Sunday 20 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: Gold Beach / Avalanche City

Pensive indie rock and enthusiastic acoustic pop

By Stephen Carradini March 16th, 2012

Gold Beach
Credits: Stephen Carradini

Gold Beach's indie-rock has a pensive, moody sound that is often associated with The National. It's a pretty hip sound right now, but Gold Beach pulls it off well. They augment the usual instruments with a cello, and that makes a big difference in their sound. They also have M83-esque keys in some tunes, making for some unique textures. Their closer "Skin of Yours" used both elements to great effect, creating a memorable, evocative tune.

Avalanche City is one of my favorite bands, so I was stoked to be able to see them at SXSW. They're from New Zealand, so it's not every day that I'm able to swing out and catch a show. (Although they are touring with fun. after their run here at SXSW, so maybe I will be able to see them more often!) The trio composes charming, enthusiastic, beautiful music out of instruments that should give away their style: acoustic guitar, two glockenspiels, accordion, banjolin, keys and vocals from both genders. Imagine all the indie glee of Death Cab for Cutie's Transatlanticism funneled into indie-folk arrangements, and you're near where Avalanche City lands.

Avalanche City
Credits: Stephen Carradini

Their songs are almost all love songs, but not in the sappy, goopy sort of way. They're all tied into the love of life, adventures (their album is Our New Life Above the Ground), and seeing the world through a wide-eyed wonder. Their upbeat melodies are instantly arresting, and their arrangements are beautifully executed. I sung along with almost every tune, and had a blast. The band sounds just as good live as they do on record, even with the slightly modified arrangements. It was in the top five best sets I've seen at SXSW so far. If you're a fan of happy music, acoustic music, Ingrid Michaelson, or charming indie twee-type stuff, apply within. They're on my list of bands that will be maxing out SXSW showcases next year.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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