Friday, February 11, 2011

Wiretree with Future Clouds at Stubb's

Holy cow! Local power-pop band Wiretree is playing Stubb's amphitheater!?! Actually, that's a lie y'all. Wiretree will be playing Stubb's inside stage tonight but that doesn't mean they won't be playing the amphitheater someday. Their music is straight-ahead, accessible pop-rock that your little brother, your mom and yourself could, would and will enjoy if you give them the chance. They have already taped a Satellite Set at the KLRU studio and they've been creating buzz amongst the local media for awhile now. Tickets for tonight's show will only set you back $7 and as of the writing of this post they are still available. I will warn you though, drinks are crazy expensive at Stubb's so plan accordingly. Also, the smell of the BBQ is amazingly awesome so don't arrive broke, hungry or completely sober.

Wiretree - Days Gone By video via YouTube

Before Wiretree take to the stage tonight you should get there in time to catch Future Clouds and Radar. They have been making waves on the national indie-scene since 2007 but just haven't quite caught fire for some reason. I hate to lump them into the same vague category as Wiretree calling them "power-pop" but really what artist sticks to a genre these days? I think those labels are more useful to the dinosaurs of rock radio, not that you could really hear any local band on any local radio but you get the idea. Doors for tonight's show open at 8p, you can expect Wiretree's set around 11p and Future Clouds, roughly, an hour earlier. Don't forget, it's a Friday night so parking is going to suck and if you're going to get drunk, for the love of all this is holy take the bus or a cab! Have fun out there kids.

Future Clouds and Radar - Dr. No video via YouTube

The above video is, roughly, three years old but I wanted to post it because I love the visuals. The animation was done by, Nickelodeon animator, Keith Graves. This one is, slightly, more recent.

Future Clouds and Radar - The Epcot View video via YouTube

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Knuckle Rumbler Party at the Ghost Room

Well kids, word on the street is those adorable and industrious little interns over at Knuckle Rumbler put tonight's Ghost Room show together without any help from Mom and Dad. As someone who has NO idea how something like that is done I just want to pinch their little cheeks and tell 'em how proud I am of them. In lieu of the pinching and hugging I've decided helping to promote might be more useful. Although, I'm not gonna lie, I still might have to pinch some rosy little cheeks and I don't mean their faces y'all!

Anywho, all of the bands tonight are local and/or have local ties so consider this a sort of best of the best according to the KR interns. Shapes Have Fangs will be headlining tonight and will let you know how Garage-Surf-Indie-Rock is done in the middle of Texas (for those of you who were wondering).

Shapes Have Fangs - Rattle and Confuse Me video via YouTube

Rayon Beach will also be playing a set tonight. If you like your garage-rock to be raucous and soaked in reverb and irony then you're going to love Rayon Beach. Fun fact about Rayon, it is produced from naturally occurring polymers, it is neither a truly synthetic fiber nor a natural fiber; it is a semi-synthetic. Fun fact about the beach, it's sandy or rocky depending on where you are.

Rayon Beach - Memory Teeth video via YouTube

Even though Eets Feats and The Daze play first and second, respectively, you'll still want to be there in time for their sets. For one, they are quality bands and for another there's alleged to be some gratis booze that is first come first served. Specifically the first 100 people through the door will receive a free adult beverage, most likely of the Lone Star Beer variety, which is certainly nothing to scoff at.

Eets Feats - Beach Dayze video via YouTube

So, basically, the long and short of tonight's show is for $5 you get 4+ hours of live music, the chance to get gratis beer, you can have your photo taken by a professional (or two) and even win tickets to other Knuckle Rumbler events. All of this without setting foot on 6th Street OR Red River! You gotta love that right?

The Daze - We Look Like We're in High School video via YouTube

For the record, that song title for The Daze is totally me editorializing I don't know the proper title for that tune.

