Thursday, March 26, 2009

Social Networking, Explained.

I love the Brits.

Here is Facebook in real life:

Your worst nightmare, perhaps...?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

SXSW - The Recap

Well, I survived. People were dropping like flies around me... illnesses, alcohol, complete bodily weariness. I credit being a member of the Herbal Resistance (go Wellness Formula!) with avoiding the first item, knowing better than to drink much during endurance tests like this one for number 2, and as for number 3? Well, you can sleep when you're dead. Or at least back home.

So here's a list of the bands I saw:

Day 1
Heartless Bastards
The Avett Brothers
Jeremy Jay

Day 2
Bersas Discos DJs
Port O'Brien
Those Darlins
Dark Meat
The Grates
Nite Jewel
Dead Confederate
The Very Best (Esau Mwamwaya & Radioclit)

Day 3
Little Boots
Pains of Being Pure At Heart
School of Seven Bells
Mumford & Sons
My Jerusalem
the bird and the bee

Day 4
Thao Nyguen & the Get Down Stay Down
The Vivian Girls
Trash Talk
Eugene Mirman
Cage the Elephant
The Duke Spirit
Silversun Pickups

There was all sorts of stuff other than just the shows, you know. You can't help but have adventures on a trip like this.

Dashing off to see Tricky, I was stopped by a guy with a microphone and his pal with a very professional looking backpack. It turned out they were BBC Radio, and they did a quickie interview with me about Scottish bands (other than Franz Ferdinand, that is). I immediately slipped into Mo-Radio voice, and all went well.

Taming the wild Jackalope.

Nay and I had a very enjoyable time ripping off the heads of small crustaceans and sucking out their guts. After the crew at the party table next to us at a place called The Boiling Pot showed us how, that is. It's not often a place lets you eat with your hands, and dumps your entree out of the bowl into a pile on your table. There, Nay and I were also politely accosted by some rather rough looking guys who had taken pictures of us from the patio, and drew hearts with crayons on the glass wall separating us. Perhaps it sounds sweet, but it was actually kinda creepy.

Seeing the guys of Born In the Flood leap into a cold, cold hotel pool in their underwear, then remove said underwear, toss it to the other end of the pool, and nakedly race for it. (Spin says to think of them as a more rugged Coldplay, but I'll always think of them like this.)

Running into Jeff Klein everywhere. He's so adorable!

Finding cool prints at Flatstock to give to my adopted nieces and nephews.

A parting meal with lots of friends, bottomless mimosas, and delicious South American food before heading to the airport, where I would later be punched in the gut by a sleeping sorority girl on my flight home.

The worst part of SXSW is that towards the end, you are kind of over the thronging, drunken masses. At least, I am. The best part? Getting to check out great music, and if you're lucky, you get to do it with great friends too.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Autin - Day Four

And yes, the madness continues...

Day Four - March 21

At this point in the trek, you kind of don't care who is playing anymore. You're gonna see what you're gonna see. I already knew I wasn't going to bother trying to get to the Kanye West show that night. What? Am I crazy? Absolutely. Crazy tired of the Auto-Tune phenom no matter who is doing it. I hate robot voices. And overly dressed hipster kids. So what did I see?

Mess With Texas: thank God the good people of Austin rose up against the SXSW machine... The third (hopefully annual) Mess With Texas day fest is free to anybody who wants to hang out in the park all day and check out a heck of a lot of the great bands that played during the course of the festival. So I saw a couple acts I'd missed during the week.

I kinda fell in love with Thao Ngyuen and the Get Down Stay Down. Figures - she's from the Bay. She rocked pretty hard with her boys, and vocally reminded me a bit of Cat Power - if Cat Power were an excitable and rowdy person instead so darned morose.

Then the Vivian Girls. My brother had told me they were like a cross between the Aisler's Set and the Gossip. Or maybe he didn't. All I know is that when both Kevs and my brother told me I was missing out, I downloaded for a listen and liked it. Live, it made me think of those glorious K Records girl bands of the early '90s. You know, they all sing the same note, and they don't really ever change anything much, but they are having fun doing it in a nice indie rock way. And in this case, they brought up a whole lotta people to dance.

