Incomplete, but chronological. Words later…
Incomplete, but chronological. Words later…
A few more acts – both showcase an unofficial shows. The links below will take you to more details about SXSW appearances. A late arrival on Wednesday, then hotel and badge, should put me at the Guitartown/Conqueroo Showcase @ Dogwoods just in time to catch American Aquarium. If you’re in Austin during the day Wednesday, catch the amazing lineup at Lucy’s Fried Chicken (Shovels & Rope, Lee Rondeau, Alejandro Escovedo, Deadman, etc).[audio http://www.box.com/shared/static/8z7pui28xbh340of4vdf.mp3]
1.) 0:00 – FIDLAR • Max Can’t Surf
2.) 2:20 – Hanni El Khatib • You Rascal You
3.) 4:29 – Michael Beach • Straight Spines
4.) 6:56 – Woodenbox & A Fistful Of Fivers • Everyone Has A Price
5.) 10:40 – The Damn Choir • Virginia
6.) 13:41 – River City Extension • South For The Winter
7.) 17:55 – Starlings, TN • Gloom Despair And Agony On Me
8.) 19:33 – Two Gallants • Despite What You’ve Been Told
9.) 23:56 – Jonny Corndawg • Shut Up
10.) 28:10 – The Black Swans • Mean Medicine
11.) 33:34 – William Elliott Whitmore (& here) • Field Song
12.) 37:03 – American Aquarium • Stars & Scars
A mix of showcase and unofficial acts. Tom VandenAvond plays the The 5th Annual Hillgrass Bluebilly XSXSW, which is now two days and nights (Friday and Saturday). I’ve included some other acts on previous playlists. Horse Opera, Roger Wallace, and JWW & The Prospectors are all part of the Hoedown at the Highball on Saturday. Definitely some difficult decisions will have to be made… The Far West (who I wrote about here) were at SXSW last year and I missed them. They’re back again, unofficially, and are funding the trip with a Kickstarter campaign. I’ll be sure to catch them at the Sin City Social Club’s 10th Anniversary Bash at Maria’s Taco Xpress on Friday (a day that includes The Record Company – included here – as well as Wagons, Ponderosa, and Deadman who I included on earlier playlists). Full line up here. Looking forward to catching WATERS, the new venture of former Port O’Brien frontman Van Pierszalowski. Mexico City’s Los Headaches start off Thursday evening with their official show at Flamingo Cantina. Also playing the Burgermania party at Spider House on Saturday at 1:00.[audio http://www.box.com/shared/static/dsrdugos341kr71126k8.mp3]
1.) 0:00 – Tom VandenAvond • Knights Ferry
2.) 3:35 – Horse Opera • Salty Tears
3.) 6:10 – Roger Wallace • That Kind Of Lonely
4.) 9:48 – JWW & The Prospectors • Forgettin’ About You
5.) 13:47 – The Far West • The Best Company Misery Ever Had
6.) 16:19 – Cory Chisel • Born Again
7.) 20:06 – DeSoto Rust • Northern Road
8.) 23:21 – Gringo Star • Transmission
9.) 26:57 – The Record Company • Don’t Let Me Get Lonely
10.) 29:28 – JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound – Everything Will Be Fine
11.) 32:51 – WATERS • For The One
12.) 35:45 – Ezra Furman & The Harpoons – Teenage Wasteland
13.) 37:49 – Los Headaches • Boredom City
