Archive for March, 2010

SXSW: All Over But The Shouting

Posted in SXSW with tags , , , , , , on March 22, 2010 by 30daysout

Jake Dilley and the Color Pharmacy - the cameraman's name is Jim Morrison. (Photo by John Angelle)

So what happened to the “first day of spring”?  Forget that – spectacular thunderstorms early Saturday morning gave way to a stiff, cold wind with fangs that put a damper on many events during SXSW’s final day.  Some of the smaller side events were cancelled outright while even the larger, official shows were rearranged due to the weather.

A full schedule of performances at Auditorium Shores Saturday night was edited to give each performer about 20 minutes onstage, in order to get headliners She & Him onstage by 9 p.m.  They were still late, and just a few cheerful, poppy songs into the set by M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel a lot of cold, soggy people headed toward the exits.

J.P. Pitts of Surfer Blood (Photo by Lily Angelle)

You didn’t come here for a weather report, though.  The music was still pretty good.  We liked the psychedelia of Minneapolis prog-rockers Jake Dilley and the Color Pharmacy.   Lead singer Dilley played guitar, keyboards and a little percussion as he wove listeners in and out of candy-colored soundscapes.  Somewhere in the middle of a glorious mind-melding song he dropped in a few bars of “Eleanor Rigby,” to keep us all from flying off into a hole in the sky.  But the trio ripped through their rock stomper “Detour” and set us right back on terra firma where the journey began.

We also liked Surfer Blood, one of the festival’s so-called buzz bands.  These boys (and lead singer John Paul Pitts looked like he could still be in high school) rocked a windblown crowd with riff-happy tunes like “Floating Vibes” and “Fast Jabroni” and most likely sold a few thousand copies of Astro Coast, their first album.  Touring as a five-piece, the group from West Palm Beach seemed a little taken aback by the cold (sorry) but played about 13 shows over the four days of SXSW music.  They wound up a particularly tight set with their single “Swim” and I figure that’s good enough to make them big stars in a month or two.


Gotta hand it to Home Slice Pizza along South Congress – not only do they make a killer New York-style slice, they put on a helluva little music festival right in their back yard.  We dug Wye Oak on Friday, and caught some of Winter Gloves, appropriately titled (sorry again) for Saturday.  We really got into the bands playing a side stage, usually two or three sets while they got the main stage ready.  Like La Strada – the Brooklyn-based multi-taskers crowded onto a tiny stage to deliver some nice melodic tunes that went really well with a couple hot slices of pizza.  Anyway, Home Slice Pizza: they put on the best shows of SXSW and check ’em out next time you are in Austin.

And a word here about Japandroids, an intense rockin’ duo from Vancouver.  Oblivious to the cold, they rocked a hip happenin’ crowd behind the Urban Outfitters and made a lot of friends in the process.  Guitarist Brian King and drummer David Prowse can really shred, and they tore up “Young Hearts Spark Fire” with unflagging energy.  Look for these boys to make it big somewhere down the line, too.  Also let’s mention Cymbals Eat Guitars, A Sunny Day In Glasgow, Here We Go Magic, Sweet Apple and Free Energy – good luck boys and girls, you deserve it!

Well.  We made it through a SXSW post without mentioning any of the big names.  What do you need to know?  Jakob Dylan’s new stuff (with Neko Case and Kelly Logan singing backup) sounds nice, Courtney Love’s enhanced face is more interesting than her new music and we didn’t make it out to see Snoop Dogg either.

"The Nez"

It was fun people-watching and making fun of the hipsters, hopelessly un-hip as we are.  We especially liked the people who dressed like rock stars – jet-black, styled hair (think Ron Wood’s bed head), black jeans with skinny legs and a leather jacket.  When everybody who is Nobody tries so hard to look like Somebody, it’s hard to spot the Real Somebodys.  This one guy, his white hairline almost to the top of his head, passed me twice on the street before I recognized him as Michael Nesmith.  He’s no longer a Monkee, he’s now a visionary and foreman of Videoranch 3D, a nice little project that put live shows on the internet and allowed listeners to experience the music like being in a video game.  That would have been a good idea on a cold Saturday.

