Man, a pretty slow weekend around these parts. If any of you were cool, I'd invite you over to my house to smoke salvia and watch Home Alone 2, but you aren't, so I won't. Shows:
The Party (Zubar) We've been hearing rumors about The Party morphing their sets and focusing on some material that is a bit different than their bread and butter for the past year and a half. We have a review of the new mix below from one of our new contributors, and we're looking forward to seeing what these guys have in store next.
Broadcast Sea | The Great Tyrant | The Dead See | Teenage Cool Kids (Rubber Gloves) Broadcast Sea's music is a complex and brooding mid-tempo style of rock with rhythmic traces of Chicago Post Rock and the seriousness of DC hardcore. The band will have copies of their new album available tonight, and they've secured quite an opening lineup to mark the occasion. Pluto Records label-mates The Dead See are an epically powerful metal band from Lubbock with members of now defunct hardcore groups, Skyscraper and Dolores. Their sludgy rhythms and massive riffs are along the same lines as Neurosis, minus the introductory seven minutes before Neurosis finally decides to start rocking. And I can't say enough about how great it is to see Teenage Cool Kids and Great Tyrant on the same bill.
Fu Manchu | Burning Bridges (House of Blues) One of the original SoCal "stoner" or "desert" rock bands of the early 90's, Fu Manchu released their debut on Bong Load Custom Records, the same label that put out Kyuss. I still don't really care about these dudes, sorry.
Mom | Shiny Around the Edges | Dust Congress | Malise (Rubber Gloves) Big show featuring some critically acclaimed local groups. We have a running joke around WSJR HQ that Mom are one of the only local bands that booking agents and promoters find acceptable to book as an opener for "indie bands on national tours." You know, like "hey, Fiery Furnaces are kinda weird. Who should open for them? Oh wait, Mom is kinda weird, and weird goes good with weird, so lets book the fuck outta Mom for this show." Cool. That isn't a dis on Mom at all, but it does happen to be funny. As Mom continues to get better and better, I'll continue to be happy that they land such great opening slots. Dust Congress will be joined by a bassoon player for this show, which is weird because I'm pretty sure that I barely even know what the fuck a bassoon sounds like in the first place. Guess I'll find out bassooner or later.
ADD: Due to some miscommunication, we forgot to mention that Unit One will be hosting another Dub Assembly @ Green Elephant tonight featuring Caspa, who recently released his Fabric 37 mix, and the rest of the Dub Assembly crew. Should be great.
Hot Flash (Fallout) Denton's It's What We Get will be guest DJing at Hot Flash tonight, and in case you haven't read it here before, they are really great DJs.
Florene | Violent Squid (Strawberry Fields) Florene apparently has copies of their new CD up for sale at Recycled, each of which includes handmade artwork pictured (in part) above. They were nominated for "Next Big Thing" in the Quick Awards this year, which, surprise surprise, have made the Dallas Morning News look like Wire when compared with the pathetic shitstorm that was last year's Observer Awards. Violent Squid has 8 million CDs available for sale at every place in Denton I think. Should be a good show, as usual, at Strawberry Fields. And speaking of good shows at Strawberry Fields, Psychedelic Horseshit, who played our SF show with Times New Viking a couple weeks back, have a fairly entertaining interview in Vice this month in which the discuss their newly coined genre "shitgaze." So whether you were aware or not, all you in attendance at that show were listening to shitgaze.
With two monthlies, a weekly, and several semi-regulars under their collective belt, you probably know what you're getting in to with a mix from Dallas / Austin DJ juggernaut, The Party, particularly if you ever venture out of the house to anywhere that fitted New Eras and skinny jeans get together to “dance.”
