Category Archives: Random Musings

Happy Anniversary…. To Us!

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The best and worst thing about time is that is has this tendency to fly by and before you know it, it’s been 4 years since you and a friend hatched this harebrained idea to make a music blog. Honestly, I wouldn’t have known it had been 4 years if Twitter hadn’t sent me an email wishing us a Happy Anniversary a few days ago. We get really busy here with our own lives outside of the music realm but the email gave me some pause and time to think about what it is we’ve accomplished and done over the last four years. We’ve been the first to bring you New Band Alerts, our weekly concert calendars, New Music Tuesdays, and so much more. I’m really happy with all we’ve done and I can’t wait to do more.

 

~Amanda and Kristen

Top Ten Sets of SXSW 2014

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Well SXSW might be officially over but we are trying to keep the magic alive here at LMN. And can you blame us? It was an amazing good time full of great acts, good friends, much love, and lots of fun. So in the spirit of keeping things going, we present to you our top acts of SXSW 2014. This list is in no particular order because let’s face it, that’s too hard to do. Instead, think of this list as the acts that affected us the most. There will be familiar names and new names but all of them got to us at SXSW.

 

Amanda’s Picks:

1. Morning Parade at Palm Door (The Universal Music Group Showcase)

One of the things that makes SXSW so fun is the opportunity to sample new music and discover your new favorite band. Morning Parade was a band that I wanted to casually sample. You know, stay for 3ish songs and go see someone else. That was my goal for the day. However, Morning Parade threw a wrench in my plans for the day. I was so enamored by them that I stayed for their entire set and was left wanting more from them. They had their fans dancing, heads bobbing, and feet tapping the whole time, mine included. They played new stuff, old fan favorites and I loved it all. Give me more! IMG_0036

2. Beware of Darkness at Wahoo’s Fish Tacos (Wahoo’s Music Showcase)

The show that nabbed the title for the craziest rock and roll experience ever was Beware of Darkness at Wahoo’s. I had only seen Beware of Darkness a few times beforehand but those shows were nothing compared to this wonderful insanity. I’m not really sure what inspired the frequent guitar shredding trips into the crowd or the standing on a table rockstar moments from frontman Kyle Nicolaides but all of it was amazing. Truth be told, I wasn’t even going to attend this particular show because fatigue had set in, I wasn’t feeling well, and I was already in the hotel but I knew it would be my only opportunity to see some familiar faces so, I made the trek. The set was short but absolutely crazy in the best way possible. Definitely an experience that will be hard to repeat.

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3. Dear Boy at Rusty’s (Swing House Austin Occupation)

I think there’s something really special in being able to support a band out at SXSW who is there for the first time. File the relatively new band Dear Boy under that category. They had a rather light show schedule at SXSW so it was imperative for me (well, us) to make sure we caught this particular show at Rusty’s. It was their best show of SXSW, which was impressive considering it was a day show and on a very tiny stage. Their set was far too short (isn’t that how it goes at SXSW?) for my liking but they had a great energy and were really into their groove. I can’t wait to see where they go from here.

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4. The Silent Comedy at The Tap Room at The Market (Official Showcase)

Seeing The Silent Comedy play at SXSW is always a good time. It’s an even better time when it’s at 1am, you’re tired from being up till 3am the night before, you’re in a small venue, and the stage is way higher up than you expect it to be. Sounds like a possible disaster, right? Nope. This was a crazy good time filled with some old favorites like “Prince,” “Gasoline,” and “Road Song” as well as some new tunes like, “Always Two” and “Avalanche.” Justin Buchanan, banjo and mandolin player extraordinaire gets an extra shout out for his crazy shenanigans, which involved leaving the stage to go play with the folks who thought it was safe to sit upstairs. You were wrong. I’m willing to bet there were a few folks in the crowd who fell for The Silent Comedy that night and really, who could blame them?

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5. Semi Precious Weapons at Rusty’s (Crave Online Showcase)

Semi Precious Weapons make me feel sexy. There. I said it. They were on my top picks last year and they are back again for putting on an even better show than last year. Since this was their only set at SXSW it was extremely important that this event not be missed. They had this really infectious energy about them that just bled into the audience, which kept growing and growing. The tight space gave me less dancing room but I didn’t care because being backed against a wall made it that much better. Their set included new/old favorites like “Cherries on Ice,” “Free Booze,” “That’s My Friends,” and “Drink” as well as two new songs “Vegas” and “Hands Up.” I’m happy to say that all of those songs will be on their forthcoming full-length album, Aviation. There was even a surprise visit from Lady Gaga herself who watched from the side stage. Needless to say, I left this show feeling Aviation High.

