Thursday, June 5, 2008

Arm's Way

Montreal band, Islands, released a pretty killer disc last month. I don't know if you've heard it yet, but Arm's Way is pop music at its best. Now I'm not talking about Justin Timberlake pop, I'm thinking more like Badly Drawn Boy, with a touch of Beach Boys crossed with Jethro Tull(?). Island create perfect little melodies then they embellish the hell out of 'em with strings, keys, layered vocals and other textural sounds. Arm's Way is pop on a grander-scale, to me you can hear an almost theatrical quality in the music.

Islands is basically a bedroom band that has evolved from the ruins of the band, The Unicorns, into a 6-piece touring band with revolving studio guests. Arm's Way is the second release from Islands, who is on the Anti- label in the US and Rough Trade in the UK.

I attended a SXSW day party this year called, Mess With Texas, where Islands performed. But if we're being honest I was too drunk and chatty at that point to remember much of anything about their performance. Islands will be returning to Austin, gracing Emo's outside stage on June 23rd. Check the band's MySpace to see if they'll be in or near your city.

Video after the jump...

Islands - The Arm via YouTube

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Speaking of ACL

For those of you not in Austin you should know that ACL is Austin speak for the Austin City Limits Festival not to be confused with Austin City Limits, which is what people call the show on PBS. Anyway, so today is schedule launch day, a very exciting day in the city because now we get to start planning. You can decide which stage you want to commit to or make a plan for which day you want to attend. That's right, today is also the day to purchase passes for individual days at a cost of $80/day.

This will be my first August in Austin so I have never done ACL fest in the past. To be honest I am not very excited about cooking in the 100 degree heat for days on end to catch a 45 minute indie rock set. I'm thinking I may buy a single day pass but most likely I will just rock it like I do SXSW, which is to say, do all the free stuff that's outside the official event. Last year there were a lot of ACL after-parties downtown and to me that's where it's really at. I'd much rather see one band in one small venue than 15 bands at one HUGE venue. Also, they usually do a few taping for Austin City Limits the show featuring some of the biggest/up-and-coming bands from ACL festival, in August.

But check out the schedule and let me know what would be your biggest conflicts. For me it's Jamie Lidell VS. Jose Gonzalez. But it looks like people will also have to choose either the Raconteurs or Gnarls Barkley. That's the problem with so many bands spread across 5 stages over the course of three of the problems. For my money, I would choose the middle day.

Check out a track from Friday's headliner, and one of my favs, Manu Chao:

Manu Chao - Me Llamen Calle
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Get Thee to Stubb's

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings are back in Austin this week. You may remember they made an appearance at Antone's not too long ago. They will also be back in August for ACL. However, if you missed 'em at Antone's and don't want to try to catch them at Zilker in August, then tomorrow night is your night.

For those of you who don't know already. The Dap-Kings are a Brooklyn-based soul band. They are known for being the house band on Daptone Records as well as for being the band behind Amy Winehouse's Back to Black. You can also hear their horny riffs on, producer, Marc Ronson's record. Ronson will also be at ACL, just for the record.

Since the show is at Stubb's it will start and end early. So if you planned to see the headliner at say Emo's then you can still catch both shows. Tickets for Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings are shockingly only $20. This is a discount considering most shows at Stubb's are at least $35. I have to work tomorrow night so send me some photos if you make it the show.

Check out the soulful sounds of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings with this free single courtesy of Daptone Records:

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights
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