Waldo Wittenmyer is one of those musicians known among musicians. He’s produced albums by other Austinites, played in other folks’ bands, and is a huge advocate for his fellow artists. He has also been steadily honing his own craft, and each new EP release harkens a more sharply focused vision, more defined melodies, and lots of lyrical growth.
On Silver Dash, the show-stealing tune is “Blame the Wind.” It’s groovy, catchy, and fully realized, just waiting for a room full of kids to bob back and forth to it. Waldo’s voice was made for this song — just a hint of wavering tearfulness breaks up the soul behind it.
After a Pink Floyd-ian synth opening, “Isotunity” switches gears and evokes Steely Dan, with layered vocals and plunky guitars.
Overall, the Silver Dash EP has tons of heart, and showcases the growth Waldo has reached over the past year. It has pop hooks grounded by blues and soul, making me even more excited to see what he will grow into next.
Waldo & the Naturals release their Silver Dash EP at the Parish next Friday, September 7, with folk hero Shakey Graves and raucous pop-rockers the Baker Family opening, and the incomparable Austin favorites the Black and White Years closing out the night. Dance, sing and be merry.
It always creeps up on me. One minute, my friends and I are lamenting the fact that South by Southwest is over, and we have to wait a whole year before we do it all again. The very next, it’s time for a constant barrage of music, libations, and general merriment. And so, here we are again, poised on the edge of greatness (or a great catastrophe, depending on how organized you are). What’s that, you say? You don’t even know who is playing this year? Worry not, o yon procrastinator! That’s what I’m here for. I’ve scoured the SXSW lineup this year and have come up with the below suggestions of bands you really can’t miss. Per our usual format, you’ll find below the name of an incredible band, a brief description of what they’re like, a video of a song that encapsulates what they’re about, and the venues & showtimes where you can actually find them. Some are new to me, some are old favorites. Either way — buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.Read More...
After the Austin City Limits Festival this year, I had a discussion with my mom about the changing vibe of that weekend. I was happy that there were bigger artists coming through Austin to perform, and still had a blast, but from my first year in 2005, a lot felt different about the festival. My mom said that it seemed to her that the weekend was becoming less rock “n” roll, and more corporate. This has been a commonplace complaint for ACL purists who remember its first year, but now I”m starting to agree. It felt as though there was a void for a truly family-friendly, laid back, welcoming and positive festival for Texans, not to mention a lack of camping festivals. Enter UTOPiAfest.
Out in the middle of a ranch in Utopia, Texas, this festival felt right from the word “Go.” When Zack and I drove up, we parked our chassis in a dirt-and-rock parking lot and walked up the dusty road toward what felt like an oasis. Beautiful green rolling hills surrounded a camp of teepees, tents and trailers as children ran around all over the place, and their parents relaxed in the shade. Zack and I, as members of the press, were treated more kindly than I ever have been — we were fed and given an endless amount of water, coke and beer (pick your poison), and even if we hadn”t been, everyone was so friendly on the campgrounds that they probably would have taken care of us, anyway. Although we were very sad not to have been able to camp at the festival overnight (curse you, adulthood and jobs!) we decided we wanted to really make a day of it Saturday, and see as much as possible before the three hour drive back home so Zack could work at 6:00AM.
My lovely readers, some of you may know that I am about to move in with my amazing and also-music-writer boyfriend, Zack Teibloom from Festival Crashers. We are excited to share a space (and a bitchin’ vinyl collection) together, but we need some help with pulling together awesome stuff for our walls. Serendipitously for us, the fine people at Canvas Prints have offered to print out some concert photos so we can rockify our apartment.
This is where you come in. We are each hosting a separate contest for Austinites with concert photos, wherein we will pick winners and not only will your fabulous pics get put up in our place, but you, too, will take home a canvas of your winning photograph. The canvas the winner receives will be 14″x11″. Sound good? Read on for rules:
- You’ve gotta do some ‘liking’ of Canvas Prints, because we like them for letting us run this contest. PLUS, by ‘liking’ them on Facebook, every single one of you gets 50% off of your next order, and free shipping. So no matter what, everyone’s a winner.
