South By Southwest

SXSW Song of the Day: Sam Eagle, Whistleblower

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Photo Credit: Jasper Fell-Clark

The kazoo is an under-utilized instrument in the world of serious music. Simply imagining the possibility of Kathleen Battle singing Mein Herr Marquis from Die Fledermaus over a kazoo would be sacrilegious. That ludicrous over-layer of anatine vocalization seems destined for nothing more than comedic effects. Not that millions of youtube videos have not attempted, but what really would happen if your music is strewn through with kazoo?

There is, truthfully, only scant use of duck sounds to link passages here. And as time goes on, while still recognizably duck in essence, they evolve into more rounded individuals worthy of holding our attention. I have no idea whether any of the ducks above are even at all tangentially related to the sounds mixed into those of Essex’s 19 yr-old multi-instrumentalist Sam Eagle. As in some of his other tracks such as 15/8, Whistleblower (again, I caution, no credibly established relation to kazoos), Eagle channels a much faster, lighter, more care-free and jazzy version of Nick Hakim. But just like the latter, I find this is no longer about hitting structures or fulfilling hooks, but more about the sonic journey. I had no idea I would have a new found respect for ducks just by listening to indie jazz. I also have no idea why my head is quickly up to the wazoo in images of a certain stern-eyed blue puppet. Good tunes. But wrong bird, wrong bird.

Sam Eagle will be showcased at SXSW 2019; venues TBD.

SXSW Song Of The Day: Chastity – Children

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Photo Credit: LTD Plus Whitby

Every year at SXSW, there’s a fairly large contingent of Canadian acts that make the trek to Austin, with major cities like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver all well represented. But who, you may ask, will rep the suburbs? Chastity, that’s who.

Yes, the Whitby-based band, fronted by Brandon Williams, will be doing the Durham region proud at SouthBy this year, showcasing the tunes off their debut full length Death Lust. “Children” is one of the standout tracks off of that album with its big, pummeling guitar sound bringing to mind the likes of Hum or Smashing Pumpkins. Check out the video below:

SXSW Song Of The Day: Drinking Boys and Girls Choir – Keep Drinking

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“Keep drinking!” It’s not just a phrase that could pass as a motto for partiers at SXSW, where the booze has been known to flow pretty freely, but also the title track from Korean skate-punk trio Drinking Boys And Girls Choir‘s latest album.

Clocking in at just under a minute, the song is practically over before it’s had much of a chance to begin, but in that short amount of time, it manages to make a pretty strong impression, as singer/bassist Meena delivers a few short but sweet lines over the blasting drums and NOFX-style riffing provided by her bandmates.

Keep Drinking is out March 8 on Damnably Records. March 8 is also the day that SXSW begins. Coincidence? I think not.

SXSW Song Of The Day: Tallies – Easy Enough

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Toronto band Tallies make jangly, buoyant dream pop reminiscent of The Cocteau Twins and The Sundays, with singer/guitarist Sarah Cogan’s voice especially bringing to mind that of Sundays’ singer Harriet Wheeler. This is, of course, a very good thing.

The band just released its self-titled debut album this past Friday (via Hand Drawn Dracula) and will soon be heading out on a tour in support of it that culminates in a stop at SXSW in March. In the meantime, the band will be playing a hometown record release show at The Drake on February 1 alongside Sahara and Carmen Elle. Go check that show out if you get a chance and check out the video for “Easy Enough” below: