Monday, December 27, 2010

Austin Free Week : Superpop!'s picks

Almost every year I look forward to Austin Free Week. For me personally, it's the best birthday present for a local music fan (my birthday is Jan 6th). I'm unable to attend most of AFW because I'll be spending time out of Texas with my family for a belated Christmas and birthday gathering. Even though I cannot join my fellow local music fanatics this year, I thought I would share some of my picks and recommendations.

Do512 provides a convenient link for upcoming AFW events right here.

*Jan 1st :

at Beauty Bar

Motel Aviv

at The Mohawk :

The White White Lights

*Jan 2nd:

at The Mohawk :

Amplified Heat
The Hi-Tones
The Boxing Lesson
Black Forest Fire

at Club Deville

She Sir w/ Candi & the Strangers

*Jan 3rd

at US Art Authority

She Sir with Ringo Deathstarr

*Jan 4th :

at The Parish

STEREO IS A LIE
Motel Aviv
New Roman Times
Final Exam

*Jan 5th :

at Emo's

(outside)
Free Week
with Quiet Company (12:15a)
The Boxing Lesson (11:15p)
Smoke & Feathers (10:30p)
My Education (9:45p)
Red Leaves (9p)

(inside)
Free Week
with A Giant Dog (1a)
Shapes Have Fangs (12:15a)
Elvis (11:30p)
Rayon Beach (10:45p)
Flesh Lights (10p)

*Jan 6th :

at Emo's

Ringo Deathstarr
The Carrots
The Ugly Beats
The Hi-Tones

*Jan 7th :

Club Deville : "AMP Night" -- a special 5pm-2am Free Week edition of FTMOA's First Friday Frolic
Doors at 5pm / Complimentary Big Red Retro sodas & Complimentary pies from Home Slice Pizza

6pm BK & Mr. E
7pm Eagle Eye Williamson
8pm Erin Ivey
9pm Monarchs
10pm STEREO IS A LIE
11pm One Hundred Flowers
12am DJ I Wanna Be Her
1am DJ uLOVEi

Emo's

What Made Milwaukee Famous
The Lemurs
Ovenbirds
Salesman
The Authors

The Mohawk

MoTel Aviv
The Astronaut Suit
Ume

The Pons/Wiretree/Leatherbag/DJ Czech One at ND @ 501 Studios - Jan 8, 2011


I love Free Week in Austin. Of course, the shows are free but it's also such a great opportunity to see tons of quality local bands. You can check out multiple venues without feeling guilty or broke. But I'll be out of town this time around visiting family. I'll be back at the end of Free Week for a special show at The ND at 501 Studios. This show with some of my local pop/rock favorites, The Pons, Wiretree, and Leatherbag, will also act as my birthday party. After the live band sets, DJ Czech One will be on hand for an after show dance party. But this dance party will be focusing on 60s British Invasion, 90s Britpop, and other British favorites. In other words, a Superpop!-style shindig :).
Extra and very special thanks goes to my dear friend,Thomas Siragusa, (of The Pons) for the suggestion of making this fantastic local triple bill as my birthday show.



  





Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's a Pop Girl's Life : 2010 Favorites - part 2

Even a diehard pop girl needs a little twang in her life now and then. This year it came from the latest Old 97s record, The Grand Theatre, Vol 1. If you're not familiar with Old 97s, they're a little bit country and a little bit rock n'roll. Some critics and fans would complain that the songwriting over the past few releases had too much pop ; of course, that's not a problem with me (and it's another discussion). On this record, I think the band was able to satisfy both sets of fans.

The sound of Texas in 2010 had an excellent contribution from the San Antonio band, Hacienda and their record, Big Red and Barbacoa. Big Red and Barbacoa is their 2nd release and it continues to showcase their love for big 60s sounds ranging from The Beach Boys and The Beatles but also a little bit of 60s country from Buck Owens. Hacienda are also a great example of why family (the band consists of 3 brothers and a cousin) harmonies are so sublime.

Sometimes it's nice when old musical loves come back into your life. In 2010, that would be The Posies with their latest release, Blood/Candy. I was a big fan of some of their early 90s releases (Dear 23, Frosting on the Beater) but I had not kept up with subsequent releases. With Blood/Candy, it sure was a sweet reunion with their outstanding harmonies and solid songwriting.

This year also brought another fine release from Frightened Rabbit with "The Winter of Mixed Drinks." Melancholy, anger, and despair never sounded so sweet. But all hope is not lost in their songs.

Another release I absolutely loved this year was "Big Echo" by The Morning Benders. Once I heard the  "Excuses", I was hooked -- again and again. For some folks, it was considered to be the only outstanding track on the album. No, that is certainly not the case. This is an absolutely gorgeous album filled with lush tracks such as "Stitches", "Wet Cement," "Promises" and "All Day All Light." A real keeper and you may find yourself listening to this one on repeat.

I also have a soft spot for a couple of certain male songwriters who are more well known for their bands than their solo output : Brendan Benson (My Old, Familiar Friend) and Fran Healy (Wreckorder). Their sweet, melodic tunes and vocals are my musical comfort food...and maybe just a little bit of crush, too ;).
Staying on that melancholy yet hopeful note, Crowded House came back in fine form with "Intriguer." This was their 2nd release after the band reunited in 2007. I've been a longtime, diehard fan so Neil Finn could sing the phone book to me and I would be happy. Their live shows promoting this album were an experience. This is a band that really connects with and respects its audience. With songs like "Amsterdam", "Twice If You're Lucky" and "Isolation", it shows that Neil Finn remains one of the outstanding songwriters of his generation.

