Monday, March 12, 2012

SXSW 2012 Preview: Locals Only

It's ironic that a festival that takes place here in Austin sees Austin bands so under-represented both at official SXSW showcases and in online coverage. I myself, have featured bands from all over the globe in the month leading up to SXSW but this will be the only post in which I highlight local talent. I could hypothesize about why this is so but for me, it's because I live in Austin and I can see Austin bands throughout the year. However, lots of you reading this right now don't live in Austin and you should see some of our bands while you're in town. Hell, you should listen to these bands if you're not going to be in Austin at any point in the near or distant future. If you're in Austin tonight, I HIGHLY recommend you head over to Hotel Vegas for this fantastic showcase of local talent:

The party above the break features Austin bands who are not official SXSW registrants and there's nothing wrong with that. As I mentioned, there really aren't very many Austin artists who are granted official status at SXSW but here are a few who are playing official showcases, in no particular order:

Ume - Captive video via YouTube

I've been writing about Ume for several years now. They write really fantastic, tight rock tunes and how can I not mention that their lead singer is a beautiful blonde who shreds on guitar? They releases a new record a couple of months ago so if you haven't seen them play lately then you haven't seen them play. Here's where you can catch them during SXSW 2012:


  • 10 pm Campfire Trails @ Bat Bar | 218 E. 6th

  • 5 pm Sea Now! + Popantipop Party @ Brew Exchange | 706 W. 6th
  • 6:50 pm Purveyors of Rock Audioperv Party @ Peckerheads | 402 E. 6th
  • 1:00 am Modern Outsider Official Showcase @ Trinity Hall | 401 E. 6th

  • 5 pm Brooklyn Vegan Party @ Hotel Vegas/Volstead Lounge | 1500 E. 6th

  • 4:25 pm Berklee College of Music Showcase @ Friends | 208 E. 6th
  • 6:15 pm Exploding in Sound Party @ Grackle | 1700 E. 6th

  • 2:45 pm Thrillcall Party @ Whole Foods Rooftop | 601 N. Lamar Blvd.
  • 5:40 pm Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie Show @ Casa Chapala | 101 San Jacinto Blvd.

  • TBD Thrasher Magazine's Death Match @ Scoot Inn |1308 E. 4th

Love Inks - Rock On video via YouTube

I'm new to being a fan of Love Inks but I am definitely a fan and I think they are hitting the scene at the perfect moment. Their sound is disaffected, minimalist, female-fronted synth-pop. Not too light nor too dark and I fully approve. If that doesn't sell you on this Austin band then we can't be friends. Find them here:


  • 8:00pm KVRX Official Showcase @ Trinity Hall | 401 E. 6th St.
  • 10:00pm All Tamara's Parties @ Cheer-Up Charlies | 1104 E. 6th St.

  • 3:00pm East Side Tone Sessions Episode Two @ East Side Tone | 301 Chicon St., suite F

  • 5:00pm Lucy the Poodle, $2 Shows and Connect the Dots present Emerald City Limits @ Spiderhouse | 2908 Fruth St.
  • TBA Brooklyn Vegan and M for Montreal present Hotel Vegan @ Hotel Vegas | 1500 E. 6th St.
  • 9:00pm StyleX/Charming Charlie Official Showcase @ Victorian Room at the Driskill | 604 Brazos St.

  • 6:00pm @ Waterloo Records | 600 N. Lamar
  • TBA Reverb Party @ Dirty Dog Bar | 505 East 6th St.

You might remember Nakia from NBC's The Voice. That show introduced him to the world outside of Austin but those of who have lived here are already familiar with this soulful blues-crooner. You only have a couple of chances to see him perform but one of those chances is in Austin's best sounding room:


  • 1:00am City of Austin Free Showcase @ The Parish | 214 E. 6th St.

  • TBA The Guitartown/Conqueroo Kickoff Party @ The Dogwood | 715 W. 6th St.

  • 6:30am KGSR Live Broadcast @ Great Room at the W Hotel | 200 Lavaca St.

I feel like Oh No Oh My are one of Austin's most over-looked bands. They write indie-pop gems that are radio-ready yet they aren't on the radio. I feel like I have written about them every SXSW since I started this blog. Hopefully this is the year that sees them take-off. Watch them here:


  • 12:00am Official Nicodemus Agency Showcase @ The Whiskey Room | 503 E 6th St

  • 8:00pm The Show @ Continental Club | 1315 S. Congress Ave

Pure X - Surface video via YouTube

Pure X used to use the moniker Pure Ecstasy, which implies a much happier sound than you will hear at one of their shows. They are a band who have been grinding out shows for a few years with little to no attention until last year. They put out one of the best local LPs in 2011 and if you don't see them in Austin, chances are you'll see them in your town at some point soon. This is where they'll be this week:


  • 11:15pm Official Dummy XO Showcase @ Barbarella | 615 Red River St.

  • 1:00pm Mess With Texas @ 1100 Warehouse | 1100 E. 5th St.
  • 5:15pm The Fader + Converse Fort | 1101 E. 5th St.

I've only highlighted five of the numerous Austin bands you could and should see while you're here in town. If you're in an Austin band and you're reading this and you're sad that I didn't include you; don't be sad, there's always next year. Also, people have short attention spans if I wrote about all of the great Austin bands they only would have read about the first five or so anyway.

