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Guest Mix: Wild Child

July 10, 2015

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As you may have seen, Austin’s own Wild Child announced a new album this week!  In celebration of it, I reached out to singer Alexander Beggins to see if he’d be up for a Guest Mix, and he agreed that it was probably a great idea to do one.  Check it out below.  Also, see here for upcoming Wild Child shows.  Enjoy.

One thing to know about me, Alexander James Beggins-Captain Handsome, is that I have extreme music a.d.d. If you were to ask anyone that knows me, especially the band, they would tell you I can’t finish listening to an entire song ever. Which is one of the reasons why I listen to a lot of music through Youtube. Somehow it seems more okay to listen or watch half of a video and move. Having said that, the following tracks are what I’ve been digging lately. It’s about to get really random up in here.

Biggie Smalls – Juicy

If you don’t like this song then you can get the fuck out. You aren’t my friend. Like at all. I can get through about half the raps, and then I fall off and mumble my way through it, but then I find another line and I say it real loud. “……….quietly mumbles…. “LUNCHES BRUNCHES”. Swag.

Bright Eyes – Bowl of Oranges

This video is amazing. I’ve always wanted to do something like this but I’ve decided I’m way too lazy. I’m hoping one day I’ll be able to just tell someone my ideas and they will just do it for me and I can claim it as my own later on. Until then I will watch Bowl of Oranges. I go through Bright Eyes phases. Sometimes I think he’s the greatest artist ever and sometimes his voice annoys the shit out of me. Sometimes I’m like “shuttttttt upppppp Conor, wow are you are whinny baby”. And other times I’ll listen to Bright Eyes for days and praise him like the worthy Music God that he is.

OK GO – This Too Shall Pass

Okay so, this is literally the coolest shit ever. All their videos are. I could watch stuff like this all day. I think they are amazing writers as well although I don’t really listen too them. Their over the top talent for literally everything kind of pisses me off. I feel like they are like, let’s make an awesome music video and then they are like okay sweet let’s write a song really quick so we can make the awesome video.

Earl Sweatshirt – EARL

I actually know almost every word in this song. I showed my dad this video once and he seems legitimately offended. I think their rhymes are absolutely insane. Not for everyone, but for better or worse, definitely for me.

The Blue Hit – War Like Boys

This song will make you cry. It’s insanely perfect and beautiful. If this doesn’t make you melt on the floor you are a sick sick fuck. I love this song and video. I show it to everyone. It’s one of those songs where I say “dang I really wish I wrote that.” Also, they are from Austin. Which is tite. They broke up and are now in another awesome band.

Wild Child – Crazy Bird

BECAUSE SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION IS THE NAME OF THE GAMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

Tonight You Belong To Me (From The Jerk)

Steve Martin with a ukulele … YAS QUEEN. One of my favorite movies and a perfect song. I can’t remember who originally wrote it but I like this version the best. When the trumpet comes it’s #perfection.

Semisonic – Closing Time

Grew up with it and it gives me all the feels. When the piano starts I feel like everything will be okay. The video is so dated now but reminds me of being a kid and rocking out. It’s just a drinking anthem, which I’m fine with.

PHOX – Slow Motion

Some dear friends of mine make up PHOX. I am still utterly blown away by their talent. Monica might actually be an alien or an angel, jury is still out. These friends make me want to quit music and become an accountant.

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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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Guest Mix: Matt Shiv

February 20, 2015

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This month’s Guest Mix is from my good pal Matt Shiv!  I met Shiv forever ago when he moved to Austin to continue working for WOXY.  The station, unfortunately, didn’t make it, but Shiv went ahead and stuck around since it would have been really difficult to move his record collection back to Cincinnati.  Enjoy.

John asked me to check in with what I’ve been listening to lately. He won’t be too surprised to know (although you may be) that I’m in a real pop-heavy mode these days. My listening habits are all over the board, with lots of pop radio intermingling with indie rock and old jazz records. The following tracks are in my personal heavy rotation right now. 2015 is definitely off to a great start.

