I know it’s April fool’s day and all, but I can’t be bothered to actually pull any pranks (I’m terrible at ’em anyway). I do, however, have some very real and amazing news about what else today represents: Album release day; hooray! Three very different, but talented and beloved bands, Timber Timbre, Mac DeMarco and Pure X have all released brand new LPs, Hot Dreams, Salad Days and Angel, on this fit for tricks day. Whether you’ve already been stumped, deluded and/or duped today, I bring you some refreshing musical truth:
Timber Timbre – Hot Dreams via Arts & Crafts
Timber Timbre is a dark, beautiful, semi-spooky, and sometimes described as “swampy” Canadian folk project and trio made up of Taylor Kirk, Simon Trottier and Mika Posen. Their moniker refers to a timber-framed cabin set in the wooded outskirts of Bobcaygeon Ontario where they made an early series of recordings. Hot Dreams is their 5th (yes, 5th!) album.
Timber Timbre – Hot Dreams
Timber Timbre – Curtains?!
Mac DeMarco – Salad Days via Captured Tracks
Oh, Mac DeMarc0. He’s everyone’s favorite goofy, guitar slingin’ Canadian crooner (who’s now currently residing in Brooklyn). Since the release of his wacky LP, Rock and Roll Night Club in 2012 (technically his first album), and the blow up of his second album, Mac DeMarco 2, that soon followed after, the 23-year-old seems to be on a never-ending whirlwind tour of mischievousness. Banging out Metallica covers, smoking endless cigarettes, and playing his catchy, crooner crowd pleasers to thousands over and over again, Mac may look tired, but no one is of his music. He’s come a long way since his days of Rock and Roll Night Club. With the release of Salad Days, which touches on more personal and semi-serious tops, like the inability for his long-time girlfriend, “Kiki” to stay legally in the United States in “Let My Baby Stay,” it seems as if Mac’s all grown up… kind of.
Mac DeMarco – Passing Out Pieces
Mac DeMarc0 – Brother
Pure X – Angel via Fat Possum
Pure X is Austin, Texas’s billowy, psychedelic chillwave quartet (formerly known as Pure Ecstasy). Angel is the group’s 3rd album and according to their LP promo material, Angel was written and recorded over just 5 days in a hundred-year-old dance hall situated in a small town in central Texas. Drummer Austin Youngblood described the album as “a record for the ladies, about the ladies.” Now, who can resist?
Pure X – Starlight
Pure X – Heaven
You’re familiar with Burger Records, right? They’re the Orange County-based independent record label that loves to write EVERYTHING IN CAPS and use an inordinate amount exclamation points!!! That, and their charming, eccentric and eclectic, grungy/punk/garage/power pop rock artists also make them the quirkiest record label out there. LA Times said it best by stating the label focuses on “Trashy punk with a bubble gum streak.”
Sean Bohrman and Lee Rickard, members of the power pop band, Thee Makeout Party, formed Burger Records back in 2007 and have since transformed it into a blooming, audacious label, record store, and various punk rock music fests. That said, they’ve just announced the sweetest lineup for their 2-day Burgerama III music fest, March 22-23rd. The only downside? It’s in Orange County. Whomp whomp (Sorry, OC folks). If you’re in the mood for sunshine, freeways and outdoor malls, a road trip may be in order. Otherwise, I’m bringing a lil bit of Burgerama to you:
Mac DeMarco is everyone’s favorite goofy crooner. The fun-loving, Viceroy smokin’, ripped jeans wearin’, guitar slingin’ Canadian has been on what seems like a never-ending whirl-wind tour since the release of his second album, Marc DeMarco 2, back in October 2012. As hoped for, the dude’s got some new tunes that are due out in April of this year and he gave CKUA a glimpse into his forthcoming album with three lovely new tracks, “Treat Her Better” (song below starts a 4:13), “Salad Days” (starts at 8:18), and “Let Her Go” (listen at 11:30). Enjoy:
Mac DeMarco – Treat Her Better, Salad Days & Let Her Go live at CKUA
Topping Burgerama’s bill is the infamous 4 piece Atlanta-based rock group of misfits, Black Lips. Their forthcoming album, Underneath the Rainbow, was recorded with the Black Keys’ Patrick Carney, and is due out March 18 via Vice. According to bassist Jared Swilley, “it’s roots music.” Here’s a glimpse with the release of one track, “Boys in the Wood” and it’s as smooth as ever. They’ll be “extensively touring all six inhabited continents in support of the new record” including the SXSW circuit this year, as well as Austin psych-fest in May (okay, now let’s discuss a road trip!)