MP3: “Young Hearts Spark Fire” by Japandroids

MP3: “Swim” by Surfer Blood

MP3: “Nitetime Rainbows” by A Sunny Day In Glasgow

MP3: “Ballad Of Nothing” by Cymbals Eat Guitars

MP3: “Hope Child” by Free Energy

MP3: “Do You Remember” by Sweet Apple

Makin' the scene on Saturday before the weather got, well, shitty

SXSW: The Young and the Old

Posted in SXSW with tags , , , , , on March 20, 2010 by 30daysout

Boots Riley, left, and Tom Morello in the Street Sweeper Social Club

The death of Alex Chilton may have put a bit of a chill on the SXSW festival in Austin this weekend, but many of the younger people who don’t know the work of this genuine original couldn’t care less.  They are here to see the thousands of new faces visiting Texas in the springtime of their careers, and to hear some fine music.  When the occasional big name drops in that’s just icing on the cake but they do tend to steal the spotlight away from the showcases of up-and-coming talent.

Friday night the line to get into the not-so-secret Muse show at Stubb’s snaked all the way down Red River, an even more impressive queue than Metallica mustered last year.  Those without those cool badges or VIP designations were out of luck, and many lined the roof of a nearby parking garage to get a glimpse of the light show and hear a snatch of music.

The Jim Jones Revue

Badgeless and wristband-less, we plunged headlong into the music on a sunny Friday, sampling the tasty sounds of Music By The Slice at Home Style Pizza, which is part of the South Congress scene quickly growing to rival the antics of better-known Sixth Street.  We caught electro-poppers the Woodhands, from Toronto, who had a fine set of melodic emo.  Lead singer Dan Werb plays a Roland “key-tar” while drummer Paul Banwatt keeps a steady beat.  Local faves A Giant Dog kept the between-set energy going with some really nice garage band rock.

We hoofed it to a grassy field on the Sixth Street on the other side of the freeway for the Mess With Texas festival, wishing to see the Jim Jones Revue from England.  We reviewed these guys a while back and were eager to see how their high-energy rock and roll translated live.  No disappointments here, even though lead vocalist/guitarist Jim Jones was a bit rough-voiced from playing the night before, and there were some audio problems.  But they played it in the red – and guitarist Rupert Orton kept dipping back into his bag of truly nasty lead work, while piano player Elliott Mortimer became the crazed offspring of the Faces’ Ian McLagan.  Man, these guys are great!

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Alex Chilton, R.I.P.

Posted in News with tags , , on March 17, 2010 by 30daysout

Sad news coming out of Memphis tonight, the legendary Alex Chilton died today of an apparent heart attack.  Chilton, currently fronting his band Big Star, was 59 years old.  The Memphis native was the gruff-voiced teenager who sang with the Box Tops in the 1960s, and fronted the power-pop rockers Big Star in the 1970s.  Chilton sang and wrote some of Big Star’s best-remembered songs, like “In The Street” (heard over the opening credits of “That ’70s Show”) and “September Gurls.”

Story on Alex Chilton’s death from the Memphis Commercial Appeal

Big Star was scheduled to play a Saturday night showcase at the SXSW music festival in Austin.  Now there might be some sort of tribute to the fallen lead singer.

Story from Entertainment Weekly

MP3: “Soul Deep” by the Box Tops

MP3: “The Letter” by the Box Tops

MP3: “September Gurls” by Big Star

MP3: “O My Soul” by Big Star

MP3: “Thirteen” by Big Star

MP3: “The Ballad of El Goodo” by Big Star

MP3: “Rock Hard” by Alex Chilton

MP3: “Every Time I Close My Eyes” by Alex Chilton

MP3: “Alex Chilton” (live) by the Replacements

MP3: “Big Star” by the Jayhawks

YouTube: “In The Street” by Big Star

Lost Classic! “Peace” by Eurythmics

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 17, 2010 by 30daysout

I was at my son’s open house the other night and when we walked into the cafeteria I thought I heard “I Saved the World Today” coming out of the jam box. It turned out to be a  “Muzak” version of “The Sounds of Silence.” Isn’t the hearing is one of the first things to go as you get older?

