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: Oberhofer/Lord Huron/King Charles


Cheery pop songs abound

By Stephen Carradini March 18th, 2011
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Heading back to Sixth street, I grabbed a Philly cheese steak (my second of the fest from the same vendor; I am pretty enthused about these sandwiches) and caught the last few songs of Oberhofer's set. I'm always on the lookout for great pop songwriters, and I definitely saw one in this set. Whether in an electronic medium or a guitar-based one, his melodies are infectious and memorable. His cheery tone helps, too. I'm not sure why a great many geniuses look like scruffy young ruffians, but Oberhofer certainly fits the description. His band went nuts on stage with him, and the songs had a festive air. I expect big, big things from the band, and the set only reinforced that opinion.

I stuck around to hear Lord Huron, another cheery pop band that I've been digging. Their sound pulls a lot from Calypso music, which is the most bubbly of all music genres, but the band still had the songwriting skills to ground the melodies with a overarching sense of seriousness that lent a credibility to the tunes. They went from being carefree pop songs to hard-won happy songs, as you could hear the sadness and seriousness creeping in the margins. It's not often that upbeat pop songs can be truly powerful, but Lord Huron takes after "Graceland"-era Paul Simon in being able to create depth out of unusual forms not known for their emotional resonance. I was sad that technical difficulties cut their set short, but glad that I was able to hear it at all.

With my handy dandy SXSW app, I was alerted to the fact that King Charles was playing just down the street from my location in fifteen minutes. I rushed over and took up residence to hear his afrobeat/classic rock/pop. Yes, all of that happened in his nearly hour-long set, from AC/DC-worthy guitar noodling to tunes heavy on pop moods and vocal harmony with detours into world music. King Charles (the person) got more and more into the set as it went on, going from reserved at the beginning to headbanging with his incredibly long dreads (down to the small of his back!) and breaking the head clean off a guitar by slamming it against cymbals and other stuff. Hilariously, the guitar-smashing came at the end of the second-to-last song; file the closer under "anti-climactic." The set was much heavier and grittier than I expected, but the quick vocals and charming harmonies of the quieter songs were exactly what I was looking for. And who doesn't like seeing a guitar get smashed?

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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