The Oklahoma Film & Music Office announced its plans for the 2011 South by Southwest Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas.
While I was in Austin, Texas, for South by Southwest, I was able to talk with Greg Wilder and Alison Conard of Orpheus Media Research. They are touting a service with an April launch called Clio that they feel will revolutionize music listening (its predecessor, Myna, is live now). It’s a computer program that listens to music and categorizes it by its qualities. Doesn’t sound that cool? Wait for it.
Ever heard of the Music Genome Project?
But Clio’s library isn’t going to only hold production music, or even major-label music. Clio was started by two indie musicians, and they want to help out independent artists. They have plans to partner with companies like ReverbNation and Bandcamp to make large quantities of indie music accessible to Clio, too. That means when the music director puts in one tune he likes — say, a number from post-rock instrumental act Maserati — it will spit out an entire suggested soundtrack — perhaps something by Explosions in the Sky, something by The Non (pictured).
“That will help independent artists stand right next to established artists based on the quality of their music,” Wilder said.
People who haven’t played a single show could be queued up over U2, as long as their contribution sounds more like the chosen starting song than “Where the Streets Have No Name.” When Clio powers your listening portal of choice, you’ll easily be able to find new things you actually want to hear.
With the processing power that Clio has (remember: tens of millions of songs at a time), it is not an overstatement when the founders compare their endeavor to a musical Google. Clio has the ability to categorize almost every piece of music ever written and make it streamable to you.
Streaming music may never be the same.
While you’re here, grab these MP3s:
“Lower Away (Unplugged)” — Sunshine Factory. Surprisingly mellow and graceful piano piece.
“Big Sick” — Big Pauper. I guess you don’t need guitars for druggy psych anymore.
“How Does It Feel to Be in Love?” — The Bynars. Probably something like this power-pop gleefest.
In previous years, Norman Music Festival has done an incredible job of bringing acts to town that would rarely, if ever, come here. Of Montreal, Dirty Projectors and The Polyphonic Spree are were headliners that sparked an “oh, man, I can’t believe that they got them” excitement.
This year’s main stage doesn’t feature an artist like that. With the exception of Ty Segall, four of the five national touring acts on the main stage have been in the metro before (two of them in Norman!) within the last two years:
• The Walkmen: Meacham Auditorium, October 2009
• Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears: Diamond Ballroom, June 2009
• Peelander-Z: The Conservatory, October 2010, among other concerts
• Foot Patrol: Opolis, May 2010
Here’s the full Saturday main stage schedule, in reverse:
9:30 p.m. — The Walkmen
8 p.m. — Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears
6:30 p.m. — PeeLander-Z
5 p.m. — Ty Segall
3:30 p.m. — The Fortune Tellers
2:30 p.m. — Foot Patrol
1:40 p.m. — The Non
12:50 p.m. — Penny Hill Party
Headliner letdown aside, I’m relentlessly stoked that The Non finally made it to the main stage, but I’m baffled that they’re opening for The Fortune Tellers on the bill. The Fortune Tellers are an on-again/off-again band based in the metro and, uh, Greece.
I’m also surprised in a good way that Penny Hill is opening the main stage (and a band, I’m assuming, as the “party” bit). Good for her!
Headlining other stages: jam band dude Keller Williams on the Jagermeister Stage, Mississippi indie-rockers Color Revolt (not to be confused with Colourmusic) on Sooner Theater Stage, and Austin indie-pop group White Denim at Opolis.
But the most exciting headliner of the entire festival is on Thursday night at Opolis, as Norman indie-rockers The Neighborhood are re-forming. Philip Rice (now of Visions of Choruses), Matt Duckworth (now of Stardeath and the White Dwarfs), Blake Studdard (also Visions of Choruses) and Eric Mai threw down some of the best rock that the metro has heard in recent years, and it was a shame that it fizzled out a couple years back. And now they’re back for at least one show, and perhaps more. This is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, headline of the festival.
NMF4 is scheduled for April 28-30. The Gazette will be there, tweeting and blogging away, just as at SXSW.
I hit Traindodge every year at the festival, because their crushing rock'n'roll has a been a favorite of mine since 2002's "On a Lake of Dead Trees." They mashed out their solid set of bruising tunes at Bill and Dee's. If you're not familiar with their rock'n'roll, you should check it out; it's heavy, loud and passionate. They've got a new EP coming out soon called "Remains," and I assume that Traindodge remains as heavy as ever.
Also, at some point during Friday evening, I hit up the Sonder Music open jazz jam, partly because I wrote about jazz jams a couple weeks ago and partly because I hoped Cami Stinson would be there.
The next day, I started my day with Gum, whose pensive piano rock was punctuated with bursts of noisy rock. With the bright blue sky behind them and a full day of music ahead of me, the mood didn't really fit, but the music was good. Also, the Red Bull had not kicked in yet, so this set is a little hazy in my mind.
Dr. Pants gained my love by introducing their drummer as Disco Pony. Their power-pop did even more to gain my love once they started singing about young men who love John Cusack (guilty), bearded hipsters (guilty), Firefly references (guilty), donuts (guilty) and ironic rapping (guilty). This band seems as if it were scientifically engineered for me to like it. Their power-pop tunes split the difference between Fountains of Wayne and Weezer, albeit with ironic rapping every now and then.
I'm really thankful that Bluebonnet was literally next to the main stage, because The Non went on promptly at 1:20, just barely giving me time to step out the door from Dr. Pants' set to the OKC four-piece's instrumental mastery. After the band's incredible showing last year at NMF with a full orchestra, I was interested to see what they would do to top it. They didn't try to: They just went out and did their really excellent thing on a really huge stage. I and other writers have gushed about The Non before, so I'll say this and then go on: This band could open for Sigur Ros or Explosions in the Sky tomorrow. They are ready.
After The Non's fantastic set, it was time for some food and beer. No better time to check out Norman's newest Main Street bar and restaurant The Garage, right? Right, especially since it's freaking awesome. I had a fantastic onion buffalo burger that smacked of "made, like, three minutes ago" freshness. I went cheap on the beer (I will not reveal my shame), but my friend had a Spaten Optimator with his buffalo burger. Yes, it's that kind of place. The atmosphere is excellent, too; I hope that it lasts a long time.
Thoroughly revitalized with beer, water and food, I ventured out to K.C. Clifford's set at Brewhouse. David Broyles of Dr. Pants is married to K.C. Clifford, so I saw him for the second time in three hours. He did not dance. He did, however, play acoustic and electric guitar accompaniment to Clifford's acoustic country and folk songs. Clifford's songwriting is of the Blue Door, catch-every-word variety, so it was a bit out of place at the Brewhouse (she mentioned as much, noting that she'd probably never played at a place with so many TVs before). But her sonorous voice, engaging stories and vibrant songwriting kept people focused on her and not the draft. Her lyrics were some of my favorites at the fest. Highly recommended.
I caught a bit of Foot Patrol's set somewhere in the course of the afternoon, and it was about as weird as I expected a foot-fetish dance band led by a blind keyboardist to be. If you were there, you know what I mean. Funky, dancy, weird. Good horn section, too.
Tulsa's And There Stand Empires was another incredibly memorable set from the fest. If The Non had jazzier roots and a tendency to freak out sporadically, they might be an approximation of ATSE's wild instrumental amalgam.