Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bloggy's Favorite Songs of 2013

Last week I posted my Favorite Releases of 2013 now let's talk about individual songs. I do things a little differently with this list. If an artist made my favorite albums list then I don't include an individual song from that artist on this list. For instance, I love the song 24 Hours by Sky Ferreira but since Night Time, My Time was one of my favorite LPs, 24 Hours isn't on this list.

This year I did a lot more listening via Soundcloud and I wanted my songs list to reflect that. So, with the majority of the songs on this list if you click the song's title it will take you to that track on Soundcloud. If you click the artist's name it takes you to their Facebook page. The songs listed that are not available on Soundcloud will take you to Spotify.

Subscribe to the Favorite Songs of 2013 playlist on Spotify now!

  1. Ciara - Body Party
  2. Cloud Boat - Youthern (Ghosting Season remix)
  3. JD Samson & MEN - Making Art
  4. Vampire Weekend - Step
  5. Jay-Z - Tom Ford
  6. Isaac Delusion - Supernova
  7. Ducktails - Honey Tiger Eyes
  8. Blouse - No Shelter
  9. Golden Grrrls - We've Got...
  10. Wild Nothing - A Dancing Shell
  11. Jagwar Ma - Come Save Me
  12. Mariah Carey ft. Miguel - #Beautiful
  13. Jon Hopkins ft. Purity Ring - Breathe This Air
  14. Jessy Lanza - Kathy Lee
  15. Hospitality - I Miss Your Bones
  16. Neko Case - Man
  17. Yuck - Lose My Breath
  18. Arctic Monkeys - Do I Wanna Know?
  19. The National - Don't Swallow the Cap
  20. Daft Punk ft. Panda Bear - Doin' it Right
  21. Beyonce - Haunted
  22. Katy Perry - Roar
  23. Justin Timberlake - Mirrors
  24. James Blake - Retrograde
  25. Lorde - Royals
  26. POLIÇA - Chain My Name
  27. Dead Gaze - Breathing Creatures
  28. Suburban Living - Always Eyes
  29. Vox Mod - Iridescent Asteroid Mists
  30. North Highlands - I'll Do My Best
  31. Thumpers - Unkinder (A Tougher Love)
  32. Thee Oh Sees - Toe Cutter - Thumb Buster
  33. Jessie Ware - Running
  34. Duke Dumont - Need U (100%)
  35. Oscar Key Sung - All I Could Do
  36. Widowspeak - Ballad of the Golden Hour
  37. Temples - Shelter Song
  38. Frankie Rose - Sorrow
  39. Bonobo - Cirrus
  40. Drake - Hold On, We're Going Home
  41. Minks - Painted Indian
  42. Aluna George - Attracting Flies
  43. Yujen - Try It Over
  44. Still Corners - Berlin Lovers
  45. Generationals - Put a Light On
  46. Movement - Feel Real
  47. Zebra Katz - Ima Read (Sister Bliss Main Mix)
  48. Sevyn Streeter - It Won't Stop
  49. Miley Cyrus - We Can't Stop
  50. Mister Lies ft. Knower - Magichour

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Review : Perfect Pussy

Last night I caught a very brief set from Perfect Pussy on the Mohawk's inside stage. All I really knew about this band wass that they played CMJ a few months ago and the internet had been a flutter ever since. All they have released so far is 13 minutes of fury entitled, I have lost all desire for feeling. The recording is full of noise and energy and the band's live performance is even louder and more energetic. The set started in a really interesting way. The band was setting up and appeared to be adjusting their levels. Lead singer Meredith Graves was talking with the sound man explaining that she couldn't really see the sound man and that he sounded like the teacher from Charlie Brown. She spoke into the microphone fairly meekly saying, I hope this is loud enough. People from the crowd responded by saying it should be louder to which Meredith replied, "Don't worry I've got loud in my back pocket." Next thing I knew all of the instruments swelled into a caucophonous feedback swirl out of which a beat emerged. Meredith began doing some ballet poses and then the band launched into their first song.

The lead singer of Perfect Pussy is such a live wire it's difficult to not stare at her the entire time. She flails, she poses, she smirks, she scowls, she throws her mic at the guitar while the guitarist is playing. I thought she might jump into the crowd but that didn't happen. With all of the energy Meredith exudes it's tough to not think that she is what makes this band so great and she is BUT she's not the only thing.

I like to stand at the back of a show so I can observe everything and in a moment of consciously trying to look at band members other than the singer I noticed the guy on the far left with the keyboard stand. He was staring out at the crowd, watching them, watching Meredith and he looked like he was in some sort of a trance. Then I tried to tune my ears to hear exactly what he was doing and that's when I realized that he was adding harmonic feedback waves into the songs.

Since the set just emerged out of a soundcheck there were people in the crowd who thought that the ringing feedback throughout the first song was an accident. I thought so at first as well because it seemed to be a constant ringing tone but then I realized the pitch of the tone was changing. If I hadn't been wearing earplugs I might not have been able to hear the shifts in the sound of the feedback but once I noticed I was completely intrigued.

Perfect Pussy's set was an aural assault, partly because the songs themselves are rooted in hardcore, partly because of lead-singer Meredith's scream but mostly because keyboardist Shaun is creating a sonic swirl of noise on top of everything you're hearing. The band's set wasn't even 15 minutes long but that was long enough for me to get really excited and curious about what they were doing up there. They ended the set in a similarly performance-art way. The drummer was bagging up his cymbals while the song continued to scream out of the amplifiers. The bass player and guitarist unplugged as well but Shaun and Meredith continued on. Shaun played a very simple beaet that Meredith did more ballet poses to until the noise finally subsided and the room cleared out.

