Yeah, I know. This post is like a month overdue. But since Austin I’ve been in work hell, life hell and right-after-I-downloaded-all-my-SXSW-photos-to-my-Mac-the-hard-drive-fried hell. Thank God for Apple Care and Drobo. I’m back on line and slowly getting back on track. So, without further ado, here are my highlights from SXSW. Better late than never, right?
Best Venue: Luster Pearl on Rainey St. hands down. Great vibe, great bands, great people. Kudos Filter Mag!
Best Celebrity Sightings – The Fader Fort VIP area with Adrian Grenier and Billy Idol to name a few.
Biggest Buzz Band:Broken Bells. Though their cool quotient has substantially dropped now that their debut album is being retailed at Starbucks. Ah well, can’t blame them really. Their album was probably one of the biggest leaks on record.
Cutest Couple: Al and Claire, who after The Broken Bells show at Lustre Pearl dropped on bended knee and proposed. (Sniff.) While that album will always be sentimental for that moment, I will personally always think of them when I hear The Temper Trap’s “Love Lost”. We had such a great time at that show and it’s one of the best, sappiest love albums ever. So this one’s for you, you saps. Congrats!
Best Band Working The Street: San Francisco’s very own The Ferocious Few and Phantom Kicks. Both working the street crowd hard and making me proud. The Ferocious Few with their signature street performances and Phantom Kicks pressing demo CDs into any willing hand. Including mine. Good job!
Danger Mouse strikes again. This time with The Shins’ James Mercer in the self-titled debut, Broken Bells. Do I really need to say any more? Okay, the two met at a Danish music festival way back in 2004 and began secretly working on the album late 2008. The pair released “The High Road”as the debut single late December to promote the album that’s due out March 9. But the full album leaked that same month anyway. Are these things really accidental? Hmmm, I wonder. Regardless, it’s fantastic and I love it. Experimental and melodic, chalk it up to another Danger Mouse masterpiece. He truly is the man with the Midas touch.
The minimalist album title, IRM, (French for MRI) was inspired by Gainsbourg’s frequent MRI’s she endured after suffering a brain hemorrhage from a water-skiing accident in 2007. ”I had to do so many [MRIs] and every time I was in that tube I was thinking it would make great music,” she’s quoted as saying. And great music it did make. Her lyrics on the album’s single, “IRM”, offer a detailed, psychedelic journey into her experience and sets the tone for the album. Which, you can hear, is amazing.
Take the locomotive tempo and percussion of The Dodos and add the layered harmonies of The Fleet Foxes with some rapturous chorus outbursts a la Arcade Fire and you pretty much have the sound of Local Natives, an LA-based group whose debut album is an absolute gem from start to finish. Get to know this band.
Artist: Pavement Album: Quarantine The Past- The Best of Pavement Featured Track:“Stereo”
Should I even have to explain this one? No, I shouldn’t. You should understand, however, that this is it for me – the foundation of my lo-fi love, the source. All roads lead to Pavement. And they are finally reuniting this year. So get this remastered best of collection. Learn it, love it, live it.
Let me just say that I’ve been drowning myself in this album since it was released. Drowning, rolling, wallowing, surrendering myself to all of it. I just love it. The first LP from the Saratoga Springs, NY-based duo, it’s the perfect combination of electronic beeps and boops, hazy guitars and spacey synths. Give me more, please. Take a listen yourself and you’ll be begging for it.
Artist: Twin Tigers Album: Gray Waves Featured Track: Everyday
There are times when you hear a new band and just know they are going to be huge. Athens-based, Twin Tigers is one of them. Their debut LP, Gray Waves, is an epic assault of psychedelic, shoegaze rock. Jaw dropping good. The kinda stuff that’ll make you swoon. The kinda band that “could dismantle The Silversun Pickups from their perch.” The kinda sound that will keep you coming back for more. Get into this band is all I have left to say.