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Guest Mix: Chad Swiatecki

April 17, 2015

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Here’s a guest mix from the one and only Chad Swiatecki!  He routinely writes for much fancier sites/publications/things than this one, so I have no idea why he agreed to do this post. It’s rad to have him though!  Follow him on Twitter and then dive into his Sleater-Kinney-themed post.  Enjoy.

For a while it felt like there were cosmic forces conspiring to keep me from seeing Sleater-Kinney in concert, despite being a super-duper fanboy since Dig Me Out in 1997. Through a totally “WTF?” combination of work, family and truly odd life circumstances while I was still living in Michigan, I missed them every time they came through Detroit, and then when they called it quits in 2006 or so it looked like I’d lost one to the history books.

Now reformed and touring behind the very worthy No Cities To Love, I wasn’t going to miss them this time around and their taping of Austin City Limits on Wednesday night became one of my most anticipated concert nights in years. Since I’d had such a limited perspective on the band (only recordings, no live exposure) I figured it’d be interesting to muse on some of my favorite SK songs from the set, and see if my appreciation for those songs changed much after finally scratching my 18-year itch.

Price Tag

If I’m being honest, No Cities To Love hits me as a perfectly fine SK album but feels a bit too measured than I’d like after a decade or so out of the studio. Part of that is these three women are now in their 40s and way removed from the twentysomething fury and passion that made Call The Doctor and Dig Me Out such raw nerve classics. Lots of the band’s signature touches are here – intertwined guitar tension, Janet Weiss’ sledgehammer drumming, Corin Tucker’s yelp-through-an-ambulance-siren-speaker vocals – but, I dunno, this single never grabbed like I’d hoped.

Ironclad

Here’s my sweet spot for the band, where they started to tap into the Zeppelin-level power of 2005’s The Woods. This is a song that has gained a lot from the trio’s later material because live it had even more bottom and force and rolled like a goddamn panzer tank. If you want proof that Sleater-Kinney has not mellowed one bit in their time away, go no further than Ironclad. It’ll knock the wind out of you.

Get Up

Talking about the band feeling too measured on their new album feels like a minor gripe compared to the initial reaction in 1999 when the band dropped this, the first single from The Hot Rock. The precise and restrained guitar work of those songs felt like an affront, as if Tucker and Carrie Brownstein had locked themselves in a room with nothing but their Television records for a few months. History has been kind to this period for the band – The Hot Rock is one of their most accomplished records – and live on Wednesday night Get Up felt far more fleshed out and personal than its recorded counterpart, which was a welcome accomplishment.

Words And Guitar

The band’s earliest material reflected their youth and limited songwriting chops – trading mostly on angst and vigor – and were typically over in a blur of two verses, two choruses and not much else. Words And Guitar, all two minutes and 20 seconds of it, is very much from that school but also shows the footsteps that led them to much more sophisticated compositions (at least as sophisticated as two guitars and a drum set can get). There’s some nice Pixies-ish quiet/loud vocal work, Brownstein developing into a singular guitar talent and the plainly weird move of kicking off the song with its chorus. It’s a quick but deceptively advanced bit of punk songwriting acumen that’s easy to overlook.

Entertain

From the period when it wasn’t unreasonable to think that Janet Weiss had conducted a séance and summoned John Bonham’s spirit into her body. Because, holy moly, this song was a beast on record 10 years ago and hasn’t let up one bit in the intervening years. One weird note; over the course of an hour-plus on Wednesday the women of Sleater-Kinney delivered a righteous rock show that hit on all cylinders and somehow didn’t break a sweat the entire time. No idea how that’s possible, but I was front row stage right and saw them remain composed and unmussed the entire way.

I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone

Here’s something to chew on: 19 years on from Call The Doctor, Sleater-Kinney is as removed from its punk beginnings as The Ramones were when Tucker first sang about wanting to be her generation’s Joey Ramone. That’s not exactly as jarring as a 71-year-old Roger Daltrey singing about wanting to die before he gets old on The Who’s 50th anniversary tour this year, but it’s a definite reminder that time marches on. The vocal shrieks and bellows from Tucker and Brownstein that first set this song apart don’t have the same hair-on-fire urgency they once did, but one of the band’s signature songs still stands up tall as one of its best.

