March 16, 2009

Monday (SXSW) Music Roundup


In just over 36 hours I will be in Austin, Tejas for my first SXSW Music Festival. I may be a bit disoriented from my way early AM flight, blinking the bright Texas sunlight. I’ll be planning my musical attack, my strategy for eating BBQ and pacing my drinks. Marathon, not sprint, etc etc.

I was up til past 1 last night trying to scrap together some loose semblance of a schedule of bands I would be interested in seeing. Here are five brand new ones that I’ve not written about before, but that my preliminary scientific midnight musical research indicates that you might like as well.

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears

Just click play. Seriously.

James Brown struts and kicks again in the music of twenty-six year old Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears. This 8-piece band from Austin makes music full of things that can’t quite be expressed with words, so there’s a lot of “whoo!”s and “unh“s and fabulous call and responses. Band members also have names like Sleepy Ramirez and Big Show Varley (come on!). Out tomorrow on Lost Highway, Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is is an immense amount of fun and I just know their live show will be also.

Harold T Wilkins

There’s an effervescent shimmer to this song with distinctively David Byrnesian vocals that loop and swirl all over. Hailing from London, Fanfarlo is a band I first read about over on Bruce’s blog full of impeccable SXSW choices. The best way to experience this little gem of a song is absolutely gonna be through the kitschy video that gets it perfectly right, all blocky colors and bright lights with a timewarp gloss. This tune is one side of a split 7″ with Sleeping States, and will also be on their forthcoming full-length. Brilliant.

jack-oblivianNight Owl
Jack Oblivian and the Tennessee Tearjerkers

Okay, wow. One thing I’ve enjoyed about prepping to go to this festival is that everyone I meet seems to have a suggestion about that band that I must see. When someone actually recommends a band called Jack Oblivian and the Tennessee Tearjerkers (which happened at the Blitzen Trapper show Thursday), I’m inclined to listen just because of that blessedly wonderful name. Heck I want to be in that band. SPIN Magazine called Jack Yarber (Oblivian) “arguably the finest rock talent Memphis has produced since Alex Chilton,” and his music runs the crazy gamut from garage to classic pop to Chuck Berry soundalikes. His new album The Disco Outlaw is out on May 5 on Goner Records. Do the skate.

Mango Tree
angus-juliaAngus and Julia Stone

This sibling duo from Sydney, Australia has composed a stirringly lovely folk album of delicate harmonies and slowburn arrangements. Angus & Julia Stone‘s distinctive voices (his fragile and clear, hers brassy and sometimes childlike) fit together flawlessly, the result of a childhood spent singing camp-song harmonies. They recorded their 2007 Hollywood EP at the house of Fran Healy (of Travis), and he produced their debut full-length A Book Like This, released a few weeks ago on EMI.

violensViolent Sensation Descends

Zombies! The Zombies stumble into a very fashionable ’80s club where everyone has long angular bangs cut diagonal in a swoop. The music of Violens strikes me as a little new wave, a little smoky, but with good structural bones and catchy melodies under all the haze. This New-York-via-Miami four piece has a self-titled EP in stores tomorrow, and one year-end list of ’08 said, “In 1966, this alternately ominous and sparkly nugget would’ve been the No. 50 British single of the year, after the Creation’s ‘Making Time.’ It’s that good.”

And sweetheavens do you even know how many other bands I am trying to find a way to cram into my happy schedule? In a perfect world where I could clone additional little Heather Brownes to run around to shows for me, some of the folks I would like to see include:

Ben Sollee, The Boat People, Ume, M. Ward, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Starfucker, Ladyhawke, The Donkeys, Department of Eagles, Dan Auerbach, Avett Brothers, Haley Bonar, Radioclit, Eli Paperboy Reed & The True Loves, Sky Larkin, Hymns, Justin Townes Earle, The Rural Alberta Advantage, The Hold Steady, Afterhours, The Features, Grizzly Bear, Laura Gibson, Lisa Hannigan, Tori Amos (!!), These United States, Thao Nguyen And The Get Down Stay Down, The Soft Pack, BLK JKS, Emily Wells, Blind Pilot, Henry Clay People, Elvis Perkins in Dearland, Lucero, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, Pretty & Nice, Primal Scream, Beach House, Handsome Furs, Harlem Shakes, Here We Go Magic, The Low Anthem, Waz, The Postelles, Madi Diaz, The Ettes, Scissors For Lefty, The Felice Brothers, Samantha Crain & The Midnight Shivers, Tinted Windows, Future Clouds & Radar, Okkervil River, Explosions In The Sky, Deadstring Brothers, Ezra Furman & The Harpoons, Zee Avi, Say Hi, Voxtrot, and Superdrag (who has a new video and new guest blogging duties). Whew. And I’m not even done going through the calendar yet.

I’m on it.

[header image via]


  • If you can fit them in, you should check Local Natives out:

    Andy — March 17, 2009 @ 5:42 am

  • I think you are going to have fun!!! All of these pics are terrific, thanks for the completely NEW music.

    Matt Walters — March 17, 2009 @ 7:05 am

  • You can’t go wrong with Black Joe Lewis. I caught them at ACL last year and they were absolutely fabulous. Have a great time!

    Bob Dove — March 17, 2009 @ 7:59 am

  • You really should check out The Uglysuit and Sarah Jaffe as well. I know I’ve commented this before, but I think you would really like them.

    Lance — March 17, 2009 @ 10:23 am

  • I’m sure you’ve seen this already, but if not, where to find the free food:

    aims — March 17, 2009 @ 12:31 pm

  • I saw BJ Lewis live @ACL last year. You are in for a treat!

    Neil — March 17, 2009 @ 2:36 pm

  • During that oddball daytime gig with The Hold Steady, there’s a phenomenal band from Detroit playing a bit earlier on called The Hard Lessons.

    Gary B. — March 17, 2009 @ 4:39 pm

  • If you can fit them in, I definitely recommend Southeast Engine (Athens, OH) and Found (Scotland)! Have a great time!

    Bart Wang — March 17, 2009 @ 6:21 pm

  • Black Joe Lewis is great I had him play at the Bag Of Songs 2nd Anniversary party back in October.

    -tom — March 18, 2009 @ 6:58 pm

  • hiya..

    you should check out the Heartless Bastards. what a great band! have fun in Austin–

    matt — March 18, 2009 @ 11:51 pm

  • I wish you would check out Tinted Windows. That’s one hot ticket at SXSW this year and I’d love to hear your commentary on this show.

    jrich — March 19, 2009 @ 12:46 pm

  • Ioda, the independent music marketing and distribution company, is providing the SXSW Opening Day Bash Sampler 2009 as a free MP3 download. You can find a link to the album here.

    X3 — March 19, 2009 @ 4:18 pm

  • I can only imagine how many clones of myself I’d need in order to see all of the bands I’d want to see…..but you should definitely see Hymns!! I love them!

    Rachel — March 19, 2009 @ 9:24 pm

  • ben sollee?! zee avi?! good taste! i swear i wish more than anything to have been able to go.

    also, i can’t believe you forgot delta spirit. FOR SHAME.

    Kallie — March 20, 2009 @ 11:03 pm

  • [...] EP (out now through Cantora Records), and you can count me as a fan of what Violens is doing. The first time I heard them I wrote, “Zombies! The Zombies stumble into a very fashionable ’80s club where everyone has [...]

    MGMT makes Violens even more fresh and enjoyable | - featured blog posts. updated daily. — June 11, 2009 @ 9:39 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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