South By Southwest

SXSW Review: Rose Elinor Dougall, March 17, Galaxy Room

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

Panic Manual Rose Elinor Dougall

Austin – I will freely admit that I was pretty much in love with Rose Elinor Dougall the first time I saw her perform live with the Pipettes. Sure that trio had two other blonde bombshells on the roster but for me, Rose, with her pretty eyes and cute retro look was definitely the one that caught my eye. Luckily, she also had a sensational voice and anyone who listened to the Pipettes would admit that she had the most talent out of the trio. Much to my (and many, I’m sure) disappointment, The Pipettes pretty much dissassembled last year. They have two new members but it’s not the same..ask the Sugababes. After the demise of the band (or maybe even before), Rose Elinor Dougall decided to do the solo thing and went to Austin to showcase her own music. I was there to check it out.

When the schedule for SXSW came out, the 12 am time slot on Wednesday night was one of my bigger conflicts – Spoon was also playing at the same time, and it’s hard to resist watching that band in their own hometown. Luckily, this conflict (like many) was solved for me when I saw the lineup for Spoon, which was about three blocks long. Arriving at the Galaxy Room, it did not surprise me to see a pretty empty room awaiting Rose Elinor Dougall. The Pipettes were pretty much a novelty pop act(despite their pretty awesome album) and that is a tough sell for an elitist indie crowd such as SXSW, where high concept math rock would probably garner more attention then pure pop candy.

Shortly after midnight (and an overly long soundcheck), Rose and her band came out on stage. There was a drummer, a guitarist (with crazy rock hair) and arguably the hottest bassist ever. Rose herself was manning a leather jacket was slotted comfortably behind a keyboard. I guess the leather jacket is to represent rebelliousness and rock n roll or something. I remember when Justin Timberlake had that single after he left n’sync and was wearing a leather jacket, to symbolize the exact same thing. Basically, if you are leaving a pop act, buy a leather jacket.

“I’m glad their school let them come on this field trip!”
– Derek

The band was fairly young, but their set consisted of music with influences from 60s pop music and 80s new wave sound. I still don’t know how they get these influences as I’m sure they were born in the late 80s. I guess they had cool parents. All the music did feature one thing – Rose’s strong voice. It’s got a sweet, yet strong sound to it and it is highly featured in each tune. Like most Brit singers, she delivers each word with a certain amount of clarity and slight accent that makes it so good. The 30-40 minute set featured previous released singles Another Version of Pop Song and Start/Stop/Synchro, and also some music from what her debut solo album Without Why.

So I guess the question that begs to be answered is whether or not this was as good as the Pipettes debut, which was fantastic. I would say the answer is no, although we’ll have to wait for the album to come out to fully determine. What I will say is that while the Pipettes album was wonderful, it was what it was. This new solo work by Rose Elinor Dougall definitely explores more sonic regions then the Pipettes album and lays the groundwork for future growth, which is great news.

SXSW Review: The Boxer Rebellion, Maggie Mae’s Rooftop, March 19

Posted on by Alli in Everything, South By Southwest | 1 Comment

boxer rebellion

Austin – Don’t mind me if I get a little too real here for a sec, but a couple days into SXSW I developed a pretty nasty cold. I spent all day Friday in the hotel room trying to recuperate just so that I could go out that night to see The Boxer Rebellion. They were basically the main reason I wanted to come along for the ride, as they released one of my favorite albums of last year.

I found myself surrounded by a fairly unfavorable crowd at this show, as Sum 41 (?!?!?) were set to be playing later on.. by unfavorable, I mean teenage girls and drunk frat boys. I was able to ignore them once they went on, so that has to say something good.

The Boxer Rebellion come off as a very gracious and professional band. I can’t say enough about how enjoyable the show was; I completely forgot how crappy I was feeling while they played, and came away with enough energy to enjoy the rest of my evening. Singer Nathan Nicholson puts everything he has into performing and it’s very genuine. The same goes for the rest of the band, but he is really an excellent frontman. I especially enjoyed the addition of extra percussion on “Flashing Red Light Means Go”. If you’re like me and you enjoy good British rock with a touch of falsetto now and then and great, sometimes hauntingly beautiful guitar sounds, you will love this band.

boxer rebellion

SXSW Review: Dum Dum Girls & The XX, French Legation Museum, March 18

Posted on by Alli in Everything, South By Southwest | 1 Comment

dum dum girls

Austin – It seemed like everyone attending SXSW came to this particular show. The XX are easily the most hyped band here at the fest this year; I’d heard quite a bit about Dum Dum Girls too.

LA’s Dum Dum Girls are self-described as their own genre, “blissed-out buzzsaw”.. basically to me it translated as a cross between the Ramones and just about any shoegaze band you can think of. It’s something I’d want to listen to on a chill day at the beach. Very enjoyable.

the xx

The XX come from southwest London, I’m not sure what to say about them that hasn’t already been said. They’re young and I got the vibe that they’re a little overwhelmed by their fairly sudden fame. It just seemed weird to hear the gigantic, mostly drunk crowd cheering like they were in a football stadium after any of their sexy, understated songs. I enjoyed them quite a bit but I think it was just the wrong environment to see them in.

the xx

SXSW Days 1 & 2, Quicky Ricky Reviews

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Mohawk Rooftop

Austin – It has come to my realization that I will not be able to write long ass reviews for every band I see. So here are some quicky Ricky reviews.

Chris Shiflett – The man best known as the lead guitarist for the Foo Fighters also played Monday night’s British Embassy night. Why? I don’t know, maybe he likes soccer or something. Nothing about his set really impressed me, although with his laid back demeanor, beard, flannel shirt and the panty removing acoustic guitar, I am sure soccer moms everywhere are already taking their minivans to Walmart in order to buy his upcoming release.

We Are Scientists
– This band was older then I thought, although I am older then I thought as well. Either way, they played the interactive closing party. There set consisted of guitar driven power pop songs. I thought they could have benefitted from a synth players at times. They played a couple of their hit songs during their set, as well as showing off some new material. The crowd was quite into the band, especially one girl, who was clearly super drunk and semi passed out at the front of the stage.

Matias Aguayo – This guy was a one man wrecking crew. Using a variety of instruments including flutes, snares, tamborines and electric gadgets, the French/Spanish dj put down some tribal beats and was extremely impressive. I was equally impressed at myself for taking the advice from some dude wearing an Old Milwaukee hat, tilted sideways.

Toro Y Moi – One of the biggest chillwave artists to break out in 2010, the feedback heavy sounds coming from Toro Y Moi wasn’t really impressing me, as much as the bunch of hipsters doing interpretive dancing to his semi smooth sound does. A bit of a downer, to be honest.

The Law – Playing in front of about 8 people, this Scottish band made the best of the situation by delivering an energy filled set of guitar driven indie rock. They had a light playfullness to their sound that reminded me of something like the Fratellis or latter day Supergrass, I think.

She & Him – I only got into the last 4 songs of their set at Cedar Courtyard, although I did manage here my favorite S&H song – In the Sun. Zooey Deschanel’s voice delivered as promised and the rest of the band played nicely in the background. There was no photographs allowed and Zooey had on a large hat that she may or may not stole from the Lord of the Rings movie set.

Cate Le Bon – Stopped by to see this Welsh folkish/psychedelic singer songwriter. I don’t know much about her except she was the guest vocalist on Neon Neon’s I Lust You. Her laid back set was just what I needed to calm me down after an exciting Thursday afternoon.