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Guest Mix: Night Drive

April 17, 2015

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Today I have a Guest Mix from Rodney Connell and Brandon Duhon of Night Drive!  The self described “future wave” duo have really become a favorite of mine over the last year or so, and I’m looking forward to seeing them play the Red Bull Sound Select showcase tonight with Roger Sellers and Robert DeLong.

Full disclosure: I work for Red Bull Sound Select.


Welcome to the first edition of The Night Drive Music Awards!

And the winners are:

The “John Carpenter” Award:
Steve Moore – Enhanced Humanoid

 The “Great Band/Terrible Band Name” Award:
Fuck Art, Let’s Dance – Atlas

The “Best Fortune Teller” Award:
Rey Pila – Alexander

The “Coolest Toy In A Video” Award:
Anoraak – Behind Your Shades

The “Best Modern Italo” Award:
Cinnamon Chasers – Dove
(to be fair, this was a tie between several artists, but we had to pick one)

The “Always Seems To Find Its Way Into Our DJ Set” Award:
Rory Philips – Solar Breakfast

The “Best New/Old Find” Award:
Sin Cos Tan – Trust

The “Most Manchester” Award:
Crocodiles – Crybaby Demon

The “Wonderfully Weird” Award:
Yeasayer – Damaged Goods

Thanks for attending our award ceremony. See you next time.

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Quickdraw: Empress Of, Rose Windows, The Mary Onettes, Girlpool, The Tallest Man On Earth

April 16, 2015

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Empress Of – Water Water:  Lorely Rodriguez (aka Empress Of) has readied her debut LP.  I don’t know if this is an “official” single or just a promise of what’s to come, but I like it.  She has moments where she sounds like Bjork.  Look for the album later this year via Terrible Records.

:Rose Windows – Strip Mall Babylon:  Bad news!  Rose Windows just called it quits.  Good news!  They’re still going to follow through with the release of their new album.  As for this song, it’s slinky, loud and weird.  Expect to dig it.  The band’s self titled album is due out May 4 via Sub Pop.

:The Mary Onettes – Ruins (Featuring Maria Usbeck):  Here’s one from The Mary Onettes that was originally crafted as an instrumental track for a Swedish film.  I think it’s beautiful.  Kudos to the band for deciding it needed some vocals.  The Ruins single is currently available via Cascine.

:Girlpool – Before The World Was Big:  Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad are a clever pair of ladies, and I’m a big fan of what they’re doing together as Girlpool.  This may be their best song yet.  Before The World Was Big is due out June 2 via Wichita Recordings.

:The Tallest Man On Earth – Dark Bird Is Home:  I didn’t much care for the first song that was released off of the upcoming album from The Tallest Man On Earth, but this one works for me.  I love the guitar-work a lot, and (of course) Kristian Matsson’s voice is terrific.  Dark Bird Is Home is due out May 12 via Dead Oceans.

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The Rite Flyers (Jennifer)

April 15, 2015

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Led by John Clayton and Steve Collier, Austin’s power pop quartet The Rite Flyers are back with a new album, Electromode, which will be released this weekend on Record Store Day.  Songs like Postcards highlight their signature sound of jangly, crunchy guitar riffs and soaring harmonies.

You can beat the Record Store Day crowds and pick up a copy of their album at the release party this Friday at The ABGB with Li’l Cap’n Travis. You can also catch them do an in-store set at Waterloo Records on April 24. As a longtime fan, I can hardly wait to hear their first full length album since their self titled 2004 debut. Cheers to new tunes in the springtime!

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The Bolos (Dan)

April 15, 2015

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The Bolos are my latest and favorite Texas garage rock discovery. The San Antonians play a style that includes a blend of psych, punk, and the blues. There’s even a dash of outlaw country in their sound and their we-don’t-give-a-fuck-attitude.

The self-described “booze blues” band recently joined an amazing lineup at Burger Records’ post-SXSW party, Hangover Fest III. Having established themselves as one of the best bands in San Antonio, it was no surprise The Bolos were asked to perform alongside such groups as Thee Oh Sees, Jeff the Brotherhood, and the inimitable Diarrhea Planet.

