SXSW Song of the Day: Saint Sister, Causing Trouble

Posted on by Gary in Everything, Song of the Day, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

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Adding the adjective Celtic to any modern music automagically evokes that most popular of icons in the “New Age” of 1990, harmonizing on an island clifftop as “Orinoco Flow” plays over the airwaves, whilst I was living on an island without those same airwaves. Sad, regarding that second bit.

New Age is unfortunately a bastardized term that could taint many music genres performed by Irish women for which philistines lack the attention span to digest. Thankfully, Dublin-based Saint Sister is unlikely to be boring even to those readers of a bourgeois disposition, which of course we have none, so my bad. Having released their first EP, Madrid, just two years ago, the sisters Morgan MacIntyre and Gemma Doherty were promptly named one of the Best Irish Acts of 2017 by the Irish Times. This is high praise that has been sustained by appearances in festivals like Reeperbahn and Glastonbury, as well as major broadcasting centers like ABC and BBC1. Very exciting stuff, indeed.

“Causing Trouble” is the first track off their next album. Their songs are characterized by clear, crisp, yet delicate vocals with a distinctly Celtic and Nordic melody. The lack of a purposeful harmony is refreshing, as it steals a peek almost naturally, yet when you least expect it. I’m determined NOT to read the lyrics here, however, because “Causing Trouble” is the last thing on my mind when I hear this. Paired with a backdrop of simple electronics, it is just an atmospheric and cleansing soundscape that recalls a rejuvenation spell in Skyrim (perhaps I’ve completely destroying the imagery at this point). I also recommend “Blood Moon” from the first EP, which is a bit more sparse but also more emotional. Looking forward to seeing them live, as well as taking a stroll on a beach with this buoying my state of mind.

SXSW Song Of The Day: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – Someplace

Posted on by Paul in Song of the Day, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

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Come this March, a whole lot of acts will be descending upon Austin, Texas for SXSW and as per usual, several Torontonians will be playing, including (just to name a few) Greys, Beams, Frigs, Lido Pimienta, The Weather Station, U.S. Girls and Yamantaka//Sonic Titan.

The former Montrealers, now Toronto-based, will be releasing their new album Dirt on March 23rd and will be previewing songs from the album at SXSW before starting a North American tour. Interestingly to me, the tour includes a stop in Sarnia, Ontario. Does Sarnia even get that many touring bands? I feel like they don’t get as many, so you’d better check this one out, Sarnians. Are they called Sarnians? I’m pretty sure they are, but that also kind of sounds like something out of Lord Of The Rings so maybe not. Any Sarnia folk please advise.

“Someplace,” the first single off of Dirt, starts out relatively serene before blossoming into big, doomy, epic heaviness for the homestretch. Check it out below and check them out at SXSW or Sarnia or wherever if you get the chance.

SXSW Song of the Day: Jerry Williams – Mother

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

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According to her SXSW bio, Jerry Williams is an unsigned, self funded 21 year old singer/songwriter from Portsmouth. Curse those millenials for being so damn self sufficient and driven. I didn’t even have my first job until I was 21 and this girl here is playing showcases at SXSW already. Her tracks, from what I have heard of her, are delightful pop fun and she must have some good friends in film schools because her videos are all of pretty good quality for a self funded artist.

Check her out! She is playing at an unspecified time in Austin during SXSW.

Concert Review: Stanley Jordan, January 13, Blues Alley

Posted on by Celeste in Concerts | Leave a comment

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Watching Stanley Jordan play guitar is like watching water flow. It’s a fluid motion. It’s entrancing and calming and enrapturing all at once. It carries an elemental energy. It’s a force of nature.

Jordan, a Chicago native, took the stage at Blues Alley, a cozy and intimate club down a small alley in Georgetown, and proceeded to fill the venue with music in a way that I didn’t know was possible. I don’t play guitar myself, but my basic understanding was that you place the notes with one hand, and strum with the other. Not if you’re Stanley Jordan. Jordan plays with a two-handed tapping technique. Meaning that he both taps and plays the note with the same finger. Meaning that he plays with about twice the speed of other guitarists. When imagining the speed of his fingers, think classical violin player rather than guitarist. He also sometimes simultaneously plays piano while he’s doing this.

Jordan made his way on Saturday night through “Voodoo Child” by Jimi Hendrix and “Fragile” by Sting, as well as a number of classical covers, alternating between guitar, guitar/piano, and guitar/piano/singing. Each piece was about six minutes long – enough time to get totally lost in the song, and if you looked around the club everyone had this vaguely amazed/starstruck/mesmerized/dreamy look as they watched Jordan play. You could’ve heard a pin drop – nobody wanted to miss a single note.

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