DJs Nature, Select, Sober, and Prince Klassen have linked up Voltron-style just in time for warm weather for the seventh volume of their ongoing mixtape series, “Break Out.” This time more reminiscent of their warm-up sets and DJ Nature’s dancehall weekly, Taxi Fare rather than the all out club bangers of their last mix, “Hands Up,” “Break Out” is a bit of an introduction to the more mellow side of The Party for those who can’t seem to make it to the club before midnight. There’s a little Denton electro sleaze courtesy of Faux Fox and Ghosthustler, a dash of Switch-twisted, Diplo-approved Baltimore club from Blaqstarr, some new style backpack rap from A-Trak and Nick Catchdub’s Fool’s Gold label in the form of Kid Cudi’s excellent “Day ‘N’ Nite,” a triple shot of “this year’s M.I.A.,” Santogold, a touch of world groove from recent Fader “Africa Issue” cover stars Esau Mwamwaya and BLK JKS, and a healthy dose of dancehall to remind you that there’s more to dance music than leather jacket-wearing mustachioed Frenchmen twiddling knobs in front of banks of strobe lights. Easily skirting Hype Machine-mixtape blog boredom with more surprises in the track listing than hipster standbys, the mix has a really fresh, forward-looking feel to it, and after the quick swerve in to the ditch that is that horrible Missy Elliott lead off track, it rarely puts a foot wrong. The Party ushering you in to the sunny seasons. Please keep your shirt on.
Content (F6) I just recently found out about F6, a DIY art gallery in Arlington that apparently knows how to throw a party. They also try to make all of their art affordable and don't take commissions from the artists- so for once, you may be able to buy something you like instead of watching University Park rich bitches shell out for something "eclectic" to hang in their family room.
Tonight is the cd release show for the much anticipated sophomore release by Record Hop, simply title "Record Hop." Local opinions have been favorable and we'll have our own review soon. Will Last Men blow out the PA at Dan's tonight? We'll see.
Neil Hamburger | Triggermen | Man Factory (Rubber Gloves) Neil Hamburger's brand of performance art/ comedy is actually pretty funny, more often than not. You should go just to hear his subtle insight on the lives of Courtney Love and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Hilarious. Les Claypool | Tim Fite (House Of Blues) Thank you, Les Claypool. For all the bass players you inspired in the nineties, and the millions of hours I spent listening to them popping and slapping their way through high school.
Dead Kenny Gs | Yells at Eels | Chameleon Chamber Group/Future Soul Soundclash (Club Dada) Yells at Eels will be joined by Jon Teague of the Great Tyrant on drums (Stefan Gonzalez could not play this evening), and the band will do an all improv set. Must be nice to be able to substitute one of the best drummers in the area with another one of the best drummers in the area. Strange line up for sure. Chameleon Chamber Group consists of Paul Slavens and a couple different members of Polyphonic Spree, mkay?
The Dirtbombs | Kelley Stoltz (Cambridge Room, House of Blues) Dirtbombs frontman Mick Collins is often credited with being one of the main sources of inspiration behind the late 90's/early 00's garage rock revival in Detroit that spawned the White Stripes, among others, and he's had at least something of a hand in the more recent garage rock rising a la a split record with King Khan and his Shrines a few years ago. Anyway, the guy has been a force in this type of music for a few decades now, and The Dirtbombs, known for some great lives shows, are his most well known project. So considering the Black Lips/King Khan invasion of 2007, are we looking at a new Garage Rock revival every six or seven years or something? PS-- I really wish this show was at like Red Blood Club or something instead of House of Blues. Total buzzkill, brah.
Strawberry Fields Presents Short Attention Span Theater (Rubber Gloves) Tonight the Strawberry Fields crew will be doing a Youtube you call it, taking video requests all evening from whoever shows up. Despite the simplicity of this concept, watching people's random music video selections can actually be pretty fun... I tried this at a party once and it was a real hit. Just hope that the right people show up.
Disqo Disco (Fallout Lounge) This fairly new weekly already seems to be catching on, if last week's crowd was any indication. It was definitely crowded for a Tuesday night. Mr. Omoxi (Fuck Yeah Records) and Wanz Dover will be guest dj's. Extra points for mentioning Andrea True Connection as part of an upcoming mix, a record that for some reason always reminds me of this old comic I have lying around somewhere, pictured on the right.
Was the exact suggestion I needed to hear, to snap out of the near-hallucinogenic and undying Austin love spell on the South Lamar Pedestrian Bridge Friday night during South By Southwest. Up until that point, I had been fueled by an ecstatic and fairly arrogant mission to prove to my fellow WSJR contributors that Austin, TX is really all it's cracked up to be -- no easy task in the face of the staunch Dallas chauvinists I was running with. This group had been mostly saturated with the Red River and Sixth Street culture that one usually gets an overdose of when visiting Austin.