The Bolos recently released a fantastic new EP, Mercy, and it’s available at Bandcamp along with their debut record. You get to name your price so go download both releases and check these guys out!

:The Bolos – Sugar Hands:
:The Bolos – Disowned:

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Ratatat

April 14, 2015

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Whether you love or hate the mighty beast that is Coachella, you have to at least be a little excited that Ratatat just used the festival as an excuse to release a new song.  The assumption at this point is that it’s off their yet to be announced fifth full length – which might be titled LP5 – that may get released later this year.  Or perhaps that’s all a big pile of bologna.  Who knows.  All I can say for sure is that the track is groovy as hell.  Enjoy.

:Ratatat – Cream On Chrome:

Bonus Video:

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Quickdraw: Icky Blossoms, Guantanamo Baywatch, BLXPLTN, Sweet John Bloom, Braid

April 13, 2015

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Icky Blossoms – Living in Fiction:  I’ve fully gone from shrugging my shoulders at Icky Blossoms to being rather excited for their sophomore LP.  The new stuff just has a rad kick to it.  Mask is due out May 12 via Saddle Creek.

:Guantanamo Baywatch – Do What You Want:  Everything about Guantanamo Baywatch is gloriously retro (think these words in particular – surf, soul, garage), and I really dig it.  I’ll be surprised if I don’t end up adoring their new album.  Darling … It’s Too Late is due out May 12 via Suicide Squeeze.

:BLXPLTN – Auf Wiedersehen:  This song is BLXPLTN’s “tribute to those whose lives were innocently taken by the police force.”  Gotta love a strong message like that, right?  The Austin-based act’s sophomore album will be out later this year.

:Sweet John Bloom – Moving Target:  I came across this energetic slice of indie rock while digging around in my inbox this weekend.  It’s good enough to make Sweet John Bloom a name worth noting.  Weird Prayer will be out later this year via Tiny Engines.

:Braid – Kids Get Grids:  Here’s the latest solid track to slip out of Braid’s comeback campaign.  I think the reemerged emo scene needs vets like them, so hopefully they’ll keep churning out new stuff.  The Kids Get Grids 7″ is due out on Record Store Day.

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Sad Bastard Music: April Showers Of Tears (John Gross)

April 10, 2015

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The open bars and potentially killer apps of SXSW have left us and as a result we’re stuck with a strange lonely liquid on our faces for the month of April.

As you know by now – my favorite songs are the saddest ones and while there are a million subjective subgenres within that criteria of music, there is nothing as tried and true as a protagonist straight up talking about sobbing. Bonus points for getting it on the microphone and pressing it to tape!

The infinite sadness of music that hits our ear holes all stems from the tear ducts in our eye holes. But that’s not always the “coolest” thing to talk about so … sometimes it’s just … you know … “raindrops.” But as Flight of the Conchords explain: “These aren’t tears of sadness because you’re leaving me, I’ve just been cutting onions, I’m making a lasagna for one.” Always a classic go-to line.

:Smokey Robinson And The Miracles – The Tears Of A Clown:  This is one of my all time favorite songs. Smokey Robinson was one of the first Motown employees ever as a songwriter and is a certified legend. Here, he evokes the clown Pagliacci and paints the picture of a guy who is smiling on the outside and frowning on the inside. He had used this comparison before with the line “just like Pagliacci did/I’ll try to keep my sadness hid” that appears in the song My Smile Is Just A Frown (Turned Upside Down), which he wrote three years earlier for fellow Motown artist Carolyn Crawford. Fun fact: little Stevie Wonder co-wrote this song and it can always make me get up and dance.

:James Intveld – Teardrops Are Falling:  This is the guy who was the singing voice of Johnny Depp in John Waters’ Cry Baby. He got weaseled out of being in the theatrical credits … but this is him. JAMES INTVELD!

:Del Shannon – Cry Myself To Sleep:

“The party’s over and I’d like to be alone

‘Cause when I see her I just have to weep

I’m gonna cry myself to sleep

Cry ya-ya-ya…”

:The Everly Brothers – Crying In The Rain:  Hide the tears in the stormy weather, it’s not like there is any sunshine anyway.

