Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Os Mutantes graces Houston

I started listening to the Brazilian psych band again ever since I heard that they are coming to Houston on the Nov. 7 at Fitzgerald's. The band combines bossa nova and jazz type music with psychedelic rock, all sung in Portuguese. They got their start in the 60s and have been remarkably active ever since. Here's one of my favorite songs:

If you like it then I recommend that you buy the mp3s on Amazon. I think it cost me about six dollars to get their self-titled debut album which has 12 songs. It's a pretty good deal.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Blank Dogs spitting image of 80s post-punk

There are a lot of present-day bands that claim post-punk as a major influence in their work; think of bands like Interpol, the Strokes, or the Horrors. However, even though they contain identifiable echoes of post-punk the resulting sound is still very different from the genre's golden age. Every once in a while though, I run into a band that is influenced by post-punk and actually sounds exactly like classic post-punk. I discovered one of these uncanny bands on Sunday night while listening to KTRU: Blank Dogs. Originally I thought it was just some obscure British artist from the 80s that never charted or got any major recognition but they're actually from Brooklyn and have only been around since 2007. Take a listen to the first song I heard by them:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Austin City Limits Wrap-Up

Even though I only spent two out of the three days at Zilker Park , I created an exhaustive schedule for myself and saw some really excellent performances. I wish I had some pretty pictures to show you all but I completely forgot to ask the mgmt for a press pass. Here are some of my favorite sets:

LCD Soundsystem
: I've been waiting to see James Murphy play since I heard the first LCD LP when I was in high school so the release of tension was considerable when I heard them open with a solid version of "dance yrself clean". The sound was good and Murphy had a full live band with him that was able to keep up with the project's tight disco sounds.They played at least one song from every album, including the tearjerker "all my friends" and a particularly old but good song called "tribulations". Murphy ended the set with a long version of "Yeah" (called the 'pretentious version' on the album) and then wound the crowd down with "Home". Overall, this was one of my favorite performances of the entire festival since I had high expectations and they were met, fully.

Sonic Youth:
Sort of like James Murphy, the members of noise band Sonic Youth are not young today but their sound doesn't really suffer for that. Both over fifty years old, Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore played ferociously on a stage with well-managed levels just two slots before the major headliners. I was a little disappointed to see so few people at the Honda Stage for their set but with the small crowd I was able to see the stage really well. The vocals and playing were spot on and my mind was blown. The best song they played was "silver rocket".

My fiance really loves MIA and I've gained a decent amount of respect for her after the release of "Born Free" which samples Suicide and was accompanied by an excellent video. The exotic dance beats and intense lyrics were infectious, even at a distance. MIA does not present herself as some vapid, pop princess while on stage: she is something totally different. She is fierce, sexy, and often shocking. The set ended a little early but other than that, there was nothing to complain about.

Bear in Heaven: Due to the timing and location, it would have been easy to miss this Brooklyn experimental band's set on Saturday but I paid thirty bucks to a pedi cab just to get there in time. The sound consists mostly of echoing vocals, electronic textures, and a lot of arpeggiator tones bolstered by thumping bass and toms. It made me feel stoned, almost.

Black Lips:
Black Lips were punchy, bratty, and loud enough to give me the garage/punk fix that was missing from the rest of the fest. The two best tracks they played were "Old Man" and "Drugs". My only complaint was that I wish their slot was longer but that's festivals for you.