After cruising around the park, catching random bits of music, and getting myself a big ole snowcone, I went back to my hotel for dinner. And then to go see the Sonics. Yes! The mother-fuckin' Sonics! They were playing and it was going to be glorious... only I got the nights wrong and missed them. They played Friday. DAMN!!!

In despair, I texted some friends who were headed to see some comedy and I wound up in a giant underwater sea adventure... well, it was decorated that way, anyhow. Once you passed through the concrete sea serpents and sparkly plastic bubbles, you entered an auditorium filled with comedians! I gotta tell ya, it was the perfect palette cleanser after all the rock and roll. After a rousing set from Eugene Mirman (occasional Flight of the Conchords player), it was time to hit the road for more music.

The Duke Spirit did their rock thing at Antone's, evoking that '60s sex appeal the lady singer is so good at doing. And sounding smoky hot too. Nay had spotted her earlier in the day wearing the same outfit she wore this evening - which was topped with a glittery garage bag of a jacket that only a rock star can get away with.

And then I broke one of my SXSW rules again... I stayed for an L.A. band. But it was the Silversun Pickups, kids from my hood, folks I've had drinks with, peeps who play softball with friends. They are doing quite well for themselves and always rock the live shows - and after all the touring they've done the last couple of years, they pretty much tore the roof off the place. The music is both beautiful and rollicking, as evidenced by Drew Barrymore hurtling herself to the front of the crowd so she could sway her arms dreamily during "Lazy Eye." See? You can both hurtle AND sway to SSPU. Despite a barrage of technical difficulties and a crowd half filled with utter morons, SSPU was the absolute best way to end a long few days of Rock, Roll, and everything inbetween.

And at this point, my camera was long dead. Yet, here I am, to South By another year...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Austin - Day Three

Yesterday's highlight? Walking into Pete Townsend on the street, realizing it was Pete Townsend, turning into Porky Pig and forgetting to take a picture with him. A friend pointed out to me that he probably wouldn't have been able to hear me had I asked anyway...

Lowlight? Being approached by a random MTV street crew and asked to participate in a SXSW version of "Elimidate" with Asher Roth. "Let's make this a multi-cultural thing, because you are a pretty multi-culti lady!" Um, gross. I snuck away with my hot dog when a bunch of frat boys had surrounded Asher and started chanting "I love college!" on the street.

The day was full of parties and dead cameras, but some bands too. So now, back to the music:

Day Three - March 20

Little Boots: an adorable Brit who announced at one point during the show, "Normally we would do this rave thing right now, but we only do that after 10pm." Fun disco pop with cutesy girl vocals - a good time was had by all, even if it was one in the afternoon.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - The Slumberland label lives up to its age old reputation with another wonderful little band, that's got all the blogs (including mine, apparently)talking. Blissfully sweet fuzzed out pop, in songs a couple minutes or less, all performed with smiles. And the lead singer even had a white cut out of a paper heart glued to his guitar. Too cute.

School of Seven Bells - Two sisters harmonizing a la Cocteau Twins with keyboards and a dude formerly from Secret Machines doing some pretty amazing guitar work. It's a soundscape thing, dreamy yet engaging, totally beautiful and hypnotizing in the best way. I fell in love with them immediately, and stayed on board the whole set.

My Jerusalem - a new project from Jeff Klein, a singer-songwriter with dark and brooding sensibilities delivered in a ferociously rock way. The band, featuring members of the Twilight Singers, Polyphonic Spree, and Great Northern, is a full throttle emotional rock and roll experience. I can't wait to hear more.

The Bird and the Bee - Ending the evening with this deliciously sarcastic electro pop was perfect. Especially when they did their sincere sing-a-long, "Fucking Boyfriend," but ended with the sweetly sincere Bee Gees tune, "How Deep Is Your Love." Everyone in the crowd swooned.

And then, to bed, to gear up for one last day...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Austin - Day Two

Oh my friends, there just isn't enough time in the day to tell you all how much music there has been in the last 24 hours. Let's just say I didn't see my hotel room for 14 hours yesterday.

So you'll have to settle with a brief re-cap for now:

Day Two - March 19th

First surprise of the day? Those Darlins. Take the country punk of the Knitters, make Exene Cervenka alot more sexy and times her by 3, and you're getting close. These gals (with a token guy banging the kit) are truly redneck women who probably also happen to love the Gossip. The three of 'em traded off vocal duties and belted it all out with mucho gusto.