I saw my friend Pooneh after the set and I asked her about the harmonic feedback loops. I was curious if anyone else heard or noticed. She wasn't wearing earplugs and said that she didn't really notice. At that point my curiosity had gotten the better of me so I walked up the side of the stage with the keyboard and asked if I could bother him for a few minutes. He said sure come on up so I jumped up on the stage and stared down at the equipment he was using then blathered on for about five minutes explaining my theory that the keyboardist is the one responsible for creating the sonic chaos. He was very nice and basically confirmed what I thought. He has effects peddles and a sampling keyboard and he just creates noise. He admitted that often times he can't really hear what he is doing because of earplugs or the sound of a room but his M.O. is adding a layer of noise. He actually performs solo "noise sets" and works with some noise duos as well.

If you missed last night's show, and chances are you did, Perfect Pussy will be back for SXSW and chances are they'll be one of the buzziest acts of the festival. If you have a chance to see them, I implore you to wear earplugs not only will it protect your hearing it was enable you to hear everything going on. This band isn't re-inventing the wheel or anything but they are much smarter and more deliberate than they appear on the surface and they are definitely artists to keep your eye on.

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Going Out This Weekend

If you're like me, you're just going to listen to the new Beyonce record until you have to go back to work on Monday, taking breaks to sleep. If you're feeling a bit more ambitious than that, there are several rock music events that could be worth leaving the couch for. Possibly.

Tonight Shivery Shakes celebrate the release of a new 7" with a show at The Owl. Arrive early enough to catch a set from Grape St.

Shivery Shakes - Stay Young video via YouTube

Saturday night you could re-watch this week's Nashville from your DVR or you could see Cat Power at Antone's but those are pretty much your only options. Also, if you don't go to this show they'll probably move Antone's again before the next show you want to see there.

Oh, you know what? Frightened Rabbit is in town Saturday night too. Both the Cat Power and Frightened Rabbit shows are solo gigs. You'll find Frightened Rabbit over at the Mohawk.

Sunday night I don't usually go out but Perfect Pussy will be at the Mohawk and I really want to check them out. All I really know about this band is that they are very buzzy, which is really all a hipster like me needs to know.

Perfect Pussy - 3 video via YouTube

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Bloggy's Favorite Releases of 2013

Here it is, my favorite releases of 2013 list. You'll notice I said releases. That's partly because I snuck a few EPs in this list and partly because I like the suggestive nature of the word, "releases". These aren't the best, nor the worst, they are my favorites. I feel like the number one record set the tone for my year. I am really excited about R&B and indie colliding and I think my favorite stuff reflects that this year.

Incidentally, it was Dan at End of an Ear who turned me on to my number 1 record this year. How do you like that? In 2013 with everything that's changed about the music industry, the owner of my neighborhood record shop introduced me to something I was totally unaware of and it became my favorite record of the year.

In this list clicking the artist's name takes you to their Facebook page, clicking the album title MOSTLY brings you to the record on Spotify so you can preview before purchasing at your favorite local record shop. Enough words, we all know you just want THE LIST!

Brazos - Charm video via YouTube
  1. Brazos - Saltwater
  2. Local Natives - Hummingbird
  3. Glasser - Interiors
  4. Cults - Static
  5. Darkside - Psychic
  6. Widowspeak - Almanac
  7. Pusha T - My Name is My Name
  8. Minks - Tides End
  9. Caitlin Rose - The Stand-In
  10. Elephant Stone - Elephant Stone
  11. Heavenly Beat - Prominence
  12. Milosh - Jetlag
  13. Suuns - Images du Futur
  14. Kanye West - Yeezus
  15. Toro y Moi - Anything in Return
  16. Janelle Monae - The Electric Lady
  17. Haerts - Hemiplegia
  18. Danny Brown - Old
  19. Hiatus Kaiyote - Tawk Tomahawk
  20. Foxygen - We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
  21. Tristen - Caves
  22. CHVRCHES - The Bones of What You Believe
  23. High Highs - Open Season
  24. Quadron - Avalanche
  25. Parquet Courts - Light Up Gold
  26. Young Dreams - Between Places
  27. Washed Out - Paracosm
  28. Kurt Vile - Wakin on a Pretty Daze
  29. MS MR - Secondhand Rapture
  30. Empress Of - Systems
  31. Charli XCX - True Romance
  32. Braids - Flourish//Perish
  33. Savages - Silence Yourself
  34. White Denim - Corsicana Lemonade
  35. Disclosure - Settle
  36. Mikal Cronin - MCII
  37. Active Child - Rapor EP
  38. Giraffage - Needs
  39. Arcade Fire - Reflektor
  40. Rhye - Woman
  41. Blue Hawaii - Untogether
  42. Sky Ferreira - Night Time, My Time
  43. Ex Cops - True Hallucinations
  44. Haim - Days Are Gone
  45. Caveman - Caveman
  46. Blood Orange - Cupid Deluxe
  47. Autre Ne Veut - Anxiety
  48. Teen Daze - Glacier
  49. Diana - Perpetual Surrender
  50. inc. - no world

inc. - the place video via YouTube

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Review: CHVRCHES and Charli XCX

This weekend I went to two different pop shows presented in two very different ways. On Friday night I caught a very tidy hour long set from CHVRCHES at Stubb's. It's been cold here in Austin and I wasn't convinced I was ready to go to an outdoor show until about 90 minutes before CHVRCHES set was scheduled to begin. I grew up in cold climates but since I live in Austin now, I no longer own a proper winter jacket. So when the temps get cold, I just put layers and layers of spring/fall gear on. Mr. S. and I arrived about 15 minutes before CHVRCHES' set. I was interested in seeing the support act, Basecamp but I also didn't want to stand outside longer than necessary so, I missed their set.

