Saturday, March 12, 2011

SXSW 2011 Preview: BRAHMS

Those of you who caught Passion Pit at Stubb's had the chance to see, Cale Parks' latest band, BRAHMS but for those of you who didn't, I suggest you check them out while they're back here in Austin. Their music is made using keyboards, drum machines, sequencers and loops but I'm hesitant to call it electronic music. With reverb-soaked vocals and a very moody sound BRAHMS makes me feel like I'm in a Brett Easton Ellis novel. This 3-piece band pumps out synthesized gothic-rock and for those of you expecting to hear tunes similar to Parks' former band Aloha, try again kids. After SXSW they'll be hitting the road with another band I featured earlier in the week, Asobi Seksu. So, for those of you reading this who won't be attending SXSW you can catch TWO of my featured bands on the same bill. Now, for those of you who WILL be attending SXSW 2011 you'll have several chances to see BRAHMS perform live.

BRAHMS - Repeat It video via YouTube

Below you'll find all of BRAHMS scheduled appearance at SXSW, as you can see there are many of them. The first is actually before the official music portion of the festival begins and is a totally free party.

So, there you have it, with TEN sets planned, BRAHMS have officially surpassed Braids as the hardest working band I've featured so far. Damn it, I need to focus on bands playing fewer showcases, do you have any idea what a pain in the ass it is to manually do all of those links? Trust me, it's not pleasant.

BRAHMS - Brought it Out live on Big Ugly Yellow Couch video via YouTube

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Gayngs/Local Natives In Review

It was a packed house at Stubb's Waller Creek Amphitheater last night. There were only two bands on the bill but with Gayngs taking the stage at 8pm there were people as far as the eye could see from 7:45pm on. Elevn people took to the stage for Gayngs, lots of them wearing matching black hoodies with the emblem from the cover of Relayted. You can definitely hear that Minneapolis sound in Gayngs synthesizer sexin' jams. There was a lot of harmonizing and the lead vocals were carried by several members of the group depending on the song. The crowd was bobbing and swaying along to the tunes and seemed generally interested and engaged, which isn't always the case for the non-headliner. I'm sure bands hate it when someone's favorite song of theirs is a cover song, HOWEVER I must say that when Har Mar Superstar took the lead vocal to sing Gayngs' cover of One More Try it was magical.

George Michael - One More Try video via YouTube

Local Natives took to the stage by 10pm and immediately had the crowd singing along to World News. Before the band began, I heard several people in the crowd reminiscing about the various, smaller venues where they had seen Local Natives perform during SXSW 2010. It felt like the band belonged to us and we were all so proud of them for making it to the big show. Personally, the last time I saw Local Natives was last April at Antone's. That show was also sold-out with an adoring crowd but until you've sang/screamed along to Sun Hands with THOUSANDS of other people at Stubb's you haven't really lived. This crowd knew all of the words to all of the songs and we were willing to prove it last night.

Local Natives - World News video via YouTube

The Natives' set was as long as could be expected given that the band is still touring behind their one and only LP, Gorilla Manor but they promised us that next time they come to Austin they'll have new material. I feel like even if they only played the same song cycle for a week's worth of shows in Austin they would have a sold-out crowd singing along.

Local Natives - Wide Eyes video via YouTube

All in all, the show was a rousing success, a good time was had by all, and Har Mar retweeted my tweet, which is always nice. Even though SXSW music doesn't start until Wednesday I feel like my south by started last night and it was a great way to kick off the festivities. Also, as someone who prefers to avoid gluten it's really nice that Stubb's carries Strongbow Dry Cider. Just throwing that out there.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

SXSW 2011 Preview: Tristen

As someone who writes about music, I am sent lots of music. Generally, I give as much of it as I can a listen and most of it doesn't really make much of an impression. However, occasionally, I am sent an album that makes me go, "Wait! Who is this? What is this?" This was the case when I first heard Tristen's debut album, Charlatans at the Garden Gate. I listened to the whole album and then started it over so I could listen again. Tristen isn't re-inventing the wheel here, she's just making some really beautiful and beautifully written music. I loved Tristen's album so much that I interviewed her back in early February just so we could hang out and hang out we did. I plan to catch Tristen again whilst she is back in Austin, if only to chat but those of you who haven't seen her perform with a full band need to catch one of her sets. I saw Tristen and Smith Westerns in the same night, I love both artists but Smith Westerns looked like amateurs after seeing Tristen's band of music professionals. Sorry SW but y'all are mad sloppy!

