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Stream This

May 3, 2013

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

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Still Corners – Strange Pleasures
Little Boots – Nocturnes
Dean Blunt – The Redeemer
Savages – Silence Yourself
She And Him – Volume 3
Mikal Cronin – MCII
Saskatchewan – Occasion
Sun Angles – Diamond Junk
Gyspy And The Cat – The Late Blue
Valleys – Are You Going To Stand There And Talk Weird All Night?
Porcelain Raft – Silent Speech EP
The Great Gatsby – Soundtrack

VIDEOS

Dana Falconberry’s Leelanau is out now on Antenna Farm Records.

The Sword put out Apocryphon last year.

Austra will put out Olympia on June 18 via Domino.

Dan Deacon’s Konono Ripoff No. 1 7″ was a RSD release.

Kurt Vile recently released Walkin On A Pretty Daze.

Team Spirit’s self titled EP is out now on Vice Records.

Hanni El Khatib just put out Head In The Dirt via Innovative Leisure.

Coliseum just released Sister Faith on Temporary Residence LTD.

Beach Day will put out Trip Trap Attack on June 18 via Kanine Records.  They’ll play the Mohawk on June 9.

Janelle Monae will put out The Electric Lady later this year.

Empire Of The Sun’s Ice On The Dune will be released June 18 via Astralwerks.

The Eastern Sea put out Plague last year.  Sofar Sounds shot this video.

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Who To See At SXSW 2013

March 4, 2013

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Previewing SXSW is such an odd task.  It would take a year’s worth of daily posts to cover just the great acts playing, and I think doing a mammoth playlist that contains every SXSW artist is a waste of time.  So, today I’m keeping things clean and providing five bands that are can’t miss this year, and then I’m tossing in five local acts for those of you that aren’t based in Austin.  Enjoy.

See These 5 Bands At SXSW

MS MR

For me, MS MR are the one band that I have to see at SXSW this year.  Their 90s-influenced sound is great, and I’ve yet to come across a song of theirs that hasn’t totally won me over.  By the way, I recommend getting in line early for wherever they’re playing, as their recent placement in the season three trailer for Game Of Thrones will certainly bring out the masses.

:MS MR – Bones:

Foxygen

Foxygen have put out one of the year’s best albums, which should be reason enough for you to seek them out.  I, however, want you to do it because their current live show is so odd.  They’re a young group that haven’t quite figured out how to keep their energy (or nerves) in check, so what ends up on stage is a really interesting watch.

:Foxygen – On Blue Mountain:

Chvrches

The first couple of singles from Chvrches were met with all sorts of buzz, and now they’re positioned to use SXSW to officially blow up.  I think their live show seems like something that could be a sweeping, joyous experience, and I can’t wait to see if that’s what they deliver.

:Chvrches – The Mother We Share:

Youth Lagoon

Youth Lagoon (Trevor Powers) will probably exit SXSW with a packed bandwagon.  Wondrous Bughouse, one of the year’s most anticipated albums, will be out before the festival starts, and I really think if there’s anyone that will be able to get the crowd to be quiet and pay attention, it’s him.

:Youth Lagoon – Dropla:

Haim

This trio is rolling into SXSW with a ton of buzz due to the overwhelmingly catchy Falling.  This could make for a situation where people just impatiently wait to hear the one track, but something tells me these ladies will avoid that by delivering one awesome dance party after another.

:Haim – Falling:

See These 5 Austin Bands At SXSW

Dana Falconberry

Dana has been one of Austin’s hardest working artists for quite a while, but it wasn’t until last year’s Leelanau that she finally got everyone to really start paying attention.  If you like your folk music to be intricate, yet accessible, then I highly recommend that you make some time to see her play.

:Dana Falconberry – Lake Charlevoix:

PS – Dana is playing SOTO’s day party, DC VS Austin, at Sidebar on March 15.  I would have mentioned her here regardless of this tidbit, but I figured you should know.

The Eastern Sea

The Eastern Sea certainly took their time to get to where they are now, and that patience has worked in their favor.  Plague turned out to be a great album, and the large lineup behind frontman Matt Hines allows for a rather expansive sound in a live setting.

:The Eastern Sea – Wasn’t For Love:

Sorne

An artist in all aspects of the word, Sorne is one of Austin’s most buzzed about acts.  For proof of how enthusiastic everyone is about this guy, take a look at his Kickstarter, where he just raised over $16,000 to fund his new album.

