Monday, January 17, 2011

Show Picks 2020

So I'm still not sure what the plan is for the blog in the new year. I got way too focused on being a know-it-all and sort of lost the plot the last few weeks. Now I'm seeing things from a different perspective. I could use some feedback from regular readers. I think I'm going to stick to doing show picks and maybe some interviews until I shake the nagging feeling that I've been devoting all my energies to ripping apart something I don't fully understand. Anyway, hopefully I'll see you out at some shows this week.

TUESDAY I haven't seen them live yet, but I really liked the hypnotic quality of Bali Yaaah's recordings. I hear some Clinic, some 60's psychedelia, and some Depeche-modern electronic coming from the three-piece (guitars, bass, organ). I'm curious to see them do it on stage and Tuesday the 18th at Beauty Bar they're playing with Ode to Oscillator, Knifight, and Mass Rituals.

WEDNESDAY I traded in some old LP's for a clutch of local seven-inch singles at Trailer Space last weekend. Along with some cool stuff from the Flesh Lights and Serious Tracers, I picked up "The Grand" b/w "Qyjara" by A Giant Dog. Anna spent most of last night watching YouTube videos of the five-piece, who have a live show you need to see to appreciate -- a frontwoman with no fear, Motown bass with muscles, rowdy crowds. They're at Beerland with In Beds and Literature. Literature are a band my friend Sean likes to describe as "the Strokes fronted by Daniel Johnston." I think that's a bit glib but as good a description as any. Anna C. likes the way their lead guitar player dances lightly on his feet like Michael Jackson. For me, what's winning about Literature is the way the two guitar players interact instead of play on top of one another.

THURSDAY We've also been jamming the "Hot Pink Flares" 45 by The Sour Notes on a day-to-day basis. I'm a huge fan of bands and songs with multiple lead vocalists, and the tradeoff on the A-side of the single from Jared to Kelly is sweet. The Sour Notes are playing the Cactus Cafe, which is still alive! I believe the cover is six dollars which is a good deal for the Cactus. Saw The Eastern Sea there playing to a packed room and they sounded great. Little Lo open for the Sour Notes Thursday.

FRIDAY Flesh Lights and Bike Problems at Red 7. The "Jaye" single by Flesh Lights is nice. Bike Problems are nerdy punk of the highest order. Or, to go in the another direction entirely, Opposite Day and Megafauna at Flamingo Cantina. I love Opposite Day! Their songs and playing are unique. I wrote about them during Free Week, but it turned out that they weren't playing due to their bassist Greg being in Australia. I said then I'd reprint my praise of them when they were playing a show, so here it is: "I'm glad Opposite Day are playing... because I always feel like I should be doing more to spread the word about them. I think a lot of other writers have faced the same problem before me: How do you make a compelling argument for a band that really has no single obvious comparison point? Elvis Costello meets Primus? No... Richard Thompson meets Oingo Boingo? I'm stumped. They change meters and play bewildering figures like a prog band, but have many hooks and harmonies you don't need a calculator to appreciate. No matter what your tastes are, I defy you to watch Opposite Day and not come away astounded by their musicianship. Not only that, they've never let their ridiculous technical ability get in the way of songwriting -- 'Safety First' is unforgettable -- and despite their long years of high effort and low rewards, they still maintain a palpable enthusiasm and good spirit when they're on stage."

Megafauna, like The Sour Notes, are right off a tour. Will, Cameron, and Dani were tight already, and they bring a heck of a lot of force as a trio. I like sitting and listening to their CD Larger Than Human closely and trying to count through all the time signature changes.

I hated everything and now I like everything! The power of Austin music has brainwashed me.

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