Thursday, May 31, 2007

Jose Gonzalez Goes Natural

Well, its been a few years since his last album, Veneer, but Jose Gonzalez is back with another. Due out September 25 here in the U.S., In Our Nature is sure to make it even harder to pick a favorite album of 2007! I think its safe to say that we will be playing it from then until 2010 and beyond. Maybe by then we will be in flying cars? The earth will be one big puddle? or he'll put out a third album? I'm not sure which one will come first, but we hope its the latter. In the mean time, he's going on tour, and hopefully he will be coming back through these parts. He's going to be in Mexico, so why not Jose?

1 How Low
2 Down the Line
3 Killing for Love
4 In Our Nature
5 Teardrop
6 Abram
7 Time to Send Someone Away
8 The Nest
9 Fold
10 Cycling Trivialities

Animal Collective Photos May 26-27, Dallas and Austin

Dallas @ The Granada - May 26

Austin @ Antone's - May 27

Big thanks to Sarah (bye-bye!) and Jeramy @ Motor Mouth Media for getting us the photo passes for both dates.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Animal Collective in Dallas @ The Granada and Austin @ Antone's

Animal Collective hasn't hit Texas on a tour in a long time, and as far as I know, has never come to Dallas and we were able to agree that Dallas was the best show of the two that we attended this weekend. Yes, the band was the same, wonderful, magnificent, inspiring, all of those adjectives and plenty more that describe good performances. The difference came with the change of venue and the way that the crowds approached the show. The fans in Dallas seemed to be immersed in the idea of Animal Collective. They danced and chanted right along with the band, some of them even came wearing face and body paint featuring bones and even a double helix of DNA (what?). I thought that Austin would be even stranger, with most of the crowd dressed up, or under-dressed as the case may be, for the occasion. I couldn't spot one single person in the crowd at Antone's who had done as I thought they would. This does not discount them as fans by any means, its just that the intensity of the crowd in Dallas was much more present. The lighting at Antone's was also not even comparable to the Granada's and there was quite a sound mishap at Antone's, but venues and crowds aside, the band performed two awe inspiring shows this weekend.

Animal Collective amazed just about everyone I talked with after the Dallas and Austin shows, but apparently, there were some people who felt differently. Some were let down by the fact that the band didn't play "Grass" or "The Purple Bottle", but without Deakin on tour with the band, it wasn't in the cards for them to play songs that involved guitar parts like those on the two songs I mentioned. The band's sets in both Dallas and in Austin were comprised mainly of new songs. If the songs that they did play end up on Strawberry Jam, it will probably end up a fan favorite. I'm already in love with them after hearing them two times. The new music all sounds upbeat (that may change with the lyrics) and everything was just fun to listen to. It relies heavily on samples and percussion, mixed in with effected vocals and even more tribal yelling than past songs. Two Panda Bear songs from the Ma Fama session/ interview are being played on tour, and they sound even better with Avey and Geologist to back Panda up. It will be interesting to see what happens to those songs, since they aren't on the new album.

Two things that I have read and heard that trouble me are that, 1.) the band did not come out for an encore at either of the shows and, 2.) the band didn't play whoever's favorite songs like "The Purple Bottle" or "Grass". One thing that Joe mentioned was that fans have become too accustomed to the encore. Since when is it required for a band who just played a full set of songs, to come back out and play more? It shouldn't be. At both shows, the band gave everything that they had on stage and played with intense energy for the whole set. I'm sure that they appreciate us wanting to hear more, but they did just play for a good chunk of time. Also, I don't recall the bill ever saying "Animal Collective, playing their greatest hits". If you would like to see someone do that, go to Vegas and see a washed up star on the strip playing their hits from 20 years ago. Animal Collective is still a vibrant band, with a lot of new material (a new record is coming out people!) and they weren't there to take requests. Yes, they did play some old songs, which the crowd did love, but they don't have to play every song that might be a "crowd favorite".

