30 mar 2008, 07:01Here is mine: http://natz.muxtape.com/
20 mar 2008, 01:08I spent most of the week in Austin retreading my favorite bands, but there were a couple of new discoveries that I thought it would be worth mentioning here. I'm still perfecting the art of the blog blurb, so bear with me here.
Juiceboxxx: On Tuesday night at Ms. Bea's, the Milwaukee rapper came with a lot of braggadocio and energy. His beats are dancey, punctuated with European synthy sounds, reminiscent of Kanye West's latest. The dude climbed up on top of Ms. Bea's outdoor canopied stage, and broke the corrugated plastic roof. At the end of his set, he meekly apologized for the damage. On stage, Juiceboxxx is relentless and unfazed, but you see a little bit of shyness when he's not spitting. Later in the week, at the iheartcomix vs. Mad Decent Blowout, Philly artist Amanda Blank invited Juiceboxxx (who was slinking around backstage) up for a guest spot, but he nervously backed away, shaking his head. The guy's got plenty of confidence with the mic in his hand, though.
Duchess Says: Three guys play danceable, post-punky beats, but mostly they're just the backdrop. Out front, a Montreal chick with a cute little Quebecois accent yells sexy come-ons at you, crowd surfs, and leads the party. The band previous, Think About Life, exited the Beauty Bar stage after a truncated set, saying "We're not feeling it out here." She was, and she turned the joint into one giant, crazy mosh. Props.
Gowns: Ex-The Mae Shi frontman Ezra Buchla takes a supporting role in his new, more low-key Oakland-based project, Gowns. Buchla produces some loud, distorted sounds on the violin while EMA sings sweet folk melodies amid the noise. Meanwhile, the drummer plays the kit with an improvisational, spastic flare. Gowns' long, experimental songs explode into some cathartic moments of release; their music, while loud and provocative, is strangely comforting. At the Paperbag Records showcase, they gave one of my favorite performances of the week.
16 mar 2008, 08:28God, I can't even think about music. Let me just list the artists I saw today and go to sleep. Maybe, when I get back home to the Bay Area (after my two day bus trip), I'll try to make a comment. Bands: Emmy The Great, Noah and the Whale, Laura Marling, Lightspeed Champion, Sons & Daughters, J Mascis, Thurston Moore, She & Him, Okkervil River, Bell, Twin Crystals, Think About Life, The Homosexuals, Dandi Wind, Duchess Says, and The Tough Alliance.
The best of the day were probably the last two: TTA and Duchess Says.
15 mar 2008, 09:24Woah, band overload. We're now into the meaty part of the festival--way too many amazing bands to see. I tried to catch as many as I could; the ones I hit up: High Places, Lykke Li, Evangelicals, Blood On the Wall, She & Him, Die! Die! Die!, Clipd Beaks, Health, Cloud Cult, Why?, Cut Copy, Simian Mobile Disco (DJ set), Matt & Kim, Amanda Blank (with not-so-surprising guest Spank Rock), Diplo, and Clipse. Pardon the tedious list.
My favorite artist of the day kind of came out of nowhere: Die! Die! Die!. The new zealand trio showed up to the venue late; after a brief sound check, they were given only 15 minutes to play. But these kids made it count, channeling that intense kiwi energy for their allotted time: dramatic falls off the stage, lying on ground singing, getting in people's faces, just being confrontational in general. Chilly post-punk sounded great on a hot day.
In something of a DJ battle for the hipster set, atop a mammoth Austin garage, Diplo worked it better than Simian Mobile Disco. He also had more attractive t-shirts to throw. (Damn, I didn't catch one.)
14 mar 2008, 07:00Dear SXSW diary,
Today, like yesterday, was a very good day. Gigs attended: NPR Music Showcase, Filter Magazine Showcase, AntiRecords Showcase, and the NPR-curated My Morning Jacket gig. A lot of hustling between shows to get things done.