For pure, unabashed fun, the releases from Free Energy (Stuck On Nothing) and The Thermals (Personal Life) struck a chord with me. Life's too short to waste more than 3 minutes on a song, alright ? ;)

Austin likes to keep things groovy and it was done in 2010 with help from The Black Angels (Phosphene Dream) and The Ugly Beats (Motor!). The Black Angels turned a little bit of light onto their signature dark drone with songs like "Telephone" and "Sunday Afternoon". The Ugly Beats have put out their finest release so far and you don't want to skip a track. With this band, "retro" is not a dirty word ; they have fun with their influences.

In my musical world, "pop" is not a bad word but it also doesn't refer to current Top 40 artists. To me, it means that melody and harmony are key elements to great songs that stick in your brain and make you want to sing along or just simply make you smile. A variety of examples from Austin this past year include releases from Hollywood Gossip (Dear as Diamonds) and Household Names (Stories, No Names) as well as more indie/electro pop from The Black and White Years (Patterns) and The Sour Notes (It's Not Gonna Be Pretty).

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's a Pop Girl's Life : 2010 Favorites - part 1

I did not buy/obtain/download enough music to put together a "best of". Although I listen to a lot of music, sometimes I'm just plain lazy. But I thought I would highlight some of my favorite discoveries of the year.

In no particular order :

I first heard of Lawrence Arabia (musical alterego of New Zealander, James Milne) early this year. One listen of the album track "Apple Pie Bed" and I was hooked. Once I heard the rest of the "Chant Darling" release, I was smitten. I'm a sucker for lush harmonies and witty, sometimes offbeat lyrics. When I learned that he and his band were opening for Crowded House on their U.S. tour, I think I nearly exploded with delight.

One of the bands who helped indulge my affection for all things 60s mod and British invasion is The Len Price 3 (no one is named Len Price in the band but there are 3 members). Take one part Who, one part Kinks, one part Beatles and stir in other musical bits and bobs, you've got The Len Price 3. I don't care that they're not reinventing the wheel. You can't resist their exuberance and unabashed love for their influences. Their 2010 release, Pictures, is 31 minutes of jangly, crunchy goodness.

Their record was released in other parts of the world before this year but fortunately U.S. fans have not been left out. Let's Wrestle released "In The Court of the Wrestling Let's" on Merge Records in 2010. These 3 young men write about everything from their daily schedule to insects as well as tanks and the late Princess Diana's hair. It's sloppy garage punk on the surface but with the heart of a well -written 3 minute pop song beating strongly behind it. Go listen to "I Won't Lie To You" and you'll understand.

It's possible that The Futureheads have one of the best album introductions for 2010 with the title track for "The Chaos" as they shout out "5 4 3 2 1.....LET'S GO !" This British quartet from Sunderland deftly combines punk energy and tight songwriting and to keep your on your toes, beautiful acapella harmonies. You can't help singing and dancing along and maybe even pumping your fist. Amazing band who truly know how to rock  -- so glad I was able to see them when they stopped in Austin back in September.

This year also featured another excellent release from Sunderland : "Measure" by Field Music. Field Music is the songwriting team of brothers, Peter and David Brewis. It's a double album/2 CD release so it takes a little patience to fully explore and enjoy their eclectic influences and styles. Their flawless brotherly harmonies tie it all together.

Monday, December 13, 2010

To EP or not to EP - that is the question...

The poor little EP - it's usually disqualified or left off from end of the year best-of/favorites lists. That's a shame considering that a lot of bands are releasing more of their songs on the EP format. Here are the EPs I've enjoyed this past year from some of my favorite local (Austin TX) bands.


Quiet Company - Songs For Staying In 


This EP has been a case of "the little EP that could". It became more than just a release to put out between full length records. This record received airplay on popular Austin radio stations (KGSR, KUT, and KROX) and it has put them on the radar as a band to watch while fans await the release of their next full length recording.

She Sir - Yens

This was released early in 2010 but as a latecomer to the band, I didn't hear it until this summer. After listening to its sparkling melodies, dual harmonies, and layered, swirling guitars, I was instantly smitten and wondered why I hadn't came across their songs earlier. "Yens" is merely a taste of what She Sir have to offer but it's a good place to start.


English Teeth - English Teeth, Two, and III


This Austin band proudly wear their Anglophile influences on their hearts and sleeves and that's what I love about them. Why should you hide your best influences ? Show them off loud and proud ! The 'Teef (as they nicknamed themselves) started off the year by releasing their debut, self titled EP including the wonderfully snotty, bratty nuggets"Catastrophe" and "Invasion". This fall, they released the aptly named "Two" EP containing 2 songs, Dear Caesar and Roadrunner. They close the year by releasing another EP, titled "III". The EPs are a certainly a fun listen but to fully experience the 'Teef, try to catch one of their live performances in Austin.


Gentlemen Rogues - self titled


This will predictably get comparisons to Green Day (the vocals are slightly reminiscent to them) but I think that Gentlemen Rogues are more "power pop" than "pop punk". Like English Teeth, they don't shy away from showing their British influences. I grabbed a copy of their EP at one of their shows earlier this month and it's been on frequent rotation. I'm certainly looking forward to hearing more from them in 2011.