Using the backdrop of South By Southwest to prove Austin's worthiness is a rather unfair fight. Everywhere you go, you're surrounded by delicious food, rare records, accents of every type, micro celebrities, major celebrities, bands you like, bands you hate, bloggers, actual journalists, star fuckers, industry maggots, and of course, David Fricke. I always love seeing that liner notes champion, and we've had a couple of awkward street run-ins over the years. It's like the scene in Ed Wood where Ed gets to meet Orson Welles. Only I don't really look up to David Fricke. Anyways, my point is that even the most cynical and crossed-armed intellectual has to find some sick pleasure in bearing witness to this spectacle. I was mostly trying to prove that you could avoid downtown altogether and still come away impressed by Austin's smaller, personality-soaked enclaves. Considering that the We Shot JR crew was never for a single moment at the corner of 6th and Red River or the corresponding corners for longer than the thirty seconds it took to meet someone, I view this trip as a triumph. I shall relay the details in several sections, including my eventual civic awakening in which I found myself suddenly proud to be from Dallas.
There is always a way to see many interesting and exciting things without having to set foot in a real venue at SXSW, and this year was by far the best example I've seen of this since early in the decade. The East Side in particular has tentacled out and filled up with more than enough activity to make it just as essential a destination as anything else in the city. It has long been a bastion for punk shows in warehouses, roof tops, and backyards, as well as a hotbed for pirate radio stations and political activist collectives, but during SXSW you could walk from Mrs. Bea's backyard to a house party to a coffee shop to a theater within a few hours and see a days worth of entertainment.
Another great thing about Austin is how much the whole city seems to get scammed into being almost naively generous this time of year. The fact that the extremely posh Children's Museum on the outskirt territory of 2nd and Colorado was turned absolutely upside down hosting a show from midnight until four am is a perfect example of said generosity. Not surprisingly, the museum hosted pot smoking and cigarette smoking, along with its free alcohol and hip kid makeout sessions in the surreal backdrop of over-sized educational dioramas and health advisory playlands. Make fun of "Keep Austin Weird" all you want, but the fact that such a wholesome part of the establishment was used for such a wildly fucked up show is pudding proof that this city's leaders and infrastructure have all signed off on this experience. Let's see Dallas fork over part of the Science Place for Melodica. This was a true highlight of the festival.
Finally Punk didn't actually make the official SXSW lineup this year but instead put together a near perfect showcase at a theater on the East Side. I returned to this show probably more than any other, and there were similarly strong lineups at a house on Alamo street (and the We Shot Jr crew saw Simian Mobile Disco at a house on Chicon).
Our own shows at The Parlor in North Loop, and The Opera House down south provided even further downtown relief and were perfectly laid back settings for our respective shows.
The climax came early on Friday night with thousands of people flocking to the Lamar Bridge, eclipsing the sound problems and sub-par performances that we dodged flying beer bottles and fireworks to witness. As Brutal Knights outplayed No Age, you could actually feel the bridge shaking beneath you, and I almost wished it would give way to meet an absurdly fitting demise: plunging into the river while watching some band setup with a couple thousand hardcore kids, dj's, photographers, journalists and psychopaths in the middle of the night.
There is more to Austin than breakfast tacos, despite this being the only city in the world where I'll eat them everyday. I can hardly find any Mexican food I like in Dallas period, but it's never a problem in Austin. Here we have chorizo tacos that are worth shortening your life span over, vegetable tacos that don't taste vegetarian, rajas con queso and smoky roasted salsa at so many places across town that it's hard to go wrong. In Dallas, you get the Lakewood crew telling you that Mexican food begins and ends at Matt's, but I try my best not to eat at places with neon yellow cheese -- Mexican, Tex Mex, or otherwise.
Everyone knows bad Italian food is a running joke in Dallas. Not so in Austin, where we enjoyed Rigatoni Amatriciana with pancetta and house made sausage, white bean puree with truffle oil, mushrooms stuffed with goat cheese, organic spinach fresh from a restaurant's own private garden, lamb sandwiches with aioli, ricotta brulee, dark chocolate cannoli, espresso gelato. I'm actually getting sick just thinking about what will pass for lunch for me in the Metroplex today.
Of course, all this isn't even covering the Mediterranean, Ethiopian, Japanese or even "New Americana," but Austin really is one of my favorite places to eat, second only to San Francisco and possibly tied with regional cuisine powerhouse, Boston.