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HM: Robert John and The Wreck at Wahoo’s Fish Tacos (Wahoo’s Music Showcase)

As it goes with SXSW, you tend to meet new people at shows and chat about similar musical interests and swap names of bands worth checking out. Well, I met this guy outside of Wahoo’s when I was wandering back to my hotel and stopped by to hear the beautiful noise from the venue. He told me their name was David and Olivia and I should come see his band play there later that week. When he said his band was Robert Jon and The Wreck I immediately recognized the name as someone The Silent Comedy had mentioned they were playing with and had seen it on the bill but had never seen them before. I promised to catch their set later that week and I’m really glad I followed through. When they started playing I changed from a walking zombie of myself to an alert toe-tapping individual who was ready to do some dancing. Although I failed to nab a picture of them playing (there was a sleeping Trina on my shoulder), they were really enjoyable and I look forward to seeing them play again sooner rather than later.

 

Kristen’s Picks:

1.  We Met Tomorrow at Karma Lounge (Official Showcase)

I discovered some great talent at this year’s SXSW, but one of the most exciting for me is this young Swedish band called We Met Tomorrow. Their set at Karma Lounge was particularly sweet because I had tried and failed by mere minutes to see them earlier in the week.  This band is instantly captivating with their genre-defying sound and unique set-up. Sans drummer, beat duties are divided between singer, Rickard, who works a bass drum and snare and bassist, Emil, who takes on a foot-pedal crash cymbal.  The energy of the band easily transitions from heartfelt country/folk to frantic blues/rock making every song a new surprise.  In a week packed with new sounds, We Met Tomorrow presented something different and exciting and that, for me, elevated them above the rest. New Band Love.

P15201582. Meg Myers at Red Eyed Fly (Official Showcase)

I adore Meg Myers. Her songs have a tantalizing mix of hard and soft that give them an addictive quality. I saw her at first opportunity Wednesday at The Empire Garage, but her set was way too short and left me craving more. Suddenly, I felt the compulsion to see Meg at every possible opportunity. I rearranged my schedule and was able to make it to her Wednesday night set at Red Eyed Fly. I think I was left unsatisfied at the previous occasion because Meg didn’t end her set with the gut punching “Heart Heart Head”, a song that just leaves you devastated in the best possible way.  The set at Red Eyed Fly included more of the hard-hitting tunes like “Go” and yes, “Heart Heart Head”. I felt cleansed.

P15101903. Sam Smith at St David’s Historic Church (Communion Showcase)

I didn’t think this show was going to happen for me. Friday night, I wanted to get to St. David’s for Hozier’s set at 9:45, but I was running late and the line for badges was the longest I’d seen that week. I camped out in the Church Chapel enjoying some Yoshiki and Gungor. Afterwards, I was just going to leave, but walking back past the main hall of the church, the line had whittled down substantially and within minutes I was ushered into the church. There was no more room on the pews, so I sat myself down in front of the stage. This casual looking band was in the middle of a song. They would have easily been mistaken for a garage band had it not been for the angelic voice coming from the man on the microphone. 20 seconds in and I was so mesmerized I swear my heart stopped beating so that I could listen all the more intently. I only caught 2.5 songs of his short set, but that was enough to make it one of my most lauded performances of the week.

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4. Parade of Lights at The Brew Exchange (The Green Room by Beautiful Buzzz and The Most Definitely)

Parade of Lights is my break-out band of SXSW 2014. I ended up seeing them 3 times over the week. It would have been four had they not had to cancel their super late-night set on Thursday. I am a long-time fan of this band, but SXSW 2014 proved to me that they have really gotten to a place with their line-up and their tunes that has elevated them to be worthy of the big leagues. They are so electric! You see them once and you simply must see them again. The Parade of Lights set at The Brew Exchange was the first I caught that week and really reminded me of my band love.  I was surrounded by friends, all dancing and falling in love with the music. The moment was perfection!

