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Archive | May, 2013

Hip Hop Hooray (Leah)

May 31, 2013

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As you all may know, John’s birthday is coming up soon and he’ll be celebrating with an awesome party at Holy Mountain on Thursday, June 6, and putting on some great local bands (see the poster on the sidebar if you need details.) I’ll also be DJing between bands and after the live music is over, so get that Friday off, or plan to call in sick, because (I’ll only say this once), I’d like to get you drunk and make you stay up late. Dancing.

The mix this month is stuff I’ve been enjoying lately, as usual, with one special addition for the blog-running birthday-boy, which you’ll see at the top of the track list, and of course he gets the dedication of the whole mix. See you all on the 6th!

:2 Chainz – Birthday Song (Featuring Kanye West):
:Washed Out – Feel It All Around:
:Dizzee Rascal – H-Town (Featuring Bun B):
:Mystikal – Hit Me:
:Pigeon Hole – Ice Dicks:
:Matt Shadetek – Battery Charge:
:Nocando – You Got Me Fucked UP (Produced by Mexicans With Guns):
:Fat Tony – Hood Party (Featuring Kool A.D.):
:DJ Numark – Dumpin’ Em All (Featuring Bumpy Knuckles):
:Goodie Mob – Special Education (Featuring Janelle Monae):
:Clipse – Kinda Like A Big Deal (Featuring Kanye West):
:Joey Bada$$ – World Domination (Produced by MF DOOM):
:CookBook – Musica Grande (Featuring ChinoXL):
:Dessa – Warsaw:
:Big K.R.I.T – Cool 2 Be Southern:
:Dirty Art Club – Sun Burn:

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Stream This

May 31, 2013

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The SOTO inbox is always full of cool stuff that never gets to see the light of day on the actual site, and I’d like to change that.  So, every Friday I’ll be posting the best album streams and videos that were sent my way during the week.  Take a scroll and find something worth remembering.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Camera Obscura – Desire Lines
Rogue Wave – Nightingale Floors
Portugal, The Man – Evil Friends
Queens Of The Stone Age – Like Clockwork
Secret Colours – Peach
GRMLN – Empire
W-H-I-T-E – III
Oblivians – Desperation
Future Bible Heroes – Partygoing
Hyetal – Modern Worship
Spectrals – Sob Story
Last Good Tooth – Not Without Work And Rest

VIDEOS

Sonny And The Sunsets will release Antenna To The World on June 11 via Polyvinyl.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s II is out now via Jagjaguwar.  They’ll play the Mohawk on October 2.

King Kahn And The Shrines will put out Idle No More on September 3 via Merge.

Teen just recently released the Carolina EP via Carpark Records.

Bell X1 will release Chop Chop on July 2 via Belly Up Records.

Nightlands’ Oak Island is out now on Secretly Canadian.

Cayucas recently put out Bigfoot on Secretly Canadian.  They play Red 7 on July 13.

The Bullitts will soon release They Die By Dawn & Other Short Stories.

Clubfeet recently put out Heirs & Graces.

The Preatures will release an EP later this year.

Disclosure will put out Settle on July 4 via Cherry Tree/Interscope.

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David Byrne & St. Vincent

May 30, 2013

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In what will most certainly end up being this week’s most pleasant surprise, David Byrne & St. Vincent put out a FREE EP.  The effort, which features one unreleased track, two remixes, and two live tracks, is titled Brass Tactics.  It’s worth your time.  Check here to see if their current tour is coming to you.  Enjoy.

:David Byrne & St. Vincent – I Should Watch TV (M. Stine Remix):  If I had to pick which song I like the least off of Love This Giant, it would probably be this one.  So, kudos to M. Stine for injecting some energy into it and turning out something that I now really dig.

Bonus Video:

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Monahans (Dan)

May 29, 2013

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Monahans are named after West Texas sand dunes, but the band is quick to note their “songs aren’t so much about a particular geographic location as they are about contrast.” And it’s that exploration in contrasts that makes them such a compelling act. It was evident on their first two releases, Low Pining (2007) and Dim The Aurora (2009), and it’s apparent on their new albums, Leveler and Roam An Empty Space. While Roam An Empty Space is comprised primarily of the band’s 2010 monthly recording series (with some new additions), Leveler has nine previously unreleased songs plus a bonus track.

