Though her SXSW bio page may say that she’s from Austin, we Canadians know where Whitney Rose is really from. Regardless of her origins though, the P.E.I. born and previously Toronto-based musician does a great job of capturing that authentic old school country sound to an extent that I’m sure a lot of Texans wouldn’t mind claiming her as their own. Unless they’re one of those “welcome to Austin, don’t move here” types, in which case, they probably won’t be in town for SXSW anyways, so whatever.
Check out ’50s-style slow dance number “Bluebonnets For My Baby” from Whitney Rose’s latest release South Texas Suite below:
As the 9:00pm start time for Saturday night’s sold out Agnes Obel show approached, the bulk of the crowd were surprisingly still waiting in line, literally left out in the cold and wondering what the hold-up was all about. Once everyone was inside and the show was finally underway, Agnes Obel apologized for the delay and explained what had happened. She announced that she and her band would be performing an “extra acoustic set” due to a pool of water that had affected the synthesizer and mellotron prior to the show. Obel didn’t seem to be too put off by the mishap, though she did take a bit of a shot at the venue, noting, “It’s not the Great Hall, it’s the leaky hall.”
Obel and her three piece band sounded fantastic – had she not announced that they were playing a somewhat stripped down set out of necessity, one might have assumed it was an intentional choice. In fact, some of the more impressive moments came not from the instrumentation, but when all four women onstage were harmonizing together. Obel herself may not have agreed, noting later in the set that she didn’t know what was going on with her voice due to a “crazy night” the night before in Ottawa where their bus had frozen over. I certainly didn’t notice any vocal issues though, and I don’t think too many in attendance did either. Technical difficulties aside, Obel and her band still managed to put on a great performance, with the dark beauty of her compositions coming through clearly in the slightly reworked arrangements.
Late in 2014, Ricky mused laconically about where the 70s-energy of Temples would be in 2017. Let’s review: “The Golden Throne” from Temples was a compelling track from the moment it opened with an exotic guitar theme. It never let up and held an extremely tight composition throughout the rest of the disco-hued track. Well, here we are now and I’m happy to report that they aren’t bagging groceries, and they’re not going anywhere fast.
That was a compliment. Still dishing out their brand of “name theme, expand theme, and radiate”, we find that they aren’t limited to courting throwbacks. In the new track “Certainty,” Temples wears a new-found joy that conjures some of the same magic, had the jingle from Futurama’s Game of Tones been piled into phyllo pastry layers in a confectionery. Despite the new sound, you can forget about finding a signature. Apparently, their stamp is not in a melody or tempo, but the metaphysical sense of “GLORY”. I believe that’s two for two now, and I only hope they continue to write along this trajectory. Yes, I borrowed from Ricky shamelessly without trying to figure out why their music is interesting. Bite my shiny metal amygdala.
I have had a limited sampling of German pop music, introduced to me by a German (whose first choice when working late was, oddly, Commodores’ “Nightshift”…) and while I’m not well-versed enough in music to identify or explain it, the opening minute of “Precipice” instantly reminded me of Germany.
Curiously, then, Sun and the Wolf is composed of three Berlin transplants from New Zealand. It may be the cautious and deliberate pace, or the minimalist sound space. And of course once you set eyes on the style of the music video, the diagnosis, “hell will have to freeze over before North America considers this kosher” is all but cemented. It is nonetheless an interesting and oddly addicting track. I just can’t agree with the leotards though. Never leotards.