RSS

Tag Archives: austin

Hip Hop Hooray (Leah)

March 28, 2014

0 Comments

Finally, this sad sad March comes to an end.  Sure, some people got married or had babies or birthdays in there (congrats, I guess!) but this year’s music festival that drives all the bloggers wild experienced a tragedy that kind of put the people bitching about waiting in line or paying for drinks into perspective.  Yesterday, DeAndre Tatum, 18, the fourth victim of the driver Rashad Owens passed away because of his injuries sustained on the night of the crash. My thoughts go out to DeAndre’s family.

It’s a sad time for Austin, as it asks whether there were measures that could have been taken to prevent such a tragedy; whether SXSW is just getting too big and wild for the APD to adequately control; whether better public transportation would have kept that drunk asshole out of his car. I’m inclined to think that a wasted sociopath could and would do something like this on any night and in any city, and the fact that it fell on a busy night during SXSW is just shitty coincidence. If you’re in need of a stiff drink and some sad songs to make it through the rest of March, I recommend highly heading over to John Gross’s post on this blog: Sad Bastard Music, and attending his monthly No Dancing event at The Volstead. Then call a cab.

In the meantime, I’ve made a mix for you that is neither sad nor happy, but kind of rides the line as we transition into a hopefully happier April.

SONG OF THE MONTH:

:Jay Electronica – Better In Tune With The Infinite:

This track maybe heralds the highly anticipated release of Jay Elec’s Act II, for which fans have been drooling for since 2007′s Act 1: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge) and about which we spoke a bit on another blog I write for. And let me tell you, this song does nothing to stop the drooling. It’s beautiful, mellow, and who needs drums in a hip hop song? NOBODY, that’s who.

MARCH MIX:

:Diamond District – Streets Won’t Let Me Chill:
:POS – Fuck Your Stuff (WDELH/MDS/RMX):
:Afro Classics – Whoa:
:Rapsody – Dark Knights (Featuring Wale):
:See-I – Real Steel (Fort Knox Five Remix):
:Aesop Rock, C Rayz Walz, And Vast Aire – Karma Killerz:
:Vince Giordano And The Nighthawks – The Sugarfoot Stom (Pete Rock Remix):
:Rita J – No Regrets:
:House Shoes – So Different (Featuring Chali 2Na):
:NORMAN – Lag City: (Exploded Drawing)
:Vampire Weekend – Step (Featuring Danny Brown):
:Bishop Nehru – You Stressin:
:Multi-Tracker – Shadlib: (Exploded Drawing)
:Ras Kass – B.I.B.L.E.:
:Elements Combine – Blazy:

Continue reading...

2013 Austin Essentials: Volume 3

November 27, 2013

0 Comments

And now, before Thanksgiving consumes us all, I present to you the last part of my Austin Essentials (here are Volume 1 and 2).  Hopefully you’ve had fun.  If you didn’t, what the hell happened?  At any rate, I love you all.  Enjoy.

PS – Honorable mentions go to the Austin bands who just missed the cut (way too many to list) and to acts like The Couch, Dana Falconberry, and Letting Up Despite Great Faults who put out music last year but still had a great 2013.

:The Black Angels – Evil Things:  While I’m a big fan of The Black Angels’ early albums, I don’t have an issue with them continuing to move away from being heavy and droney.  Probably because I can only stare at my ceiling fan for so long each day.  Find The Black Angels on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Gal Pals – Earthquake:  If you ask me, Gal Pals are just as good as La Sera, Splinters, La Luz, and any of the other lady-lead garage pop acts that are scattered around the globe.  By the way, who can help me convince them to put together an album already?  Find Gal Pals on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Sweet Talk – Microphone:  Sweet Talk remind of the pop rock that I loved when I was a teenager.  This track requires a loud volume and you enthusiastically singing-a-long.  Find Sweet Talk on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Bobby Jealousy – Bang Bang:  Because Sabrina Ellis is just that good, here she is with her other band, the always catchy Bobby Jealousy.  They played ACL this year, which is just straight up awesome.  Find Bobby Jealousy on FB here, and buy their music here.

:The Octopus Project – Whitby:  Personally, I think that Fever Forms is The Octopus Project’s best album.  They’ve really honed their experimental ways and the material coming by way of their leap forward is just undeniably good.  Find The Octopus Project on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Magna Carda – Shoes $ Money:  I recently mentioned to SOTO’s resident rap guru Leah Manners that I didn’t get around to much local hip hop in 2013, and she promptly scolded me and then sent this track so that I would know exactly what I had been missing out on.  Lesson fucking learned.  Find Magna Carda on FB here, and buy their music here.

