Friday, May 4, 2012

Don't Miss the Opener: Youth Lagoon

I know many of you are going to see Death Cab for Cutie at ACL Live tonight and I won't judge nor fault you for that. After all, who hasn't been caught in the spell of the Gibbard? Even Zoey D. was temporarily under his spell in spite of the fact that he once wrote a song called Why You'd Want to Live Here all about what a wretched place Los Angeles is and how all of the people who live there are vapid and shallow. Enough gossiping, the whole purpose of this post is to highlight Youth Lagoon. They are playing the support slot for DCFC and I really want those of you with tickets to catch their set. On record, Youth Lagoon is the brainchild of Trevor Powers who wrote the songs that make up his debut as an outlet during his time at the University of Boise. The Year of Hibernation is already a critical darling and I count myself in the chorus of people who champion the record. I'm not in love with the production values but the songwriting is truly solid and I expect the live show to be quite impressive.

Youth Lagoon - Montana video via YouTube

For those of you, like me, who won't be at the DCFC show tonight and thus won't be catching Youth Lagoon we'll have another chance in November. I know it's quite a ways away at this point but Youth Lagoon will be doing a headlining tour at the end of the year that will make its way to Emo's in November. Although, I suppose that information might have been referring to November 2011, I don't remember?

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Active Child at the Mohawk

Photo Credit: Ricky Chapman

Active Child is the musical expressions of a tall ginger named Pat. He has a high tenor voice and he sang in a boy's choir in Philadelphia as a child. His Dad moved the family out to L.A. where he worked for the record label that released the first N.W.A. record. The first time I heard Active Child was at FunFunFun Fest 2011. I missed most of their set but caught the last song and a half. I was completely mesmerized by the mix of electronic textures and that other worldly high voice coming out of that giant of a man. I listened to the album a few times on Spotify then out of nowhere I found myself listening obsessively. First it was just the song, Playing House over and over, then it was the first 3-4 songs, then I couldn't stop singing Way Too Fast. Next thing you know, I"m at End of an Ear and Waterloo Records digging through their vinyl bins on a mission to own You Are All I See on vinyl. It took several trips and much inquiry but now I have the album on vinyl and I listen to it whenever I have a lot of writing to get done. It is a musical mediation, with themes of love and loss, obsession and pain and I can't get enough of it. You can find out what all the fuss is about at the Mohawk tonight for a mere $10, or $12 if you want to risk it and just pay at the door.

Active Child - Hanging On video via YouTube

Balam Acab and Superhumanoids are playing the support slots starting at 9pm. Expect Active Child to take to the stage around 11pm, it's Friday night so the sound curfew goes a little later.

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Justin Townes Earle with Tristen

Photo Credit: Joshua Black Wilkins

Justin Townes Earle lastest album, Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now, is his most intimate record to date. It has Jazz, Country, and Americana influences and feels like his most personal work. Imagine Van Morrison and Dr. John collaborating with Ryan Adams and you are getting close to the sound of NGCTWYFAMN. I don't know what informed the songwriting for JTE's latest album but it sounds like he was in a relationship and they drifted a part. This isn't a typical break-up record, I mean just look at the title, that isn't a you cheated sort of situation that's a what happened to us situation. Shit got real y'all and JTE is exorcising the demons of love. Catch him at Antone's tonight, tickets will only set you back $16.

Justin Townes Earle - Nothing's Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now (trailer) video via YouTube

If you are going to see Justin Townes Earle at Antone's tonight, promise me you will arrive early enough to see Tristen. If you haven't seen me write about Tristen then you haven't been paying attention. I adore her and I want everyone to love her as much as I do. I have seen her perform three times and each time was with a different combination of musicians. One of those performances was just Tristen, Buddy and a drum machine it was good but to get the true experience it's best to hear her with a full band. Well, on this tour Tristen will be backed by a full band and she does not mess around in choosing her touring musicians. She is based in Nashville and she selects some of the city's best available talent to propel her music. At the moment, Tristen is still supporting her 2011 release, Charlatans at the Garden Gate but you can expect to hear lots of unreleased material as well. She is a prolific writer and she refuses to play the same song cycle over and over.

Tristen - Baby Drugs video via YouTube

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Planning Ahead: Another Ticket Link Roundup Post

Well folks it's a new month, which means it's time to get prepared for all of the awesome upcoming shows in and around Austin. As usual, this list is not comprehensive, it is simply intended to be a highlighter. I do not, necessarily, endorse all of the shows I will link to some of them I have included for you more than for me. If the show appears with a strike-through then unfortunately it is already sold-out, if the artist's name is simply bold without a link that means there is no ticket page (yet). All you have to do to buy tickets is to click the name of the artist, the ticket purchase page will open in a new window and you can take it from there.