The Hi-Tones EP


After being on the scene for a couple of years under a few different names and lineups, the band now known as The Hi-Tones made their debut release this summer with a self titled EP. They combine 60s British invasion with plenty of soul and R&B plus a pinch of power pop that provides the listener with an introduction to their infectious, energetic sound. You can preview their upcoming 2011 release here


The White White Lights EP


I became an instant fan of TWWL last year so I was excited to finally get my hands on their debut EP released in Feb 2010. If I'm asked to recommend a band to see in Austin, TWWL are always on my list.
Great songs, a strong female singer, solid, powerful drums, and one of the best live guitarists I've seen (plus charismatic stage presence), they simply kick ass :)

TV Torso - Status Quo Vadis

After hearing their previous 2 7" inch releases, I was eager to hear more. Forget the Spoon comparisons, Matt Oliver creates distinct, shimmering guitar pop tunes of his own and with songs like "Slouch Hat City, "Two Glass Eyes", and "Slanderers Stew", you will be sure to keep TV Torso on your musical radar (and go back and pick up those outstanding 7 in" singles on their Bandcamp page). Their live set is also definitely worth catching.

Love at 20- To Have and Have Not

In late 2009, Love at 20 debuted with their full length, Time To Begin, which was offered as a free download on Bandcamp (now available for purchase on Amazon.com and iTunes). They spent part of 2010 staying active on the live music scene as well as taking time to write and record their follow-up EP released in November. It's available as a free download on Bandcamp. It's catchy as hell and some of you might be a little shy to admit you like their sound. Think Muse mixed with a little bit of Weezer, Interpol, and Jimmy Eat World but with a little extra class and panache. Raise your martini glasses and rock !


The Steps - Flight Path

Classic rock meets modern rock (or take a good musical upbringing and add their own contemporary musical choices) and you've got The Steps. "Flight Path" was their follow up after their 2008 full length self titled debut.  This summer 2010 release was perfect for the season - loud, strong, singalong worthy, and carefree.


International Waters - It Felt Like


The band describes their sound as "jangly anger" which is fitting since there is some bite and sharpness behind the sweet sounding vocals and guitars. It's a limited release (only 300 copies pressed) on 10" vinyl. You can purchase it directly from the band's website. I've only heard 2 out of the 4 tracks since I don't have a turntable yet. I've enjoyed the slightly ominous, somber "Cycle of the Chain" and the brighter, sweet tones of "Olympia".

The Seas - Head of Snakes

Now I remember why I'm not the biggest fan of making lists. I always end up forgetting something I wanted to include. The band released this EP this summer shortly before frontman, Nurk Njorksen, left for adventures in S Korea. The digital only EP features slinky yet bubbly tunes like "Stars Don't Shine Just For You", the lush and dreamy "Lullahello", and the unexpected, singalong anthem, "Suicide" ("We don’t need no suicide for the two of us to get high").

The Ripe - man with no eyes

Formed while still a member of The Ugly Beats, Jake Garcia branched off and started a new project, The Ripe, with friends from other local bands. The Ripe put together a tasty combination of 60s/70s power pop, folk, and psychedelia. Sunny melodies and jangly and crunchy guitar licks serve as an introduction to their sound. Look out for their upcoming full length recorded this year in Spain.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Pons at The Ghost Room, Sat Dec 11th with STEREO IS A LIE and Red Falcon

 Despite the number of shows I've seen in Austin over the past couple of years, somehow I had never crossed paths with The Pons. About a year ago, that changed when I heard their song "Giant" played on WOXY and saw them perform at Beauty Bar. As a fan of catchy and smart pop/rock, for me it was love at first sight and listen. While I was playing catch up with enjoying their debut album, In The Belly Of A Giant, the band has spent 2010 writing and recording their sophomore follow up, The Blackest Shine, with Erik Wofford (his credits include The Black Angels, What Made Milwaukee Famous, Explosions In The Sky, Voxtrot, Brothers And Sisters, The Octopus Project) at Cacophony Recorders. The Blackest Shine is expected to be released early next year - no set release date at this time.
I know that The Pons are looking forward to showing off their new songs as well as playing favorites from their first album. Their songs reflect a range of emotions : sweet and light,  dark and moody, and shades in between. I also have a soft spot for harmonies, melodies, and hooks that stay in your head. Chances are you'll hear these songs in your head when you least expect it and once "The Blackest Shine" is released, don't be surprised if you find yourself hitting the repeat button. Yes, that's my prediction and I'm sticking to it.

For this Saturday's show at The Ghost Room, The Pons will be joined by friends from STEREO IS A LIE and Red Falcon. An all around fantastic local triple bill. $6 (21 +, sorry kids).

The Pons - 11:30
STEREO IS A LIE - 10:30
Red Falcon - 9:30


$6 for 3 bands on a Sat night is a pretty good deal but if one lucky winner and a guest would like to go for *FREE* (courtesy of whitesiren), send me an email at jenleduc@hotmail.com with "The Ghost Room" in the subject line and I will choose a winner on Friday.




Below I've posted videos from their June 26, 2010 performance at The Ghost Room : 2 new songs, Death of the Peacock and Someone Else's Voice along with their amped up cover of Wreckless Eric's, Whole Wide World. Videos were filmed by ATXLive.








Vote for this event on Do512.

