Punk music doesn’t have to be political, violent, sexy or cool. Sometimes it’s just good, clean fun. Enter Cleveland, Ohio upstart Cloud Nothings.
Change the oil, pack the car and cue up the playlist, because it’s time to head down to Austin for Music Christmas South by Southwest. I’ll be down there Tuesday night all the way to the end in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Here’s an audio and video approximation of how excited I am.
You can expect loads of SXSW coverage here at the OKSee blog. I’ll be spending Tuesday, Wednesday and the first half of Thursday covering the Oklahoma Film and Music Office’s The Buffalo Lounge. The fantastic people up at OF&MO have put together a lineup of 28 Oklahoma bands that I’m really excited to see. Expect photos, audio clips (of talking — music clips from my teeny recorder would sound like this), interviews, reviews, news bits, the whole nine yards. It’s gonna be a blast.
I’ll also be tweeting up a storm at twitter.com/okgazette.
From 6 p.m. Thursday onward, I’ll be kicking it all over Austin, trying to catch the best and brightest new music the smorgasbord has to offer. I have several priorities (one of Braids’ 9 shows, Typhoon, Matt and Kim, Rocky Business, Givers), but I’ll be all over the place, reporting it as I hit it. I may even drink coffee to get me through this. My stimulant of choice is Red Bull, but at 10:30 a.m. Friday when I’m trying to get to a Chris Bathgate show at 11, I may have to call in the big guns.
Here’s a whole bunch of SXSW info for those going/lusting:
• Official site
• Last.FM band aid, which will run your Last.FM account against the listings to tell you who you should see, which will make attendees drool and lusters weep
• Guardian complete band listing, with vids, streams, bios and more on each
• Bandcamp visualizer – about a fourth of the bands have music downloadable/streaming/available for purchase here
• Free iTunes playlist
Thanks to Pitchfork for alerting me to a couple of these links.
By the time Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears went on at 8:00 p.m., I had spent 24 solid hours at the Norman Music Festival. I was pretty well exhausted, and it was going to take a lot to please me. I hadn't been swayed by Black Joe Lewis' recorded music, but I kept an open mind. I'm glad I did.
The band rocketed out of the starting gate, swinging, swaggering and generally making a ruckus. The band was dressed up dapper, with button-downs and ties. The horn section, which doubled as backing vocals, swung their horns violently back and forth to the music, playing or not. Black Joe Lewis and his rhythm guitarist dueled. Lewis played guitar with his tongue more than once. Burlesque dancers had a dance-off onstage. The band's muscly, horn-laden delta version of rock just wowed the audience. That is, after the audience figured out what to do with the spectacle before them; as Oklahoma has no real musical equivalent to this band, the NMF audience was a bit confused on how to enjoy the band. But they figured it out, and things were festive by the end.
After stopping in at the busy Buffalo Lounge at Five for some refreshment, I went back out — Red Bulled and ready — for The Walkmen. I've previously seen them, so I knew what to expect. But it's still hard to prepare for Hamilton Leithauser's primal howl. Of the forty or so pictures I took of the band, over 3/4ths were of the lead singer, because he's just so electric on stage (well, and the rest of the band is, nicely put, static). The Walkmen's minimal set-up meant that they started pretty much right on time, which was wonderful. They proceeded to rip through their indie-rock songs, playing songs old and new. I loved seeing them play "The Rat" once again, which is just a killer song. They're not really a band to dance to, but they certainly are a blast to hear and watch.