South By Southwest

SXSW Preview: Kaleo – “All The Pretty Girls”

Posted on by Gary in Everything, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

Kaleo, which means “the sound” in Hawaiian (as Google unerringly told me), hails from a suburb near Reykjavik, Iceland. Which means your brain might automagically connect them with Of Monsters and Men. But on this single Kaleo gently lays down the divider like you would for fellow shoppers at Whole Foods, and marks a territory that’s light, but more melancholy than their peers.

“All the Pretty Girls” deserves an instant promotion to your permanent playlist. However, it is a little disconcerting when Kaleo admits in their SXSW interview that the promotion single is very different from what they typically sound like. I’ve had a few soured sets at SxSW when the expectation drifts far from the reality. The lyrics aren’t the strongest. If I’m being literal, line after line of “Won’t you lay me” recalls scenes from high-school classrooms with pheromones oozing out of teenagers, jarring in light of the beautiful atmosphere of the song. Look past it (and it’s easily done), their sound is enjoyable.

Kaleo starts their SXSW at the ever cozy Lamberts at 11pm on March 18th.

SXSW Preview: Cody Brooks

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

cody brooks

Nashville’s Cody Brooks may not have experienced the same sort of trials and tribulations that the old time musicians from back in the day did, but he has led a life somewhat outside of the norm – living off the grid, travelling around, occasionally sleeping in barns and once getting bitten by a copperhead snake and sweating out the poison in a 3 day fever dream. That last one does admittedly sound kind of badass – the closest I’ve ever come to that was having a bad reaction to some cold medicine once.

Brooks’ debut EP Handshake was produced by former Uncle Tupelo/Wilco drummer Ken Coomer and highlights his bluesy growl. He’ll be playing at Stubb’s for the BMI ‘Howdy Texas’ showcase on Tuesday, March 17 @ 6pm. In the meantime, check out Brooks’ “Shadow Banjo No. 1″ video:

SXSW Preview: Jukebox the Ghost – “The Great Unknown”

Posted on by Gary in Everything, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

So it’s been 4 years since I moved down to Baltimore from the Center of the Universe (Toronto). Surely I’m now qualified to introduce the “power”-pop act Jukebox the Ghost as a local band. I first heard them in 2012 via their third album Safe Travels, and saw them at Mt. Royal station in Baltimore during ArtScape in 2013. Their set was well controlled and well-received, though I think the crowd reaction didn’t match the potential energy in their music – too bad the set wasn’t at Foggy-Bottom. They won’t be short on the right audience at SxSW, though. Their new single The Great Unknown is a fairly accurate representation: simple and effective delivery of solid music. Our DC correspondent Halley agrees – see this glowing review of Jukebox’s recent show at 9:30 Club. I expect good things from them in Austin.

Jukebox the Ghost will play several showcases, starting at the Bungalow at 9:50pm on March 17.

SxSW preview: Homeboy Sandman – “Rain”

Posted on by Gary in Everything, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

Baltimore – If you’ve listened to Radiolab, you may consider me “Straight Outta Johns Hopkins”. My point is, I seldom listen to hip-hop or rap. That’s pretty much established given my record with classical, instrumental, folk and other genres. Yes. All the soft stuff. So y’all have no reason to believe that I have any basis to recommend outside of those realms, much less my opinion when I say this song is good.

But there it is. My lack of historical appreciation for rap apparently doesn’t hinder the universality of music like the impermeable genre definitions and Pandora channels do. In “Rain,” you’re herded along by the rhythm to simmering build-ups toward each chorus, the cold/factual foreground grievances that change while the same theme plays out underneath (which I can guess but never confirm that it was meant to signify a social backdrop that hardly improved while manifold problems surface). The contents aside, the ’90s, video-game construction of the song is just, well, apropos. The album is from 2012, but as long as it’s new to you, it shouldn’t matter. Homeboy Sandman was also featured on Perspective, another song that I liked a lot.

Homeboy Sandman will be at the Empire Garage at 10:30PM on March 20.