Man, there was some sweet 'Pod on the way down to Austin. SR and I were 'Pod battling while I checked out every one's 'Pods to make sure they were up to snuff. They absolutely were. Sally Glass even had more noise rock and early industrial than I expected. By the way, I fucking hate iPod culture, but I'm dealing as best as I can.
I came out swinging with "Soulful Strut" by Young Holt Unlimited about 9:45 am, one of the only tracks in the world that makes me truly happy. SR answered back with some Abe Vigoda, and I eventually started my "gaylist" of known gay anthems from "More, More, More" by Andrea True Connection to a 12" version of Book Of Love's "I Touch Roses."
We also heard some Family Fodder, Lizzy Mercier Descloux, Switch, Crash Course In Science, Boogie Down Productions, Andreas Doraus, Serge, Dr. Dre, The Ex, Elizabeth Cotten, Deadcode, Gil Scott Heron, Tom Tom Club, and even tossed out some opinions on Vampire Weekend, I cannot tell a lie. Never mind that I recently saw them described as something to the effect of a "white Bobby Mcferrin fronting a legally retarded rhythm section." Ouch.
As far as actual shows go, we witnessed some profoundly great moments once our two showcases were over and we got to venture out into the shit. As you might have noticed, we have a general policy of not commenting on our shows, but I will say that they went better than expected.
The Todd P acoustic show which was to feature everyone from Dan Deacon to An Albatross was somewhat of a bust musically, but it was something to behold a crowd that large keeping generally quiet on the UT campus, shivering in the shadow of that infamous library tower on a frigid night.
The Business Deal Records show at Quack's on East 38 1/2 st. was when South By Southwest really started for me. Having arrived to hear neo girl group The Carrots, it was a surprise to see the rest of a strong lineup that only got better as the evening went on. I was also surprised to see Mika Miko play, totally unaware that it shouldn't have come as a surprise at all. They played every venue in Austin fourteen times for the next three days and I saw them three times on accident. They were great each time.
We also saw two of Portland's best bands, Magic Johnson and The New Bloods, and it's nice to know that even in an incredibly self-aware place like Portland, the best bands are always the ones operating below the surface of lesser talents. Magic Johnson are a drums and guitar duo that knock out fast yet skewed punk songs with passionate yelling and speed up/slow down pounding.
New Bloods is a trio divided up into bass, drums, and violin, with all three members singing simultaneously. The bass-lines were beautifully understated, building a few notes at a time, with vast space between each one. The drums would sputter backwards, filling in gaps on off-rhythms and avoiding the 4/4 until it was time to propel the violin into cutting leads across the whole gorgeous mess. The singers' voices plucked and pulled expressive tension from the music before blending it back in rather fittingly. On two occasions I saw The New Bloods reel in a roomful of people until they were all hopping around nervously to their disarming songs.
The Carrots come close to tribute act territory, mining early sixties girl group gold yet maintaining a healthy modern distance by running it through some vague filter that's hard to pin down. The large group harmonizes and joyously tears through different takes on the genre while throwing in the surprise cover or two. I'll pretend that one of them wasn't by Crazytown. Yes, that's who I'm talking about.
It was a privilege to catch Death Sentence Panda twice, and an absolute shock that the group doesn't employ guitars at all in their sound, not even a bass. Listening to their records, you would absolutely believe that have at least one guitar amongst the trio's eclectic arsenal. Instead there is a clarinet, processed by what I'm assuming is a preamp, and made to sound by turns guttural, throbbing, crunchy and many other adjectives you wouldn't associate with the instrument. The flute and xylophones are more obvious and they suitably contrast the terrifying clarinet, as ridiculous as that sounds. I'm sure Death Sentence Panda won over some ex-band nerds simply by making the clarinet seem so dangerous.
HEALTHproved that they are every bit as capable of maintaining their crowd-commanding presence in the uphill battle of the outdoor stage, as expected. Crime Novelsis the best one man act in the country, six minutes of confrontational performance art mixed with prerecorded spastic keyboard attack, real-time tribal tom pounding, and some touching audience "interaction." Old Time Relijun was simply pretty good and though I expected a little more after hearing so much about them, they deserve better than to be labeled a "great James Chance ripoff," or similar summaries that I heard many of their vocal supporters pitch.
