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Sad Bastard Music: April. Blah. (John Gross)

April 18, 2014

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Howdy. Thanks for looking at these words on your computer screen. Pour yourself some whisky and crack open a fresh box of Kleenex and let’s get you set up with the latest installment of your monthly soundtrack for melancholy. Blah.  If you like what you hear here, be sure to “like” dancing on the facebooks HERE.

APRIL BLAH. MIX.

:Weezer – Tired of Sex:  That distortion, dude. That fuzzy bass, dude. That picture of a post Blue Album Rivers Cuomo swinging yet empty lifestyle. Dude. He’s stretched thin, apologetic, guilty and has a full dance card of ladies. But maybe, just maybe there’s more to life than that. This was the first song on Weezer’s final album, Pinkerton.

:The Mountain Goats – The Mess Inside:  Is it possible to pick a favorite song from the Mountain Goats’ seminal 2002 album All Hail West Texas? That’s a loaded question. For a variety of deeply personal reasons I can make an argument for this being not only my favorite track on the album but also one of my top Mountain Goats songs period. An emotional photo album, an emotional map of the United States, and a trademark simple chord progression can make hearts pop. It all lands home to me.  The protagonist’s memories of an untidy and tragically doomed relationship cut deep here. May we all find the creeping sense of dread with temporal things when we’re ready.

:The Shangri-Las – Remember (Walkin In The Sand):  The pleading of “Oh, no, oh, no. Oh, no, no, no, no, no.” and the seagull noises are about as perfect of a sad mid-60s girl group combination that can possibly exist. The hand claps, the finger snaps and the snapshot of being a teenage girl who had access to the beaches of New York resonated with America and made the song HUGE for the gals, but not as huge as their anthem for the dead motorcycle-riding greaser boyfriend track Leader of the Pack. Find a Best Of The Shangri-Las CD in a used bin somewhere and devour it. Or just play it on the jukebox at The Shangri-La here in Austin.

:The Fleetwoods – Mr. Blue:  This was a number one Billboard hit in 1959 and it’s still a blissfully sad and tender song. . Yes, America loves a good song about a nice young man who just wants a call from his dream gal. She’s out painting the town red and he’s at home painting the town blue. The whimpering horn is nice and sad but this song is really extenuated by the backup harmonies. (wah-a-wah-ooh)

:Sam Cooke – That’s It, I Quit, I’m Moving On:  Why would anyone be two hours late for a date with Sam Cooke? For shame. Sam’s got some decent relationship empowerment here because he’s not going to stand for for his baby doing wrong, but it’s still a bummer that his main squeeze is running around on him. That’s not fair. Poor Sam Cooke.

:Pairote – Tee Makhuea Pok (Your Cheatin Heart): You know the essential 1952 Hank Williams country standard Your Cheating Heart, right? Well, Here’s an amazingly groovy 60s cover version of it from Thailand. Boom.

:The Magnetic Fields – Very Funny:  This song gets in, paints a portrait of a cuckold, and gets out in under a minute half making it a true achievement amongst the Magnetic Fields famed 69 Love Songs. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again Stephin Raymond Merritt is a living legend among men.

SONG OF THE MONTH:

Angel Olsen’s latest Jagjaguwar-released record Burn Your Fire For No Witness is full of neo-Roy Orbison somber mega-jams. One of the more upbeat tracks, Forgiven/Forgtotten, got a nice lil’ music video made for it seen here. The song has Olsen’s character coming to terms with the time she allegedly got wasted with an ex and the video achieves the imagery with kodacrome colors and hand scratched experimental film school aesthetics. As much as she’s working hard to move on from the relationship, there is still an element of unrequitedness where she continues to seek validation from the ex all combining to result in a poppy, perfect sad anthem for 2014. Go Angel Olsen, go!

