Friday, September 29, 2006

Astroladies Contest

To finish this contest, the rules are changing. All you have to do is send us an e-mail and include your contact information. We will randomly pick the winners and make an announcement early next week.

For those of you who don't remember, our friends in Belgium's Astroladies sent us 3 copies of their debut cd and 2 eps to give away. If you aren't familiar with them, check out the post that I did on them last month.

Once again, good luck!

The Magic Numbers 2.0


It's one of those Fridays where the weekend is so close, yet you have no idea how you will ever make it that far. Fortunately, there are new tunes from The Magic Numbers to cheer me up. I just happened to stumble upon this yesterday and it's a perfect elixir for today. It is from their forthcoming album Those the Brokes, and it will be released in early November. Just to add to the cheer, I am including an upbeat song from their last album and their great Beyonce cover. Is it the weekend yet?

The Magic Numbers - Take A Chance
The Magic Numbers - Mornings Eleven
The Magic Numbers - Crazy In Love (Beyonce Cover)

Check out the contest that we are currently running.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Isles



Another band that I have been introduced to recently, is The Isles. They are a band from New York City who have a new album coming out on October 3. The Smiths influences are obvious, their profile even admits to them. However, don't write them off as cheap imitators. The half of the album that I have heard is solid and they do not sound like a carbon copy of the boys from Manchester. They may not pave new ground, but they are a solid band with a release that is worth checking out.

The Isles - Major Arcana
The Isles - Flying Under Cheap Kites

Check out the contest that we are currently running.

Throwback Thursday: The Smiths


For this week's Throwback, we would like to revisit a band that has spent the past decade in a court, rather than on a stage. In the early 80's, a band called The Smiths formed in Manchester, England. Led by the witty persona known as Morrissey and the stellar guitar playing of Johnny Marr, they took the world by storm. It was a volatile partnership that lasted a mere five years, ending in 1987. While they had a short career, their legacy is unbelievable. The number of current bands that are influenced by bands that were influenced by The Smiths, is amazing.

They have been out of circulation for years and have no chance of reforming, yet several band members have carried on. Morrissey started a solo career shortly after the break up. While it may have cooled in the late 90's, he has been back with a lot of success in the past few years. Johnny Marr seems to have collaborated with everyone over the last twenty years and recently became a member of Modest Mouse. Bass player Andy Rourke is having a successful career as a DJ.

My personal relationship with their music began in the early 90's. Mike's older brother passed down some tapes and after Mike wore them out, he passed some copies on to me. Based on our long love for this group, picking the songs for this proved quite difficult. We both said that we could easily revisit them in the future and include an entirely different set of songs. In some cases, we pulled song titles out of a hat. It is astonishing how many good songs they wrote in such a short time. We will leave you with a few of them.

The Smiths (1984)
Miserable Lie
This Charming Man

Meat Is Murder (1985)
That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore
Nowhere Fast

The Queen Is Dead (1986)
I Know It's Over
Cemetry Gates

Louder Than Bombs (1987)
Shoplifters of the World Unite
Half a Person
Ask
Unlovable

Strangeways, Here We Come (1987)
A Rush and a Push and the Land Is Ours
Paint a Vulgar Picture

A friend asked me to post this song for her:
Bigmouth Strikes Again

While I was working on this, I found a great site that has a lot of free bootlegs of The Smiths. Here is one from Irvine Meadows Amphitheater in Laguna Hills, CA that was recorded on August 28, 1986. Based on a quick browse, I thought that it was the best quality.

Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want
Still Ill
I Want The One I Can´t Have
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
How Soon Is Now?
Frankly Mr. Shankly
Panic
Stretch Out And Wait
The Boy With The Thorn In His Side
Is It Really So Strange?
Cemetry Gates
Never Had No One Ever
Rubber Ring/What She Said
That Joke Isn´t Funny Anymore
Heaven Knows I´m Miserable Now
The Queen Is Dead
Money Changes Everything
I Know It´s Over


Past Throwbacks:
09/21/06: A Tribe Called Quest
09/14/06: R.E.M.
09/07/06: The Cure
08/31/06: Morphine
08/24/06: The Lemonheads
08/17/06: Depeche Mode
08/10/06: New Order

Check out the contest that we are currently running.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

This Week In Austin: Part II, Weekend Edition

You already know what's happening until Thursday, so lets take a gander at what the weekend has to offer.

This weekend is hopping! I've got my favorites, but you decide what's worth your time. Friday at Emo's has the inside/outside for same price! Featuring Serena Maneesh, Magnolia Electric Company, and Xiu Xiu. If you want those thumping dance hall beats and incredible mixes, DJ Spooky is at Waterloo Park. And for that rockabilly side that is waiting to jump out, The Reverend Horton Heat, along with the Horrorpops, rock out at Stubb's.

The Reverend Horton Heat

If you want to get a little local on Friday, head down south to Trophy's and check out Grand Champeen, The Personals, and Just Guns. I did a blurb on Just Guns for the first part of the week. Check it out! There's another local show worth checking out, but that will be my local focus later on in the post.

On Saturday, the big name locals come out to play! Stubb's has folk-rock troubador Mason Jennings, along with Jennifer O'Connor and local bluegrass faves The Gourds. I implore you to check out their version of Gin and Juice on their MySpace page. Never thought that could cross musical boundaries, but it works! Trophy's has something interesting, billed as The Who Hoot Night. One can only imagine. If you watch CSI and sing along with the opening credits, you may have a shot. Finally, at Emo's, supported by Brothers & Sisters and Fishboy, is local hot, then not, then hot again, every critic's darling buzz band, Spoon. This show will probably sell out. But who knows, it's Austin, not much sells out in this town.