Anyway, it prompted me to pull out the Eurythmics album, Peace. I purchased it after hearing “I Saved the World Today” at the end of The Sopranos episode where Richie Aprille is gunned down, chopped up and, well, you know the rest. Like many CDs, I never listened to the whole thing. It turns out it was my loss.

I have always been a fan of Annie Lennox. Her solo tune “Why?” is as good as it gets. However, I was never a big fan of the Eurythmics. I liked “Would I Lie To You?” with it’s harder guitar sound, but, to this day, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This”) with it’s keyboard-driven sound is not a favorite. What I like about Peace is the songwriting and the lushness of many of the arrangements. Lennox and Dave Stewart wrote fantastic hooks. “Power To The Meek” stands out with its pop edge and Stewart’s catchy guitar lick. Songs like “17 Again,” the aformentioned “I Saved the World Today,” “Lifted,” “Peace Is Just A Word,” and the acoustic driven “Beautiful Child” give Lennox’s outstanding, soulful voice a chance to soar.

The 2005 remastered re-release (available on iTunes) has different versions than the one I have that was released in 1999. More drums were added, along with some acoustic versions. Either way, this is a great album that I am sorry I let collect dust for so long. It makes me wonder what other gems are sitting in the cabinet.  I’ll go through them and let you know.

Annie Lennox Official Website

Dave Stewart MySpace page

SXSW: Andrew W.K.!

Posted in SXSW with tags , , , , on March 16, 2010 by 30daysout

Andrew W.K. (“King of Partying”) is going to play at SXSW – he will make 10 different appearances between Thursday and Saturday.  What a guy!  He also has a double album coming out next week, Close Calls With Brick Walls, his “lost” third album and Mother of Mankind, a second disc of unreleased material.

I realize about 60 percent of the SXSW crowd most likely frowns upon a guy who uses “party” as a verb (that’s so 1980s!) but Andrew W.K. is about fun, and we can always use more of that.  We’re going to see him this weekend – at least once or twice.

Here’s a video for “I’m A Vagabond.”  Party Hard!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Andrew W.K.  official website

Follow Andrew W.K. on Twitter

Not SXSW: The Chevelles in Houston

Posted in News with tags , on March 16, 2010 by 30daysout

The Chevelles, a hoppin’ rock band from Down Under, will perform a free in-store at Houston’s Cactus Music and Video today at 5:30 p.m.  This Australian outfit is on its 20th anniversary world tour, and they’re on Little Steven Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool Records.  Let Little Steven fill you in:

The Chevelles official website

Listen to the Chevelles on MySpace

SXSW: Texas Tornados, Free and Live!

Posted in SXSW with tags , , , on March 16, 2010 by 30daysout

The Texas Tornados – with Shawn Sahm, Augie Meyer and Flaco Jimenez – will perform in a live, free concert as part of their SXSW experience on Saturday (March 20) at 2 p.m. CDT.

Their show is part of the Global Zone Music Festival happening live in Videoranch3D, a 3D virtual world on the internet, where live musical performances occur in real-time, attended by a virtual audience from all over the world.

To be a part of this concert, you need high speed internet access and a newer computer with Windows on it (Intel Macs work great if Windows is installed).  Go here and click on “Visit Videoranch 3D” in the upper right corner.  Follow the instructions on registering and downloading the software.  Once inside Videoranch3D, you can move around, dance, cheer, see, chat with and meet other members of the audience.  On concert day, the Texas Tornados will be able to see your avatar, talk to you, and read your comments.

If you don’t have Windows or you’re on an old computer you can watch the live feed here.

Read our review of the latest Texas Tornados album, ¡Esta Bueno!

Texas Tornados official website

YouTube: “My Sugar Blue” live at Waterloo Records