The Austin music scene through the eyes of a programmer/music enthusiast/show-goer

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Band of Sorrows: Brooke leaves BOH

The fork is good for something. People send them press releases and shit. They're reporting that Mat Brooke has officially left Band of Horses.

Brooke plays at End Of An Ear in store during SXSW

This doesn't really come as a surprise, since he was absent from pretty much every show since SXSW. At least showgazer can take solace in the fact it got to see Brooke play for 2 legit shows during Austin's SXSW. Seeing him perform w/ the band in March solidified my belief that BOH would be my favorite band of 2006. So far that's holding true. Maybe he'll come out of retirement to guest on some songs on future albums. Brooke -- you will be missed.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Buy This Album Bitches:
Silversun Pickups -- Carnavas

Showgazer usually keeps it's coverage to live shows in the Austin area, but lately we've stretched our wings a little with discussions about the ACL festival and the recent fork vs SOUND team debacle. I figured I'd introduce a new section I call "Buy this album Bitches." Because in this day of downloading, sometimes there are albums you should just straight up give the band its due, and buy the damn thing.

Before Pitchfork takes it upon themselves to [possibly] ruin the budding career of L.A. rockers, Silversun Pickups, with a simple number, let Showgazer be the first to tell you that this album is f**king LEGIT.

In March I was lucky enough to catch one of the many Silversun SXSW shows when they joined KEXP's broadcast at the ACL studios. The set was fantastic, and one of my favorite performances of all of SXSW this year. They played four new tracks, which got me itching to hear the entire thing. When I finally got my hands on the entire thing I couldn't stop listening to it (to the point where I had to go into detox just so I wouldn't get sick of it).

For those that can only listen to something that's been given a rating ... I give it an 8.5 out of 10. I have no formula for that number, just that it looks impressive w/o looking too ridiculously high. I can tell you that after listening to this disc for the last couple of months it's climbed its way into my running top-5 albums of the year and is currently holding strong in spot #2 just behind the boys of Band of Horses. Sorry Silversun, I love me some BOH right now. But as for straight up rocking ... you guys (and gal) have the market cornered.

Derek snapped this at the Silversun's performance at the
KEXP John in the Morning @ Night show in Seattle.

The thing that impresses me most about this album is that even w/ a fantastic debut EP (titled Pikul) to introduce the band, this debut LP features ALL NEW songs!! This is refreshing when bands tend to recycle a good portion of their EP songs on their first proper albums. Sorry Black Angels, but I heard most of your album before it even was an album.

So speaking of all new songs ... they're all good too. The entire album is rocker after rocker, minus a couple of slower songs near the album's end, which are just as legit. 'Three Seed' is one of the slower tracks, and remains one of my favorite. I have to give the nod to 'Future Foe Scenarios' as my favorite track. Every time I listen to it I feel the need to add 30 mph to whatever the speed limit is of the road I'm currently on. That is the definition of a good song. Another song I really dig on this album is 'Little Lover's So Polite', which you can check out on the new and improved Silversun website.

This album, put out on the Dangerbird Records label, officially comes out on Tuesday, July 25th. I'll be picking up my official copy at Waterloo then. You should too.

ps. (for Silversun Pickups) you bustas better come back to Austin now that we've actually heard the album. That SXSW preview shit ain't gonna cut it. Ya heard.

UPDATE - This shit is a mere $9.99 at Waterloo. Get off your humps chumps!

LIVE: the Austin 'SOUND machine'
(sans Gloria Estefan)

Last Saturday, Austin's own SOUND team, fresh off their pounding in the caboose from the fork, played to a packed house @ Emos. I rate the show at 3.7 (on a scale of 3.875).

It was a double stage job w/ other Austin bands filling in. Inside we caught The Glass Family first. They played a pretty good set of new mixed w/ old. The alternative choice outside was The Black, who are completely horrible -- if forced to actually watch them that is. I can't handle the singer. I don't know what it is about him, but I get the urge to throw things at him until he goes away. I might actually be able to listen to the music if I didn't have to see his face. Anyway --- The Glass Fam were pretty dope. I first caught them at The Continental Club, which was a much better show. What're ya gonna do ... Emos sounds like hell. Is it possible to turn up the volume anymore guys on the inside stage? Seriously .. I don't think I got enough blood (from my ears) on my shirt.

Zykos' Mike Booher

We stayed inside to catch Zykos play a bunch of new songs. I was really looking forward to this show as I used to call the 'kos my favorite Austin band (before discovering now defunct Dead Whale Tide. WHY? WHY have you forsaken me DWT?). Unfortunately it wasn't the best, mostly because they played all new stuff. It wasn't bad new stuff, it's just always tough to get into something when you've never heard it before. But I still like me some 'kos so please keep bringin' the rock. Check out their 2 new demos on myspace here.

