Something Like Sound

Tag: SXSW 2011

Video: Baths – Flux (SXSW live)

by on May.04, 2011, under Videos

Here’s something I totally forgot about until today. It’s a video I took of electronic musician Baths performing “Flux” at the Impose showcase. Check out his full length Cerulean, it’s quite good.

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Better late than never: The Best & Worst of SXSW 2011

by on Mar.30, 2011, under "Best of" Lists, Blogs, Concert Reviews

South By South-West (SXSW) was two weeks ago, and I have only now found time to write down some of my thoughts. Life has been busy, but this post is better late than never. Without further ado: The Best and Worst of SXSW 2011

The Best

Showcase: Impose Magazine (3/18 at the Long Branch Inn)

Baths and his impressive digital skills

The heart of SXSW is discovery. I stumbled upon this showcase after a day of hanging out with FLASHLIGHTS and the crew from Speaker Snacks and I stayed after they left for the evening. Impose‘s lineup was the kind which could be a festival all its own- featuring GOBBLE GOBBLE, Braids, Baths, Weekend, Cloud Nothings, and No Joy. An eclectic mix of dance, electronic, punk, and lo-fi kept me intrigued and waiting for the next act. See more photos here.

Sets: The Strokes (3/17 at Auditorium Shores) & Memoryhouse (3/17 at Swan Dive)

The packed crowd at The Strokes

There were so many great sets during the week that I couldn’t choose just one to feature. The Strokes, those mainstream, larger-than-life rock stars showed their gusto by headlining the Auditorium Shores stage (one of the largest at SXSW) and cemented their spot with a full fireworks display during their finale.

Canadian chill-group Memoryhouse bathed in blue light

One group that I made an effort to see was Memoryhouse. After being taken with their recent 7″ a few months ago, I determined that I wanted to see them live. Turns out they’re even better live than on the recordings. Their set at the excellent Brooklyn Vegan showcase allowed me to cool off from the heat of the day and bask in the soothing music.

Place to park: East of I-35

The neighborhoods surrounding the historic French Legation Museum had some prime parking spots. Being east of I-35 ensured that the typical downtown traffic was less and the relative lack of “no parking” signs was encouraging. Furthermore, our car never got towed, ticketed, or broken in to. Last, but not least, from the museum it was only a short walk to get to 6th downtown, or any number of spots on the east side (including the Long Branch Inn, Cheer Up Charlie’s, and the Fader Fort). Only complaint: you had to get there early to snatch a spot

Free booze: New Belgium Fat Tire beer at SpokesBuzz party

Fort Collins’ian Danielle Ate The Sandwich at the beer-lover’s favorite party

Maybe it’s because I grew up in Fort Collins, maybe it’s because they make a damn good beer; in either case the free Fat Tire from New Belgium hit the spot at the SpokesBuzz party. There were also some great Colorado-local acts there (including blog-favorite Danielle Ate The Sandwich). Next year, when I’m living in Austin, I will go to any party that has free Fat Tire.

Free food: Rachael Ray’s party

Rachel Ray’s party had a marked lack of hipsters

Where to start… perhaps the fajitas, or the chili, or the burgers, or any number of other fantastic snacks made food-personality Rachael Ray my favorite person on our last day in Austin. While the music was not quite up to my tastes, the food certainly was. Add free Blue Moon and margaritas to the mix and it was all worth it.

The Worst

Way to spend your time: Standing in line for Purevolume House & Fader Fort

Toro Y Moi played the Fader Fort… although waiting in line sucked

We got in to Austin on the Monday of SXSW. We spent Tuesday standing in lines. For 5 hours we waited to get wristbands to the “super-exclusive” (read: over-rated) parties thrown by Fader and Purevolume. The worst part: We didn’t even go to any of the mediocre showcases at Purevolume and I only went to Fader once for Toro Y Moi.

Mode of transportation: Walking

So many sore legs

Being on your feet for an entire day is one thing, walking around on the concrete for 6 days is just masochistic. If it weren’t for the logistical nightmare, we would have all been riding bicycles and saving our energy for more important things (read: drinking). I suppose walking wasn’t the absolute worst mode of transport, I saw some pretty dorky looking people riding Segways.

Decision of the week: No sunscreen on the first day

Charlie Sheen called, he wants his look back

That’s me after our week in Austin and 16 hour car ride home. Do I look burnt out? Sure I do! The entire week would have been much more pleasant if I hadn’t gotten sunburned the first day while waiting in endless lines. Be safe kids, wear sunscreen at SXSW. Note to future companies who want my respect/business at SXSW: In addition to giving away free booze, give out some sunscreen too.

Hangover: The day after the Sony party

Technology giant Sony threw a party to show off their fancy TVs and computers, we showed up just because they had one of the best open bars at all of SXSW. Unfortunately it was a little too good and the next day felt terrible. It reminded me that drinking in moderation is important, and having a designated driver is even more important (I didn’t drive home that night).

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Toro Y Moi: Underneath The Pine

by on Mar.23, 2011, under Album Reviews

With South By South-West (SXSW) last week, the last month has been a bombardment of showcase announcements and stories about “must-see” acts. Among the throngs of hipster-fodder is one band that keeps rising to the surface: Toro Y Moi. To be technically correct, Toro Y Moi is really just the stage name for Chazwick Bundick, a South Carolina native who has helped define the obtuse faux-genre “Chill-wave.” (Editorial note: With the exception of 1980′s “New Wave,” I find it difficult to take any modern “-wave” genre seriously).

Tags aside, there is a reason Toro Y Moi has persistently shown up on my radar. Apart from the marketing campaigns and associated buzz, the new record Underneath The Pine is a fresh and accessible collection of laid-back dance songs with smooth overtones.

There is a certain vintage feel to Pine, as each song draws from classic-sounding instrumentation and traditional beats (there’s no trip-hop on this record). “New Beat” stands out for its contemporary take on disco, but don’t worry, there’s nothing cheesy here, just 70′s synths and maybe a few bongo samples.

While other “wave” groups such as The XX, MillionYoung, and STRFKR have markedly darker, more electronic sounds, Toro Y Moi maintains a certain air of warmth. That warmth is what sets this band apart and is the reason they have come into vogue. Rather than being strictly dance music or exclusively ambient and “too cool,” Underneath The Pine comes from a collective nostalgia.

Toro Y Moi will play the Larimer Lounge in Denver on March 31. Watch the video for “New Beat” below.

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