:The Black And White Years – Little One:  I don’t really know what to expect from The Black And White Years’ next album, Strange Figurines, but I know that I’m looking forward to it solely because of this inspired electro pop number.  Find The Black And White Years on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Mother Falcon – Dirty Summer:  You can argue you about it if you want, but the fact of the matter is that all 419 members of Mother Falcon really know how to make a pretty sounding song.  They released the unsurprisingly well crafted You Knew this summer.  Find Mother Falcon on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Feverbones – Breaking Even:  I need to start talking about Feverbones more, as I really do think they’re crafting some of Austin’s most interesting indie rock.  For proof, see the self titled EP they put out earlier this year.  Find Feverbones on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Roger Sellers – Sincere:  Now matter what style of music he’s playing, Roger Sellers always seems to effortlessly pull it off.  It’s okay if you want to scream “talented bastard” and then shake your fist at the sky.  Find Roger Sellers on FB here, and buy his music here.

:Holy Wave – Star Stamp:  I fully expect Holy Wave to garner a slew of new fans in 2014.  This single is as accessible as they’ve ever been, and I have a feeling that their new album, Relax, will be the first great psych rock release of the year.  Find Holy Wave on FB here, and buy their music here.

:The Mole People – Searching The Streets:  The Mole People are a whirlwind of psychedelia, and that’s fine by me.  This song in particular reminds me of the kind of music that Slumberland often puts out.  Find The Mole People on FB here, and buy their music here.

:The Preservation – Still Be Your Friend:  The Preservation pretty much nail it by referring to their approach as “cosmic American music from heart.”  By the way, kudos to them for earning spots at KGSR’s Blues on the Green and ACL.  Find The Preservation on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Bill Callahan – Small Plane:  I’ve yet to give Bill Callahan’s Dream River a thorough listen, and that’s just silly of me.  At least I’ve spent a good chunk of time with this beautiful track, though.  Find Bill Callahan’s fan page on FB here, and buy his music here.

:Reservations – That Road We Traveled Down:  Jana Horn’s stellar voice not only leads Reservations, but I also seem to just wander along behind it.  I hope their debut full length arrives in the first part of 2014.  Find Reservations on FB here, and buy their music here.

Continue reading...

2013 Austin Essentials: Volume 2

November 26, 2013

1 Comment

Hey!  Look at that, we’ve arrived at volume two of my Austin Essentials.  As I mentioned yesterday, there’s no particular rhyme or reason for the order of the entries, I was just looking to share some of my favorite stuff that came out of Austin in 2013.  Enjoy.

:American Sharks – XVI:  No matter how much fun you’re having, American Sharks always seem to be having more. I love that about them.  Find American Sharks on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Mirror Travel – Mexico:  It’s been a bumpy road for Mirror Travel, but now they can totally high five themselves because their long awaited full length turned out great.  If you haven’t already, pick up the psych-enthused Mexico.   Find Mirror Travel on FB here, and buy their music here.

:White Denim – At Night In Dreams:  It’s no secret that White Denim are my favorite band in Austin.  They’re just stellar and you should listen to them all the time.  As for their new album, Corsicana Lemonade, it’s them doing a nice job of continuing to expand their sound.  Find White Denim on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Growl – Abbreviations:  In the corner of Growl’s Bandcamp page there’s some text that describes how they’re a “band making solid indie rock.”  That’s true.  Well, except for the solid part.  I think they’re actually making really good indie rock.  Find Growl on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Tele Novella – No Excalibur:  Tele Novella features former members of Agent Ribbons and Voxtrot, and they have a rather charming pop sound.  I can’t wait for them to put out an album.  By the way, the band has another single called Don’t Be A Stranger that’s pretty good.  Find Tele Novella on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Wild Child – Crazy Bird:  This song has never failed to put a skip in my step.  It’s such an endearing little tune, and I can’t imagine anyone not liking it at least a little.  Find Wild Child on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Black Books – Favorite Place:  There’s a lot to like on Black Books’ largely dreamy self titled debut, but this song is by far my favorite on the album.  It’s just the right amount of heavy.  Find Black Books on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Sorne – Ego Altar:   Sorne aren’t exactly what I would describe as overly accessible, but they do have some really interesting material.  You just have to give them a few listens so that your brain can accept how intense of an act they can be.  Find Sorne on FB here, and buy their music here.