Listen to the title track and rough mixes from "The Blackest Shine"














Saturday, December 4, 2010

New Favorite Band: Gentlemen Rogues







From the ashes of one of my favorite Austin bands, The Fall Collection, Gentlemen Rogues arrived on the Austin music scene in 2010. I didn't learn about them until I went to see one of my favorite UK bands, Field Music, at Emo's in late September. I ran into lead singer/guitarist, Danny Dunlap, at the venue and learned that his new band, Gentlemen Rogues, was opening for Field Music. Although I hadn't yet heard Gentlemen Rogues' songs yet, I had a feeling this would be a good fit recalling The Fall Collection's Anglophile influences (The Clash and The Jam are 2 examples). 
I wasn't sure what to expect since a couple of years had passed since The Fall Collection stopped playing. I had a bit of a flashback with the familiar sounds I love (a catchy mix of power pop, punk, and a bit of British indie rock) but Gentlemen Rogues added some extra power with a second guitarist. I think I dorked out just a little when I saw Danny was still playing a left-handed Rickenbacker guitar. I'm a sucker for that jangly yet crunchy sound - what can I say ;-) ? The infectious tunes and energetic stage presence are what I remember from the past but those are also the qualities that have won me over in the present time. Gentlemen Rogues have released a self titled 3 song EP that is currently available at their shows. You can also preview their tunes online on their MySpace page. Information and updates are also available on their Facebook page. Keep an eye out for Gentlemen Rogues in 2011 - definitely a band to watch.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I Love This Band ! : The Duke Spirit

You've been warned. My fixation on The Duke Spirit has been rekindled by the news of their upcoming "Kusama" EP release and early 2011 release of their LP, Bruiser. Enjoy.

"Northbound"
I can't get enough of this gorgeous new tune from their upcoming "Kusama" EP. Liela Moss' voice really shines on this track and credit also due to the dual guitar attack and solid rhythm section.


A few years ago, the band recorded a bunch of covers including the 60s Love classic, A House Is Not A Motel. Their version can be found on the "Covered In Love" EP.



Earlier this year, the band contributed a song to a compilation that was released in celebration of Doc Martens 50th anniversary. The original is by the 70s/80s UK punk band, Sham 69. The Duke Spirit provide a chilled out, organ fueled version instead of the original rowdy, "Oi !"styled punk anthem.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Posies and Brendan Benson in Austin TX at La Zona Rosa, Nov 26th



When this tour was announced, I think I nearly squealed with glee. I've been a fan of The Posies since I was in college. I first saw them 2 decades ago (yes really it was that long ago) when they opened for The Replacements at the Texas Union Hall at UT. At that time, I adored their record, Dear 23, chock full of soaring harmonies and singalong power pop gems. I admit that I haven't consistently followed their career but still remain a fan. There have been glowing reports from the current tour and I'm looking forward to hearing tunes from their latest record, Blood/Candy . I think my power pop loving head nearly exploded when I learned The Posies were doing double duty by playing their own headlining set as well as acting as Brendan Benson's band. I've been a fan of Brendan Benson's solo career for almost a decade now. After 2 albums with The Raconteurs, he returned with his 4th solo release, "My Old Familiar Friend". This show should be an excellent remedy after a Thanksgiving food coma.
Below I've posted links for "The Glitter Prize" by The Posies and "Feel Like Taking You Home" by Brendan Benson. If you click "Like" for the event on do512.com, you have a chance to win a pair of tickets.

http://soundcloud.com/quimera/the-posies-the-glitter-prize-with-kay-hanley

http://soundcloud.com/brendanbenson/feel-like-taking-you-home

http://do512.com/event/2010/11/26/the-posies-and-brendan-benson-with-aqueduct

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

STEREO IS A LIE

Two years ago, STEREO IS A LIE made their debut as a band. As a fan, my patience is being rewarded this weekend as the band celebrates the official release of their new single, "It's Too Late" on Monolathe Recordings from their upcoming self titled album to be released in Feb 2011. The record was mixed by Chris Cline (Trail Of Dead) and mastered by John Golden (Sonic Youth, Film School, Japandroids, etc.). The lineup is completed by friends from 2 other local bands, New Roman Times and dead black hearts, who have joined SIAL on past shows together. This solid local triple bill will be playing this Sat, Nov 20th, at Beauty Bar. If you're a fan of a big guitar sound, powerful drums, and a live performance that will command your attention, I highly recommend checking out my favorite musical Men In Black.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Austin Bleet Up



In Nov 2009, I attended the Austin Bleet Up not as a blogger but as a fan of some of the bands who played the event (Built By Snow, Corto Maltese) and to meet up with friends. Was this event a source of inspiration for me ? Maybe...but it took a little longer before I officially created my blog. It debuted in April 2010 as "Beautiful Beat" but I changed it a few months later to "Superpop!".
It looks like next month's Bleet Up is bigger than ever. Bloggers and blog readers will be gathering on Dec 3rd at Whole Foods downtown rooftop terrace for music, food, shopping from local boutiques and craft shops, and ice skating (memories of my Minnesota childhood is excited about this). This year's event will also honor the winners of the first ever Austin Blogger Awards. The awards will be nominated by and voted upon by readers. You can find the nominees and vote on the following site : http://austinbloggerawards.com/.  Some of the categories include : Best New Blog, Best Overall Music Blog, Best Blog to Discover Local Music, and Best Photoblog/Flickr Feed.

Do512 is holding a ticket giveaway for clicking "I Like It,":  http://do512.com/event/2010/12/03/the-austin-bleet-up

Remember to bring $7 for door cover, and if you Tweet / blog about the Bleet-Up, don't forget to RSVP: http://www.eavesdropper-pr.com/rsvp/ 


Here's a short, "getting to know you" interview I did in June 2010 for the Austin Blog Jam.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Villas - Jamie EP



Remember when indie pop actually made you smile giving you that fuzzy, giddy feeling ? Well, it still exists with the new Austin quartet, The Villas. The title track, Jamie, is a fun combination of Weezer meets Fountains Of Wayne, full of crunchy guitars and ba-ba-ba, oh yeah singalong harmonies. The next 3 tracks, "Babybomb", "Pin You Down", and "Ripy" proudly display the band's unabashed love for classic powerpop sounds and even a bit of Britpop (bands like Blur and Ash). The EP reaches a melancholy, somber end with Fading In My Mind and a clean version of the title track. This EP is available for download from Bandcamp for $4.99. A great deal for indie/powerpop fanatics to add to their music library and playlists. For Austin fans, you can catch The Villas this weekend, Fri Nov 5th, at Scoot Inn for the Austin Indie Pop Spectacular which also features White Hotel and The Stan Laurels. $5 cover plus a Britpop/Indie DJ set afterwards.

http://do512.com/event/2010/11/05/the-villas-the-white-hotel-and-the-stan-laurels
http://thevillas.bandcamp.com/album/jamie-ep
http://www.thevillasmusic.com

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Duke Spirit - Everybody's Under Your Spell



As an avid fan of The Duke Spirit, I was very happy to hear this new song from their upcoming "Kusama" EP slated for December 2010 release. Their 3rd full length will hopefully be released early next year. This song has certainly whetted my appetite for their new material. I love how their range of influences from R & B, psychedelia, garage, and even Motown and soul come together to create a distinct sound. On a lighter note, if you haven't developed a crush on lead singer, Liela Moss, after watching this video and/or listening to her smoky, sweet vocals, check your pulse please.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Ugly Beats



Best Excuse To Leave Work Early On Friday Award (in Austin) goes to : seeing The Ugly Beats celebrate their new release "Motor !" at Waterloo Records Fri Oct 22nd at 5 pm.
Take great garage rock along with 60s British Invasion sounds and add a pinch of Texas flavor, you've got The Ugly Beats. If you've never seen them, this is your chance to see one of the best bands around for FREE, enjoy some free beer, and maybe even pick up a copy of "Motor!" to listen to this weekend. If you've seen them countless times like me, you can never get enough of the Beats !

And here's a bonus track that didn't appear on Motor! but you'll often hear during their sweaty, rollicking live sets.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hollerado : Seriously Fun





Hollerado is returning to Austin this month (Sat, Oct 23rd at The Mohawk) as part of their autumn tour opening for Free Energy and Foxy Shazam. I've never seen Free Energy or Foxy Shazam but I wouldn't be surprised if Hollerado steal the show but I'm a bit biased here.
Their new video for "Americanarama" has been getting some well deserved attention. It's quite addicting. You can't help watching it more than once or twice. The second clip I posted is from SXSW 2010. They play their own tune, Fake Drugs, but close out their day party set with their version of Neil Young's Rockin' In The Free World. One of my personal highlights of SXSW. I've managed to convert a few friends into Hollerado fans and I wouldn't mind converting a few more. Check their list of tour dates and other fun treats on the band website (http://www.hollerado.com). Don't miss your chance to see this band. I'm sure Menno, Jake, Nick, and Dean would love to see you. They're touring through the U.S. and Canada in October and November with Free Energy. Here are the dates :
10/12/10 – Portland, ME @ Space
10/13/10 – Providence, RI @ Jerky’s Music Hall
10/14/10 – Burlington, VT @ Club Metronome
10/16/10 – Toronto, ON @ The Horseshoe
10/18/10 – Columbus, OH @ The Summit
10/19/10 – Nashville, TN @ The End
10/20/10 – St. Louis, MO @ The Old Rock House
10/21/10 – Kansas City, MO @ The Record Bar
10/23/10 – Austin, TX @ The Mohawk
10/25/10 – Phoenix, AZ @ Rhythm Room
10/26/10 – San Diego, CA @ 710 Beach Club
10/28/10 – West Hollywood, CA @ The Troubadour
10/29/10 – San Francisco, CA @ Slims
10/30/10 – San Jose, CA @ The Blank Club
11/10/10 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
11/11/10 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile CafĂ©
11/12/10 – Vancouver, BC @ The Media Club
11/14/10 – Edmonton, AV @ The Pawn Shop
11/15/10 – Calgary, AB @ The Republik
11/16/10 – Saskatoon, SK @ Amigos
11/17/10 – Winnipeg, MB @ The Pyramid
11/18/10 – Minneapolis, MN @ 400 Bar
11/19/10 – Chicago, IL @ Shazam
11/20/10 – Indianapolis, IN @ Radio Radio
11/21/10 – Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
11/22/10 – Albany, NY @ Valentines
11/23/10 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
11/24/10 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
11/26/10 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
11/27/10 – Philadelphia, PA @ Theater of Living Arts
12/01/10 – Washington DC @ Rock And Roll Hotel

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Morning Benders

I first heard of them 2-3 years ago but I've missed opportunities to see them for various reasons. But I certainly hope to make up for those lost opportunities by catching their set at Austin City Limits Festival this year. They're playing the Honda Stage at 3 pm this Sun, Oct 10th and appearing at the Waterloo Records autograph tent at 4:30 pm. Their 2010 album, Big Echo, is a beautiful example of well written pop songs. This makes me a total fangirl but something about Chris Chu's vocals makes me melt and sigh. Simple and magnificent. It's gorgeous ear candy but also very satisfying which keeps you going back for more.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Field Music in Austin at Emo's 9/29/2010