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bloggy Chats with Tristen

I had such a great time chatting with Tristen before her set at the Mohawk last night. For those of you who are loyal readers you know that I don't, normally, do interviews. Partly because I'm too lazy to transcribe interviews and partly because I don't like the formality of the, promote your record, tell me things you've told 100 people already format. However, I am SUCH a fan of Tristen's Charlatans at the Garden Gate that I decide I needed to hang out and chat with her. We talked for a half hour in the Mohawk's green room and I tried to narrow down that chattiness into a read-able interview. Although, you have to understand that I'm just the type of person that it literally becomes a chat, which is hard to transcribe. If I continue doing interviews I vow to have 10 questions that have 2 sentence answers, which I could ask anyone so that I can spend the rest of the time chatting. You can find the full interview after the jump.

Tristen - Special Kind of Fear video via YouTube

I noticed you produced this newest album with a little help, have you always done that?
No, the record that I put out before was me at home recording by myself. When I moved to Nashville I didn’t have anybody to help me, so I just got basic recording equipment and started to learn how to record. But, for years I’ve been leading a band and I had worked closely with people to make records and co-produced all the other stuff earlier than that so I was used to it.

Well the production sounds amazing considering it’s a self-produced record.
Well there’s a few things involved in that. The first thing is that I had been recording demos of songs for so long that I, sort of, came into Nashville already knowing to trust my instincts on a lot of things. Then, I’d been recording by myself for so long, over a year, lots of songs, that when it came time to actually make a record with Jeremy Ferguson he was really covering more of the technical aspects of it. Which, is a part of sound production, obviously, but as far as the arrangement, and the musical ideas and getting the players together that was me and so that was more where more my production came in and writing a lot of the melodies and the string arrangement and all that stuff.

What was the thing that made you decide to do music professionally?
I think it was I had to choose at that point, when I graduated college. I had to choose to either, pretty much, give-up trying, I had half-assed it for so long that I was like, you know, I understood at that point that I wasn’t going to be able to half-ass it and keep going. It was like, I had to choose ‘cause my other option was to go to grad-school and do social-sciences research and all that stuff, which I find very interesting as well but I just decided that, you know, I was young and I wanted to move somewhere and that I could write songs pretty easily; I sort of had a knack for it. I mean I never had a problem finishing writing a song when I wanted to write a song it was more like me putting all of that focus in one thing.

Did any of the 15 songs you wrote between the ages of 14 and 20 survive? Are there any you still perform?
Hell no! HELL no! They are vaulted, they are far away and I hope nobody ever hears them. It’s like bringing out your high school yearbook.

Do you find the Nashville scene competitive or collaborative? I noticed that one of the songs on your record you co-wrote with Caitlin Rose.
Yeah, we wrote a few songs together. I wrote a song on her record. We’ve co-written a few songs together and we ended up using those songs. There’s this whole culture of co-writing that happens in the publishing world and I’m kind of a part of that. But, I think as far as co-writing goes for me, I was really into it if I liked the person as a songwriter already. So, if I met somebody that, you know, I felt like they’re really awesome we should try writing together that happened very rarely. I’ve only written with three people since I moved to Nashville.

Are you part of Nashville’s songwriting, publishing machine?
Absolutely not.

Would you like to be?
No way.

You don’t want to write a song for Reba?
Oh God, if Reba wanted a song that would be a totally different story. But I’m not going to get in the machine to write the songs because the machine is very homogenized, it’s watered down, it’s very specific what they want you to write and usually you’re writing with shittier writers than you are. So, you’re like, ‘Hey, yeah, you’re established and you make a lot of money, you had all these cuts, great resume. Now, let me write this song for you and you can get half the credit.’ It’s very political, I’ve known people who’ve done it and I never got into it because I was always so busy writing and recording my own material.

Tell me about the artwork for the LP.
Julia Martin. Julia Martin is amazing by the way, you just have to check her out separately. Look up Julia Martin and look online she has a lot of paintings but she’s, in general, just completely amazing, totally unique, she does a lot of creepy people. I mean, I’m really doing a bad description of it but it’s really amazing. I met her, and fell in love with her, and her brother was my drummer for awhile. So, I said, ‘Here’s my record can you do a painting?’ And she listened to the record and painted the cover and I loved it. Everybody’s like, ‘Is that you?’ I’m like, ‘No’. It’s just a cherub, it’s a little nymphet, I don’t know if you’ve ever read Lolita but it’s like a little, creepy nymphet.