(Forgive me, I don't know the new song's names, I tried)
Dallas set list:
1. Loch Raven
2. Who Could Win A Rabbit
3. New Song #1 (Flowers in her hair...)
4. New Song #2
5. New Song #3
6. New Song #4
7. I'm not sure how many new songs they actually played. We were really into the set. haha
8?. New Song (Woo!)
9. New Song
10. New Song
11. We Tigers
12. Leaf House

Austin set list:
1. Doggy
2. Hey Light

3. Who Could Win A Rabbit
4. New #1(Flowers in her hair...)
5. New #2 (I really want to show to my girl that I need her...)
6. New #3(Hey!...)
7. New #4
8. New #5/ New #6?
9. Daily Routine
10. New #7
11. New #8
12. Loch Raven
13. We Tigers
14. Leaf House

Photos from both shows will be posted in seperate posts!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Ghostland Observatory @ The House of Blues

To be completely honest, I was a little hesitant to writing a post for this show because I didn't have photos for it and I was just going for fun, but since it was at a brand new venue, I figured I would review both things while I was at it (the show and the venue). The House of Blues in Dallas opened just this past week or so in the wake of the death of a landmark Deep Ellum venue, The Gypsy Tea Room. I was pretty confused as you could tell if you read a past post of mine concerning the issue, and I believe that I went so far as to wishing that bands would just play the Granada or other smaller Dallas venuesDenton's amazing places, and not the HOB. After last night, I can say that I still stand by that, although I think I'm not too objective on the matter. For one thing, a tourist attraction with a venue where potentially good bands could play , but I can't hold that against the venue. The band has a weird following, from frat guys and the cheerleader types, to indie kids and ravers (I do my best to judge!). Throughout the night, we were pummeled with bad dancing, inappropriate comments, and just all around annoying people. doesn't sit well with me. There were two shows going on Saturday night and the people from the other show were all middle aged and when asking who was playing for the line that we were in, produced sour faces. One thing that I will gripe about is Ghostland's own crowd Apparently there isn't much of a drink limit to speak of. They even had a waitress come to the front (thanks to the barrier in front of the stage) and ask if anyone wanted anymore drinks. By the end of the night, the people next to us had produced a large pile of beer cans and clear plastic cups.

Now for the music! The opener, DJ Dr. Jack, was probably, no, THE most annoying opener for any band that I have ever seen. The bill did not say "DJ" before his name, so I didn't know what to expect, but I'm not sure if a proper bracing ahead of time would hav
e helped. Jack "played" for a solid, excruciatingly long and drawn out 2 hours. Those could be piled in with the robbery and witness to a terrible car accident as two of the worst in my life. The drunk people in the crowd (yes, already drunk at this point) ate him up for about the first hour, and turned down the notch on the grinding in the middle of his set. We weren't sure if he had an hour and a half, an hour and forty five, or two hours to play, so every time he slowed down, we all got excited and I even held my hands up with my fingers crossed, until the music eventually picked back up again and everyone around me let out a sigh of disgust as he kept playing his "club thumpers". I've seen some bad openers, but none like this.

This being my third time seeing Ghostland since seeing them first at SXSW, I knew what to expect. One thing I learned is that the band definitely has a following in Texas. They aren't playing another show in Austin until July, so it was reasonable to see a few familiar faces, even the kids who wear the head-dresses, at the show. When the band gets more exposure, I'm sure there will be those people in just about every major city they tour in. At this point in their live show, I think it will be safe to say they they know what they are going to play. I couldn't see any set list, and they didn't appear to even acknowledge one another in between songs as far as what the next song might be, they both just knew. The first half of their act was all songs from the two previous albums. Everyone who knew the words were singing, and even if you didn't you were dancing. The second half of the act, after much confusion due to the curtain being pulled, was comprised of all new songs, except the last. We haven't gotten any word, but I guess this means that a new album is in the works. I do believe they played some of the songs at the SXSW shows and they appear to be hits. They capped the night off with a two song encore after a large portion of the original crowd had left. On the second, a few members of the crowd decided to join the band on stage. This was a shock to me, because I was just waiting for huge security goons to come out of the shadows and drag the kids off stage, but it took them forever to respond and by the time they did, a on of kids were already dancing on stage. I really wanted to jump up there, but as I was contemplating, the goons came out and escorted the remaining rogue dancers off the stage.

All in all, the show was fun, but I wouldn't recommend the HOB unless you must (for example, Parliament). The first half was torture, but the second made up for it.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Strawberry Jam (???!!!)

For all of you Animal Collective fans out there (yeah, you!), this is a bit of news that you have been waiting for. The band has a new album and it is entitled Strawberry Jam, and is set to be released for your sweet little ears in September. The band recorded the album in January in Tuscon, Arizona and there was apparently "...much Tecate drinking, barbecues, Javelina sightings and other desert oddities that might have influenced this record..." We have our fingers crossed for that one. Avey and Panda wrote most of the album, with help from Geologist and Deacon along the way, in places like Lisbon, NYC, Baltimore, and Paris so there is no telling what the album will sound like. We do have some idea though, seeing as how the band has been playing various songs off the album for a couple of years now on tour. We will be sure to keep you updated, because we know that you love the band as much as we do. The band will be here in a couple of weeks and we are very excited to see what they have in store for us.