- You’ve gotta submit a photo of one of these Texas bands, because – let’s be honest, we want our favorites displayed. (This is where the photo contests differ. Check out Festival Crashers for more winning.) Here are your choices:
- The Bright Light Social Hour
- The Black & White Years
- Little Lo
- Royal Forest
- Brazos (Old skool!/Extinct )
- Sarah Jaffe
- The Boxing Lesson
The contest runs from now until July 15, the day before The Great Migration, and we’ll announce the winners post-move that Monday. Please email your entries to: caitlin AT austinwritesmusic DOT com. You can submit up to 10 photos, and make sure you link directly to your submission (not just your general photo site for us to peruse).
Also, for more chances to win free shwag, be sure to follow Canvas Prints on Twitter.
Here it is – the last preview before the South by Southwest Music Conference descends and we all lose our minds. I scoured the band list to try and find the best groups I could to recommend. Below, you’ll get a quick-hit description of the band from me, a link to a song that exemplifies their sound, and the time and venue the band is performing at. I break it all down day-by-day; if you really love a band, check the sxsw.com schedule to get all of their performance dates (a lot of ‘em are playing 3+ shows). Read on, and then get out there and rock!
Tuesday, March 15
Admiral Fallow – upbeat orchestral pop from Glasgow; like if Freelance Whales had Frightened Rabbit’s accents. The Bat Bar, 9pm
Dry the River – Bon Iver-ish vox over sweet, smooth tunes. Like a brighter Margot and the Nuclear So & So’s. The Bat Bar, 10pm
Fences – Beckish vox, gentle singer-songwriter stuff with a little folksy overtone. (His appearance = TOTALLY deceiving). The Bat Bar, 11pm
Mr. Heavenly – Man Man meets the Ronettes. The Bat Bar, midnight
Surfer Blood – Move the Drums south to Florida to beach up their sound; there you go. Emo’s Main Room at 1am
Wednesday, March 16
Brett Dennen – Paul Simon-y. Pretty voice, pretty songs. Moody Theater @ 7:30pm
Erland & the Carnival – something familiar about this; like Travis-esque vox with throwback pop rock music. 8pm at Club de Ville.
The Black Atlantic – saw ‘em at CMJ, absolutely gorgeous music. Teitur with more folk leanings than pop. 10pm at Esther’s Follies
1,2,3 – gritty pop-rock with a snarl. 10pm at the Parish.
Sea of Bees – 11:30pm @ Central Presbyterian Church; somewhere between Stevie Nicks and Martha Wainwright. Gorgeous voice, she’ll shine in this venue.
Flogging Molly – the perfect band to get you ready for St. Patrick’s Day on Thursday. 11:45pm @ Moody
Sharon Van Etten – heartbreaking singer/songwriter with vocal power that overwhelms you. Midnight at Swan Dive.
The Spinto Band – these are my boys. Super fun and smart pop music. Midnight on the Barbarella Patio.
Young the Giant – This band has a song in heavy rotation on 101x right now, and it hooked me. I’m weary that they might be another ‘The Hours’ for me (where “Ali in the Jungle” is amazing but everything else falls flat), but seriously – watch that video and tell me you’re not curious. Midnight at Buffalo Billiards.
The Dodos – I’ve been a fan of these guys for a while. If you’re into heavy rhythms and incredible guitar playing, check ‘em out. The Parish @ 1am.
Thursday, March 17
Sondre Lerche – gorgeous intricate delicate pop music. I’ve loved this Norwegian since I was 16 (I’ll be 24 on March 16). Not to be missed. Maggies Mae’s @ 9pm
Phantogram – electronic rock, super catchy, bop-able. Playing Lustre Pearl at 11pm
The Kills – Allison. Effing. Mosshart. ‘Nuff said. Emo’s at 11pm.