The album has a lot about love and loss and seems really personal. Is it personal? Or is it imagination?
I think it’s all those things. I think it’s personal and then at the same time, I really like analyzing people and situations and things and so that all plays into it. I’m a communication, and relationships, family-communication all that, that’s like my major in college so I’m really interested in how people relate to each other, archetypes. I’ve been on a real archetypes kick, where I’ve been writing songs that are, like, about certain kinds of types of people. I’ve been on that kick for awhile, so some of those songs made it on this record and some are in-limbo. We’re going to make a record this summer. We recorded, like, 25 songs and we narrowed it down [to 11]. Some, never even made it to be called finished and then some were finished that I just didn’t think fit or there was something off, so they never made it. It was supposed to be 10 songs but people really liked BABY DRUGS, I was gonna cut that song.

Tristen - Matchstick Murder video via YouTube

Do you have a specific genre or wheel-house that you would put your music in?
No, I say neo-traditionalist-pop because my friend, Patrick, described it that way one time and I thought that’s cool.

I suppose I just want to call it Americana or alt-country simply because you’re based in Nashville.
Yeah, and people want to do that but it’s really not a country record and I think after you hear my next record you’ll really realize it’s not. There’s some country tinges in there, I’ve been listening to a lot of country music since I moved to Nashville but it’s not really country music. We’re beyond genres at this point. There’s nothing new really happening in music. There’s no new messages, just new messengers. I’m really genre-less as far as what I focus on. I like good songs, I like them in all genres and I listen to a lot of different kinds of music. I don’t listen to a lot of modern music but I’m obsessed with the new BEACH HOUSE record. We’ve listened to that record five times on this tour.

If you missed Tristen at the 'Hawk last night, fear-not! She'll be returning to our fair city for SXSW and she'll be touring this whole freakin' country throughout the year. Keep an eye on here F*c*book page to stay apprised of all of her latest happening.

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Tristen and Smith Westerns (Separately)

Don't get me wrong, I love that Austin has so many choices for great music on any given night but I hate when there are two artists I really want to see playing at separate venues on the same night. Such is the case tonight. I am a new fan of, Nashville artist, Tristen, but ever since I first heard her LP, Charlatans at the Garden Gate I have been listening to it on repeat. To me it's the perfect blend of Americana, alt-country and indie-pop. Her voice is unique and infectious and the melodies just make you want to sing a long. She'll be back in Austin during SXSW but I am excited to have the chance to see her on the Mohawk's inside stage tonight. The intimacy of the space should suit her sound perfectly. If you'd like to join me tickets will set you back $9 and Tristen goes on at 11pm.

Tristen - Avalanche video via YouTube

Meanwhile a little further south of the 'Hawk on Red River the Smith Westerns will be taking the stage at Emo's inside. The last time I caught them here in town they were opening for Girls at the Parish and they really impressed me. On that tour they were supporting their debut, self-titled LP, which had great songwriting but less-than-great production values. On their latest LP, Dye it Blonde they have enlisted the production help of Chris Coady, whom you might know from his work with Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Beach House. Their songwriting has also matured. Their music is still jangly and makes me want to have an indie-rock Beach Blanket Bingo party but the subject matter has matured and the musicality has become more textured as well. Tickets for Smith Westerns at Emo's will set you back $10 and I'm hoping they don't go on until midnight so I can catch both shows.

Smith Westerns - Weekend video via YouTube

If you are only attending the Emo's show you might be interested in, the much buzzed-about, Yuck who go on around 11pm. Personally I haven't been impressed with what I've heard from Yuck and I think their name is terrible HOWEVER I've often had my mind changed when I see a band perform live. Unfortunately Yuck won't have the chance to change my mind tonight as I'll be at the Mohawk for Tristen at 11pm. Luckily, like Tristen, Yuck will be back in Austin for SXSW and I expect they'll be playing a billion day parties.

Yuck - Holing Out video via YouTube

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