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Stream This

April 18, 2014

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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

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Thee Oh Sees – Drop

Pink Mountaintops – Get Back
Eels – The Cautionary Tales Of Mark Oliver Everett
Floor – Oblation
Teen – The Way And Color
Kelis – Food
Various – Farewell Transmission: The Music Of Jason Molina
Death – Death III
Fear Of Men – Loom
Various – The Space Project
Nas – Illmatic XX
Future – Honest
Dances – Whiter Sands EP

MUSIC VIDEOS

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Quickdraw: Pujol, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Twin Shadow, A Sunny Day In Glasgow, Swans

April 17, 2014

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Pujol – Circles:  This will sound odd, but I’m actually relieved that the first couple of singles off of Pujol’s upcoming full length have failed to make me think it’s going to be much different than his last effort.  He churns out simple but catchy rock ‘n’ roll tunes, and I sincerely hope he never changes anything.  Saddle Creek will release Kludge on May 19.

:The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – EurydiceThe Pains Of Being Pure At Heart seem to have set aside a little bit of their shimmer in exchange for a more anthemic sound, and I’m really digging it.  I think it fits them well.  Days Of Abandon is due out on May 13 via Yebo Music.

:Twin Shadow – To The Top:  While I sort of feel like this song could be the title track for some schlocky Sylvester Stallone-lead 80s sports movie, I totally love it.  Here’s a question though, has Twin Shadow somehow warped himself into just being a guilty pleasure?  Details on a new album should be available soon.

:A Sunny Day In Glasgow – Crushin:  This relaxing number isn’t as much of an attention-grabber as A Sunny Day In Glasgow’s last single, but I do think it’s just as good.  Their upcoming album is now pretty high on my anticipated list.  Expect Sea When Absent to be released on June 24 via Lefse.

:Swans – Oxygen:  Like everything else that comes from the entity known as Swans, this song isn’t something you just casually play in the background.  If you dare hit play, be sure to strap in and get ready to focus.  Look for To Be Kind on May 13 Young God.

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Demitasse (Jennifer)

April 16, 2014

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Demitasse is a side project of San Antonio-based singer/songwriters Erik Sanden and Joe Reyes from Buttercup (a musical partnership that has stretched over a decade). Their very recently released debut is titled Blue Medicine, and it displays the more downbeat, acoustic side of their sound.

In a recent interview Erik said, “Joe and I just rounded a corner in our ability to sing together. We’re sounding more like one voice. To me, it feels like a breakthrough.” In a past blog post I described Erik and Joe’s songwriting as an “irresistible meeting of art and pop; they can be offbeat and quirky but they’re also accessible and relatable.”

The album title, Blue Medicine, reflects both the common loss of their fathers and using songwriting and recording as therapy. Both on the album and in live performances, their harmonies and melodies sit alongside one another but also join together for an emotional journey. There’s the awkward tension in Couples Therapy (“then you asked me/do you really want your tombstone to read/here lieth a monster … I don’t know … oh come on”).  The struggle to banish dark thoughts on The Power Of Positive Thinking (“I ask you please don’t kill the universe with all your dark thinking/oh please give a fuck”).  And a surreal take on willing to bare all – physically and emotionally – on I Remove My Penis (“I pull my insides out and lay them across the chair/I remove my penis too/so I can think/so I can concentrate”). Like the feeling after a good cry or even accepting the presence of grief and sadness, the songs on this album provide a healing catharsis and a sigh of relief. With the arrival of Blue Medicine, Demitasse carry on their mission to fight sadness with sadness. Sad songs never felt so good.

To celebrate the album release, you can catch Demitasse this Friday in San Antonio or on April 23 in Austin. I highly recommend these shows. Erik and Joe are two of the most engaging and endearing performers around. You may be listening to a bunch of sad songs, but I promise that you will leave a Demitasse show with a grin so big that your cheeks will hurt.

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Deleted Scenes (Dan)

April 16, 2014

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Did you get your taxes done on time? Perhaps you got an unexpected return and are looking for fun ways to spend your tax refund? Well then I have some suggestions for you.

