April 17, 2009
April 14, 2009
April 07, 2009
Check out the latest batch of tunes on ICB...
DOVES – Compulsion – Kingdom of Rust
This track is a descent into a well-lit cave. It starts with a bass groove that builds the foundation to the song. Most of the sounds hitting your ears echo around your head before settling into the dust. Short atmospheric sections drip by, leaving some space for the groove to come to fore and giving the listener a nice break from the wall of sound that structures most of the songs on the record.
CAGE THE ELEPHANT – No Rest for the Wicked – Single
Cage the Elephant are a group of guys from Kentucky but they found their first success abroad. They toured England and Europe last year with The Pigeon Detectives and are ready to release their album in the US. This song sounds to me like vintage Beastie Boys coved acoustic by Jack White. It’s got a nice head bop, hip hop feel, and rides on the strong hook in the chorus.
BLACK JOE LEWIS AND THE HONEYBEARS – Bobby Booshay – Tell ‘em What Your Name Is!
Following up the EP featuring the song “Gunpowder” which you’ve been hearing on the station, Black Joe and his Honeybears deliver big time on their debut release from Lost Highway. Bringing their unique garage soul style to this blues track, it’s sure to garner comparisons to the likes of James Brown and Otis Redding. I don’t think the title is a reference to the Adam Sandler character from the Waterboy. I’m pretty sure Bobby Booshay was a real college football player in the 70’s, but don’t quote me.
BAT FOR LASHES – Sleep Alone – Two Suns
Bat For Lashes second album is definitely weirder; just look at the cover. “Sleep Alone” is one of the quickest tracks on the album. Once the pulse starts, your foot will be tapping through the whole song. Lead singer Natasha Khan, warms up slow then breaks out into a cry of “lonely, lonely, LONELY” reaching above the clouds. She definitely doesn’t want to sleep alone any more.
THE THERMALS – Now We Can See – Now We Can See
Easily the most infectious track this week, “Now we can see” is a power-pop triumph. You’ll be humming the opening “o-a-o-u-woah-oh” all day long. We caught them at SXSW and I knew right when they started this one that we had a veritable pop anthem on our hands. With almost Craig Finn delivery on the verse lyrics and a guitar solo for the bridge, I’d say that they’ve created a nearly perfect pop song.
March 30, 2009
The last day was finally here. We decided to kick it off slow at a free festival in a park called Mess With Texas. It didn’t turn out to be so slow. Cut Off Your Hands started and played some solid rock songs to a scattering of kids sitting on the lawn. Team Robespierre and The Death Set were up next. Team Robespierre started to set up their instruments in front of the stage on the lawn and some of us wandered up to get a closer look. They started the set by asking everyone on the lawn if they wanted to “come learn how to ruin your life” and launched the high energy clusterf*** that was their set. The keyboard stand broke about 30 seconds into the first song and it became clear that they were all a bunch more intoxicated than the crowd. The broken keyboard stand became a launching pad for anyone who was crowd surfing whether they liked it or not. The set featured a lot of yelling the line “Motherf***ing Death Set!” and crowd surfing a probably very confused nine-year old deaf boy. He seemed to have lots of fun at it though and the crowd was very careful to keep him safe and put him down gently. His dad looked really proud of him. The heartwarming mess ended in the only way it could have, with a lot of puking from the singer of the band.
The Death Set was crazy but considerably less so as they played form stage and kept most of their antics confined to its borders. The singer did find time to climb the supports and the guitarist crowd surfed on the knot of probably less than 50 people, but all in all it seemed lax compared to Team Robespierre. King Kahn and the Shrines threw down their dirty garage rock/funk next followed by a blast your ears set from Cursive. We walked downtown after that set, just to make sure that we could get in to a party to see Chairlift later on.
We did get in, easily and we probably could’ve stayed at the park longer but instead we saw Loney, Dear for a second time. They had less sound trouble this time but still weren’t as impressive as I’d imagined they might be. Their sort-of endearing Swedish demeanor gave me a positive impression anyway. Titus Andronicus rocked out next but the crowd was too sparse to make the set in any way meaningful. They put their heart out though and props to them, I imagine that gets harder and harder for bands as the festival wears on. Chairlift was after them and definitely worth it even though they only did four songs. They played my two favorites (“Planet Health” and “Bruises”) from the album Does You Inspire You that is getting re-released by Columbia later in April. I discovered that there is more than blatant sexuality running through their music. Their singer is a “superbabe”.
It was time for our nightly break. This one took a little extra time. We tried to get back to Emo’s for Efterklang at the Agency Group party but were thwarted by the badge line and made it in just in time for An Horse. They were ok, kind of like Tegan and Sara from Australia. They were followed by Voxtrot, Austin’s own, who put together a strong set. They seemed a little unprepared as the singer broke two(!) strings on his guitar in the same song and didn’t have a back up. We left halfway through and ran off to the Mohawk to see the end of the Panache party. We saw Health first, who I’ve seen before and were fairly unimpressive a second time though still interesting. Monotonix was next and closing the night. They were the real reason we’d came and well worth it.
