Song Of The Day: Genghis Tron – Pyrocene

Posted on by Paul in Song of the Day | Leave a comment

When we last heard from Genghis Tron, with 2008’s Board Up The House, words such as ‘beautiful’ and ‘meditative’ would not likely have been used as descriptors of the band’s sound, which at the time was much more abrasive and aggressive. Fast forward to 2021 and the band is back with a new album and a new sound with Dream Weapon.

While they can’t really be classified as a metal band anymore at this point, there is still a certain sort of heaviness to be found in Dream Weapon (and with the addition of a live drummer for the first time in the band’s history, they’ve certainly added some heft to the proceedings). But by taking things in a new direction, Genghis Tron has produced something just as compelling and powerful in its own way.

Check out the video for latest single “Pyrocene” below.

Song Of The Day: The Bats – Beneath The Visor

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Released late last year on Flying Nun Records, Foothills is the tenth studio album by New Zealand’s The Bats. It’s a solid addition to the band’s catalogue, and apparently The Bats liked it enough that they recently released an instrumental version of the album on Bandcamp. Which I guess would probably work quite well if you felt like doing an evening of Bats karaoke.

If, however, Bats karaoke is not your thing, you should still check out the video for “Beneath The Visor” (with vocals included) below.

Livestream Concert Review: Billy Strings, March 26, ACL Live at the Moody Theater

Posted on by Paul in Concerts | Leave a comment

The notion of musicians touring around and playing to empty rooms across the country while the audience stays home and watches on their screens is very much a sign of the unique times we’re living in, and it is also most definitely an odd one.

But that’s just what Billy Strings has been doing, having just wrapped up a tour of livestreamed shows from iconic venues across the U.S. that culminated in this past Friday night’s show at Austin’s Moody Theater. While I haven’t seen more than a handful of livestreams over the past year, our recent coverage of SXSW got me back in the habit of writing live(ish) music reviews, so I figured why not keep the streak going and keep it Austin-based (even if I can’t be in Austin this year) by checking out the show.

Taking to the stage with his three piece band (made up of banjo, mandolin, and upright bass), Billy Strings started things off strong with “Secrets”, its lyrics such as “we’re all a dollar short and every one of us is running out of track” certainly resonating with the times.

Strings and his band played an impressive show full of originals and covers of tunes such as “Ole Slew Foot”, “San Antonio Rose” and “Big River” that highlighted their incredible musicianship. Strings also gave each of his bandmates a moment in the spotlight, with each of them taking lead vocals on a song during the night.

While Billy Strings would probably best be described as a bluegrass musician, he’d hardly be considered a purist when it comes to influences. I hear a lot of Tony Rice in Strings’ sound, and like the late bluegrass legend, Strings incorporates a lot of different elements from various genres into his playing, from the jazzy “newgrass” sound pioneered by Rice to a lot of psychedelic influences and even some straight up rock. All of those influences were made evident over the course of the evening, as Strings and his band ran through two full sets before ending things off for the night with a simple, “See y’all later. Thanks so much for hanging out with us.”

SXSW Online 2021: The Recap

Posted on by Paul in South By Southwest | Leave a comment

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SXSW Online 2021 is now in the books. It was a good time, despite not really being quite like SXSW in a normal year. As usual, the Panic Manual crew convened to break down the good, the bad, and the lack of breakfast tacos.

Best Act?

Paul: All the acts on Damnably’s showcase were great, but Grrrl Gang especially stood out for me. With extremely catchy melodies, this poppy indie rock band out of Indonesia really charmed me.

Ricky: The Chairs! Really good and unexpected, this Taiwanese band’s retro lounge pop really captured it for me. Great production and good tunes. I’ve been listening to them ever since their showcase.

Gary: Production value mattered a lot more this year and I did not see too many sets, so it’s not really a fair fight … but TEKE::TEKE was very fun.

Favourite Moment?

Gary: Watching a fictional Ninjababy melt away.

Paul: Norway takes the prize for most impressive showcase that really made the most of the format. This wasn’t just a performance video – it was a full on film.

Ricky: When I realized that my TV had the app and I didn’t have to cast my browser to the TV.

Biggest Disappointment?

Gary: Not being in Austin. For once I miss sore shoulders and tired feet.

Ricky: Black Country, New Road sounds like an over ambitious school project. There is something there, but playing one song for their set was a bit disappointing.

Paul: I didn’t even realize this until after the fact, but in retrospect, it was a bit of a disappointment how small the Canadian contingent was at this year’s festival compared to past years. Did the bulk of the Canadian music industry just decide it wasn’t worth the effort if they can’t head down to Austin and gorge themselves on tacos? If that’s the case, I guess I can’t totally blame them.

It’s weird to complain about this since we here at the Panic Manual have an unofficial rule (which we almost always break) of not going out of our way to see too many Canuck acts that we can usually see easily enough back home, but it was still a little disappointing. Of the ones that did show up though, the aforementioned TEKE::TEKE and No Joy both put on enjoyable shows.

SXSW was definitely a bit different this year. So, what did you think ?

Paul: As I watched the various showcases and talks throughout the week, I was reminded of the old ad campaign – “Is it live or is it Memorex?” SXSW Online definitely veered more towards the side of Memorex. While there was still a lot to like about the festival in online form, there was something lost in the way of spontaneity and obviously, not actually being in Austin takes away a bit from the whole experience. On the other hand, it was still great to discover new music and I somehow felt more free to just check out random things I might not have had I been there in person. And I did appreciate the fact that I can now revisit most of the music showcases and panels and check out stuff I didn’t see first time around – I always leave SXSW with at least a couple of acts I missed out on seeing. Still, let’s hope we can get back there next year. And have some breakfast tacos.

Gary: If remote SXSW is to persist in some form, the distribution model has to change – and not just from the organizers but from myself as attendee as well. Absent physicality also means other distractions that seriously impeded my participation in and enjoyment of showcases. I might consider taking time off next time, even IF it is still virtual. I most sincerely hope not.

Ricky: I miss SXSW terribly. SXSW Online was still good for discovering new bands, but I miss everything about it so much.

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