:The Zoltars – Evelyn:  The Zoltars are lo-fi, minimalistic, and very good.  This year they put out the Live Like Dragons EP and a full length titled Walking Through The Dark.  I recommend seeking out both efforts.  Find The Zoltars on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Pharaohs – Prettiest Girl:  Recently, Pharaohs’ Moan was reworked a bit and then put out by Burger City Rock N Roll.  That means you’ve been given a second chance to snatch it up.  Do so if you like really catchy jams.  Find Pharaohs on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Pollen – AR AK:  Pollen haven’t been around long, but that doesn’t mean they’re not ready for any attention you’re willing to throw their way.  Watch out for them and their garage rock ways in 2014.  Find Pollen on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Other Lovers – New:  I came across this folk pop anthem about a month ago and have been liking it every since.  Other Lovers’ EP, Born To Party/Born To Be Old, is a little all over the place, but it’s certainly worth your time.  Find Other Lovers on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Frank Smith – Chewing Glass:  First of all (and hopefully for the last time), Frank Smith is a band and not a single guy.  Secondly, this is a very clean sounding, focused rock track, and I dig it.  Find Frank Smith on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Shearwater – I Luv The Valley OH!! (Xiu Xiu Cover):  As a follow-up to last year’s Animal Joy, Shearwater assembled a collection of covers titled Fellow Travelers.  The nifty effort consists of Jonathan Meiburg and Co. doing song by bands they’ve toured with over the years.  Find Shearwater on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Okkervil River – It Was My Season:  On every Okkervil River album there’s always one song that I can never get enough of, and this was it on The Silver Gymnasium.  The damn thing is just immaculate.  Find Okkervil River on FB here, and buy their music here.

Continue reading...

2013 Austin Essentials: Volume 1

November 25, 2013

0 Comments

A couple of weeks back I was thinking about my annual Top 50 Songs/Top 25 Albums lists (expect those to start on 12/2), and it dawned on me that I should do something separate specifically for Austin.  So, I did.  There’s no particular ranking to anything in Austin Essentials, I just wanted to share with you some local stuff that I liked a lot this year.  There’s 45 entries (culled from a group of about 70-80) that are spread out over three 15-track volumes, so look for a post tomorrow and then another on Wednesday.  Enjoy.

By the way, if I had one goal for SOTO this year, it was to try and include more mentions for Austin artists.  Overall, I think we did a solid job, but there’s definitely room to improve.  Hit me up if you have any suggestions for us as we head into 2014.

:A Giant Dog – All I Wanted:  Sabrina Ellis is one of Austin’s most dynamic singers, and there isn’t a single song on A Giant Dog’s Bone where her enthusiasm doesn’t shine through.  This pop punk gem is my favorite track on the album.  Find A Giant Dog on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Grape St – A Date With You:  Harlem’s indefinite hiatus has now formed three great bands – Lace Curtains, Daytona, and Grape St.  If you dig this song, then definitely pick up the album A Date With You.  All of the other tracks on it are just as catchy.   Find Grape St on FB here, and buy their music here.

:The Laughing – Disappear:  The Laughing kind of dropped off the planet for a while, but this year they made their return via Oscillation, a 10-track effort that features some really nice pop rock tunes.  Find The Laughing on FB here, and buy their music here.

:The Sour Notes – Do What May:  The Sour Notes may be great friends of mine, but I can honestly say they’re listed here because they earned it.  They’re one of Austin’s hardest working bands and their upcoming album, Do What May, is a really solid prog pop effort.  Find The Sour Notes on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Borrisokane – Amelia Fucking Earhart (A.F.E.):  For those of you who like your pop music to have an experimental side to it, there’s Borrisokane’s Murdering Teeth EP.  I think it’s one of the more quirky (in a good way, of course) listens to come out of Austin in 2013.  Find Borrisokane on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Love Inks – Time:  Love Inks are a quality act, but they don’t seem to have the biggest of followings in Austin.  We should figure out a way to change that.  The band’s album, Generation Club, is a must if you like minimalist pop.  Find Love Inks on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Whiite Walls – Easy Love:  When I wanted something dancey this summer I either tossed on Daft Punk’s Get Lucky or Whiite Walls’ Easy Love.  You can’t listen to it and not want to move.  Here’s hoping the band doesn’t take too long to put out an official effort.  Find Whiite Walls on FB here.

