Friday, June 10, 2011

Matt & Kim + Archers of Loaf

As you may or may not know, this weekend is the Republic of Texas Biker Rally, which of course means anything you do downtown is going to take more time than usual. Just like with Relays weekend, Halloween or New Years Eve there will be an influx of folks crowding the streets. However, that shouldn't keep you from enjoying some bad-ass music at Emo's and Stubb's, respectively. That's right, just like this Wednesday past, there are TWO awesome shows that are quite different from each other happening the same night at different venues. Luckily, you should be able to catch the headlining sets at BOTH venues. Saturday night's don't have to end as early at Stubb's but you can still plan for Matt & Kim to be done by 12:30am. The unfortunate thing is that tickets are sold-out. If you really want to go, make sure you don't give the scalpers in the streets more than $25. My strategy is to wait until you can hear Matt & Kim from the outside then offer a scalper $20, if they balk just tell 'em, "You can keep that ticket but that noise you hear is Matt & Kim." 9 times out of 10 they'll fork over the goods. As you know, I HATE supporting the scalper economy BUT I also hate missing Matt & Kim.

Matt & Kim - Bloggy Interview video via YouTube

Meanwhile, just down the street, at the legendary Emo's you can catch, the legendary, Archers of Loaf. I expect their set to begin at around 12:30a, so if you want to catch both headliners you SHOULD be all good. If I were you though, I'd buy MOST of my drinks at Emo's. Both venues carry the same beer/liquor but ONE of them charges a butt-load of money...just sayin'. Archers of Loaf are legends of 90's college-rock, they were only around about 8 years but they released 4 albums in that time and earned quite a reputation for their clever songwriting and non-stop touring. Remember back when "college-rock" was a term with substance. I feel like commercial-alternative radio and blogs kind of ate up the whole concept of "college-rock". Even if you have never heard of Archers of Loaf this show would be a great blind-ticket purchase, as this is a reunion tour and chances are they won't be back through Austin ever again. Also, unlike the Matt & Kim show, tickets ARE currently available, hence the link.

Archers of Loaf - Harnessed in Slums video via YouTube

Read more!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Givers review + Interview

If you weren't at Givers' sold-out show at Antone's last night, you dun fucked up son. It felt like when I saw Local Natives at Antone's after their successful SXSW 2010 run. The crowd was energetic, appreciative and involved. When Givers jumped up and down on stage, the crowd jumped up and down. From the opening notes of the opening song the crowd was cheering and clapping in time. The band seemed humbled by the crowds visceral reaction to their every move. They took time at several points to look out at the mass of people and genuinely thank them.

In my preview of last night's show I wrote that the next time you see Givers in Austin it will be a sold-out show in a large venue and/or a festival and/or a sold-out festival and after the blazing performance last night, I stand by those words. Before all of that though, I chatted with members of Givers, briefly, about what there lives were like and might be like without the music.

Givers - Interview video via YouTube

I don't like to, specifically, endorse any record retailer online or otherwise but Mr. S. pointed out to me that you can order Givers LP, In Light on vinyl for $10.99 via Amazon. I'm not sure if the price will be that low at your local record shop but chances are it will be inexpensive there as well. In Light came out earlier this week and I can already tell you it's going to be quite the summer album. So, you should pick it up digitally, physically, or both.

Read more!

Raphael Saadiq Review In Words

Last night I had to pleasure of seeing Raphael Saadiq perform at Stubb's. Mr. Saadiq came out like a pro, grabbing a guitar and jamming with his 7-piece band dressed like a dapper R&B star of yore. He started out in a full on suit with high-wasted pants, shirt and jacket but the jacket disappeared pretty quickly due to our lovely Austin heat. He was wearing his trademark Buddy Holly-style spectacles as well. Basically, Raphael Saadiq's look AND sound harken to the days of clasic R&B music when there was as much emphasis on the Blues as the Rhythm. The band was punchy, on point, in the pocket and ready to riff on all the classic Blues chord progressions. As far as the vocals go, they were smooth as butter. The set was mostly comprised of songs from Stone Rollin' remixed and jammed out to maximum capacity but my favorite moment was when the Lucy Pearl jam, Dance Tonight was played. I had almost completely forgotten about that Lucy Pearl album and how much I loved it.