Yesterday the beloved DC band Deleted Scenes released their third full length album and I’m hear to tell you, it’s phenomenal. Lithium Burn is the follow up to the much heralded Young People’s Church Of The Air and it marks yet another leap for the band. Trying to compared Deleted Scenes to other bands or accurately characterize their sound is near impossible. The group strives to expand their range not just on each album, but in each song. I guess the best description would be experimental art rock performed with brutal honesty and sincerity. Let’s just say this is not your usual indie pop rock.

Lead singer Dan Scheuerman’s lyrics have a confessional quality that gives each song a certain power and fire. He exposes his own fragility and self-doubt without reservation. Sometimes it’s alluring and moving like on You Get To Say Whatever You Want and sometimes it’s jarring like on Stutter. Either way the tracks will impact you like few bands today are capable of doing.

The new record also does a brilliant job of capturing the essence of a Deleted Scenes live performance. This is no easy feat and is a tribute to both the band and the album producers. The group has honed its craft over many years and countless shows and they have evolved into one of the tightest and most talented bands you’re likely to see.

So do yourself a favor and make your way down to Holy Mountain on Saturday night for the Deleted Scenes show with Royal Forest and Brass Bed. And while you’re there, treat yourself to a vinyl copy of Lithium Burn. I can’t think of a better way to spend that money from Uncle Sam.

:Deleted Scenes – You Get To Say Whatever You Want:

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Ought

April 15, 2014

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While Pitchfork’s use of the “Best New Track” label often makes me shrug my shoulders, that doesn’t mean I won’t toss some love their way when they get one as right as they did yesterday with Ought.  Hailing from Montreal, the band features a big voice from Tim Beeler and a sound that can swell on you at any moment.  You should very much expect to love the wildly interesting six minutes that await you below.  Enjoy.

:Ought – Habit:

More Than Any Other Day will be released on April 29 via Constellation.

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Quickdraw: Total Control, White Reaper, Antemasque, OBN IIIs, Lone

April 14, 2014

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Total Control – Flesh War:  For those of you that don’t know, Total Control is lead by Mikey Young (Eddie Current Suppression Ring) and Dan Stewart (UV Race).  This post-punk gem is off their upcoming LP, which will more than likely be rad.  Look for Typical System to be released on June 24 via Iron Lung Records.

:White Reaper – Half Bad:  Here’s a new one from Kentucky’s White Reaper, who recently joined the Polyvinyl roster.  It’s one of the better garage rock songs I’ve come across so far in 2014.  The band will release a self titled EP on June 24.

:Antemasque – People Forget:  The Mars Volta may be done, but Omar and Cedric haven’t given up on working with each other.  They’re now together as Antemasque, and they sound energized and inspired.  I most definitely approve.  No word yet on an official release.

:OBN IIIs – Worries:  If you weren’t already excited about the new OBN IIIs album, then this swagger-filled track should get you there.  Orville Bateman Neeley III and his pals just continue to be one of Austin’s best bands..  Third Time To Harm will arrive on May 27 via Tic Tac Totally.

:Lone – 2 Is 8:  I’m not at all familiar with Lone, but apparently he’s about to put out his fifth album.  Talk about missing the boat, right?.  At any rate, this laid back number makes for a soothing listen, and I like it a lot.  Reality Testing is expected out on June 17 via R&S Records.

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Stream This

April 11, 2014

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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

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Deleted Scenes – Lithium Burn

Woods – With Light And With Love
Megafauna – Maximalist
Horse Thief – Fear In Bliss
Wyrd Visions – Half-Eaten Guitar
Amps For Christ – Canyons Cars And Crows
Cloud Cult – Unplug
Slint – Spiderland (Remastered)
The Afghan Whigs – Do To The Beast
Plague Vendor – Free To Eat
Lockah – Yahoo Or The Highway
Odonis Odonis – Hard Boiled Soft Boiled
Kinky Love – Promise EP

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
Warpaint

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Mixtape: Where Are We Now?