:Knifight – In The Fire:  Their name makes them sound like a punk band, but they’re actually more of a New Order/Future Islands type – dark and synthy.  Their debut, Dark Voices, is an intense but good listen.  Find Knifight on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Zorch – We All Die Young:  I love this track.  It’s wild and raw and should only be listened to at the sort of volume that makes your neighbors angry.  Find Zorch on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Boyfrndz – Water Weight:  Boyfrndz are one of Austin’s better experimental rock acts, and I thought they did a good job of proving that on their Natures EP.  Find Boyfrndz on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Major Major Major – Scream Queen:  I was a late adopter of this track, but once I did I couldn’t seem to get it out of my head.  Talk about infectious.  If we’re lucky, the duo will wrap their EP sooner rather than later.  Find Major Major Major on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Genuine Leather – Head Wound:  Chris Galis (from the Gorgeous Hands) heads up this breezy pop act.  Viper (Found A Good Place For My Love) is the other single that the band put out this year, and it’s also worth your time.  Find Genuine Leather on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Royal Forest – Goldwallpaper:  Over the years Royal Forest have really become a fine pop band.  If for some reason you didn’t check out Spillway, then seek it out.  It’s a nice listen.  Find Royal Forest on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Walker Lukens – Dear Someone:  Walker Lukens somewhat recently made the jump from NYC to Austin, and I’m happy that he did.  The guy knows how to write a good pop song.  Find Walker Lukens on FB here, and buy his music here.

:Yum – Take My Blue:  Yum just sort of popped onto my radar one day over the summer, and ever since then I’ve been a big fan.  Their album, Take My Blue, has a lot on it that plays like a lighter version of Warpaint.  Find Yum on FB here, and buy their music here.

Continue reading...

Hip Hop Hooray (Leah)

September 27, 2013

0 Comments

What an amazing weekend this is shaping up to be.  Tonight, you should stop by The Blackheart for another Side One Track One Presents! The last one was incredible, so if you missed it, now’s your chance to catch up with the awesome show-curatory abilities of our blog runner John. If you were at the last one, you already know how great a show this is, so I’m sure you’re already planning on going.  On Saturday The Sour Notes are playing for The Good Music Club at The North Door, and on Sunday, I guess everyone will be inside watching Breaking Bad, which is okay I guess, but is not live music, so get your shit together, Austin.

I’ll be on the air on Sunday from 2-3:30PM on KOOP 91.7FM in Austin and streaming on koop.org everywhere else if you wanna hear the stuff I like to play on the radio (hint: it’s cleaner than this mix, which is a little NSFW). Happy Friday, and please bump it loud.

:Lizzo – Pants VS Dress:
:Bigg Jus – Black Roses:
:Shad – Fam Jam (Fe Sum Immigrins):
:Big Cats – Kanye Remix:
:Wax Tailor – Lonely (Featuring Mattic):
:Earl Sweatshirt – 20 Wave Caps (Featuring Domo Genesis):
:CommoNasm (Common + Nas + TenDJiz’s Soviet Jazz) –  Geto Heaven:
:Jonwayne – And Bullshit (Featuring Zeroh):
:Jeremiah Jae – Guns N Butter:
:JJ Doom – GMO:
:Das Racist – Rapping 2 U:
:Rah Digga – Lessons of Today:
:Wu Tang VS The Beatles – Got Your Money:
:Take – Sweatson Klank – Incredibright:
:Death Grips – Hacker:

Continue reading...

Hip Hop Hooray (Leah)

August 29, 2013

0 Comments

Well, so much shit went down this month that it’s difficult to decide what exactly to write about. Should I talk about the slut shaming & cultural appropriation backlash surrounding the Miley Cyrus VMA performance? Maybe touch on the possibility of another unsanctioned military intervention in the Missle East by the U.S.? Or shall I play on the national nostalgia of the anniversary of the march on Washington? Since I’m no expert on any of these issues, I think I’ll do the responsible thing and just save my opinions for close personal friends in the shiny place we get to after a couple beers and just give you what I’m super alright at: a monthly hip hop mix. Here’s hoping it gives you some respite from dangerous critical thinking today, or at least gives you a good soundtrack to surf some opinion pieces.

Also, I had a great time DJing Side One Track One Presents last week and you should go to the next show in the residency on September 27 at Blackheart because John has incredible taste in music (and I’m not just saying that because he pays me the big not any bucks) and it’s free and fun.