:Sorne – Ego Altar:

A Giant Dog

I know some of you are hoping to find a way for Austin to punch you in the face, and that’s why I made sure to include A Giant Dog.  They just released the very good Bone, and their live show was meant for the chaos that often comes with SXSW.

:A Giant Dog – Teasin’ Ass Bitch:

The Couch

The Couch have been one of my favorite local acts over the last three or four months.  Their live shows are a upbeat and fun, and I really dig the pop rock sound that makes up their self titled full length (released late last year).

:The Couch – Kick The Can:

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Local Live Picks (Jennifer)

January 16, 2013

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Free Week in Austin may be over, but there’s no rest for the wicked as there are several great local shows coming up this month. This Friday at Frank there is the killer triple bill of Gentlemen RoguesMoonlight Towers, and Excited States. This will be an evening of loud, ringing guitars with plenty of hooks and melody.  I’ve been a longtime fan of Gentlemen Rogues and Moonlight Towers, but in the past year I became a fan of local trio, Excited States. There’s no finished album just yet but they recently posted a couple of tunes on their Soundcloud page, and they’re chock full of tasty power pop goodness. Their gigs are infrequent so I encourage you to check them out this weekend at Frank. They open the show at 10pm followed by Moonlight Towers and then Gentlemen Rogues.

A few of my local favorites have month-long residencies worth checking out. Sabrina Ellis from Bobby Jealousy is a very busy woman this month with the Home Church Monday night residency with Bobby Jealousy and special guests at Hotel Vegas, and then Sabrina’s Foxy Nights, which is a solo residency (with special guests) on Wednesday nights at The Fox Tavern. Bobby Jealousy’s Free Week show last Friday at The Mohawk was such a blast, I’d love to see them again one of these January Mondays. If you prefer a mellower, more intimate atmosphere, I suggest going to one of solo shows at The Fox Tavern. If you missed out on his monthilong residency last August at The Parish, you have another chance to see Shakey Graves (the moniker of songwriter, Alejandro Rose-Garcia) every Wednesday night this month at The Parish. Word of mouth is spreading across the globe about him, so don’t miss your opportunity to see him in Austin for free at one of the best sounding venues in town. Doors open at 8pm; there are different special guests each week that open the show before Shakey takes the stage. He has some serious guitar picking skills and a charismatic yet easygoing stage presence.

Wednesday night seems to be popular night to host a residency. The Sweet Nuthin’ have put together A Very January Residency at Hole in the Wall. This fun, hard rockin’ quartet (plus special guests every week) will be celebrating January humpdays from 10pm-midnight. Tonight should be a rollicking good time as they are joined by their friend, Nic Armstrong. The Sweet Nuthin will be doing double duty – playing their own tunes and as members of Nic’s band, The Thieves. In addition to these monthly residencies, I also wanted to mention a couple of other special shows. Local symphonic pop ensemble, Linen Closet, is re-releasing their Bright Wing EP. The songs have been remixed and the EP is finding new life on cassette through the Accrue Cassettes label. This special show will be held on Sat Jan 19th at Central Presbyterian Church and feature an expanded lineup. Their performance at CPC last August was extraordinary – a perfect marriage of the band’s sound and setting. I’m looking forward to hearing their orchestral, melodic swirls fill the entire church once again.

Last but not least, a couple of local favorites will be launching their winter tour adventures. On Tuesday, January 22, local indie pop quartet, Tiger Waves, will be kicking off a Jan/Feb US tour at the Mohawk. Their surf and psychedelia influenced sound has been growing on me since I first saw them a year ago. Their Don’t Be Yourself EP and more are available to stream and download on Bandcamp. I especially love the Beach Boys meets Real Estate vibe on their Weekends single. I encourage you to give them a warm sendoff – they’re playing late after the sold out Purity Ring show with local dream pop quintet, Black Books. Touring is expensive so if you would like to help them out, you can do that on their Kickstarter page and/or purchase merchandise at their upcoming gigs. Prog pop band, The Eastern Sea, started their winter tour with The Kopecky Family Band on Monday and they’ll be returning to Austin on Saturday, January 19 to play at The Parish before going back on the road. They were one of my favorite highlights from Austin City Limits Festival 2012 (and released one of my favorite albums, Plague, of last year), and I highly recommend hearing them at the Parish.