Giorgio Moroder feat. Kylie Minogue – Right Here, Right Now

Legendary producer Giorgio Moroder’s upcoming album is called 74 Is The New 24. It’s his first release in over 30 years and he’s enlisting the help of guest vocalists like Britney Spears, Sia, Charli XCX, Mikky Ekko, Foxes and, on this incredible first single, Aussie diva Kylie Minogue.

YesYou feat. Noah Slee and Castlerays – Waste Away

Heard this track a few weeks ago listening to Triple J radio out of Australia. They’re a production duo from Brisbane and it reminds me of when I first heard Disclosure. Waste Away features vocals from Noah Slee and Castlerays and is the first single from an EP released on Yuksek’s Partyfine label.

The-Dream feat. T.I. – That’s My Shit

Terius Nash has written some of the biggest hits of the last decade including Rihanna’s Umbrella and Beyonce’s Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It). He’s expected to release a double album later this year and this single from it is as amazing as it is horribly sexist.

Purity Ring – Begin Again

I loved the 2012 debut album from this Canadian duo and fell in love with them thanks to their dynamic and unique live performances. There have been three advance tracks released from their upcoming album Another Eternity and this is my favorite of the bunch. Thankfully they’re going to be hitting the road to support the record and we’ll get them back in Austin in late May.

Fifth Harmony – Worth It

I’ve always had a fondness for all-girl pop groups from the UK. Fifth Harmony reminds me of the Sugababes, so I was really surprised to recently find out that they aren’t from England at all. Turns out, they all were contestants on the US version of The X Factor and then turned into a little supergroup. Hell, one of the members is even from San Antonio. They won me over with last year’s single Bo$$ with its chorus that simply repeated the lyrics “Boss Michelle Obama/Purse so heavy gettin’ Oprah dollars.” Their new single should totally work at pop radio, partially because it sounds a lot like last year’s huge hit Don’t Tell ‘Em by Jeremih.

Mark Ronson feat. Keyone Starr – I Can’t Lose

Collaborating with Bruno Mars on Uptown Funk has finally broken Mark Ronson into the mainstream stateside, although I suspect that many people who pick up the full album for that tune are left scratching their heads a bit at the rest of it. The project doesn’t have anything else as commercial as the lead single, but this little slice of heaven from the middle of the album is a soulful banger featuring vocals from a previously unknown singer Ronson discovered in Mississippi.

Django Django – First Light

This is the first single from the London band’s second full-length album, Born Under Saturn. It won’t be out until May, but I just may play this song on an endless loop up until it does.

Natalie Prass – Your Fool

This Nashville-based singer was, until recently, touring as a backup singer for Jenny Lewis. She just struck out on her own with a gorgeous self-titled album that is out on the Spacebomb label. I’m loving the production on this album and this track has a sunny, 70s AM-radio vibe. RIYL: Sharon Van Etten, The Mynabirds, Jenny Lewis (duh!)

The Decemberists – Lake Song

I’ve always liked The Decemberists in small doses, but have never spent a lot of time with their catalog. I heard this track on XM’s The Loft one night when driving home from work and I was so transfixed by it that I couldn’t get out of my car until it was over. This epic track will never be a single, but it’s my favorite track on the new album What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World.

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Guest Mix: Tom Nguyen Of The Tontons

February 9, 2015

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This month’s Guest Mix is from Tom Nguyen of The Tontons!  Last year the band released a quality effort by the name of Make Out King And Other Stories Of Love.  You can catch them this live Thursday at Holy Mountain with Wild Moccasins and Tele Novella. Enjoy.

Howdy, this is Tom Nguyen. These are a few songs that I have been listening to lately. Making short lists like this is always hard, so I assembled this quickly in an attempt to not over think it. All of these are some solid tunes.

Jessica Pratt – Back, Baby

A friend showed me this song just the other day. Since then I have been listening to it constantly. It’s so lush and beautiful.

Lower Dens – To Die in LA

I’ve been looking forward to some new Lower Dens music since the release of Nootropics.  This is the first single off the new record and it’s dope.  Hits hard and has a huge chorus.

Yumi Zouma – A Long Walk Home For Parted Lovers

A sweet dream-pop song. All of the band’s self titled EP is tight, so any song would be a good choice.