Tristen - Matchstick Murder video via YouTube

At the moment, it looks like you'll have THREE chances to catch Tristen during SXSW 2011. Two of those chances are at official SXSW showcases requiring credentials and/or a cover charge and one of those chances is an unofficial showcase requiring only your perspicacity.

Tristen's first show is Wednesday night, where she'll play her first official showcase at The Phoenix. She is scheduled for an 8pm set time and these official showcases are, generally, quite prompt so don't dilly-dally!

Your next chance to see Tristen and co. perform is Thursday night at her second official showcase. This one is more of a headlining set, Tristen won't go on until midnight Thursday night/Friday morning and this showcase takes place at Maggie Mae's Gibson Room.

Your third, and final chance, to see Tristen at SXSW 2011 is an unofficial day-party at the Mohawk. It's the March into Softness 2011 party sponsored by The AV Club and Tristen is scheduled to play the inside stage at 1:15p, so arrive early!

Tristen - Special Kind of Fear video via YouTube

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

SXSW 2011 Preview: Braids

As someone who grew up in the state of Maine I always feel a kinship for people and things from Canada. When I lived in Maine I didn't have a lot of thoughts or feelings about Canada or Canadians but after I moved 2600+ miles across the country I realized that living in Maine is like being an honorary Canadian. So, when I first heard Native Speaker by Braids I liked it but when I found out they were Canadian I loved it. Their sometimes sprawling, sometimes sparse production matched up with beautiful voices and delicate song-structures come together to form one of the most interesting records of 2011 thus far. I find it quite telling/promising that when you go to the SXSW music page you are greeted with a photo of Braids. That's partly because it's a cool-ass photo and partly because the band is effing awesome. Native Speaker is the band's debut (read: first that's not self-released) LP and in the U.S. it's on one of my favorite indie-labels, Kanine, if you haven't heard it yet, I suggest you pick it up now.

Braids - Plath Heart video via YouTube

As I glance through the listings it's looking like you'll have roughly NINE chances to catch Braids at SXSW 2011, which means they are the hardest working band I've featured thus far. At least hardest working at SXSW 2011.

They have two OFFICIAL showcases, requiring SXSW credentials. The first official showcase is happening at 11:00pm Wednesday night the 16th. The official listing is a bit confusing because it says Beauty Bar/Palm Door. The reason I find this confusing is, those are two different venues that are at least four blocks away from each other? Going by the address the showcase is happening at Palm Door not Beauty Bar.

Braids' other official SXSW showcase takes place Saturday the 19th at Club Deville. This show would be the one to attend if you are a photographer, that rock wall backdrop should add to the drama of the band's music as well as the look of the show itself.

Wednesday afternoon is your first chance to catch Braids at their first unofficial showcase, which goes down at Red 7. There are no times listed for the 4th annual Forcefield PR, Terrorbird Media party at Red 7 but the line-up is so bad-ass that you might want to spend all, or most, of your Wednesday day-light hours at this party anyway.

You can also see Braids performing later on Wednesday afternoon over at the East Side Drive-In for the Eventbrite Party. Their set time for this party is scheduled to be 4pm.

Forty minutes after this event,Braids are scheduled to perform at Cheer-Up Charlies for the Wild Honey Party. That's a 4:40p set time for those of you who suck at math. I mean these venues are, literally, across the street from each other but that should still be quite an interesting transition.

Braids hits the stage at Lovejoys by 12:45 pm Thursday for I Guess I'm Floating Fest. Lovejoys is right between the bus stop and Red River so if you're planning to spend all day hopping from party to party on Thursday, I'd suggest you start at this one.

You'll, also, have another chance to catch Braids Thursday afternoon. You're going to have to venture out of downtown and toward Urban Outfitters' location near the University of Texas on Guadalupe. The band is scheduled to play at 5pm at the annual Backlot Performances Party. Personally, I would never venture that far north for a free show, BUT if you're already in that part of town it would be a very wise decision. Also, if you are feeling overwhelmed by the downtown scene but still want to catch some free music it could be worth a short bus trip.

On Friday The Windish Agency's 6th annual day-party at Emo's is where you can catch Braids for free. This party is always great and features bands you'll be glad you saw. It's where I first saw the Dirty Projectors at their 4th annual event.

Friday night you can catch Braids for free on Austin's east-side over at the Longbranch Inn for the Austin Imposition party presented by Impose Magazine. The band is scheduled for a 9:30pm set-time at this event.

