It’s a hard balance to strike between “masses-pleasing nonsense” and “critically pleasing art.”
So, while we were catching up on MP3s, stuff happened in OKC music.
1. Red-dirt lifers The Red Dirt Rangers signed to a Nashville label. John Cooper, Ben Han and Brad Piccolo are recording their Luna Chica Records debut with Oklahoma producer Steve Ripley now, and the album should be out this spring. Mad props!
2. While I’ll be writing this up in full soon, just wanted to give a shout-out to the Okies in Colourmusic, who signed with Memphis Industries. They will be releasing “My ____ Is Pink” May 10, and, just to steal your thunder, it actually is about sex. No, really. Not a joke.
3. Rock ’n’ roll ain’t always the thang. If you’re in the mood for something different, you should check out a concert of organ and handbells 4 p.m. Sunday at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 10600 N Council Road. I really enjoy organ concerts (the organ program at OU puts on amazing concerts that my friends and I enjoy attending), and think it is an oft-maligned instrument. In addition, three handbell choirs will be playing. If you’ve never heard handbells, you’re missing out. Their ethereal, reverent sound is like nothing else. All that said: You should go. It’s free.
1. “Movement” by Dam Mantle. An orchestra gets chopped up and chillwaved. Brilliant.
2. “Mighty (Painted Palms Remix)” by Lord Huron. A cascading dance track with dreamy vibes and African-style vocals.
3. “Rocky’s Theme” by Rocky Business. Rap and low-key synth-pop get mashed up to great effect.
So, it’s only February, but it’s 70 degrees out there. Spring is here or coming here. Snow is gone or getting gone. SXSW is not here, but coming (there, actually).
In short, the hibernating is ending, and people are dropping tons of music on me, which I am about to unload on you guys in the form of a mixtape. Remember when it used to be illegal to post MP3s on blogs? Now people ask me to do it. Time moves fast.
The OKS “Fake Springs Suck, So Here’s to Hoping It’s Real” Mix (click title to download full mix as a 155mb .zip)
1. “Wolves and Bells” — Storms. This icy acoustic track is a good place to start, as we move from winter to spring.
2. “I Can Be One” — Luke Rathborne. Melancholic beauty, like opening your eyes after sleeping ...
3. “Colossus” — Lightning Bolt. …and then you distort your guitar, cause ‘getting out of bed sucks.
4. “Heart Attack” — Lovett. Frantic rock ’n’ roll.
5. “Kim Kardashian” — Rocky Business. Infectious dance track from the first band to get a second MP3 on OKS. Also has a culture-skewing video that begs for a Chuck Klosterman analysis.
6. “Equestrian (Flosstradamus Remix)” — US Royalty. Caribbean-ized and dance-floor ready, you’d never guess that this used to be a pastoral folk tune.
7. “Would You Say Stop?” — Acid House Kings. No, I wouldn’t.
8. “The Kite” — The Sound of Growing Up. Judging by the sneering vocals and pop-punk approach to the piano, these kids have a ways to go.
9. “Fugefat” — The Octopus Project. The most optimistic instrumental band ever.
10. “Last Night at the Jetty” — Panda Bear. Never been a big Animal Collective fan, but this lucid, optimistic jam from the AC member screams spring.
11. “Secret Serf” — Tape Deck Mountain. Chillwave to ease back on a green, green hillside to.
photo Octopus Project
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.