But not really. Name’s Matt. Stephen’s off to graduate school on full scholarship, so I’m the new blogger ‘round these here parts.
Quick hits: Leo. Favorite non-Flaming Lips local band is Colourmusic. I know the lyrics to“Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” back-to-front. Random fun fact: My brother is on a first-name basis with Dan Marino. I’m still looking to replace a big LCD Soundsystem-shaped hole in my heart. Taylor Swift’s first and second albums have been known to rattle the speakers in the privacy of my car, on occasion. Big supporter of dance rock.
Underrated: The Drive-By Truckers’ “Brighter Than Creation’s Dark”, dance rock in general, post-“Girls Can Tell” Spoon, Lost in the Trees, and the Rolling Stones’ “Some Girls.”
Overrated: Passion Pit, Animal Collective, My Morning Jacket’s “Z,” and probably James Blake, too, but you’d have to put a gun to my head to make me admit it. Also, everything U2's recorded since “The Joshua Tree”. Though let it be known that “The Joshua Tree” is so unbelievably good that you can’t possibly overstate how good it is.
Let’s get on with the vids, then.
Broncho rapidly ascended to the near-top of my fictional All-Okie Festival bill when I bought their debut album a few months back. Caught them at the Soundpony in Tulsa a little while ago and, sure enough, the Internet warlocks at Delo Creative were there with a butt-ton of camera equipment in tow. I think I speak for the entirety of this state when I say these guys are gonna make it big. And soon:
Novak Djokovic’s appearance in this hilarious video probably had at least a little something to do with his recent #1 ATP ranking:
Freaky, psychedelic, synthy chicks glow in the dark:
Like Stephen, I’m a proud Tulsa native and, save for Hanson, nobody’s name’s better-recognized in Tulsa than Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey. Their new “Race Riot Suite” received standing ovations at the Tulsa PAC last month:
Not unlike most of the planet, I really didn’t care much for Radiohead’s latest. I do, however, dig Nigel Godrich’s intimate “From the Basement” series and this frenetic, dual-drummer performance of “Staircase” is intense:
Everything about Mastodon is massively awesome right now. Album art, track titles, and this puppet-stomping video for “Deathbound”:
Don’t touch that dial! Because it may be a thing of the past, as more local ventures go online to keep your ears entertained.
Music Stephen Carradini
There’s never a shortage of articles claiming that old X media will
disappear because of new Y media: newspaper/radio, radio/TV,
newspaper/Internet — same story, different verse.
Let’s send off OKS veteran Stephen Carradini with some rad music vids.
And with that, I give you the song he loves more than most any in the whole, wide world:
Here’s one that buzzing across the blogosphere today: St. Vincent covering the heck out of ol’ Tom Waits. Astute fans of St. V’s (better known as Annie Clark) know this is far from the most exciting cover song she’s ever played. Also, she was born in my hometown and I have a Tulsa Driller-sized crush on her, in the interest of full disclosure:
Chapel Hill indie guitar legends Superchunk tossed a new/old video our way this week for the classic “Learn to Surf.” Let’s just say that their stage presence has neither increased nor decreased since 1998, nor have they apparently learned any new moves. How's that for consistency?
Not technically a music video, but it does feature OKC native Blake Griffin and former Sooner bulldozer Adrian Peterson, and is absolutely hilarious. That is, if you can stand Seth Meyer’s annoyingly glib grinning that introduces it:
VOTD: Watch Colin Stetson’s facial veins expand abnormally
In honor of the awesome Iron Maiden T-shirt he wore during Bon Iver’s lush, incredible show at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City, Mo., this weekend, here’s a new track from muscly saxophonist Colin Stetson. It looks like they probably shot it during a recent soundcheck on this tour.
The video doesn’t do his guns justice, though. Up against the rest of the dudes in Bon Iver, the burl on those pipes makes him look like an NFL linebacker. But they’re clearly nothing compared to the ones in his throat. Dude is a singular talent. Enjoy “Part of Me Apart from You.”
Former OKSee skipper Stephen Carradini and I will in Austin, Texas, next month (next month, you guys!), possibly with regular Gazette contributor Joshua Boydston, whose press credentials we’re waiting to receive. We’ll be crawling all over town to bring you recaps and photos from these and other bands’ sets, so be sure to check back with OKSee and follow us on Twitter, too.
Piano-based singer/songwriter is a pretty crowded genre, but Brianna Gaither stands head and shoulders above the competition. Her dynamic mezzosoprano can hit dusky lows and electrifying highs, while her melodic songwriting is hard to forget. Her set at the Buffalo Lounge featured her on piano accompanied only by a cajon, and it was still a riveting performance.