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5. Queen Caveat and The Kin at Whole Foods Rooftop (Quantum Collective Party)

I’m not cheating here including two bands in order to get more of my favorites mentioned on the list. Although both Queen Caveat and The Kin are longtime loves, what made this a truly unique and spectacular SXSW moment, was the pairing of favorites I would not expect to ever find on the same bill. Another standout feature of this “set” was the audience. The rooftop was full of families and fans who really seemed to connect to both bands. Queen Caveat drew in a bunch of younger girls looking up to rock star frontwoman, Lauren Little, in complete awe. Then I spent quite a bit of time post-show chatting with newly minted The Kin fans who were enraptured by the Aussie brothers’ vocal harmonies and ear candy tunes as well as percussionist, Shakerleg’s unique hands on approach to creating a beat.

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HM: Heymoonshaker at Trinity Hall (French Tech Party)

This band gets the award for most unique act of the week. They are a combination beat-box/blues band. Seriously, let that sink in for a minute. The duo not only has a unique and very compelling style, but they have serious stage presence and get additional points for audience participation (there was some hard core hip-shaking going on).  This particular set was also special due to the SXSW miracle that needed to occur for me to get in to see it. Let’s just say I owe huge thanks to my new “friend” who was standing at the door.

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SXSW 2014- Friday Recap

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If I’m being completely honest, I thought this post would be coming to you a lot earlier in the evening than it is right now. However, as things tend to go with SXSW, plans change.

Today was much more relaxed than yesterday with fewer long treks and more bopping around the same few blocks or just hanging at a venue. My feet were pretty happy with that idea as was my body as the wear of SXSW begins to settle in. The morning started off at the BMI + Billboard Brunch at the Four Seasons. It was a wonderful chance to eat and sample some artists. Particular favs were Phox, Betty Who, American Authors, Jamie Scott and The Kin.

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From there it was a leisurely stroll up the street to where all the main action was. I wanted to get in to see The 1975 but it was “at capacity” and I decided to wander off and regroup myself. I ended up at Rusty’s to catch a longer set of Wild Party. I went down the block after they played to catch Rocketboys, who were very fun. I drifted back over to Rusty’s to see The Heavy Heavy Hearts before going down the street to Palm Door for an encore of Parade of Lights. Sadly, the venue was running behind so we had to cut out a little early so we could get back up to Rusty’s to catch Dear Boy’s last SXSW show. From Dear Boy it was back down to Palm Door to see Sir Sly. I told you we just bopped around locally.

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After Sir Sly was a bit of a break and I wandered into Latitude 30 to catch a bit of Prides before getting overwhelmed by the crowd. I bailed and wandered a bit before I went back to Rusty’s to hang out and chill for a bit until Queen Caveat took the stage. Truth be told, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen those folks and they only gotten better. Kristen and I managed to hitch a ride with them over to their show at Whole Foods. The Kin were one of the special guests for the show so Kristen and I both got double the fun with Queen Caveat and The Kin today.

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I was pretty intent on being done with my day after that. Kristen and I would part ways, should would get out and I would go back to the room, eat my salad, and take a hot shower. Well, as luck would have it, I hopped on Instagram and saw that Beware of Darkness were having their final show at Wahoo’s tonight and it was in 30 minutes. I felt a second wind come on as I knew there would be familiar faces at that show. It was a crazy show full of climbing on things and playing in the crowd. Definitely a high note to end my night on.

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Since Kristen went on her own adventures, here is a taste of what she did today….

I just wanted to give a shout out to all the amazing bands I saw after Amanda and I parted ways. I headed to Church, St. David’s to be precise. I really wanted to see Hozier, but not only was I a bit too late, but there was a line so long I couldn’t see the end of it (a sign that perhaps I should move on). I couldn’t bring myself to move too far, so I went to the smaller chapel where I was impressed by some classical piano performed by a man who was later described to me as “a j-pop deity.” Yoshiki wrote a song on the spot using the prayers in the room.

I didn’t really feel like moving (and I discovered the church had free wi-fi) so I stayed and saw the next act, which turned out to be a band on my “to check out list” called Gungor. Gungor’s energy was infectious and gave me my second (or maybe third or fourth) wind. I was also super impressed by how the band changed up their act to suit the setting.