CHVRCHES' set started on time. The sound-mix was quite good, although I wish there were someway to turn down the sound of the audience. Per usual there were lots of Chatty-Cathys, which is to be expected at any show really but that doesn't make it less annoying. This was my second time seeing CHVRCHES and my walk-away is that they sound at least as good as their record. The vocals are spot on, the musicianship is great, the stage lights are interesting, all in all it's a good show. The set was considerate of the cold and since the band only has an album's worth of material the set seemed to fly by. They played all of the songs you'd want to hear as good as you'd want to hear them.

CHVRCHES - Recover video via YouTube

Last night I saw Charli XCX at the Parish and it made me realize how safe and sterile the CHVRCHES show was. First of all, the Charli show was in a much more intimate space. Both shows were technically sold-out but neither show was actually full since people bailed on both shows. As far as musicianship, I think CHVRCHES was a technically better band. Charli had a live 3-piece but she also had a backing track. I don't know how much of what we were hearing was live and how much was track. With that being said, Charli put on a far superior show. Her show was more visceral, more punk rock, more dangerous. When the crowd was flaccid Charli demanded they give her more. "Austin! I thought you were meant to be crazy?" At one point she demanded the crowd go crazy for her, when they only went moderately bonkers, she gave us the finger. She wore sunglasses indoors, she whipped her hair around, she stood on speakers, she pouted and strutted around the stage. If Charli and CHVRCHES went to High School together, I think Charli might beat up CHVRCHES.

I will say that seeing CHVRCHES at the Parish would have been a far superior experience to seeing them at Stubb's but I feel like if Charli played Stubb's she would have commanded more attention. When it comes down to it both Charli XCX and CHVRCHES write great pop songs but Charli is part of the major label system and she is a major label star. She knows how to turn it on and she knows how to work an audience. CHVRCHES are great players and great songwriters but they aren't great performers yet. They didn't have the benefit of major-label bootcamp and they haven't been grinding it out in clubs for a decade either.

Don't get me wrong, I love CHVRCHES and if I hadn't seen both of these shows in one weekend I probably would never have thought to compare these artists but that's not the way things went down. I am glad I went to both shows and I would recommend you see both of these artists next time they come through town. I also expect that both of these artists will receive serious consideration when it comes to Best Albums of the Year time but that's another post entirely. I'll leave you with this final thought: CHVRCHES is that person who your family wants you to marry, Charli is that person who fucks you over time and time again but you just can't quit. Think Becky's boyfriend Mark on Roseanne.

Charli XCX - Superlove video YouTube

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Weekend Plans

It's a typical weekend in Austin, which means there are a ton of good shows for you to catch. For my money, there is better stuff happening tonight than on Saturday night, which is kind of bizarre but that's just the way the dice land sometimes. Or roll? I don't know, something about dice. Let's do this!

Tonight is all about Red 7's outside stage. Technically, Dead Confederate are headlining but I'm all about Equals and Residual Kid. Both of whom share tonight's bill. You can buy tickets online right now or you can roll the dice and pay at the door. That's your call.

Equals - Live video via YouTube

Friday night there are actually too many good shows so we're just going to stay home in our jammies and listen to Debbie Gibson records instead. No? Not feelin' that? More of a Tiffany fan? I feel that.

Chvrches play Stubb's Friday night, which is sold-out but you can also see them for free at 5pm inside Waterloo Records. There's a great local line-up at Mohawk featuring Boyfrndz, Growl, GoldSpine and TAFT

Friday night also has Besnard Lakes stopping by Red 7 with Elephant Stone in tow. If you like psychedelic music then this is the only place for you Friday night.

Elephant Stone - Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin video via YouTube

Oh shit you guys, Cass McCombs is in town tomorrow night too! How the fuck are we supposed to sort all of this out? The only thing that makes me weary of the Cass show is the crowd. I feel like if people talked through his set I might stab them in the eyes with brooches Oedipus-stylee.

I don't really have a segue from that Oedipus reference but I wanted to mention that if you're down with dance music, The Juan MacLean will be at Kingdom Friday night as well. It's like show-a-polooza on Friday.

On Saturday I'm presenting you with two choices, Built to Spill at Stubb's or head to Holy Mountain for Walker Lukens, Roger Sellers, Royal Forest & She Sir.

Sunday is the Lord's day but he is going to share it with Charli XCX who will be performing two sets. First you can catch Charli at Waterloo Records. That set starts at 5pm and I can't imagine what that will entail. A few hours later she'll take the stage in Austin's best sounding room, The Parish. I'm not sure if I'll be able to attend this show but I really want to. I love Charli, love the Parish, love free street parking, one love.

Charli XCX - SuperLove video via YouTube

Charli XCX Photo Credit: Angelo Kritikos

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Show Preview: CHVRCHES

Chvrches return to Austin Friday evening playing a sold-out show at Stubb's. This is the group's second post-SXSW appearance and I'm excited to finally catch a full set. I saw them perform during SXSW but it was a day party at Stubb's so I didn't catch a full set and I didn't give them my full attention. The last time they were in town they played the Mohawk, which I'm sure was incredible but I had planned a vacation to my home-state of Maine. I know, my life is so hard right? I was bummed though. I bought my plane tickets and booked a hotel room long before the show was announced. We also missed The Postal Service with Ra Ra Riot in Cedar Park that week. *sad face*

That brings us back to this week. You can catch a live performance from Chvrches this evening on Jimmy Kimmel live. That's the Jimmy that's on ABC. For those of you with tickets, Chvrches are playing at Stubb's in two days. I really like their record, The Bones of What You Believe. If you didn't get tickets to see them this week, you should still check out their record. I think you'll enjoy it.