Black Lips – Boys in the Wood
There’s no way I could talk about Burgerama and not include a Hunx and His Punx jam – the epitome of punk and bubblegum. They’re the San Francisco-based “Queercore” garage punk rock group made up of Seth Bogart (formerly of the gay pop group Gravy Train!!!!), Shannon Shaw (from my faves: Shannon and The Clams) and Erin Emslie. They released their 4th album, Street Punk back in July of 2013 and it’s rippin! Sadly, the entire album is under 20 minutes long (I suppose you can only scream for so long), but it’s filled with quickie 30 second raging gems like, “Everyone’s a Pussy (Fuck You Dude)” and “Don’t Call Me Fabulous.” Listen to up your punk cred:
Hunx and His Punx – You Think You’re Tough
Hunx and His Punx – Bad Skin
Today, I don’t have any plans to stay up until 4 am, drink cheap booze, eat copious amounts of meat or breakfast tacos and race around Austin, TX to watch 2,000+ bands play on a bridge, some steps, in a bar, church, garage, house, backyard, or in a burger joint… it’s weird. SXSW is officially over.
Although the mayhem of a music festival is utterly exhausting, it’s also rejuvenating in the sense that you fully submerge yourself into the deep end of a music-worshiping pool. At SXSW, you’re surrounded by thousands of bloggers, musicians, music industry folk, podcasters, writers, celebrities, and most importantly, but simply, fans. During these 6 whirlwind days, you’re immersed amongst a concentration of people who all share the same love and appreciation for music as equally as you do. It’s refreshing.
The festival exposes you to so many surreal opportunities, chances, music discoveries, and connections that you’d most likely never experience otherwise – It’s a truly magical experience. With that, here are 8 phenomenal highlights from SXSW 2013:
K-X-P at the Karma Lounge + Bob Boilen (Creator and Host of NPR’s All Songs Considered)
Helsinki’s goth LCD Soundsystem trio, K-X-P was absolutely electrifying and their performance was by far my favorite of the SXSW experience. Donning goth gear in the form of black capes and studded leather dresses, K-X-P pulsed long, intensely dark synth and heavy beats throughout the bar at 1 am. I also spotted Bob Boilen from NPR’s All Songs Considered in the room and introduced myself, as I’m a big fan. Quite extraordinarily, Bob mentioned me in his podcast that night, and coco stereo in his SXSW wrap up – Truly an honor! You simply never know who may rock out next to at SXSW!
K-X-P – Melody
Empress Of at the Hype Hotel
12 pm is early by SXSW standards, but it was Empress Of‘s first appearance on the festival circuit and it was well worth the price of a little lost sleep. Empress Of is not only adorable, but possesses a magnetic voice and purges raw, refreshing talent that made her performance appear seamless. Her voice quavered when introducing herself, but she happily bounced along to new electro-pop gems we were all eager to hear, as she currently only dons three. Humble, yet extremely talented, Empress Of stole the hearts and ears of many.
Empress Of – Don’t Tell Me
M for Montreal /Arbutus Records Showcase at the Swan Dive
I could write a novel’s worth of blog posts purely about this showcase as I never left, and it was 7 hours long! The lineup included Mac DeMarco, Sean Nicholas Savage, Majical Cloudz, Pat Jordache, Blue Hawaii, Doldrums, and Braids. If it wasn’t already obvious that Montreal is kicking serious ass in the music realm, it should be now.
Though Mac DeMarco, everyone’s favorite goofy crooner/rocker isn’t an Arbutus Records artist, he is from Montreal and a dear friend to these musicians. This was the 3rd time I’d seen DeMarco (who was still wearing the same garbs) at SXSW, and not purposefully, he just seemed to be everywhere. However, this was by far his best performance, as he seemed to be in true bizarro form amongst friends. At one point mid-performance, DeMarco scrambled up a wooden beam and began swinging from the ceiling rafters which throughly pissed off venue owners, yet pleased the crowd to no end.
Mac DeMarco – Ode to Viceroy
The intriguing, ever-ecclectic and highly talented singer/songwriter Sean Nicholas Savage got on stage with just a keyboard and a microphone. He took his shoes off, swayed his hips, sang his best hits and the audience melted, or maybe that was just me.
Sean Nicholas Savage – Lonely Woman
Blue Hawaii‘s performance was by for the most surprising and mind-blowing for many. The duo filled the white washed venue with pulsing synth and Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s sweet, melodic, falsetto voice strikingly resembled Grimes. The crowd danced hard, especially Devon of Majical Cloudz who was front and center.
Blue Hawaii – In Two
With a drummer and two keyboard/synth backups, Doldrums ferociously played his hypnotic, experimental electro beats (out of a suitcase), belted lyrics while crowd surfing with ease, and placed a dance inducing spell over the entire audience. Never had I seen such a massive conglomerate of pulsating, jumping and gyrating humans at SXSW. Everyone in the audience completely lost themselves in the music and it was incredible to witness/experience. The energy was at an all-time high.
