Friday 18 Apr
CD reviews

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0

SXSW: Thus: Owls / Dva

Stately indie and wild post-rock

By Stephen Carradini March 15th, 2012

Thus Owls
Credits: Stephen Carradini

My attempts at seeing only upbeat music were foiled by the very next band, Thus: Owls. The moment they produced an autoharp during set-up, I knew it was going to be a stately, beautiful set, and indeed it was. (Sidenote: Autoharp seems to be an overlooked rock instrument in our current era.) The band was fronted by a woman with a ethereal, majestic voice; Sharon Van Etten immediately came to mind. The band itself was a ghostly, shapeshifting, mellifluous thing: The National was the first touchstone. I heard several of their tunes, then split for my most anticipated set of the day: Dva.

After showing up early for Dva's set and listening to Austin's own Field Dress (Dan Deacon gone chillwave, with some performance art thrown in), I settled in for the Czech-singing brother/sister duo. They're not a folk duo in the traditional sense of the word, however; they use loop pedals extensively to create wild waves of sound. If Sigur Ros were peppy and wide-eyed, their music might turn out like the involved, exuberant tunes Dva created. The duo used non-standard instruments as easily as familiar ones: acoustic guitar, saxophone, clarinet and voice were employed with as much candor as buzz from rubbing quarter-inch cords against skin, animal noises, and one chord of toy piano.

Dva creating a loop out of feedback buzz.
Credits: Stephen Carradini

The conviction with which Dva pulled off everything was impressive: in "Tropical Animal," the woman ran through an incredible array of spot-on animal noises as punctuation to the musical crescendo; in another band's hands it may have felt campy, but Dva meant it. It was a rousing success. Their song "Russian Elector" (I think that's what I heard), was marked by frenetic sounds and lines; with the loop pedal, the band was free to make vocal noises and loop them as percussion. They were remarkably skilled at producing distinctly different percussion sounds. Throw on top of this a truly interpretative dance, with the woman waving her arms and legs in a frantic, wild manner, and the song became truly fascinating and memorable.

Dva's melodic and compositional skill were top-shelf; the tunes they cranked out were brilliant and moving. If you're into post-rock, post-pop, composition, looping, or really unique tunes, you need to check out Dva; their set is in the running for "best of fest" already.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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