Really, there is nothing here I would not be happy to see. Given venue, time, conflicts… Only a few I have seen before and one high on my list is the country, gospel sound of Deadman. Lauderdale, another excellent band from Muscle Shoals, AL, is also a must see. The slow burning, more haunting, tracks on their 2011 album, “Moving On,” were the first to lodge in my brain, but the more rocking tracks were soon right along side. Still in constant rotation around here. So, go get it. Unfortunately, their FB page only lists a Tuesday show. We don’t arrive until Wednesday… Guns of Navarone and Crooks are both from Austin. Plans are to see both. Sandwiched between the excellent throwback sounds of JD McPherson and Nick Waterhouse is the Austrian band Attwenger – the type of act we seek out at SXSW. They’ve been around since ’91, with 9 albums. They’ve got a few more dates on their US tour around SXSW but this is likely the only opportunity to see them. See why, here.[audio http://www.box.com/shared/static/l14yqsxlmdb0615a4yg1.mp3]
1.) 0:00 – JD McPherson • North Side Gal
2.) 2:23 – Attwenger • Shakin’ My Brain
3.) 5:34 – Nick Waterhouse • Some Place
4.) 8:06 – Gary Clark Jr • Bright Lights
5.) 13:11 – Deadman • Sun Goes Down
6.) 17:28 – Leo Rondeau • Weary Owls
7.) 20:49 – The SteelDrivers • Good Corn Liquor
8.) 24:24 – Whiskey Shivers • Wookie Boogers
9.) 27:04 – Big Harp • Goodbye Crazy City
10.) 31:24 – Mike & The Moonpies • Hell In Jubilee
11.) 34:08 – The Lumineers • The Dead Sea
12.) 37:58 – Jerusalem & The Starbaskets • Tambourine In The Book
13.) 40:55 – Lauderdale • The Grant
14.) 44:42 – Guns Of Navarone • You Used To Be
15.) 48:44 – Ponderosa • Hold On You
16.) 53:31 – Treetop Flyers • Mountain Song
17.) 58:50 – Crooks • River Road
18.) 1:02:30 – Brett Detar • The Devil’s Gotta Earn
19.) 1:06:00 – Wooden Wand • Creature Of Habit
20.) 1:07:45 – Tim Eriksen • Careless Love
21.) 1:09:47 – Strand Of Oaks • End In Flames
22.) 1:13:56 – Delay Trees • Gold
They just seem to want to go together.
Ok, still pressed for time and many bands still to look into, but here’s a set filled with a lot of acts I’m eager to see. Including:
• Chuck Ragan. Check out the outstanding “Covering Ground” from last year.
• Nikki Lane. “Walk Of Shame” got a lot of play in this house at the end of last year.
• Sons of Bill. This song is from “Sirens” to be released at the end of March.
• Henry Wagons. Billed as his full name as opposed to just Wagons, so maybe traveling with no band in tow…
• East Cameron Folkcore. Native Ausinites who released one of my favorite albums of last year.
• Todd Snider. Never seen him. Which has to be rectified.
• Robert Ellis. I’m just catching up with the excellent “Photographs” from last year.
• Micah P. Hinson. Saw him a few years back and he was a revelation. Since then he’s released a lot of great music including the don’t-miss “Micah P. Hinson and the Pioneer Saboteurs” from 2010.
1.) 0:00 – Hillfolk Noir • Bottomless World
2.) 4:53 – Horse Feathers • Falling Through The Roof
3.) 7:40 – Chuck Ragan • Nothing Left To Prove
4.) 11:03 – Wheeler Brothers • Portraits
5.) 16:34 – Sons Of Bill • Santa Anna Winds
6.) 20:51 – Nikki Lane • Gone, Gone, Gone
7.) 23:38 – Wagons • Moon Into The Sun
8.) 27:38 – East Cameron Folkcore • Happy-Mess
9.) 32:12 – Sarah Jaffe • Vulnerable
10.) 35: 48 – Todd Snider • Alright Guy
11.) 40:03 – Willy Mason • Hard Hand To Hold
12.) 44:08 – Robert Ellis • What’s In It For Me?
