I’ve had my fair share of jarring experiences with Spotify audio ads — Aerosmith interrupting “David Comes to Life” was the first really bad one I can recall. But the worst is probably what I experienced last Wednesday when a clean, shiny automobile ad interrupted my maiden listen of “Hi, How Are You,” Daniel Johnston’s so-lo-fi-you’re-not-sure-whether-to-call-it-something-other-than-lo-fi 1983 cassette release…. Read more »
When spring and summer roll around, its high time for some new tunes — too many car rides, outdoor parties and jogs outside to not have a great soundtrack of breezy, upbeat or epic music. Here is a list of confirmed release dates that I am looking forward to this spring and summer…. Read more »
Going to a festival like South by Southwest can be an intense experience, and I’ve found myself musically exhausted since then. So I’m more or less at a loss for what to talk about here this week. Therefore, I’m going to opt for some stuff I wished I had published during the festival.
In my posts over spring break, I talked a lot about the quality of music shows and the styles of music swirling around the summery Austin air during SXSW. But when I chatted briefly with Jennifer Clavin of Bleached after their set at the Hype Hotel, I talked more about the process of SXSW and how exposure and audience reception plays into their work…. Read more »
AUSTIN, Texas — If there’s one thing that South by Southwest has in bountiful supply, it’s free stuff. Not free music, just free stuff: chips, tacos, drinks, koozies, barbecue food, CDs, t-shirts. Their apparent logic: If you give festival-goers enough free stuff, they will become hooked and start buying products in droves. So it’s a beautiful thing when the crowds turn the tables on these companies, and it’s a sight to behold when the crowds turn the tables on the venues, too. That’s where A$AP Rocky came into the equation yesterday afternoon at a venue called Formerly TOPS. The Harlem-based rapper made the eager crowd wait nearly 45 minutes after his set was supposed to start, and in the meantime, some company selling water in milk carton-style paper containers was tossing free boxed water into the crowd. A questionable decision. After several “ASAP!” chants, the rapper and his entourage finally erupted onto the stage, jumping around to the hazy beats. The bass was thumping harder than anything I’ve ever experienced, and weed smoke continuously drifted into the rafters of the warehouse-style venue. Things then started to get a bit rowdy after a song or two, and A$AP Rocky egged the crowd on with… Read more »
AUSTIN, Texas — The band Pond would be really hard to pin down if the seemingly clashing components of their music and image weren’t individually so familiar. During their performance last night at Buffalo Billiards, the band would settle into psychedelic prog rock for a minute or two, only to smash that apart with thick, juicy guitar licks reminiscent of ’70s glam rock that drowned out the oddball vocals of lead man Nick Allbrook, who seemed to walk right out of the early ’90s. Throwback was the order of the evening for the Australian band, which consists of two members of Tame Impala. When he wasn’t singing, however, Allbrook would often grow impatient of standing on stage, jumping into the audience to successfully — or not-so-successfully — crowd surf, or otherwise to simply flail around on the ground. It might have felt like a punk show, but the music sounded anything but. The entire band seemed to adore the idea of being rock stars — it was somewhat unclear whether Allbrook preferred interacting with the crowd or the camera flashes that came with his unique antics — as they shoved each other into the crowd, ripped each others’… Read more »
AUSTIN, Texas — What makes a live show a worthwhile live show? Thursday afternoon and evening, I caught several acts that make heavy use of prerecorded loops and several acts that didn’t, leading me to wonder if it really is the manipulation of instruments that makes a performance interesting, or if it is something entirely different. I always find it interesting to see how an artist like Grimes has changed over the course of a year. In my very first South by Southwest show ever last year, Grimes played an unassuming yet ethereal (I hate using that word) set in a small bar to a decent-sized crowd. Since then, Grimes has garnered tons of buzz online and received critical praise for her recently released LP, “Visions.” Last night, she found herself on a much larger stage than in 2011, performing at Pitchfork’s official SXSW showcase at the Central Presbyterian Church. Her dreamy electro-pop filled the high-ceilinged nave of the church, which made for a pleasant listening experience as a bunch of Pitchfork-loving heathens sat in the pews. Still, I couldn’t help but feel like her live performance was lacking — something about watching two people press buttons and hit… Read more »