Native America – Like A Dream

My homies from NOLA, Native America.  They put a record a couple of months ago called Growing Up Wrong.  It is so good and all the recording is fantastic.   This song reminds of really early Who (band), before all that Baba O’Riley crap.

Pure X – Livin’ the Dream

Best Austin Band.

The Bombay Royale – Wild Stallion Mountain

Australian Bollywood band. This song jams and has the best use of Horse Sound FX.

Bob Seger – Still the Same

For a while we couldn’t decide if we liked Bob Seger. It started as a joke but then it quickly became apparent that the dude is good. We always play some Bob Seger to get us through those long tours.  This is guy inspired the song Purple Rain.  If that can’t win you over, nothing will.

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Guest Mix: Kam Franklin Of The Suffers

January 26, 2015

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This month’s Guest Mix is from Kam Franklin of The Suffers!  The band just played a handful of sold-out shows in support of their new EP, Make Some Room.  If you’re not on their bandwagon, you should be.  Enjoy.

Hey!  Kam here.  In celebration of The Suffers’ EP release, I chose to pick a selection of artists that have worked with, supported and/or inspired me.

3d Na’Tee – Do It For The Gram

The Suffers played the ADD52 showcase with 3D Na’tee at SXSW last March. The encounter was brief, but we were incredibly impressed by her flow. She is 100% real, and the world needs more of that. She’s absolutely stunning, but raps like a beast. Prepare yourself.

Equals – Sweat House

This selection makes me particularly happy because there are so many different connections within the band.  I went to high school with the guitar player Simon McDonald, and I used to be in a ska band with the (now ex) bass player Alex Guzman. It seems like so long ago, but the time away from them has only led me to admire them and their body of work even more so. This song is gorgeous.

Fat Tony – No More

This song was put together by a collective of men that I consider to be family. It was written by Fat Tony, produced by Jose Gorbea (aka iLL Faded), and features a guest vocal appearance by Buckamore. All three men are just starting to get the real attention they truly deserve, and I’m excited about everything they have ahead of them.

The Very Best – Hear Me

I have a long history with these guys. For those that are unfamiliar with them, The Very Best is a collaboration between London based producer Johan Hugo and Esau Mwamwaya from Malawi.  I went on their first American tour with them years back, and have been following their career ever since. Hear Me with Vampire Weekend’s Chris Baio is their first release since their 2012 record MTMTMK.


Lyric Michelle – Weekend (la di da di)

Lyric is one of my favorite lyricists and poets. On this track, I feel like she’s calling out so many people that have been acting up. Anyone that has chosen to drink or smoke their troubles away instead of dealing with the real issues will definitely understand where she’s coming from with this one. The song has so many different levels that may get missed the first time around, but that’s okay. That’s what the internet is for! Repeat this one if you miss the message the first time around.

 

RX Bandits – Ruby Cumulus

There are few bands I love more than RX Bandits. They main reason I love them is because their music and live show inspired me to step out of my box as a performer. They do what they want to do, how they want to do it, and I respect the hell out of that.


Chllngr – Without Yours (Featuring Josiahwise IS THE SERPENTWITHFEET)

At one point, Steve Borth was in RX Bandits. At the time that he was exiting the band, I was slowly falling in love with them. Since I was so eager to hear everything this camp was putting out, be it together or solo, I kept up with his music.  Years later, he created a brand new project that I’m absolutely obsessed with called Chllngr. The harmonies are beautiful, and the soulful but synth-hop production in everything is just ridiculous. He is a truly a creative genius, and this project is wonderful.

BLSHS – Gave It Away

Blshs is a Houston based synth-pop trio that makes the kind music that distracts me from whatever it is I should be doing. Michelle’s voice is gorgeous, and the band is just all around amazing. In my opinion, the best thing about them, aside from their music, is that they support everyone that supports them. In an industry that is known for not being very nice, that kind of behavior goes a long way.

 

The Tontons – Ruins

This is my favorite song off of the most recent Tontons album. It’s very simple, but the song is incredibly moving. It features Asli Omar on vocals with Adam Martinez on acoustic guitar. I like that they kept the video just as simple as the song. Their music is usually much more aggressive, so it was really nice to see this side of them.

