Friday, February 25, 2011

Trashcan Sinatras " the music, we rise above..."

I discovered Trashcan Sinatras all those years ago probably when I was watching MTV's 120 Minutes in my college dormitory. I still have that original cassette of "Cake" I bought way back when. I admit that I lost track of them until I saw them at SXSW in 2004. That same year, they released their album, "Weightlifting". It was one of my favorite records from that year. Their most recent release is "In The Music" which was released in the US in 2010. These Scots continue their tradition of writing infectious yet carefully crafted pop tunes. They've cast their musical net beyond the catchy, jangle pop tunes for which they first became known for. They've added some old school soul, jazz, and folk into the mix. But they still retain their signature sound that makes them unique. Those clear, sparkling guitars, lush harmonies, and Frank Reader's distinctive lead vocals that are like a warm, comforting hug (at least for me anyway). It's been over 6 years since TCS were in Austin. I couldn't think of a better place than the Cactus Cafe for their upcoming acoustic show on March 5th as part of their 20th anniversary tour. If you're eager to hear a particular song at this show, you can e-mail ( - put "song requests" in the subject line) your requests to the band and they will include some of those songs in that show’s set list. Local musician, Shane Bartell, opens the show which is perfect since I recall that he is definitely a devoted fan of the TCS. This show should be quite a treat. You leave a TCS show feeling loved or at least with a little reassurance that things are going to be alright. And you can take comfort in the lyric I mention above, " the music, we rise above...". in the music

naked to the world i came naked i will leave shadow fall behind me sunlight up ahead i fill the in between

naked to your love i climb naked i succeed you hold me in your arms i’ll hold you in mine we’ll fill the in between

with the music that we make in love in the music

we rise above

we get lost we get powerful we know what to do now we get down and in every way i’m always making love with you

let’s make it til the end of time let’s make it all we need let the music fill our lives and in each other’s eyes find everything we need

in the music that we make in love in the music we rise above

and now i’m naked to the flame curled into you and naked i believe let the timeless everything that we make naked melt into the harmony of love

in the music that we make in love in the music in the rhythm rising up in the rhythm rising up we rise above we rise above Here are videos for 3 songs from "In The Music"

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Welcome to the MoTel Aviv

The Unknown by MoTel Aviv MoTel Aviv (Jayson Altman - drums, Rodney Connell - lead vocals, Cole Hanson - guitar, Misti Watkins - bass) are an Austin quartet who released their first single, The Unknown, this week from their upcoming album, Post-Modern Nation. The album title also hints at the band's sound : 80s post punk with a contemporary modern pop flair. Think The Smiths and early U2 meets Franz Ferdinand and The Killers. The band is offering "The Unknown" for download from their Soundcloud page (see link above). Also, check out the split perspective video for the single which was directed by James Webb. If you've enjoyed the single, I recommend listening to the 2 additional songs posted below.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Leatherbag at The Highball, 2/20/11 This Sunday, Leatherbag will be playing a free show at The Highball as part of the venue's Rock The Highball series. Leatherbag will kick off the event at 9 pm. They will be followed by a late night happy hour and The Authors at 11 pm. It's the perfect event for a long holiday weekend. Check out some of Leatherbag's tunes above. I'm a fan of their slightly rootsy, twang infused power pop. It's like Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, and Nick Lowe having too much fun with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and Big Star.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I Love This Band ! : Pete and The Pirates

Next in my "I Love This Band !" series is the Brit quintet, Pete and The Pirates. I first heard of them 3-4 years ago . My "band crush" started just over 2 years ago when I heard their debut album, Little Death. Since then, many of my other records have been neglected because of all the repeated listenings of Little Death (and their 2 prior EPs which I later purchased). I was able to see several PATP performances during SXSW 2009. They played a bunch of new tunes at that time which were being considered for the next album. Their sophomore album, One Thousand Pictures, is set to be released in May 2011 on the Stolen Recordings label. Since I have yet to see a full track listing, I don't know if any of those tunes survived the band's quality process. Whether or not that is the case, this band definitely knows how to write a cracking pop tune. The best description of their sound comes from their drummer, Jonny Sanders (in an interview with the One For The People blog) : "Pete & The Pirates are pop bliss mixed with rock & roll with a little beauty thrown in." The band already has videos for 2 songs that will be on the next album. "Come To The Bar" is full of bubbling vintage synths, enough groove to get you moving, and a soaring, singalong chorus. Win, win, win is all I can say :). It will be the 1st single from the album and it'll be released on March 14th. "Winter 1" was made available as a free download in late December. It's still available on their Bandcamp page. It features an irresistible, bouncing bassline, some vintage organ sounds, and handclaps you can't help joining in on at home. I've also posted the wintery themed video below. And for my SXSW 2011 bound friends, Pete and The Pirates will be returning to Austin next month. During SXSW 2009, I think that they played 10-11 shows. Maybe they'll break that performing record this year. Who knows ? One of the tightest and most incredibly fun bands I've ever had the pleasure to experience.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wiretree & Future Clouds and Radar at Stubb's Fri 2/11

This Friday night in Austin is a great night for lovers of smart pop with local bands, Wiretree and Future Clouds and Radar. I've been fortunate to be familiar with Future Clouds and Radar since their beginnings in 2007. The band has had a few lineup changes but it remains led by founding songwriter and lead singer/guitarist, Robert Harrison. I've been a fan of Robert's songwriting since seeing his prior band, Cotton Mather, in the late 90s here in Austin. Future Clouds and Radar continues their eclectic pop tradition flavored with bits of psychedelia and experimental rock. I'm newer to the songs of Wiretree but their often folk-influenced pop tunes have grown on me over the past year. Word of mouth has been getting around about Wiretree. Recently they recorded a performance at the old Austin City Limits studios for KLRU's new online music program, Satellite Sets . Their Satellite Sets performance featured some of the songs from their upcoming album which is sure to appeal to fans of sweet, hummable, and intelligent popcraft. For this Friday's show at Stubb's, doors are at 9 pm. $7 cover. Dark Water Hymnal open the show at 9:30, Future Clouds and Radar at 10:30, and Wiretree at 11:30.