Monday, March 31, 2008

Clare & The Reasons

Everybody needs a little new music on Monday . . . because Monday is the least fun day of the week!

If you haven't heard Brooklyn-based Clare and The Reasons, check them out. This stuff is so pretty, airy and melodic -- perfect for a Monday. It reminds me of a less German version of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci with a touch of something dreamy.

Check out the track Pluto on their Myspace page.

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Blip.

I'm still alive.

James Hall is playing Star Bar Saturday night, March 29th. It's $10 to get in.

If you have yet to see this band, it would complete your life even more if you did. Really, it's that good. They don't play often, so just know that Star Bar will be packed like a can of anchovies for this. It's totally worth it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Thousand Shark's Teeth

Brooklyn-based My Brightest Diamond -- the pet project of Shara Worden -- is releasing a new album on Sufjan Stephen's label, Asthmatic Kitty Records, on June 17, 2008.

You might have caught Worden at SXSW this year (I didn't because I didn't get to go for the first time in 11 years . . . boo and hiss). The new album, A Thousand Shark's Teeth was inspired by everything from Tom Waits to Alice In Wonderland yet it actually sounds totally unique. Her classical background -- she has a degree in opera -- shines through in a really fresh way.

They don't have any new tracks on their Myspace just yet but check back frequently. When the new songs finally post, be sure to check out the opening track "Inside a Boy".

I bet you can hear some new stuff at the New York (April 2 @ Joe's Pub) or Los Angeles (May 20 & 21 @ Hotel Cafe) dates.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

SxSW 2008- Friday.

Friday was a great day, and it only made me wish I had decided to stay until Sunday.

I started off the day wandering around listening for something that I might want to actually see a full set of, and that's when I stumbled across the Levi's/Fader Fort party. I caught the last song from The Fashion, which I think may have been a band way too hip for me. But since the Stella was flowing for free, I decided to stick around because the Lemonheads were scheduled to play. However, Evan Dando apparently lost his voice and cancelled at the very last minute. It's a shame about Evan. You know, losing his voice and all. Nyuk, nyuk.

Instead, I got to see These New Puritans from the UK, and again, I can't really tell you what they're like because I was so distracted by the guy's outfit, but I'm pretty sure it's too hip for me. As in, it didn't sound any different than most of the bands that were in Austin. Here's why I was distracted...

The best part of the set was this guy that I could not take my eyes off of. Now, my camera has no microphone, but I was able to capture part of his ritualistic dancing (it was side-splitting, really):

Luckily, after I sat through that, I got a nice dose of the soulful sounds of Langhorne Slim. I was literally moved, what with all the swaying I was doing (and, no, I didn't drink THAT much Stella to provoke that). The guy definitely reeks of talent and honesty that just oozes from his guitar and lyrics. I likey.

I got tired of sitting around there, so I moved on to the Filter Magazine Showdown party up the street and proceeded to partake in probably the best conversations I had the whole trip with my new favorite people from the Filter camp. I saw the Wombats finish up their set, and then caught the watered down (not in a bad way) sounds of Lightspeed Champion.

Here's a little visual of why everyone thinks I'm 14.

After the music, I headed into the bar to hang with the most awesome girl in Austin (besides myself, of course), Sam, Patrick from Limbeck (who I unfortunately missed this trip, but have seen before, and have also praised in the past), and Adrian from Filter. Adrian and Patrick came very close to convincing me to get another tattoo to remember my trip by. I was thinking of getting Adrian's name on my ass, because he's so super handsome, and really, I could see myself settling down with a guy exactly like him. True story. My mom is happy I ran out of daylight hours for more ink.

After parting ways with my newfound friends, I had a lovely dinner at this Rio place and walked over to see American Babies out of Brooklyn. This was another awesome find for me, because the endearing quality of sound and lyrics makes for the perfect blend of what music is all about. They totally have it together, and if you like the kind of music that you can listen to and feel good about, then this is for you. It kind of has this country vibe, mixed with bluesy, drawn-out vocals that I could stick in my ears and get lost in. Check out "Baby Don't Cry." More, more, more. That's what I want. I'm really in debt to them for sneaking me into their showcase.

So, that wraps it all up since early flights prevent me from displaying all the rockstar behavior I've been known to ride on in the past. I had fun. I will be back. Mark those words!

SxSW 2008 - Thursday.

Thursday was the day I was intent on from the get-go, because I so badly wanted to see the Old 97's, and I got to! They've got a new album coming out May 13th, and I simply cannot wait after picking up a free download of the single, "Dance With Me," at the New West Records party. Free tacos and beer were the perfect complement to the alt-country stylings of Tim Easton, Buddy Miller, and of course, the Old 97's. I tell you what, that single grabs you from the beginning of the song thanks to the intro guitar riff. Wow. They played mostly new stuff, but still let the crowd bask in tunes we all knew so well. Of course, they are my favorite band, so this was such a treat for me. Better than ice cream. And I really lurve ice cream. A lot.

