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SXSW Day 2!

March 26, 2009

Thursday…

 

 

Worn out but happy we got up early to get to the Found Magazine Party at the Red 7. We tried to get there early because we were worried about getting in (I don’t know why) but we had a terrible time parking and ended up missing the first few acts. We did make it in time for The Tallest Man on Earth who was brilliant. He snaked his way around the stage, crooning his off kilter folk songs to an enthusiastic crowd. We moved outside to see Human Highway, Nick Diamonds’ new project. They played with a band called Magic who they’re on tour with. Some terrible comedian came on next to introduce the Hard Lessons. I’m not sure if he was trying to be terrible or if he really was just bad. The Hard Lessons rocked pretty hard. They’re a husband and wife duo with a drummer that plays old school blues rock. The guitarist got crazy at the end of the show and climbed around on the supports for the tent. After them was Lucero who were surprisingly tight and engaging.

 

The Hold Steady closed out the party. We’d come mostly to see them, thinking we couldn’t get in to most of their other shows. They played a killer set, as always. The crowd was going crazy, shouting lyrics and jumping around in pure joy. There were two old couples standing next to us in the front row. I mean old, they had to be in their 70’s. I felt a little bad for them because I’m not sure if they realized the crowd would be so rambunctious. My favorite part of the set was when Craig Finn pointed at the four of them during the line of “Stay Positive” that goes “The kids at the shows, they’ll have kids of their own.”

 

We left to get some food then headed to the Central Presbyterian Church to see Grizzly Bear. We caught the end of the set by Girls, a fuzz-pop band from San Francisco. Their sound got lost in the church and was mostly muddy and unimpressive. They were followed by The Rural Alberta Advantage who were contrastingly totally impressive. They played lo-fi folk songs with heart and power that resonated beautifully in that venue. They ended their set by walking down the middle aisle and playing a “goodnight song” without mics. Grizzly Bear was also super impressive. The generally sparser arrangements on their new album came out like a dream in the expansive church. They played some new favorites like “Two Weeks” and included classics like “Knife” and their cover of “He Hit Me (and it Felt Like a kiss)”. The church was a great choice but almost too nice as I think I passed out a couple times due to exhaustion.

 

We went from the church straight to the Radio Room for the Sub Pop showcase. They had terrrrrrrrible sound all night. Vetiver sounded flat and boring and Blitzen Trapper was mixed like it was a hip hop show. We stayed for a few songs, I thought that even with the bad sound “Furr” would be decent, but it was caught in the same muddy hole that the rest of the songs were in. Feeling slightly tired we decided to leave instead of suffer through the rest of Blitzen Trapper and hope that the Handsome Furs sounded better. 

 

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SXSW: Day 1

March 19, 2009

 

keeping this as brief as possible....

 

We started at the Red 7 with Terrorbird/Forcefield party yesterday. Wavves was cool but obviously 17. Loney, Dear had sound issues. The Thermals were tight and full of powerpop joy as always. Yoni Wolf (lead singer of Why?) ruled! It was clear that a lot of people came just to see him. The crowd knew all the songs and filled in some of the parts that were missing because his band wasn't there. Fol Chen was weird. Just weird. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart were awesome (their coming to Cornell in April!). The lead singer had this odd way of bouncing on his toes to sing that was quite endearing. We ran next door to Emo's to catch King Kahn and the Shrines (who were calling themselves King Kahn and the BBQ?) They had awesome costumes and are super talented. Lots of howls and rock screams and dripping blues guitar from a tall indian man dressed in a cape. Totally awesome.

 

We took a break for dinner and such then headed out to the NPR showcase at Stubbs. Stubbs is this long dirt field facing an amphitheater that is dotted with little shacks selling food and beer. It's like the street outside of an old western saloon where the duels happen. 

 

Janelle Monae was nuts. She was a great performer and seemed to have a fairly inoffensive stage show going until right at the end when she jumped off the stage and crowdsurfed around, returning just in time to throw her mic and vigorously slam/throw her mic stand across the stage.

 

Ladyhawke, The Heartless Bastards, The Avetts, all super sweet. The Decemberists probably confused some people. I don't think everyone knew that they were just playing their new album. 

Awesome despite not knowing any of the songs. Then we ran fast fast fast over to a bar where we watched mumford and sons from the window cause they wouldnt let us in. still blew my mind. Dan Auerbach stopped by to watch from the window with us. he nodded his approval as he continued on his way.

 

Back to it! more on today coming soon featuring highlights from The Hold Steady and Grizzly Bear!

 

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SXSW!

March 15, 2009

Yours truly the music directors of WICB will be headed down to the beautiful Austin for the SXSW music festival/conference next week. Featuring 1600-1700 bands in over 80 venues in under a week...Its going to be crrrrrazy and we're gonna tell you all about it on the blog. Check in for an update or two during the festival about our misadventures and encounters with probably not so famous rock stars..

 

so many bands to see on the schedule! Some highlights includes The Hold Steady, Camera Obscura, Chairlift, Mumford and Sons, Loney Dear, Handsome Furs Dinosaur Jr.(!?), and so many more we haven't heard of yet!