I was inspired to hit the streets and roam for music, but as I passed the main church hall, I noticed the line was significantly decreased so I was able to get in to catch the end of Sam Smith’s set. This was perhaps the best decision I made all week. Sam’s vocals were mesmerizing. I fell in love. LOVE. After that set, I was so melted to the floor that there really was no other option than to stay in my pew for the final act. Not that I would have moved anyway as the final act was another must-see, Vance Joy. It was a beautiful evening.

Saturday Show Recommendations:

  • Aussie BBQ at Maggie Mae’s (noon)- multiple rooms, great bands, yummy food
  • 1pm- Mike Mains and The Branches at Filter on Cedar St
  • 3:20- Moon Taxi at Palm Door on 6th
  • 7pm- Keaton Simons at Whole Foods Rooftop
  • 9pm- We Met Tomorrow at Karma Lounge
  • 11pm- The Silent Comedy at Wahoo’s

 

Listen Up- Featuring: All Mankind, Stone Cold Fox, Ten Ton Man

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I’ve got some new tracks to work their way into your lovely and awaiting ears. No, this isn’t a New Music Tuesday post or a New Band Alert post. This is just a few tracks from a few bands that I’d like to share with you today. I’m feeling generous. Take advantage.

 

All Mankind- Simple Desire

This is a four piece originally from Sydney but they are now based in Europe. They have had their music featured in the multi-million selling FIFA 12 video game on EA Games, ABC’s Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution (Theme Song), The Bachelorette Wedding (commercial), The CW’s Gossip Girl and Reign, MTV’s The Hills, The Inbetweeners, Jersey shore, The Real World, The Challenge and many more.

 

 

The Important Links:
Website
Facebook

 

Stone Cold Fox- January

This song by an Indie Rock band from Brooklyn, New York made it’s premiere earlier today on Huffington Post. The band is comprised of members from all over the US and are releasing their debut LP Memory Palace on May 6th. FILTER described the band as one that “blends a youthful and energetic sense of comfort through beautiful songs and simple aesthetics.”

 

 

The Important Links:
Website
Facebook

 

Ten Ton Man- Chunk of Change

This NYC based trio have a new EP out aptly name Chunk of Change. This EP follows up their self-titled debut album from November 2012. Their new EP will be out April 8th.

 

 

The Important Links:
Website
Facebook

 

Happy Listening!

The Bard Interviews: Dear Boy- Part II

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Bet you folks thought I completely forgot about my sit down with Ben Grey of Dear Boy. Well, I hadn’t. Life just got in my way but it’s the still first month of the new year and time to come out roaring. Also, Dear Boy is playing their first show if 2014 tonight at the Bootleg Bar. In case you were snoozing, you can find the first part of my interview here. Without further chatter…

A: Do you have a specific approach [to your music videos] because they are definitely unique.

B: Well, we got lucky that we got to work with Bailey Wynn. Who I will just say is my sister. We finished the record in 2012 but we didn’t want to release it because, it’s been my experience and just as a listener [that] I feel like once I have the mp3, or if somebody gives me the mp3 too easily it looses value. And at that time we had never played a show, no one knew who we were and it just was like, I don’t want it out there yet because there’s no audience for it. So, I discovered a new facet of a band’s creativity, which is going to be that visual presence and so we released these teasers with my sister.  We had all this unused sound design we had all these ideas and we just want to start to make things and since there wasn’t a band there were no expectations and was like, well this is something I feel comfortable putting out and seeing how people respond to it. And so it started with a concept and from there it just sort of, I don’t know how to say … I don’t know. We knew what the aesthetic was and we knew what we were trying to go for and it was really easy. And having a collaborator like her, she’s so great that she would take small little ideas and turn it into these amazing things. I’m really thankful that we just had a chance to collaborate with her. It’s a big deal and I’m really proud of the videos.

A: Are there any special stories behind any of the songs? I know you have one that kind of pays tribute to Scarlet Grey. At least, that’s what it sounds like.

B: Yeah, actually. That’s interesting that you would pick up on that. The song “Green Eyes,” which is on the record, is kind of my… It was the first song written for this thing and it was just kind of a way of saying goodbye to all of that.  I think you’re probably referencing another song now that I think about it. But, that song is actually just kind of a “Bon Voyage” but in a really positive way because it was such a positive experience. I’m just kind of not the same person musically or really just at all.

B: So, I think you’re probably referencing a newer song that says my name. Am I right?

A: Probably. I don’t remember the lyrics offhand. I think it goes, “I’m still Grey but I’m not the same.”