Emmylou Harris – Classic country darling. Plus…will Conor make a guest appearance? She’s play his set at Auditorium Shores for sure. Antone’s at 11:15pm
Miniature Tigers – saw these dudes open for the Freelance Whales, and fell in love. Incredible onstage charisma, great pop tunes – winners. Lamberts at 11:45pm
Maps & Atlases – really great vox, deep and luscious, plus uptempo rock to back ‘em; reminded me a little of TV on the Radio, but I like this better (keep in mind I’m not a fan of TVotR). Midnight at Red Eyed Fly
Dom – saw ‘em at CMJ, they totally won us over. Fun, dancey, energetic, depth – definitely a must-see. 1am at Club de Ville
Friday, March 18
Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears – local funky rock; the baby-makin’ kind. Moody Theater @ 8:05pm
JBM – A blog favorite. The kind of gorgeous folk music that will make you ache in your guts. Central Presbyterian Church @ 8:15pm
Alex Highton – sweet singer-songwriter from the UK. 9pm at 18th floor at Hilton Garden Inn
Sarah Jaffe – You know where we’ll be at 9pm on Friday. Jaffe is stunning, stunning, stunning. If you haven’t caught her yet – you must. She’s at Momo’s.
The Bright Light Social Hour – Austin’s men of rawk. Put your fist in the air and let loose. Momo’s at 10pm.
Thao with the Get Down Stay Down – Thao is a beast. She’s emotive and fabulous and crafts kickass pop rock tunes. See for yourself – 11pm at Antone’s.
Wye Oak – gorgeous folksy music with stunning lead vox. Great for woods-walking. 11:45pm at the Parish
Little Dragon – gorgeous R&B vox and moody/peppy electronic music from Sweeeeden!!! SVERIGE!! Lustre Perle at midnight.
Saturday, March 19
Man Man – Wild and crazy collaborative party good times. 4:30pm at Auditorium Shores
Middle Brother – Collab between Dawes, Deer Tick and Delta Spirit members. Old school country-fried rock. 5:25pm at Auditorium Shores
Bright Eyes – I don’t even know what to say about this. This will be my first ever time catching Conor with Bright Eyes. He’s my musical soul mate. Dig it. 7:30pm at Auditorium Shores.
Pujol – Jack White’s babies. Raucous and fun. Mohawk Patio at 9pm
Toy Selectah – mashin’ up the hits for you to get your dance on. 9:30pm at Prague
The Rural Alberta Advantage - kinda whiny vox (think Neutral Milk Hotel) but if you can get into it, the music is great. Great energy. 10:30pm at Central Presbyterian Church
Ezra Furman & the Harpoons – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! vocals set to folksy pop rock. 11pm at Speakeasy
Royal Bangs – forceful and fun electronic rock. 11pm @ the ND
Royal Forest – Austin heroes; will sometimes cover Neil Young and the Talking Heads. (Full disclosure – I help manage these guys and they’re the bomb. See them.) 11pm @ the Marq
Deer Tick – Gritty country folk rock. 1am @ Lustre Perle
Yoko Ono – Yoko! I mean. It’s Yoko. 1am @ Elysium
BONUS: The Black & White Years are quickly becoming my favorite Austin band. They don’t have any official showcases, but they’re playing gigs every day until SXSW ends. Check out their show list here.
For our next installation of pre-South by Southwest coverage, we’re giving you our recommendations for the best free parties the conference has to offer. Many of these are completely free and open to anyone with an RSVP, so make sure that if you’re interested, you put yourself on the list ASAP. Read on for a day-by-day breakdown, and be on the lookout this week for our recommendations of bands you shouldn’t miss.
Friday, March 11
PathCrosser with Moxie Presents: ?uestlove
Did you know parties start as soon as this Friday? Well now you do! And what a doozie this party shall be. ?uestlove headlines a gig with lots of soul, funk, and hip-hop goodness. Other notables on the lineup include Theophilus London and God-Des & She. Everything kicks off at 9pm at the Scoot Inn. RSVP here.