Spoon

Sunday is sparse, but it's Sunday. At La Zona Rosa is my not so favorite original local band, Live. Pray they play a lot from Throwing Copper and Mental Jewelry. Another DJ mxing it up, this time DJ Shadow makes Stubb's groove. And at Emo's Lounge, country singer Richard Buckner and Centro-Matic band member Will Johnson take the stage.

Hey, not a bad weekend. Now let me let you in on three Austin secrets (or not so secret if you heard of them before). Playing Mohawk on Friday night (and I hope to be there) is The Early Tapes, The Paper South, and The Mercers. The Early Tapes have a sound that is reminiscent of the psychedelic rock of the late 60s and early 70s. Compare them to another Austin band, The Black Angels, but a little less on the heavy guitar drone and more on the experimental side. In more of a modern vein, The Paper South draw upon a definite Death Cab vibe. Although a relatively new band, the members have been part of Winslow and American Analog Set in previous musical lives. The vocals are almost whisper soft, the guitars come out to play every once in a while, but mainly hang back with the vocals. I will quote them:
"The Paper South cut their brisk blasts of concise, atmospheric melodics with pockets of turbulence that develop so naturally its like the songs are playing the band."

The Mercers
Lastly, The Mercers play music they say is influenced by "cheap beer; big dreams; sad, sarcastic, pop burts". Another band that keeps the country influence by having a pedal steel, but much like Just Guns, it works in the rock world. And they must be doing something right, they got a blurb in the July issue of Esquire Magazine. Singer Peter Wagner sounds up the sound like this: "some kind of 80's british pop influenced indie rock with country tendencies." Whatever you want to call it, it is catchy and easy to get caught in the music.

Hell of a weekend ahead. I'll be at Mohawk (hopefully) on Friday. See me there!

Magnolia Electric Co. - Lonesome Valley
Xiu Xiu - I Love the Valley OH
Reverend Horton Heat - Liquor, Beer, Wine
Horrorpops - Miss Take
Grand Champeen - Raul Vela
The Personals - Forget Everything
Just Guns - The Subway Sleeps Tonight
Spoon - I Turn My Camera On
Borthers and Sisters - Breathing Lessons
Fishboy - Tree Star
Mason Jennings - Be Here Now
The Gourds - Bottle a Dime
Jennifer O'Connor - Today
Richard Buckner - Blue and Wonder
Will Johnson - Just to Know What You've Been Dreaming
DJ Shadow - Organ Donor
Live - White, Discussion
TheEarly Tapes - Betty and Thomas
The Paper South - Ready or Not
The Mercers - Sexy Youth

Check out the contest that we are currently running.

New Voxtrot


It is no secret that I like Voxtrot, so I was pleasantly surprised when Gorilla vs Bear premiered a new track of theirs. It is from a 3 song disc titled Your Biggest Fan and will be available on November 7.

Voxtrot - Trouble

Check out the contest that we are currently running.

José González



Someone who I have started listening to recently, is José González. I stumbled upon his video for Crosses and instantly became intrigued. He is a Swedish singer songwriter of Argentinean descent. José is not very flashy. He uses very little production, has basic packaging and promotion and does his recordings at home. It seems like he is all about the music and it shows. His songs are very basic and instead of using exotic arrangements, he showcases his songwriting. His album is called Veneer and it has been out since 2003. Helped by his collaboration with Zero 7, he is starting to gain some interest in the states and he's supporting that with a tour. For those of you in Austin, he plays The Parish tomorrow night.

José González - Crosses
José González - Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division cover)
Zero 7 - Futures (featuring José González)

Check out the contest that we are currently running.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Oranges Band


This was the first week in a month, that Baltimore's The Oranges Band didn't make the weekly concert preview. So of course, they had to do something to garner a post. They recorded an exclusive new track for WTMD. The song is called Jenny, I'm Sneaking Out and it features Shawna Potter from Avec on guest vocals. According to their website, this is the first of many things that are coming up for the band. They say "Think new songs, new albums, new labels, new website, new surprises." As they warn, this won't be the last that you hear from them.

The Oranges Band - Jenny, I'm Sneaking Out (featuring Shawna Potter)

Check out the contest that we are currently running.

Closing Out September in The Baltimore Region

Fall is upon us and September is coming to an end. Fortunately, good music continues to find its way through the region.


The week starts off with the beats of Ladytron and CSS finding their way to the 9:30 Club on Monday Night.


Tuesday brings Kansas City's The New Tragedies to The Sidebar. Yo La Tengo support their brand new album at the 9:30 Club.


Wednesday night is kind of crazy around here. Drive-By Truckers and Bobby Bare, Jr. stop for a date at Chameleon Club. Snowden and their internet buzz drop in at The Talking Head. Sunset Rubdown make an appearance at Black Cat. In my opinion, the show of the night happens at Sonar when The Long Winters, What Made Milwaukee Famous and Menomena hit the stage.


Things don't slow down from there. On Thursday, The Mountain Goats and Christine Fellows make a stop at Black Cat. DC's Lejeune, Baltimore's Pontiak and Raleigh, NC's DMVB play a show at DC9. Local favorites The Payola Reserve and Blonde Hair Blue Eyes play The Talking Head. If you miss this show, Blonde Hair Blue Eyes play Red House Tavern in Canton on Friday night. Massive Attack plays to two full houses at the 9:30 Club on Thursday and Friday.


Friday night starts off right with Los Lobos at the Maritime Magic fundraiser. Mates of State and Starlight Mints play an early show at Chameleon Club. Finally, Mobius Band bring the indie love to Sonar.