April 11, 2014

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I’m not usually one to do any sort of listing that isn’t of the year-end kind, but I thought it would be fun if I started checking-in here and there throughout the year with a mix of tracks that I’m really loving at that point.  No rambling or anything like that, just a playlist that I hope you’ll use to revisit and/or discover some gems.  Enjoy.

PS – This is mix is just under 80 minutes long, which means you can put it on a CD (if you’re old like me, this is sometimes still important).

:Speedy Ortiz – American Horror:
:Tony Molina – Nowhere To Go:
:Cloud Nothings – I’m Not Part Of Me:
:Mikal Cronin – Soul In Motion:
:Ex Hex – Hot And Cold:
:Tokyo Police Club – Argentina (Parts I, II, III):
:A Sunny Day In Glasgow – In Love With Useless (The Timeless Geometry In The Tradition Of Passing):
:Pillar Point – Eyeballs:
:St. Vincent – Digital Witness:
:Son Lux – Easy (Switch Screens) (Featuring Lorde):
:Deleted Scenes – You Get To Say Whatever You Want:
:Solids – Traces:
:Dum Dum Girls – Rimbaud Eyes:
:Shannon And The Clams – Mama:
:Abram Shook – Coastal:
:The War On Drugs – Red Eyes:
:Dana Falconberry – Palmless:
:Mas Ysa – Shame:
:Tycho – Awake:

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Tune Yards

April 10, 2014

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In just under a month Merrill Garbus and her cohorts in Tune Yards will release the highly anticipated follow-up to 2011′s Who Kill.  The first single was an upbeat, refreshing number called Water Fountain, and now there’s a fancily produced pop ballad-like effort titled Wait For A Minute.  Neither are as raw or wild as what filled the last Tune Yards album, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.  As a person somewhere probably once said, a little polish never hurt anyone.  Enjoy.

:Tune Yards – Wait For A Minute:

Nikki Nack is due out May 5 via 4AD.

Bonus Video:

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Bridge Collapse (Noah)

April 9, 2014

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As sad as I am that Grass Widow is on an artistic hiatus, I can’t say that I’m not absolutely ecstatic about the crush of new/interesting/excellent tunes the ladies of GW have been cranking out. First it was Hannah Lew’s Cold Beat, then Lillian Marling’s Ruby Pins, and now Raven Mahon and Lew’s thrashy little gem Bridge Collapse, the second release on Lew’s new label Crime On The Moon.

What I find most satisfying about the releases flowing out of the disparate minds of the Grass Widow crew is that it feels like the band has surgically extricated itself from each other and over the course of their pseudo-break-up is crafting the pieces needed to stitch everything back together. You can feel the varied influences in Cold Beat and Ruby Pins, the guitars and drums, the vocal stylings that when, and if, pieced together might form some aspect of Grass Widow. Bridge Collapse adds yet another layer, as Mahon and Lew’s voices (aided by Rank/Xerox’s Jon Shade) bleed together to form a take on eerie and beautiful harmonies so often heard in Grass Widow. Here though, Lew and Mahon drop the vocal sounds on top of a churning, jagged pillow of guitar-fueled noise. It’s one part pretty, one part thrash, with each part a similar but different exploration of the Grass Widow sound. At the rate they’re dropping new bands and new releases, I might just have dedicate this entire column to the ladies of Grass Widow.

:Bridge Collapse – Wilderness:

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Reservations (Jennifer)

April 9, 2014

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Austin’s Reservations have recently been working on the follow up to their promising 2013 self titled EP. Fronted by singer/songwriter Jana Horn, the band has transitioned from its beginnings as a mostly acoustic folk/pop act to a fuller, richer sound thanks to the outstanding guitar work by Paul Price (Good Field), the intuitive drumming from Jason Baczynski (Tacks, the Boy Disaster), and Jana’s haunting and delicate dreamlike vocals.

There are two upcoming opportunities to check out their understated, yet powerful live performances – this Friday with Sarah Neufeld of Arcade Fire at Lambert’s BBQ and on April 18 at The Mohawk with Jack Wilson, The Loblolly Boy, and Jack Valen.