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SXSW 2012 Interview: Choir of Young Believers

Denmark's Choir of Young Believers write orchestral chamber pop music for the indie-set. Their songs are full of drama and heartbreak with moments of triumph and shear ecstasy. Their first full-length LP This is For the Whites in Your Eyes the Choir established itself as a band with a lot of promise, earning International critical acclaim as well as a commercial success in Denmark and other parts of Europe. Here in the United States the Choir of Young Believers has developed a dedicated fan-base but has yet to see the same commercial success. Their latest album Rhine Gold is due out March 20th on Ghostly International. It may never get the band U.S. radio airplay but it is sure to garner them that ever-elusive buzz. With Rhine Gold the Choir has taken the lessons they learned from the first record and developed them to their logical ends. There is more drama, more elaborate song structures and melodies that are as haunting and beautiful as ever. They will be playing lots of songs from their upcoming album at SXSW this year. You'll find them playing the Ghostly International showcase at Club DeVille on Wednesday March 14th along with several other unofficial sets at various locations around town.

Choir of Young Believers - Hollow Talk video via YouTube

I had the chance to send some questions to the Choir of Young Believers and you'll find those, along with their responses, below the break.

  • How has your approach in the studio changed since recording This is For the White in Your Eyes?
  • Well, when we started out recording our debut we hadn't really played that many shows and the band was mostly just me and a lot of really cool and talented friends helping out when they had the time. So, we kind of arranged the songs and all in the studio and now we have been a steady group of people for about 2-3 years. We have played a lot of shows and even rehearsed the new songs before we went in the studio were we recorded a lot of it live so everything has changed I would say, and even to the better.
  • Describe the writing process for Rhine Gold. Were the songs written on the road as a group? In a rehearsal space? Privately as individuals?
  • I still start out alone, mostly the core is written quite fast and then I can walk around for a loooong time changing small bits here and there. Then, when I feel I have something good to present, I play it for the rest of the band and everybody does there thing but we still keep everything quite open for new input and such, for the recording process.
  • What genre-labels and/or comparisons do you rebel against when your music is written about?
  • Mostly all of it. In general, I find it quite boring and flat to read, which other bands or genres people think we sound like. At least it's never something I feel I can use for any good.
  • What are some common misconceptions about CHOIR OF YOUNG BELIEVERS?
  • It actually doesn't happen that often but it has happened a time or two, that people have thought that we where a Christian band, which we aren't. Sometimes people also think we are from Holland
  • The artwork for Rhine Gold seems to deviate from all of the previous works. Was that change a deliberate and specific decision? Is there a specific reasoning behind the choice?
  • Actually I did the cover with the same people that did our last cover, Nis Bysted and Nis Sigursson, and I loved what they came up with last time, I think it fit the music perfectly. This time around I would rather have some art work that pushed the music a bit instead of something that supported it because that was what I felt we were trying to do with the musical arrangements as well.
  • What musical or artistic works were you inspired by as a child?
  • Prince and my grandparents.
  • What musical or artistic works have inspired you lately?
  • I listen to a lot of radio. Not so much music stations but mostly political or cultural debate programs on this new radio channel we have in Denmark called 24/seven and i try to read a bit everyday, that always makes me happy. I have a hard time concentrating, but I'm trying and trying and really wanna get better at it. Both of those things inspire me and give me peace of mind.
  • If you were to score a film or have your songs included on a soundtrack what genre of film would you want to be associated with? Are there any specific directors whom you would love to be paired with?
  • I would love to have a piece of music in a Wes Anderson movie.
  • Did you ever have non-musical career aspirations? If so, what?
  • Yes, I secretly dream of being a carpenter. Mostly i think because in many ways it's the exact opposite of working with music.
  • How many band members can we expect to see at SXSW?
  • For the first time we will be playing the states with the full 7-piece band and I'm very excited about it!!

Choir of Young Believers - Nye Nummer Et via YouTube

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

SXSW 2012 Preview: Bob's Burgers + Stuff You Might Not Know

I am so excited to see Bob's Burgers live at Esther's Follies tomorrow night. I don't even really know what it will be but I'm still excited. Will it be the voice-actors reading a script? Maybe. Will they each being doing short stand-up sets? Possibly. Will it be a bunch of nerds drawing really fast? Not likely. Regardless, I love the show, I love the people on the show so I'm going to love whatever they do in the live setting. When I told some of my co-workers about the event the first thing they asked me was, "Do you have to have a badge to go." This got me thinking. A lot of people don't really "get" how SXSW works. I've attended SXSW many times and I still don't truly "get" how it works. However, I will impart some knowledge about things you may not have realized after the break.

Bob's Burgers - "The Belchies" Season Premiere Preview video via YouTube

So, first let's get to my co-workers question of, "Is it badge only?" The short answer to this is always, "...sort of." If you have credentials for SXSW Music you can only attend music events and comedy events that take place during the music portion of the festival. So, for tomorrow's event since Music hasn't started yet, it's for people who have badges. The loop-hole here is that for every non-panel event you can pay your way in if there's space available. That means if you want to see a movie or music event, if you're willing to stand in line and risk the possibility of not getting in you COULD pay a fee to see what you want to see. Generally every event will have three lines. One line is for people with badges, they get in first. Once all the badge people are in, they start letting the people with wristbands (or film passes) in. Once both of those lines are cleared they will take a fee, which is usually $10-$20 to let people without credentials in. Some venues/events will reach capacity before the badge line is even cleared but at the larger music venues you have a pretty good shot of getting in without credentials if you line-up early enough.

If you want to see Bob's Burgers Live and you don't have any credentials just get down to the venue an hour before doors and politely ask the volunteers where the cash line is. They MAY tell you there is no cash line but I wouldn't believe them if they told me that. I would get a second opinion before walking away. There are two performances and Esther's can fit a lot of people so I'm thinking those of you who are vigilant could have a shot of getting in. If you don't get in, you can always turn your television to your local Fox affiliate tonight and watch the premiere of Bob's Burgers' second season.

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