Here's the tracklist:

1 Peacebone
Unsolved Mysteries
3. Chores
4. For Reverend Green
5. Fireworks
6. #1
7. Winter Wonder Land
8. Cuckoo Cuckoo
9. Derek

Check out this live video of the band playing Cuckoo, Cuckoo. Mmmmm.... Good ol' AC:

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Austin City Limits Line-Up Revealed

Well, in our fervent attempt to be the first blog reporting on the full ACL line-up, I have sat with bated breathe in front of my laptop, reloading the ACL page. Its finally here!

YES! Its amazing as always (but not as jam packed as it seemed to be las year)! Here are our picks:

Bob Dylan and His Band, Bjork, Arcade Fire, Wilco, My Morning Jacket, M.I.A., Spoon, The Decemberists, Regina Spektor, LCD Soundsystem, Devotchka, Andrew Bird, Ghostland Observatory, Peter Bjorn and John, Yo La Tengo, Blonde Redhead, Midlake, and Fionn Regan.

I believe we were the first! The thing is, that the festival seems to have less acts that we would enjoy this year than last, but the names are a whole lot bigger. I mean, M.I.A.? Come on. That's one that I will be camping out for all day to see.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Holly 'Prince' Billy??

Who knew that Will Oldham, aka Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, is in a motion picture playing all across the country? Well I'm sure that plenty of people did, but I was astonished to find out about it. While browsing the movie selection above the ticket counter at the Angelika theater in Dallas at Mockingbird Station, I noticed his name on the poster for the movie and had my girlfriend check to see if that really was him, and sure enough, it is. The movie is called Old Joy and looks pretty good from what the previews reveal. Clocking in at only 76 minutes, its pretty short for a movie these days. No, we didn't see the movie (ticket prices are kind of steep for two students) but it sure looks worth seeing. The films soundtrack was scored by Yo La Tengo and the music in the previews sounds pretty fitting for the film.

"Old Joy is a minimalist story of friendship, loss and alienation in the Bush era. For Mark (Daniel London), the weekend outing offers a respite from the pressure of his imminent fatherhood; for Kurt (Will Oldham), it is part of a long series of carefree adventures." - Taken from Wikipedia.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Austin City Limits aka Christmas in September

Well folks, this is going to be the first of one of our many posts regarding Austin City Limits, taking place this year September 14-16 in Zilker Park. The line-up has been a closely guarded secret, talked about on the ACL message boards by fanatics who searched artists' Myspaces in order to find out who was playing this year. Today, (I guess?) the good people at ACL put up a crazy crossword for fans to decypher. I just printed it out and would not be able to figure it out if I hadn't already seen some of the artists that The Austinist posted on their website. I have to give some props to their team of CIA code-breakers that were able to crack the crossword.

The names to come out of the crossword are!:
The White Stripes, Björk, The Decemberists, Peter, Bjorn, and John, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Robert Earl Keen, Joss Stone, Andrew Bird, Rose Hill Drive, Gotan Project, Indigo Girls, Heartless Bastards, Augustana, Beau Soleil, and Andy Palacio.

Those that were already confirmed:

Blonde Redhead, Kings Of Leon, Raul Malo, Stephen Marley, Ben Kweller, Rev. Horton Heat, Asleep At The Wheel, The Little Ones, Charlie Musselwhite, The Jellydots, and Sara Hickman.

This year seems to be shaping up to be a killer of a festival. I'm particularly excited to see the smaller acts that will be playing the three days of the festival. My wishlist includes (but certainly not limited to): Animal Collective/ Panda Bear, Explosions in the Sky (again), Arcade Fire, Akron/Family, Broken Social Scene, Cold War Kids, Ghostland Observatory, Devendra Banhart, Grizzly Bear, Girl Talk, Sonic Youth, M.I.A., Wolf Parade (again), and plenty of others. To be honest, I don't know why I just made that list because it is far too short, but an optimistic blogger can dream can't he?

The festival is seemingly even more accessible than in previous years with their addition of printable tickets, cheaper prices to start with (sorry to those who didn't get the mythical $50 (!?!?) tickets or even the $120 tickets (those are prices of three day passes and they are currently at $145), and no service charges!

Get a ticket here!