Posts Tagged ‘Yacht

26
Mar
10

THE GIG LIST – SPECIAL SXSW REPORT

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A Local’s Perspective – By Olivia Gable

Well everyone, it’s that wonderful time of year again.  The time when everyone who cares about new music at all is talking up the happenings of this past SXSW Festival and speculating on its aftermath.  Lucky for you, we’re doing our best in this post to be a one-stop-blog for band highlights, photos and anecdotes from SXSW 2010.  So if you couldn’t make it this year, at least we can pass some of the joy on to you here from our humble experiences there.  This year in Austin, I took on the role of the official, one-girl embassy for The Recommender.  This was my fourth SXSW, as rather conveniently, Austin just happens to be the place I also call home.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Austin-based festival, every, and I mean EVERY, available club, bar, coffeehouse, vintage store, museum, park, walkway, car park, toilet and alleyway becomes a performance venue, some more ramshackle than others (*Cough* Purevolume‘s broken stage).  Most of these are free ‘unofficial’ parties and shows open to everyone, badge or no badge.  Covered below are some of the ones I made it to…


THE MUSIC:

MOST CONSISTENT LIVE PERFORMANCE:   Bear In Heaven

These guys did a nice job of kicking things off Thursday at Mohawk for the Billions Corporation party.  They had a tough crowd at 12:30 in the afternoon but managed to keep everyone’s attention.  Maybe it’s because they sound so huge live!  I’m sure every sound technician at one point or another has wondered if an audience can in fact be crushed by bass.  This show’s tech was clearly a man of action.  It was hard not to be distracted from the band’s percussive prowess and ringing vocals by the walls of bass closing in on my internal organs. Still, if I had to die by crushing, I’d want the culprit to be something as good as Lovesick Teenagers. They also win my Most Amusing Photo award for this gem:

BearInHeavenFunnyTR.jpg picture by odelaybradford


BEST LARGE BAND:   The Bewitched Hands on the Top of Our Heads

It really was a pleasure to catch this French sextet rocking it out at the France Rocks Austin party.  And that’s not only because when I stumbled into the club to catch them I discovered there was free food (tacos, of course), champagne and beer.  Food mecca!  After chowing down, I listened to them weave their lovely melodies and marvelled at their cohesion as a large band.  “Could three guitarists really be necessary?”, I wondered.  The answer is…probably, but that’s mainly because during their choruses, no one singer or guitarist can be picked out.  They all contribute to the resulting lush soundscape.  Their first EP will be released in early summer, but to hear them before that you can catch them live in their upcoming UK tour or listen to their excellent contributions on Yuksek‘s debut, Away From the Sea.

BewitchedHandsTR.jpg picture by odelaybradford


MOST ENJOYABLE TO WATCH:    Rye Rye

I really just went to see her because I thought she’d put on a good show.  She performed at the Knuckle Rumbler Lounge party at Peckerheads (ordinarily a frat/college bar).  First of all, this girl is tiny.  Secondly, she knows how to dance.  Watching her footwork and dancing to her bass-heavy songs as she rapped over them put a huge smile on my face.  She is so full of energy that it’s infectious.  This show ended a run of performances she’s made at SXSW, but she still managed to get a somewhat reluctant crowd to Shake it to the Ground.  Don’t just go see her because of her association with MIA and Diplo, do it because she’s got some sweet moves, and she’s willing to teach you.  Who knows, she might just pull you on stage as she did with one The Recommender’s favourite bloggers, Sheena Beaston.

RyeRyeDanceTR.jpg picture by odelaybradford


BIGGEST SURPRISE:   Solid Gold

These guys are the perfect example of the whole point of SXSW.  You think, “Oh I have a few minutes to kill, I wonder what this band is like”. Then voila! You stumble into a fantastic show.  Their Myspace doesn’t really do them justice to be honest.  The keyboards and bass roar at you live, while the guitar rips high, whining melodies through the air.  Their abilities as multi-instrumentalists were on show too, as between songs they switch to keys or toss guitars and bass between one another like it’s nothing.  They won over the crowd so much that people begged for an encore (encores aren’t standard at SXSW’s 30 minute sets), so they unexpectedly closed with a cover of The Stone RosesI Wanna Be Adored and we all drifted away for a few dreamy minutes.