The concept of contrasts is key for Monahans but I think spacing is as well. It’s fascinating to focus on one instrument or aspect of a song, marvel at it, and then realize how it fits perfectly with what the other instruments are doing. I love how the drums consistently drive the music forward but the rhythm never overpowers the tune. The jagged guitars and keyboards are given ample space to evoke just the right feeling. Only a seasoned band with considerable talent can craft such intricate and suggestive mood music. The sounds are expertly layered and never overproduced, which is one of the things I most respect about Monahans. They’re able to be experimental and ambitious while maintaining the subtlety they are known for.

I know it’s hip to have a large vinyl collections but I haven’t got into the vinyl thing yet. However, if I ever did buy a record player I’d probably begin my collection with the full Monahans discography. Not only is the music great but they always have beautiful cover art. If vinyl is your thing, I highly recommend you pick up Leveler from Undertow Music. If you’re like me and prefer your music in a digital format, you can buy Leveler and Roam An Empty Space on iTunes or Amazon.

From Leveler
:Monahans – Forward Reverse:
:Monahans – Diamonds:

From Roam An Empty Space
:Monahans – I Break The Silence:
:Monahans – Seabirds:

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Maryann, Roger Sellers (Jennifer)

May 29, 2013

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In March local quintet Maryann released their rootsy pop/rock opus Outlaw Opry Act I. This Friday they’re holding a release show at Swan Dive for the sequel, Outlaw Opry Act II. Act II features appearances from a variety of guest musicians, including Haley Barnes (Acre Yawn, ex-Buxton).  Below you’ll find a really nice song off of Act II titled Adelaide. If you’re like me, it should make you really look forward to hearing what else Maryann has created.

:Maryann – Adelaide:

Although I see more than my fair share of live gigs, there are plenty of times when all I want to do is simply to unwind and relax to music at home. On one of those recent nights that I did go out for live music, I saw Roger Sellers play at The Blackheart. He draws his sound from both ambient and folk elements. The performance I saw featured a full band, including members playing banjo and stand-up bass. I must admit I’m a sometimes reluctant fan of artists like Sellers. There has to be that certain hard to define quality in the songwriting to draw me in.

Still, I bought his 8 Songs record at the show. When I listened to it at home, I was caught a bit off guard by some of the ambient/electro songs as there weren’t any keyboards and synthesizers played at the show I saw. But they were what I needed to help me unwind, reach that dreamy state, and release myself from a stressful work day. There are songs such as Consequential Ending and Close that deftly combine both musical worlds into a satisfying listen. You can catch his next show on June 20 at The Mohawk with Jack Wilson (for his album release) and The Preservation.

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Quickdraw: Chvrches, TV Girl, Smith Westerns, Pure Bathing Culture, Shark Week

May 28, 2013

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Today’s music ain’t got no time for that.  Enjoy.

:Chvrches – Gun:  I’m not sure this if is a better single than Recover or The Mother We Share, but it’s certainly dancier than those two songs combined.  Try not to pull anything, OK?  Chvrches are all set to release the Gun single on July 15 via Virgin/Goodbye.

:TV Girl – She Smokes In Bed:  While browsing the web completely hungover and thinking I might die, I came across this new song from TV Girl.  It made things better.  They’re such a good pop act.  The band will put out the Lonely Woman EP on June 18 via their Bandcamp page.

:Smith Westerns – 3AM Spiritual:  As is always the case with the Smith Westerns, this is a song with a really pretty sound.  I recommend headphones just so you can hear all of its glorious little details.  Soft Will is all set to be released on June 25 through Mom + Pop.

:Pure Bathing Culture – Pendulum:  I wasn’t exactly a fan of this track when I first gave it a listen, but it’s grown on me as I’ve spent more time with it.  Just took me a bit to appreciate how well crafted it is, I suppose.  Moon Tides is due out August 20 via Partisan.

