Friday, February 17, 2012

Los Campesinos! back in Austin

Welsh indie-rock outfit, Los Campesinos! return to Austin tonight playing their first of two nights at the Parish. I had the pleasure of seeing this wonderful band on their last trip through Austin at La Zona Rosa. I don't hate on LZR but I'm quite happy that Los Campesinos! are playing the Parish instead. Sure, walking in that region of 6th street on Friday and/or Saturday night is my idea of hell but the room itself is simply exquisite. There are still tickets available for tonight and tomorrow night's shows. I wouldn't expect to be able to grab tickets at the door either night so, if you're interested you should buy some tickets now.

The latest release from Los Campesinos!, Hello Sadness, came out late last year and features one of their best singles to date in my humble opinion.

Los Campesinos! - By Your Hand video via YouTube

Seriously though, isn't By Your Hand a fantastic lead single? It's so hooky and pop only a bastard wouldn't fall in love with it. No offense if YOU didn't fall in love with it...bastard.

Los Campesinos! - Songs About Your Girlfriend video via YouTube

Looks like the doors will open at 8pm for both shows with Parenthetical Girls going on at 9pm. Expect Los Campesinos! to take to the stage between 10pm and 10:30pm. If you're a concert T-Shirt kind of person then make sure you bring some cash because they have really great T-Shirts.

Parenthetical Girls - The Privilege video via YouTube

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SXSW 2012 Preview: Fallulah

Danish pop star Fallulah is the kind of artist that makes SXSW such an interesting festival. In Denmark, chances are you wouldn't be seeing Fallulah performing in a tiny bar with a handful of disinterested music executives and middle-aged photogs. In a few weeks that is exactly what you will see here in Austin. She does not make pop music in the American, watered-down hip-hop sense, her sound is more akin to the likes of Lykke Li or Florence and the Machine. I even hear traces of Adele in her vocals with a dash of Bat For Lashes in some of the darker instrumentation. To be honest, Fallulah is much more accessible to a mainstream audience than most of the artists I have featured here thus far. If she were based in New York or L.A. I probably wouldn't be writing this but being an unknown pop-star from Denmark definitely give you indie-cred. Listen to Fallulah's Black Cat Neighbourhood on Spotify to make your own wild comparisons.

Fallulah - I Lay My Head video via YouTube

I'm sort of vexed for guesses about the sort of showcase where you might see Fallulah at SXSW. Will Denmark have a country showcase? Perhaps. She's already a huge hit in Denmark, she even recorded a song penned for her by Bryan Adams (yes THAT Bryan Adams) so, she might have some pretty major representation already. I know that she is on Sony Music Denmark/RCA in Europe but that doesn't really mean she will be affiliated with those labels stateside. Regardless, you should keep your eyes on the official SXSW site for official showcases. For unofficial information there's always Show List Austin, Do512 and SXShhh. Don't feel like playing the RSVP game? Let RSVPster do the work for you!

Fallulah - Bridges video via YouTube

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

SXSW 2012 Preview: El Sportivo & The Blooz

California band El Sportivo & The Blooz play lazy, hazy stoner-blues mixed with indie-rock. The perfect soundtrack for watching the tide roll in or driving around the city at night. With ties to L.A. bands Fool's Gold and Local Natives you can bet the musicianship is completely on point. The vibe of their self-titled debut EP is very 70's and wreaks of a debaucherous weekend filled with half-memories and new, nameless friends. Armed with some bullshit bio and very cryptic press photos SXSW will be a coming out party of sorts for El Sportivo. It's going to be pretty hard to mask their image when they are playing in a parking lot at 2pm. However, I expect the bio will continue to be some mythological crap, which suits them quite nicely. Their debut EP was released in 2010 and you can listen to it on Spotify as well as Soundcloud. I'm expecting to hear new material from the bands at SXSW though.