Knyfe Hyts features members of Ex Models, and they ran a decent ruse by getting all of the fans of their quirky jerky past to dance to repetitive Kraut rhythms, which often bordered on extended classic rock jams. Their Children's Museum set was much better out of the two times I caught them, with some very tough passages that echoed beautifully off of those pristine walls.
Indian Jewelrystarting their set around three in the morning was apt for their crushing psyche storm, while Best Fwends proved that they are the undisputed masters of what might be remembered as "The Annoying Age," by performing ten acapella songs back to back while sitting on chairs. As some in the crowd were already irked by their lack of instruments, this vocals-only stretch took it a step further, and I have to give it to them. I heard a kid next to me say sleepily to his pals, "Let's go dude. They don't got instruments. This ain't even a band." They then proceeded to cover the Toadie's local classic "I Come From The Water," along to a sped-up instrumental track pumped out of an iPod, and it was a real crowd pleaser. It was actually the first time I've ever been pleased to hear that song. Genius move.
Taking a sharp turn from the diet of skronky, screechy, squealing, bleeping, performance art that I get pigeon-holed for supporting, I also went out of my way to see Yael Naim, who you most likely know as the voice behind the new Macintosh Airbook ads. When I first heard her music last year, I was really intrigued by her voice and songwriting, as well as her Hebrew lyrics and ability to write an instantly unforgettable melody. Though I'd only been a fan for a short while before all this Mac madness, I remember that fateful day when I was cleaning house with a television on in the other room and I heard "New Soul" piping in from across the house. I was sure that maybe the receiver settings were screwed up and my stereo came on over the television. When I rushed to the living room and saw that big Apple logo, I gasped, "They got her! It's over! She's going to turn into Feist and start wearing colored saran wrap and be totally played out and tired in about twelve minutes." So far, it seems Naim is too classy for that. She flew through a thirty minute set, gliding with ease through the expected Myspace profile set list. Her performance was the only thing I attempted to see that required a badge, but you could watch and listen just as well on the street through a gap in the tent that she played under, along with drummer and collaborator David Donatien. I can't believe that a performance in broad daylight at a park in the middle of the city requires a badge. I wanted to tell the lady checking everyone out, "Look, I don't want to sip Southern Comfort and talk shop to my own reflection in some asshole's mirrored sunglasses, I just want to watch this performance." I'm sure she could tell that's what I was thinking and much more charming badgeless festival goers were allowed in. Oh, well. This was a minor complaint during the festival, which owes much of its enjoyability to a city that I've almost no complaints about. Keep Austin Perfect?
I know I've spent a lot of this festival report lavishing praise on our fair capital, but I had a true epiphany on that bridge that defies the Austin-wannabe tone of this piece. When a fight broke out between some male and female Dallasites, the crowd shifted, some backed out, and some stormed in, avoiding or intervening in the action. That's when someone yelled over the intoxicated social din, "Go back to Dallas!" And that's not the first time I've heard that sentence uttered by Austinites, who are, of course, usually from San Antonio or Buda or worse. At first, I was insulted. Hey. They're talking about me. They're talking about my friends, associates, and It List stars who were all up there on that bridge. Schwa. Ghosthustler. Trifle Tower. Koji Kondo. Sally Glass. And even...The Lek Brothers. And that's when I came to and accepted what I am and what we all are. Proud card-carrying members of the Metroplex, here to track dirty Trinity mud all over your carpet, Austin. Eating and drinking your free shit, crashing into your cars, passing out on your floors, smooching your boyfriends and girlfriends, and making you beg us to leave as we hold an arm behind your back for one week out of the year every spring. And everyone knows South By Southwest wouldn't be the same without us.
Baroness | Young Widows | The Spectacle (Rubber Gloves) Baroness is a very strange band for sure, with sort of a metal sludge meets southern rock meets prog meets (gulp) glam kind of thing going on. I'll admit that I was only able to give the band a quick listen today after I downloaded their latest full length Red Album, but I generally liked what I heard enough to say that it might be worth checking out live, even though I didn't have time to let much of it sink it. But what kind of geek lets metal "sink in" anyway? Just rock that shit.