:Shark Week – Go West:  Here’s a new single from a band that played SOTO’s SXSW day party, DC VS Austin.  It’s got a spaghetti western thing going on that I really dig.  The band is set to put out the Santurce 7″ on July 30 via Analog Edition Records.

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Movie Breakdown: Before Midnight

May 23, 2013

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People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing lead us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

18 years ago Richard Linklater teamed up with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy for a beloved little film called Before Sunrise.  In 2004 the trio rejoined for the sequel, Before Sunset, and now they’re back once more (for the last time?) with Before Midnight.  Romantics everywhere can barely contain themselves.

The Reality:

As a big fan of the previous two films, I will say that I adored Before Midnight.  Watching Jesse and Celine interact on the screen again was a thoroughly lovely experience, and I spent much of the film feeling as though I was being given the chance to catch up on the lives of two good friends.  It was sort of odd, to be honest.  How many films have characters like that?  Have I really been committed to their fictitious lives for 18 years?  Calling it fascinating would probably be an understatement.

In any case, Before Midnight is great, and you should go see it.  Just make sure you’ve caught the first two entries, though, or you’ll probably have a bad time.

The Lesson:

Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy can do no wrong together.

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Movie Breakdown: Fast And Furious 6

May 23, 2013

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People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing lead us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

The Fast & Furious franchise gains a sixth entry.   “Vehicular warfare” is expected.

The Reality:

If you were hoping that Fast & Furious 6 would be terrible and ruin the world’s enthusiasm for the series, then you can go ahead and slap on a frown and return to your dark room full of indie dramas.  The movie is a straight up onslaught of blockbuster-level escapism that will delight all of your senses.  I can’t quite figure out how director Justin Lin keeps making these films bigger and better, but he does, and it’s hard to not be impressed.

By the way, the Fast & Furious series has managed to build up a sizable amount of canon. So, don’t bother if you haven’t seen the previous five films.  You’d just be lost.  Granted, the flashy action scenes would still dazzle you, but the characters and plot wouldn’t make any sense whatsoever.

The Lesson:

This series still has plenty of gas.

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Diarrhea Planet

May 23, 2013

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Diarrhea Planet!  Yes, so many things can be said about their totally cute name, but let’s skip all of that and instead make sure we’re all aware that they’re a talented group.  Because they are.  The band will release I’m Rich Beyond Your Dreams later this summer on Infinity Cat Recordings.  If you’re in Austin, catch them at the Parish on August 1.  Enjoy.

:Diarrhea Planet – Separations:  “You can’t fuck with me!”  What an anthem.  I’ve been wanting to avoid the heat of the summer, but this song makes me want to embrace it.  Crank the volume when you listen, friends.

Bonus Video:

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Movie Breakdown: A Band Called Death (Noah)

May 22, 2013

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People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing lead us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

When Drag City released Death’s cobbled together album For The Whole World To See it was a revelation in terms of early punk. Nothing that sounded like this had really been discovered and the fact that it was blasting out of the amps of a trio of black brothers from Detroit made it all the more exciting. A documentary chronicling the history of an album this awesome is sure to be awesome just because of its proximity to so much awesomeness. Right?

The Reality:

Turns out that sometimes a good album comes from a really simple, pretty boring story. In the 70s, three brothers from a slightly musical family decided that they wanted to make music. One of the brothers was a bit of a savant, started blasting some pretty weird shit, and voila a band popped out. Unfortunately that band was called Death and no one in their right mind wanted to attempt to change the face of music with a punk trio, before the word even existed, from Detroit. Bad things happen, the music disappears, someone finds the music, the band gets big again, blah blah blah blah. It’s a great story, a story that’s defined a million musical rediscoveries (especially as of late) and one that seemingly every musical documentary in the last five years has hit upon. I’m not saying that A Band Called Death isn’t a heartfelt tale of three dudes making good on their abilities as musicians (though I can’t say that ending up as a reggae band counts as “making good”…), but it’s really just that. Call this film a victim of enormous expectations, but we’ve seen a lot at this point in the history of the music documentary and, well, I think I was just expecting to see more.