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Guest Mix: The Sour Notes

October 20, 2014

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The SOTO staff eats up enough of your time, so every now again we like to bring in a guest.  This month it’s The Sour Notes.  Recently the band released an album, Do What May, that you should check out.  See them live at either the Side One Track Presents show at the Blackheart this Friday or at Fun Fun Fun Fest in November.

Hey everybody! This is Amarah from The Sour Notes, and below is a mix of bands that are playing Fun Fun Fun Fest that we want to see!

:Courtney Barnett – Avant Gardener:  Barnett’s heavy Australian accent and dry delivery make deciphering her witty lyrics a treat on the recordings. But her live performance is a whole different situation, as her band is amazing and they look like they’re having fun! Check out this live KEXP performance at The Triple Door.

:Metz – Wet Blanket:  Metz are from Canada so you already know it’s probably going to be awesome. We’ve all have been wanting to catch them for a couple of years. Oh man you know what would be awesome? A show with A Place To Bury Strangers, Japandroids and Metz. Someone make that happen.

:Angel Olsen – Forgiven-Forgotten:  Olsen started out as a backing singer for the enigmatic Will Oldham, which she recalls as an experience that helped her train her voice, push it to extremes and define it as her own. It’s so pretty! She later cut a record with the similarly enigmatic Tim Kinsella. The result is some hauntingly beautiful quirky pop. This bitch ain’t no Lana Del Rey, she’s got her own ideas and works with cool people.

:Iceage – Morals:  Iceage are a great band from Copenhagen who remind us a lot of The Fall (or at least the vocal delivery). Here is a great review from the Houston Press by Alyssa Dupree that will make you want to make sure you catch their set at FFFFest.

:Yo La Tengo – Last Days Of Disco:  How can anyone not have mad respect for Yo La Tengo? They have been going at it since ’84 and in their current formation since ’92. That is a long time, you guys. Perhaps you have never gotten into Yo La Tengo because you looked them up and you were like “Whoa okay, too many albums.” WELL DON’T THINK THAT, IT’S SILLY. Just jump into the water. This song is probably not very representative of their repertoire, but it’s really one of the best songs ever and most likely to make you cry like a little baby, especially when they go “And the song said/Don’t be lonely/It makes me lonely/I hear it and I’m lonely more and more/Where I belong, where I belong.” Too. Much.

:Neutral Milk Hotel – Song Against Sex:  This is one of the best Neutral Milk Hotel songs.  Their shows at ACL Live got great reviews, so we’re sure their FFFFest set will be awesome.

:Dinosaur Jr. – Yeah We Know:  It’s cool that J. Mascis’ mom knitted him a Deep Wound sweater. Do you think your mom would do that for you?

:Modest Mouse – Dramamine:  People talk a lot of shit about Isaac Brock, but at the end of the day he’s still our hero. There’s not much room in the music industry for the working class, especially if their songs are all weird and shit. Did you know this motherfucker signed Wolf Parade?! Also, Ugly Cassanova rules too. Here is an indie MTV Cribs-kinda video of someone interviewing him in his house and the person seriously says “Whoa your house is really beautiful” and he is like “Yeah, I know” – it’s awesome.

:Yann Tiersen And Shannon Wright – While You Sleep:  Yann Tiersen is the dude that did the Amelie soundtrack. One day a PA was playing a CD on set and Jean-Pierre Jeunet was like “I want that shit in my movie.” Also, Shannon Wright is a fantastic songwriter! She is from Atlanta and she used to have this band called Crowsdell.

:Foxygen – Make It Known:  In addition to playing FFFFest, we’re also playing Fun Fun Fun Nites! We’re opening for Foxygen! It will be rad. Come hang out. It’s free if you have a FFFFest wristband.

:Yelle – A Cause Des Garcons:  It’s okay to have fun sometimes, you know. Especially with French people!

:Tubeway Army – Replicas:  Tubeway Army was Gary Numan’s band before he went solo. Here is a petty cool BBC documentary that mentions him quite a bit.

