Driving Music

Since the Thanksgiving holiday is fast approaching and many of us will travel all around the countryside to meet up with family and friends, there will likely be a lot of road trippin’ going on, and road trippin’ means my very most favorite thing in the entire universe – driving music.


Fun Fun Fun '10 In Photos

As promised, here are some photos from Fun Fun Fun 2010. Check out our Facebook page for more!

Cody Ground of Royal Forest

Royal Forest kicked off my Saturday FFF experience, and they rocked. Their big-sounding, guitar-heavy rock music filled the open field and sent a surge of energy into the morning crowd. Kudos!

Erik Lugo of Royal Forest

Austin's Woven Bones

I”m always a fan of a band with a female drummer. Woven Bones were gritty and garagey, and definitely had me bouncing around for a little while. I was happy to finally see this Austin staple.

JEFF the Brotherhood

I enjoyed JEFF the Brotherhood, although I wish they could find a stronger lead singer. Their drummer stole the show in my eyes – he was full of energy and super talented. I”m definitely a fan of the bluesy, raw rock coming out of Nashville these days! (See: the Ettes, everything Jack White does.)

Little Stolen Moments

Only in Austin could a trio of interpretive dancers be as beloved as Little Stolen Moments. I first saw these folks perform at South by Southwest in 2009; they really do light up a stage.

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The Antlers

The Antlers were definitely one of my favorite performances at FFF 2010. They were dreamy, soundscapey and just enjoyable to take in. I love that the keyboard player (below) was performing in his socks.


The Antlers


Wavves. Meh. Nathan complained a lot about technical difficulties, so they kinda lost me. I do like their album, though!

I was definitely disappointed in how quickly MGMT rushed off of the stage at the end of their set, but let”s be real – they”re fun to look at (as evidenced by the league of pretty people standing around me, trying to squeeze closer to the stage to get a glimpse).

Ben Goldwasser of MGMT

Andrew VanWyngarden

Thax Douglas

Austin poet Thax Douglas was everywhere during FFF; he kicked off my Sunday by introducing Margot and the Nuclear So & So”s with a poem.

Margot and the Nuclear So & So's

I love this band on record, but live, I”m afraid they only came off so-so. Margot was just too bummed out for a Sunday morning at a festival.

Aerial Pink

Aerial Pink”s Haunted Graffiti didn”t do it for me. Too much show, not enough substance.

Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast

Bethany owned the stage and won the day with her sunny, sweet vocals and her couldn”t-care-less laid backittude. Plus, once again – female drummer! Love it.

Best Coast's drummer - rawk!

Fun Fun Fun 2010

This was only my second year to attend Fun Fun Fun Fest, but it lived up to its name and then some. I was able to see performers I’d never heard of before, relax in the grass (and dust!) with friends, and wander around backstage as Andrew VanWyngarden from MGMT stalked me (I swear, every time I turned around – there he was!) Here’s a little recap for those of you who went to relive it, and those of you who missed it to join the action. Massive amounts of photos are forthcoming, so look back later for a gallery.


Fun Fun Fun Fest 2010 Preview c/o Festival Crashers

The dudes over at Festival Crashers were kind enough to let me sit in (/giggle in) on their latest podcrash. If you’d like to hear me nerd out about my favorite performers playing the fest this weekend, or listen to me babble about the epic Phoenix gig (which will hopefully then help you to understand why writing is my field of choice), you can check it out here.

We Are Scientists at Emo’s, 10/28/10

Photo by Dan Monick

While the Ke$has, Biebers and Owl Cities of the world flash in and out of the public conscious, there are some really awesome, hard-working bands that continue to get by and produce exciting music in the long term. We Are Scientists proved to be one of those bands when they hit Emo’s last Thursday, Oct. 28. The trio (comprised of mainstays Keith Murray and Chris Cain, plus a rotating drummer) first formed in 1997, and hit it big with 2005’s With Love and Squalor. They’ve since put out two more full-length records, so with all that material and history behind them, I expected a packed venue when I arrived at about 11:30 p.m. Instead, I was met with a fairly empty Emo’s, with maybe 35 people crowded around the stage, checking out openers Twin Tigers. By midnight, the room had filled out a little, but it was still far from a full house. Of course, this show was competing with Interpol at Stubb’s, Bad Brains at the Mohawk, Ghostland Observatory in Cedar Park and the myriad local gigs that crop up every night. None of this seemed to matter one bit to the band – they played with the same energy I imagine they give off at every single show.

The same sort of big-little band dichotomy I’ve seen at Yeasayer shows permeated the We Are Scientists gig, too – for example, Murray came out to set up his own equipment, and though a number of camera flashes could be seen, the crowd remained pretty calm.

I was only familiar with Squalor (I know, for shame!!), so I wasn’t sure what the names of the newer tunes were. But I could tell the Scientists opened with a crowd-pleaser, as the youngins in the front waved their arms wildly and sang every word.

The story of the night, apart from expert playing and really fun songs, was unquestionably the band’s charisma. Murray has a lady-killer smile and hair that flips just so, and Cain is hilarious, poking fun at his bandmate, himself, the band, and anything else that he comes across. After the one-two punch of Squalor tunes “This Scene Is Dead” and “Inaction,” Cain introduced the band, and Murray said, “Nonono, they know who we are, c’mon. They know who we are by now!” This was a running joke for the evening, where Cain would continue to re-introduce the group to Murray’s greater (feigned) frustration. At another point, when the duo were bantering, someone from the crowd yelled to Murray, “You’ve got great teeth!” Murray gave a huge grin, then subtly moved through various strongman poses, while Cain explained the audience member had just made a huge mistake, because Murray would now be insufferable for the rest of the tour.

At another point, one of the Twin Tigers came out to (jokingly) ask the band to turn their sound down, because her friend’s band was performing in the other room. Thus, the Scientists challenged the other group to a knife fight post-show that saw Cain ripping his shirt open, ready for battle. Later, the other group sent shots of Patron over to the trio. Cain mused, “Well, this is very nice! A gentlemen’s way to end this battle.” Murray was not so easily won over: “No, this is not good enough. I do not accept this.” Cain: “You don’t accept it?” Murray: “Well, I mean, I’ll drink it, but I don’t accept it. I accept it into my body.”

In all of their hilarious interactions, the band didn’t forget about their fans. During “Textbook,” Murray leapt into the audience with his guitar and mic stand, and sang right to lucky listeners as people danced around him and sang along. They also played a ton of their big hits, including “Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt” and “Great Escape,” and even gave a Murray-heckler the mic in between songs.

To end their set, Murray hopped up on the drum kit, and then instead of jumping off of it back onto the stage, he leapt into the drummer’s lap, and the two toppled down to the ground together, coming back up for air inexplicably holding a painting of Martin Luther King, Jr. Cain then forced the longest outro of all time, which eventually turned into one last encore song (though only the drummer ever left the stage). All of these antics make We Are Scientists gigs some of the most fun you could attend. What grounds their shows, though, is the upbeat, dancey, energetic and often dark-but-relatable songs that Murray and Cain have crafted.

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