B: Yeah. That’s it. That’s a newer one. That song is called “American Gloom” and it will be going on whatever it is this new record becomes. That’s a personal one. I’ll probably keep that a secret.

A: OK. That’s fine. I know your songs definitely take a different… I don’t want to say a different approach but they’re sonically different than what I’m used to from you. But I like them. I’m not saying they are bad or anything. They’re just different.

B: Cool.

A: So I’m just wondering, what inspires it?

B: It’s genuinely the music that I listen to. I mean really my favorite music, my favorite types of music; it’s early 90’s British pop music. You know, post punk and it’s really kind of traditionally how Americans, like I said before, romanticize British music. Obviously I have this propensity for British music. It’s the stuff that I’ve been listening to for 10 years. The problem is that I started Scarlet Grey when I was really young and I didn’t think that it was going to be… that we were going to make a go of it. And it’s just a bunch of friends and I and we just made this fun active rock music and then we started playing and people started coming and then it was. I was in a weird position because I love the songs and I did have this fondness for the whole thing but it was like the more we did it, the further I would get away from what I really wanted to be writing. And not that I don’t, you know have love for those songs or the friends that I’ve made or the fans that we made and all that but this is the first chance I’ve had to really do what I really really wanted to do.

A: Mmmmhmmmmm

B: I know I threw a lot of reallys into that.

A: That’s ok. You’re from The Valley.

B: I’m from The Valley. A lot of reallys and a lot of likes.

 

The Bard Interviews: Dear Boy- Part I

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A few months ago, I got the opportunity to sit down with Ben Grey of Dear Boy at The Bootleg and have a little chat. In honor of Dear Boy’s show at the Echo tonight, here is a taste of what happened…

A: So, Ben.

B: Yes dear.

A: Tell me about how Dear Boy came to life and the inspiration for the name.

B: Okay. They’re two separate stories. Um, how the band came together… Basically, I’ve known all these guys and worked with them in some capacity for a really long time and I always wanted to put them all together. But it was the first time we were all musically single so I kind of felt like it was fine to ask them out, officially of course.  And then I absconded with them to the UK and that’s how that started. But as far as the name, um, everyone think that it’s the Paul McCartney song or like a smaller group of people think that it’s the Keith Moon book but uh, it really came down to… a waitress said it in the UK. We were there on Thanksgiving and we had been living there for three months or something, and uh we’re in an Italian restaurant cause we had no family there, we had nothing going on so we… the waitress, she was talking to us a few times said, “oh you. Oh, dear boy”, and then that was like, oh my God that’s the name that we were looking for, for this thing

A: Serendipity.

B: Yeah, it was cosmic. Not so much of Paul McCartney’s song, which is great.

A. Cool. Um, I was wondering if at all, how did the time in London affect or influence the sound of the band?

B: It had a huge influence on the band and everything that we wrote there. Basically, I guess. What I say sometimes is that I was desperate to be displaced. And when you start something new… I mean, for me I wanted to be by myself and really really…. (Sighs) I wanted to be not around anything that was my old life because I really wanted to do something different. So, aside from the fact that all American musicians like to romanticize the UK, which is just sort of, at this point cliché, um I just… we had a small opportunity there, like a really tiny one, to play a residency there because my friend was a booking agent and we were just like, we are going to move there and it was just one of those ‘leap and it will appear situations’ and once we did we were alone and just with the city and in a very tiny flat with no heat and no tv and no internet and it was like, it acted as the best distiller. So over that period that we lived in London, everything about it influenced and shaped the record and really helped purify the sentiment and the main, I don’t know, the main innovations.

 

Stay tuned for more from the interview!

New Band Alert: The Tragic Thrills

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Once upon a time there was a pop band called Allstar Weekend. They were wildly popular, having toured all over the world and enjoying the perks of being a Disney-esque pop band. Then one day, they went into the studio to record a new album and realized they were a completely different band with a different sound than before. Thus began the transformation from AllStar Weekend to The Tragic Thrills.

Below is their newly released video for their single “Tears”

 

 

They’ve only played a handful of shows so far but if you like what you see (hear) you can catch them tonight (10/25) at the Bootleg with Irontom.

 

Important Links:

Website: http://thetragicthrills.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thetragicthrills

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TragicThrills

iTunes: http://bit.ly/1gr6TzE