SolidGold2TR.jpg picture by odelaybradford


THE UNLUCKY TROOPER:   Million Young

I went to see Mike Diaz at the Poptarts Suck Toasted blog’s party in a crappy club at the end of my longest day.  It was during the evening, when the ‘official’ SXSW showcases were happening, so very few people were there.  A few moments into the first song, which I recognized from his chlorine-dipped summer haze of an EP, Sunndreamm, everything went wrong.  The speakers made an ungodly racket and went silent.  He waited patiently for things to get working again.  They briefly did, but a few seconds later it happened again.  He did his best to salvage the evening, but he knew it was over.  Still, I heard someone who’d been raving about his album mutter that maybe he just isn’t very good live.  At least for us, he has much better luck in the studio.

MOST WORTHY OF THE WAIT: Yacht

In retrospect I think the reason I eventually got to see them was because I’d actually given up trying to.  Friday was a general day of failure, so I wasn’t expecting anything to work out.  Overall three of their SXSW shows were late, cancelled or rescheduled.  I finally ended up seeing them because I stuck around after folk artist Lissie‘s performance, but they were still half an hour late.  My patience paid dividends though.  Despite the crowd not fully appreciating the set, for reasons unbeknown to me, I still loved seeing Claire Evans’ model poses and Jona’s crazy energy.  He danced around so much during a choreographed part that one of his braces snapped and was dangling for the remainder of the show.  However, I think we can blame Claire for the crazy cold weather the next day.  She should never have said it “was great to be somewhere as nice as Austin after being in Canada’s freezing temperatures”! I think the city took that as a challenge, which it won.

YACHTTR.jpg picture by odelaybradford


SADDEST TO HAVE MISSED:   Washed Out with Small Black

This one kills me.  I tried so hard to see this set with both artists playing together at the tiny, dingy Lovejoys, for the I Guess I’m Floating party, but in keeping with ‘Failure Friday’ as I dubbed it, the set was incredibly late.  This year’s SXSW overall saw way more late shows than ever before, which meant in some cases all plans were out the window.  This particular show was going to be over an hour late, and I’d already been waiting in that extremely loud bar for three hours.  Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore.  So I logged it away as ‘Biggest Disappointment’ and left for brighter horizons.  Luckily YACHT’s groovy dance tunes made up for missing them.


OVERALL:

It’s impossible to mention every awesome person I met or every band I wanted to see but couldn’t.  That’s part of what makes this festival so unique and impacting.  People get more time with each other, whether it’s over free breakfast tacos and beers, or just in the street.  There are so many wonderful brief encounters that can change entire plans for the day.  Here’s a wrap up of all the little memorable moments and aspects I can, well, remember…

FromHypeMWindowTR.jpg picture by odelaybradford

THE GOOD:

Catching bands I never expected to see (Rye Rye, Solid Gold, YACHT, and yes, even GWAR).  Having my city once again transformed by thousands of new faces, smells (mostly good), and sounds.  All the free drinks and food that as strangers we were able to bond over.  Exploring clubs and bars in my own town that I didn’t know existed.

PastePartyCowboyHatsTR.jpg picture by odelaybradford

THE INTERESTING:

Using Twitter to find people I’ve never met nor know what they look like.  It worked some of the time.  It’s astonishing how Mike (Recommender’s editor in the UK) managed to introduce me, whilst he was online, to people in real life, via his connections on Twitter.  That wafting smell at Red River and 6th.  Yeah, you know the one.  Discovering that, despite careful planning, I can in fact go a whole day without seeing any of the acts I planned to and the experience is just as rich for it.  Trying one last time to save ‘the day that wouldn’t be’ and having the universe tell me bluntly, with a kick to the head, “It ain’t happenin’, Honey, just go with it.”  Watching a t-shirted town in the midst of Spring transform into a blustery winter wind tunnel overnight; in mid March no less!

Street2TR.jpg picture by odelaybradford

THE BEST:

Meeting some of the great people from Hype Machine, Mewbox, Strangers in Stereo, and TheMusic.fm.  Chatting with the silly guys from Bear In Heaven totally made my week.  Watching friends get excited about seeing Sean Lennon like it was John Lennon himself in the flesh.  The constant accessibility of bands was awesome.  To simply be able to say, “hey there, you have a minute?”, and suddenly find yourself stumbling through Frenglish with an adorable drummer or two.  Meeting folks that are from all over the world who are just gushing about Austin.  It truly makes me proud to live here.