13.) 48:23 – Peter Bradley Adams • I’ll Forget You
14.) 51:52 – Guy Forsyth • Heat Of Sawdust
15.) 56:59 – Nick Jaina • I Don’t Believe You
16.) 1:00:06 – Micah P. Hinson • Seven Horses Seen Or Through The Hours, Still Comes Another Day
17.) 1:02:51 – Woodenbox & A Fistful Of Fivers • Twisted Mile
18.) 1:06:10 – Of Monsters & Men • Little Talks
19.) 1:10:08 – Avalanche City • Ends In The Ocean
20.) 1:14:00 – Chris T-T • Dancing On My Own
The general timbre for SXSW over the years has been a lot of Americana, country, roots, folk, with bursts of noise. For that, the more primal and stripped down the better. And the occasional foray into the hyped fray. And foreign acts not likely to tour again. Plus a few perennial favorites. This group of songs stays closer to the intro. I’m still digging through the initial three postings of attending acts but also checking out (and including) rumored and unofficial acts. Like Atlanta, GA’s Ocha la Rocha. This is from their their 2007 debut, but also check “Heavy” from the upcoming “Ocho Scores.” Cuff The Duke is from Toronto and this track is off their most recent, and 5th album, “Morning Comes.” More by Glaswegians Three Blind Wolves here. More from Nashville’s Apache Relay here. The track by Possessed By Paul James is from 2010’s well-worth-picking up “Feed The Family.” He, Husky Burnette, and Lone Wolf (One Man Band) are all part of the impressive 5th annual XSXSW show I mentioned last playlist. All great stuff here and a couple definite hits, like My Jerusalem, Possessed By Paul James, and Husky Burnette. A batch of noisier stuff coming up next time.[audio http://www.box.com/shared/static/5b6bp4j37fde60eb0pr6.mp3]
1.) 0:00 – Ocha la Rocha • Tumble Down
2.) 3:18 – Cuff The Duke • Count On Me
3.) 6:06 – Three Blind Wolves • Echo On The Night Train
4.) 10:10 – The Apache Relay • American Nomad
5.) 13:41 – My Jerusalem • Remember Everything
6.) 16:16 – Possessed By Paul James • Shoulda’ Known Better
7) 19:52 – J Roddy Walston & The Business • Jesus Gonna Do His Best
8.) 22:56 – Husky Burnette • Shake That Thang
9.) 26:55 – Lone Wolf (One Man Band) • Honky Tonk Carnie
… of the best things I never finished writing about in 2011.
Girls Guns and Glory – Sweet Nothings
“Sweet Nothings” is the 4th album from Boston’s Girls Guns and Glory. They were the first country act to win the WBCN Rumble and at the most recent Boston Music Awards they were named Best Americana Act (which they also won in ’08). Chad Ochocinco offsets his lack of production on the field by being a big fan. Their name may imply an irreverent, cocky take on country but the music is anything but. The approach is firmly rooted in throwback 50’s country, rockabilly, and honky tonk. Ward Hayden’s got a strong voice, and comparisons to Dwight Yoakum or Raul Malo are in line. Yoakum – vocal cracks, hiccups, and all – is especially apt on the swallowed vocal delivery of “Root Cellar.” “Baby’s Got A Dream” sets the album off to a great start – a strummed lament swelling into the celebratory ownership of a broken heart. The album is sparkled with great moments like the picking on “Nighttime,” the spoken word interlude in “Last Night I Dreamed,” and a duet with Sarah Borges on “1,000 Times.” Best country album of the year.
Baby’s Got A Dream
The River Has Many Voices – Barton Creek (ep)
There was something about the voice on this that grabbed immediately. Leisured, husky, intimate. Pleasantly reminiscent of English Americana folk singer Jason McNiff but more spare. The River Has Many Voices is Austin’s Matthew Payne. And “Barton Creek” is 6 beautiful songs of longing, loss, and optimism. The 41 minutes of the ep are bulked up by the heartrending 16 minutes of the closing track, “Picture In A Thousand Words,” short cyclical vignettes of unfulfilled desire, offset by the glimmer of hope. A deep, heartfelt album about the human condition. It’s available (for free) on Bandcamp.
No Death Could Ever Take The Life From You
C. Bailey & H. Burns – Stranger
I wrote about the Chris Bailey and H-Burns album, “Stranger,” prior to its release but never followed up. I’m not really sure why. It’s great. A favorite from 2011. It’s got some of Bailey’s strongest writing in years. But at it’s core it’s a little hard to figure out what it is. Look at the songwriting credits and the track list alternates between Bailey and H-Burns (Renaud Brustlein) penned tunes, until seniority claims the last two spots. Vocal performances follow suit. No shared vocals. No discernable harmonizing. Where the album does coalesce is around lyrical themes of disconnectedness and disillusionment. The music on Bailey’s tracks are generally more rock, H-Burns more folkish. But behind the upbeat music on Bailey’s tracks are lyrics conveying the opposite, especially pronounced on the bouncy, banjo-propelled country of “Winter,” with the lyrics “Black is the color of my coat and my intention, Black is the mood of my soul.” On “Hey You!” Bailey approaches his pessimism more lightly, and the album closes with Bailey confidently imploring “Stranger at my shoulder, Get thee behind me.” There’s less of a juxtaposition on the H-Burns tracks mainly because of his forlorn, nasal vocals but the tracks are no less strong. “So Long Dying Cities,” a track from H-Burns last solo album, “We Go Way Back,” is revived, less solemn, longer, and more robust. Maybe the heart of this album is just the camaraderie and inspiration between an elder musical statesman and a great young talent. If so, this album succeeds on all counts. And hopefully it’s not just a one-off venture.