Braids - Lemonade video via YouTube

So there you have it, seven chances to catch Braids at SXSW 2011. To be honest, it looks like it might be harder to NOT see them perform. Keep in mind that these appearances may change, move and be generally altered so if you want to see them and miss them, that's your bad, not mine.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

SXSW 2011 Preview: The Holidays

One of my favorite things about SXSW is how bands who are huge in their native lands come to Austin to play in a empty parking lots to crowds of 10's of people who couldn't care less if they tried. My favorite example of this is Razorlight who I saw at my first SXSW, they play stadiums in England and here in Austin people appeared at their show to get free Stubb's BBQ, it was pretty amazing. Australian band, The Holidays have a lot of buzz down-under but their debut LP hasn't even been released in the U.S. yet. Methinks after they play a few key gigs at SXSW they could be the next Cut Copy. Their music is ridiculously fun, dance-able and radio-ready. I have already fallen in love with this band and I have featured links to song samples on the Bloggy F*c*book page already. I predict that after SXSW 2011 The Holiday album will get a U.S. release, they'll be attached to a big tour and hit the festival circuit this summer catapulting them into blog-stardom. In other words, if you don't catch them at SXSW you'll probably have a chance to see them at Austin City Limits Fest.

The Holiday - Golden Sky video via YouTube

Your first chance to catch The Holidays at SXSW 2011 is actually the Tuesday before the music portion of the festival officially begins. The band is playing the Gigmaven day-party at Emo's on Tuesday the 15th. Not too sure if they'll be playing the inside or outside stage but I'm sure you'll be able to find that info at the venue.

The Sydney band next takes to the Mohawk's stage for the Austinist, Windish Agency, Laneway Festival, Eat Your Own Ear, "Austin or Bust" party. I REALLY wish that party had more sponsors I kind of want to do 3-5 more links in the party's title. Anyway, The Holidays are scheduled for a 3pm set time at the 'Hawk for that opening day, day-party on Wednesday the 16th and they're playing the inside stage.

Sadly, as of this moment, it looks like your only other chance to catch The Holidays at SXSW won't be until Saturday night when they play their official showcase at ND. Wed-Sat is a pretty huge gap in any bands SXSW schedule, so I'm betting that they will add more shows whilst here in town.

The Holidays - Moonlight Hours video via YouTube

Actually, upon further inspection, it looks like The Holidays are actually playing a show on MONDAY the 14th during SXSWi with Local Natives at the Speakeasy. This year has been crazy with music events during the film and interactive portions of SXSW and I find it very confusing. I don't really have any details on the show at the Speakeasy I just happened to noticed it on The Holidays MySpace. Apparently this party is only for people with SXSW interactive badges and it's sponsored by Say Media, I did find this poster.

So, it looks like The Holidays are playing two gigs before SXSW music starts and two gigs after SXSW music starts. Is this the trend of future south by's?

The Holidays - Broken Bones video via YouTube

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

SXSW 2011 Preview: Asobi Seksu

Ever since Asobi Seksu were called Sportfuck they've been winning over fans in the indie-rock world but their latest album, Fluorescence, could see the band catapulted into the public consciousness. I, for one, hope that is the case. Like most music in the 21st century their sound doesn't fit neatly in any one genre box. We are the iPod generation and our musicians wear their influences on their sleeves. For Asobi Seksu you can hear elements of shoe-gaze, brit-pop, early 90's college rock and straight-up pop music all melded together. In 12 songs and 45ish minutes Fluorescence manages to showcase everything that made this blogger pay attention. Lucky for you AND me we'll have several chances to catch Asobi Seksu live during SXSW 2011 in both official and unofficial capacities.

Asobi Seksu - Trails video via YouTube

Your first chance to catch Asobi at SXSW 2011 will be an OFFICIAL showcase by The Windish Agency happening at ND. They are playing the headlining slot at 1am Thursday morning AKA late Wednesday night. That showcase is packed with great artists so it's probably a good idea to arrive early.

Your next chance to catch Asobi Seksu will be during the day Thursday at a free, unofficial showcase, which is also happening at ND. I'm, of course, referring to the Prefix Magazine day party at which Asobi plays at 2:30p. For those of you keeping track, that means the band will be playing the same stage twice within roughly a 12 hour time period. Don't tell them that, it will only make them feel more tired.

After that second set at ND the band will, in theory, have a 24 hour break with their next gig happening Friday during the day over at Peckerheads. This is another unofficial day party, this one sponsored by My Old Kentucky Blog. Show List Austin doesn't have set times listed for this particular party so your guess is as good as mine on when they play for this event.

