcase.  I heard it was amazing.
I pedaled by Lustre Pearl for the Dickies Sounds party.  There was a long line for Delta Spirit, but I did hear some of Dawes as I rode by.  It sounded really nice.  I had just gotten their album and look forward to listening to it some more.

I stopped to wander around the iHeartComix/Jelly NYC Carniville for a little while.  Yes, there were actual carnival rides there!  I spotted the Walkmen sitting on some steps waiting for their 7pm slot to begin.

 Ryan McPhun of the Ruby Suns
(photo courtesty of New Zealand Music Commission)

 I contemplated staying to see them (again), but decided to head on down to the New Zealand party at Brush Square instead.  I'm glad I did.  Free vodka and beer and the Ruby Suns!  They were great.  I have been digging on their song "Cranberry," and plan to buy their new album Fight Softly soon.  Surf City were up next and out came the earplugs.  I thought they were fun with some catchy melodies beneath the loudness.

 Avi Wisnia @ The Bent Compass Party
 Then, it was off to Rain to check out the Bent Compass party for a bit.  I got to see some of local band Benko which I really enjoyed.  Avi Wisnia and Tribella also performed that evening.  I pedaled up to the "Me So Hungry" trailer on West 5th to grab some much needed sustenance, in the form of a Banh Mi Vietnamese Tofu sandwich.  Delicious!  Although, Lulu B's (up on South Lamar & Oltorf) has them beat for trailer Banh Mi.

SXSW Pre-Festivities

 Beautiful Supermachines at PureVolume SXSW

Like most people who really lived it up during SXSW (saw tons of bands and indulged in the free/and not-so-free booze), I am still recovering from last weeks festivities.

Everything started on Monday when we decided to check out the Pure Volume house.  It was a smart move, especially given the line for badges during the festival proper.  We just cruised on in and claimed our badges and our drink tickets.  This years venue was far superior to last years which was a little cramped and crowded at times.  We caught a little of the bearded Beautiful Supermachines before moving on to the Plutopia party at the Mexican Culture Building (the future home of the iHeartComix/NYC Jelly Carniville extravaganza).  We walked around and tried some delicious samples of Tito's Vodka (one of the smoothest vodkas out there, trust me), Dripping Springs Vodka, as well as yummy Texas microbrews from 512, St. Arnold's and Independence.  After that we walked over to the packed Mohawk show and decided to call it a night.

In retrospect, I wish that I had gone to the Fader Fort pre-party on Tuesday night.  The event featured Metric, who I missed during SXSW due to long lines (Thanks, Muse).

Seeing that I was saving up all my energy (and money) for SXSW proper, I didn't indulge in any of the other pre-parties, although some of them sounded awesome.

See my previous post for Day One SXSW Music highlights.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

SXSW Day Two Begins!

At the Fader Fort having a bud tall boy.  A fitting homage to my late grandpa Melvin who loved em!
Just missed Best Coast.  Luckily, they are playing a million more times. 
Neon Indian up next, but I'm not super excited about them.  Maybe I'm the only one?
Just saw The Antlers at the French Legation.  They sounded great, despite some sound issues.
Think I'll head across the street to the Eastside Get Down, or whatever it's called.  Or maybe I should make my way across 35.  Heard the line for Surfer Blood at the Parish is horrendous.  I'll pass on that. 

The agenda for the rest of the day?
Local Natives at the Fort at 4:30 or The Soft Pack at Trailer Records. 
Then Dum Dum Girls at French Legation or Dawes at Lustre Pearl.  A million other choices.
I would like to stop by the New Zealand cocktail party at Brush Square to see when The Ruby Suns might be playing.  It starts at 6. 
Today is chocked full of choices. 
The xx at the French Legation at 6 is probably going to be a shit storm.  But, I would like to see them.  I'm sure their official showcase will also be crowded. 

So many choices, so little time!

Day One: SXSW

My dogs are hurtin'.  And it's only the first day.  Tomorrow I will employ the trusty bicycle. 

I started off the day with Yukon Blonde, a great band out of Canada.  They rocked the Mohawk patio with nice harmonies and lovely guitars.  I love this new harmonies phase happening now.  Bring it on.

Next up, I ventured over to Emo's to see The Morning Benders at the Brooklyn Vegan day party (one of the many).  Also, some great harmonies.  The last song, featuring some fifties doo-wap vocal stylings, was great.  Crowded as hell.  Damn all-ages venues.  All the free Magic Hat was gone.  Just some weird liqueur.  A crazy crowd mix:  indie chic mixed with metal up your ass.  There was a metal showcase indoors at Emo's. 

I headed over to the Pure Volume House to check out Warpaint, a buzzy all-girl band from L.A. 
They rocked.  Seriously.  So nice to see ladies that can play.  The Orange amp backline at Pure Volume  makes for some nice sound.   They had just trucked it over from The Mohawk to play this show at 3pm.  I admire all the hustling these bands do during SXSW.  I discovered that Sparks, that fun malt liqueur beverage, was 8 percent alcohol.  Wtf?

The lines at Mohawk, Red 7 and Emo's were ridiculous, so I stepped inside of Beauty Bar.  Kid Sister was entertaining the inside crowd, while female-fronted Cubic Zirconia rocked the outside stage.  Both provided a much-needed energy boost.  Or maybe it was that caffeinated water.

I stepped into to The Hype Machine Party at Vice to see Invisible.  Although I do see the comparisons to TV on the Radio, I think they hold their own, especially for a three-piece.  More, please.