El Sportivo & The Blooz - Clover video via YouTube

Look for El Sportivo & The Blooz at showcases hosted by Solid Gold. I would also expect them to play at some Los Angeles-centric day-parties, although I don't know that for a fact. Have you noticed the deluge of day-party announcements this week? I'm so glad this blog doesn't really concern itself with all of that. There's just too much information for me to comb through. That's part of the reason I always point you to Show List Austin, Do512 and SXShhh they are much better at the information overload than I am. Also, look for the official SXSW information to be revealed early next week.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Estelle at Antone's

I feel like tomorrow night's show with Estelle at Antone's is completely under the radar. You probably remember Estelle from her hit song with Kanye West, American Boy but this U.K. songstress has continued to release great music since then. The current tour is in anticipation of a full-length LP called All of Me, which is due out on the 28th. In the meantime, Estelle has released a series of singles including her latest, Wonderful Life. Unfortunately, those of us in Austin don't have an "Adult Urban" radio station so artists like Estelle, Jill Scott, and Anthony Hamilton don't enter our consciousness as much as they should.

For a place that calls itself the "Live Music Capitol of the World," Austin's radio is severely lacking. Generally speaking, you won't hear music from most of the artists who perform in Austin, on Austin radio. That's one of the reasons I am so obsessed with platforms like Spotify or Rdio, where you can find all of Estelle's newest singles as well as her earlier work. Tickets to see Estelle at Antone's are still available and to be honest I don't expect the show to sell-out even though it really should.

Estelle - Wonderful Life video via YouTube

I really don't want to harp on this point but wouldn't it be great if Austin had a station that played music like Estelle? Last year I saw Raphael Saadiq in a partially filled Stubb's and it made me sad to realize that there is no market for artists like him in Austin. We have a diverse population and people in this city have very diverse tastes in music but you won't hear Sade or John Legend on any Austin frequencies. That's why it is so tricky when those artists perform here, the show's promoters have no outlets to advertise on. The tweens who listen to stations like The Beat want to hear dance music not slow-jams, besides that station plays the same 15-20 songs on a 2-3 hour rotation. Seriously, tune to 102.3 RIGHT NOW and I can bet you'll hear Rihanna's We Found Love within 10 minutes of finding the station on your dial. I know this sounds like hyperbole but I tested the theory and it was the 2nd song I heard. I don't mean to single out The Beat, 101x, KLBJ and most other radio stations in the United States are dying dinosaurs who need to wake the fuck up and realize how much they suck.

In any case, this post is about Estelle not the pathetic state of modern day American radio. You should go see her tomorrow.

Estelle - Thank You video via YouTube

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SXSW 2012 Preview: Electric Wire Hustle

New Zealand band, Electric Wire Hustle make contemporary soul music. Using loops, samples and break-beats along with live instrumentation they create a lush musical landscape that their, D'Angelo-like vocalist makes his home. You can't quite pin-down the genre of music that Electric Wire Hustle creates because it is heavily influence by a jazz, soul, R&B, hip-hop and electronic sounds. All you really need to know is they make jams that you need to sing along to in the car or soundtrack your love making with or both.

So far, Electric Wire Hustle have one full-length LP under their belt, which is available via BBE Music with or without vocals. They have been back in the studio since the 2010 release of their eponymous LP so I would expect their sets at SXSW to be a blend of released and unreleased material.

Electric Wire Hustle - Again video via YouTube

I would expect showcase details for SXSW 2012 to be revealed later this week or early next week. In the meantime I'm still just spouting conjecture about where you MIGHT catch Electric Wire Hustle at this year's festival. I know that the folks over at Okay Player are big fans of EWH so you might find them performing at one of their showcases. Other than that if BBE Music has a showcase they'll definitely be playing there. For unofficial listings check Show List Austin, Do512 and SWShhh.

I highly recommend you listen to the full, eponymous, album from Electric Wire Hustle as soon as possible. It's available on Spotify but I have yet to see it in physical form in the real world away from my computer. Personally, I would love to grab a copy on vinyl but I have a feeling that won't happen in the near future. Hopefully, they pick up U.S. distribution at the festival and we'll only have to wait until later this year but only time will tell.