The chaos of Dark Meat also left me counting the number of people performing on stage (and off) while being simultaneously covered in confetti. Rock, jams, riots, laughs all ensued. I think there were 7 or 8 people playing. I really have no idea what was happening, but it was a good time.

The Grates: One of the happiest, rowdiest Aussie bands you can hope to see. Patience, the lead vocalist, is either a little touched in the head or the most enthusiastic person on the planet; perhaps a little of both. No one could possibly look like they are having more fun while performing... She fronted her pop punk outfit with a frenzy seldom seen, and even hopped onto the shoulders of a willing male audience member for some good old fashioned ribbon twirling...

Tricky played the Fader party, and it was... well, rockin'. Which wasn't what I was expecting, because I still consider him a trip hop guy. He also licked his lips an awful lot. And rarely opened his eyes. And didn't sing as much as I expected (his back-up singer carried most of that duty). And he jumped around alot. It was a great rock show, but I wasn't really there for that, so my bad. He did end by getting into the crowd, where he stayed, causing quite a ruckus as he posed for pics with fans and such, which was nice.

Discovery of the Day!!! Efterklang! My new favorite Danish band. Another act with a hundred people on stage (besides the regular guitar-bass-drum dealio, we had a violin, trumpet, flute, 2 sets of keyboards, and a modified xylophone)that played beautiful, layered, jubilant songs with just enough drama, yet also enough lightness to balance it all out. They were absolutely captivating and I'm totally in love with all of them (and their pervy moustaches).

I ended the night with The Very Best. Otherwise known as Radioclit and Esau Mwamwaya. This is a project between a South African singer and a British DJ fusing gorgeous world rhythms and vocals with hipster beats and grooves. They were so fucking fantastic that they shut the place down... like literally. Management was pissed off at how rowdy the dance crowd got, and shut off their power. I was fortunate to be a major cause of that, as I got pulled from the floor to join a couple other girls on stage for a dance party with the DJ. We had about 5 songs to ourselves when security told us it was time to get off the stage, and that was when the MC invited everyone else up... chaos ensued. Glorious, frenzied chaos. (Fortune cookies were thrown!) It was great fun.

That's all for now... gotta hit the pavement and hope my camera doesn't die in the process...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Austin - Day One

SXSW. Spring break for the music industry? Yea, kinda. A big, musical street party featuring lots of glorious hot dogs and bands. Ultimate club hopping. Major drink swapping. Drunken ballroom moshing (kudos to 'Nay for inventing the term). A good time, in other words! At least, for me it is.

Despite wearing comfy shoes, I somehow got a blister where my squishy sandals didn't even make contact with my skin. Odd.

How did I earn said blister? Perhaps by doing the following:

Recap of Day One: March 18th

I started my day by picking up my badge and bag of swag, dropped it all off, and wandered to the Fader party to pick up the wristband that will be gracing my body for the next 4 days. I waited in line for almost an hour. (This will most likely be one of the few lines I will actually wait in). The wait was full of sunshine and spliff talk. Really. The chubby white Southern boys behind me drawled a fascinating conversation that went a little something like this:

"Dude, he said he was gonna get us in VIP after smoking a sweet spliff."

"I gotta spliff here somewhere, we should smoke that spliff."

"Yea, I rolled a sweet spliff, let's smoke that spliff."

"It's a sweet, sweet spliff! Dude, where's that spliff?"

"I think I lost the spliff! It was a sweet spliff! Look around, maybe I dropped the spliff."

"I don't see the spliff - too bad, that woulda been a sweet spliff."

"Yea, this sucks face."

How else to top such a meaningful exchange than to go see Yelle? Since her album was one of my favorites last year, I was really looking forward to seeing her (and hopefully learning how to properly pronounce her name). By the time the little French hellion took the stage, I knew I would not be disappointed. She rocked the crowd with her fist pumping French disco, demanding that dancing was a must (her bandmates wore "Dance or Die" t-shirts), and threw her stylish self wildly all over the stage, bobbed hair flailing all about her face. Sure, she sings in French so most of us had no idea what she was singing about, but I suspect there was a hell of a lot of attitude in there. Go girl!