Chvrches - Gun video via YouTube

Thanksgiving approacheth, which means best-of-the-year lists are nigh as well. For me, it's the blurst time of year. I love it but it stresses me out. If I'm being real the lead-up to SXSW is way blurstier than this time of year though. Regardless, as soon as we get our first cold front I start to stress out about the records I still haven't listened to. There are records that I loved this year that will definitely be on my lists but then I have to think about how to "rank" things and which lists they will appear on. With that in mind, it's nice to get to see Chvrches again because I've been thinking about The Bones of What You Believe and how it compares with some of my other favorites this year. It will definitely be on my Best Albums of 2013 list but I don't know where or what company it will keep.

Arrive early on Friday for Basecamp. If you're down with sexy R&B vocals matched with chilled-out grooves topped lightly with skittering beats then you're going to love Basecamp. I'm a sucker for most things indie-R&B so I'm just hoping it's as impressive live as it is on record.

Basecamp - Rydia video via YouTube

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

FunFunFun Fest 2013: Looking Back On a Few Days Ago TLDR

FunFunFun Fest is not just a clever name. It is a clever name but it's not only that. I've written and re-written this wrap-up post at least three times. I know people like lists and they like pictures and if I wanted to get lots of hits that's what I'd do. The fact of the matter is, I don't have a DSLR camera so I don't shoot pictures of the artists performing and even if I did who's to say my photos would be worth looking at? I could make the shit out of a list and I still might. Lists are easy to read and they can really help you distill your point but they are also a pain to code and they can be pretty vapid. This site doesn't get very many hits. Chances are I know most of you who are reading this but that was never the point. I started Austin Bloggy Limits because I love music and I love writing and I thought that if I didn't do this my brain might atrophy. I was just waiting tables and spending what little spare money I had to see as much indie rock as I could afford. When I lived in Maine I would drive 3.5-4 hours to Boston to see bands play hour long sets. I still wait tables. I still don't make any money doing this, I do this because I love indie music and I love going to shows. FunFunFun Fest was created by people like me for people like me. Obviously, those people are much smarter and more ambitious than I am but they get me and I get them and if you're still reading this then you get it too.

Active Child - Subtle video via YouTube

On Friday of the fest I was watching Little Boots with @atxhipsters but I wanted to see The Impossibles as well. So we listened to three songs from Little Boots, whom we have both seen before and love, and headed via the "Homies" entrance toward the Black Stage. We happened upon Big Freedia. A friend of mine has been working as Freedia's tour manager and offered to introduce us to the Queen Diva. Freedia offered her hand for a handshake, to which I replied, "Can I hug you?" Because I'm a creep like that. She obliged. @atxhipsters followed suite, then we said goodbye and walked to the Black Stage in time to catch three songs from The Impossibles.

I feel like I could just wrap things up there because that story perfectly encompasses why I love FunFunFun Fest. Blog over.

For real though, I had so much fun and if you were there you did too and if you weren't there, you would have. Like I said, I don't have a DSLR camera I just use my cell phone. My goal was to take portraits and I ended up getting 18. These weren't pre-arranged, staged things I was basically lurking and waiting for artists I recognized. I would then accost them and get their photograph. Some had time to chat, some had just a moment. I was originally going to post all of those photos here but since this blog is tribute to the year 2005, it's not really formatted to showcase photography. The easiest way to see them for web-viewing is on my Tumblr. Now, I'm gonna start making the shit out of some lists. Props if you read all the words in this post.

Friday Highlight Sets

My first time seeing Active Child was at FunFunFun Fest either last year or the year before, I'm not Googling that. I only caught like a song and half the first time but it was enough to make me listen to his record more and see him again at the Mohawk. I ended up picking up You Are All I See on vinyl and I became obsessed. Mr. S. can tell you that I'm still likely to burst into, "I fall in love...way too fast". The new EP from Active Child is even more brilliant than the previous LP. His ideas have gotten sharper but he hasn't lost focus on what makes his songs beautiful and unique. I ran into Pat backstage and asked to take his portrait for my Instagram. I chatted with him for a moment telling him basically what I've written here but I mentioned that I grew up in a cold climate and I'm drawn to music that sounds like winter. He connected with what I meant and told me the new EP was recorded in Denver in the wintertime. We talked a bit about the effect snow has on sound.

I loved Mac Demarco's set because he and his band have such an unhinged, art-school kid energy. I feel like Mac went to elementary school at the sort of place where they start their day by centering then they begin to explore ideas. The last ten minutes of his set were spent playing various out-of-context covers with varying degrees of accuracy or intent. Switching from Du Haste to The Four Seasons's Sherry into Taking Care of Business with some made up lyrics that including something about kissing a penis? I ran into Mac backstage and asked for a portrait. He obliged and I told him about how I love Montreal and I tried to impress him with my knowledge of French-Canadian curse words but he and his band-mates are not from Montreal. It's a city that's like Austin in that way, one of Canada's premiere magnets for weirdo-geniuses.

My love for the set from Thee Oh Sees is partially because I was still drunk on the lusty rock 'n roll energy of OBN III's set at Red 7 the previous night. Thee Oh Sees kicked ass on the Black Stage but a bigger, more involved crowd would have really brought everything up a notch. That being said, their set was still one of my highlights for Friday.

Cut Copy also played one of my favorite sets on Friday. They crafted a set that pushed the crowd's energy up and kept it up through their full hour. I danced my ass off and I know that many of you did too.