Right when they went on I suddenly had a ton of energy I hadn’t had before. I don’t know where they found it in me but I couldn’t help but smile at the hilarious antics that made up their set. It started with a 10 minute drum solo due to some guitar issues during which the lead singer dispensed with the formalities and took off most of his clothes. They climbed on everything they could reach and made general mayhem. I don’t really remember any songs but that didn’t matter. What mattered was that the drummer crowd surfed on his kick drum while the rest of his drum kit was held up around him for him to play as he drifted around. Amazingly, he kept the beat. After a finale where everyone on the floor in front of the stage was ordered to sit down, the singer screamed “OUTSIDE!!!” and led the cheering crowd to the street where he climbed a street sign and made odd movements with his arms. Quieting the crowd again from his perch in a streetside tree-box, promising “SHHHH! IT”S GOING TO BE SPECIAL!” The crowd waited expectantly until he jumped in the air yelling “THANK YOU VERY MUCH!” at which point the crowd converged on him with hugs and congratulations.
It was a good end to the week.
March 29, 2009
We started Friday early. I got up to head down and help set up an AAM party which garnered me my only drink ticket of the festival. The drink ticket wasn't really worth it as I never got back to the show to use it, but it was nice to meet up with some of the people I only know over the phone from the radio as well as kids from other stations. I learned some good stuff. It definitely ended up being the most useful thing I did. I ran to the Flamingo Cantina, a small reggae bar, at 12 to catch my second Mumford and Sons show. This one included their fourth member who played keyboards it turned out. They did four songs again, but no overlaps from Wednesday night. They closed with what I would imagine would happen if Bruce Springsteen wrote words to an Ennio Morricone tune then rocked real hard. It was awesome.
We hustled down the street to the Mohawk for the Hot Freaks! party but were turned down at the door, apparently it was 21+. That didn’t quite stop us, we ended up watching the end of a Bishop Allen set from the stage door then the Handsome Furs from the load in alley next door. Both were great but I would’ve loved to be closer for the Handsome Furs. We gave up on the alley and headed to Emo’s for the Pitchfork/Windish party. We saw a bit of The Mae Shi, not enough to call it a set, then went inside for School of Seven Bells. Maybe it was the crowd, but they were a bit underwhelming. I love the record but it was kinda sleepy live.
The Dirty Projectors woke me up. With absolutely stunning vocal work and Dave Longstreth’s virtuosic guitar work, their musical ability was unparalleled by any band I saw all week, especially a new song featuring an interlocking vocal part that boggled my mind. Their new album is going to be incredible. We left the venue and headed back to Club DeVille to that same alley as before. They were even more lax about watching it so we just walked up the ramp nearly to the stage and watched the Hold Steady like we did that kind of thing all the time. It was cool watching them from the side but not quite the same as being in the thick of the crowd. As soon as we were confident they wouldn’t come after us if we jumped in, we did just that and made a beeline for front and center. They played the most comprehensive set I’ve ever seen drawing on old material like “Most People are DJ’s” and “The Swish” as well as new b-side “Ask Her for Adderall”.
Thoroughly rocked, we went back for dinner. We wolfed down some enchiladas and rushed back to try to catch the Sonics at Emo’s Outdoors. After seeing the badge line stretched almost three block down the street, I decided to head to the Ground Control Party to see The Love Language instead. I decided as soon as they started that I had made a good choice. On record they opted for a lo-fi maximalist sound that I have previously likened to the Neutral Milk Hotel covering the Magnetic Fields. In concert, their melodies came alive with a vibrancy I didn’t expect from the singer’s voice. Following the Love Language came Dawes. Dawes just played here supporting Delta Spirit in February. After seeing them at Castaways I knew I should see them again in Austin. They were great as before and got a HUGE response from the crowd. You’ll be hearing more about them soon I’m sure.
We went back to the Mohawk after that show to catch yet another Hold Steady set. I missed the Ettes because I was getting food but heard they were fairly normal girl power-pop fare. The Soft Pack was absolutely terrible so I opted to head inside to see Adam Stephens of Two Gallants. He is doing some solo work apparently and brought a small band to play his pieces. It was a lot like Bright Eyes but in all the good ways that people sound like Bright Eyes and not too much so to be mimicry. I’m looking forward to some recordings. The Hold Steady was awesome again…I don’t know how much more I can write about them. They closed with the triple crown of “Southtown Girls”, “Slapped Actress”, then “Killer Parties” which ruled. Craig gave his “Rock and Roll is Full of so Much Joy” speech over the beginning of Killer Parties and let the crowd chant out the final refrains while he bounced around and egged them on.