Buy: Vicious Circle
East Cameron Folkcore – Sound And Fury: Songs In The Key Of Love And Death
Equal parts drunken perspiration and pretentious aspiration. Or maybe it’s the other way round. Either way, it adds up to a potent mix on “Sound And Fury: Songs In The Key Of Love And Death,” from the Austin collective East Cameron Folkcore. On the pretentious side, the obvious nod to The Bard. The piano and string heavy chamber bent of “Prologue” and “Epilogue” to open and close the album. References to “Prometheus Bound” and Greek choruses on their Bandcamp page. Band photos with 17 members. On the drunken side, a prevailing looseness and raucousness to the performances. Lead singer Jesse Moore’s raspy, parched voice. An overwhelming, end of the night “I love you, man” vibe, imbuing the album with a feel good warmth and sincerity. And band photos with 17 members. Much of the album was inspired by the the tragic death of Jon Pettis, Moore’s Bankrupt And The Borrowers bandmate, and, on the title track, when the full band belts out “I just want to put the world on pause, And stay where we are” it’s impossible not to feel the love and humanity behind this.
Carrying The Fire (For The Misunderstood)
Bethany Larson And The Bees Knees – When We Reach The City
Ok, it was the drawing of the sad eyed cowgirl on the cover that initially hooked me. I knew I would like this. And listening, I was fully validated. I am a firm believer in judging an album by it’s cover. Bethany Larson And The Bees Knees are from Minneapolis and “When We Reach The City” is their first full-length (following up a 2009 ep). It’s filled with songs picking and pulling from a board spectrum of country and folk. Larson’s delivery ranges from sexy romantic come-on (“Why Don’t You Come Over”) to broken romance pissed-off bitterness (“Don’t You Want To Know”). Those tracks, along with the with the should-be-a-hit “Still” – heartbreak defiantly rejecting the cause – and the slightly clumsy (“I’ve been reading Kerouac, wishing that you would come back”) to classic (“While you hear the rush of the wind, I sit here drinking my gin”) lyric couplets on “Last Thing On My Mind,” are just a few reasons that made this one of my most played albums of the year.
Two more additions to the SXSW 2012 band listing over the past few weeks and lots of great stuff including Howler from Minneapolis to kick things off. This installment starts in the garage and moves to the country for the second half. One act sure to attract a lot of attention in Austin is Athen, AL’s Alabama Shakes. If you haven’t yet picked up their ep, do it now. A couple tracks here (Rachel Brooke, James Hand, Hellbound Glory, Restavrant) are from the already impressive initial XSXSW line-up put on by Hillgrass Bluebilly, Saving Country Music, and Muddy Roots Festival.
1.) 0:00 – Howler • I Told You Once
2.) 2:49 – Night Beats • Ain’t Dumbo
3.) 5:01 – Mind Spiders • Mind Spiders Theme
4.) 7:45 – The Bombettes • I Wanna
5.) 9:37 – The Lions Rampart • Cocaine Anne
6.) 11:49– Chapter 24 • Hepcats
7.) 14:54 – The Oh Sees • Carrion Crawler
8.) 20:41 – Alabama Shakes • I Found You
9.) 23:36 – Restavrant • Joe D
10.) 26:53 – Cory Branan • Hellbent And Headfirst
11.) 30:36 – Cuff The Duke • Take The Money And Run
12.) 33:30 – Hellbound Glory • Bastard Child
13.) 36:36 – James Hand • Men Like Me Can Fly
14.) 38:41 – Rachel Brooke • The Barnyard
15.) 44:33 – The Strange Boys • Walking Two By Two
16.) 47:12 – Li’l Cap’n Travis • Matt Kinsey
17.) 49:56 – The David Mayfield Parade • I Just Might Pray
18.) 52:52 – Cotton Jones • Man Climbs Out Of The Water