Saturday Highlight Sets

I am a total sucker for Bleached. I love their melodies, I love their bratty energy, I love that they like heavy music but their music's not too heavy for me. I didn't go to their Nites show at The ND but I heard that it was even better than their set at the fest, which I thought was great.

Merchandise were way better than I thought they would be. I know that's a backhanded compliment but that's how I felt y'all! Get off my d! I was more familiar with their press than I was with their music and I was much more impressed with their music than their press.

Seeing Television changed my world-view and I'm not even one of those people who knows every word to Marquee Moon. Their performance was very straightforward, they didn't do any rock 'n roll theatrics. In fact the lighting hardly even changed throughout their set. The thing that was so magical for me was watching the way Tom Verlaine used his guitar. The way he moves his hand is different than any other guitarist I've seen before. I know that sounds completely ridiculous but it's true. He seems to be coaxing something out of it or reacting to something from inside of it. The only player that has moved me in a similar way emotionally is Nels Cline who plays with Wilco. After the set, I talked to people who said that it sounded terrible where they were and I'm not disagreeing with them but from where I was standing it sounded magical.

I have missed seeing Chromatics many times since moving to Austin and now that I have actually seen them, it kind of bums me out. I tweeted that I wanted to build them an altar. They put me in a trance and I was transported to their dark, hazy universe. They sound so cinematic and beautiful on their records and in concert that sound just envelopes you. I feel like Glass Candy is easier to fall for but Chromatics is more satisfying.

Other than the fact that he is an outstanding performer the thing that impressed me the most about Ice-T was witnessing his hustle. I watched the last half of his set with Body Count and he exudes a tremendous amount of energy. He commanded that massive crowd, and he left it all on stage. When he walked off the stage, he got on a golf cart to a little media area between the Black and Orange stages. He sat there with bright lights pointed at him and was interviewed for at least a half hour. I was told that when he arrived to the interview he looked pissed off or annoyed but as soon as he sat in the chair to be interviewed that was all gone and he was back to being the pro that he is. He took a half hour or less between the end of his interviews and the beginning of his performance on the Blue Stage. The crowd for the Blue Stage was pretty lame compared to the Black Stage crowd but Ice-T still ran through a series of crowd pleasers. He poked fun at himself a bit on both stages, making reference to Law and Order.

I included Descendents' crowd as a highlight because the energy at the Black Stage was palpable. Even if a band is great, they are made even greater if the crowd is giving them great energy. It was amazing to watch people losing their minds and completely living in the moment while their favorite band bonded with them. At one point, toward the end of the set, the crowd put up a man in a wheelchair who was carried to the stage-diving platform where Milo used rock 'n roll to save his soul, blessed his forehead and pushed him backward onto the hands of the waiting crowd who passed him for at least five solid minutes. Even just writing about it has brought me to tears. It was one of the most spectacularly human moments I have ever been a part of at a rock 'n roll show.

Sunday Highlights

I almost didn't bother going to the Blue Stage for Chet Faker because I just saw him at Red 7 about a month ago but I'm so glad I did. His set for the fest was solo, whereas when I saw him at Red 7 he was with a full band. With most artists I prefer the full band but with Chet Faker I preferred to see him solo. He is a fantastic singer no matter what but with the full band his performance is less unique. It was interesting to see him construct his songs with the electronics rather than rely on players. I asked him about it when I ran into him backstage and he said that he prefers it solo too but it makes things awkward between himself and his band. He was very nice and chatted with me for at least five minutes about Australia's music scene. It helps that I started by just listing bands like, Electric Wire Hustle, Hiatus Kaiyote, Ta-ku and Movement. He told me to keep an eye out for Oscar Keysung too and to watch for an LP from Chet Faker.

I might be XXYYXX's number one fan but he made quite a few new ones on Sunday too. He is creating some of my favorite musical ideas right now and I am so excited to watch his development. This was my second time seeing him and he always impresses me but I think he will continue to get better as he starts to build better sets. Scholomo's set followed on the heels of XXYYXX and his set built into more logical peeks and valleys. That's the sort of thing that you get better and better at the more you play for audiences.

Even if you're a Washed Out hater because you don't enjoy their records for some reason, you might still like their live sets. Washed Out is one of the tightest bands in indie. They play funk grooves with prog-rock flourishes and their live energy is off-the-chain. The crowd on Sunday was very tired but Ernest from Washed Out really got the crowd moving. I had a little incident with some beach balls during this set, which distracted me and the audience a bit but that only lasted a couple of minutes. Victoria from My Well Fed Life captured it on her Instagram.

Basically, I feel like those beach balls are distracting and annoying. I'm trying to watch Washed Out but now I also have to keep an eye out for these damned things that keep almost hitting me. I started thinking about Slayer's fans and what they might do. My first instinct was to use my lighter to pop them but then I thought, what if it becomes some sort of napalm floating fire bomb? I mostly ignored them, one almost hit me but Mr. S. swatted it away just in time. Then a few minutes later one did hit me and I hit it back toward the crowd. Then one of the little suckers fell right in front of me so I grabbed it and started to pull at the nozzle where it inflates then I grabbed it by the seams and just ripped it apart. It felt great but I heard some sounds of sadness and/or anger behind me. Then I got hit in the head with an Absolut Vodka T-Shirt. I looked back and saw a 30-something woman looking very sternly back toward me so I did what any grown adult would do, I picked up the T-Shirt held it over my head and shouted, "Yeah! Brand loyalty!" because that's the first thing that came to mind. Then I threw the shirt on the ground. Then ANOTHER ball fell right in front of me, I looked and the woman who had hit me with the T-Shirt was looking right at me hella-pissed so I threw the ball back to the crowd. I heard people making sounds of disappointment when I didn't pop the ball. Then a woman (who it turns out is Victoria) said, "Oh, I was going to shoot you destroying that ball." I told her, well if another one appears I'll...then another one fell in front of me. I grabbed it and ripped it apart, holding it over my head, at which point I heard jeers and boos, then I turned into a professional wrestling villain, then it was over. The next time I entered the press pit where this took place, the kid checking wristbands said he knew why we hated those things but I can't do that anymore or else he'd have to kick me out. I agreed. For the record, I didn't see anymore beach balls go out into the crowd.