Audrey Lapraik | RTb2 (Greenhouse) Typically, the thought of going to Greenhouse to watch singer songwriters is about as appealing to me as watching Dirk bust his ankle, but I have to say that I enjoyed a couple tracks from Audrey Lapraik when I listened on her Myspace page last night. Members of Generation Juno might recognize some sort of Kimya Dawson influence in her songs, and it's there for sure, but what caught my ear primarily was Lapraik's voice and vocal delivery, both of which seperate her from the typical local acoustic wankery with a rougher and more interesting presentation that doesn't hide behind a neo country snooze fest. Is that the same thing as saying that someone's voice has "character?" I don't know, but its meant as a compliment. Apparently she's done some recording with Baptist Generals as well, so theres that if you care.
1. El Gato - Surrender! 2. Mom - Little Brite 3. Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther 4. Bridges & Blinking Lights - Standing On the Same Stick 5. Adam Pacione - From Stills to Motion
GOOD RECORDS OVERALL TOP 20
1. She & Him - Volume One 2. The Kills - Midnight Boom 3. Dodos - Visiter 4. Why? - Alopecia 5. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles 6. Beach House - Devotion 7. Holy Fuck - LP 8. Earth - The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull 9. Son Lux - At War with Walls and Mazes 10. Stephen Malkmus - Real Emotional Trash 11. Goldfrapp - Seventh Tree 12. Black Moth Super Rainbow - Dandelion Gum (ltd. LP) 13. Destroyer - Trouble In Dreams 14. Atlas Sound - Let the Blind Lead Those Who See but Cannot Feel 15. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago 16. Radiohead - In Rainbows 17. Fleet Foxes - Sun Giant 18. Balmorhea - Rivers Arms 19. John Maus - Love Is Real 20. British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music?
RECYCLED LOCAL LIST
1) Oso Closo - "Rest" 2) Brave Combo - "Polka Party" Mom - "Little Brite" RTB2 - "The Both of It"
Guess the post-sxsw gluttony of shows has pretty much calmed down this weekend. There are a few good things going on, however, and here they are:
Nouns Group | Blank Blank Zero | Death to the Doomriders | Fake Blood | HarHerrar(1919 Hemphill) Blank Blank Zero is an on again/off again group, with obvious grind influences, unexpected rhythm shifts, and ambitiously busy bass-lines. The vocals are always convincingly pissed off, and the lead singer once walked away mid-set to get a slice of pizza and pushed a fan out of the way with a curt "Yeah, right" when asked about "merch." Intense. HarHerrar features a member of Mount Righteous and Blank Blank playing acoustic songs somewhere along the same lines as Mt. Righteous, but with stripped down instrumentation and bombast. Fake Blood is the keyboard and drums duo that shouts beautifully along to their bratty racket.
White Rock Rhythms Presents Image and Imagination (Bath House Gallery, 521 E. Lawther Dr., Dallas,TX) Got wind of this event at the last minute, and since I don't know much about it beyond what I just read anyway, I'll go ahead and post the email I received. This thing starts at 8pm, and you can call 214-670-8749 for more info:
Since 2003 , the White Rock Rhythms concert series has showcased the great diversity of the (mostly underground) Dallas jazz scene, with styles ranging from traditional swing and New Orleans Street beat to contemporary progressive and the AvantGarde.
White Rock Rhythms' Image and Imagination is a multi-media event featuring art and writings from 'Verse and Reverse," the new show in the Bath House gallery.
As the art is projected, writers read their words and musicians Carl Smith from Austin, Aaron Gonzalez of Dallas and Kim Corbet of Dallas interpret what they see and hear as dancers move in shadow play behind an opaque scrim. Subtle shades of light and sound stimulate each observer into absolutely unique interpretations guaranteed to inspire deep atmospheric dreams
Kaboom | Magnum Octopus | Br00takville (J&Js) Check this fuckin' shit out. Dudes are probly gonna rock the fuck out at this shit and go home and party way harder than your dumb ass with way hotter chicks and bongs and crazy ass shit like you don't even know. Kaboom has like this insane fuckin little dude that runs around scaring my boy Howardbobjohnson on some Jesus Lizard shit. Rule. Unless you're too much of a pussy you should show the fuck up at this thing at 9 and fuckin be drunk enough to be all hey lets mosh to this shit before we get laid by those metal bitches that hang in front of that bullshit pizza place. tight.