Doldrums – Egypt
The most endearing aspect of the showcase, however, was witnessing the camaraderie, support and love each of the Arbutus and/or other Canadian artists showed for each other. I also spotted DeMarco obviously, as well as Born Gold and Mozart’s Sister amongst others. The entire venue was filled to the brim with artists who watched, cheered and danced harder than most to their fellow musicians’ music.
Rhye at the Pitchfork Day Party
I had the guilty pleasure of proving multiple people wrong at the Pitchfork Day Party, by exclaiming “Rhye‘s a guy y’all!” when many were smacked with the realization that Rhye is indeed a man. I mean, his name is Mike Milosh and he owns that dreamy, silky, seductive and sultry voice. Rhye explained that he and his band, including a phenomenal violinist and trombone player, had just flew in from Berlin and were on their 40th hour of being awake. Yet, they still played an astonishing set of what Milosh referred to as sexy “night time music” during broad day light.
Rhye – Open
Girls Names at the Flamingo Cantina
Though their faces were quite complacent, Girls Names rocked long and hard, and not an eye could pry away from their quint essential post-punk Brit rock, (they are from Belfast, after all). There wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, crazy, or gasp-worthy necessary to make this a successful set, Girls Names simply provided steady, hefty, refreshing rock n’ roll.
Girls Names – Hypnotic Regression
Ólafur Arnalds at Peckerheads
I was completely unaware of this ambient Icelandic group/producer until my good ol pal, Bob Boilen had suggested the show. The bar, rightfully named Peckerheads, was clamoring with noise from happy drunkards and thumping beats from below, but Ólafur Arnalds urged people to take a seat and enjoy the beauty he was about to embark upon us. Accompanied by an intense violinist and cello player, Ólafur’s soothing, melodic and beautiful instrumental music quieted the crowd and made people exclaim, “wow.”
Ólafur Arnalds – Only the Winds
Giraffage on the Exploded Drawing Party Boat
I somehow managed to start day 1 of SXSW, typically the tamest of all, in the most blissful way. A crowd of people piled onto the Exploded Drawing double-decker party boat and we floated down the river into the sunset, all while sipping on cucumber/kale margaritas and dancing to the seriously sweet beats of 10+ DJs. Giraffage, the moniker of San Francisco-hailing producer, Charlie Yin, had the quickest, and most nimble fingers of them all, and he induced everyone to jump up, and all the ladies to get down.
Giraffage – Close 2 Me
Parquet Courts, Merchandise & Destruction Unit on Pedestrian Bridge at 3 am
Granted, this was technically a Chaos in Tejas event put on by BrooklynVegan, but racing to watch indie punk rockers Parquet Courts, Merchandise and Destruction Unit rock hard on a bridge at 3 am seemed so utterly SXSW. The bridge was literally rockin’ while the crowd was rollin’ into each other during a frenzy of excited mosh pits that lasted well into early morning.
Parquet Courts – Stoned and Starving
In the effort to make this wrap up reasonably succinct, out of the 50+ bands I managed to see, other stand out performances included: Baths, DIANA, Autre Ne Veut, Mozart’s Sister, CHVRCHES, Austra, Ryan Hemsworth, and MØ. And while everyone in attendance may be missing SXSW already, it’s never too early to plan for next year. Until next time, adios Tejas!
The anticipation and chaos for this year’s SXSW music fest in Austin, Texas (March 12th-17th) continues to grow at great lengths. The amount of parties, new bands added, RSVPs, lineups and showcases consistently flow in at alarming rates; and it certainly isn’t over yet. The increasing excitement is contagious and overwhelming, especially when you envision just how much amazing music (and people; 60K to be exact) will embark upon the Tejas capital, and all at once.
To contribute to the ever-growing hype, here is a compilation of (40+) absolute must-see acts/bands at this year’s SXSW. Granted, no one’s ever gonna see ’em all (one can only hope!), so these top 6 absolute must-sees are ones you should seriously kick yourself if missed:
p.s. coco stereo will be representin’ in full force at SXSW, March 7th-16th – Let’s get our dance on together!
As a toast to Sean Nicholas Savage, the eccentric pop artist and vital key to Montreal’s continuously growing music scene, Arbutus labelmates and Canadian cohorts have compiled a 17-track compilation covering Savage’s songs. The collection, entitled: Taste of Savage – His Pupils Sing His Music features Doldrums, Majical Cloudz, Mac Demarco, Mozart’s Sister and more – All of our favorites in one!
According to Arbutus, the tracks, “ranging from anthems to obscure gems – are anthologized on this release. As the first act ever to release on Arbutus, a community has developed surrounding Savage, his songwriting, charisma and his social philosophies.