Like the rest of the week, Saturday night has another full slate of shows. Local legends Laughing Colors, have their yearly reunion show at Ram's Head Live. For those up for a short trip, Bob Schneider and Charlie Mars bring the singer songwriter love to Jammin' Java. Even the metalheads have something to savor when Tool brings their road show to the Verizon Center. In what should be a great show on Saturday night, DC's Paul Michel and Columbus OH's The Receiver, release their albums and start their US Tour at DC9. NYC's Soft will be providing support.


Where will I be this weekend? I am heading to the beach for the Dewey Beach Music Conference in Deleware. The free showcase runs from Thursday through Saturday and is headlined by Mellowdrone on Saturday night.

If you can't find someone to see this week, you really aren't trying. If I missed anything, let me know.

Ladytron - Destroy Everything You Touch
CSS -Let's Make Love and Listen Death From Above
The New Tragedies - Talk To Me
Yo La Tengo - Beanbag Chair
Snowden - Anti-Anti
The Long Winters - Fire Island, AK
What Made Milwaukee Famous - Sweet Lady
Menomena - E is Stable
Drive-By Truckers - Feb 14
Bobby Bare, Jr. - Bionic Beginning
Sunset Rubdown - Stadiums and Shrines II
The Payola Reserve - Music Is Not Music
Blonde Hair Blue Eyes - The New Disco
The Mountain Goats - Woke Up New
Christine Fellows - Phantom Pains
Lejeune - Moon Shy City
Pontiak - TransAtlantic
DMVB - Eat Sleep Breath Repeat
Massive Attack - Angel
Los Lobos - This Time
Mates of State - Fraud In The '80s
Starlight Mints - What's Inside Of Me?
Mobius Band - The Loving Sound of Static
Laughing Colors - War On Drugs (live)
Paul Michel - Expire
The Receiver - Corner Pt. 2
Soft - Higher
Bob Schneider - Sweet Sound
Charlie Mars - One Horse Town
Tool - H
Mellowdrone - Oh My

Check out the contest that we are currently running.

Monday, September 25, 2006

This Week In Austin Part I: Monday to Thursday

In the past, I have been letting you in on who is playing where around Austin, from the big boys to the guys from just up the road and giving a one line blip of what to expect, if even that. Time to shake things up a bit. I will still mention what is worthy (in my opinion) of seeing, but I will also take a few of the locals playing during the week that, from what I heard and read, impressed me and fill in a little more detail about them.

There is way too much going on this week for me to cover in one post, so I am splitting it up. This one will be Monday-Thursday. The weekend post will be coming later.

Starting off the week, a Monday (that's right) at Emo's featuring the British act Art Brut and their, shall I say, eclectic sound, the lyrics half rapped over pop-punk guitars. Co-headlining is We Are Scientists from Brooklyn. Along for the ride is The Spinto Band, a sextet based out of Wilmington, Delaware.

Hit Emo's again on Tuesday for legends The Queers, playing punk for the fun of it since 1982. Joining them are Australia punkers The Hard-Ons, who have toured with The Ramones and the Foo Fighters, among others and Toys That Kill from California. Check out their Myspace picture, getting props from The Stooges.

I guess it is the place to be this week. Emo's again! Thursday has five bands, three inside, two out. Outside, the electronic beats and synth of Ratatat pulsate into the night, supported by Swedish outfit Envelopes and Portland based Panther, who is anything but predictable, throwing out so many styles, you just can't label him. Inside is one of our favorites, Maritime, , some members formerly of The Promise Ring. They are supported by locals Ghost of the Russian Empire.


Just Guns

That's the approved "roadshow" artists. Now its time for the locals to shine. If punk is not your thing on Tuesday, I highly recommend going north on Red River to Beerland. Four bands are playing that night, but one really sticks out to me, Just Guns. They take everything the Austin music scene has to offer and blend it into their own unique sound. You hear one song and label them a country band, yet you hear another and can put them on the college radio along with Death Cab and Interpol. There is a definte country twang to the guitars in almost every song (thanks to a pedal steel that is ever present), but the vocals vary from what you hear coming out of the honky-tonk on the side of a country road to the plaintive shoe-gaze you hear on your local college radio show. If you want more info, check out the article from ATX Magazine. They have been around for about 5 years and have a handful of Cd's, so grab yourself a copy. If you miss them on Tuesday, catch them on Friday at Trophy's.

Wednesday is kind of light for the music scene. There is one act that may be worth checking out. Forget Last Friday is bringing back the synth pop and new wave of the early 80s to Trophy's. I haven't heard music like this in ages. If you remember The Buggles, then you can get some idea what the sound is like. Some of the melodies sound like they come directly from the soundtracks to old NES games. If you want something old made new again, go and see them.


The Bellfuries

If you aren't checking our Maritime and Ratatat, head on down south across the river to Trophy's to catch two local bands, The Alice Rose and The Bellfuries. The Alice Rose formed 5 years ago, but recently became a five piece last year. They play 60's pop, with jaunty guitars, simple backing beats, and great harmonies. Very Beatles and Beach Boys-esque. It is like taking a step back in time musically. Playing with them, The Bellfuries grabbed my attention when I first heard them. I could have sworn the song I heard had Elvis Costello singing lead. They too have a definte 60s pop vibe, with a mix of country for good measure. A CD release is scheduled for November. After listening to both bands, I can safely say it will be a good time south of the river Thursday night.

Art Brut - Good Weekend
We Are Scientists - Human Technology Will Render You Obsolete
The Spinto Band - Trust vs. Mistrust
The Queers - Mrs. Brown, You've Got A Lovely Daughter
Toys That Kill - Run Away
Ratatat - Wildcat
Envelope - It Is The Law
Panther - You Don't Want Your Nails Done
Maritime - Tearing Up The Oxygen
Ghost of the Russian Empire - August 1914
Just Guns - Waiting To Be
Forget Last Friday - Don't Care
The Alice Rose - I Know Your Ghost
The Bellfuries - Give It Get It

Check out the contest that we are currently running.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Contest Time

We have been promising this for weeks now and it is finally here. We are pleased to announce our first ever contest. Our friends in Belgium's Astroladies sent us 3 copies of their debut cd and 2 eps to give away. The eps are the only copies that they are aware of, that are currently residing in the states. If you aren't familiar with them, check out the post that I did on them last month. If we receive a lot of great entries, we may have a couple of other things to add.

