You know, sometimes it’s hard to verbalize the love you feel for another person. I like to think that I can substitute courage for song. So when The Deer Tracks play on my headphones, I feel like I should model my proclamation after them. The Swedish born band evokes more than electronics bleeps, piano riffs, and female vocal sentimentality. It evokes an emotion only described by the vision of the woman I love. Yeah, it’s sappy. But I can be that way sometimes.
So when I discovered that The Deer Tracks will be at SXSW this year, I decided to make that leap;. No, not the big one but the one that cements my place in line to see the showcase their great music. Hey if you don’t believe me, check out ‘Ram Ram’ for yourself. I’m a sucker for sweet lyrics over electronic beeps and The Deer Tracks deliver. Give a listen for yourself.
I always figured that one man bands were gimmicky but I never realized that I could get funky with one. Upon first listen of Henry & The Invisibles, I figured they were a funky band of at least 4 or 5. So when I researched this party of whatever that will be playing SXSW I discovered that the grouping was a lie. It was just one guy. That’s right, Henry’s Invisibles are a set of Ableton Live loops (I’m guessing) that repeat back and forth while he wrings out the funk from his skunk. Call me surprised.
‘Soul Shaker’ is a great example. I kicked up this jam and wondered how all of the members could stay in sync. Wrong! I mean Tower of Power could keep it up, but I never realized that one dude with a bunch of cables and computer software could do the same. Props to Henry for reals. This one’s going in the pick me up bin for when I need to re-energize the night of another music showcase. Everyone get funky!
I’m not bing on Austin, Texas history but I’m pretty big on psychedelic music. I think that’s why I jam so much on the Chemical Brothers or the Orb. They are the natural extension of music created just under 50 years ago. So when I heard The Bubble Puppy in my SXSW mix, I thought “Hey psychedelic music is coming back!” Then I researched and found out that The Bubble Puppy was an Austin based band formed way back in the 1960s. Okay, I can deal with that. And celebrate!
I think I’ve played ‘Hot Smoke and Sassafras’ about twenty times now. People that know me know that my love for Pink Floyd knows no bounds, especially the Syd Barrett years. Jamming out to this tune reminds me of the loose and flowing sound that can come from a group of guys stringing out their song and getting people to tune in, but not out. Give a listen and realize that the old is new again. And around and around we go.
I”m a huge fan of techno music, not the flamboyant stereotypical American kind, but the thoughtful yet dance provoking variety you see more in the UK than you do in the US. There have been some American techno acts that rise above the cruft. The Crystal Method and James Zabelia come to mind. But sometimes you need to go out and find a couple of techno acts from the states that bring it without being in car commercials. Enter the Gemini Club. The Chica-go-go bred electro rockers bring style both in heavy beats and in syrupy cool lyrics.
Check out ‘Mirrors’ from their EP, “Future Tidings.” I want to dance to this. Like get sweaty but swagger along the dance floor trying to look cool. The vocals keep me in reality while I bang this out but I can’t help but think that somehow the lead singer is trying to seduce the microphone. That doesn’t tilt me toward the other side of the fence (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but I feel like if I’m single and out on the dance floor, I need to find the closest lady to dance during this jam. See the Gemini Club at SXSW this year, I will.
It seems I’m also leaning on the British for SXSW and The Riff Raff are no exceptions. They aren’t dubstep or electronic, just a good ole fashioned rock band from London. It’s the kind of band you expect to hear from the UK. Very proper and quirky sounding. The Riff Raff, led by Alex Thompson sound like an upbeat version of Morrissey. Very quite and polite indeed.
‘Changes Everything’ from the album of the same title is a good place to start. A very high tempo sets the tone of this ditty. Then the hollow voices roll into a steady pace. It’s like Morrissey took over the Arcade Fire and decided to do Joe Strummer cover songs. I’m popping this one on while driving down to Austin to accompany the road. I suggest you all do the same.