:Anne Peebles – I Can’t Stand The Rain:  Before Missy Elliot got her freak on with this, Peebles delivered this monster sad bastard hit in 1973. The line “Alone with the pillow, Where his head used to lay” gets amplified when the rain hits the window panes, and rain is you know … sorta like the gal upstairs in the clouds weeping.

:Magnetic Fields – Bitter TearsThis one is Merritt preaching it right.

“cry because it looks so good

I cry, why not, it’s free

And there’s nothing more interesting

Than crying constantly

And as I tell everyone

Crying all the time is fun”

:Flight Of The Conchords – I’m Not Crying:  Modern day gospel from New Zealand’s fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy-folk duo!

“I’m not crying, it’s just been raining on my face

And if you think you see some tear tracks down my cheeks

Please, please don’t tell my mates”

There are SO many more sad songs about weeping.  the internet isn’t big enough!  Thanks for reading!

****

If you want more sad bastard music and want handcrafted cocktails made for you while you listen- come to NO DANCING: Sad Bastard Music on Tuesday, April 14 in Austin at the Volstead Lounge. I’ll have plenty of Kleenex.

Goodbye.

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Stream This

April 10, 2015

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From the depths of the SOTO inbox, I present to you your weekly serving of the latest and greatest album streams and videos.  Enjoy.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Please note that the majority of the streams expire as soon as the albums are released, so don’t wait too long to check them out.

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Bop English – Constant Bop

Lowin – Royal Jelly EP
Wire – Self Titled
Calexico – Edge Of The Sun
Kathryn Calder – Self Titled
John Andrews And The Yawn – Bit By The Fang
Moon King – Secret Life
UnWed – Raise The Kids
Ava Luna – Infinite House
Alexei Shishkin – The Dog Tape
Chris Farren – Where U Are EP
Suuns And Jerusalem In My Heart – Self Titled
Avid Dancer – 1st Bath
Telepathic – Powers Of Ten EP
Cold Mallman – Everything Aflutter
Darkness Falls – Dance And Cry

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
Lightning Bolt

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White Reaper

April 9, 2015

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Kentucky’s White Reaper have announced that they’ve readied a full length follow-up to the excellent EP that they released last year.  If you ask me, I think the band is essentially the epitome of infectious, and I really can’t wait to spin their debut album a good zillion times.  Below you’ll find their raucous new single.  Enjoy.

:White Reaper – Make Me Wanna Die:

White Reaper Does It Again is due out July 17 via Polyvinyl.

Bonus Video:

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Drug Cabin (Noah)

April 8, 2015

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As of late, I’ve been skating on the thin ice of becoming an aged hipster who no longer wanted to indulge in new bands. I was happy with my reissued, obscure soul records, and my spirited defense of bands from the 90s that nobody, not a single person, gives a shit about. New music had synths, new music had people looking like the lead singer of the Two Princes guys, new music was a gaping, coked-out hole, that I wanted in no part to start futzing around in. In the last few months though, I’ve either thrown off the shackles of my mid-life crisis (or whatever you call it when you’re 33 and suddenly struck by the fact that you no longer like anything or anyone and want to move to the mountains and read esoteric essays about Juggalos and cry) or music has just been awfully excellent lately, because I find myself day-in-and-day-out actually indulging whole albums by new artists. And before you stop reading because, as John calls it, I’m “rambling” let’s get to one of those new artists – Drug Cabin.

I’m breaking the mold here and writing about an LA-based musical group, but these guys are particularly excellent and San Francisco is struggling through some sort of post-garage rock morose and hasn’t put out a band I truly love since 2009. That said, Drug Cabin, oh Drug Cabin is like if Devendra Barnhart sat down one sunny afternoon and decided to just mellow out a little bit with all the crazy, all the Natalie Portman, all the long hair and weird ribbons tied into it. It’s got that twang of surreality though, right there in the cracks between the sort of Steely Dan guitar licks and smoothed out vocals, but the boys of Drug Cabin reign it in a little bit, so instead of just losing ourselves in a fog of silly, the listener can sort of lay out on the beach blanket of sonic cool and relax. It’s like an earnest amount of psychedelia, like your buddy who does mushrooms but doesn’t want to go galavanting around the woods with his dick out, he just wants to sit on a roof and watch the sun set and talk about undercover cops and how when you’re high sometimes it’s like every thought you have is being typed by a typewriter. Well, that said, Drug Cabin – really good stuff.