There are a lot of touring shows coming to Austin this fall. One of those shows I'm looking forward to is Field Music. They're playing at Emo's on Wed, Sept 29th. I first heard of them in 2006 and became an instant fan. The core of Field Music are songwriters and brothers, David and Peter Brewis. They've been touring this year in support of their 2010 release, Measure. I've only seen Field Music once before and I could barely see and hear them through a sea of people under a tent during SXSW 2007. David and Peter Brewis were also at SXSW in 2009 with one of their side projects, The Week That Was. I'm a fan because I'm completely charmed by their brotherly harmonies and their ability to transform their influences into something fresh and original yet familiar. The tracks "Them That Do Nothing" and "Let's Write A Book" are 2 of the highlights (and videos) from the Measure album. If you're charmed as I am by the Brewis brothers, I highly recommend seeing them at Emo's for a rare appearance in Austin.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday Night Alright : Superpop! and Bleu French Laundry Presents

On Fri Sept 24th, I'm presenting a showcase of Austin bands (and one band from Houston) under my blog name (Superpop !) along with Jennifer Marchand of Bleu French Laundry Productions. Earlier this summer, she approached me about inviting some of my favorite local bands to play at Ruta Maya Coffeehouse. It sounded like a fun challenge. It was a bit stressful trying to find bands that were available on that date but I'm looking forward to hearing how it all turns out at the new back bar at Ruta Maya.
My taste leans more towards melodic and pop sounds and Jennifer Marchand's taste is more brazenly rock (or should I say ROCK !). I've recently became a fan of She Sir and I admit I'm such a sucker for dreamy vocals and jangly, yet fuzzy guitar sounds. They're not just for bedroom listening ; their live sound packs more of a punch that you might anticipate. Ideal Soul Mart are proof that you don't need a lot of fuss to create memorable pop songs. They're only a two-piece band, switching off instruments, and often playing multiple instruments at the same time. The result is a surprisingly big, full sound. I've heard of Tiger Thrust through my friend, Misti Watkins, who is also the drummer. She formed the band with her friend, Ben Fleming. But I haven't had a chance to see them yet so I'm looking forward to hearing their new project.
The lineup is completed with the addition of The Vitamins and Sex Dragon who are bringing the ROCK so don't forget your earplugs.


The Vitamins (w/ Erik & Jamey of Tia Carrera) : http://www.myspace.com/thevitaminsatx
She Sir : http://www.myspace.com/shesir
Tiger Thrust : http://www.myspace.com/tigerthrustrocks
Sex Dragon : http://www.myspace.com/sexdragonrocks
Ideal Soul Mart : http://www.myspace.com/idealsoulmart

$6, $5 if you bring 2 friends

8pm doors
9:15pm TIGER THRUST (30 min)
10pm SHE SIR (45 min)
11pm THE VITAMINS (45 min)
12midnight SEX DRAGON (45 min)
1am IDEAL SOUL MART (45 min)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Rabbits and Pirates

One of the things I enjoyed watching and listening to this week is a live set in San Francisco from Scottish band, Frightened Rabbit. They've developed a steady, growing following for their passionate, emotional performances over the past 2 years in the U.S. It's not all sadness and melancholy as this relaxed set highlights the band's sense of humor especially from frontman, Scott Hutchison. The band will be returning to the states for some tour dates this fall. I'm already excited for their set at Stubb's Amphitheater in Austin on October 20th. It may seem trite or dorky but Frightened Rabbit is also a band I've enjoyed meeting ; they're a really nice and funny bunch of guys.

You can watch Frightened Rabbit's performance here : http://revision3.com/frightenedrabbit



Another thing I've enjoyed listening to this week is a set of demos from my current favorite British band, Pete and the Pirates. I'm not sure how to articulate why I like them without going into embarrassing gushing fangirl mode. All of the members are songwriters with different musical tastes which results in a cohesive yet diverse sound without being too over the place. In the "Precious Tones" EP, you have the punk flavored, Selina, followed by harmony laden, Blood From A Stone, soothing melodies in My Sun Hat, and ending with the melodic, multilayered plea of Where Did You Go.

http://petethepirates.bandcamp.com/album/precious-tones-demos


<a href="http://petethepirates.bandcamp.com/album/precious-tones-demos">Selina (Demo) by Pete &amp; The Pirates</a>

Sunday, August 15, 2010

International Waters/TV Torso/STUNTS at Emo's 8/18/2010

This is a weeknight local lineup worth checking out because International Waters and TV Torso will be celebrating their new vinyl releases. International Waters have a new 10" for the tracks Olympia/Cycle of the Chain. TV Torso have a new 12" titled Status Quo Vadis. Opening the show is new shoegaze pop band, STUNTS. If the sound of jangly, sparkling and often fuzzy guitars makes you swoon, then this is the local bill for you.

http://do512.com/event/2010/08/18/tv-torso-with-international-waters

International Waters : http://www.internationalwaters.net/

TV Torso : http://tvtorso.bandcamp.com/album/status-quo-vadis

STUNTS : http://stunts.bandcamp.com/

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Girls and Boys In The Garage



I haven't heard Agent Ribbons entire album, Chateau Crone, yet but their tune "I'm Alright" has me hooked. The guitar riff has the gritty jangle reminiscent of 60s garage rock combined with girl group harmonies. A pretty sweet combination indeed.

http://six-by-nine.org/muruch/agentribbons-imalright.mp3

You can check them out in Austin TX on Fri, July 30th at the Continental Club as part of Lucy The Poodle's Summer Dance Party. Additional 1960's girl group sounds will be supplied by The Carrots. They're one of those local bands I've heard about for a few years but I've always missed the opportunities to see them.