Shakespeare's Pub was the next stop.  Tribella was on the menu.  Another all-girl band who rock.  Adept instrumentation, crazy key changes and time signatures.  What more can you ask for?

My must-see for this evening was the Walkmen at Stubbs.  Let me just say, they were amazing!  When they played "In The New Year" off their last album, I nearly came out of my skin.  Hamilton Leithauser belted out the lyrics, screaming out "I know that it's true.  It's gonna be a good year."  What a great song.  A eight-piece horn section (all from Austin) came out and played a couple of songs with the band.  They played several new songs, which made me anxious to hear the next album, due out in September.  The highlight of the evening, for sure.  NPR recorded it all.  Listen here.

After that, I debated whether I should just stick around to see Broken Bells at eleven.  I decided to stay.  Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings were high-energy and fun.  Saw some of Henry Clay People inside.  Then, it was time for Broken Bells.  They opened with the already popular single "The High Road."  It sounded great.  The pulsating light show, full of orbs and flickering lights went well with the music, especially on "The Ghost Inside," an infectious, upbeat, danc-y number.

I headed over to Club DeVille for the Brooklyn Vegan showcase to see Califone.  I caught quite a bit of Bowerbirds.  They sounded great, complete with accordian and ukelele.
My friend Joshua informed me that Alex Chilton had died.  So sad.  It was an apparent heart attack.  He was only 59.  I was looking forward to seeing him with Big Star on Friday.  He will be missed.

Califone was good, but I was hoping to hear the stellar song "The Orchids" off of their wonderful album "Roots and Crowns."  They didn't play it.  After catching Spoon's last song at Stubbs, I hurried over to the Wave to catch Surfer Blood, but was denied.  The roof was at capacity.  The same deal with Miike Snow, another buzz band.  I ended up where I should have been all along, at Sixteen Deluxe.  They were one of my favorite bands back in the nineties, so it was a fitting way to close out the evening.  I forgot how much I loved their feedback drenched, shoegazing melodies. 

Thursday, here I come!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

SXSW Music: Day 1

The time is here.  SXSW 2010.
I am going to be out there full-force absorbing all I possibly can. 
Here are some of my picks for Wednesday:

First, I'm going to try to catch The Walkmen, one of my favorites, play at the IFC House on 7th & Brazos.  If I don't make that, I can still catch them at the solid NPR showcase at Stubbs at 8:45.

Other daytime picks:

Toro Y Moi at the Mohawk @ 1:15.
Japandroids at Emo's @ 2:15 or Warpaint at Mohawk @ 2.  But, there will be plenty of time to catch both of these bands, because they are playing tons. 
At 3pm I could head over to The Galaxy Room to see Freelance Whales.
Then, We Were Promised Jetpacks over at the Fader Fort @ 3:45.
If I can tear myself away from the Fader Fort, I'll check out The Besnard Lakes (4:20) and Phantogram (4:45) @ the Mohawk.
5pm:  Frightened Rabbit at The Galaxy Room or Choir of Young Believers @ the Pure Volume House. 
6pm:  Freelance Whales @ the Fort or Tribella @ Shakespeare's.


At 8:45, I will travel to Stubbs to check out The Walkmen (again). 
9pm:  Here We Go Magic at Club DeVille.
10pm:  Fanfarlo at The Galaxy Room.
11pm:  Broken Bells @ Stubb's, Bowerbirds @ Club DeVille or We Were Promised Jetpacks @  The Parish. 
12am:  Califone @ Club DeVille, Warpaint @ Emo's, Frightened Rabbit @ the Parish or Spoon @ Stubb's.
1am:  Sixteen Deluxe @ Encore, Surfer Blood @ Wave Rooftop or the Morning Benders @ Emo's.

I would also like to stop by the Fleadh St. Patrick's Day Party @ the old Fader Fort location for some traditionally poured Guinness on draft. 
Also, The British Music Biz parties at Latitude 30 on San Jacinto are always fun. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

SXSW Mayhem

I have been an RSVPing, list-compiling fool for the past month. I haven't posted many links on here because I feel like a lot of blogs like The Peen Scene, ultra8201 and Done Waiting are doing a fine job so far. Do512 has an ever-growing monster list of parties for you to peruse.
Here are a few links that I felt were worth mentioning. I am still waiting for the Fader Fort RSVP info.
I will post a list of some of my must-see bands and must-attend parties soon.
SXSW fever is upon me!

This party is going to be awesome.  Three days of carnival-themed mayhem brought to you by iHeartComix and JellyNYC.  Go here and RSVP now!

Rachel Ray has announced the lineup for her party and it's awesome. 

Brooklyn Vegan is putting on a ton of parties, including this one.  Fun times.  


More to come!

Shade and Honey

I was saddened to hear that another talented individual took his life on Saturday.  Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse was an unappreciated genius with a penchant for creating songs that catapulted you out into the ether.  His shaky voice and beautifully crafted lyrics have guided me through many highs and lows.  He will be missed.

Here is one of my favorite songs.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Austin 100

NPR has a great SXSW mix over on their site right now.  It contains a lot of great music and is an effective primer for the festival.  Check it out here.

I've been obsessing over SXSW for a little while now, collecting party info, reading blogs and listening to some of the bands that will be here for the fest.  This year is shaping up to be a good one.  The party/showcase list that I am compiling is becoming huge!  Now, if I could only find a way to be in two places at once.

No word yet on the Fader Fort RSVP.  They usually wait until the last minute to spring it on you.  I'm sure, as usual, there will be some stellar acts performing there.  This time, I'm avoiding the rush and picking up my wristband on Tuesday morning.