:Drug Cabin – Beverly Glen:

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Gentlemen Rogues (Jennifer)

April 8, 2015

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Locals Gentlemen Rogues are back with a new EP, A History So Repeating. The band has plenty of crunchy guitar riffs, sharp yet melodic hooks and self deprecating lyrics for all, and they should resonate with those of you who enjoy power pop and punk with a heavy Anglophile-lean (influences include The Jam and The Clash, but also unexpected ones like Erasure – there’s a guitar-driven cover of A Little Respect on the EP).  Definitely check out Gentleman Rogue’s latest release for a good dose of infectious, singalong-worthy, fist-pumping anthems that contain elements of both regret and romance.

The band will be celebrating the new EP with a release party this Friday at Holy Mountain with Closet Drama, Broken Gold, and Vinyl. If you can’t pick up a copy of the release at the show, you can order one from End Sounds, Amazon, or iTunes. I can’t think of a better local gig to kick off your weekend.

:Gentlemen Rogues – Mocking Love Out Of Nothing At All:

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Desaparecidos

April 7, 2015

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I was really hoping that Desaparecidos would stay reunited for a while, so I more than love that the Conor Oberst-led act have signed to Epitaph and will be releasing a sophomore album (just a mere 13 years after their debut).  Not only are they a fierce, politically-charged act, but their continued existence means we all get an even bigger (and much needed) break from Oberst’s recent string of really boring country/folk albums.  Sweet, right?  In this post you’ll find the LP’s first single.  It features Cursive’s Tim Kasher and deserves to be played at a loud volume.  Enjoy.

:Desaparecidos – City On The Hill:

Payola is due out June 23 via Epitaph.

Bonus Video:

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Quickdraw: Bop English, Tame Impala, Annabel, Speedy Ortiz, Part Time

April 6, 2015

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Bop English – Struck Matches:  Of the three singles that have been released off of the debut LP from Bop English (James Petralli of White Denim), this one is my favorite.  I love the way it moves.  Constant Bop is due out April 21 via Downtown Records.

:Tame Impala – ‘Cause I’m A Man:  Over the weekend Tame Impala officially announced a new album and released this “official” single.  It’s a psychedelic slow burner that’s worth all your attention.  Currents will be out later this year via Interscope.

:Annabel – Everything:  Overall, the return of emo continues to somewhat baffle me, but I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t like some of what’s come out of the genre’s comeback.  For instance, this Annabel track, which feels super genuine and is just about perfect.  Having It All is expected to be released in May via Tiny Engines.

:Speedy Ortiz – Puffer:  If you’ve been wanting to hear something different from Speedy Ortiz, then you should give this song a listen.  It’s less of an off-kilter anthem and more of an alt-rock crawler.  Foil Deer will be released on April 21 via Carpark.

:Part Time – Fallin’ 4 U:  This lo-fi pop tune from Part Time is so great.  For whatever reason I find it to be rather whimsical, and then there’s the way that I have yet to be able to get it out of my head.  Virgo’s Maze is due out May 19 via Burger Records.

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Stream This

April 3, 2015

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From the depths of the SOTO inbox, I present to you your weekly serving of the latest and greatest album streams and videos.  Enjoy.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Please note that the majority of the streams expire as soon as the albums are released, so don’t wait too long to check them out.

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Toro Y Moi – What For?

Fred Thomas – All Are Saved
The Mountain Goats – Beat The Champ
Waxahatchee – Ivy Tripp
Jessie Baylin – Dark Place
Waters – What’s Real
Weed – Running Back
Young Fathers – White Men Are Black Too
American Wrestlers – Self Titled
Drenge – Undertow
Nudity – Astronomicon
Lord Huron – Strange Trails
Doldrums – The Air Conditioned Nightmare
Long Knives – This Is Your Life EP
Elsa – Never Come Down EP
Tei Shi – Verde
Temple Invisible – Enter EP
Shana Falana – Set Your Lightning Fire Free
This Is The Kit – Bashed Out

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
Blur

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