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. (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".

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 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 - from 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.