:Abstract Rude – Thynk Eye Can (Haiku D’Etat mix):
:Raashan Ahmad – Cornbread:
:Madchild – Last Emperor:
:Azealia Banks – ATM Jam:
:Big Cats – Sirens (Big Cats Remix):
:Earl Sweatshirt – Hoarse:
:Joey Bada$$ – Killuminati:
:Amerigo Gazaway – Soul Flower (We’ve Got):
:The Rub – Feel You (Featuring Lil Fame And Misun):
:Sole – Definition of Slave (Featuring Open Mike Eagle):
:Empresarios – Esterolismo:
:Kendrick Lamar – Backstreet Freestyle:
:The Lady of Rage – Str8 Outta VA:
:Dessa – The Bullpen:
:Wu Tang VS The Beatles – Forget Me Not:
:Blackalicious – One Of A Kind:

Continue reading...

Hip Hop Hooray (Leah)

July 26, 2013

2 Comments

It’s July in Austin. It’s too hot for me to work very hard on writing this entry, so I’m going to cut to the chase and get straight to the music. Happy Friday; go swimming. And go see a hip-hop show, won’t you? The scene needs you – you can always start with Austin Mic Exchange every Tuesday at Spider House Ballroom at 11PM. It’s free and less cringey than regular open mics, I promise.

:Pretty Lights – Around The Block (Featuring Talib Kweli):
:Blockhead – Jet Son (Featuring Aesop Rock And Camu Tao):
:CYNE – Elephant Rome:
:Aceyalone And RJD2 – Cornbread, Eddy, And Me:
:Blu And Exile – Juicen’ Dranks (Featuring Taarach):
:Shad – The Old Prince Still Lives At Home:
:Goodie Mob – Special Education (Featuring Janelle Monae):
:Afro Classics – Boom In It:
:Open Mike Eagle – Password (Tiny Man Raps):
:Lupe Fiasco – Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free):
:The Hood Internet – Nothing Should Be A Surprise (Featuring Isaiah Toothtaker And Show You Suck):
:Jay Electronica – So What You Sayin’:
:Statik Selektah – Play The Game (Featuring Big K.R.I.T. And Freddie Gibbs):
:Shane Reis and Essence – Bounce To It (Produced By Black Milk):
:Fresh Breath Committee – Project Mayhem:
:Saul Williams – Om Nia Merican:

Continue reading...

Hundred Visions (Dan)

June 12, 2013

0 Comments

I saw Hundred Visions twice at SXSW, and they ended up being my favorite act at the festival. At each show I was asked, “Who are these guys again? They’re really good.” Damn straight. They totally rocked out, but the tunes were still catchy and even danceable. You can’t help but want to jump up and down and sing along.

Last year the group put out their first LP, Permanent Basement. The record dabbles in psychedelic rock with songs like Walk Right Up and post-rock on The Light that Starts The Day, but it’s basically a straight up rock album. It actually reminds me a lot of Marquee Moon by Television, one of the greatest rock albums of all-time. Such comparisons are high praise but Permanent Basement is deserving of acclaim. From start to finish it’s full of jams and is a very impressive debut record.

You can catch the band tomorrow night at Beerland when they headline a show with Slam Dunk, The Commons, and Lochness Mobsters.

:Hundred Visions – Last Cab From Tunis:
:Hundred Visions – Where Do I Sign?:

Continue reading...

The Bad Lovers, Sweet Talk, Pharoahs (Dan)

May 1, 2013

0 Comments

This Sunday Burger City will celebrate their 5th Birthday with a party at The Grand. The bill features three top notch bands: The Bad Lovers, Pharaohs, and Sweet Talk.

I became a fan of The Bad Lovers after they were featured in a truly fantastic episode of Hardly Sound. The show highlighted not only The Bad Lovers but the community of bands that make up the garage rock scene in Austin. We were lucky enough to get these guys to play our DC vs. Austin party during SXSW and they did not disappoint. I once referred to them as “garage rock gods” and I’m sticking with that assessment.

:The Bad Lovers – Things That I Forgot:
:The Bad Lovers – Actin Strange:

I was hooked the moment I heard the new album from Sweet Talk titled Pickup Lines. It’s not difficult to see why I like them so much since the band features members from some of my favorite Texas bands (Mind Spiders, VIDEO, Wiccans). They play pure rock and roll. The kind that gets in your head and has you hitting the repeat button. I love the guitar work and the catchy choruses are undeniable. They somehow managed to catch the excitement and energy of a live show on the record, which is no easy feat.

:Sweet Talk – Talk:

I can’t give much background on Pharaohs since their web presence is a bit sparse. Although, all that really matters is if their music is any good and I’m here to say it is not only good, it’s outstanding. I downloaded their album, ????, and it’s chock full of jams. It was hard to just pick two songs to post. You really owe it to yourself to get the whole album.