It is a true honour to present such a mix of genre and creative thought – and this is what’s captivating about the compilation. A group of artists brought together not by genre but by circumstance: a shared home, one which Savage represents as a primary character in the Canadian music scene.”
Stream Taste of Savage below, and download all 17 tracks over at Arbutus:
Taste of Savage – His Pupils Sing His Music
The “proper full length album,” released just six months after his solo debut, portrays DeMarco’s abilities as a singer/song writer more than ever. The LP is full of catchy, slow rock jams crooning about love, loneliness, cigarettes, and “Freaking Out the Neighborhood.” However, the album also seems to be missing a certain je ne sais quoi.
After a thorough listen, I’m left wanting more of DeMarco’s creepy antics, goofy spoofs and overall eccentric playfulness that makes him so intriguing, appealing and the genius behind his self-proclaimed “jizz jazz” jangles. Only at the end of “Ode to Viceroy” do we get a small glimpse of the sleaze he likes to squeeze in. DeMarco’s strengths as a musician are rightfully highlighted, however, in this highly anticipated album, his personality, (which is as prominent as the gap in his front teeth), seems to have been dimmed. Is this a result of backlash from wild live shows, or the pressure to produce as a ‘serious’ musician? The album holds its own, purely as a display of DeMarco’s raw talent, and his irony is still present, however, the A-typical singer-songwriter’s weirdness and downright oddities are surely missed.
If you want the full Mac DeMarco package, seeing him live will ease this need. This morning, I eagerly jumped to the end of the LP to listen to “Still Together,” as it’s by far one of the most captivating jams DeMarco sings live – it’s also the sweetest of the lot, including a convo between DeMarco and his “kind of woman” that makes you say “awww.” If you have a chance to catch the goofy crooner live, he’s playing a ridiculous number of shows (9 total) in New York this week as part of the CMJ Music Marathon, then he’s off for a Euro tour. Check out tour dates here. If you’re in NYC, thanks to BrooklynVegan, they’ve done all the work for me in laying it all out:
Captured Tracks has a CMJ showcase at Music Hall of Williamsburg on October 18 with Mac DeMarco, Thieves Like Us, and Dignan Porch. Tickets for that show are still available. Mac DeMarco has other CMJ shows scheduled too, including the Panache showcase at Public Assembly (10/19), the My Social List showcase at the Martin Room in Webster Hall (10/16), the post-CMJ show at Bowery Ballroom (10/21) with Wild Nothing and Merchandise, and the just announced free Hype Machine party at Brooklyn Bowl on October 18 with Hundred Waters (who also play these shows).
It’s been a weird and heavy week full of road trips, suburbia-ville, hospital visits, uncertainty, and a general lack of enjoyable jams via local radio. Hence, there’s no better way to bring this bizarro week to close with a round-up of new mind-melting tunes that’ll thrust you back into reality, or a lack-there-of.
Montreal-based Airick Woodhead is the experimental brainchild behind Doldrums, and he’s producing some of the freshest, “mind-melting” music around. His latest jam, “She is The Wave” is from a 7″ to be released via Arbutus Records in November. The new jam contains that consistently catchy electro/experimental beat full of synth, scratches, noise, disembodied vocals and screams – It’s Very Animal Collective-esque and once again, unbelievably addicting. Seriously hoping this launches the creation of a full length album – We all want it!
Doldrums – She is The Wave (feat. Guy Dallas)
San Francisco-based Mikey Maramag is the “dreamy folktronica” phsychadelic wünderkind behind Blackbird Blackbird. His latest hypnotic release “All” comes from his highly anticipated EP, Boracay Planet, slotted for release October 16th.
Blackbird Blackbird – All
Southern Shores, the synth-pop Nova Scotia-by-way-of-Toronto “summer heroes” has released an EP, New World. The latest album (similarly to the last one) via Cascine is full of dreamy, tropical beats. Stream the entire EP on SounCloud here.
Southern Shores – Sankasa
Luis Vasquez aka The Soft Moon is the beloved darkwave noise experimentalist from San Francisco and he’s releasing his new album (via Captured Tracks), Zeros, on October 30th. “Insides” hails from the anticipated album and is the latest goodie rupturing from the depths of darkness:
The Soft Moon – Insides
The ridiculously talented and charming “Jizz jazz” weirdo, Mac DeMarco has a new album (hurry already!), Mac DeMarco 2, due October 16th. Captured Tracks has been slowly but surely releasing jams from the (do you sense a theme?) highly anticipated album. You’ve already heard, “My Kind of Woman,” so feast your ears on DeMarco’s jam dedicated to his fav brand of cigs:
Mac DeMarco – Ode to Viceroy