Dub Assembly Feat. Parson | Mundo and Lifted MC | Keith P | Royal Highnuss (Green Elephant) Chris Parson of Planet Mu Records will headline this month's edition of Dub Assembly, an event that is growing in terms of both attendance and wider cultural relevancy. So I know we've already told you about the praise that Jason Mundo has received from European critics (check Wire and Boomkat for more) for his American brand of dubstep, but as we dig deeper into the press that Mundo and some of the other Dub Assembly crew members have been getting, we find that, along with Austin's Chris Parson, Mundo is being praised not only as a dubstep producer generally, but as one that does something a bit different: namely, incorporating elements of dirty south hip hop into the genre, resulting in something of a unique take on dubstep unique to Texas. Interesting. And with Keith P joining (possibly the best DJ in town right now), we'll tell you again to check these guys out if you have any interest at all in electronic music. Dubstep seems to be a love it or hate it affair, but you really have to hear it live before you can decide which side of the fence to be on.
Rocket for Ethiopia | The Potetial Johns | The Wax Museums | KojiKondo | Icarus Crane | Pools (Carrolton Arts Plaza) I'm hard pressed to think of a more perfect marriage than hardcore shows in the suburbs. The backdrop in this instance is Old Carrolton (I thought you knew) and apparently there is one of two record stores nearby, a comic shop, bike shop etc. The show takes place in an old theater that's been renovated and dates back to fairly early last century. The Wax Museums did a terrific job at our show last week, taking their deceptively simple music and showing us what a feat it is to pull off that kind of throwback punk, stopping perfectly on every break, and never sounding like the moronically empty retro retreads of some of their peers. Extra points for the headless bass. Pools play a passionately art-damaged hardcore with screaming vocals and bigger, slower beats dropped throughout as opposed to the tight closed hi-hat sound. Icarus Crane are kind of the odd band out, with a tedious music school virtuosity that smugly winks its way through prog-strumental territory, but at least they don't sing. The Potential Johns have those charming early 80's vocals where you can actually make out the words, sometimes sounding like Angry Samoans or even The Wipers, and fairly melodic overall. Rocket For Ethiopia are fairly sloppy live but it doesn't bother me. You ever heard a Germs live album? It sucks but it rules.
Scream Club | Rival Gang | Fire Nation | Sticky Buns (Rubber Gloves) Scream Club is a hip hop duo from Olympia with an irreverent emphasis on gay issues and politics, but are fairly light hearted in execution. Rival Gang is now a duo as well, and as a result the group has grown increasingly experimental with more drum machine as well a necessarily more minimal sound. Sticky Buns is always good, even when they accidentally play music by the band that's setting up and about to perform. Lost Generation With Wanz (Fallout Lounge) 80's Night With DJ G (Hailey's)
Despite an initial performer list seriously lacking in wow factor, it seems like this year’s SXSW just kept getting better the more little things came to light. In the end, it was everything it was supposed to be, a year of discovery and revelation. It seemed like everybody played even more times than usual, leaving tons of opportunities to experience a wide variety of world-class acts at intimate bars and houses.
The biggest revelation overall had to be Saturday night’s Load Records/Deathbomb Arc showcase at Red’s Scoot Inn. I was reeled in by all the great things I’d heard about Sightings and White Mice, and to fully eradicate any urge to make a suicide Sunday night drive to House of Tinnitus after the drain of Austin. In the end, both of these groups totally matched or exceeded my high expectations, yet somehow they didn’t even crack my favorite three acts of the night. It was that kind of night.
The best thing about it (other than the $5 cover(!)) was the location, tucked away safely on the east side, a mile away from all the downtown moronity. The large fenced-in grounds consisted of an outside stage and bar with a very nice craft-brew selection on tap, and a small inside venue room that had the steamy, dangerous, and insane atmosphere of an out-of-control House of Tinnitus at 4am.