:Pharaohs – Prettiest Girl:
:Pharaohs – Gonna Feel Good (Ba Ba Ba):

Continue reading...

White Lung, Feral Future (Dan)

April 3, 2013

0 Comments

After a short post-SXSW break I’m heading back out this weekend for more live music. Friday night at Beerland features White Lung with Feral Future and Brain Attack. It’s going to be a potent mix of Texas and Canadian punk rock. Like powerful weather fronts on a collision course, these bands are sure to produce some serious thunder and lightning. Meteorological metaphor for the win!

White Lung is a band on the rise. Their 2010 debut It’s the Evil earned them critical acclaim and their follow-up, Sorry, is sure to bring them more of the spotlight. The new album already snagged an 8.0 from Pitchfork and lead to a much coveted spot on the Pitchfork Festival bill in July. The band is known for its unique ability to churn out hard hitting yet melodic punk. They’re not unlike their Vancouver counterpoints Japandroids, but just with more of an early Hole or L7 bent. Come to the show and enjoy watching their dynamic lead singer Mish Way command the stage.

:White Lung – Bad Way:
:White Lung – Glue:
:White Lung – Take The Mirror:

One of the many things I love about Beerland is their an excellent pairing of local and touring bands. They found the perfect match for White Lung in Feral Future. This female fronted Austin four piece plays what has been referred to as “anarcho-punk” and they’ve garnered many comparisons to riot grrrl bands. However, their aggressive, anti-establishment lyrics also have much in common with some of the best British punk groups. Their debut EP, Come Out Swinging, is out now on Western Medical Records (also home to the incredible Crooked Bangs).

:Feral Future – Polygon:
:Feral Future – The Trigger:

Continue reading...

Sound Samples: The Couch

February 26, 2013

0 Comments

Sound Samples is a SOTO feature meant to provide some insight on what inspired and/or influenced an artist’s latest release. Today’s entry comes from Austin’s The Couch, who have quickly become one of the city’s buzz acts.  You can pick up their self titled album now (it came out late last year) here, and like them on Facebook here.

The band decided to each provide a section of influences, and first up is Taylor.

Taylor Wilkins’s Samples
Its hard for me to say what I really wanted out of our self titled album when we were recording it because it was three months after we had written most of the songs, with the exception of Kick The Can and Aphrodite.  I do know that I wanted to have an album that had a lot of different sounds and textures than the Couch had previously used. A lot of that had to do with adding a lot more organ, acoustic guitar, auxiliary percussion, and backing vocals, but the biggest change was probably the addition of Sara as a lead singer and songwriter.

Some of my favorite rock bands such as Heartless Bastards, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Dead Weather have female leads, and when Sara started playing and writing more material and sharing it with me, the idea that we could use those songs became a reality. As most major changes are, the transition had its difficulties, but I think we all knew once people could wrap their head around the idea of have dual female/male lead, then they could appreciate this album as an eclectic group of songs that demonstrates all our individual love for different kinds of music and sounds.

I chose The Walkmen’s In The New Year because I absolutely love the intensity of the lead vocals and how the organs/drums crash together.

:The Walkmen – In The New Year:

White Denim’s Transparency always struck me as great song that was recorded with a lot of awesome techniques and really unique parts, which is how I wanted some parts of this album to sound.

:White Denim – Transparency:

Dr. Dog’s These Days has a great crunchy guitar tone melody and fantastic groove, which were all aspects of this album that I really wanted to exemplify.

:Dr. Dog – These Days:

Sara Houser’s Samples
The Kills’ Midnight Boom and The Dead Weather albums were in heavy rotation around the time I started writing the songs that would end up on this record. Allison Mosshart has a really cool quality to her voice that both cuts through but also blends really well. I picked Treat Me Like Your Mother because it captures a number of influences – dirty distorted organ tone, biting lyrics, dual singers.

:The Dead Weather – Treat Me Like Your Mother:

Another album I really dove into was The Pixies’ Surfer Rosa. Great boy/girl dynamic vocally. I also love the driving punk rhythm in songs like Something Against You and Broken Face.

:The Pixies – Break My Body:

The Couch album was really my first foray into writing a “rock” record, and I think going into it I was still trying to find a way to fit my voice into this new setting. I do my best to absorb some grit from singers like Mosshart and Kim Deal, but I also listen to a lot of Feist and St. Vincent. Annie Clark’s delicate timbre over fuzzed out guitar sounds so cool to me, and I really didn’t want to miss out on that juxtaposition on this record.