Now the question is, what do you have to do to win the prizes? Send us an e-mail telling us about a local or underground band that we haven't covered, that we should be listening to and why. A link to their site or myspace, would also be helpful. You can even talk about your own band, as long as you have the music to back it up. To be eligible, please include your contact information. We will go through all of the entries and determine the winners. Good Luck!

The Return of Damien Rice


There are some artists that you just connect with. The first time that I heard Ireland's Damien Rice, was on a live EP that I received in the mail about 4 years ago. As soon as I listened to that, I was hooked. I immediately purchased O and he has been in my early morning, chill out afternoon and late night playlist ever since. He blew up quite a bit after that. His songs were featured in several movies and it seemed like he was everywhere for awhile. Then, he kind of disappeared.

It turns out that he really didn't go away, he was just having a creative burst. During this burst, he wrote, produced and recorded a new album called 9. The album will be released on November 6 overseas and hopefully the next day, here in the states. The first single is a piano ballad called 9 Crimes and like most of his songs, it features a lot of Lisa Hannigan on both vocals and strings. If this is a good indicator of the album, it will be more of the Damien Rice that we grew to love. Hopefully, a winter tour will be announced soon.

Damien Rice - 9 Crimes

Check out the contest that we are currently running.

Friday, September 22, 2006

A Night at the Fly: The Drawing Board


It's a Thurday night and one of my favorite local bands is playing, so I ventured southwards from the quiet burgh of Pflugerville into the heart of the Red River District and into a place I have only passed by before, The Red Eyed Fly. Actually, I was greeted by a group of people standing outside the door, one being Drawing Board guitarist David Vassallo, waiting for the manager to come and open the place up. Some more people showed, as did other band members; during the down time. After 10 minutes or so, he showed up and unlocked the doors. This meant that the set would not start at 9 as promised, as it was already 8:45. As they set up the equipment on stage, I grabbed a soda (no drinking on school nights, kids), found a place next to a tree and took in the slowly gathering crowd, which seemed to be mostly friends. I can only assume that was the case, but the band members were interacting with numerous people in the crowd like they knew them.

This is were it gets kind of weird. I saw a woman with a nice camera. She looked intent on getting pictures of the show, so I approached her and asked if she posts those pictures anywhere in particular. Wouldn't you know it, it turned out to be keyboardist Dave Lewis' mother. We had a good discussion on what Joe and I do here and how we having been talking up the band. I hope she got some good shots. Can't wait to see them.

After a brief sound check, the show got under way. Lead singer and guitarist Justin Tapp, in my opinion, had a serious Jon Heder look going on. The band as a whole looked the typical high school/college friends garage (or bedroom, where they record their music) band. Their sound was anything but typical. It was remarkably solid. No one part over-powered, resulting in a great sonic mix. The rhythm was tight (provided by Justin's brother, Brandon), and the vocals were not drowned out by the instruments. Were those vocal harmonies I heard as well? Thet sounded very Beach Boys-esque. Who else incorporates those little xylophone type instruments you used to play in elementary music class into their songs?

Not knowing much beyond the songs posted on The Drawing Board myspace page, I found myself enjoying every song. Catchy hooks and smart lyrics kept my interest. A variance of styles, from bouncy pop to straight-up guitar rock to almost thrashing out (which they finally did at the end), made the performance flow. They let loose on a few new songs, one which has bassist Adam Luikart take the lead vocals. For such an unassuming looking guy, he can sure handle a bass and has a solid voice. The band looked like they were having fun up on stage and I think it translated well into their show.

I will see these guys again. I will continue to talk them up to anyone who will listen. Anyone in Austin (or anywhere for that matter) who reads this, tell your friends, go to the next show, get their music from their page.

My apologies to the band for not introducing myself. I was feeling a bit allergenic by the end of the show and I noticed the business of tearing down and friends greeting was all-consuming. I will do it next time. Also, my apologies to the other bands that played tonight. Due to the allergies, I had to cut my evening short and did not get to see much past the opening of the second band.

I think I have exhausted all the pictures and songs. So no pictures tonight, but I will repost all the songs I have. Thanks for the CD.

Every Moment
The Writer
It's A Lie
Haven't We Been Through This
Something I Can't Have

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Throwback Thursday: A Tribe Called Quest



We had some great ideas for this week's throwback. Like always, we ended up going with something more timely. Since they are playing in the area twice this week, we decided to go with Tribe. If you have any ideas for future throwbacks, send us an e-mail.

A Tribe Called Quest is a hip hop outfit that formed in Brooklyn, NY in the late 1980's. Of course there was no such thing as hip hop outfits back then, but that is for another story. This is usually where we fill you in on the details of the group and discuss their rise, fall and reincarnation. For Tribe, we want to discuss what they mean to us.

Tribe is one of those groups that will forever be tied to our teenage years. Different songs of theirs mean different things to us. Some remind us of girls or particular events or some of our friends. Collectively, they all remind us of good times. As we were going through which tracks to post, the memories flew back in to our brains. We decided to keep the obvious track off and focus on the ones that meant more. Hopefully, you will enjoy this as much as we enjoyed putting in together. They are definitely one of the best hip hop groups ever!