She played through several tunes from her debut album Love is Patient, then treated the audience to a new tune. Most of the songs on Love is Patient are pensive, moody pieces, but the new tune was upbeat, more in the vein of Ingrid Michaelson or Regina Spektor. I enjoyed it immensely, and am looking forward to its recorded version (which can't come soon enough)!
Even though the first few songs of the set were quieter, darker pieces, Gaither and percussionist Kelcy White were consistently smiling. It's fun to be at a set where the band is having fun, and there's no question that Gaither and White were loving the experience. They probably smiled a bunch during the last song too, but I was bouncing about and smiling and having a great time myself; I wasn't paying as much attention to the band. It was an incredibly fun set, and that's rare in singer/songwriter sets, which are often all about the self-expression and self-discovery and stuff. And if Gaither's songs are about that, she's inviting people in for the party, not for the cryfest. Fans of Spektor, Michaelson, and other bouncy pop songs should be intrigued.
The day-long party was celebrated with Cloud Nothings, Bob Mould and The Roots.
After three days of hiking all over a dirty, crowded Sixth Street crawling with exhausted hipsters, I decided to hit up the famed Austin venue Mohawk (with its highly convenient indoor-and-outdoor stage setup) for a nice balance of old and new, rock and fusion, folk and punk to cap my excursion to South by Southwest. It didn’t disappoint.
Blitzen Trapper I’ve seen Portland’s Blitzen Trapper twice before — once at Opolis in Norman, again at London’s Camden Barfly, which is a whole ’nother story entirely — and the band has been a longtime favorite of mine for its earlier, more pastoral albums like Wild Mountain Nation and Furr, which are more creative, indie takes on the classic rock radio I grew up on. It’s a seminal band for me, the first whose work first I actively started following online, which is sort of what I do for a living now.
I was hoping Blitzen Trapper would dip back into that catalogue (and it did, playing the vivid murder ballad it will probably be best remembered for, “Black River Killer”), but hung on to its newer, country-riding American Goldwing material for the most part, which I haven’t much cared for. So I split a little early for the Mohawk’s indoor stage to see …
Cloud Nothings After hearing Brooklyn rock monsters The Men with Stephen Carradini on Friday, he and I were wandering around when the unmistakable intro riff to “Wasted Days” suddenly beckoned us around a corner. By the time Dylan Baldi was howling about how he knew his life wasn’t gonna change, we were watching Cloud Nothings play the last song on its set, an eight-minute hardcore epic from its excellent new album, Attack on Memory. We got super-depressed when the band started packing up, so the opportunity to hear one of the loudest acts at the festival inside a closet of a venue got my excitement perked up again.
After a few failed attempts of shooting the band on the decently lit indoor stage, I just said, “Screw it,” and turned on my flash, as there was no possible way of getting unblurred shots of these dudes without it. They were playing songs like “Fall In” and “Stay Useless” much too fast, with too much power to do that.
But the most remarkable part of it all was how Baldi’s voice held up after a week of unrestrained hollering. It sounded just as strained, but sturdy as it does on the album. Unfortunately, Cloud Nothings didn’t inspire the same rambunctious crowd activity as Titus Andronicus did the previous day, but its members are just much too skilled as players for the audience to do anything but focus on them and admire their combination of speed and dexterity, particularly that of drummer Jayson Gerycz.
Bob Mould Playing with the prolific Jon Wurster on the drums, Bob Mould wound through a career’s worth of heavily distorted and purely pleasurable post-Hüsker Dü songwriting, including Sugar’s classic, “If I Can’t Change Your Mind.” It felt like a reunion that ended all too soon, with an older crowd singing along with the choruses, and Mould shrugging and pointing at his wrist in between the last two songs. There wasn’t any doubt in the guy’s showmanship, however — his pale face turned Fender-guitar red and gushed sweat by the set’s end.
Also worthy of note: I was hanging out in the back of the crowd when I noticed Dylan Baldi wander in from outside the venue, and subsequently watched him take in the show for a few minutes. It was a beyond-cool experience to watch one of hardcore’s latest innovators watch one of its greatest innovators.
The Roots And that all gave way to the top-billing Philly soul-fusion-hip-hop act The Roots, which appropriately played for a rowdy St. Patrick’s Day crowd. I was a little disappointed in the lack of material from their latest, the terrific, socially conscious undun, but not surprised, as this wasn’t the time or place for that stuff. Instead, they played a few of their best-loved easy-listening hits like “The Seed” and covers of “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” “Apache,” “Immigrant Song” and “Jungle Boogie.”
Also worth noting: Damon Bryson literally taking his tuba for a walk on a solo, as he hiked up and down the Mohawk’s staircase to mix it up with the crowd.