Saturday Asobi plays two events, the first being an unofficial showcase at Lustre Pearl sponsored by Dickies and Filter Magazine. They are scheduled for a 2pm set time at this party, then later in the evening they play their second OFFICIAL showcase, this one at The Parish. They are scheduled to go on at 11pm for that Parish room showcase and for those of you who have never been to that venue, I highly recommend it. It's known for having the best sound in the city and the acoustics are superb.

Asobi Seksu - Transparence video via YouTube

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Monday, March 7, 2011

SXSW 2011 Preview: The Answering Machine

You know how sometimes you look like someone but not like you're twins more like you're just cousins or something? I feel like The Answering Machine are English-cousins of Ra Ra Riot. If you heard a song from The Answering Machine on the radio you wouldn't think it was a Ra Ra Riot song you would just think they were related by marriage with an English accent. Incidentally if you ever DO hear a song from The Answering Machine on the radio, you're listening to a particularly awesome radio station and you're probably not in Austin. This Manchester 4-piece played SXSW back in 2008 in support of their first LP, Another City, Another Sorry playing some key showcases but they still didn't capture a lot of attention. I'm predicting/hoping that 2011 is the year they catch more influential ears than my own and end up getting some serious press. This year they are touring behind the album, Lifeline and if you don't like it then we can't be friends. Just kidding, we can chill but let's not talk about music ok? No, but seriously The Answering Machine play my favorite genre of music: indie-pop. I feel like nowadays bands are afraid of pop songwriting but if you think about it pop is short for popular and why wouldn't you want to be a popular musician? Don't answer that!

The Answering Machine - Lifeline video via YouTube

Just for the record, my boyfriend seriously objected to my comparing of The Answering Machine and Ra Ra Riot but you hear it don't you? Maybe I'm just crazy? Or, maybe, both are true. In any case, if you like what you heard in that song above the break, then you've got THREE chances to catch The Answering Machine at SXSW and if you didn't like it...see above.

Your first chance to catch the band will be a free day-party on Friday, March 18th. The Answering Machine go on at 4pm and the event is outside the downtown area. It's the Music for Listeners party happening at Red House Pizzeria. I feel like in Austin a Music For People Who Like to Stand Around Looking Cool and Talking might have been more popular than one targeted at Listeners but what do I know?

You second chance to see The Answering Machine is the bands OFFICIAL SXSW showcase at/on 512 Rooftop, which is actually a basement venue. No, that would be pretty amazing though wouldn't it? This is a headlining gig, so they won't actual start performing until 1am Saturday morning A.K.A. very late Friday night. Remember just because this is an official showcase doesn't mean you can't attend if you don't have SXSW credentials, there is always the option of paying for individual shows.

Your final chance to see The Answering Machine during SXSW 2011 is your briefest opportunity. Personally, I feel like it's ridiculous that an event would schedule bands with 20 minute sets but that's EXACTLY what they're doing at the at British Music Embassy party happening at Latitude 30. Just click the BME link to RSVP for that event.

The Answering Machine - Animals video via YouTube

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

SXSW 2011 Preview: Glasser

SXSW 2011 will not be Glasser's first trip to Austin, or to SXSW for that matter but it could be the year that they get the attention they deserve. Their latest LP, Rings gained them lots of critical praise and was even featured on many Best LP's of 2010 lists but I feel like the general populace still has no idea who they are. Their sound is synthesizer beauty with gorgeous female vocals but not in a house-music way. It's indie-pop music at its best, with loads of layers, drama and out of this world production. In a live-setting they are known to be quite breathtaking, Cameron Mesirow's voice is a living treasure of indie-music. Also, I expect lots of beautiful photos from the shows they end up playing here in Austin.

Glasser - Mirrorage video via YouTube

Like, previously-featured artist, Jamie XX, Glasser don't have very many appearances scheduled during SXSW as of the writing of this post but that doesn't, necessarily, mean you will only have one chance to catch them. There are still parties and showcases that are yet to be announced and I expect that they will make at least 2-3 appearances in and around Austin surrounding SXSW so keep an eye out for more listings from them.

In the meantime, they do have one OFFICIAL showcase at Central Presbyterian Church but I expect this will be a VERY difficult show to get into. In other words, if you want to catch this showcase PLAN AHEAD! Get in line early, bring a sandwich that you can eat while you wait in line and be prepared for some highly-uncomfortable church pews. In case you're wondering the reason this showcase will be so hard to get into is that it is the Pitchfork showcase headlined by, previously featured artist, James Blake. So, yeah, tough to get in.

Glasser - Treasury of We video via YouTube

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