Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pete and The Pirates - One Thousand Pictures

It's no secret that I'm a bit of a fan of this band so pardon any gushing that will occur here. The 2nd full length record from Pete and The Pirates was released on May 23rd on the Stolen Recordings label. I had been anticipating this album since I saw them at South by Southwest Festival in 2009 where they previewed many of the songs that eventually appeared on the new album. Their 2008 album, Little Death, was filled to the brim with interplaying guitars, soaring harmonies, and blissful melodies. This Reading UK quintet expand on what they established with Little Death. I've read other reviews of One Thousand Pictures that describe the band's sound as getting darker and grimmer. But if you take a closer listen to the songs on both Little Death and One Thousand Pictures, things are not always necessarily as sunny and chirpy as they sound but neither is all hope and optimism lost. "Can't Fish" opens the album on a melancholy note ("empty your pockets and hold out your hand/pretend that you love me") but you can't help singing along by the end of it. "Cold Black Kitty" is an unexpected treat - a pounding, slightly sinister rock song about a cat. "Little Gun" chugs along very nicely. Just listen to the intro guitar riff and that energy doesn't let up through the entire song. "Come To The Bar"starts off with a bit of new wave vibe with its offbeat, squiggly synths and includes another irresistible singalong chorus. "Winter 1" is true to its title with its wintery vibe and repeated lyrical plea of "you've got a long way home". I can listen to this one repeatedly for the bass riff alone. Groovy and bouncy. "Washing Powder" is unapologetically melancholic but they still pull out that singalong chorus that is somehow uplifting. Regrets and memories leave a lingering effect indeed - "it's just your washing powder/little voice I hear getting louder/one stupid thing to remind me/of somebody I thought was behind me". "Blood Gets Thin" was originally released as a non-album single but it makes a return appearance on OTP. It's been redone with a dirtier, rockier feel reminiscent of how it sounds during their live sets. "United" has been released as a single and it's an obvious choice. Your face will hurt just a bit because you'll be grinning so much after singing along and dancing around the room. The video is full of playful cats in contrast to its darkly humourous lyrics (Girl, I don't want to die tonight/I just want some sunshine"). "Shotgun" follows with its darker lyrical tone mentioning building walls and getting out your rifle but it soars with its crashing mix of guitars. "Motorbike" is a lovely, galloping tune. You can almost picture yourself being on a motorbike in the countryside while listening to the lyrics. "Things That Go Bump" is just pure fun. Loud, noisy, and raucous. I loved this one from SXSW 2009 and I'm certainly pleased that this made it on the album. "Reprise" is a continuation of "Blood Gets Thin". It's a result of the extended wig out that happens during live performances of BGT. I'm not sure of it as a standalone track. I like it but you might also want to listen it once or twice right after BGT. It works both ways. "Half Moon Street" finds a second life after first appearing on Tap Tap's (singer Tom Sanders solo project) "On My Way" album. I certainly love the stripped back original version but it also shines in the full band version. Me with the band at SXSW 2011. From left to right : Thomas Sanders, Jonny Sanders, David Thorpe, Pete Hefferan, Pete Cattermoul.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Salim Nourallah, Buttercup, and Leatherbag at Club Deville 5/28/2011