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Guest Mix: Ramesh

September 12, 2014

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The SOTO staff eats up enough of your time, so every now again we like to bring in a guest.  This month it’s Ramesh (formerly of Voxtrot).  Earlier this year he put out an album titled The King, and next Thursday (9/18) he’ll be the celebrating the vinyl release of it at the Belmont with our blog pals Austin Town Hall.

Ramesh here.  I call this mix THE VIBRATION.

:THE VIBRATION:

:Frank O’Hara – The Poet:  My friend Rosie introduced me to Frank about two years ago. His poetry is subtle and real, and really speaks to my time in New York.

:Aphex Twin – Xtal:  I first heard this song when I lived in Glasgow. For me it is freshness, joy, the future, and memory combined into one song.

:Mulatu Astatke – Tezeta:  This may well be the most pleasant song of all time.  According to Addis Rumble, “In Amharic, Tezeta translates into memory but it has a deeper meaning to it … it conveys a sense of longing and nostalgia lost in translation.”

:Booka Shade – In White Rooms:  First heard Optimo play this at the Key Festival (RIP) in King’s Cross, London about seven years ago. Pure minimal stunner.

:Le Youth – C O O L:  Good groove. Good sample. Good time.

:Thom Yorke – Ingenue (Live on Jonathan Ross):  Fell in love with this track from the moment I saw the video, then heard this live version and fell HOPELESSLY in love.

:Underworld – To Heal:  Sometimes this comes on Pandora when I’m running. ‘Tis a good song for perspective, appreciation, and distance.

:Dvorak – Piano Trio No. 4 ‘Dumky’ In E Minor Opus 90, B166, II Poco Adagio – Vivace:  Heard this on the car radio leaving rehearsal the other day, just as Mother Nature was bringing us into the magic hour. It really cast a golden light over Texas, highlighting the wonder of simple pleasures.

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Guest Mix: P-Tek

August 8, 2014

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The SOTO staff eats up enough of your time, so every now again we like to bring in a guest.  This month it’s P-Tek, one of the organizers of Austin Mic Exchange and the upcoming Weird City Hop-Hop Festival.

Eyeballs-deep. That’s how I would describe my current involvement in Austin Mic Exchange (AMX), the events company I founded in 2012 with Miss Manners, and our current project, Weird City Hip-Hop Festival. This September we’re throwing Austin’s first hip-hop fest ever (which still kinda blows my mind), and as our booking manager Aaron Miller pointed out to me earlier today, “with great hip-hop comes great responsibility.” Still, when all the booties have stopped shaking for the night, after all the emails, after all the shows, after all the website tweaking, tweeting, and twerking, it still really does boil down to just that – “great hip-hop”. And I LOVE great hip-hop. I’m married to it. I’m currently trying to have a baby with it. I mean, it’s certainly not ALL I listen to, but it’s what I listen to, you feel me? So here I stand, at the raggedy edge of Fall, eyeballs-deep in my (and Austin’s) first hip-hop festival, trying to make sure that in the mire of organization and planning I don’t lose that essential, pure-as-the-fallen-snow feeling. The feeling that made me buy my first rap single in elementary school, the feeling that made me feel different from other kids until I found my community, and the feeling that made me want to embroider a throw pillow with the phrase “Home is Where the Hip-Hop Is” when I finally got there. These are 10 tracks that remind me why it is I do what I do.

:Scuare – General Lee:  I met Scuare through AMX about a year ago, and now he’s legitimately my favorite Austin rapper. This is his best track. Listen to it.

:Jean Grae – Kill Screen:  This may be the only time in my life I ever directly quote a YouTube comment, but here goes: “She’s not one of the best female rappers, she’s one of the best rappers.” She’ll be performing at Weird City Fest, too.

:Madlib feat. Guilty Simpson – Go:  When you hear people say “that raw shit” – this is what they’re talking about. ‘Nuff said. Guilty will also be at Weird City Fest.

:Darc Mind – Visions of a Blur:  Recorded in 1995 but not dropped until 2006, Darc Mind’s only album is maybe still ahead of its time. Emcee Kev Roc’s bassy and rolling flow is absolutely hypnotic, and the production is dark, grimy, and psychedelic. Zone out.