I have never listened to Dismemberment Plan so I was hearing most of their songs for the first time on Sunday and they were fucking phenomenal. It sounded fresh, interesting, hooky, the vocalist was superb and funny. Their energy, their performance and their banter were all really impressive. Now I know why to those who know them, they are legends.

The run of acts that closed the Blue Stage on Sunday was just outrageously good. Deltron 3030 was Del, Dan the Automator and Kid Koala backed with a 3-piece band as well as strings, horns, and backing vocals. It was bananas. Then Bonobo took to the stage with a full band, guest vocalist and a full DJ setup. The set was a blend of live instrumentation and live production that only Bonobo could do. There is no one else doing what he does in a live setting. Jurassic 5 were about 500 times better than they have any business being. I just kept thinking about how much they must rehearse to be as perfect as they were. I know I like to use the phrase "on-point" a lot but seriously. Seriously. No, seriously they were on-point. Jurassic 5 are the standard-bearers for the live hip-hop experience and that's coming from someone who has seen Nas, Kanye, Talib, Mos Def and The Roots. If you have never seen Jurassic 5 perform live then you need to set your priorities straight and get on that.

With that, I conclude my FunFunFun Fest 2013 coverage. If you have read all the way down to the bottom of this post, I commend you. There aren't very many of us who still blog with this many words because there aren't many of you who read this many words. I'm glad there's still a few of you left because, I don't plan on getting any less verbose anytime soon.

Oh, and if you want to see the fest in photos Pooneh Ghana just posted her photo gallery.

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Saturday, November 9, 2013

FunFunFun Fest 2013: Sunday

Alright y'all I'm going to keep this brief because I am on my way out the door. Below the break you'll see a huge list of almost everyone playing FunFunFun Fest on Sunday. My advice, see as much as you can. If you're moving from stage to stage you have to hear at least three songs or else it doesn't count. That's the rule. My three must see acts for Sunday are: XXYYXX, XXYYXX and XXYYXX. I'm bummed that The Julie Ruin are playing the same time as XXYYXXX because I want to see them too but that's life. I'll probably end up catching a couple of songs from them too.

XXYYXX - About You video via YouTube

The selection of Nites shows on Sunday are a bit thin but all you really need is Flesh Lights and The Impossibles and you have that so, enjoy.

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

FunFunFun Fest 2013: Saturday

It's ridiculous to call this post a highlights post. I basically just re-listed everything happening on Saturday of FunFunFun Fest because everything is worth at least checking out. Alright, that's a bit hyperbolic but this is a blog and that's what you do on a blog. You use hyperbole and, if you're me, you also use the CAPS LOCK KEY AND YOU FUCKING SWEAR! Take THAT print journalism! Back to Fun Fest for a minute, one of the many great things about this particular festival is you can actually move from stage to stage. I'm not saying it's easy but it's easier than it is at some other music festivals so it is conceivable that you can catch bits and pieces from M.I.A., Descendants & Ice-T. These are headlining acts at FunFunFun Fest and this is why we love FunFunFun Fest. These three artists seem to have nothing in common yet the audience for this festival wants to see all of these artists. Maybe I shouldn't speak for the entire audience of a music festival but I'm still being hyperbolic GODDAMNIT!

Chromatics _Cherry video via YouTube

My goal was to highlight three must-see bands for each day of the festival but for Saturday, I'm going to cheat. I'm using Glass Candy/Chromatics as one vote. They are two bands and they aren't outrageously similar but they aren't outrageously different either and they're both on Italians Do It Better, so we're calling that one highlight.

I'm also cheating a bit by highlighting Television as a must-see band because they are a legacy band. Every legacy band is a must-see band in the sense that you might never get another opportunity to see them perform again. I try to highlight bands who are on their way up and not getting as much attention but come on, how am I not going to highlight Television? This is a band that I never thought that I would see live. This is a band that broke-up before I was born. They re-formed in the early 90's and played a few gigs here and there but it never really occurred to me that I would have the chance to see them myself. So, yeah don't miss Television. Watch most of Glass Candy then head over to the Orange Stage for Television at 5:50.

My third and final Saturday highlight it going to Lee Fields & the Expressions because I'm breaking all the rules of this highlights post. You'll find Mr. Fields and Co. at Red 7 after you get kicked out of Auditorium Shores. As I mentioned in a previous post, I don't recommend hopping Nites shows because they'll fill up early and stay full. If you leave one venue, chances are wherever you're heading already has a line of people waiting to get in. The list of artists below are just one example of who you will see if you head to these different venues. If you like one of the names below, you'll probably like the other acts on that bill as well.

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JMSN at Lambert's

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail about JMSN. I had never heard of this artist but I clicked the SoundCloud link because JMSN has been on tour with Active Child. After listening to that one track I decided I had to check out his show in Austin. Well kids, that show is tonight and it's happening at Lambert's. You can still buy tickets online but if you show up at the door with $12 you'll save yourself some fees.

I'm sorry this isn't much of a preview post because I'm still learning about the artist. What I can tell you is he released a new EP two days ago and the song above the break is the lead single from that EP, which is entitled Pllajë.