Needless to say, we're psyched! Check in for daily (hopefully) blogs from the festival right here!

 

-Reece and Angelina

 

www.sxsw.com

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New Music Info week of 3/9

March 10, 2009

New Music for the week of 3/9!

5 songs this week,  and I’m in love with all of them.

Check ‘em out!

 

GOMEZ – Airstream Driver – A New Tide

 

            This is the first single from Gomez’s album coming out March 31st on ATO.  A definite change of sound from their previous work, “Airstream Driver” sets the tone for a bigger presence than the old Gomez. Gone are the acoustic laments, “Driver” is aptly titled, punching the gas with the opening guitar chords, it chugs cross country with a confident air.

PLUS

Gomez will  share the stage with Josh Ritter on April 1st at the State Theater! It’s going to be killer, can’t wait for that show.

 

WILD LIGHT – My Father Was a Horse – Adult Nights

 

            The debut release from Wild Light on Columbia is something to get excited about. Touring in support of Arcade Fire during their formative years as a band, these guys are more than ready to step into the spotlight. Currently on tour with Tapes n’ Tapes, their tight live show has the critics and fans raving. “My father was a horse” is propelled by a burning piano line and aching vocals. Packed into a concise pop song, it leaves you breathless, ready for more.

 

BISHOP ALLEN – The Ancient Common Sense of Things – Grrr…

 

            Bishop Allen’s third LP came out on Dead Oceans yesterday.  Once again, filled to the brim with pop gems that stick with you like Mel sticks to Flight of the Conchords., Grrr… is irresistible from start to finish. “Common Sense” is a cute, springtime ditty that will make you smile every time you listen. I love the little marimba and bell parts in the chorus. The song builds joyfully like they’re having more and more fun as it goes on.

 

…TRAIL OF DEAD – Fields of Coal – The Century of Self

 

            Following up the digital only Festival Thyme EP, Trail of Dead are releasing their latest full length. “Fields of Coal” begins with almost whispered vocals that quickly build to a huge hook in the chorus. There’s a nice contrast between the fast paced vocals in the verse and the heroic “Runawaaaaaaaaaaaay” of the chorus. It’s another epic headbanger from the Austin five piece.

 

BEEP BEEP – Secrets for the Well – Enchanted Islands

           

            Only  their second release, Beep Beep’s Enchanted Islands reeks of knowledge and experience. Here’s what Saddle Creek has to say about the album:

“Enchanted Islands is a bewitched fantasia for a mysticized and genetically mutated Galapagos Islands. Beep Beep takes you on a delicate, disjointed voyage in the spirit of Ruiz's Three Crowns of the Sailor where no distinction is made between the real and the impossible, a voyage anchored only by the inherent truths of human desire and despair. The Journey is equivalent to a night's worth of vivid dreaming where time is out of place and every location makes sense only within its own context. Abrupt transitions through eras and settings leave the first-person narrative undaunted as the newly defined roles are exactly understood the moment these new adventures begin.”

 

“Secrets” is a dark race through city streets, kind of like what would happen if  the strokes tried to cover Of Montreal.

 

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Green Day's 21st Century

March 03, 2009

Last night I took my first listen to a demo track of "21st Century Breakdown", the forthcoming first single from the new Green Day album of the same name. And goddamn, I think I'm excited to hear the rest.

At times in my life, I’ve been a pretty huge Green Day fan. A superfan you might say. Those days are passed but they’ve left quite a soft spot in my heart for anything that they do. However, when I saw the cover art for the new album, my heart sank. Looking like a clichéd banksy rip off, I nearly gave up hope for the new album. Then I read comments from Spin magazine where they described the guitars on one song as “Linkin Park style” and I got sick to my stomach. But I listened anyway because there’s still nothing like new music from your favorite band from middle school. I was more than a little bit surprised.

I didn’t really like American Idiot. I thought they were trying to hard to be an arena band. This time around, I think they figured it out. “21st Century Breakdown” starts with a Springsteen-esque piano riff. Yeah…Springsteen. I sat up straight. The song held my attention all the way through. Featuring patently Green Day moments coupled with the epic grandeur of The Who (Keith Moon is Tre Cool’s idol as a drummer), “21st” defies critical and popular expectations.

One of the most surprising elements in the song are the lyrics. While there are a fair amount of generic anti-war and anti-America sentiments which, at this point, seem like filler coming from Billie Joe, there are in fact some gems hidden in the rock. My favorite is the stanza

I am an agent, a worker, a pawn.
My debt to the status quo:
The scars on my hands are a means to an end,
It’s all that I have to show.

Woah! A rock star without an ego?! Somebody tell Bono before he embarrasses himself again! That’s what you get when you put bay area punks in Madison square garden. I think he’s almost apologizing for making absurd amounts of money playing guitar every night.

Will it be another classic to add to the Green Day catalog? I hope so but who knows. It’s off to a better start than American Idiot!

 

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