:Urban Thermo Dynamics – Manifest Destiny:  Mos Def’s first group from 1994 still bangs. Check the boom-bap production and Ces, who as the posse’s only female emcee comes HARD with some golden age consciousness AND classic wack promoter disses. If I have a FAVORITE kind of hip-hop, this is it (and Das EFX and Black Moon and etc. etc. etc.)

:Jeru the Damaja – You Can’t Stop the Prophet:  When I first started rapping, Jeru kept me honest. Waxing philosophic on the Tao, knowledge-of-self, politics, and the pitfalls of hip-hop culture over grimy-ass 90′s beats – this dude may just be the realist to ever touch a mic.

:Madonna – Human Nature:  My mom used to play this in the car when I was a wee child. At the time I just wondered what the funny feeling I got from it was. Later I learned that that feeling meant I was attracted to women. Even LATER I learned that the entire beat was a sample of the G-funk’ed up sounds of hip-hop group Main Source. “I’m not your bitch don’t hang your shit on me” indeed.

:Atmosphere – Woman with the Tattooed Hands:  I grew up in Iowa, so Minneapolis hip-hop played a big role in my style and taste coming up. My girlfriend in high school practically demanded I listen to this track, and Slug’s poetic exploration of a simple, straightforward subject still sticks with me. I used to jam this on my paper route senior year.

:Dr. Dre – Big Ego’s:  2001 was the first hip-hop record I ever bought. It scared the shit out of me, and I also thought it was the coolest thing ever. This isn’t even close to Dre’s best song, but it still might be my favorite instrumental of all time. Just wait ’til that arpeggio comes in and TELL me it doesn’t pair with a blunt like brie goes with red wine (brie goes with red wine, right?).

:Prince – Gett Off:  Oh man, Prince, I love you. This track is so nasty, blunt, and features a little rap from the Purple Majesty himself. Only Prince can chastise his date for wanting barbeque ribs on a dance track and keep it sexy.

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Guest Mix: Major Major Major

June 13, 2014

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The SOTO staff rambles on enough, so every now again we like to bring in a guest.  This month it’s Adrian and Andrew, the duo behind Major Major Major.  Come out on June 27 and see them headline the next SOTO PRESENTS show at the Blackheart.

The morning after a last minute show in Fort Worth, Andrew and I hopped in my beautiful Chrysler Town and Country Touring minivan (best damn car in the world I know) and made our way to Lawrence, Kansas for our next show on tour. We were pretty bummed that our show in Oklahoma City had been canceled but we trekked on with our spirits high, after all, we had just begun our summer tour of the Midwest. Once we had crossed the Kansas border in the middle of the afternoon, the sky turned ominously grey, the land flattened, and the road just kept going on and on like we had died and gone to purgatory. I decided to take a little nap and let Andrew finish the drive. I woke up to the music blaring and Andrew belting to possibly the strangest hit of the 90’s, that Mmm Mmm Mmm song by the Crash Test Dummies (I have video of this if anyone is interested). Whether the long lonesome drive inspired him to play this track or Crash Test Dummies are secretly his favorite band I am still not sure but nonetheless Mmm Mmm Mmm fittingly became one of our tour Anthems.

So here it is, an oh so epic list of our TOUR ANTHEMS. We recommend these for long drives.

:Crash Test Dummies - Mmm Mmm Mmm:  Andrew owns this album and says the other tracks are just as good. I’m not sure I believe him.

:Non Blondes - What’s Up:  This is probably my “Mmm” song. A true sing in the shower kind of diddy.  Just try completely destroying your vocal chords on this gem one day, I promise you’ll feel better. “REVOLUTION!!”

:Titus Andronicus - The Battle Of Hampton Roads:  When Andrew and I first started playing music together, we bonded on our love for Titus. This is probably their most epic tune.

:Can - Yoo Doo Right:  One of my favorite bands to listen to on da road. Apparently this track is a 20 minute excerpt from a six hour jam session which never ceases to blow my freakin’ mind.

:Sleep - Dragonaut:  Another amazing band to listen to on da road. Lots of fierce air drumming and head banging on this one.

