Day 1 at SXSW was a rousing success! Don’t have time to write an entire post (as we’re about to start day 2), but here are some of the highligts
* following suggestion of fellow band passenger to go see The Head and The Heart (from Seattle)…they were fantastic! (very Mumford and Sons)
* seeing The Kin (TWICE). They have all new songs that are fantastic. Isaac also used a random pole for a substitute didgeridoo
* discovering the lineup at Lipstick 24 (The Stone Foxes, Empires, Saint Motel, Dead Sara, etc…)
* The Silent Comedy tearing it up at The San Diego Hoe Down
* the massive dance party we created at The Silent Comedy show at The Austin Rox Showcase
* finally seeing AWOLNATION (and living through the riot they nearly brought to Rusty Spurs)
* meeting new people who suggested new bands to check out
* being interviewed by All Together Now Showcase about this website
* ending the evening in a Dead Sara mosh
Today is Saint Patrick’s Day so I’m guessing today will be particularly insane. Who am I most looking forward to? SOOOO Many, but let’s go with Mother Mother who play at Lipstick 24 at 2:30 for the All Rights Reserved Showcase.
Taking a wee break from grading exams, I ventured to The Hotel Cafe to check out Allen Stone. This guy has quite the impressive voice, teeming with a lot more soul than expected from a guy from Seattle. It was the perfect hand clapping, head bobbing, feeting tapping time and I will definately keep Allen on my list of artists to go see…I’d suggest you do the same!
For a taste, check out some songs on his myspace (including a terrific cover of “Bare Necessities”)
Here’s an amusing video of the song he ended his set with
Also playing at The Hotel Cafe was Lenka. If you don’t know the name, I’m sure you’d recognize a song or two. The Austrialian artist has an array of catchy tunes that become even cuter as she performs them on a stage with her band in front of colorful cardboard shapes. I really like some of her new tunes and am looking forward to her forthcoming album…but the hightlight of her set for me was when she brought out a trumpet and, along with another member of the band, engaged in some lovely harmonizing trumpet action.
Can’t find any videos of new tunes, but here’s an old one you may recognize…
Do you ever associate a particular song or band with a certain time in your life so much so that whenever you hear that song or see that band you are transported back to those days when that music meant so much to you? Well that is how I feel about the band Carbon Leaf who had a strong presence in my college days. There is one verse in particular from their song “What About Everything” that really struck a chord with that particular time and place in my life. It includes the following lines:
“…Before time takes each year, like a knife cuts it clear
It’s school, then work and then life that just sharpens the blade
I think about time for fun
I think about time for play
Then I think about being done, with no resume…”
I first discovered Carbon Leaf in 2004. Their CD, Indian Summer, was just released when I stumbled upon it during one of my Borders listening sessions. I was immediately struck by the soothing vocals and the general positive/happy vibe I picked up from the songs. I have been following Carbon Leaf ever since. The band is from Virginia and it took a couple of years for us to be in the same city at the same time. I finally saw them in 2006 at the TLA in Philadelphia. They were on Tour with Matt Nathanson and their CD Love Loss Hope Repeat had just come out. It was a packed house and I remember struggling to get a good view, but also being impressed that the energy from the stage could make its way all the way to where I was, piercing my soul as all my favorite songs were being performed on the stage.
Last night at The Troubadour was only the second time I’ve seen Carbon Leaf live. Being in love with a local band is amazing if you’re in the same town, but I don’t make it to Virginia all that often and I kept missing the guys when they would go on tour. However, the little family of Carbon Leaf lovers that gathered at The Troubadour for the band’s 2 hour set made me feel like I hadn’t missed a beat. I was certainly not alone in my adoration as the band’s unique brand of Celtic/bluegrass rock (Wikipedia’s categorization) seemed to transport the entire room to a different place and time where the one commonality was music that we were all, at that moment, experiencing together.
The band played songs spanning their entire catalog including many off Indian Summer despite the fact that the record was released 6 years ago. They also played some great tunes from other records including a couple songs from Curious George 2 (to which Carbon Leaf supplied the soundtrack), and one from their forthcoming album, How the West Was One.
This upcoming album is fairly special as it marks the band’s break from their record label and return to the DIY world of music-making. They were especially proud to announce that despite the fact that the mixing of the new album had just been completed, the songs were available that night via download cards. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who is bothered by a record label’s decision to hold material for release long after it’s completed. This move also means that the band will have a lot more music coming out over the next year or so. They say that How the West Was One is really going to be volume 1 of 3-4…all songs that the band has written over the years while they have been east of the Mississippi.
I have yet to download the new tunes, but I wanted to get something out about the brilliance of this band before tonight’s (Thurs July 8th) show at The Belly Up in Solana Beach (right outside of San Diego). I know many people at last night’s show plan to drive down and I wish I could join them. If you’re in the San Diego area, I’d highly recommend heading over the Belly Up (a fantastic venue) and checking out Carbon Leaf.
Now THIS makes me want to do a west coast road trip. Nico Vega is finally playing another hometown date Weds July 14th at The Troubadour opening for Sweethead. This show is the first on the band’s journey up the west coast. Dates listed below…don’t miss out!
All I can say is FINALLY! First Aid Kit was the only group on my best of ’09 mix that I had not seen live. And to make my list as a band I’ve never seen…well that right there is saying something. But this duo from Sweden has what it takes to melt my heart; crystal clear voices ringing out in delicate harmonies. Their live set certainly did not disappoint, adding charming personalities to the list of things I love about these ladies, sisters Klara and Johanna Soderberg. They did perform “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song,” their Fleet Foxes cover which lead to my discovery of them over a year ago. They also did a couple songs out in the audience sans microphones. Fortunately the acoustics of the room (an old bra factory) were more than adequate.
Their debut album, The Big Black and Blue, is certainly worth looking into. Also, they are not in the US that often, so if you can, check them out on their current tour (dates below) before they hop back over to the other side of the pond. Opening for them is the wonderful Samantha Crain, another artist who I’ve been meaning to see live since she made my best of SXSW ’09 mix.
Today is the day folks! Mr. Green Vol. I is officially out in stores, on ITunes, etc. Carney’s first full length CD has been on the precipice of release for sometime now it seems, but I’m pretty sure it’s actually happening this time. I would highly recommend everyone go out and get yourself a copy. Once again, for a taste, enjoy the video for the band’s first single, “Love Me, Chase Me” :
The release falls in the midst of a little tour…to get your taste of Carney live (trust me, you’ll love it), see if they’re coming to a town near you. And if you live in LA, I really hope you can come to The El Rey this Saturday to see the boys put on their last hometown show before heading of to NYC.
As for the rest of the dates (copied directly from Myspace):
Currently touring with The Silent Comedy and Links. Also, on my SXSW ’10 list. They put on a killer live show. They are from England and won’t be back in the states until they work out “visa issues”. So, catch them if you can!