RoadBlockTR.jpg picture by odelaybradford

THE ICING:

Buried under all the tons of rubbish created by the thousands who came, there remains the pieces of your memories and your hearts that you’ve left behind.  All the more reason to come back next year.  Just tell us when to pull out the taco fixin’s.  We’ll be here and we’ll be ready.    (OG)

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04
Sep
09

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 50

Today we start with a quote about blogging from the vacuous, but undeniably huge Internet blog phenomenon that is Sarah Morrison – “Write till your lil heart bleeds. And keep writing…Be the best you you can be. People are drawn to honesty and authenticity”.

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

YACHT

Some bands are so experimental that they evolve into a self-indulgent mess of sounds that lose any sense of shape. Others allow their experimenting to push boundaries and discover new teritories, providing the listener with something ultimately enjoyable and interesting, whilst maintaining a sense of melody and structure. Some of the modern masters of this are perhaps Beck, Bat For Lashes and LCD Soundsystem. The latter particularly have influence on Yacht. LCD’s DFA Records signed them up and we couldn’t imagine a better wing to be under than that of James Murphy. Jona Bechtolt’s melodic basslines, tidy beats and jumble sale of sounds waft over the mesmerising vocals of Claire L Evans, who sings in an enchanting echo and occasionally, and perhaps more bravely, simply talks at you. It’s music from another world, but this is one alien ship you would happily hop aboard. It’s never going to climb the charts or meet the mass public, but at it’s peak, on songs such as See A Penny Pick It Up and Psychic City (Voodoo City), you will find yourself hooked. Look out for their debut album, See Mystery Lights, released in August. We list below mp3s of one original track and in addition their fantastic, beat-heavy remix of a Noah And The Whale tune.  (MB)

Find them here:       Myspace

Hear them here:       YACHT – PSYCHIC CITY (VOODOO CITY)
Hear them here:       NOAH AND THE WHALE – BLUE SKIES (YACHT REMIX)

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

THE DRUMS

We seldom find a band whose box of sounds manage to escape any obvious influences, but with Florida’s The Drums we may have found that impossible to pin down group, but hell we like a challenge so here goes…Flirting with the 80s indie pop sound of Factory Records and Altered Images on tracks like I Felt Stupid, then wildly swinging to the Shangri–Las and The Righteous Brothers on the tune Down By The Water. Front man Jonathan Pierce, formally of Elkland, delivers a haunting reverb drip-fed vocal style that is both highly likeable and hip achingly cool. The backing has the soul and technique of Spector, but keeps a firm reign on all the pomp. The odds-on summer hit Lets Go Surfing is where things really take a sharp turn into something interesting. Sounding like Peter, Bjorn and John being covered by a fey and relaxed Jan and Dean, this doo-wop whistling classic will undoubtedly find itself replacing Young Folks as the default tune of choice this year. Debut EP, Summertime, is still available as a download from their Myspace, but you can expect the full LP in the next few weeks. (DV)

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:        THE DRUMS – LET’S GO SURFING

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

MOTORAMA

It’s official. Ian Curtis didn’t actually die in 1980, he sneaked off to form a new band in Russia and this is the result! With all it’s Joy Division darkness and bleak, but thunderous drive, this four piece are giving us something our ears swivel for. Their post-punk, pounding basslines that take centre stage on every track are covered over by beautiful guitar melodies. The atmospheric vocals from Vladislav are poured over the top and although it’s the weakest part of their music, it gives it the cold steel stamp of a dark mood. Very dark. There’s something of The Sisters Of Mercy and The Cult‘s goth culture going on here, or perhaps even the more modern ‘pop noir’ music that Brighton’s very own Mirrors and The (even more recent) Lyrebirds provide so brilliantly in slightly different forms. Sadly for Motorama they fall a little short of these bands, seeming a little one-paced and often missing any killer hooks. However, we aren’t pretending we’re experts on goth music and there’s plenty available here to discuss and take note. As always, we would like to hear your thoughts in our comments section? It’s exciting to discover music from Russia too, as it’s not the first stop on our musical travels – perhaps it should be?    (MB)

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:       MOTORAMA – BEAR

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

Don’t forget to check out The Recommender’s Flickr page that we’ve recently started. It’s going to include any good gig photographs we manage to take, as well as the more official shoots we plan to line up with bands (more info will be supplied on these soon). Find the link on the side >>>>>>>>




The Recommender's Flickr Photos

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