:Tenacious D - The Road:  “The road is fucking tough”

:The Magnetic Fields - The Death Of Ferdinand de Saussure:  Stephen Merritt is a heartbreak extraordinaire. It’s like he has been reading our high school self’s livejournal.

:Wipers - Doom Town:  Perfect for desolate terrain.

:Amputated - Menstrual Cunt Fart:  A song that offers scientific knowledge of the menstrual cycle, as well as some seriously unmatched vocal abilities. This was a very very dark part of the road as you can probably assume.

Miley Cyrus - Can’t Stop – It’s our mix, we can play what we want to!

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Guest Mix: Josh Denslow of Borrisokane

May 16, 2014

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The SOTO staff is big and mighty, but every now again it’s fun to bring in a guest.  This month it’s Josh Denslow of Borrisokane.  See his band play the next SOTO PRESENTS show at the Blackheart on May 30.

HIDDEN GEMS

The other day I opened my glove box and there, amidst the charger for my phone, my insurance card, and a ticket I never paid, was a half full bag of Twizzlers. What an amazing discovery. It was as though my car had become sentient while I was trapped at my desk and had popped over to the grocery store to pick up the very thing I needed for my drive home. Let’s see the car from Knight Rider do that.

Or how about this: After two months of using a video baby monitor (yes they make those and yes, they look like outtakes from Paranormal Activity) my wife’s brother stopped by for dinner and he pulled a little kickstand from the back of the unit and propped it on the table like a little TV. My wife and I looked at each other with shock. We had no idea that it did that.

Sometimes the things with which we are most familiar will yield unexpected surprises.

A year after you pick all of your favorite songs on an album, you might discover a hidden gem buried at the end of the track list. Or perhaps you disliked an album, and then the shuffle on your iPod reintroduces you to one of that album’s overlooked treasures. Or, as with Fiona Apple’s Extraordinary Machine, there was a completely different version of the album that had been shelved and was only available as a bootleg.

My mix is in honor of those underdog songs. The ones that have the patience to wait for you to finally find them.

:TV On The Radio – DLZ:  Inexplicably buried at the end of Dear Science, this is probably my favorite song the band has ever done.

:The Antlers – Putting The Dog to Sleep:  The last song on Burst Apart and their most accomplished. It gained popularity a bit after the album came out, I think because everyone discovered it at the same time.

:Yeasayer – Rome:  This band only succeeds 50% of the time, but never as successfully as this. Why isn’t this the first song on Odd Blood?

:Fiona Apple – Not About Love (Jon Brion Version):  The Jon Brion produced version of Fiona Apple’s Extraordinary Machine may have been shelved, but I thank the music gods for allowing me the opportunity to hear this recording of Not About Love. Raw and alive, I still get chills when I listen to it.

:Tom Waits – Lucky Day:  Tom Waits is one of my favorite artists of all time, but I don’t like the Black Rider soundtrack. There I said it. But right at the end of this mess is the song Lucky Day and I didn’t even know about it until I saw him perform it live a few years back. Now it shows up on all my Tom Waits mix CDs. And yes, I make a lot of those.

:Wolf Parade – This Heart’s On Fire:  The last song on their first and most popular album, it’s the most emotionally resonant thing they’ve ever done. In fact, my wife and I included a lyric from this song in our wedding invitations.

:St. Vincent – Dilettante:  Everyone liked Strange Mercy, but I didn’t know how much I liked this track until I shuffled all of her songs on Spotify when the new album came out.

:Islands – I Feel Evil Creeping In:  Arm’s Way was a huge disappointment of a second album. Years later, I decided to give it another shot because I was a fan of everything after it. Still a major disappointment. But I’m glad I slogged through because this is the last song on the album and it’s more than worth it.

:Future Islands – Fall From Grace:  This is the next to last song on Singles, and I predict it will not be a single. But it features the most growling on the whole album and I can’t get enough of it.

:Man Man – Top Drawer:  I’ve noticed a small decline in Man Man albums, but I remain a fan. I give each new offering a real shot and I always find something to like. But this little gem from the latter half of Rabbit Habits is probably the best thing they’ve done since Six Demon Bag.

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