:St. Vincent – Actor Out Of Work:

Nick Josiwick’s Samples
The first time I ever witnessed the Couch play live a few years ago, I was immediately reminded of Led Zeppelin. Everything from the rock hard hitting drums, to the super solid groove and bass lines, all coupled and brought together with face melting leads and vocal intensity and conviction, it was a high energy show that I knew I wanted to be a part of. So fast forward a few years later, and I am actually sitting in my studio with the Couch getting ready to track their most recent album (a moment I couldn’t have be happier about!). We had all done our homework and pre-production and knew what we wanted and how to go about making the album, so we were all very excited and ready. In my role as engineer/producer, there were a few records that I had to go listen to to formulate my ideas on how we would track/mix/everything. One of those records was most definitely Led Zeppelin IV. The music we were about to record was just so reminiscent of that era rock and roll, how could I not?

:Led Zeppelin – Rock And Roll:

Another record I had to listen to again was Queens Of The Stone Age’s Songs For The Deaf. I’ve always been a fan of QOTSA and their production value/sound, so I felt like a marriage of IV +Deaf would be a cool representation to try and capture for the Couch.

:Queens Of The Stone Age – No One Knows:

And one last record I just had to revisit was Fits by White Denim. It’s such a raw and powerful album, I felt like some of its influence on what we were trying to accomplish would be fitting.

:White Denim – I Start To Run:

Jud Johnson’s Samples
I’ve never been ashamed to bump Robyn’s music or messages. I had been enjoying her album Body Talk and trying to get my friends to do the same for a long time. The day before going in to do day one of recording the album, Sara and I went to see Robyn and that woman’s professionalism and performance set a standard I hope to achieve one day. Gotta be able to play with the click because Robyn does and she’s the boss.

:Robyn – Get Myself Together:

Also, this album is great. …  Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do

Continue reading...

Hip Hop Hooray (Leah)

February 22, 2013

0 Comments

Happy Friday! I don’t know if you’re excited that it’s nearly the end of February, or if you’re stressed that the beginning of the year seems to be going by so quickly because, well, I don’t know who you are. You seem cool, though.

However you’re feeling today, I hope you’re enjoying the moment right now, whether this mix provides you with a respite from work, or gives you a soundtrack for your day or weekend. In a too philosophical-for-me way this week, I’ve been contemplating the moment, and how important being present is.  I ain’t even sappy y’all, because all this has a secret point, and because it’s me, a hidden agenda:

So much of life is very fleeting: your drive to work today, you reading this blog post right now (so meta), etc. I work in an industry where the very essence of it is the passage of time. I’m talking about radio. It’s one of those intangible joys you can’t capture, quite literally. It’s here and then it’s gone; but it’s full of so much opportunity for discovery and self-expression, that even if you can’t hold it, it’s worth it.

My radio station, KOOP Community Radio 91.7FM in Austin is currently holding its Spring Membership Drive.  I hope you’ll take this opportunity to acknowledge the metaphysical impermanence of radio and make a financial donation to KOOP in support of the immateriality of existence.  The station can’t continue without people like you who love the music, the medium, and the discovery. You may be able to listen to this playlist over and over, but radio is singular, and without it, this playlist wouldn’t exist.

Alright, I’ll let you off the hook now. Go crazy this weekend, kids.

:Signif – Soul Clap:
:Aesop Rock, C Rayz Walz, And Vast Aire – Karma Killerz:
:Illmind – Deloach (Featuring Bavu Blakes And Poison):
:Prince Paul – You Made Me (A.K.C.):
:DJ Vadim – Your Revolution (Featuring Sarah Jones):
:Illmind – Strange Fruit Project (Featuring Little Brother):
:Copperpot – Blow (Featuring Psalm One):
:African Underground – Abass:
:MIA – 10$:
:Eternia And Moss – Any Man:
:Jean Grae – Killing Em (Featuring Pharoahe Monch):
:Ill Breed Militia – What’s An I-Eleven:
:Macklemore – White Privilege:
:The Blueprint – 1988:
:DJ Magic Mike And MC Madness – 16 Slow Draggin:

Continue reading...