Then, somehow, I wound up at City Hall. Turns out the mayor of Austin likes to throw parties too! This one was much more low key than most events - a singer song-writer here, a jazz band there - but I'm not one to turn down free food and booze. And then Gibson gave the dude a guitar. I've never seen a mayor receive a complimentary electric guitar before, but I'm also not one to keep track of these things.

Then on to Stubb's to settle in for a night of... well, all sorts of stuff. We started off with Ladyhawke, a kiwi sensation who has charmed the indie kids with her '80s take on indie pop, and she was just... well... boring. I really wanted to like her, seriously! But all the tunes were like one-hit wonders from B-list bands from an era that produced the glorious Xanadu soundtrack - and her lackluster performance made most of her songs sound like they'd been purposely left off said soundtrack. Oh, well...

We struggled towards the front to catch the Heartless Bastards, which were a stopgap band to the Avett Brothers (my main attraction for the night). They started off well - I like chicks who can do a hearty vocal and blues rock out with the best of 'em. But then they deteriorated into an almost metal jam band... songs got longer, solos got slower, the show felt like forever... and it cut into the next time slot, which is kinda not cool. Especially considering that this Avetts performance was the only one scheduled for SXSW.

Ah, but the Avetts...

But at last, the Avett Brothers hit the stage. With the four of them lined up impressively under the lights - Joe on cello, Bob on stand-up bass, Scott on banjo and Seth on guitar - the boys proceeded to show the crowd why they are one of the best live acts in the nation today. And I absolutely don't say that lightly. The energy poured off the stage and the crowd sang along to songs they had only just heard, with gusto. There was dancing, singing, tears, and screams all within a far too-short set. Nobody does romantic bluegrass punk old-timey music like these young boys from North Carolina. At one point, a woman in the crowd yelled, "Sing it, girl!" To which Scott, then at the drums, interjected into the song in a lovely drawl, "Yea, baby!"

From there, we moved to Emo's to see DD/MM/YYYY. This was the Toronto band's 3rd show of the day, and it was a fucked up, riotous mess. Yet a glorious one! This sweaty, skittering punkish band played with a sense of absolute anarchy - no one stayed on the same instrument for more than two songs, the harpsichord was played using a toe coming through a hole in a sock, unintentional feedback worked, and chaos reigned. They were AWESOME! During the course of the show, the patch chord caused laser like ear ringing, a drum tore, a guitar crapped out, and the singer wailed 'Everything is fucked up" while the drummer shouted "Everything's broken!" repeatedly. Yet it was a vibrant, high voltage performance - I think, if everything was working, they would have killed everyone in the room.

I wandered over to the Beauty Bar to check out Jeremy Jay. I've decided that he is the gay Franz Ferdinand boyfriend I've always wanted. His sweet minimalist disco brought to mind both the Scottish lads as well A Certain Ratio - that '80s white boy groove that was so endearing, and evidently still is. There was also a lot of minimalist disco dancing at the show, which was charming to watch.

And I'll end with a quote from an excitable man standing next to me: "Everything's disco again!" Sort of, kinda of, at least for Day One.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Curse of Cut Copy - LA Style

Cut Copy is one of the most fun bands you can see live these days... seriously. It's a dance party from start to finish, and since they are a buncha Aussies, the partying is pretty serious. They bounce around the stage, do melodramatic ABBA-esque hand gestures, play like an updated New Order (meaning keyboards AND drums & guitars), and are dorky white guys from the Southern Hemisphere with a sincere love and appreciation of '80s synth pop so it isn't the least bit ironic.

Of course, I was made to love it.

The band just did a 2 night stint here in Los Angeles this week, which proved to be more like 1 1/2 nights. Scheduled to play the Henry Fonda Theatre on March 10 & 11, they started their triumphant show Tuesday night, only to get shut down halfway through due to capacity issues. Which seems kind of weird, considering the show was put on by longstanding promoters Golden Voice (Coachella, anyone) and you'd think they would have a clue about capacity issues. Regardless, the fire marshall showed up and shut 'em down. The show and after party were cancelled.