People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm
Bonita Applebum
I Left My Wallet in El Segundo

The Low End Theory
Check The Rhime
Buggin' Out

Midnight Marauders
Award Tour
Electric Relaxation

Beats, Rhymes and Life
Stressed Out
Keeping It Moving

The Love Movement
Find A Way
Da Booty

Finally, we leave you with one of our favorite videos from our youth. This makes us happy everytime that we see it and has us singing for days at a time.

A Tribe Called Quest - I Left My Wallet In El Segundo



Past Throwbacks:
09/14/06: R.E.M.
09/07/06: The Cure
08/31/06: Morphine
08/24/06: The Lemonheads
08/17/06: Depeche Mode
08/10/06: New Order

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Post Festival Haze: This Week In Austin

Sorry for getting this out late, but I have been recovering from the weekend known as ACL Fest. It looks like the fun doesn't stop there either. The summer heat is leaving central Texas slowly and more and more bands are heading to the venues to entertain us. So let's get to it!

Thursday begins with The French Kicks and Little Ones at Emo's. Playing up the street a few blocks at Stubb's is cancer survivor and musician with a message Christine Baze. She is joined by the acoustic sounds of Kaki King. I will be somewhere inbetween at the Red Eyed Fly checking out among others, our friends (they should be yours too!) The Drawing Board.


The weekend kicks off with a little emo-punk courtesy of Gossip and The Independents at, of all places, Emo's. At the Parish, Broken Social Scene guitarist Jason Collett and Rogue Wave entertain the masses with smart power alterna-pop, while Foreign Born hypnotizes the crowd with neo-new wave synth rock. Check out local groups The Onlys and Buttercup at Ruta Maya.

Jason Collett

Lounging at Emo's (if you didn't get the play, thats the Lounge at Emo's) on Saturday is Dr. Octagon (aka Kool Keith and others), so go get your groove on. Supporting his new album, M. Ward brings his indie folk sound to The Parish. All the supporting bands from the Snowden show are out this weekend, so go see them. The instrumental sonic blast of My Education is at Trophy's and for a more shoe-gaze kind of evening, For Those Who Know is at Beerland with Ghost of the Russian Empire. Fresh off their performance at the Festival is the 20's and 30's string band attack of the White Ghost Shivers playing with bluegrass-punk (is that possible?) sensations Split Lip Rayfield at the Continental Club. SLR is also playing there on Sunday. At one of the newest club's in Austin, Mohawk, are locals The Black, with their straight-up pop/rock flair. They are supported by A Featherwieght Burden. If you miss The Black Saturday, they play the Peacock Sunday.

Split Lip Rayfield

So get out there Austin and enjoy what the Live Music Capital has to offer. And if you still can't decide, try some of these on for size, they may help.

The French Kicks - Also Ran
Little Ones - Lovers Who Uncover
Christine Baze - Say Something
The Drawing Board - Every Moment
Gossip - Where The Girls Are
The Independents - Lullabye
Jason Collett - Fire
Rogue Wave - Publish My Love
Foreign Born - Entryway
The Onlys - Tulsa Part 2
Buttercup - Hot Love
Dr. Octagon - Earth People
M. Ward - Requiem
My Education - Britches Blanket
For Those Who Know - Perfect
White Ghost Shivers - Everyone's Got 'Em
Split Lip Rayfield - Should Have Seen It Coming
The Black - Cellblock

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Virgin Festival Preview

Mere days after the end of ACL Fest, Virgin Festival is about to take over Baltimore. It takes place on Saturday with 14 bands (Keane dropped out) on 2 stages and 6 DJs playing inside a dance tent. While ACL was excess at its finest, Virgin Fest takes what appears to be a minimalist approach. After taking a closer look, you will see that this is not the case. For $97.50 plus tons of surchages, you would hope not.


In addition to the bands and DJs, Virgin Fest has a tent that includes a freak show (yeah, like the ones at your local fair), a freaking cell phone recharging area, a DJ set by VHS OR BETA and a beauty salon!!! The Charm City Roller Girls will be there demonstrating some girl on girl action. There will be live graffiti, in case you haven't seen enough downtown. Major Leage Baseball will have an area set up for you to play all of their Xbox and PS2 games and to embarrass yourself in batting and pitching cages. My favorite one has to be Motor Morons. This is supposedly an "all-tool performance art audio interactive installation band" that features "two women, four dudes, a grinder, two driver drills, a circular saw, and an industrial blower."

Not interested in the side shows? Well, how about this line-up. There are two stages and each one features 7 acts.


The Clubhouse (Secondary) Stage starts off with Drive-By Truckers at 12:10. Indie sweethearts The New Pornographers follow them at 1:35. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah bring their indie flavor at 3:05. Brazilian Girls spice things up a little bit at 4:35. Thievery Corporation entice you with their grooves starting at 6:05. Scissor Sisters bring their disco grooves at 7:35. The Flaming Lips close this stage out with their amazing live show from 9 to 10.


The Grandstand (Main) Stage kicks off the music at noon with Kasabian. For those wishing they could get the Led out, Wolfmother takes the stage at 1:10. Jack White and The Raconteurs take over at 2:25. Gnarls Barkley will surprise you at 3:55. Any bets on how they come out for this show? It was labcoats and She Blinded Me With Science at ACL. The Killers come to offend at 5:15. The Who play from 6:45 to 8, so they can entertain you and still get to bed on time. Red Hot Chili Peppers close this thing out from 8:30 to 10.


The Dark Horse Dance Tent features RJD2, 2MANYDJs, James Holden, John Digweed, Carl Cox and Tiësto.

Look below for an mp3 sampler of the event. If you are going to be in town for the weekend, there is a lot happening. Check out my weekly preview to see what else is going on.

