SXSW2009All your SXSWesting needs, all in one convenient place.
SXSW2009 Live Blog Beginning Tuesday night we’ll be blogging live from SXSW2009. That means pictures, commentary, and probably a few really good jokes. We'll have a small army of reporters in the field bringing the latest from clubs, bars, houses, and anywhere else that the SXSW season may be. Updated regularly via hip mobile devices.
Latest Post: Pack of Wolves
Friday Preview The bands that came into SXSW with the biggest buzz this year have thus far proven to be uncharacteristically fantastic. Usually the hype overwhelms the talent, but most of the bands that we were excited about (see our SXSW Buzzkill! for a taste), have surpassed expectations. So you have two more days to get out there and drink in the music, starting with our own Austin Sound Party today at Creekside Lounge! [Read More]
Check back each day for previews for the following day
Sound Advice Vol. III Our yearly compilation, filled to the brim with stunning local music from the past year, which also includes a list of shows this week from each of our spotlight artists. 2008 was declared by our mayor to be “The Year of Austin Music,” which was intended to focus attention on helping Austin’s struggling musicians that keep the Live Music Capital of the World thriving as the music industry continues to go through turmoil. The declaration could have just as easily been a recognition of what was another excellent year of music in the Capital City. [Read More]
It’s that time of year again, time to unleash the Fun Fun Fun! For us, that means the means the Fun Fun Fun Fest Live Blog, keepin’ it real like it’s 1998 up in here. Let’s face it, though, for something as awesome as the F3 Fest, we just can’t do it justice in 140 characters and some twitpics, so we’ll be out at Waterloo Park this weekend bringing you awesome pics and quick reviews of the action as it goes down. And what a weekend it promises to be! We were bummed that Devo had to cancel their headlining spot, but Transmission pulled a nice one by slipping in the Descendents in their stead. And the rest of the lineup is, in our opinion, their best yet as the Fest celebrates its 5th year. The weather looks like it’s going to be great, even if a little chilly in the evening (layer up kids!), but if you can’t make it down, just stay tuned here to see what all your missing. Or if your one of those folks checking your phone during the show, we can show you what you’re missing in front of you! Check out the schedule for the action here, and let’s have some Fun Fun Fun Fun!
Night One of the three pack of shows celebrating the release of Casual Victim Pile could not have gone off much better for curator Gerard Cosloy, Matador Records, and – most importantly – the five bands representing the Beerland-centric compilation. Sure, it might have been more reassuring to see their home turf packed with only familiar faces, but no one was complaining that many in the full house were hearing (and enjoying) the tunes for the first time. Blasting out five tight, blistering sets on a chilly evening, The Persimmons, The Distant Seconds, Kingdom of Suicide Lovers, Dikes of Holland and Follow That Bird generally did their fans, friends, and the Austin underground proud.
If you survived the pre-partying (and you better have as we’re just getting started!), then you’ll be out there flooding the streets and back alleys today as we officially kick off this little catastrophe we call SXSW. Wednesday Dayshows are generally the best to catch the bands you really want to see if they are playing, as not all the yahoos have yet arrived in town. Below, we’ve thrown down our top choices of shows that are going on, though we recommend also cherrypicking a few of your must sees and knocking them out today if you can. Among our top picks for Wednesday are (of course) the Midgetmen’s annual SXSW Jump Start party, The Austinist’s teaming with the Windish Agency, Forcefield and Terrorbird’s show at Red 7, and Fat Possum, who are taking over Club DeVille. In fact, the venues look pretty much like our typical Red River weekend rounds, with the exception of the local off-the-grid, but sure to please showcase by those kids over at Skanky Possum. C’mon and jump, you know you wanna.
Jack Wilson splits his time between the comfy, southern warmth of Austin and the cooler, sopping city that is Seattle. While he’s in Seattle, he’s backed by the Wife Stealers, and elsewhere, it’s pretty much just him. On his latest self-titled, Wilson zig-zags between full-on Americana rock, and solemn, poetic lullabies about places and people of timeless impact. He opens his album with the sound of footfalls on loose gravel — a sound that is immediately evocative of distance and mindful wandering — a more than appropriate prelude to an album that looks to transport the listener to the image of Americana locked away in Wilson’s head.
Things get dark and heavy on the Gary’s second EP, El Camino. With these six songs, recorded by Steve Albini at Electrical Audio in mid 2010, it sounds like the weight of the world is pressing down on the band. Coming hot on the heals of their criminally overlooked debut full length, Logan, El Camino burns slowly with most songs feeling more like “Hurricane Sunrise” than “QSB” (both Logan standouts). And make no mistake; sounding like the product of a long haul Austin-to-Chicago roadtrip is not a bad thing. The Gary have consistently excelled at making songs for the darkest hour of the night, when the last drops of beer have run dry and it’s time to go home and face our realities. El Camino is no exception.
On their sophomore LP, Candi and The Strangers jives out powdery synth-pop blended with muted disco and causes one to beg, “More Moog.” 10th of Always purveys movement through space, and its done remarkably well through fleshly synthetic melodies and vibrantly blurred rhythms. Because of all the dripping fuzz and boomeranging reverb on 10th of Always it’s hard to know whether Samantha Constant is saying ‘glide’ or ‘dive.’ But somehow it doesn’t matter. Part of the fun of the album is the ambience, and part of the ambience is traveling on a space ship or Milky Way vessel, as the Strangers beckon, “welcome to my dream, relax and float downstream.” The album is true mood music — much like Al Green or Radiohead — it changes the tone of a room. After succumbing to it, the listener buys into a new world of possibility. At times the album is uncannily reflective of shoegaze greats while simultaneously referencing pop culture icons like Nico and Candy Darling. These retro-familiar elements paired with a coded musical and vocal rhetoric craft an album that is otherworldly but altogether mellow mosh crowd ready.
"Matrimony rock." Hmmm. As a music critic, I’m down with all sorts of genre hybridizing (i.e. chamber-pop, glam-pop, jazz-rock, etc.). It’s part of our job to make up those descriptors to give music some sort of mass understanding, so I’ve seen a lot of bogus combinations, but the first time I came across the term “matrimony rock” was on the Long Tangles' Myspace page. It seems to me that the word “matrimony” would contain certain connotations that act against the word “rock”, thus neutralizing the whole ordeal. The same way your best friend becomes a kitschy version of his former badass self after taking the plunge, the Long Tangles sound soft and comfortable on their debut LP, Silver City.