Song Of The Day: Chubby and the Gang – All Along The Uxbridge Road (SXSW Online)

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The first ever virtual edition of SXSW (and hopefully last – let’s be real, online ain’t quite the same) just took place a little over a month ago with acts from around the world playing prerecorded sets from various locations, and just recently, SXSW has started to release some of these recordings to the wider public.

While there were many memorable sets I caught the first time around, there were obviously a few that slipped my attention at the time, including this perfromance by London’s Chubby and the Gang. Coming in at just under two minutes, “All Along The Uxbridge Road” is a bracing bit of punk rock that, like most of what I saw during SXSW Online, just has me missing live music and hoping I can see this kind of stuff live again soon.

Check out the band’s British Music Embassy performance of “All Along The Uxbridge Road” below.

Song Of The Day: Genghis Tron – Pyrocene

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When we last heard from Genghis Tron, with 2008’s Board Up The House, a word such as ‘beautiful’ would not likely have been used as a descriptor of the band’s sound, which at the time was much more abrasive and aggressive. Fast forward to 2021 and the band is back with a new album and a new sound with Dream Weapon.

While they can’t really be classified as a metal band anymore at this point, there is still a certain sort of heaviness to be found in Dream Weapon (and with the addition of a live drummer for the first time in the band’s history, they’ve certainly added some heft to the proceedings). But by taking things in a new direction, Genghis Tron has produced something just as compelling and powerful in its own way.

Check out the video for latest single “Pyrocene” below.

Song Of The Day: The Bats – Beneath The Visor

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Released late last year on Flying Nun Records, Foothills is the tenth studio album by New Zealand’s The Bats. It’s a solid addition to the band’s catalogue, and apparently The Bats liked it enough that they recently released an instrumental version of the album on Bandcamp. Which I guess would probably work quite well if you felt like doing an evening of Bats karaoke.

If, however, Bats karaoke is not your thing, you should still check out the video for “Beneath The Visor” (with vocals included) below.

Livestream Concert Review: Billy Strings, March 26, ACL Live at the Moody Theater

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The notion of musicians touring around and playing to empty rooms across the country while the audience stays home and watches on their screens is very much a sign of the unique times we’re living in, and it is also most definitely an odd one.

But that’s just what Billy Strings has been doing, having just wrapped up a tour of livestreamed shows from iconic venues across the U.S. that culminated in this past Friday night’s show at Austin’s Moody Theater. While I haven’t seen more than a handful of livestreams over the past year, our recent coverage of SXSW got me back in the habit of writing live(ish) music reviews, so I figured why not keep the streak going and keep it Austin-based (even if I can’t be in Austin this year) by checking out the show.

Taking to the stage with his three piece band (made up of banjo, mandolin, and upright bass), Billy Strings started things off strong with “Secrets”, its lyrics such as “we’re all a dollar short and every one of us is running out of track” certainly resonating with the times.

Strings and his band played an impressive show full of originals and covers of tunes such as “Ole Slew Foot”, “San Antonio Rose” and “Big River” that highlighted their incredible musicianship. Strings also gave each of his bandmates a moment in the spotlight, with each of them taking lead vocals on a song during the night.

While Billy Strings would probably best be described as a bluegrass musician, he’d hardly be considered a purist when it comes to influences. I hear a lot of Tony Rice in Strings’ sound, and like the late bluegrass legend, Strings incorporates a lot of different elements from various genres into his playing, from the jazzy “newgrass” sound pioneered by Rice to a lot of psychedelic influences and even some straight up rock. All of those influences were made evident over the course of the evening, as Strings and his band ran through two full sets before ending things off for the night with a simple, “See y’all later. Thanks so much for hanging out with us.”