Kasabian - Empire
Drive-By Truckers - Feb 14
Wolfmother - Love Train
The Raconteurs - Steady As She Goes
New Pornographers - Use It
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Over and Over Again
Brazilian Girls - Jique
Thievery Corporation - Warning Shots
Scissor Sisters - Paul McCartney
Gnarls Barkley - Smiley Faces
The Killers - When You Were Young
The Who - Baba O'Riley
The Flaming Lips - Fight Test
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Sir Psycho Sexy

Austin CIty Limits Festival Review: Final Words

Another festival has come and gone. So much music, so much food, so much of everything. Where to begin to bring it all together into one concise little post.

I will start by saying, out of the four festivals I have been to, this one rates first or second. I haven't picked between this one and the 2004 festival yet. It will come to me in time. Musically, it was time to experiment a little bit. Most of the artists early Friday and Sunday I had hardly heard, save a few tracks off of their myspace page. I got to know a lot of new artists that I would normally have never heard. That is the beauty of a festival of this magnitude, you will always find something new.

With that said, time to break down the Best and Worst of ACL Fest 2006

Best Food: Boomerang Meat Pies: Hand held pot pies. Brilliant! The Southwest Chicken was the bomb! Close Second: Saba with their Mahi Mahi Tacos and some damn good chicken flautas

Worst Food: None, all the food was damn good, and all from local restaurants and vendors

Had to get that out there. Austin has some of the best food in the country.

Worst Performance: Wolf Parade. Maybe I expected too much, but I was not pleased with their show at all.

Worst Music Selection: Guster. C'mon, play more than 4 songs from Lost and Gone Forever and before. Close second: The Raconteurs. You lost over half your crowd after playing Steady As She Goes third. Genius setlisting.

Worst Experience: Being back too far for Van Morrison and Ray Lamontagne. Sound quality sucked for some reason. Couldn't hear a damn thing. And I so wanted to catch them.

Act I Should Have Seen, But Didn't: I heard only high praises for latin bands Del Castillo and Los Amigos Invisibles. Even the frat boys were talking them up.

Best Unknown To Me: Matt Nathanson. Absolutely great on stage.

Best Cover: Ben Harper. Voodoo Child. There is nothing even close.

Best Music Selection: Willie Nelson. Check Day 2 Review to see all the songs he brought out. Freakin' amazing.

Best Performance: There were four front runners for this: Damian Marley was high energy from start to finish, busted out some Bob with some brothers. G. Love will always be one of my favorite live acts to see. Matt Nathanson blew me away, but the best stand-out performance that I saw goes to Austin's own Ghostland Observatory. Such raw energy put into the performance and the sound just was incredible.

Well, that does it from Zilker Park this year. Until 2007!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Austin City Limits Festival: Day Three Review

Bonjour from the beautiful banks of the Colorado River. Again, not really, I am at home clacking away at the keyboard to bring you, our intrepid readers, the skinny on Day Three of the ACL Fest.

Today, I decided not to do too much running, sticking it out the whole set for many of the acts I saw. The day started with a brief rain shower, but it rained hard. I'm talking sheeting action. We headed under a pavillion to wait it out. And as luck would have it, it stopped just in time for the first show we wanted to see.

The Stills

The day started out with The Stills. Ever since downloading Without Feathers from Emusic as couple of months ago, I was psyched to see them perform. They started out with It Takes Time, then commented on the dampness, thanking us for all showing up, and saying "we may get electrocuted, and you'll be here to see it!" It was a rousing set, consisting mainly of songs from the new album, but they did throw in some previously released ones. A very good show indeed.

About three-quarters into their set, we headed for lunch and to check out Austin's own The Black Angels and Finland based Husky Rescue. The Black Angels did nothing too impressive, but the droning sound of 70s power rock was a great background for lunch. Husky Rescue was electro-pop, a la The Cardigans. Again, nothing that wowed me, but it didn't suck.

We were really in that area for the next act, Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley. Reggae to me is party music, and this was definately a party atmosphere. High energy, always getting the crowd involved, the show never had a break. Through the whole show, a guy was on stage waving a Rastafarian flag. Thats all he did. Near the end, Marley's seemed to be coming out of the woodwork, as two older brothers, I believe Stephen and Julian, came out. Stephen (I think thats what he said) came out for a couple of songs, then Julian joined them for Could You Be Loved. I was waiting for the ghost of Bob to join them on stage. The brothers left, then Damian ripped into the final selection, Welcome to Jamrock. Only problem I had was I couldn't understand a damn thing. I needed a translator. But it didn't matter. It was one of the best performances of the weekend.

Damian Marley

After a little break in the action (read: nothing I wanted to see), we got situated across the park for another reggae sensation, Matisyahu. He started out with what sounded like to me the vocals you hear calling Muslims to prayer. Yes, I know he is Jewish, but I am not, so I have no idea if they use the same kind of thing. His vibe was little more downbeat from Marley, but it was still a good show. As we were leaving, he busted out King Without a Crown, which followed us out of the crowd.

The New Pornographers

The rest of the day was solid, back-to-back performances. The evening started out with The New Pornographers. A killer set consisting of a good mix from Twin Cinema and the previous albums. Neko Case was as beautiful as ever, and wanted to get drunk, go see Petty and hit on your brother. And they were having fun, making witty remarks about other bands playing, telling Son Volt to keep it to a dull roar (they were at another stage at the same time, and playing very loud), and giving props to Ben Harper. The sound was very similar to that of the studio recordings, which makes me wonder if this is a spare time kind of gig, how did they sounds so good?

Following TNP was Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals. Ben came out, sat down at a guitar laying horizontally, said "this is a tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughn, Double Trouble, and all the true believers", then ripped into a scorching version of Voodoo Child. Then he went into the vaults with Burn One Down. G. Love made a special appearance for a song, as did the Marley's for Get Up, Stand Up. He was all over the map, playing every style he could get his hands on, from the guitar burners, to the acoustic jams, to reggae. If you have not seen Ben Harper recently, or ever, go do it as soon as possible.