Lucy Pearl - Dance Tonight video via YouTube

As far as the crowd goes, I'm not gonna lie to you dear reader, it was sparse. Generally, when I see a show at Stubb's is sold-out and packed to the gills, this was not the case last night and I have a few theories as to why. First of all, last night was packed with music all over the city (as usual). There was the free Blues on the Green series at Zilker Park, as well as a performance by Beirut at ACL Live.

I feel like the factors that truly prevented Stubb's from being packed last night are two fold. Firstly, the tickets were about $37.50 with fees, which isn't a lot to pay especially considering there were 8 paid performers on stage but for Austin, that's a pretty steep ticket price. The other factor has to do with marketing and crowd appeal. Personally, I LOVE Raphael Saadiq and I feel like you should too but it's so hard to pin-down his target demographic. He plays R&B but it's nothing like modern-day R&B, he's not a crooner, he's bluesier. He doesn't use drum machines, he actual plays guitar and has a full band. So, he doesn't really fit on Urban radio stations. He could be featured on an adult-urban radio format but, for now, Austin radio doesn't carry that format. So, basically, if you want to hear new music from Raphael Saadiq on the radio you have to tune into KGSR and let's face it, no one wants to do that. Also, even on a AAA radio format like KGSR Raphael Saadiq's music isn't a perfect fit. Should his tunes really be bumpered up next to Bob Schneider or a "classic" Steve Miller Band song? Me thinks not.

The long and short of it is this. Even though there weren't a lot of people at the show, those who were there had lots of energy and had lots of fun. The band was outstanding, with superb musicianship and Raphael himself is as handsome as he is talented, which is to say very.

Read more!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Two Great Shows Tomorrow

As is often the case in Austin, there are TWO really great shows I want to see tomorrow night. This happens a lot but it's generally on the weekends not on a Wednesday night. The thing that sets my mind at ease a bit about tomorrow night's dual shows are the venues in which they are happening. The first show is Raphael Saadiq at Stubb's. As of this moment tickets are still available and, like with most shows at Stubb's, they're going to set you back about $30. My saving grace is that shows at Stubb's on a Wednesday night have a hard curfew of 10:30pm and generally the set times are scheduled so the music is actually done by 10:00 or 10:15. I'll explain why this is a good thing after the break...

Raphael Saadiq - Stone Rollin' video via YouTube

So, since Raphael Saadiq will be done between 10:00 and 10:30, that will give me a chance to rush over to Antone's in time for Givers' headlining set. See, since Antone's is an inside venue they usually don't have the headliners on until between 10:00 and 10:30, this means I might miss a song or two from both artists tomorrow night but it's quite possible I'll catch complete sets from BOTH! How cool is that? I WILL miss the Givers support acts and that does make me sad but I also like the idea of Raphael Saadiq opening for Givers in my own custom concert.

Givers - Saw You First video via YouTube

I'm really surprised with the show being a little more than 24 hours away and tickets costing about $15 that they are still available. There is a lot of, deserved, buzz around Givers and I expected this show to be sold-out. Don't sleep on this show Austin, I would compare this to when Local Natives played Antone's after their SXSW whirlwind. Trust me, when I tell you the next time you have the chance to see Givers in Austin the venue will be less intimate, the show will sell-out fast and/or it will be at a festival AND/OR it will be at a sold-out, festival.

Read more!

New Albums For the Summer

As you know, I don't generally do album reviews and this post is no exception. This is just a quick little note because there are FOUR albums that hit stores today that really excited me. I think all of them are really fantastic summer music. Also, all of these artists either recently played Austin or will be playing Austin within the next few days.