So Wednesday night's show was moved to the brand spankin' new Club Nokia downtown, where there were no such capacity issues. It was my first time at the venue, which I can only sum up as "Eh." It has a large balcony which extends far over the dance floor/general admission area, a set up that always leaves me feeling a bit claustrophobic. But the sightlines were good, and we could see every dorky dance move and chair leap executed by the band onstage.

About 2/3rds of the way through the show though, the upper level sound absolutely cut out. It sounded as if someone had suddenly stuffed my ears with those sensible earplugs. Those one the dancefloor still had full throttle dance party action, but everyone in the balcony suddenly had to hear the show through a pillow. Again, you'd think a sparkly new venue like Club Nokia would have tackled this sort of thing, especially considering they opened with the likes of Beck and BB King on the roster. Whatever. It was just some indie dance band.

That ruled, despite the technical glitch which was fixed within a song or two. Let's hope their next trip to LA goes a little more smoothly!

And here is a video from their latest release, which features the lead singer, cursed by sadness and traveling under a rain cloud of torment. (Um, it's funny. Cuz they're Australians, who have a sense of humor about their white disco trash.)

Stormy Weather

Jack White just doesn't have enough to do, right? So he goes and hooks up with that chick from the Kills to create another band, starts a new label, and opens up a groovy multi-use space featuring a performance area, the label offices, a vinyl record store, and darkroom (among other things).

The band is called Dead Weather. Read more about it here.

All I can say is that it sounds good... really good! And they cover "Are Friends Electric?" Any band that covers that is a friend of mine (as evidenced by the fact that I own quite a few versions of it..)

Here's a fan video of said song, set to the Dead Weather version, for you to enjoy.

Looking forward to more!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

An R.E.M. show I would have liked. A lot.

So tonight in the Big Apple, there was this tribute show to R.E.M. that some friends of mine attended (and called me from, although it's not like I could really hear anything). I knew that Throwing Muses was reuniting to play at it, but it's been a while since R.E.M. has brought me that jangly, mumbly guitar joy, so I didn't worry too much about missing it. (Although I did really dig Accelerate.)

But then my friends sent me the set list and I regretted that decision. I thought you guys could appreciate some of the appearances and song choices, so here it is (although not in order of performance):

Throwing Muses - Perfect Circle
Kimya Dawson - World Leader Pretend (with interpretive dancers)
Ingrid Michaelson - Nightswimming
Hootie - I Believe (actually really really good)
Glen Hansard - Hairshirt
Apples in Stereo - So Central Rain
Marshall Crenshaw - Supernatural
Jolie Holland (& TV on the Radio boys singing backup) - Rockville
Keren Ann w/ Calexico - Man on the Moon
The Feelies - Carnival of Sorts
Guster - Shaking Through
Calexico - Wendell Gee
Fink - the Apologist
The dbs - Fall on Me
Bob Mould - Sitting Still
Rhett Miller - Driver 8
Vic Chesnutt & Elf Power - Everybody Hurts
Rachael Yamagata - the Great Beyond
Dar Williams - At My Most Beautiful
Patti Smith - New Test Leper
Patti Smith with REM - E-Bow the Letter

Kinda awesome, huh?

Monday, March 09, 2009

And Yes, It's Monday...

Daylight savings is not agreeing with me. Well, getting up in the morning never agrees with me, but I think it's a little worse this time because my cat is not aware of the change and instead of waking me up for food at 7:30am, he's doing it at 6:30am.

So I stumbled out of the house, down the street to the train station, and blearily made my way to our lovely downtown Little Radio digs to do this show for ya!

Little Radio Playlist

Divine - Sebastian Tellier
Everywhere - Common featuring Martina Topley-Bird
My Spine is the Bassline - Shriekback
A Singer Must Die - Leonard Cohen
Mr. Grieves - TV on the Radio
Torque - Kristin Hersh
Stereo - Pavement
Company Dance - Sam Champion
Good - Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit
When U Love Somebody - Fruit Bats
Ride - Mink
She's Good For Business - MSTRKRFT
Insect Funk - Elmore Judd
Roll With the Punches - Lonnie Youngblood
B-a-b-y - The Brunettes
There are Maybe 10 or 12... - A.C. Newman
Gimmeakiss - The Avett Brothers
Desperate Ain't Lonely - Whiskeytown
Broken Arrows - Jose Gonzalez
Dance Dance Dance - Lykke Li
My Night With the Prostitute From Marseilles - Beirut
True Love Pt. 2 - X
Mercy Mercy Mercy - Marlena Shaw
I Don't Ever Want to Change - The Drones
Never Turn your Back on Mother Earth - Sparks
Middle Cyclone - Neko Case
Whenever You're On My Mind - Marshall Crenshaw
Harmonic - Actionslacks
Send Me A Postcard - Shocking Blue