Other than that all I can tell you is what I've learned from Wikipedia. He's originally from Michigan, he's a producer, there's all kinds of great stuff in there. I am planning to attend tonight's show at Lambert's though so, hopefully on his next trip through Austin, I can speak more intelligently about JMSN until then I'll let the music speak for itself.

JMSN - Walk Away video via YouTube

JMSN Photo Credit: CB4TOS

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FunFunFun Fest 2013: Friday

FunFunFun Fest is here y'all! The festival gates at Auditorium Shores open tomorrow but the Nites start this evening. Yesterday, I posted a quick little guide highlighting my favorite events for this evening. In this post, I'll attempt to help you map out your Fun Fest Friday. I will say, that I am not now, nor have I have I ever been someone who listens to, or is familiar with punk, metal, hardcore or even hard rock music. I have nothing against these genres, it just never appealed to me and it mostly still doesn't. That means that I have a HUGE blindspot in my Fun Fest coverage. I am aware of that fact and I want to be plain with you about it as well. That means these highlight posts won't really talk about what's happening on the Black Stage. I'm sorry but that's just the way things are.

Like I said, the festival gates open tomorrow but you can pick up your wristband or buy a wristband right now and until midnight tonight at Auditorium Shores and/or at Holy Mountain. If you do that this evening you can attend any of the Nites shows tonight for free, you also will be able to walk into the festival on Friday, without stopping at the Box Office on your way in. The downside is you'll be sleeping with that damn wristband for one extra night. You decide what's worth it.

Active Child - Subtle featuring Mikky Ekko video via YouTube

It's tough to post highlights for Fun Fest because the whole thing is highlights for me. Not only that, the artists who I'm not highlighting are often artists that I haven't discovered yet. I had never heard of Active Child the first time they performed at Fun Fest and now they are one of my must-see artists. So, at the end of this post I'll give you three must-see acts for the day in addition to the list below this paragraph.

I decided to not go to my day-job (paying job) on Friday so that I could see Active Child play the Orange Stage at 1:25p. I love Active Child so much that I lost money in order to catch his early set. So, obviously he is one of my three "Can't Miss Artists" on Friday. My second can't miss is, Mac Demarco. I'm not saying that because I have seen him before or even because I particularly love his albums. I am picking Mac because I have yet to see him perform live and I have heard really good things. Also, I like his albums but I feel like after I see him play the Orange Stage at 3:15 on Friday I'll love his albums. My third and final "Can't Miss Artist" for Friday is, Cut Copy. I'm kind of bummed that they're up against Lupe Fiasco because I would like to see him too but as someone who has seen Cut Copy twice before I can assure you that they kick serious ass live and their new record is excellent.

Cut Copy - Free Your Mind video via YouTube

Now, I'd like to make some recommendations for Nites shows as well but it's a bit tricky. As you know, the Nites are free, which means that the venues are all first come, first served. That means you're going to have to work out a plan with the evening shows. It's not going to be easy to see several sets at several venues. My top recommendation is let your heart guide you. Try to focus on one venue. Find the one set happening Friday night that you just have to attend and watch all of the sets at that venue. One of the greatest things about FunFunFun Fest is that it is a festival where you can make new music discoveries. The folks who curate the festival and it's evening shows are on-the-ball and you can trust them to curate some great line-ups.

In the spirit of let your heart be your guide, I encourage you to let your genre be your guide. I'm going ot list some artists and the venue they're playing at. Whichever of these artists speaks to you most powerfully is where you should go.

Like I said, the above list does not even begin to touch upon all of the artists you can see after the fest closes its gates on Friday night. My thought is, you'll pick an artist from the list above, you'll choose that venue as your home-base and you'll enjoy the other artists on the bill as well. For instance, if you're drawn to the Merchandise show at Red 7, you'll also enjoy The Young, Lemuria and Chelsea Light Moving all of whom will grace the inside stage between 10:15pm and 2:00am.

Good luck, godspeed, dress appropriately and for the love of Oprah shut the fuck up while the band is playing. Thank you and happy festing.

Mac DeMarco - My Kind of Woman video via YouTube

Mac DeMarco Photo Credit: Brad Elterman

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

FunFunFun Fest 2013: Wednesday/Thursday

My first FunFunFunFest-related event is happening at the Barton Creek Mall at 4pm today. Fun Fest artist, Small Black will be playing a free set at Nordstrom today and I intend to be there. Tomorrow at 9pm, you can catch a free in-store from Beach Fossils at a Swatch Store on 2nd street as well. The fest's official, unofficial start is tomorrow night with the FunFunFun Nites shows. You probably already knew this but when you strap that Fun Fest wristband on, it gets you in to all of the Nites events at no additional charge. If you only bought a single day pass, that will still get you in to all of Thursday's Nites events but that is only true for Thursday shows. Every other evening, you will only have access to the Nites shows on the night of your single-day pass. There will be a temporary box office setup at Holy Mountan on Thursday from Noon to Midnight so, if you need to pick up your Will-Call tickets or you still need to buy tickets to the fest, you may do so there. There will also be an on-site box office at Auditorium Shores, which will be open starting at noon tomorrow as well.

Beach Fossils - Generational Synthetic video via YouTube

If you're planning to just stick with one venue Thursday night, I would choose the Mohawk. It's not the only venue with a good Nites show tomorrow but it will get you the most bang for the proverbial buck. You'll want to arrive downtown early to pick up your wristband and get inside the 'Hawk by 8pm to catch Roger Sellers followed by The Tontons. Since these Nites shows are first come, first served be sure to plan ahead. Prepare to stand in line, prepare to be patient and polite with the staff and your fellow patrons. Kurt Vile is headlining the outside stage tomorrow night so, I expect the Mohawk to be the most crowded of all of the Nites venues on Thursday. Don't show up at 9pm and expect to wander in freely.