The Lesson:

Elijah Wood is, if this movie tells the truth, as musically respectful as Henry Rollins, Jello Biafra, and ?Love. Somebody close my mouth, there’s flies getting in it.

A Band Called Death is available now on VOD.

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Movie Breakdown: Fast And Furious 6 (Noah)

May 22, 2013

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People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing lead us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

I fucking loved Fast Five. From the first train heist to the a bunch of cars dragging a safe down the street, the movie popped and I was smitten. If Justin Lin just recorded that film on to a bunch of VHS tapes and that’s what I saw in the cinema this evening, I’d probably be happy. Instead I can look forward to tanks and airplanes and fast cars that make other fast cars explode. Giggle!

The Reality:

Yup, awesome. Okay sure, the film drags in the middle, while Justin Lin is cutting a machete path of exposition so he can set up the last 40 minutes as one enormous action sequence. And yes, the dialogue is stilted “ghetto tough-guy” speech that falls flat almost every time Tyrese talks (well it fell flat to my ears, the audience I was lucky enough to be squished in to laughed at every line and jumped at every big surprise). And yes Michelle Rodriguez is no longer a successful actor for good reason. And yes, and yes, and yes … and if you really wanted to you could sit here and pick apart all the different parts of Fast And Furious 6 that don’t work whatsoever and the movie will collapse with your infernal meddling. Or you can do what I did tonight, which is sit down, possibly drunk, and open your mind to the fucking 6th installment in a series that has starred Paul Walker (the poor, stupid man’s Matthew McConaughey) and Vin Diesel (the poor man’s cinder block) for almost 15 years that has, somehow beyond all expectations, gotten bigger and better with every new twist and turn. Justin Lin has managed to take a pretty podunk little action franchise and turned it into a swirling, twirling world of car-thieves, hulking cops, familial bad guys, and international bandits. There were characters in this film from other Fast And Furious films that I had no idea even existed, but you could feel that Lin was pulling from his world, doubling back to thicken up what he’d already created. An action franchise actually remembering what came before? Fucking novel! But seriously, aside from all the story work and the character building and so on and so forth this is a movie about cars exploding and driving fast and it delivers in spades. Every crash in this film feels like it’s happening in your lap and every one involves four other cars and a building. This is, as Ludacris so aptly says in the film, “vehicular warfare” and it’s amazing.

The Lesson:

If you are paying to see the sixth film in the Fast And Furious franchise and you don’t know what you’re getting in to … you are dumb.

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Shannon And The Clams (Noah)

May 22, 2013

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A few amazing things about Shannon And The Clams:

1. The name. C’mon, admit it to yourself right here and now: Shannon And The Clams is one of the greatest band names you’ve ever heard. Somehow reminiscent of the doo-wop past that this fantastic band so gleefully fucks with, and somehow sort of crass and vaginal all at the same time. You could give a Shannon And The Clams album to your 50s music loving mammy and she’d probably actually give it a listen, but then when Shannon started belting about drinking and fucking she’d probably toss that shit right out the window. Oh mammy, when will you ever learn?

2. The sound. I’ve written about Shannon And The Clams many a times before and I can never get past the idea that Shannon And The Clams sound like the aftermath of a musical breakdown. This isn’t the glory days of a late-50s doo-wop band when the drugs are flowing and every party is full of half-naked women and maybe you buy a tiger just to have one. Oh no, this is post-drugs/naked people/tigers, this is when the money has dried up, your manager has run away with your girl, and your scraping the black carpet for just another taste of that sweet sweet dragon. Maybe you pick up a guitar and stumble in to the sound booth the repo-man didn’t take and lay down this shit and after it’s done you feel a little bit clearer. At least enough to make your self a quesadilla and think about where you’re going to find money for cigarettes.

3. Shannon. For a while the titular Shannon was a pretty regular fixture of the live music scene in San Francisco. She’s a big, beautiful woman, all died blonde hair and cleavage and the first time I ever visited this city (the first time I didn’t black out due to extensive emotional damage that is) I literally ran in to her on the street. Her mascara had run down her eyes and her hair was this big tousled bun and she was sweaty like only a live performer can be after giving it her all for forty minutes and I sort of stared and, at least in my mind, she said something like, “Go fuck yourself” and then kept moving on down the street, a shining bit of diva in an otherwise dark night. Take that and make it sonic, and that’s what Shannon is for her companionable Clams (i.e. fucking amazing).