No show next week... Little Radio will be in Austin for SXSW! Check out our website for all the party deets. It'll be loads of fun!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Loch Ness Lures...

So my Dad (and well, lots of people) know I have a deep affection for the Loch Ness Monster, and pretty much all potentially mythical (yet real?) creatures that live in lakes. Hell, I named my cat Nessie! And I've also seen that "Water Horse" movie a couple of times...

My Dad forwarded me this (and I pass along to you) to enjoy.

Love them Scots!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Monday on My Mind

Another gray LA Monday, but warm! It's almost like being in the tropics. But totally not.

One thing I love about our new downtown location is just the 'hood itself. Since downtown LA has finally become somewhat "developed," meaning there are people living here (and not in tents on sidewalks - but they're around too), you see some good old neighborhood action. Today I've seen a lot of sleepy dudes stumbling to the corner café for their coffee, still wearing slippers and flannel pajama bottoms. Too cute.

And hey, how about that playlist?

Little Radio Playlist

The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore - The Walker Brothers
Stop Breaking My Heart - Tom Jones
Beatbox Cha Cha - Ursula 1000
12XU - Wire
Pushing Too Hard - The Seeds
Baby Got Shot - Verbena
O.K., Alright - The Whigs
In Anticipation of your Suicide - Bedroom Walls
Teen Angst - M83
Nightbus - The Mummers
Every Little Counts - New Order
Satellite of Love - Lou Reed
Fucking Boyfriend - The Bird and the Bee
Launderette - Vivienne Goldman
Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa - The Very Best (aka Esau Mwamwaya & Radioclit)
No One's Better Sake - Little Joy
Chant No. 1 - Spandau Ballet
Strange Times - The Black Keys
I Can't Stand it - Linda Jones
Seems Fine - The Concretes
Johnny Are You Queer - Josie Cotton
Paris Is Burning - Ladyhawke
Goddamn Rock & Roll - The Cramps
The Call of the Wrecking Ball - The Knitters
Let Her Dance - The Bobby Fuller Four
Finger Poppin' - Ike & Tina Turner
100,000 Fireflies - The Magnetic Fields
Such a Joke - Vivian Girls
Turn the TV Off - Love Is All
Golden Age - TV On the Radio
Pretty Green - The Jam
Golden Thing - Throwing Muses
Ever Word Means No - Let's Active
Entire - The Spinanes
Do You Remember Rock & Roll Radio - The Ramones
California Uber Alles - Dead Kennedys
Babylon's Burning - The Ruts
Jack U Off - Robyn
Been So Long - Vetiver
Pictures of Me - Elliott Smith
Hey Deannie - Shaun Cassidy
All You Pretty Girls - XTC
Forty Five 45s - Shrag
Put You To Sleep - Jeff Klein
Jellybones - The Unicorns
You Can Have It All - Yo La Tengo
Think Twice - LaVern Baker & Jackie Wilson
Funkafied - The Funkateers
Plastic Situation - Ron & Candy
Rich Girl - Hall & Oates
B.C. - Sparks
Third Uncle - Brian Eno
Psychotic Reaction - The Count Five
Gay Bar - Electric Six
I Dig You - Boss Hog
Let Her Dance - The Bobby Fuller Four (Again! Because it's that great!)

Thank you to everyone who tuned in... It really means a lot! And if you missed it, here's the scoop:

The Monday Morning Mo Show
Starting around 10am PST
(that's 1pm EST, 6pm in London, 7pm in Berlin, and 5am in Sydney... sorry Sydney!)
(If you have iTunes, also check in the Radio section under "Eclectic")

Till next time!