The boys will also get their turn to show their stuff courtesy of the R & B/soul infused rock of The Hi-Tones and the British Invasion swagger of English Teeth.

4 bands for $8 on a Friday night at the legendary Continental Club sounds like a great way to kick off a summer weekend and support your local music scene.

http://do512.com/event/2010/07/30/lucy-the-poodle-presents-a-summer-dance-party-celebrating-the-hi-tones-ep-release-w-the-carrots-agent-ribbons-and-more

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Real Heroes

I was excited to say the least to see that The Real Heroes are playing this week. They don't play very often due to other commitments so to see them is a real treat. They are a seriously fun rock band -- it's pop, punk, glam, and rock all rolled in one complete package. They know how to perform and you know that they're having just as much fun onstage as you are watching (and hopefully dancing to) them.
They're playing this Wed, July 14th at 10 pm, at Antone's as part of Antone's 35th Anniversary celebrations. Other bands on this bill include Johnny Goudie with Spencer Gibb (8 pm), Shane Bartell (9 pm) who is returning to performing after 2 years), and Cover Girl (11 pm). You never know when there will be another Real Heroes gig so catch them this week if you can.

You can RSVP for this show at do512.com for $5 cover and the chance to win free tickets :

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Quick update

This blog is a work in progress. I'm still trying to figure out what content to include, how it should look, etc. A bit of challenge considering I'm not very tech-savvy and my home computer is 7 years old. But in the meantime, I've added a link to my Flickr page where you can view my growing collection of gig/concert photos. I've also added a banner which was created by my friend, Matt Parmenter, who does graphic design through his business, Ice Cream Factory Studio (http://www.icecreamfactorystudio.com http://www.facebook.com/icecreamfactorystudio).

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Ashes

The Ashes - "Darrel, I Was On My Way" and "Alone" The Ashes is a project from Austin songwriter, Clay Fain. His songs straddle both the worlds of alt-country and indie pop. For the recordings and live performances, he's joined by Ideal Soul Mart bandmate/collaborator, Adam Luikart (bass and backing vocals), Douglas Walseth (guitar), and Daniel Jones (drums). The Ashes first appeared as a side project while Friends of Lizzy were still around. The Ashes were on the back burner for awhile but more recently resurfaced along with Ideal Soul Mart and the release of both bands albums. Some songs (such as "Incomplete" and "Pretty Good") are more piano driven ballads while other songs (such as "The Things You Think While I'm Asleep" and "Honestly") are straightforward alt-country. Clay's warm, melodic vocals along with Adam's harmonies, Douglas's skilled slide guitar, and Daniel's solid but not overpowering drum playing combine for a full, rich, and satisfying sound. The live gigs are mostly in the Austin area but if you can't see them play live, their self-titled album is a worthy addition to your musical library. Also, keep your fingers crossed for an upcoming release in the near future featuring new tunes, "Darrel, I Was On My Way" and "The Other Girls Are Gone". Don't forget to check out the live video clips above that were recorded last year by Robert Adams and Johnny Ramirez. http://www.myspace.com/theashestx http://twitter.com/TheAshesMusic http://www.facebook.com/theashesmusic http://web.me.com/cdfain/The_Ashes_Store/The_Ashes_Store.html (this is where you can buy the record...highly recommended !)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Household Names

Household Names recently released their 3rd full length record, "Stories No Names". Earlier this month, they invited friends and fans to watch them play a short acoustic set which was being filmed at The Triangle in central Austin by Justin Dehn and John Fisher from Station 8 Media. Below are clips for the songs, "Firefly" and "Driving to LA". http://householdnames.org http://myspace.com/householdnames http://twitter.com/householdnames

Monday, June 21, 2010

Austin Music Blog Jam

This Saturday, June 26th, at The Ghost Room is the debut of the first ever Austin Music Blog Jam. This show will feature Austin bands The Pons, STEREO IS A LIE, and Wiretree along with Houston band Searching for Signal. Plus ATXlive.com will have cameras on hand to shoot the whole event. It's a great opportunity to meet some of your favorite bloggers and enjoy some great music. I first saw and met The Pons last December and they became an instant favorite. I really appreciate solid songwriting with great people and stories behind those songs at the end of the day. I've been fortunate to follow STEREO IS A LIE from the very beginning in late 2008. Even from the first gig, you knew you were in for something special. I've known SIAL lead singer and guitarist, Glynn Wedgewood, since 2005 when he landed in Austin with fellow Brits, Nic Armstrong and the Thieves (later named, IV Thieves). When I first heard that Glynn was starting his own band, needless to say, the anticipation was high. As much as I've enjoyed the live sets, I can't wait to hear what these guys have done on record. When you do come to a show, please bring your earplugs - don't say I didn't warn you. I say that as a compliment to the band and their amps :) This event also features melodic folk-influenced sounds of Austin band, Wiretree.

Across my Mind - Wiretree - underthefloorboard.com from underthefloorboard.com on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Scrappy vs Pretty

In this clip, Chris Murphy from Sloan summarized the songs on the band's 2006 release, Never Hear The End Of It. Watching this again, I realized that he was describing my music taste. I have a lot of admiration for bands like Sloan who are able to write solid, catchy tunes that vary in style but also have their own identifiable sound. Several years ago when I first started seeing favorite local bands on a regular basis, I was nicknamed a "pop girl" and for the most part, it's stuck. I don't dispute it because I favor bands/artists who can create strong melodies, harmonies, and hooks. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy something with extra volume, buzz, and/or feedback. If a band can create a hook that sticks in my brain, makes me want sing along, turn up the volume, and hit the repeat button, you've found a fan in me. I'll leave you with a couple of examples pertaining to the blog title. "Scrappy" "Pretty"

Friday, June 11, 2010

What's in a name ?

