Monday, July 26, 2010

New Daft Punk! . . .sort of

No, they're not releasing a new album right now but they are doing music for the remake of 80's classic Tron. I've listened to the songs and honestly, it pains me to say this since I love Daft Punk, they're not that interesting but that's excusable considering that it's soundtrack-type music tailor-made for the movie. Oh well, at least we know they're still alive considering they haven't released anything since Human After All in 05.

A weekend of British rock, new and old

I had an excellent weekend even though I wasn't able to go and see Lady Gaga, someone who I've really grown to like over the past year. Somehow, I was lucky enough to grab two tickets to see Robert Plant for thirty bucks apiece at the Woodlands and he was phenomenal. Playing songs in the same folksy bluegrass style he had when he was touring with Alison Krauss Plant put his voice to good work performing new songs and excellent covers of Zep songs like "Houses of the Holy", "Gallows Pole", "O'er the Hills and Far Away", "Rock and Roll", "Thank You", and even a short version of "In my time of dying". His latest album,
Band of Joy comes out in September and I'm pretty excited to pick it up after seeing a few of the new songs the band played. Plant was accompanied exclusively by American folk and bluegrass musicians which makes sense considering the fact that he's always shown a flattering appreciation for the American folk and blues culture.

On Sunday I got to see Keane with a photo pass and got to go behind the barrier and shot some excellent photos even though I've still only got a factory lens on my Nikon. Yet at the distance I shot from it doesn't matter what lens you have. The front man from Travis opened and I missed him but got to see the end of Ingrid Michaelson's set and she didn't so much for me honestly. The ironic Britney Spears cover she did at the end of her set was so five years ago. Keane was great though. Here are some pics:

Friday, July 23, 2010

Strange Sensations?

Fellow electric musicians, I have a strange experience to share with you. The other night I was playing my guitar in the garage and I felt like a was struck by a tiny, attenuated, blot of lightning in my fingers and hand. I turned off the amp and touched the strings again to see if it was some kind of pins and needles type deal but I didn't feel the shock again. It wasn't incredibly intense when I did feel it but it was kind of alarming. I'd been ignoring the feeling for a while as I played since my fingers were all over the fretboard and didn't have time to notice but whenever I played an open A I felt it. I now realized I was shocking myself for about two hours without noticing it. When I tested it again the other day nothing happened. I couldn't find the source and last night the amp and guitar were working perfectly. Weird huh?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Young Girls tour US, makes Houston proud

Catchy-as-hell, local Houston indie band, Young Girls, has embarked on their first major tour outside of Texas playing shows in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Illinois. Just a few hours ago I heard from band member Pete Tijerina that they'll have a spot on the lineup at the Free Tulsa music festival as well. I got to attend their tour kickoff last week at Walter's on Washington and they play a well composed, tightly formed, brand of original indie pop that really stands out in the crowd. Lots of bands, as I was discussing earlier with front man of Jody Seabody and the Whirls, want to ride that shiny, attractive, indie gravy train but have no real talent to show for it but Young Girls are different. With no stupid gimmicks or gaudy Sergeant Pepper's wardrobe, Young Girls delivers excellent, accessible, music that has a wide appeal. I'm not sure when their next Houston show will be but I'll be sure to alert y'all when I know. In the mean time, visit their myspace and take a listen for yourselves. I'm not sure if their debut EP Out for blood has been officially released but you should be able to buy demos at their shows for a couple bucks.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Some fresh, old, post-punk goodness

Found this one courtesy of the Tiny Mix Tapes. There's a UK band called the Trash Kit and to my ears, they remind me of excellent, early-to-mid-80's, post-punk bands, like the Raincoats and Delta 5. With a female vocalist, funky guitar riffs, and the help of some frantically-played wind instruments it updates the musical zeitgeist of that time period for second-gen post-punk fans like myself. I just find it neat that I, born in 89, could find a band that still plays like this. This needs to happen more. Check them out at their myspace.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Revisiting Lost Souls

One of my favorite albums of all time is "Lost Souls" by the British indie band Doves. The effect of this album is so melancholic, calming, and pensive on the listener that some days I would turn it on and it would literally put me into a semi-catatonic state of relaxation as I lay on my bed, ear buds in tightly, music turned up. Semi-psychedelic in nature, the album goes back and forth between ethereal instrumentals and satisfying indie ballads. Songs like "Firesuite" and "Break Me Gently" are undeniably trippy and out there but there are plenty of regular indie songs too like "Catch the Sun". The most powerful track however is title number "Lost Souls" which is one of the most psychedelic songs I've ever heard this side of 1975 while still benefiting from good, meaningful, lyrics and concrete songwriting. The album was released in 2000 but I didn't happen upon it until 2007 and I'm sure there are plenty of potential fans who've missed out on it even now.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bringing Malawi to the world

I spied a band on the 2010 Austin City Limits lineup called "The Very Best" and felt like I'd seen the name before. Since I'm currently making a must-see-list for when I go at ACL in the fall I figured I should check them out and see if they were worthy. The band is pretty new and only has a single LP out which features the contributions of talents like M.I.A. and Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend; combining traditional African music with western beats TVB is a new noteworthy player on the indie music scene. Working with London music production team Radioclit, Very Best front man, Esau Mwamway creates warm, world music, inspired by the traditions of his home nation of Malawi. This culturally rich project has a bright future and a versatile style that I look forward to hearing at this year's ACL.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Land ho! Islands come to Houston

Last night I had the good fortune to see Canadian indie rockers Islands at Mango's Cafe. My friend Rock even arranged a video interview with them and I helped the interviewer brush up, very quickly, on her Islands info which earned me a seat, in back while it was going on. Nicholas Thorburn, the front-man of Islands and co-founder of the iconic but since broken up Unicorns, was cool but also a total headcase. It pissed me off a little bit since he implied that Arcade Fire and Wolf Parade stole ideas from Islands and that Islands was around before Wolf Parade, which is not true. Whatever though. He's an artist and lots of artists have a messiah complexes. The two opening bands, Steel Phantoms and Active Child, hailing from Brooklyn and LA respectively, were incredible. Active Child consisted of two guys: one on bass, the other on harp and synth. The vocals were ethereal, operatic, and very different from standard indie fare. Piquing my post-punk nerd sensibilities Active Child even played a cover of posthumously the released Joy Division song "Ceremony" which I immediately recognized. Islands were just as good as I'd hoped with their zany old synths and poppy beats. Their latest album, Vapours, is a bit more electronic than the other two works in their catalogue and the keyboard playing definitely hails back to The Unicorns. Overall it was a good night at Mango's and I will link to the Free Video Houston interview with Islands when it goes up on the web.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Silence is not golden

As you all can probably infer, I need my music. I need it like a newborn needs to suckle at his mother's teat, to give you a slightly melodramatic parallel. However, this basic requirement was denied me last night as I tried to get my iPhone to play a Blind Faith album for me to listen to while I showered. There was no volume for music or applications yet the ringer and keystroke noises continued to work. I knew my shit was fucked. I panicked. I restarted my phone thrice but to no avail. Only after an hour of one-man pandemonium and installing the very latest OS, iOS4, onto my phone was I able to remedy my problem. It sounds dorky and slightly pathetic but I could not bring myself to think about taking it to the Apple store since that would mean at the very least a few hours without a portable music player. I have CDs in my car but for some reason that was not consoling. I couldn't listen to MY LIBRARY! I just wanted to share that harrowing experience with all of you and cement in all of your minds the suspicion that I am a helpless audio-geek.