Be happy that someone is smart enough to keep giving this band the time and money to make more bundles of amazing. Be happy, or Shannon is going to come and get you.

:Shannon And The Clams – Rip Van Winkle:

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The Gorgeous Hands, Silver Ships (Jennifer)

May 22, 2013

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About a year ago there was an Austin band called The Magnificent Snails. I had seen them once or twice before and liked enough of what I heard to try and keep up with their shows . By chance, I saw their final appearance as The Magnificent Snails when they unveiled their new identity as The Gorgeous Hands. Following the release of last summer’s debut single, the band recently put out their full length debut album Tender.  The LP is bursting at the seams with pop/rock guitar hooks, layers of rich harmonies, and infectious melodies that will have you singing along way before you even get to the final track. Generator is the first single off the album and it has received an affectionate, yet humorous video treatment from director Marc Brown.

They’re kicking off their Forever Starts Tomorrow tour on June 7 at Swan Dive and then wrapping it with a homecoming gig on June 22 at Frank. Their live show is just as fun and infectious as their album. I can say with confidence that Tender is on my list of 2013 favorites; that’s a 2 dorky thumbs up and a big grin on my face rating.

Silver Ships is the concept of songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Chazz Bessette. He lists notable influences such as Harry Nilsson, The Band, and The Beatles in his brand of melodic folk rock with hints of psychedelia. They’re hosting a free tour return party this Friday at The Blackheart with We Leave At Midnight and Slowtrain. A debut album is currently in the works; the band is launching a Kickstarter next month to fund its completion and release. In the meantime, you can listen to an album preview on Bandcamp. Their sound is at times both sunny and melancholic. Keep your eyes and ears open in the coming months for more from this band.

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Crocodiles

May 21, 2013

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In some positive, non-awful tornado news, Crocodiles have put together a follow-up to last year’s Endlesss Flowers.  Sune Rose Wagner (of the Raveonettes) produced the LP, which is titled Crimes Of Passion, and the band will release it on August 20 via Frenchkiss.  Enjoy.

:Crocodiles – Cockroach:  I don’t know if it’s the touch of Sune Rose Wagner or if the Crocodiles have just done some growing up, but this is one finely tuned pop song.  Be ready for it to be stuck in your head for a while.

Bonus Video:

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Quickdraw: Big Deal, Honeymoon, GRMLN, Boyfrndz, Camera Obscura

May 20, 2013

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Today’s music is willing and ready.  Enjoy.

:Big Deal – Dream Machines:  If you don’t have Big Deal’s upcoming album on your “anticipated” list, then you need to whip out your pen and scribble it in.  So far in 2013 they’ve released three stellar singles, and I can’t wait to check out what else they’ve crafted.  June Gloom is due on June 4 via Mute.

:Honeymoon – Sure Stuck:  Here’s a new act that was created by Aaron Shanahan and Benjamin Plant.  The pair of producers apparently wanted to do something that reflected their love of 60/70s psych pop, and I think they nailed it.  A full length is expected out at some point in the summer.

:GRMLN – Do You Know How It Feels?:  I haven’t spent a ton of time listening to the Yoodoo Park-lead GRMLN, but this catchy bit of 90s-enthused indie rock makes me want to.  So, maybe I will.  Empire will be available on June 4 through Carpark Records.

:Boyfrndz – Water Weight:  I’ve liked Austin’s Boyfrndz for a while, but I think this is the first time they’ve really impressed me.  This is a great track with a big, adventurous sound.  Natures is due on July 16th via Boyfrndz Records.

:Camera Obscura – Fifth In Line To The Throne:  It’s unlikely that I’ll ever tire of how impeccable Camera Obscura always sound.  I mean, just listen to this!  The damn thing is stunningly beautiful from beginning to end.  The band will release Desire Lines on June 4 via 4AD.

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