After a day of much NPR, I began to feel a tad old; it's just not a 22-year-old thing to do, listening to NPR music. I didn't plan my concert-going around public broadcasting. It ended up happening that way for some reason--mostly because their showcase was free and open to the public (I lack a badge), and the My Morning Jacket shindig was easy to sneak into (bobbing and weaving past security guards).
Summed up, everything about NPR's music is polished: production values, band wardrobe, hair and makeup. I liked the clean, pop sounds of sweden's Shout Out Louds. I liked Vampire Weekend's prepped-out, clean-cut rock. I especially liked--highlight of the day for me--Yeasayer's trippy, slightly hippy, future music. In some cases, however, NPR's neatly arranged, entirely digestible music becomes, in my opinion, just plain boring: case in point, Bon Iver. Bon Iver sounds nice, but at times, their music just seems stale; the perfectly pitched falsetto harmonies have no emotion behind them. Yes, I know, Bon, you can sing in tune, in three-part harmony; you don't have to prove it to me every five seconds just 'cause.
In the other shows, I saw Robyn (amazing), Man Man (wild), and Islands (solid). My Morning Jacket sounded good, but they were stuck in the worst venue, Austin Music Hall. The place is like a tin can. In this acoustical nightmare, Jim James' healthy croon bounced at me from all angles. His voice is large enough--I don't need to hear it ten times over. Nevertheless, MMJ masters the Lynyrd Skynyrd-type, slow-building face melters.
13 mar 2008, 08:17I'm still up and it's 3:04 in the morning. That's a good thing. SXSW has kept me busy; I have been at one concert or another since 11:30am. Highlights included the Gorilla vs. Booze bash--in particular the sublime beats and vocal licks of GhostHustler, reverb-happy El Guincho, and self-proclaimed "Black-Beastie Boys" the Cool Kids--and The Plastic Constellations at the Frenchkiss Showcase. I topped the night off with a dose of Cadence Weapon, who special guested fellow Canadian Subtitle. (R.E.M., I'm sorry I missed you but I don't have a badge!) I would elaborate on these shows but I want to go to bed.
26 jan 2008, 09:07More and more, I find that I'm attracted to really, really dumb music. No contradictions, and no subtlety. Big-hearted, and sappy. These are the qualities that I admire in my music these days...
The Field Mice are a good example. The songs are just relentless--no restraint, emotional to the max. In their twee universe, if you're in love, it's an overwhelming feeling. If you're agonizing about something, it's all-consuming. There's no middle ground, nothing concealed. Multiple listens don't make the Field Mice's songs any deeper; they're deep from the start. Listen to Emma's House: it's not wordy or difficult at all, but it expresses so much.
A taste of Bobby Wratten plaintive lyrics:
You have nothing to live up to.
You have nothing to live down.
Emma's house is empty,
so why do I call it Emma's house?
The Field Mice's stupid (perfect) pop is superficial: granted. But there's something attractive about this. If everyone were so open and easy to read, I think life would be a lot more pleasant. I'm generally a person to bottle up my emotions, but I want to be more like these songs!
That said, my #1 last.fm artist is Bob Dylan: he's a wee bit more elusive than these guys. Maybe this crap is just a passing fad for me.
18 jan 2008, 08:44I haven't had to do this in a while-- and maybe I'm getting to the age when it will be a completely different experience (hopefully, not as traumatic). Meeting your girlfriend's parents often makes for interesting and difficult situations. You have to impress them, and it feels like you're winning your girlfriend over for a second time.
This theme is treated brilliantly in the new Romanian film "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days." The protagonist is at a dinner table surrounded by suits, her boyfriend's parents and their friends. All of the grownups seem to be doctors, oddly. She is trying to stay attentive--speaking when spoken to--but her mind is in a totally different place. Her college roommate has just had an abortion and is lying unattended in a hotel bed. We can understand the pressures she's dealing with (at least in the meet-the-parents situation).
Jens Lekman, a Swedish indie chanteuse, has given us a more humorous twist on this scenario in A Postcard to Nina. It's my favorite track on the album for its wry lyrics, its funny exclamations ("Oh god!"), and its barbershop vocal licks.
16 apr 2007, 05:33
18 jan 2007, 22:03