Capitol Contingency: Post-Punk, Indie Rock, And Noise Pop In Washington, D.C., 1991-1999 (Dan)

January 16, 2013

1 Comment

People usually associate the DC music scene with the legendary hardcore and post-punk bands on Dischord records: Minor Threat, Fugazi, Rites of Spring, etc. I lived in the capital city area for almost 20 years and while I loved the hardcore bands I always thought it was a shame that the music of the city was so pigeonholed. Most people were unaware that the music of chocolate city had evolved beyond the “Dischord sound.” It was a vibrant place with bands exploring and mixing numerous genres and styles, and now a new book that explores those innovative and daring bands that were sadly overlooked.

Capitol Contingency: Post-Punk, Indie Rock, and Noise Pop in Washington, D.C., 1991-1999 examines over 25 of the top bands and albums from that era. I bought it just before the holidays and have loved reading the back stories of each band. It’s like DC’s own version of Behind The Music, except without the unnecessary drama and the cool narrator voice. It was written by Brandon Gentry, who lives in Austin with his wife and two kids after living in DC for almost a decade.

There was a fascinating cast of characters in the DC music scene during the 90’s and many of them were interviewed for the book. Musicians such as Ian MacKaye (Fugazi), Travis Morrison (Dismemberment Plan), and Ian Svenonius (Nation of Ulysses) make for great quotes. As I read each chapter, I dove into the featured album to see if it stood the test of time. Not surprisingly, I enjoyed many of the records. There were a few I might have appreciated in the 90s, but not as much as today. The records that failed to connect were greatly outnumbered by new discoveries I immediately took to. I had never listened to the second LP from Trans Am, Surrender To The Night, which is a post-rock classic. I simply cannot get enough of that album. Other bands that entered my regular rotation thanks to Capitol Contingency include Pitchblende, Chisel, Hoover, The Delta 72, and Unrest. There was only one band that I disliked at the time and upon revisiting their work, I found them even more unlikeable: Shudder to Think. I may never crack the mystery of their appeal.

I’ve read more books about bands than I can remember and few have been as engaging as Capitol Contingency. I highly recommend it for any music fan, but especially for those that enjoy bands such as Dismemberment Plan, Fugazi, Jawbox, etc. I created a Spotify playlist which contains 26 of 27 bands chronicled in the book. Check it out right after purchasing Capital Contingency from Amazon.

:Pitchblende – Reticence:
:The Dismemberment Plan – A Life Of Possibilities:
:Trans AM – Cologne:

Continue reading...

Royal Forest, The Rocketboys, The Preservation (Jennifer)

November 14, 2012

0 Comments

In the latest episode of Hardly Sound, we get to follow Royal Forest on some of their recent adventures. The band literally ascends to new heights when they perform and record the song, John Denver, in a plane (a Piper Cherokee N246JB, to be precise) 5,000 feet above Austin. It takes a few viewings to accept the fact that the band committed to fit themselves into a tiny plane to record a song simply because they had the opportunity. I love the reactions of Cody Ground (vocals, keyboards) and Justin Douglas (guitar) toward the end of the episode with their giddy yet relieved expressions – “Can you believe that shit worked ?!?!” It makes the typical struggles that bands goes through seem trivial in comparison – such as barely over a dozen people showing up to your gigs. That last statement comes from personal experience. It was a Friday night show with an all local bill of bands. Royal Forest was on first, and pardon the overused expression, but they absolutely killed it. I looked around the venue during their set and thought “this band is great and I wish more people were here to see them.” Enough with the lecture from me. I encourage you to keep your eyes and ears open for this band. You never know when you might find yourselves on an unexpected adventure.

I can almost hear some of you say “But I can’t stay out late on a weeknight and I’m broke.”  I feel your pain.  For tonight, though, I do have a solution. If you’re in Austin, you can see The Rocketboys and The Preservation for FREE at Threadgill’s South. Doors open at 5:30, show starts at 7 pm, and it’s all ages. Both bands are playing as part of KGSR’s Discovery Series. You can indulge your love for Southern comfort food and “comfort music” … which I like to describe as music that satisfies and makes you happy.

Continue reading...

The Octopus Project

November 8, 2012

0 Comments

While I’ve seen The Octopus Project quite a few times, I do wish I had been able to catch some of their set at Fun Fun Fun Fest.  They always put on a fun show.  Oh well.  In any case, the band has a new EP titled Whitby, which was just released this week via Peek-A-Boo Records.  You can check out the title track (and check out the video for it) below.  Enjoy.

:The Octopus Project – Whitby:  This act has always been good at delivering something catchy, but I think this is the first time they’ve done it in a way that doesn’t have to be described as odd.  More of this could could be neat.

Bonus Video:

Continue reading...