The first album I want to mention is one I've been looking forward to since SXSW, it's the full-length LP from Cults. Talk about summery and fun, this album is it. It's run-time is just over 30 minutes and when it reaches that final groove in the record you're going to think wish there was another side. I was going to link you to a place where you can buy the debut but I don't want to specifically endorse a vendor. I'd rather encourage you to go to your nearest, locally-owned record shop and ask the clerk. By the way, the Cults' album is self-titled.

Cults - Abducted video via YouTube

Like the Cults LP, the debut from Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. is an indie-sounding record that is actual released by a major label. I kind of wonder why bands still do this, I don't know a whole hell of a lot about record contracts but I do know that you usually have to give back all of the money the label spends on you upfront. In otherwords, if people don't buy the debut from Cults they'll be paying for that very expensive-looking video above the break for a very long time. Personally, I hope people buy all of the music I'm mentioning in this post but I'm not diluted enough to believe that to be true. In any case, I resisted Dale Jr Jr because there was so much buzz around them and I really hate their name. However, when I noticed a band I really love, Generationals was touring with them I checked out their album and went to the show and I highly approve. The live experience has a lot of gimmicks, most of which I found unnecessary but I also realize that's a great way to get an audience to pay attention and/or remember you. Their LP, out today, is called, It's a Corporate World, which I'm sure they are learning through their deal with Warner Brothers music. It looks like iTunes had the album on June 3rd but today is the first, official, day you can buy it at your local shop.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - Nothing But Our Love video via YouTube

While you're out at the record shop, be sure to pick-up In Light from, Louisiana-based band, Givers. Their afro-beat, indie sound is so shiny, warm and fun you'll have it on loop in the car all summer or at least the month of June. They were one of my favorite discoveries of SXSW this year, I actually saw them perform twice and I look forward to their show tomorrow night (look for my next post). Unlike the previous two artists I've mentioned, Givers are on an actual indie-label, Glassnote, which might explain why they haven't made an uber-pricey video for any of their songs yet. There are lots of live videos on YouTube but I'm going to post this one so you can get a sense of their studio sound.

Givers - Up, Up, Up video via YouTube

The last, but not least, new release I want to mention comes from The Rosebuds. They'll be in town next week and their LP is probably the least shimmery and fun of all of the releases I've mentioned so far but it is incredibly lush, beautiful and personal. You have to have something to listen to in the car at night too right? The story behind the making of this album involves a married couple becoming divorced and continuing to be bandmates. Kind of like Fleetwood Mac's Rumours with WAAAYY less cocaine and infidelity. The Rosebuds newest album is called Loud Planes Fly Low, and I really think you should pick it up today.

The Rosebuds - Go Ahead video via YouTube

Read more!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Antlers Play Emo's

I know it's a Tuesday night, and you probably have to work Wednesday morning but, if you can, you should pick-up some tickets to see The Antlers tomorrow night. They play Emo's outside stage tomorrow in support of their, fantastic, newest release Burst Apart. They premiered the LP live at The Parish for NPR during SXSW and I expect to see it on lots of best of lists this year. It's only, officially, been out a month but I can assure you it's definitely a step forward for the band, the songwriting, which was already tight, is even tighter. The metaphors are more delicious and the guitar work is more focused than ever. The guys from The Antlers have been touring with, Austin-band, Explosions in the Sky so you can bet their chops are finely-honed for this visit to Emo's tomorrow night. I couldn't manage to hunt down any official videos from Burst Apart so here's a fake one so you can get a sense for the album's sound:

The Antlers - I Don't Want Love video via YouTube

The beautiful, layered, haunting Little Scream will be starting things off at Emo's tomorrow night. Little Scream is actually a solo artist signed to Secretly Canadian but she, generally, has a band backing her up. Her songs are layered, emotional and will leave you wanting more. I'm not, precisely, sure on set times for tomorrow night but I would guess that Little Scream will start at 10, possibly 9:30 and The Antlers will begin around 11pm. That's what I'm hoping anyway because I'll be working until at least 9pm and I really want to see both artists.

Little Scream - Red Hunting Jacket video via YouTube

Read more!