What Made Milwaukee Famous at ACL taping
(I think it was beer. Or Alice Cooper in Wayne's World)

Then it was outside for the end of the What Made Milwaukee Famous set. I can't really say I'm a fan of them. They write good, catchy tunes, but it's not really my bag. To be fair I haven't really given them a devoted listen yet. My lady likes the piano player. He must be dreamy. We mostly just hung on the outside edge and put away a few PBR tall-boys in preparation for the machine of sound. Which reminds me ... why is he calling them the 'SOUND machine'? Isn't it SOUND team? Yes, they are. But earlier we ran into a friend of ours at the show and asked her who she was there to see. She said the "SOUND machine," and naturally we laughed and mocked. She felt bad and said she "knew she was going to screw it up." Good times. But I kinda like it. It worked for Miss Estefan.

Finally we got to experience what a 3.7 rated album plays like live. It was LEGIT. It was my first time seeing the team of sound and it was an enjoyable experience. They ripped through most of the more upbeat tracks on the quality long player Movie Monster. They also graced us with a few tracks off of the just as quality Work EP as well.

SOUND team's Bill Baird

That Bill Baird is a force on the bass. I don't think I saw his face once since he was bouncin' all around, floppin' his locks up in his face. More than once he put a tamborine around his neck and played it by making his shoulders knock it into the microphone as he continued to grind on the bass. It was good stuff. I was boppin' my head the entire time and was sad for the show to end. I will definitely catch them when they play in Austin again. Might I suggest The Parish next time fellas. (wink wink)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

BOH on Letterman: DO IT

Reminder: Set your DVRs for tomorrow night (7/13) - Band of Horses will be on Letterman. Hopefully Mat Brooke comes out of hiding for this one. Yayah. They will be joined by former Austinite, Luke Wilson. How can you say no? Seriously. You can't.

UPDATE: Finally got around to watching it. Brooke was a no show. Punk. They played The Funeral. Go figure. They clean up real nice.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

SOUND ream


In a suprising turn of events, our "pals" over at the fork have decided to dole out even more low blows on Austin's beloved SOUND team. Surprising that they would take shots at the band? Hardly, considering last week's absurd review of Movie Monster. My real surprise (which quickly turned to disgust) was had in Pitchfork's undying hatred for such a promising young band, even after already destroying them with an embarrassing 3.7.

If you haven't already caught wind of this latest Pitchfork attack, check it out here.

Yeah, so basically, SOUND team posted a humorous clip trying to make light of some undeserved bad fortune. You, Ryan Schreiber, Editor-in-Chief of the most influential indie music rag (online or not), mean to tell me that that deserves this response?!

"In retaliation of the 3.7 rating, the band-- or someone purporting to be them-- posted a YouTube video depicting a sort of Sound Team effigy being mutilated, thrown off a cliff, burned, and dismembered by a Pitchfork. Creepy! That's exactly what we did to our promo copy this weekend!

In the band's defense, the music backing up the visuals here is a vast improvement over their record. A bit more focus and you'll have it, guys..."

Good one Shreiber. Way to reveal yourself to your readers as a juvenile, spiteful, no-talent prick. What did SOUND team ever do to you? Is it the major label? Is it the nods to their influences through great music? Did they steal some of your hipster faithfuls from your SXSW showcase during one of their far superior dayshows? I just don't get it.

I've watched over the years as Pitchfork has taken the literary dump on more than a handful of undeserving bands, but the malice usually ended there. But now with Pitchfork's readership reaching an exponentially larger and larger audience, their journalistic responsibility and respect of power seems to be falling farther and farther. How backwards is that?

Anyhow, I've depoloyed an email to the source, which will almost certainly not be responded to, but atleast I can take solace in knowing that I'm not the only one a little miffed about this whole thing. Check it:

Chris' mention and the 40 or so comments that came after
Zane's personal discussion with Pitchfork reviewer Marc Hogan
More commentary from Eric Grubbs
Austinist's post
SOUND team's graphic depiction of the review

UPDATE: And more...

Tim O Thompson chimes in
More from Zane
Noise for toaster has some great thoughts...

"if they can't handle the rise of influence from independent music bloggers, even with the same ultimate goal in mind - that is, to share good undiscovered music - and continue relentlessly to step up and imitate the qualities of blog posts (mp3 downloads, youtube streaming, live concert pictures blog-style), we have a bunch of immature foot-stomping adults on our hands."

The text in bold brings up an especially great point. Pitchfork's news feed is in fact now just a blog engine, but the ability to comment on a post is for some reason unavailable. Gosh, I wonder why...