Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ticket Giveaway: The Calm Blue Sea CD Release show at Emo's Lounge on Saturday

The Calm Blue Sea CD release show (read my review of the album here) is going on this Saturday night (October 4th) at Emo's Lounge and I have a pair of guest list spots to give away for the show. Leave a comment telling me why you want to go to the show and you'll be entered to win. I'll select a winner at random on Friday and will notify the winner via email. The winner and a friend will get free entry into the show. Also on the bill on Saturday are Murdocks, The Midgetmen, Hat Talk, and Businessman DJs will be spinning between sets. It should be a fun night.

Emo's Lounge
Saturday October 4th
The Calm Blue Sea CD Release show
w/ Murdocks, The Midgetmen, Hat Talk, and Businessman DJs
Doors @ 8, Show @ 10
Tickets available at the door

The Calm Blue Sea - Literal (mp3)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Some Videos

Got a couple of cool live performance videos to share with you. Both come from Pitchfork.tv. The first is Plants and Animals performing "Faerie Dance", off of their phenomenal Parc Avenue LP, on a city rooftop and the second featuring M83 perform the song "Kim & Jessie" from this year's Saturdays=Youth in Juan's Basement. Both performances are strong enough that I thought they deserved your attention.

Plants and Animals - Faerie Dance

Plants and Animals - Faerie Dance (mp3)

Buy Parc Avenue here

M83 - Kim & Jessie

M83 - Kim & Jessie (mp3)

Buy Saturdays=Youth here

You can check out Plants and Animals at Emos on Oct 20th when they come through town with another great band, Born Ruffians.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mogwai @ Stubbs 9.12.08

The Mogwai show last Friday was every bit as phenomenal as I hoped it would be. Hurricane Ike spared us any rain and the show went off without a hitch. The band ripped through a set that featured lots of new material (they played five tracks off of The Hawk Is Howling) while at the same time delivering quite a few old classics such as Mogwai Fear Satan, Like Herod, Helicon 1, and Yes! I am a Long Way From Home. The band sounded really tight and blew the (nonexistant) roof off of Stubbs at various points. If you missed the show, you are in luck as you can experience the show digitally via the photos below and the excellent bootleg of the show that surfaced on Archive.org today.

Set List

01. Yes! I am a Long Way From Home
02. Ithaca 27o9
03. The Precipice
04. Helicon I
05. I Love You, I'm Going to Blow Up Your School
06. Friend of the Night
07. Ex-Cowboy
08. I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead
09. Mogwai Fear Satan
10. Thank You Space Captain
11. Hunted by a Freak
12. Scotland's Shame
13. Like Herod
14. Batcat
15. We're No Here

Mogwai - Helicon 1 (live at Stubbs 9.12.08) (mp3)

Get the rest of the set here.

(photos by Mike Blackwell)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Grails are a hard working band. The Portland, OR based group are set to release their second full length album of the year, Doomsdayer's Holiday, on Oct 7th through Temporary Residence (Explosions in the Sky, Mono, The Drift) a few short months after releasing Take Refuge In Clean Living on Important Records. Like many other vocal-less bands, Grails tend to get lumped into the Post-Rock genre, but to me Post-Rock means a band like Mogwai, Mono, Caspian, or This Will Destroy You, all bands that are pretty heavy and really loud. Grails take these elements and use them sparsely, but the majority of their musical space is filled with unique instrumentation (lots of middle eastern sounds) and a more mellow approach that reminds me more of label mates The Drift or some of the more Jazz leaning rock bands around. Their sound is rather hard to describe because the band's musical output is so diverse. Doomsdayer's Holiday is definitely sludgier and more evil sounding at points while Take Refuge In Clean Living is a bit more spry. You have to listen to the music to really understand this band. It would take many many words to accurately convey the multitude of sounds you will hear when you listen to them.

Grails - Take Refuge (mp3)

Buy Take Refuge In Easy Living here

Grails - Reincarnation Blues (mp3)

Buy Doomsdayer's Holiday here

Saturday, September 13, 2008

ACL Fest coming up pretty quick

ACL fest is creeping up on us pretty quickly and it's probably about time to start planning out your schedule. There is a cool little scheduler application at Sched.org that can help you organize your picks and even create a cool widget for your myspace, facebook, blog, etc. I made one of my picks which you can check out below. Even if you don't plan on making it out to the park, all of the great ACl Aftershows are also listed.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

GFY Ike! (Long Live Mogwai!)