Rhett Miller of the Old 97's

I caught some of Tim Easton, too, and I thought it was great, as well. He reminds me of Ryan Adams, so if you're into that, you'll probably like Easton. It's good rock'n'roll, and that's always a hard find where I'm concerned.

Tim Easton

I had just enough time to head to the Purevolume Ranch to check out the Cab, which was a big change from New West! The Cab...they're obviously pretty young, because after checking out their bubblegum fans, I felt like a dinosaur. But, I'm a lover of powerpop, and incidentally enough, of The Academy Is..., which is basically what the Cab is. I believe they're even signed to the same label. I noticed the crowd clear considerably when they covered "I'll Be" by Edwin McCain, but the energy bounced right back as soon as they started back on originals.

When they finished, I took full advantage of the free vodka and vitaminwater, then went back inside for the Bridges. If you still have not gone to listen to them, what are you waiting for? And of course, they're nice to look at. It's really cute to see all the boys in the crowd literally sitting there with their tongues rolled out of their mouths. I laughed. They played lots of new stuff from their upcoming June release, and I can't wait for it.

I had to go back to the hotel for sleep after that. I'm lame. Austin stole my mojo.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I love iTunes gift cards! Part tres

It's taken me over a month to spend a $15 iTunes gift card. Here are the winners and the hows, the whens and the whys...

"Strange Powers" – The Magnetic Fields

I heard this in the documentary Tarnation. It’s one of those songs where you just want to drive around with the window down with cherry limeade. It also made the cut on my funny valentine list.

"This is a Landslide" – Intramural

If you don’t know already, you do now. I heart Greg Dulli. That man can write and sing like no one else. It’s also rare to see a picture of him without a cigarette. Back to the song, it’s the title track off the artist Denver Dalley's album featuring Dulli on vocals. Like listening to something ambient (ex: Michael Andrews and Gary Jules cover or “Mad World”), I completely zone out and just listen to the strange, warped vocals.

"Your Guardian Angel" – The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

This is one of those where I thought I would never like in a million years, but I do. This song makes me think of Red Letter Agent’s “Under Starlight,” also on the valentine list.

"Live for Better Days" – Ignite

A curve ball was thrown at me with this one. About halfway in there’s a long pause for a good 30 seconds, which I thought was a mess-up. Suddenly, I hear a classical singer introducing this edgy second half of the song entirely in Latin or Hungarian or something not English (language sung is still unknown). It's definitely not like Coldplay’s “Everything’s Not Lost” with the 30 second folk song at the end. However, the chance to have that look of bewilderment is very nice.

Geogaddi (the whole album) – Boards of Canada

It all started at American Apparel. When I was in there on a yucky, rainy Sunday, I felt like I was being abducted by aliens on a UFO. I was weirded out by the music, but wanted to know more at the same time. The nice people there suggested a few bands and Boards of Canada was one of them. It's not quite 'out there' like Minotaur Shock, but it’s very much something you’d hear at a new age store. Think of these 23 tracks as strange peace...

Friday, March 14, 2008

SxSW 2008 - Wednesday.

Early to bed, early to rise. This seems to be my motto, since by 8:00, I'm so exhausted I just want the bed and some Sex and the City reruns. However, I'm exhausted from walking around all day and seeing/hearing a lot of really excellent bands. I haven't been disappointed yet.

Wednesday, on four of sleep and seven hours of traveling, I began the day with a margarita and Quiet Company, a lovely powerpop outfit from right here in Austin. And, uh, I'm a big fan of that powerpop stuff, you know. And so are the 14 year old girls that were sitting in front of me. The singer's voice kind of reminds me Ben Kweller. Just go listen. I like it. I can't get too descriptive due to aforementioned margarita. Sowwy.

Quiet Company at Light Bar

After that, I headed over to see the Athens in Austin party and caught both Dead Confederate and Modern Skirts. It was a lot of fun to see these bands play in the daytime, and with another margarita. Dead Confederate is really picking up speed, and I haven't seen them in a while, but I can tell they're one of those bands that will just get better and better. I think everyone who popped in appreciated their southern rock implosion.

Dead Confederate at Bourbon Rocks

After closing out the party train, I had a pint with some friends. I think my cut-off for live music is at sundown. I just want to booze after that. Merry Vacation.

Look how cool and important I am.

Friday, March 07, 2008

I Wonder Where I'll Wind Up, But I'm Headed West, I Know...

Yes, I've been slack. Yes, I've had plenty blog. No, I haven't blogged. But I will be toting my pretty iBook with me to Austin next week to report on what I see/hear/do at SxSW, because I know you'll be dying from the suspense.

That is, however, if I can set down the beer, BBQ, and tacos long enough...


PS - REM is playing. I'm not cool or important enough to catch it, no matter how many times I've casually approached Mike Mills in my bar endeavors. But here's a video from them that's brand spankin' new. It's the single, "Supernatural Superserious" from the upcoming April 1 release of Accelerate.