Neko Case

32 bands in five days. My feet still hurt.

All Photos by Dakin Hardwick

For those who aren’t in the know, SXSW is a conference in Austin, TX. It’s a place where folks in the technology, film, comedy, and music worlds come together and share ideas. The music portion is the primary reason why I come down, because it gives you an opportunity to see a large amount of music, often crossing dozens of genres, all in intimate venues all across town. This year, I feel like I “took it easy” and managed to see 32 different bands during the week (I saw Lizzo and Bleached both perform twice. You’d want to, too, if given the chance).

Without further ado, here are my thoughts on all 32 bands that I saw, in venues ranging from a donut shop to a lakeside amphitheater.

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An album full of hope and loneliness, with a thoughtful approach to life and love’s and their quirky ironies.

Album cover: case/lang/viers

Album cover: case/lang/viers

It’s finally here, and it does not disappoint. When I heard last year that k.d. lang, Neko Case, and Laura Viers were releasing an album together, I naturally shrieked at my computer screen in excitement. Lang and Case are largely responsible for me (more or less) surviving my twenties intact. Their songs provided a compass by which I could navigate being sensitive and assertive, hopeful yet bitter. As with all collaborative projects between women, so much has been written about the harmonies, which are, yes, wonderful; but in my opinion, these have been over-extolled compared with the lyrical and textural content of the album.

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Though this album is great (and my favorite of the year), it just wasn't good enough for this list. It came in at unlucky number 11.

Though this album is great (and my favorite of the year), it just wasn’t good enough for this list. It came in at unlucky number 11.

 

If there’s one thing Spinning Platters does differently, and especially nerd-ish, it is our Album of the Year list. All the contributors get to nominate their favorite albums of the year (there were 53 nominees this year) then a grueling listening/voting process starts until we have it narrowed down to the top ten. While not everyone may agree with the final list (personally I think this list makes us look a little like crazy feminists) it is democratic and popular opinion that must rule. So without further ado, here is our top ten!

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warpandweft

Not many musicians have the longevity to release nine full-length studio albums.  Laura Veirs is one of the few.  The Portland, OR resident has been producing a constant flow of beautiful folk rock and delicately woven lyrical tales since 1999.  It’s only appropriate, then, that Veirs’ new effort, Warp and Weft, is aptly named using the terms for the crossing threads in weaving.  It is tightly constructed, contemplative but also commentative, and weaves together vivid images and stories of lives long gone and some yet to pass.

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Akron/Family at First City Festival

Akron/Family absolutely killed it.

This past weekend, First City Festival made its debut at Monterey County Fairgrounds (if it sounds familiar, the annual Jazz Festival is also held there) and the stellar turnout ensured that this won’t be the last time we witness the two-day event that was named after Monterey’s claim to be the “first capital” of California.

With a line up containing Neko Case, Toro Y Moi, Akron/Family, and the Antlers, on day two alone, it was definitely worth making a two-hour road trip from the Bay Area. The weather was beautiful, the crowd was mellow, and lines for food and beverages were reasonable. Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t make a top five list. Before you look at the photos, humor me in reading my thoughts on the highlights and lowlights of the day’s events.

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Opening for Roxy Erickson!

Opening for Roxy Erickson!

School is back in session soon, right? So you should go out and enjoy some shows before you have to return to the old grind!

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The Stern Grove 2011 Lineup

April 27, 2011

Find any official Stern Grove web presence, and you’ll see that the lineup will be announced May 2. Well, yesterday it leaked, and although it was quickly “unleaked,” you can’t truly unleak stuff on the Internet. This isn’t Orwell’s 1984 (yet), so because I know, I want all the music junkies to know. (Good thing […]

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Show Review: Jakob Dylan featuring Neko Case and Kelly Hogan with The Felice Brothers at the Regency Ballroom, 5/12/10

May 13, 2010

Could it be possible that Jakob Dylan actually prefers to exist in the shadows of others? I mean, seriously. First he makes the questionable decision to get into the exact same line of work as his father. And if that line of work was, like, plumbing or something, then fine. But if Bob Dylan is […]

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Spinning Platters Weekly Guide to Bay Area Concerts, 5/5/10-5/11/10

May 5, 2010

Feliz Cinco de Mayo de SpinningPlatters.com. He aquí una lista de formas divertidas y fabulosas para pasar sus vacaciones, así como la semana siguiente. Si me ves en cualquiera de estos programas, por favor, gracias a mi me entregando una margarita o tamal!

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Album Review: Jakob Dylan – Women + Country

April 8, 2010

In 2007, a strange and unexpected musical collaboration was released. It was the brain child of legendary producer T-Bone Burnett who decided that a full album collaboration between Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and modern day bluegrass icon Alison Krauss would be a brilliant idea. The album, Raising Sand,  came out, and it was a moody […]

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