Mannnnnnnn, Hurricane Ike better stay the hell away from Austin tomorrow night because if the Mogwai show gets rained out I am going to go on a rampage. It's been 5 years since I last saw my favorite live band in the universe and I will not accept any of this rain nonsense! I will be swimming in positive thoughts from here on out, I swear. So, obviously, this is a post about the Mogwai show at Stubbs tomorrow night. I've had my ticket for a while now and the anticipation is mounting. In order to get all of you psyched for the show here is a little treat for you. Fuck Buttons are opening all of the dates on this US Tour and at each stop the bands have made available a limited edition split EP which features each band taking on one of the other's songs. Mogwai contribute a remix of the Fuck Buttons song "Colours Move", while Fuck Buttons offer up their take on the Mogwai classic "Mogwai Fear Satan". I have the latter available for you below. Be sure to grab a copy for yourself at the Merch table tomorrow night.

Fuck Buttons - Mogwai Fear Satan (mp3)

Get your tickets here while they last.

The Mogwai show is the big news of the night but there is more rock for you after the show is over a few feet away from Stubbs' main stage. After the show be sure to make your way inside for the free (with Mogwai wristband) The Calm Blue Sea set at the After-party (i'm sure you can pay at the door too if you decide not to go to Mogwai for some reason). These local post rockers have certainly spent their fair share of time listening to Mogwai and I'm sure they'll be front row for the show before they unleash their own post-rock fury inside. They have a brand new album finished (which I recently reviewed here) and I'm sure they will have copies available at the show. Bring your fucking earplugs everybody!

The Calm Blue Sea - Literal (mp3)

Buy The Calm Blue Sea (digitally) here

Also, be sure to make it out to Emo's Lounge on October 4th for The Calm Blue Sea's official CD Release show with The Midgetmen, The Murdocks, and Hat Talk.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Dude Abides

Just wanted to post a quick link to one of the best articles I have ever read on any subject. I'm serious about that too. This article happens to be about the tenth anniversary of, what could be my favorite film of all time and what is definitely the most enjoyably quotable film of my lifetime, The Big Lebowski. I am in total awe of how good of a writer Joe Crosby is.

The Dude Abides::Ten Years Later


Standing in for The Stand Ins

Okkervil River have a new album out called The Stand Ins which is a companion piece to last years excellent The Stage Names. In a brilliant bit of pre album release promotion, the band enlisted several of their peers to cover, acoustically, one song each from their album. The resulting covers (by a myriad of artists including Bon Iver, David Vandervelde, Crooked Fingers, and more) are fantastic and, having listened to them before I listened to the album itself, made for a very unique listening experience the first time I popped The Stand Ins in. Below I have posted a couple of my favorite covers. The rest of them can be found here.

Crooked Fingers - Bruce Wayne Campbell Interviewed On The Roof Of The Chelsea Hotel, 1979

Zykos - On Tour With Zykos

Bon Iver - Blue Tulip

AC Newman w/ Will Sheff - Lost Coastlines

Okkervil River - Blue Tulip (mp3)

Buy The Stand Ins here

Bon Iver on Conan

Here's a video of Bon Iver performing "Flume" on Conan the other night. I'm sure everyone has heard this song or seen some sort of live incantation of it over the last year or so, but this version is slightly different, featuring a fourth member who was not present every other time I've seen the band perform. Adding a fourth harmony line doesn't so much change the song as it simply makes everything a bit more rich and full.

Bon Iver - Flume (live on Late Night with Conan O'Brien)

Bon Iver - Flume (mp3)

Buy For Emma, Forever Ago here

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Calm Blue Sea album review

The Calm Blue Sea’s debut, self titled LP (recorded at Cacophony Recorders with local wunderkind producer and engineer Erik Wofford this summer) begins gently with a delicately strummed set of guitar strings and a warm wash of delay. The music then builds and swells before dropping out again and being replaced by a tranquil piano melody. All of this takes place during the first 90 of the album’s 2787 seconds. Expect more of this. The Calm Blue Sea is an album brimming with tenuous lows and exalting highs, rife with both tranquility and chaos. Each track slides gracefully into the next (this is a gapless album) to create an overarching composition that quickly becomes greater than the sum of its individual parts. Having seen the band live many times, I can tell you that this seamlessness carries over to the live show, often leaving the audience unsure of where one song ends; the next begins, or even when to applaud.