Electric Wire Hustle - They Don't Want (Live) video via YouTube

Electric Wire Hustle - They Don't Want (Studio Version) via YouTube

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

SXSW 2012 Preview: Solander

One of the greatest thing about the SXSW music conference is that it's truly a global experience. Artists from around the globe make their way to our lovely city to play for us and lots of times it's their first time on U.S. soil. To be honest, I'm not sure of Solander has played in North America before but I'm glad they are in March. Based in Sweden Solander plays gorgeous, layered, pastoral indie-rock with beautiful melodies and lush production. Their latest album is called Passing Mt. Satu and I really want to buy it on vinyl. It looks like they don't have a U.S. distributor yet but I would guess that they'll get picked up after the fest this year. In the meantime you can listen to both of their LPs on Spotify and I'll be sure to post their album via Bandcamp below the break. For now, you should watch the gorgeous visuals with this gorgeous song:

Solander - Flight video via YouTube

To be honest, it's hard for me to guess when and where Solander will play because I don't know if their Swedish label, Tenderversion Recordings will have their own SXSW showcase. Regardless of whose banner they play under, I REALLY hope they play at The Parish and//or Central Presbyterian Church. Per usual, keep an eye on Show List Austin, Do512 and SXShhh to find out when and where Solander will be playing unofficial showcases.

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Return of the Polyphonic Spree

It feels like it's been ages since Polyphonic Spree played a show in Austin. In reality it's probably only been a year, possibly two. In any case, they're BACK and you can see them in all of their overwhelming glory at La Zona Rosa tomorrow night. The tickets will set you back roughly $20, which is pretty inexpensive when you consider how many people will be on stage. They actually have to take 2 vans on tour and I imagine each van is packed to its full capacity. I'm not, exactly, sure what The Polyphonic Spree are promoting on this tour but it seems like they might have an upcoming album called What Would You Do?. However, that might just be the name of a video contest they are running. The tour is the You + Me tour, which could mean the next album will have THAT title but what I know for sure is they have a new song called Bullseye.

The Polyphonic Spree - "Bullseye" from Good Records Recordings on Vimeo.

The Polyphonic Spree will be donating 25% of the profits from their merchandise to Girls Rock Camp Austin in honor of Esme Barrera at tomorrow night's show. They will also have a donation bucket if you'd like to just donate directly to that cause. Not only that but you will see The Esme Barrera Fan Club Band performing She's a Rainbow at La Zona Rosa tomorrow night. I, for one, find The Polyphonic's love and support for the memory of Esme and everything she did for our community to be incredibly touching. She truly did touch so many lives in this city, country and world and she is still greatly missed.

Esme Barrera Fan Club - She's a Rainbow video via YouTube

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Monday, February 13, 2012

SXSW 2012 Preview: Boog Brown

Generally, when people think about SXSW music they think about indie-rock. British dudes in skinny jeans smoking hand-rolled cigarettes playing jangly, retro tunes to a crowd of disaffected industry-types. While this image is largely true it excludes a huge swath of artists who also trek to Austin in March to catch some industry ears. That is why today, I am featuring Detroit via Atlanta poet and hip-hop artist, Boog Brown.

Brown collaborated with fellow Detroit-native, Apollo Brown on their 2010 release, Brown City Study. The album is filled with gritty, honest hip-hop production. Brown's vocals remind me of what was once referred to as "Backpack hip-hop, " her flow is effortless and draws the listener to pay attention to the lyrics. If you're a fan of Apani B or Jean Grae then you will definitely be a fan of Boog Brown as well.

Boog Brown - UPs video via YouTube

At SXSW you can expect to find Boog Brown at a showcase hosted by the Mello Music Group and/or Audible Treats. Other than that keep your eyes on Show List Austin, Do512 and SXShhh. You can listen to a lot of music from Boog Brown streaming from various internet sources including Spotify. I'll include all of the Bandcamp streams below.

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