Ben Harper

Next was the Philadelphonic stylings of G. Love and Special Sauce. We were lucky enough to be about 10 yards from the stage. This is the sixth time I have seen G. Love, and I have yet to go away unpleased. (Is that a word?) Bringing Philly to Austin was easy, opening with I-76 then sliding right into Booty Call. The energy was high, as G would go onto the camera platform in front of the stage and sing to the crowd. Garbageman made the set, as did a Gin & Juice intro to Cold Beverage. They finished off with about a five minute showcase of the members, with G. jamming on the harmonica, then stopping to let the keyboardist, Houseman, and Jimmy Jazz showcase, going around the circle twice, with G. filling the gaps. It was intense, and the crowd was loving it. One of my top 5 of the weekend.

The final act was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I am not a huge fan of his newer stuff. And I was hoping to hear more of the older songs you hear on the classic rock stations. I was pleased with the song selection, as he played Mary Jane's Last Dance, Won't Back Down, and Free Fallin'. The came the rains. What a way to end it, right? Well after about a 25 minute delay, he came back out, and started into a jam off of It's Good To Be King that never seemed to end. That proved kind of annoying, so we decided to leave. On the way out, we did catch some of Don't Come Around Here No More, almost a fitting way to end the weekend.

And that's the festival folks. Coming (hopefully) tomorrow, a final recap of the good, the bad, and the unfortunate. Check out the daily wraps for blogs, setlists, and photos and our site for more ACL previews and reviews.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sentimental Sunday

While Mike and our friends in Austin are dreaming of another day, I am heading out to Philadelphia. I am going to the baptism for the beautiful daughter of an old friend of ours. It's one of those slow and lazy Sunday mornings. Everything seems alright and you are half asleep, yet peacuful. Perfect for a little jazz.

John Coltrane - In A Sentimental Mood
Billie Holiday - Stormy Blues
Miles Davis - So What

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Austin City Limits Festival: Day Two Review

Guten Tag from Zilker Park! Well, not really. I am home in my air conditioning in Pflugerville, recovering from one heck of a day. While yesterday was a complete mixed bag, today was more of a good, better, best, with a few exceptions. Hey, nobodys perfect.

The Exceptions: This is no way a slight on the music. I (and Daun) just did not dig the performances of Nada Surf and The Raconteurs. Nada Surf, I didn't get to see much of, as I was checking out other stages that I wanted to see more. I came in right when they started Popular, not too bad, but the wife wanted to leave, because she was not enjoying it. I took her word on it, and we went elsewhere. As for Jack White and friends, you should dance with who brought ya! They played Steady as She Goes as their third song! About a third of the crowd left after that. Then they went all experimental and jammy, not my type of thing.

The Good: For the rest of the day I was pleased with what the acts were putting out. I was stage hopping for the most part, only staying for at least half the set for a hand-selected few, so some of my reviews are based on 3-4 songs. We got there a bit before noon and were wandering around and landing in front of the Rocket Summer. Texas-based pop-rock act. The lead singer was really enjoying himself on stage, and it passed on to the crowd. My guess is the studio sound is much like the pop-rock you find on regular radio stations, but the live performance did not have that radio act feel. Dark and broody Murder By Death was not the typical mope-rock band on stage. The cellist was absolutely into it, as was the rest of the band. TV on the Radio went a little experimental on its already experimental sound and added a few more pieces of "noise" and turned up the fuzz on the guitar. While I'm not big on female-with-guitar acts, Aimee Mann did put on a good show, vocally soulful and beautiful, putting an acoustic twist on "One". You know, "One is the loneliest number". That's Three Dog Night if you didn't have siblings or parents that listened to it.

Ben Kweller with Bloody Nose

The Better: Today was apprently Texas act day. Centro-matic played their alt-country with abandon, while Neo-New Wavers I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness rumbled through their set, playing mostly from their album, Fear Is On Our Side. The vocals were so much better than when I saw them at Emo's back in mid-Summer. The brooding guitars and synths sent me back to my early teens when I first discovered Joy Division and the like. Ben Kweller was great, but had to cut his set short due to a nosebleed. There was blood on his guitar and piano. Kinda gross, they had it up on the big screen. He asked for tampons from the crowd, and when received, he said they were a good fit. Eww! He was very apologetic when he left and would come back soon. The Secret Machines drove through their set with solid, buzzy guitars and stellar vocals. The Shins were a definite crowd favorite. I was pretty far back, so the banter was muted and I didn't catch much, but the music was great. And contrary to something I have heard before, Kings of Leon put on a very good show. Not much on the interaction with the crowd, they sure know how to throw down some jams.

The Best: These are my performances of the day. I couldn't just pick one, so I set them apart into three categories. Better yet, all three are Austin area acts.

What Made Milwaukee Famous

Best crowd interaction goes to What Made Milwaukee Famous. They knew where they came from (that's right here in Austin) and made sure to treat the crowd. Between every song almost were comments and questions to get the crowd going. Two lines of the day: "We sweat, so You can dance", talking about how hot it is and how other artists dress like they don't sweat and "We'll be signing albums over at the music tent, we'll sign whatever, wink wink, nudge nudge, just bring it!".

Best musical selection is hands down Willie Nelson. I am not a country music fan, but this is Willie Nelson, for god sakes. He played all the favorites: Crazy (Patsy Cline, but I believe he wrote it); Me & Bobby McGee (Janis Joplin romp); Georgia On My Mind (Ray Charles); City of New Orleans (Arlo Guthrie); Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys; All The Girls I've Loved Before (No Julio though); and On The Road Again. When he spoke he sounded drunk or high, but his singing voice was true, just like you would hear it off a studio recording. I can say I have seen a Country legend and a cultural icon.

