J. Lawrence King

At The Drive-In’s surprise appearance at Mohawk was just one of the moments that made SXSW 2017 memorable.

Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In. All photos by Dakin Hardwick.

Every year in mid-March, music nerds from around the globe gather in downtown Austin to test their ability to handle long lines, blisters, alcohol poisoning, and dead cell phone batteries. Why? To get that first scoop on the “it” band of the year? To luck into a once-in-a-lifetime music experience with their all time favorite band? Masochism? Shit, I don’t know. Every year I say it’ll be my last, but I keep coming back. Maybe it’s the barbecue for me. Maybe it’s Austin: the worst kept secret in Texas. Without the quirks and charm of Austin, this music festival would just be ordinary — and like every other year, SXSW 2017 was definitely not ordinary.

[read the whole post]

{ 0 comments }

unnamed

Rating: Silver

It’s been two weeks but the drug rug of “Manipulator” is still a hidden metaphor. Deeper and denser, though rarely as listenable as before, Segall deflects his past while finding solace in the past. “Tall Man Skinny Lady” is as much T. Rex as it is T. Segall: falsetto hooks and acoustic guitars harkening back to “Sleeper” but catchier. Ty has never been as lyrical as King Tuff or Mikal Cronin: “I can hear the sound/ When my love’s around/ Whistling the trees/ It sits inside the breezes” but that has never been the point with Segall. From the very beginning on “Ty Segall” all the way through the eponymous “Twins,” Segall has made his mark in the ephemeral. His songs, like a sugar rush, hit and dissipate but “Manipulator” is something more permanent. [read the whole post]

{ 0 comments }

 unnamed

Rating: Silver

Seven albums in and Liars are still one of the most notorious and formidable bands around. From their debut They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top to this year’s Mess, they’ve continued to defy expectations and challenge listeners. With each release the stacks have been raised and Liars have met these expectations by taking their music in a completely different direction. From their dance punk origins through the post punk and even noise offerings of Drums Not Dead to the more subdued but darker Sisterworld they’ve refused to stay true to one identity and in turn their identity has become protean and malleable. This can be an admirable trait in an artist but it can also be a hindrance as the artist’s allegiances begin to shift with the changing trends their artistic integrity is challenged. This is the quagmire that Liars finds themselves in with Mess.
[read the whole post]

{ 0 comments }

homepage_large.41c2f086

Rating: Silver
Somehow, in-between putting Thee Oh Sees on hiatus, relocating to Southern California, and preparing to release another Thee Oh Sees album, John Dwyer has found time for another solo project. Hubba Bubba, his debut album as Damaged Bug, has Dwyer abandoning his fuzzy guitars for an even fuzzier synthesizer. But this foray into electronica isn’t Dwyer’s attempt at making a Depeche Mode album. Hubba Bubba sounds much more like a marijuana influenced Suicide album than an 80’s new wave rehash like so many artist are doing right now. The emphasis is placed on minimalist synth riffs behind Dwyer’s robotic vocals.

[read the whole post]

{ 0 comments }

st vincent

Rating: Gold

I don’t know who first used the modifier “angular” to describe a guitar style, but it’s been the most over used adjective for post punk guitar for at least 30 years now. Perhaps it means the sharp edges that you get from the syncopated and dissonant chord changes or maybe even the “stiff, awkward, and ungainly” feel the music gives you. Either way, the message that “angular” communicates is “inhuman” and “inhospitable.” From Marry Me to Actor to Strange Mercy and now St. Vincent, Annie Clark’s music has toed this line between human and inhuman, between hospitable and inhospitable, but inevitably has sided with the human. This has always been her great accomplishment as a songwriter. Her hair has gotten whiter, her clothing more plastic and her guitar playing more…angular, but she’s never lost touch with that humanity and with St. Vincent, Annie Clark is at her peak as a songwriter, guitarist and artist.

[read the whole post]

{ 0 comments }

angel-olsen_burn-your-fire-for-no-witness

Rating: Gold

[read the whole post]

{ 0 comments }

Album Review: Fanfarlo – Let’s Go Extinct

February 21, 2014

Rating: Bronze+ On their third full length, Let’s Go Extinct, London’s Fanfarlo deliver their most ambitious and yet most distant and uneven album to date. Though the album is well produced and performed to perfection, the music falls flat due to Fanfarlo’s reluctance to take the risks necessary to set them apart in a crowded […]

Read the full article →

Album Review: Painted Palms – Forever

January 14, 2014

San Francisco based duo Painted Palms thrive in a world of disconnection. Whether it be their creative process, in which members Reese Donohue and Christopher Prudhomme write independently and then collaborate over the internet, or their lyrical content, which dwells upon the things that cannot be communicate. Painted Palms writes about the kind of isolation […]

Read the full article →

Album Review: Braids – Flourish//Perish

October 30, 2013

It’s getting difficult to determine which is Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s side project: the psychedelic pop band Braids, or the dreamy, synth-pop duo Blue Hawaii. Both are developing into major contributors in the burgeoning Montreal music scene and between the two bands, Preston’s output over the past three years is almost prodigious. But where she once had […]

Read the full article →

SXSW Review: The Best & Worst of SXSW 2013

March 26, 2013

Now that we’ve all had time to recover from a week’s worth of sun damage, get our voices back, and forget about the hours spent driving through the lonely west Texas desert, it’s time to reflect upon another year of SXSW. While everyone’s experience is different under the Austin sun, these are my recollections as […]

Read the full article →