Once you are inside the fortress of rock that is the Mohawk you have the opportunity to catch sets from 6 bands. I already mentioned the three bands playing the outside stage but once Kurt Vile puts his guitar away you can head inside and catch Dana Falconberry at 11pm. She'll be followed by The Migrant and then Leopold and his Fiction at 1am.

Another strategy for tomorrow night might be to catch the outside show at Mohawk and then skip over to Red 7. That's not my number one recommendation because I love Dana Falconberry and I'd prefer you didn't skip her set HOWEVER, the line-up at Red 7 tomorrow night kicks some serious ass. Most specifically, you'll want to be there by 11:15 at the latest because that's when Dikes of Holland hit the stage. Their set will be followed by, the always spectacular, OBN III's. That's a seriously awesome back-to-back of Austin rock 'n roll.

Too much rock for you? Well, there's a dance party over at The Parish Thursday night and RJD2 is playing a headlining set some time after midnight. Sure, that means venturing into the heart of Dirty 6th but it also means seeing RJD2. You decide what's worth it.

If you're still on the fence about whether or not to attend FunFunFun Fest let me help you out, yes you should go. No, not for just one day, you should get a three day pass. Yes, you should buy me liquor drinks and Topo Chico when you see me at the club. No, you shouldn't wear those toe shoes. Yes, you should cut that pony tail. No, you shouldn't vote Republican.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tristen Returns to the Mohawk

Tristen returns to the Mohawk Wednesday night in support of her new record, Caves. Tickets for Wednesday night's show are only $10 and it's an inside show, which means Tristen will go on late. I know it's a school night but Tristen is one of my favorite touring acts and if you can make the time to attend the show, you won't be disappointed.

I'm really excited to hear the songs from Caves performed live Wednesday night. This album is a real step forward and truly showcases Tristen's development as a songwriter. This new record is her most beautiful and dynamic to date and you better believe it's going to be on my Best Albums of 2013 list. Duh.

It's handy that Tristen's set starts late Wednesday night because Laura Marling is in town that night too. Surely Laura's set at Central Presbyterian Church will be over before Tristen goes on at midnight. Tickets to see Laura Marling are gonna set you back $20 before fees and the only thing available is in the balcony but for roughly $30 you could attend both shows and see two great sets from two fantastic performers in one fabulous city. If you include all the support acts, it's like getting a micro-festival crammed into a Wednesday night!

Laura Marling - Devil's Resting Place video via YouTube

Speaking of festivals, FunFunFunFest unofficially starts Thursday night. Are you ready to fest?

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Review: Nine Inch Nails for ACL TV

This evening the Austin City Limits stage was graced by the presence of Nine Inch Nails and I was one of the lucky ones in the room. Mr. Reznor was backed by five multi-instrumentalists and two backing vocalists. His guitarist on this tour is Robin Fincke Robert Fripp of King Crimson fame and Tino Paladino was on bass. Lisa Fischer was one of the two backing vocalists, those of you who have seen the film, 20 Feet From Stardom might remember her as one of the Rolling Stones touring vocalists. She has worked with the Stones since 1989.

From very early in the set Mr. Reznor said that he didn't want to bring a Nine Inch Nails show to Austin City Limits he wanted the band to be a bit out of their comfort zone. He also remarked how it was very strange for him to be able to see himself since he is so used to being shrouded by the lights rather than illuminated by them.

Nine Inch Nails - Came Back Haunted video via YouTube

As performers, Nine Inch Nails are damned-near flawless. With more than twenty years of experience they brought an unparalleled intensity to the stage. These are musicians who are used to headlining festivals and playing sold-out arena tours and they brought all of that volume and intensity to an intimate theater space. With a set that lasted an hour and forty-five minutes without a break, Mr. Reznor sweat clear through his all-black attire, which included a pair of dropped-crotch pants.

When he wasn't singing, Trent tended to retreat toward the back of the stage where he stood like a shamen raising spirits; a conductor pulling the song's crescendos piece by piece until the songs reached their orgasmic climaxes.

The set list was heavier on the newest record but tonight's audience, including myself, just wanted to hear Nine Inch Nails. They could have played the Itsy Bitsy Spider for 45 minutes and we would have clapped until our hands were raw. Personally, I spent most of the show on my feet and about half of it with my eyes closed, my chin pointing toward the ceiling as I convulsed to the music.

Set highlights included an incredible rendition of Satellite from the newest LP. I was also really moved by Survivalism, which really worked the crowd into a fist-pumping, screaming frenzy. As far as classics go, singing along to Hurt with 2,000 other people including Trent Reznor became a new highlight for my life.

I know that Nine Inch Nails was a very important band to a lot of people and that many of their biggest fans didn't get to attend tonight's taping. I really wish I could use my words to paint you a clearer picture of what we experienced at the Moody Theater tonight but all I can really tell you is that history was made. I feel incredibly fortunate to have been a part of a very special experience and I still can't wrap my brain around it. You guys, Nine Inch Nails is going to be on your local PBS. The same channel that shows Arthur, is going to have a live performance from Nine Inch Nails.

I managed to get a photo of the setlist. I asked the girl who snagged it if she would pose with it over her face like I did with the ACL volunteer above the break but she said that was "disrespectful" so I cropped her stupid face out of it anyway. Unfortunately now it looks all grainy but fortunately, you can see what songs they played this evening. Like I said, their set was close to two hours and that's going to have to be cut down to 45 minutes or less for television but you'll feel the electricity through our TV screens on this one, I can guarantee that much.

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