Ghostland Observatory

Best production/peformance goes to Ghostland Observatory. These guys weren't even on the original card, added as a last minute cover for a cancellation. All I can say is wow. Theatrics was the name of the game. The producer/drummer Thomas Turner entered the stage in a light blue full length Dracula cape with the high collar. Lead singer Aaron Behrens was dressed much like the previously mentioned women-with-guitar, sporting a pink top and braided pigtails. Hell, I couldn't tell he was a he until I checked in the program. He was moving much like Freddie Mercury would around the stage, strutting around, gyrating, whatever he pleased. They play an Electro-Funk Punk glam rock fusion. Yeah, it's hard to explain. The studio cuts do it some justice, but this is a band to be experienced live. I sure will be there next time they play Austin (which will most likely be soon). Go see them when they come to your town. You will not be disappointed.

Get more info as to what happened today at the Daily Wrap on the ACL Fest page. Also check our site for previews of the rest of the weekend. For those who couldn't make it, AT&T's Blue Room is webcasting select shows. Sunday's webcast schedule is:

12:30 PM Kathleen Edwards
01:30 PM Sam Roberts
02:30 PM KT Tunstall
03:30 PM Jack Ingram
04:30 PM Calexico
05:30 PM Sun Volt
06:30 PM The Flaming Lips *Partial set only
07:00 PM Ben Harper *Partial set only
07:45 PM Muse
08:30 PM Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Austin City Limits Festival: Day One Review


Aloha from Austin! Day one is in the bag. I can safely say today was a mixed fare, some good, some bad, some somewhere in the middle.

David Ford

I will get the bad out of the way first. Parking downtown sucked this year. The Festival directors moved the shuttle pick up area this year for who knows what reason. The previous three years I went, it was at a park around 17th street, close to U of Texas campus. This year it was moved to Republic Square, way the hell downtown at 4th. This area is under heavy construction, not to mention you have to compete with all the state employees and other workers. I hope the weekend takes care of some of these problems. Plus ot took so long that I only got to see David Ford's last song. Musically, one thing was in need of a tweek. The artists who are mainly acoustic at the 4 large stages were too quiet. Turn up the volume! I could barely make out Ray Lamontagne and Van Morrison. In fact, sound quality was so bad for Morrison, I was only able to hear one song in its entirety. They had secondary speakers for those of us who came in late to the set from John Mayer, but it did not sound like they had them on. All other stages, sound quality was excellent. One band I was looking forward to checking out was Wolf Parade. Well, this is an instance where a produced studio sound is much better than the live effort. The lead singer had a vocal quality like PIL era John Lydon and to most of us, that was not a good thing.

Gomez

The somewhere in the middle happened to be the majority of my day. The Dears sounded good, but nothing too far from the albums. Since I did not know much from Stars and Sparklehorse, I had no idea what to expect. They put on good shows, but nothing amazing. The biggest issue I had was with Guster and Gomez. They both played well, very good shows, great energy, brought the crowd in. My problem was this: Gomez played about 4 songs off of How We Operate, focusing mainly on the back catalog, while Guster did the complete opposite, 4 older songs: I Spy, Airport Song, Demons (really old school), and Barrel of a Gun, then the rest from the new album. Yeah, they only have an hour, but thats worth 12 or so songs. I expected a better mix.


On to the good. Ted Leo + Pharmacists were excellent. Punkish guitars, great energy. They came to entertain, as did Gnarls Barkley. Coming out in lab coats and ripping into She Blinded Me With Science, they tore into a cover heavy set, sampling the Greenhorns, The Doors, and of course, The Violent Femmes. Cee-Lo was entertaining, telling little stories that segue between the songs. And they had a string section called the G-Strings. Great name. Thievery Corporation just kept a constant groove going, which was highly danceable and enjoyable. John Mayer was strong, showing his guitar prowress, switching between the blues lick laden electric to the more folky acoustic sound. During Daughters, he went from female empowerment to female objectification with one line slipped into the song: something to the effect of Austin women are the sexiest around. After introducing the band, he introduced himself as John Secada.

Matt Nathanson

The highlight of the day was Matt Nathanson. Completely unexpected. Joe has been talking about him for years and boy was he right. Matt was extremely fun and he had a great crowd awareness. The sound was great, vocals were tight. A great show. At one point, he started into the opening lick for Sweet Child O Mine, did his best Axl impersonation, then started riffing into Paradise City, then proceeded to ask women, still in his Axl voice, to get her boobies out. And somehow, he incorporated Cheap Trick's I Want You To Want Me.

The biggest problem I faced was seeing everyone I wanted to see. Scheduling this many bands on this many stages causes viewing problems for the fans. I was only able to stay at 3 acts for the whole set. But I did get to manage about 3 songs out of everyone I saw. So, my advice is try and see as much as you can, but if an act is the be all and end all to you, don't miss them. They could always throw a curve and you may miss it.

Get more info as to what happened today at the Daily Wrap on the ACL Fest page. Also check our site for previews of the rest of the weekend. For those who couldn't make it, AT&T's Blue Room is webcasting select shows. Saturday's webcast schedule is:

12:30 PM Federico Aubele
01:30 PM Ghostland Observatory
02:30 PM Ben Kweller
03:30 PM The Secret Machines
04:30 PM Los Lobos
05:30 PM Aimee Mann
06:30 PM The String Cheese Incident
07:30 PM Iron & Wine
08:30 PM Ray LaMontagne
09:00 PM Los Lonely Boys

Time for bed. Tomorrow is a new day. I'll be back tomorrow night with more.