Photo from www.sigur-ros.co.uk
If you’re a human, which I’ll go ahead and assume you are*, your brain can get kinda funked up with stuff. You can hold strong beliefs that you’re worth something just as you are and then be bombarded with messages from the outside culture that, in fact, no, you need about 100 different products and 6 different diets and even then, you must always strive for perfection and, as Lowe’s has taught us, “never stop improving.” Our standard of “acceptable person” seems to be to basically disappear inside of ourselves like so many black holes while we blind ourselves to the fact that the earth is hurting and we come from it, so we should probably give a shit. Between our high expectations for events and holidays and our own futures, and our crippling self-doubt and anxiety, and some deep-seated guilt thrown in for good measure — it can feel a bit like we’re all just Han Solo trapped in carbonite, but in our own minds. Speaking for myself, I know that every day, I live about 99% of it in a state of distraction. Since mindfulness is hard work and can lead to feeling difficult feelings because, you know, those exist, I just float around outside of myself, barraging myself with criticisms cloaked in the thought that this will be somehow “motivating” when it never, ever is. Turns out, it’s actually self-defeating.
Knowing all of this has freed just a couple of fingers from the carbonite, just enough to hold a tiny pick so I can start escaping my self-imposed prison. The light seems to break through my numbness most of all when I can be in a state of mindfulness, and Sigur Ros takes me to that state every time.Read More...
The goober-est of goobers. Full amazingness here.
When South by Southwest began in 1987 — coincidentally, the year (and week) I was born — it was started as a music industry convention to allow new and up-and-coming artists to be discovered, and to allow journalists and label reps to network. 26 years later, and it has been co-opted by music fans as a giant discovery festival, by college students as a free-drinks-ahoy spring break location, by brands as a cultural capital trade show (giant Dorito’s vending machine stage, anyone?) and by well-established artists as a place to try out new music and simply cause a commotion. Because of this, expectations continue to skyrocket each year, causing many to feel disappointed by their experience. If you want one festival in a wonderful but, admittedly, comparatively small city to be all things to all people, it’s going to get a bit nuts.
Each year, as the festival approaches, I can feel my stress levels rise, getting caught up in the madness with everyone and fearing that I won’t get into the best shows, the most exciting parties. I RSVP to 300 parties (a conservative estimate) and attend about 7. I scramble to listen to as many new bands as possible, and usually end up prioritizing artists I already know I adore.
This year was different. This year, I decided it was time to get in sync with the festival. I managed to scour almost all new artists coming to Austin, and discovered about three dozen I was excited about. As the festival finally arrived, I took a figurative and literal deep breath, and leaned back to ride the wave.Read More...
Gather, my children, and you shall hear — a bunch of really freaking great music in Austin, Texas over the next week. Because I love new music, and because I love my readers, I scoured the SXSW 2013 listings and checked out music clips from over 1,000 bands to pick out my favorites and share them with you. Have a safe, fun, wonderful week, and catch me at the shows below!
Please note: I don’t mention Prince/Daft Punk/Sound City Players (aka Stevie Nicks’ new band) or any of the other huge people, but, duh, read the internet and go to see Prince/Daft Punk/Stevie along with these new favorites.Read More...
Because of how wonderful Austin’s community of musicians, photographers, artists, venues and of course music fans are, our Free Week showcase at Swan Dive co-hosted by CoolinAustin went off swimmingly, despite the nasty weather.
From the first note played, y’all filled up the room to make it cozy-warm, and our wonderful representatives from HAAM allowed this Free Week show to stand for something wonderful and give back to the musicians who are devoting their time and artistry to two weeks of face-melting awesome.
The Collection, our only “foreign” band (from Greensboro, NC) kicked things off gorgeously, with haunting harmonies and raucous folk that made me think of some kind of Decemberists-Frightened Rabbit lovechild.
The Baker Family brought incredible energy, pretty melodies and haunting guitar playing, along with their merch table-baby carriage, and were definitely a crowd favorite, as sing/multi-instrumentalist Liz donned her fox(bear? panda?) mask for added theatricality. Plus, they devoted a song to the Collection called “Sharpening the Saw:” “The drive to the mountains seems so far/Making our way back to North Carolina.”
With a lineup change infusing fresh energy into their sound, Your Friendly Ghost sound better than ever, and they treated us to their hits, some new jams, and a killer Radiohead cover that took some guts and a touch of recklessness — exactly what these guys do best. They floored attendees and acquired new fans for their sound and their fury.
Last but never, ever least, the Couch brought fire to a cold and rainy night, and closed things out with a bang. As always, they were raucous, gritty and awesome.
For our silent auction, we raised $200 that will all be going straight to HAAM, and we couldn’t be more thankful. Special thanks go out to Katherine Squier and Pooneh Ghana for donating their gorgeous photos, and to the Alamo Drafthouse for their generous gift card donation.
While most folks are lamenting the end of the holiday season, Austin gets to stoke itself on another reason it is one of the best cities to live in: two whole weeks of additional gifts in the form of free, awesome live music. This year, we teamed up once again with CoolinAustin to curate a showcase of some of the best local musicians, as well as one group of folksy travelers from Greensboro. We’re back at the Swan Dive for a night of fun, and even more exciting — we’ve teamed up with HAAM to make this a benefit that will give back to the musical community that graces us with their gifts most days of the week.
Since entry is free, we’re hosting a super-cool silent auction with items from the Alamo Drafthouse, Austin photographers Pooneh Ghana and Katherine Squier, and more. All proceeds will go right to HAAM. Doors for the show are at 8:30, with music starting at 9:30. Hope to see you there!