Sunday, March 13
Wanna participate in super-sweaty dancing to sexy blues-rock for a good cause? Do512 is hosting the URDB World Records LIBE benefit for Break Cancer, and local rock heroes the Bright Light Social Hour are the main event. Festivities start at 6pm at the Highball. RSVP here.
Tuesday, March 15
Oxygen and the Syndicate are throwing a Conflict of Interest bash at 7pm at the PureVolume House with raucous pop-rockers the Sounds headlining. As with many of these parties, there are free drinks all night. RSVP here.
Wednesday, March 16
It’s my birthday day! And there’s no place I’d rather be than hanging out with some of my favorite bands at the Tiger Mountain and Noise Pop event, Brooklyn vs. the Bay. The Spinto Band? Check! John Vanderslice? Check! The Dodos? Check! This is a party not to be missed. It all goes down at noon at the Red Eyed Fly. RSVP here.
Another great day party is throwing down at 11:30am at the Hole in the Wall. Austin’s own the Midgetment are hosting Texas Jumpstart 4, and Ezra Furman & the Harpoons are headlining. Who is Ezra Furman? Think Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! vocals mixed with a range of folksy rock, often courting a Buddy Holly style. RSVP here for this one.
Thursday, March 17
Noon at the Beauty Bar will get you free nachos (nom!) and music c/o the Moondoggies, Hollerado, Mr. Heavenly and more for Hollerado’s Nacho House. For the uninitiated, Mr. Heavenly is the supergroup featuring members of the Islands, Man Man and Modest Mouse (plus sometimes-band member Michael Cera). They performed at the Scoot Inn a while back, and had a really cool throwback-meets-Man Man weirdness sound. RSVP for this party here.
If you’re more of a meat eater, you can grab free BBQ at the Brooklyn BBQ Day+Evening Showcase at Hotel Vegas starting at 11am. The lineup is stacked, but the ones that jump out most for us are a solo set by Michael Kingcaid (of What Made Milwaukee Famous-fame), and our favey-faves, the Black and White Years. RSVP here.
Friday, March 18
The party we’re most excited for on Friday is the noon-6pm Mohawk showcase March Into Softness. Canvas Media and the A.V. Club have managed to procure Sharon Van Etten, Small Sins and Low, among many others, for this party – and, really, they had us at Sharon Van Etten. RSVP by e-mailing press AT canvasmedia DOT ca.
There’s another party at noon at Peckerheads put on my My Old Kentucky Blog. The Glitter Taco Smoosh Party (oh dear) features goofballs Das Racist, dreamscape-painters Asobi Seksu, and country punks Pujol and Turbo Fruits. RSVP for this one here.
Perhaps the biggest get of day parties, Rhapsody pulled in Deerhunter to headline their Rhapsody Rocks Austin party at Club De Ville. The party kicks off at noon, and you can RSVP here.
Saturday, March 19
For those of you not camping out like a crazy person at Auditorium Shores for Bright Eyes (aka people who aren’t me), there are some good parties going down to round out SXSW. The Axis of Audio and Knuckle Rumbler teamed up to bring you a lineup featuring many of the folks we mentioned playing at parties earlier in the week – Ezra Furman and Hollerado are back, joined by Astronautalis, Fences and A Place to Bury Strangers, among others. The Greenhornes headline. Noon to 8pm at the Rumbler Lounge. RSVP here.
If you want a-whole-nother free music festival to attend, you’ve got one Saturday courtesy Transmission Entertainment’s Mess With Texas Party. Tons of great acts are on the bill, including headlining sets by the Dead Milkmen and !!!, and appearances by Deer Tick, Surfer Blood, the Dodos and Dom. Definitely put yourself on the list for this one; it starts at 11:30am at the East Side Drive In. RSVP here. (Trust me. Do it.)
There are also ongoing free shows all week at the PureVolume House, for which you can RSVP here. They’ll host bands like Twin Atlantic, Oberhofer, Moby, the Bravery, kitten, and Owen Pallet. You can also catch a ton of awesome live music at the KGSR live broadcasts. More info on that is here.
What parties are y’all most excited about? Put ‘em in the comments!