After missing a set by glass-blowing/smashing/eating monster Justice Yeldhamthat was reportedly far bloodier than his Tinnitus appearance, I got there in time to see Japanese breakcore noise clown DJ Scotch Eggengage the crowd outside to the point of stage dancing and audience karaoke to some (not very) remixed Bon Jovi. Inside, Kevin Shields(female noise artist Eva Aguila, not the Bloody shoegaze slacker) played one of the most dynamic 10-minute noise sets one could hope for. Violently spinning some sort of amplified/circuit bent metal wheel apparatus that looked like a reject from grandpa’s shed, Aguila blasted lively buzzsaw timbres, thrashing back and forth, fully puzzling and captivating all onlookers.
Back outside, Sightings played an almost psychic brand of stream-of-consciousness avant-rock that was equal parts texture and aggression, anchored by an intense drummer using a hybrid of standard and electronic pads. Seemingly improvisational to a high degree, they were about as challenging and free form as a three-piece guitar/bass/drums/vocals heavy rock format could go. Inside once again, Foot Villagewas the closest thing to Crash Worship I’ve ever seen, and probably in terms of sheer penetrating tribalism it was a step ahead (if not quite on the same scale as far as riotous carnivals go). The small, packed room was brimming side to side with a battalion of drum heads and Cali dudes well-versed in the art of tribal frenzy, with a small, hyper girl with a megaphone running around the crowd blaring out all sort of distorted chants and siren blasts in people faces.
A few beers later, one of the craziest dance parties I’ve ever seen erupted inside, courtesy of Captain Ahab, a shirtless, sweaty metal dude with a laptop, and another even sweatier guy in nothing but briefs whose sole function was to get in peoples faces and make them uncomfortable. Actually, it failed miserably, as they had the entire room (the ubiquitous Yeldham included) leaping in unison to their twisted version of techno frat music littered with over-top-hypererotic parody, filtered through the spastic lens of the Providence art-metal scene. Outside, White Mice closed out the night with an all-out sensory assault, massive crests of fuzz and rifle-shot drums kicking out unexpectedly lively beats as their incredibly bulky trademark costumes were suitably surreal -- think Sta-Puff marshmallow man invades the sewers of Chernobyl. In a fitting nightcap, the bassist ended up wrestling with an audience member in front of the stage.
Health at the Side Bar Friday: Believe the hype. I’ve never seen anything quite like this tightly orchestrated orgy of instrument swapping, with the band jumping around like madmen, jabbing microphones into amps in rhythm, throwing basses and drums around, and chanting on cue, all behind an unyielding aggro-tribal beat that ebbed and flowed but never faded. MUCH more satisfyingly organic and urgent than on record. Uncluttered but texturally interesting at the same time.
Nice House Friday house party on the East Side:Indian Jewelryproved they can conjure virtual strobes and fog even in broad daylight. Blues Controlproved that their muddy interplay is even better with more playful sound-tweaking and less noodly guitar licking accompanying the smooth, morphine-drip piano flow. Rahdunes proved to be master conjurers, their custom-built modular consoles emanating ornate webs of raw, rhythmic electromagnetics, seemingly hijacked straight from some extra dimensional netherworld. And I wasn’t even shrooming at that point.
Pink Reason at the Slitbreeze showcase at Soho Lounge Thursday: Imagine if the Dead C were from Columbus and were slightly more punk and less drone …. and actually a tighter band. They were the spot-on masters of a night that also featured strong showings from Times New Viking (infectious, fun, noisy/chaotic … vintage Matador. I get it now.) and abstractly rhythmic Aussie post-postpunk art duo Naked on the Vague.
Steve Reich presents at St. David’s Episopal Church on Wednesday: After a bewitching, pulsating “Electric Counterpoint” by guitarist C.E. Whalen, So Drumming performed four consecutive Reich numbers, one of which was a quartet of mallets on wooden blocks, and the last of which was nothing but handclaps. About as wonderfully whimsical and of course rhythmic as serious, high-minded music can get. Special bonus: public interview with Reich himself in the lobby during the intermission.
Gowns at Habana Calle 6 on Wednesday: Weird, compelling hardscrabble song-stories by a female vocalist behind violin, analog keys, and some very tasty, unorthodox drumming. A perfect buildup for the release by Parts and Labor, whose unyielding loud, melodic, and smart saturated hook-rock showed far more emotion and warmth than on record.
Tacks, the Boy Disaster | Silent Years (Hailey's) Silent Years were in a car accident and have thus canceled their show for tonight. I'm guessing they are ok since they had time to post it on their Myspace page.