The answer is : song titles. Just for fun, I thought I would post a few videos for songs that have Jen (Jen, Nothing Matters To Me from Irving), Jenny (Jenny Jenny from The Urges), or Jennifer (Jennifer from Pete and the Pirates) as part of their song titles. How can you resist a song with your name in it ? :)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Lawrence Arabia "The Beautiful Young Crew"

Thanks to Twitter (and the One Track Mind music blog), I discovered Lawrence Arabia earlier this year (the musical name of New Zealand songwriter, James Milne). The first track that I heard was the incredibly catchy, Apple Pie Bed. But another favorite is The Beautiful Young Crew. It combines singalong likeability, sunny harmonies, and stinging social commentary ("we love each but we hate each other/we're afraid of each other because we want to screw each other"). The video is also a treat. It looks like an homage to political campaign ads and documentaries from the late 70s/early 80s. It utilizes its own series of familiar images you might see in a campaign ad but with the witty lyrics providing most of the commentary. You can find "The Beautiful Young Crew" on his most recent record, Chant Darling.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Give Me A Holler !

I first saw Hollerado in late 2007 when they were on a bill with one of my favorite local bands, The Ugly Beats. They played to a nearly empty venue but I liked them enough to remember them. I missed them at SXSW 2008 but patience paid off when they returned for SXSW 2009. By that time, I took advantage of the free album download of Record In A Bag that they had offered on their website (http://www.hollerado.com). I was hooked by their infectious, harmony filled guitar rock. Whether you see them play live or listen to their songs at home, you'll be charmed by their sense of fun and impressed by their tight performance and songwriting. They also like the audience to be part of the fun. You can now buy Record In A Bag in stores. It does come in a plastic bag filled with confetti and other fun items selected by the band members themselves. At SXSW 2009 and 2010, they invited fans to join them onstage. At SXSW 2010, their official showcase fell on the same day as drummer Jake Boyd's birthday. Confetti poppers were made available to the audience so there was confetti flying everywhere along with a purposefully out of tune version of "Happy Birthday" as directed by lead singer and guitarist, Menno Versteeg. The band lineup is completed by guitarist Nick Boyd and bassist Dean Switzer. These lovely Canadians are returning to Austin this week. They're playing at Emo's on Tues 5/18 with Fang Island, Zlam Dunk, and Agent Ribbons (http://do512.com/event/2010/05/18/fang-island-with-tba-tba-tba).

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Quiet Is The New Loud

"How Do You Do It ?" : Video captured by Cindy Royal on 2/24/10 at Emo's, Austin TX

Based on my favored pop/rock tendencies, I should have been an instant fan of Quiet Company. I can admit that this was not the case. This does not mean that I ever hated or completely dismissed them. I sort of filed them away in the back of my mind to revisit later. Things started to turn in the right direction when I saw them at Beerland last July when they shared a bill with one of my Austin favorites, Built By Snow. I did proscratinate for reasons I don't recall at the moment to see them perform again until Free Week back in early January. It was absolutely freezing that night at Emo's so my patience paid off in waiting for their set. The musical lightbulb in my head finally lit up and declared "Yes, I like this band !"

What do I like about their songs ? Pardon me while I borrow some words from one of my all time favorite songwriters, Neil Finn (from Split Enz and Crowded House if you didn't already know). In an interview, he listed several ingredients for a good song : 1) seamless melody and hooks 2) texture and atmosphere 3) subtle lyrics 4) light and dark moments.

Quiet Company have become one of those bands I'm eager to recommend to friends. If you like the song above (How Do You Do It from their new EP, Songs For Staying In), I hope you'll pass on the good word and recommend them to your friends.

http://www.quietcompanymusic.com

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sink your teeth into this band

One of my new favorite bands in Austin is English Teeth. I first saw them last summer when they were on a bill with 2 other local bands I like, Shapes Have Fangs and The Ugly Beats. Whoever put this bill together knew what they were doing. Like the previously mentioned bands, English Teeth proudly wear their influences on their sleeves and do it really well. You can recognize the 60s British Invasion sounds but they also blend in some punk, blues, and rockabilly. There's also room for some catchy melodies and hooks along with the crunchy guitars and sneering, raspy vocals. They're playing at 9 pm this Wed, April 28th, at the Mohawk as part of the From The Mind of Adi series and May 12th at The Parish (with The Ripe and The White White Lights - 2 more local bands I highly recommend). If you can't make it out to their shows, I recommend getting their self titled debut EP. If you're in Austin, you can find it at Waterloo Records. Or drop a message to the band on MySpace or Facebook, they'll be glad to help you get hold of their tunes. http://www.myspace.com/englishteethmusic http://www.reverbnation.com/englishteeth http://www.facebook.com/pages/English-Teeth/119364249196

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Is this the start of something ?

After much persuasion over the past couple of years, I've decided to attempt a music blog. I can admit that writing is not my greatest skill but I'm passionate about telling people about the bands and music that I like. So this will always be a work in progress with plenty of trial and error. I've procrastinated a little bit trying to think of a name for this blog. For now, I'm calling it "Beautiful Beat" inspired by the song from Nada Surf. Beautiful beat get me out of this mess Beautiful beat lift me up from distress