Let's start with tonight shall we? Austin's-own Strange Boys are back in town and they'll be tearing up the Mohawk's outside stage. I don't think all of the band is based here anymore but we will still claim them as our own, just like we do with Spoon and all of the other bands who may or may not actually live in Austin anymore. Their latest release Live Music really sort of floated under my radar but it has some really great tunes. It's not a live album and in fact the title is with a short "i" sound as in live and let live. Tickets are still available and since the show was announced not too long ago you may even be able to just pay at the door.

Strange Boys - Doueh video via YouTube

Friday, May 2nd

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Review: Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs

Last night's Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs show at the Mohawk was exactly what I wanted it to be. TEED did not have his dancers and he performed without stage lighting but he was wearing a feathered costume that I had seen in photographs. He hit the stage shortly after midnight with three tables worth of electronic equipment. I'm not sure if the show ever officially sold-out but the inside room was packed to the gills. I thought the sound for the support acts was kind of quiet but by the time TEED took the stage the bass was chest-rattlingly loud. I was crammed against the front speaker tower and the rhythm was controlling my breathing. The audience was full of fans, with most people knowing most of the lyrics to most of the songs. There is very little material that has been released in the U.S., which means these folks had been studying YouTube videos and/or downloading from BitTorrent.

The music was thumping dance jams some I recognized some I didn't. Most of the set blended from song to song without pause, with a few exceptions. As far as stage banter, there was very little speaking just singing and dancing. It is difficult for me to describe the dance mayhem that was happening in that cramped little room. Especially when Garden and Tapes & Money were played, the whole dance floor became a single, sweaty unit of pogo-ing fools who were completely losing their minds. TEED's music has elements of all of electronic music's subgenres with emphasis on some particularly dirty bass grooves that were very Chicago-House. From start to finish last night's set was a party and I really hope that the fine folks over at Transmission are able to book Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs for the Blue stage at FunFunFun Fest. His music deserves a larger scale audience and stage show. I've heard that in Europe he has glitter cannons!

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Interview: Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs

I have been trying to convince my friends and co-workers to go to tonight's Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs show at the Mohawk. One of the things I've been telling them is that it could be one of the most important shows of the year. Sure, that's somewhat hyperbolic but I honestly believe it. TEED's music is completely infectious and undeniably good. In Europe he is already performing at festivals so, to have the opportunity to see him play in the tiny little room inside the Mohawk is an extremely rare opportunity. Tonight's show will be one of those experiences where you'll tell people you saw TEED and the Mohawk inside and they'll be flabbergasted. All of the elements of future fame are there. He's got blogger buzz, he's big in the U.K., he has the approval of platinum-selling superstars, and he's on the verge of releasing his debut full-length album. I didn't even mention the best part, which is that tickets are only $10. I had the chance to send some questions to TEED in anticipation of tonight's show at the Mohawk and you can find those below the break. In the meantime, you should desk-dance to this song:

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs - Tapes & Money video via YouTube

  • You've been called the hot new dance act from England in numerous publications.  Is that inspiring or does it simply inspire pressure and stress?
  • Errr...honestly, that's just weird. I like making music and I'm really happy people like what I make.
  • What has been the most surreal moment of your music career thus far?
  • It's always surreal traveling around dressing up playing music.
  • What has been the most encouraging thing for you so far?  Most discouraging?
  • It's good when people make noise and dance, it's bad when I don't get enough sleep.
  • When other people remix your music does it feel like they're messing with your children or do you enjoy hearing other's interpretations of your music?
  • No, it's cool. The original is always finished first so I'm happy to hear what people do with it.
  • I'm sure you've been asked to do lots of remixes for other people in the past year or more, which request was the most shocking to you?  Who would you like to remix but haven't yet?
  • Lady Gaga definitely, I didn't think that would happen. I would like to remix people with completely different sounds to me.

Lady Gaga - Marry the Night Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaur remix via YouTube

  • Can Austin expect the full, dinosaur-costume, head-dress, on-stage dancer regalia at the Mohawk or did you have to scale back your stage production for the U.S. tour
  • Wait and see... but yeah, I had to fly.
  • If money and general feasibility were no object, what sort of stage show would you create?
  • I don't know. I think a good show is one that makes the most out of the shitty venues and small amounts of money we have to play with. I've still got a way to go there.
  • Do you still have/wear your first dino-costume that your mother helped you to sew?
  • I've still got it somewhere, but it's been a while since I put it on. Maybe I should get it back out.

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