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Jennifer’s Top 11 Austin Albums Of 2012

December 14, 2012

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When I sat down to list my favorite songs and albums from 2012, Austin bands were all over it. I’m going to take that as a sign and share the local favorites that I listened to repeatedly. There’s no special ranking or order here. It was harder than I expected to narrow it down to the Top 11. These are the bands that made an impression on me this year and give me reasons to be a music fan. I hope you’ll discover new favorites and check them out in 2013.

JC & Co – Music By

This band’s debut album kicked off my 2012 with blissful, dreamy 60s influenced pop. Led by songwriter and guitarist, Jason Chronis, this album is filled  with plenty of jangly guitar hooks and stick in your head melodies.

Belaire – Resonating Symphony

The members of JC & Co had a busy year because most of the band is also part of Belaire. Resonating Symphony was released this spring after having been worked on for three years. It was definitely worth the wait, as it’s a breezy, infectious pop delight with a range of influences that hint of bossa nova, folk, and electropop.

Dana Falconberry – Leelanau

I had heard of Dana from the Echotone music documentary, but I didn’t check out her songs until her album release show a couple of months ago. You could say I had a “what took me so long to pay attention?” moment, but needless to say, I was enchanted by the eloquent, emotive songs filled with the nature inspired sounds of her home state, Michigan. Just close your eyes, listen carefully, and you can imagine yourself transported to the woods and lakes of her childhood.

The Eastern Sea – Plague

The Eastern sea is a name that I first heard a couple of years ago, but I didn’t follow through on checking out their tunes. Thank goodness for second chances! Despite the foreboding album title, the songs on Plague also convey a sense of joy, hope, and overcoming the odds despite what might be against you. A triumphant, gorgeous record worth repeated listens.

Good Field – Good Field

I first heard their self titled debut album about seven months ago, and I’m still completely head over heels for it. The LP is full of undeniable guitar pop hooks that get into your head and never leave. I highly recommend seeing them play live so you can also witness just how great they are as musicians. A new album is in the works and more touring, so keep your eyes and ears open in 2013 for this band. I promise you that they measure up to all my fangirl gushing.

She Sir – You Could Be Tiger/Condensedindents

Their next album, Go Guitars, is slated for a 2013 release. To appease the appetite of fans, the band made two new songs available for download and/or streaming. I can’t get enough of their lush, shimmery sound that floats and swirls in a melodic haze.

The Calm Blue Sea – Arrivals And Departures

This is the year I finally enjoyed a (mostly) instrumental rock album. This is a surprising revelation for a (mostly) power pop, hook loving music fan. Maybe that’s why I love this album, it blew my own expectations away. At one moment you can close your eyes and drift away and at another moment, you can’t resist pulling out some air guitar and/or drumming. This music isn’t just for bedroom listening. Their album release show this fall was one of the shows you brag to your friends about how you were there. I also highly recommend checking out their video performance series, Aberrations And Departures, which was shot at various Austin locations ranging from a neighborhood bar, a vintage store, and a playground. Each setting seamlessly fits into the personality of the songs.

The Couch – The Couch

Early this year, I saw The Couch perform as part of The Good Music Club, and I finally became a Couch convert. They have the advantage of having two talented songwriters and lead singers (I’m such a sucker for great dual male/female vocals), and a solid, top notch rhythm section. It’s a fun, sweaty rock and roll with a melodic, pop heart beating underneath.

Bobby Jealousy- A Little Death

Their debut album is a delicious mix of rock, pop, glam, soul, and punk. The band is a great combination of solid songwriting and infectious, engaging live performances. There have been lineup changes since the album’s release, but that is not slowing the band down from starting work on the next release. I’m excited to hear more from tthem.

The Zoltars – Should I Try Once More?

This album was instantly in the running to be a year end favorite. I became a fan of their less is more, stripped back sound and songwriting. The winning factor is that they’re able to make it catchy, infectious, and worthy of repeated listens. They make the sad songs feels so good.  A 7″ EP is slated for release in January or February, and a new album is set for a summer 2013 release.

Leatherbag – Ditto Time

In 2012, they re-branded themselves briefly as No Future before calling it a day. This past spring, this trio released Ditto Time, which hinted at the band’s change in direction described as “flag wave.” I’m still not quite sure what that is but at the end of the day, the results were killer, no BS songwriting from Randy Reynolds and a badass rhythm section of Daniel Blanchard and Drew Emmons. They were a live favorite that I never tired of seeing. I’m really going to miss this band – good tunes from good people.

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