There’s no release date available for the album, but in the meantime enjoy a couple of album previews below that the band recorded for the online radio show The Sad Soup.

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Quickdraw: Sweet Spirit, Major Major Major, Megafauna, Equals, Slomo Drags

April 8, 2014

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Austin-based music!  Enjoy.

:Sweet Spirit – Let Me Be On Top:  Just after I finally managed to see the newly formed Sweet Spirit (lead by A Giant Dog’s Sabrina Ellis and Andrew Cashen) play live, a demo made its way to the public.  Coincidence?  Probably.  At any rate, I dig the song.  It’s a pretty nifty piece of pop.  No word yet on when an official release is coming.  This Saturday the band will perform at Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co.

:Major Major Major – God Doesn’t Want Us:  While I like the way Major Major Major have been steadily releasing catchy garage rock singles (like this one), I’m pumped that they’re in the midst of working on an actual full length.  I eagerly await its arrival.  The God Doesn’t Want Us single is available at MMM’s Bandcamp.  They will play Red 7 on April 26.

:Megafauna – Time To Go:  Admittedly, I don’t pay enough attention to Megafauna.  They’re a quality rock act with some rad, hooky tracks, and I should definitely be celebrating them more.  Their new album, Maximalist, is due out April 15 via Danimal Kingdom.  The band will play the Mohawk on April 19 for 101X Homegrown.

:Equals – Glistener:  I’ve just about worn out the new Tycho album, so I’m looking to Equals to quench my thirst for instrumental music.  Songs like this superbly crafted gem make me think I made the right choice.  Tracts is due out May 6.  See the band play at Empire Control Room this Friday.

:Slomo Drags – Every Actor:  I’m just getting up to speed on Slomo Drags, but I like what I’ve heard so far.  This track in particular is inspired and catchy.  The band’s self titled EP is available now via Bandcamp.  Catch the band play at Cheer Up Charlie’s tomorrow.

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Quickdraw: Honeyblood, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Chad VanGaalen, Shannon And The Clams, How To Dress Well

April 7, 2014

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Honeyblood – Killer Bangs:  And with this track Glasgow’s Honeyblood have delivered to me a new slice of 90s-enthused rock to leave on repeat.  That’s true friendship, people.  Here’s hoping their upcoming album has more of the same.  FatCat will release the band’s self titled effort on July 15.

:Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Coming Down (Featuring Matt Berninger)CYHSY are an act that I have only ever sort of liked, but I do think this song is really good.  Matt Berninger’s contribution sounds great alongside Alec Ounsworth’s nasaly voice.  Only Run will be released by the band on June 3.

:Chad VanGaalen – Monster:  The world needs weird/interesting artists like Chad VanGaalen, so it’s great that he’s readied a new album.  This song should flood your brain with all sorts of images.  Have fun.  Look for Sub Pop to put out Shrink Dust on April 19.

:Shannon And The Clams – Mama:  If raw and retro is what you’re looking for today, then you can’t go wrong with this new one from Shannon And The Clams.  Just know it’s going to for sure get lodged in your head for a while.  The band’s split 7″ with Guantanamo Baywatch is currently available for purchase over at Suicide Squeeze.

:How To Dress Well – Repeat Pleasure:  I imagine most of you are already on the How To Dress Well bandwagon, but if for some reason you’re not then this stellar pop song will probably convince you to find a seat.  What Is This Heart? is due out June 23 via Weird World.

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Stream This

April 4, 2014

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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

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ EMA – The Future’s Void

Ghetto Ghouls – Self Titled
Tweens – Self Titled
HighasaKite – Silent Treatment
School Of Language – Old Fears
Off – Wasted Years
Protomartyr – Under Color Of Official Right
Ital Tek – Mega City Industry
Todd Terje – It’s Album Time
Avey Tare – Enter The Slasher House
Little Racer – Modern Accent EP
SoftSpot – Mass

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
Pure X

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