March 2, 2009

Monday SXSW Music Roundup


So the countdown has begun in earnest to my first SXSW. I know, right? How did it take me this long to go? In past years I’ve focused on festivals in other regions (UMS Denver, Noise Pop SF, Coachella, etc) and wound up without the money or wherewithal to trek to Texas.

This year, we change that.

Two weeks from Wednesday, I hop a plane to Austin. I couldn’t be more excited, or more overwhelmed. There will be a showcase that Fuel/Friends is helping to present (details forthcoming) and lots of great parties and showcases that I am anticipating. In addition, I’ll be helping out with an actual panel (!!), so come see me if you are attending the conference portion.

I downloaded two torrents full o’ music from SXSW Showcasing Artists and have been slowly working my way through them all weekend. Here are five from the bazillion that first caught my ear as artists that I will want to keep my wits about me for to try and make their shows. Even if you’re not going to Austin, have a listen to five I love:

Vijay Kishore

The stream of music can be numbing after the first hundred, but this song just absolutely stopped me in my tracks, dead, heartworn. Web information tells me that Vijay Kishore is from Birmingham, England, but all I know is that the gorgeous falsetto and high lonesome drone of his voice sounds uncannily like an incarnation of Thom Yorke or Jeff Buckley, from an Indian gentleman with a shaved head. I have nothing else to say, except that I have chills. He’s playing a ton at SXSW, including an official showcase Thursday night at Creekside.

Wave and Water
gano1Gordon Gano and the Ryan Brothers
Lead Violent Femme takes to the airwaves again with this song that could probably be on all your summer mixtapes. Over a barely-contained funky guitar line and shiny brass melodies that echo Cake, Gordon Gano brings that same dry delivery to his latest (catchy) creation. I didn’t know he was at it again, didn’t know he’d be at SXSW (late Thursday at the Parish Downstairs).

elemeno-pBaby Come On
Elemeno P

This song makes me feel dizzily and joyously confused. I first heard it tonight when I was putting dishes away and lordy I think I nearly dropped a glass or two from the force of my spontaneous dancing. There’s yelling like those snappy street gangs in Broadway musicals, a huge marching drum beat, and melody for pogoing to. Elemeno P is from New Zealand and theirs will undoubtedly be a fabulously fun show (not sure when they’re playing yet).

Eager To Sail
wine-and-revolutionWine And Revolution

My experience with wine is often that it leads me into thick sleepiness, and distinctly not revolution, but this Austin band would like to encourage me otherwise. From listening to this selection, it seems as if they wish me to travel with them through a long line of good sounding influences, from the Kinks to Voxtrot, and have a lot of fun while I’m at it — to which I say, “okay.” Wine and Revolution is playing a handful of shows Wednesday and Friday.


I’ve read a lot about Malawian artist Esau Mwamwaya and the Radioclit DJ duo on Gorilla vs Bear over the last year or so, and always smile at the joyous African-inflected dance creations that they often release free into the world. This cut builds Southeast-African rhythms & words over music from Architecture in Helsinki. Radioclit preserves an earthy connection with their music while featuring folks like M.I.A. and Santogold on some fabulously sweaty-fun remixes. It’s where I’ll be midnight Thursday, in the Beauty Bar Backyard.

So…who’s on the early flight out of Denver Wednesday morning on Southwest?

December 19, 2006

Yabba dabba doo

Joe Barbera, half of the famous animation duo Hanna-Barbera, died yesterday at the age of 95 from natural causes at his home in California. Just the name Hanna-Barbera makes me smile, and remember how it would always flash across the screen at the beginning of the best cartoons from the Saturday mornings of my youth.

Alongside recollections of watching questionable shows like The Gummy Bears or Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers (I can still sing the songs for both, wanna hear it? Didn’t think so), as well as better ones like He-Man and The Smurfs, I spent lots of weekend mornings with The Jetsons and The Flintstones. The duo also created Yogi Bear and Scooby-Doo.

Their strengths melded perfectly, critic Leonard Maltin wrote in his book Of Mice And Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons. Barbera brought the comic gags and skilled drawing, while Hanna brought warmth and a keen sense of timing.

Hanna, who died in 2001, once said he was never a good artist, but that Barbera could “capture mood and expression in a quick sketch better than anyone I’ve ever known.”

Yay for the both of them, for all the joy the’ve added into countless kids’ artificially-sweetened-cereal fueled Saturday mornings.

Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah (Means I Love You)
[from The Jetsons] – Violent Femmes

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? – Matthew Sweet

Open Up Your Heart And Let The Sunshine In
[from The Flintstones] – Frente!

(I just remembered that I totally had the original version of this song on vinyl record)


Sugar, Sugar [from The Archie Show]
Mary Lou Lord & Semisonic

The Tra-La-La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)
[from The Banana Splits] – Liz Phair & Material Issue

[Parts of this post are lifted from the AP article, and the songs are from the excellent mid-’90s snapshot of nostalgia Saturday Morning Cartoons’ Greatest Hits, which has more great tracks from the likes of The Ramones, Sublime, Reverend Horton Heat, and Juliana Hatfield/Tanya Donelly]

January 19, 2006

Just last night I was reminded of just how bad it had gotten

Violent Femmes are on tour! I saw them once in Santa Cruz (CA) and it was a mixed experience but definitely glad that I went. I remember that singer Gordon Gano was belligerent that night and kept bullying the crowd. So, uh, stay away from the front I guess.

But the boys that helped us all blister in the sun and learn how to count our pills whilst we are overdosing are icons of . . . slacker rock? Off-key folk-punk? Whatever you call it, icons for sure and I think you need to go see them.

Jan 28 Tucson, Rialto Theatre
Jan 29 Tempe, Marquee Theatre
Jan 31 San Diego, House of Blues
Feb 1 Los Angeles, House of Blues
Feb 2 Santa Cruz, Catalyst Club
Feb 3 San Francisco, The Fillmore
Feb 4 Stockton, CA, Bob Hope Theater
Feb 5 Arcata, CA, Humboldt University
Feb 17 Thessaloniki, Greece, Principal Club
Feb 18 Athens, Greece, Club 22
Feb 19 Athens, Greece, Club 22
Feb 21 Cork, IRL, Savoy
Feb 23 Limerick, IRL, Trinity Rooms
Feb 24 Galway, IRL, Roisin Dubh
Feb 25 Dublin, IRL, Vicar St.
Feb 26 London, Shepherds Bush Empire
Feb 28 Oslo, Norway, Rockefeller
March 9 Cleveland, House of Blues
March 10 Columbus, LC Pavilion (formerly the Promo West Pavilion)
July 28 Del Mar, CA Del Mar Race Track

And if you don’t already have it: “Prove My Love – Violent Femmes

I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record.

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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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