A triple bill of my favorite Texas pop/rock bands playing on a Saturday night at Club Deville ?!? Yes please :) ! Although I've seen all three bands multiple times, I would not be anywhere else this Saturday night. Salim Nourallah opens the show at 10 pm, followed by Buttercup, and Leatherbag closes out the night. These are 3 bands that I wholeheartedly support and will continually sing their praises and spread the word about them. Dallas based Salim Nourallah has been working on his 5th solo record, Hit Parade, the follow up to 2009's Constellation. As a supporter of his fundraiser efforts on Pledge Music, I've been fortunate to have heard a few of Hit Parade's tunes and I'm excited to hear the rest of the album. He continues to win fans with his endearing tales of everyday struggles and triumphs. I've been head over heels for San Antonio TX based Buttercup since I first saw them perform in Austin just over 5 years ago. Buttercup's sound continues to evolve but in a way they've never changed. Their sound always has had a distinct, recognizable personality that is a result of 3 separate yet united songwriters. I always have a hard time describing Buttercup as they are a band that is best understood in the live performance setting. Always fun and guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Leatherbag's sound brings a little bit of a rootsy twang to this triple bill. Take a little bit of Bob Dylan, heaping spoonfuls of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Big Star, and dashes of Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe. The common thread for all 3 bands is good songs and good live performances. It sounds simple but those things are often the most difficult things to pull off well. The cover is only $5 for this stacked triple bill and it all takes place in the limestone wall background setting at Red River's landmark Club Deville. Event link : Buttercup - Superior Salim Nourallah- Pictures Collected Leatherbag - Lines

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Happy 9th Anniversorry to The Midgetmen

This Friday May 20th at The Mohawk, Austin's own The Midgetmen celebrate their 9th anniversary (or "anniversorry" as the band calls it) and the release of their new album, Loud Enough. 8 bands (including 2 of my local faves, The Sour Notes and The Pons), free drinks from Treaty Oak Rum and Graham's Texas Tea, a photobooth orchestrated by Nash Cook where folks can create their own drunken poetry (think Magnetic Poetry Kit), and DJ Richard Henry will keep the party going between band sets. A plethora of tunes will be provided by the following excellent bands : On the outside stage-- 11:00-12:00 The Midgetmen 10:00-10:45 La Snacks 09:00-09:45 San Saba County On the inside stage-- 01:00-01:45 The Sour Notes 12:00-12:45 Through The Trees 10:55-11:30 Shells 10:05-10:40 The Pons 09:15-09:50 The Blistering Speeds A packed, quality local lineup plus free drinks on a Friday night - the only thing to be sorry about is missing this event. So, what do you bring a band on their 9th anniversary anyway ?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

She Sir at Beerland for The Rumble 5/18/2011

On May 18th, She Sir are the headliner for this months The Rumble event at Beerland. The Rumble is presented by Future Sounds, The Onion AV Club, Waterloo Records, The Austinist, Covert Curiosity, Austin Town Hall, Sonic Itch Music and Austin Music Weekly. It's free and it's a good excuse to stay out late on a Wednesday night. She Sir are one of those local Austin bands I should have seen when they first started playing in Austin but I kept missing them. When I finally saw them last summer, their sound just clicked for me. Lush melodies, dual harmonies and vocals, and guitars that wash over you with just the right amount of shimmer, fuzz, and feedback. Their sound often gets stuck with the shoegaze label but why compare it to gazing at your shoes when you can just close your eyes and dream ? You can preview all of their tunes on their Bandcamp page.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Gentlemen Rogues E.P. Release at Skinny's Ballroom

This Friday, May 13th, Gentlemen Rogues (Matt Bolick - drums, Danny Dunlap - vocals/guitar, Cordon Simons - guitar, Cole Stockton - bass guitar) officially celebrate the release of their self titled debut EP. The release party will be at one of Austin's newest venues, Skinny's Ballroom, with fellow indie/powerpop band, Wiretree (11 pm), and Elephant M (10 pm). Gentlemen Rogues close out the bill at 12am. I encourage you to come out and support one of my favorite new Austin bands. This 3 song EP is full of catchy pop hooks and loud, crunchy guitars. The band definitely brings those things to their live performance. I appreciate bands such as Gentlemen Rogues who bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to their performances and enjoy themselves on stage. On a personal note, I liked them so much I recommended them a few months ago to BBC 6 Music's Tom Robinson Introducing (fans and musicians can submit their music recommendations on the show's website) where he showcases tunes from upcoming artists. Tom featured them in his show for 2 consecutive weeks. If you can't make it to the show, you can download Gentlemen Rogues EP on Bandcamp and Soundcloud. Here's a clip from one of their SXSW week performances : Vote for this show on Do512 :