If I were to map out opening track "We Happy Few" in terms of song dynamics, the map would resemble a sequence of three mountains, each increasing in size, with low, peaceful valleys between. The song slowly builds into peak one, then the music quickly drops for a languorous moment before climbing to an epic crescendo, only to drop again, hinting at an end that is still minutes away, and finally climb to its highest peak yet. "We Happy Few" slides effortlessly into what I would call the albums single, if a single can be seven and a half minutes long. "Literal" is the only track to feature vocals and rises and falls beautifully from end to end. The last three minutes of "Literal" are a constant build to a dizzying high of crashing drums, crushing bass, squealing guitars and keyboards that satiate the song’s soundscape.

The Calm Blue Sea - Literal (mp3)

My favorite moment on The Calm Blue Sea is the decrescendo towards the three quarter mark of "The Rivers That Run Beneath This City", wherein each band member slowly drops out of the mix, stripping the song first of guitar, then bass, then piano, and finally of drums for a brief moment of dead silence before the song crashes back into life. In a genre full of lots of slow builds and sudden drops, it’s nice to see a band focus on the comedown too.

The Calm Blue Sea is an album that I would describe as methodically proportioned and barely constrained servings of melody and chaos. At times the band is downright mathematical in their precision, interlacing and intertwining intricate piano and guitar lines while the rhythm section pounds away on the low end, then with a sudden crash of stick to snare, all hell breaks loose, but always perfectly on command. The band clearly draws a large amount of influence from this era’s great Post Rock bands such as Mogwai, Mono, Explosions in the Sky, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. That’s not all I hear though. I hear Pink Floyd. I hear Zeppelin. I hear Siamese Dream. I hear the influence of an entire era of music that chose big loud tube amps in combination with delay and distortion pedals over a Wah-wah pedal and a solid state amp. I really love this album and I expect great things from these 5 musicians in the future.

The Calm Blue Sea is being self released by the band and is currently available for purchase digitally from the following locations as well as at their shows and local record shops around Austin.

Buy The Calm Blue Sea at emusic

Buy The Calm Blue Sea at Amazon

Frightened Rabbit live album in October

According to a news blurb I just read on Pitchfork, Scotland's own Frightened Rabbit will be releasing a live album on Oct 21st called Liver! Lung! FR!. The album is being released by FatCat and features some guest vocals from James Graham of The Twilight Sad. Weeeee that sounds pretty kick ass. This is a perfect excuse for me to link all of you to some great videos of one of their semi-recent Austin shows at The Mohawk. The folks over at Switchburn are to thank for these lovely visuals.

Frightened Rabbit - The Greys (live at the Mohawk 06.05.08)

There are 3 more videos from this show here in much larger size. Be sure to check out the rest of the site too as it is chock full o' rock and roll videos.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Walkmen - In The New Year (live)

The Walkmen recently filmed a set with Juan's Basement for Pitchfork.tv and the first part was posted today. It's hard to remember a band I've seen live before who play with as much passion and energy as The Walkmen do, and that energy is overly evident in the strained muscles running around Hamilton Leithauser's neck as he reaches way way deep for those awesome yells. Check this one out for sure and be sure to keep an eye out for parts 2 and 3.

The Walkmen - In The New Year (mp3)

Buy You & Me here

Wilco and Fleet Foxes covering Bob Dylan

Oh man, this is too perfect, Wilco and Fleet Foxes covering "I Shall Be Released" in Spokane, WA. As you watch this video, don't be surprised when a weird feeling overtakes you, the feeling of a hidden itch being scratched, or a desire you were unaware that you had suddenly being fulfilled. In a word, it's perfect. These bands were meant to cover this song in just this manner. Good stuff.

via You Ain't No Picasso

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